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Reviews by: AnakChan

A brief impression of the Focal Elear - an excellent value for money headphones

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Pros: Great value for money especially in this day and age where headphone prices have been escalating

Cons: A little closed sounding compared to other open headphones. A somewhat less neutral styled signature (which isn't necessarily a con depending on pref)

Introduction   As with the Focal Utopia, the Elear requires pretty much no introduction. Again with great thanks to Focal and to Rocky International, Focal's local Japan distributor, for giving me the opportunity to review the Elear for a few days.   The Elear was released as an alternate offering from Focal with a somewhat slightly different signature from the flagship. One of the most exciting advantages of the Elear is the RRP of USD$1000. For the quality of sound the Elear produces compared to some other brands of the same asking price makes the Elear sound like a real steal. Although it's somewhat difficult to measure, to me, the Elear offers one of the highest return...
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A Brief impressions of the Focal Utopia - pinnacle of the dynamic driver headphones

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Pros: An extemely resolving and well balanced sound signature. The best dynamic driver headphone I've heard to date

Cons: A little closed sounding compared to some other open headphones. Loan unit's midrange has peculiarity that sounds like internal reflection

Introduction     The Focal Utopia doesn't need an introduction as it's already very well known and probably one of the most popular headphones amongst the audiophiles and audio enthusiasts. I have to thank Focal and Rocky International, Focal's Japan distributor, for lending me the Utopia and the Elear for a few days. They are as popular on the internet as they are in shows, exhibits, and audio events. Rocky International were kind enough lend them to me for a week despite their busy schedule for upcoming shows, and magazine reviewers.   Despite the retail price of the Focal Utopia, the model remains highly sought after with only a few initial production runs...
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An impression of the revised Tralucent Audio 1Plus2.2 hybrid IEM

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Pros: Very transparent and clear. Bass packs a nice deep yet tight punch. Trebles are smooth, airy and clear and a large soundstage

Cons: Cable socket still doesn't lock in. Cable is somewhat tangly. Need really well mastered tracks

Introduction Does Tralucent Audio really need any introduction? It's been around and well known since 2012 and Gavin (@spkrs01) has been active with the Head-Fi community even before the business started. In fact he's more a consumer than a maker! Tralucent Audio did not start of by making low end products then working their way up. The business wasn't shy in coming up with high end sound from day one with Gavin himself listening and instructing how the sound should be tuned.   In the past few years, Gavin has come up with the 1Plus2 back in late 2012, then Ref1 in 2014 still a hybrid but employing a isobaric design for the dual dynamic drivers, the Ref1 Too, and most recently...
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A brief impression of the classy Woo Audio WA8 Eclipse transportable tube DAC Amp

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Pros: Very solidly built, typifies what one would expect out of a tube amp, no tube vibrations/pings/rings, versatile 3.5mm & 6.3mm sockets, very quiet amp

Cons: No balanced out, rather small soundstage, a pop when stopping DSD music, legacy USB-B port instead of microUSB, runs hot, & a heavy unit!

The Thank You's  Before I start, I have to give a big thanks to Jack Wu for providing this loaner. In Japan, Woo Audio products aren't easy to come by (in fact almost impossible) to demo. Introduction   Woo Audio is a business that's been the audio scene for a very long time with its roots very established in the desktop amp space. In fact with its WA234 Monoblock product, it's venturing to the floor amp space too. They're also known for their elegantly designed headphone stands.   Woo Audio has come up with the first transportable Class A tube DAC Amp with the WA8 Eclipse. Other makers have made all-tube amp transportables whilst others have made tube DAC/Amp...
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Fostex HP-V8 Early Impressions

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Pros: Effortlessly produces a big presentation with very full wholesome and smooth sound.

Cons: Very big, heavy and expensive, Supports only unbalanced inputs.

