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Reviews by: ClieOS

Dual BA Made Sexy Again

Posted

Pros: Build Qualit, Design, Accesories and Package

Cons: Can get bright with loud volume. Price is a bit high for dual driver.

Some might not know this, but JAYS of Sweden is actually one of the earliest audiophile IEM manufacturer around, joining the game well before the whole IEM bloom of recent years. Though their first model was released in 2006, it was really the original q-JAYS in 2007 that put them on the map, right alongside big names like Ultimate Ears (with Jerry Harvey still at the helm and Triple.Fi 10 Pro being their cream of the crop), Westone (with their best offering, the UM2) and Etymotic (always the ER4 of course). But with the 2009 financial crisis and recession hitting Europe hard, JAYS switched gear and focused their attention to mid and lower-end offering while the q-JAYS was ultimately...
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Solid Perfromance with Some Limitation

Posted

Pros: Build Quality, Good SQ, Ease of Opamp Rolling, Optional LPS

Cons: High Output Impedance and Low Current Output

Aroma Audio is a Hong Kong based new company that is less than 1 year old. The A10 portable headphone amp is the company first baby, but by not mean another ‘me too’ product in the already-overcrowded portable amp market.     Spec Max Power: 390mW (16ohm) / 360mW (32ohm) / 168mW (120ohm) / 53mW (300ohm) SNR: 98dB THD: 0.00097% Max Voltage Output: 11.4Vp-p Recommended Headphone Impedance: 8~600ohm Battery Life: 7 hours (est.) Recharge Time: 5 hours (5V 1A) Dimension: 109x69x26.5mm Weight: 270g       Accessories and Build Quality As far as accessories are concerned, there are one micro USB cable for recharging, an opamp removing tool in case...
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A Good First Effort

Posted

Pros: Build Quality

Cons: Bright Sound

Echobox is a new startup with a strong audiophile’s background, and the Finder X1 is the company’s first IEM that has placed an emphasis on durability as much as it is on sound quality. The company has already finished up a successfully indiegogo campaign that offered the early bird Finder X1 for US$79, though you can still get one at US$149 with a January delivery day before it will be eventually sold at its regular price of US$199.     Spec Driver: 9.2mm dynamic driver with PEEK diaphragm Frequency Response: 15Hz ~ 35kHz Sensitivity: 96dB/mW Impedance: 22ohm THD: under 1% Housing: Titanium Plug: 3.5mm Stereo Gold Plated Cable: 1.2m Silver Plated Copper Sound...
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The Protable Discrete 'Tube' Amp

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Pros: Excellent Build Guality, Good Sound Quality.

Cons: None really.

Elekit Japan is not your typical audio company. Their core business is in fact not audio, but the design and manufacture of educational electronic kits. Perhaps it is because of this unique background, they are more willing to exploring the different paths to music enjoyment. The new TU-HP02, the company’s second portable amp, best reflects that idea by purposefully introduces distortion that mimics the sound of a tube amp. The idea is however not as outlandish as it sounds since it has been tried by others in the past, though this may be the first portable amp to do so, or at least to my knowledge.       Spec Recommended Headphone Impedance: 16-300ohm Maximum...
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A Slice of Portable Audio Heaven

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Pros: Value for Money, Design and Build Quality., SQ and wide OTG support

Cons: DSD256 only in native mode.

You probably already know OPPO as a smartphone brand, but the company called OPPO Digital isn’t exactly the same. It is the American sister company of the Chinese smartphone company, and its main business is Blu-ray player. Recent years however, the company also begins to develop a series of personal audio products including desktop headphone amp and a few planar magnetic headphones, which are very well received by the audiophiles’ community. The HA-2 we are going to look at is the company’s first portable amp + DAC and as the title of this article already suggested – quite an outstanding piece of kit.     Spec Frequency Response: 20 Hz - 200 kHz Audio-in Level:...
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A Solid Value on the 'Bright' Side

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Pros: Good Bass, Excellent Build Quality and Accessories.

