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Reviews by: mikemercer

JH Audio Tears Down Walls of Sonic Limitations With Roxanne CIEM!

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Pros: Incredible Bass Response & Sound-Staging. Sonic fluidity & Lower-Midrange Control & Precision. Overall Dynamic Gestalt! Emotively Impactful

Cons: Don't have Anything to Complain About Yet!

  I feel obligated to share out-of-the-gate that I am no CIEM expert! As a matter of fact, I don't even particularly enjoy IEMs - I love over-ear or on-ear headphones. That said: Experiencing JH Audio's JH-13 Pro (now Freqphase) IEMs at Canjam 2009 was nothing short of a revelation for me. As a matter of fact, the experience was so far from anything I had to compare it with that I ended up being fortunate enough to write the first formal review of the JH-13 Pro for Positive Feedback! That was an intimidating task to say the least. There I was, at the time, a music and high end audio two-channel writer/reviewer, and I had to try and paint a sonic picture of how amazing these...
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Only Solid State Amp I've heard that Sounds Like a Hybrid: The Texture and Warmth of Tubes, but Control, Power and Precision of the Very Best of SS!

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Pros: Outstandingly Musical and Easy to Listen to for Hours. Fully Balanced (w/ 1/4" capability as well). Built Like a Br__house. Looks Fantastic

Cons: Sorry, None. It's too heavy? I can't even say that. This isn't Pandering either.

When I finally got to sit down with Alex Cavalli and hear his Liquid Lightning and Liquid Gold I had unreasonable expectations. I love a combination of tubes and solid state in my reference systems. The sonic pairing of the body and warmth of tubes with the speed and precision of solid state, when executed properly (or just the right complementary components) have delivered some of my favorite, most musically transparent listening sessions of my life, period. I'm talkin' from six-seven foot speaker towers and amps the size of lobster traps to the smallest of portable solutions: I'm a music freakin' addict. And while I don't always understand people who aren't as deeply into...
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Breaking Down Barriers - Audeze's LCD-XC

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Pros: Great sound, musically engaging, higher efficiency, stunning resolution, sounds open at times, sonically addictive

Cons: Sorry, don't really have anything to complain about. They could be lighter and smaller! Or can they?

The Audeze LCD-XC has, again, redefined what's possible for me in a headphone, in terms of sonic integrity and musical engagement. In this case I'm talking about music playback through closed cans. My favorite way to experience music via headphones is through open-back designs. They've always been more immediately able to transcend my thoughts about a band on my head and drivers hugging my ears when trying to lose myself in the music. Perhaps I never considered the notion of using closed headphones for anything more than DJing or gettin' on the road because that's what they always were to me: Utilitarian. But Mr. Speakers Mad Dogs changed all that for me, then the Alpha Dogs,...
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ALO Creates a New Reference Class with the Studio Six

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Pros: KILLER headphone amp. Grabs you by the...

Cons: no balanced inputs

I just experienced one of the most incredible listening sessions I can remember with the ALO Studio Six!  I'm still in a sort-of sonic shock. I haven't experienced that sensation since I first heard the Genesis One Loudspeaker System (250k) in Harry Pearson's house (Founder of The Absolute Sound magazine) for the first time.   This is a single-ended triode amplifier that utilizes 6SN7, 6V6, 5AR4 and OB2 (2) tubes with an over spec'd power supply.  The beefy power supply is important here, as this amp delivers such velocity and authority that it's gestalt reminds me of some of the best in-room single-ended triode designs (like the OG Antique Sound Labs...
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Audeze's LCD3 Changed Everything for me.

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Pros: This is no ordinary headphone

Cons: This is no ordinary headphone experience! Having no benchmark for which to draw from (including my HD800's)

While I'm a known advocate for Audeze's LCD3 I've shied away from writing anything official about the cans because Alex Rosson, CEO and co-designer, has become one of my closest friends.  So there's an obvious conflict-of-interest, but I figured if I share that here I could maybe stop some of the vitriol in the commentary that might follow in our wonderfully strange world of high end audio, both personal and in-home. I've also experienced a handful of events over the last two years that have literally forced my hand. Some of my most intense listening sessions have occurred using my Audeze LCD3's. How, as an audio journalist, can I neglect to share about these incredible times...
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Head-Fi.org › mikemercer › Reviews by mikemercer