Firstly thank you to Fostex for this opportunity borrow the HP-V8 for a week   Introduction Fostex has made desktop integrated DAC/Amps before with their HP-A8, HP-A4BL and compact HP-A3. The HP-V8 is a different beast altogether. It's a tube amp using 300B, KT88 and E88CC tubes and is as large as some speaker based amplifiers. It's almost like an announcement that Fostex is stepping into the high end desktop amp market and is making a clear statement "We're in the game too".   The HP-V8 comes in very well packed and huge box that weighs 31kg shipped. Its inputs at the back are simple - just a 3 prong power, and L/R RCA unbalanced inputs. The power switch is also at the...
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Master & Dynamic MH40 Impressions: A fashionable headphone that's comfortable on the head and decent tonal signature

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Pros: Very comfortable headphone, fashionably stunning looks, tonally decent

Cons: Congested sound with a small soundstage

Thank You's With big thanks to @shigzeo who's patiently loaned this to me since early this year and I've still hung on to it till now.     Introduction I've not heard of Master & Dynamic until @shigzeo asked if I was interested in giving it a listen. I have to say that I fell in love with its looks when I first googled it up. Aesthetically it's extremely fashionable and would really fit into the fancy shopping districts in Tokyo. But let's get into the product more. The MH40 uses 45mm Neodymium drivers, with lambskin earpads and cowhide-covered headband. Metal components are made from aluminium. There are 2x 3.5mm ports leaving the listener to choose...
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Cypher Labs Algorhythm Trio Portable Tube Amp Impressions

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Pros: Tonally balanced with that touch of "tubeness" and analogue smoothness in the signature.

Cons: Noticeable noisefloor with sensitive earphones.

Thank You's and Sorries A big thank David Maudlin for sending me the Cypher Labs AlgoRhythm Trio to me back in late May and I apologise that it's taken me 3 months to put something up about it.   Introduction Cypher Labs as a company needs no introduction. It's been in the portable audio business being one of the first few companies to release an iOS approved DAC back in 2011 which carries the AlgoRhythm name used in most of Cypher Labs portable devices till this day. This AlgoRhythm Trio however is (if I'm not mistaken), Cypher Labs first portable tube amp. All of Cypher Labs past amps had been fully solid state or discrete.   I'm not going into the specs of the Trio...
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Fostex T50RP Mk3 Early Impressions

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Pros: Awesome value for money with the sound it produces for its price. A more transparent and clearer tonal signature compared to it's predecessor.

Cons: Treble sensitive audio listeners could find it a little "hot". Still lacking in sub bass.

Thanks You's A great thank you to Fostex Japan for graciously passing me this T50RP Mk3 and giving me the opportunity to write this review. Further a great big thanks to @Wallabee for loaning me his T50RP Mk2 for a comparison.   Introduction Fostex T50RP models actually require no introduction as it's been a running model since 2002 (with a revision around 2007). And in 2015, Fostex has done a 3rd revision of the T50RP. The RRP in Japan is 20,000 yen (equiv to USD$161).     Unlike it's predecessor, the Mk3 is more easily identifiable with changes to the text & colour of the labels, a padded headband. Strangely just such tiny little changes does make the...
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Beat Audio Top of the Line Prima Donna Impressions

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Pros: Premium sound providing good treble airy extension and bass control. Very supple that can be easily pocketable without fear of damage

Cons: Althought not stiff, it can get a little tangly. Comes with a matching premium sound

Thank You:  Firstly a big thank you to Stephen Guo for shipping these cables to me for review. I apologise that it's taken me so long to do it.    Introduction   Beat Audio is a brand that has been in the cable business for quite a few years now and is not new to the portable audio industry. It's name is also well known to the mature members of Head-Fi who are focused on the portable audio. For a few years, Beat Audio's Oslo was their TotL and later revised to the Oslo II. However late in 2014 Beat Audio introduced their new TotL named Prima Donna. This is a 4 core of primarily silver alloy however I believe there may be a little mix of other materials of which...
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Lotoo Paw Gold: A High End DAP that proving to be a worthy contender to the current premium DAPs

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Pros: Neutral signature with an expansive sound, fast intuitive UI, feels solid in the hand, and a practical battery life

Cons: Price - in Japan, more expensive than the iRIver AK240, visually loud...gold gold gold, no ExFAT support

IntroductionChina & Korea have been churning out DAPs that it's gotten to a point it's difficult to keep track of. A lot of these DAPs also have a rather idiosyncratic and non-intuitive user interface, and/or slow to react to user interaction, coupled with poor battery life. They may have good sound however their poor user interface and impractical battery longevity is almost a deterrent to take them out for use. Therefore when @audionewbi encouraged me to give the Lotoo Paw Gold a shot, I felt I was doing him more a favour than for the product as I had little interest a gaudy looking DAP from China. I managed to borrow a Lotoo Paw Gold from the local Japan distributor, Top...
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Head-Fi.org › AnakChan › Reviews by AnakChan