Cons: Edgy on upper vocal.

Brainwavz needs no introduction. They have been in the IEM market long enough that they have made a name for themselves, especially in the bang-for-bucks section. The S5 has been in the market for a while now, and the price has dropped from the initial US$130 to the current US$100. However, the price tag is still right in the ‘warzone’ as far as IEM goes, where many competitors coming from China are all trying to outdo each other for being the next budget giant killer. So how does S5 fair?       Spec Drivers: 10mm Dynamic Rated Impedance: 16 Ω Frequency Response: 18Hz ˜ 24kHz Sensitivity: 110 dB @ 1 mW Rated Input Power: 20mW Maximum Input Power: 40mW Cable:...
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Unique Design With A Few Drawback.

Posted

Pros: SQ

Cons: Overly High Gain, Low Current Output, High Output Impedance.

I have covered Tube Amp’s portable amps in the past (here and here). While the company is called ‘Tube Amp’, they don’t limit themselves to only tube amp, but also discrete amp. The LF-15 however is their first venture into the world of desktop gears with another fully discrete design, priced around US$450.     Spec Frequency response:20Hz~30kHz Maximum Output:82mW (+20dBm) 1kHz 600Ω or 633mW (+20dBm) 1kHz 40Ω Input: XLR or RCA Total Harmonic Distortion: Less than 0.06% (1kHz) Signal to Noise Ratio: -91dB Recommended Headphone Impedance: 32Ω~600Ω Power Supply Voltage: 110/220V 60/50HZ Fuse (slow-blow fuse): 250V/50Hz,1A Power Consumption: 15W Dimension: (W x D x...
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Full Discrete Class A portable amplifier

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Pros: Sound Quality, Build Quality, Price.

Cons: High Output Impedance, Short Battery Life, Relatively Low Output Power.

Originally running a well-known audio DIY forum in China, the company behind the Aune brand has managed to turn itself into a fairly reputable audio brand in recent years, producing mainly PC based desktop Hi-Fi gears. As far as I know, the B1 portable amp that is going to be reviewed here is the company’s first foray into the portable amp market – and not a run-of-the-mill design at that. Not only does it has a fully discrete design, it is also running at Class A configuration. That sound promising on paper, but does it deliver?     Spec Recommended Headphone Impedance: 16~300ohm Size: 65 x 110 x 18mm Weight: 230g Typical THD: Less than 0.0008% @ 1 kHz, 600 ohm /...
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The Overachiever

Posted

Pros: Plenty of Features with Excellent Performance

Cons: Size. Not the best standalone amp for the price.

At this point of time, iFi Audio shouldn’t need much introduction at all. The British company is the more budget oriented sister brand of the prestige Abbingdon Music Research and have made a name for able to punch above its weight when it comes to price/performance ratio. If anything, the micro iDSD that is going to be reviewed here has set a new bar on what it means to be an overachiever in the world of portable audio gear. Never have we seen so many features being packed into one portable USB DAC + amp while still having such level of performance.     Spec DAC: Dual Burr Brown DAC, custom interleaving for maximum SNR Clock: Ultra low jitter GMT computer controlled...
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A 320ohm earbuds that demand good voltage swing but also reward with excellent SQ.

Posted

Pros: SQ.

Cons: The high impedance requires a good source (of power) to sound good.

Prelude: A few weeks ago I was contacted by a mutual 3rd party on whether I will like to give some Chinese made high-Z earbuds a review. Immediately I recalled a review article I read awhile back in erji.net that comes with fairly high praise (and subsequently get knocked around a few times, see reason below). We don’t see a lot of high-Z earbuds around so I was fairly certain they should be the same things. I don’t keep high hope for earbuds these days but I am still an earbuds lover in heart, so I agreed to give them a look, and indeed they turn out to be the same model I saw earlier. They are made by a small Chinese company called VE (52VE.cn, with a Chinese name translated to ‘micro...
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Head-Fi.org › ClieOS › Reviews by ClieOS