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Reviews by: Loquah

A beautifully balanced hybrid

Posted

Pros: Balanced sound without sacrificing bass, beautiful looks, detailed and revealing, great accessories, awesome cord!

Cons: Unusual fit took a little while to get used to

At $399 (AUD) the A83 is at the upper end of the mid-priced IEM range as there tends to be a leap up to the near-$1000 range once you crest the $500 mark. For this price I was expecting big things and I am convinced that they justify their price tag.   Specifications   Drivers:  1 x 10mm dynamic + 2 x balanced armatures (BAs) Frequency range:  9 – 31,000 Hz Impedance:  11 ohms Sensitivity:  104dB Cable:  Detachable 1.3m silver-plated copper cable with MMCX connectors (same connector as Shure, Audiofly and a few other manufacturers) Max input power:  30mW   Design & Comfort   The A83s initially caught my attention for 2...
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Slightly flawed, but getting close...

Posted

Pros: Nice look and feel, free inclusion of cable with phone controls

Cons: Slightly imbalanced sound, treble emphasis and slightly recessed lower mids prevents these IEMs from excelling

I am reviewing the H-300s as part of the Australian tour and for that I must say a sincere thanks to @H20Fidelity for coordinating the tour and of course T-PEOS for supplying the tour unit.   Reading previous reviews, the H-300s have received mixed reports so I was looking forward to trying these with equal parts curiosity / doubt and excitement. Every mid-level hybrid IEM I've tried so far has missed the mark by a fraction so I'm still looking for the one that gets it right. Comments from others on the tour had me concerned that the H-300s might have a little too much treble energy, but others still said it wasn't as hot as other offerings on the market so what's my...
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A world-class foundation for bespoke, tailored sound

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Pros: Great sound, swappable op amps and buffers, beautiful design, slim form factor, exclusivity

Cons: Can't fit DIP-8 op amps without slight modification

Fiio seem intent on joining the players in the higher end of the headphone audio market, but they're doing it without charging high-end prices. The Fiio E12DIY represents a project where Fiio decided to share a limited number of customisable, high quality amplifiers with the enthusiasts among us and did it, it seems, to demonstrate their capabilities and passion because according to various reports (and some logical number-crunching) they won't have made money from this activity.   I for one am thankful that Fiio chose to share!   What is the DIY?   The E12DIY is built on the foundation of the regular E12, but Fiio engineers have removed the crossfeed and bass boost...
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Handmade IEM with a smooth, laid back and slightly veiled sound

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Pros: Zero fatigue, nice mids and bass, looks nice, handmade

Cons: Veiled sound, slight bass bloat

The C-12s are the first IEM from Indian company, Signature Acoustics. The C-12s use a hand-made wooden housing and a great looking wooden Y-split and slider. At around $60 (AUD) they are a budget IEM which is impressive given their hand-made and all wood design, but the sound is just a little way off from being something to get excited about.   Overall, the sound is smooth, laid-back and very easy to listen to, but perhaps just a bit too warm and lacking in the air and extension needed to bring out the best of a wide range of genres. The bass and mids are good with an enjoyable balance and mostly lifelike timbre - they just need a little more air.   If you'd like to read...
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Excellent value, just like the M-Stage

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Pros: Balanced input and output, great sound, smooth but detailed

Cons: Auto output switching occasionally gets it wrong

After spending a lot of time with some high quality tube amplifiers, I thought it was time to revisit the world of solid state (using sound processing chips rather than tubes). Some headphones seem to pair well with tubes while others like solid state so it's always nice to have both options available. The amp I decided on is the Matrix Quattro amplifier which offers balanced and unbalanced operation (which I'll explain later) and pairs really nicely with the Matrix X-Sabre DAC I bought a little while ago. I was fortunate enough to also be able to buy a second hand Matrix M-Stage (HPA-1), the Quattro's baby brother (although it's been around longer). The M-Stage is renowned as...
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Simply superb

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Pros: Satisfying project even with only moderate skills, incredible sound, detailed, smooth, readily available tubes

Cons: Quite large

I have created a thread to discuss and compare the Bottlehead range of headphone amplifiers so I'll share a small excerpt here just abouthow the amp sounds, but I'd recommend heading over to the thread for much more information and opportunities to read other people's opinions and discuss your thoughts: http://www.head-fi.org/t/683012/bottlehead-amplifier-discussion-comparison-thread-crack-sex-mainline#post_9831533   Sound   As a top of the line amplifier, I had high expectations of the Mainline. My initial impressions were just OK - it sounded good, but not amazing and I wondered if it was actually better than the lower-priced S.E.X. After spending a bit longer listening...
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Detailed, but smooth sound from a solid block of aluminium

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Pros: Build quality, sleek design, easy compatibility, sound quality and detail

Cons: High voltage output from XLRs

I've had the X-Sabre for about a week now and I'm seriously impressed. It produces fantastic detail and separation in the sound, but manages to do so with a very analogue and smooth presentation. I chose the X-Sabre because I'd heard it was a musical DAC and it hasn't disappointed.    Build Quality   Ridiculously good! It's made from a solid block of aluminium, has a sleek look with simple white LED indicators on the front panel and a smooth finish to the exterior that looks and feels very high quality. It sits on 3 feet instead of the usual 4. This means it can tilt at the back corners when you're connecting cables, but it's a minor issue.   Connectivity  ...
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Great value hybrid IEM

Posted

Pros: Excellent bass quality and quantity, nice mids, great quality design and materials, great range of accessories

Cons: Treble very tip dependent

I've just finished reviewing these hybrid earphones and would describe them as great value for someone looking for an IEM with awesome bass (both quality and quantity), and an engaging, dynamic sound. They don't push the sound too far in any direction to make it sound unnatural, but they're also not an accuracy-focussed IEM.   The treble can be a bit harsh depending on the tips used and the bass will sound sloppy if the wrong filter is used (they come with 2 different filter options), but with the right tip and the right filter, they're as good as anything up to the same value (AUD $399) if you're looking for something to get your foot tapping and head bobbing.   My full...
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Brilliant value and a highly satisfying project

Posted

Pros: Great, clear and transparent sound, drives speakers and a wide range of headphones, you get to build your own, you can customise its appearance

Cons: May be a little lean on the bass for some, especially compared to the Bottlehead Crack

The Bottlehead S.E.X. is the mid-level DIY tube headphone amp from Bottlehead USA. As per the very well-known Crack OTL amplifier, it's a kit that you build yourself, but it's a little more challenging than the Crack due to the extra components involved.   In short, the Crack and S.E.X. both have their own strengths, but the S.E.X. is a definite step up in overall sound (which is a major complement) and it drives all range of headphone impedances, unlike the Crack's limit to >300ohm units.   The S.E.X. offers accurate, transparent sound with great texture, staging and imaging while the Crack offers lusher mids and fuller bass.   I've created a full thread to...
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An Outstanding All-Rounder - The Best All- Rounder? Perhaps...

Posted

Pros: Comfort, transparency, staging / imaging, versatility

Cons: Will absolutely reveal your weakest source links

Beyerdynamic are a well known name in the headphone industry and in the professional audio world. I have toyed with the idea of purchasing Beyers on many occasions, but never pulled the trigger... until now. Specifications Style:  Semi-open Frequency response:  5 - 50,000 Hz Impedance:  600 ohms Nominal SPL:  102 dB Overview The T1s sit squarely at the top of the Beyerdynamic tree of headphones and were their first Tesla headphone. The Tesla nomination relates to the amount of magnetic force in the driver mechanism of the headphone. In general terms, 1 tesla of magnetic force is massive and it means that the drivers are very sensitive. I want to equate it to...
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