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Reviews by: AnakChan

Early impressions of the Aurender Flow DAC/Amp portable component

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Pros: Very low noise floor, very good overall SQ that puts a serious challenge to the Hugo, accepts SSD storage and act as an external storage

Cons: Size and weight puts it in the borderline to transportable. Battery life is 7 hrs, less input features than the Hugo

Introduction   Despite the existence of DAPs in the past decade, in the recent 2 years DAPs seemed to have skyrocketed with big thanks to makers such as iRiver/A&K having decent quality SQ but more importantly in a more intuitive interface and more practical pocketable sizes. The expansion of DAP options seemed to have overshadowed the portable component market. Early in 2014 Chord came up with the Hugo which breathed life into the portable component are but at a pretty hefty cost.   Along comes Aurender which has made many high end speaker level components in the past but now with their portable Flow. The name Aurender is still quite new to the portable market however...
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Picollo from Cypherlabs: A simple, small, compact yet powerful amp with a very low noise floor

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Pros: Detailed sounding, compact, long lasting battery, powerful, very low noise floor, under 1 ohm headphone impedance out

Cons: A neutral bass gives it a somewhat dry analytical sound (could be a Pro if that's your preference though), smallish soundstage

Introduction   Cypherlabs' new Algorhythm Picollo is the latest addition to its portable component offerings. It's a no fuss simple single ended input/output amp that charges via a standard microUSB 5V port in the rear. It's claimed to last for more than 24+ hours on a single charge. No OpAmps were used but instead a discrete component layout consisting of 10 pairs of matched triodes.   More manufacturer specs can be found here: http://www.cypherlabs.com/products/algorhythm-picollo/   A big thanks to Cypherlabs for this tour demo which will make its arounds around Tokyo and (South) Korea!!   Design & Packaging   As can be seen with its other...
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Oppo Digital HA-1: A DAC Amp that's fully packed jammed with features

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Pros: There's all sorts of inputs & outputs to this DAC/Amp. In it's own class too for its price

Cons: Learning curve to the UI, SQ although probably one of the best in it's price range has room for improvement (for extra $$)

  Introduction   Oppo Digital has had experience in making SACD players and in releasing it first headphone, the PM-1, also released a matching HA-1 DAC/Amp that comes packed with features taking in miscellaneous ranging fro USB, Toslink, AES, Coax, iDevice, & even Bluetooth. It can also be used as a amp only taking balanced or unbalanced line in. As for it's output, it can output balanced and unbalanced line out, in addition to its XLR balanced headphone out or 1/4" single ended headphone out. The HA-1 also supports up to DSD256.   Now I have to admit, prior to getting the loan from Oppo Digital Japan (thank you to them by the way!!), I was looking forward...
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Oppo Digital's first headphone, PM-1 great value for money planar magnetic that can actually be used as a portable

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Pros: Light for a magnetic planar and actually quite portable. Good value for money and a very good first try by Oppo Digital

Cons: A little closed sounding for an open back headphone. Decent sounding but lacks the sparkle

  Introduction   Oppo Digital is a name renown for their Blue-ray & DVD Players but recently branched out to the headphone world by releasing their very first planar magnetic headphones, the PM-1, and matching desktop DAC/Amp, HA-1. With the courtesy of Oppo Digital Japan, I received a demo set of PM-1 and HA-1 for just over two weeks. The PM-1 comes in an impressive wooden storage box and a suite of cable accessories for portable and home use, velour ear pads which offer an alternative signature, and a denim carrying case.     Headphone Ergonomics   Of all magnetic planar headphones I've tried, the PM-1 is the lightest and most comfortable to...
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Tralucent Ref 1: A speedy IEM with an addictive bass and a soundstage that challenges closed-back headphones

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Pros: Raises the bar in "technical excellence" with its peers through is interpretation of bass, speed, soundstage. Driver flex on right IEM.

Cons: Fit is still a little fiddly like it's older brother 1Plus2, price, stock cable comfort

Introduction Tralucent Audio is a name that's appeared on Head-Fi only since August 2012 but has quickly made a name for themselves with their ability to challenge other IEM makers when it released it's 1Plus2. I reviewed that IEM last year as a love/hate relationship as I felt it excelled every aspect of audio technicalities an enthusiast or an audiophile seeks sonically but overall, didn't sound musical to my ears. My expectations of the 1Plus2 was eventually managed when I bought the earphone again but with the Tralucent Uber cable on the 2nd round. In short it took a little while for the 1Plus2 to get a little loving from me.   Now onto 2014, Tralucent Audio has done it again...
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Decently priced neutral amp

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Pros: Well priced, neutral sounding

Cons: 9V battery, average/small soundstage, no limiter for voltage input

I've had the privilege of Charles Wong send me this prototype amp a few months back but didn't get a chance to listen to it until recently. Charles worked on this particular unit himself so it is still very much a prototype unit that I have in my hands. There were a few issues with the unit but since it's prototype, I won't dwell on that.   Overall, the unit is quite blocky due to the 9V battery it houses and the wooden case does have some thickness to it. The actual circuit board inside is actually quite small. Operation is quite simple, only a volume pot that acts as a off/on switch too. No gain switch option either. I did encounter an issue that any source with a "high voltage...
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V-Moda VAmp VERZA long term review

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Pros: Flexible multi transport (iOS, USB DAC, some Android) supported source/amp, form fitting, rich sound

Cons: Only certain Android phones supported. 10 ohm ZOut

Introduction V-Moda's VAmp VERZA has been out for quite some time now and these days the audio lifecycle has been getting shorter and shorter with some makers churning out replacement upgrades with a longevity of an ant. So this is more a long term review of the VERZA. As many may have known the origins of the VERZA from VentureCraft Go-DAP X. But there are fundamental differences between the two as the VERZA much more than just a rebadged Go-DAP X. The collaboration between V-Moda and VentureCraft resulted in a re-imagined product that incorporated specifications stipulated by the V-Moda engineers. Some of the fundamental differences of the VERZA from the original Go-DAP X...
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Impressions of the Analog Squared Paper TUR-06 Hybrid Tube Amp

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Pros: As with the larger brother TU-05b, this packs a punch in a smaller package. Big sound in a smaller chassis

Cons: Transportable (which is a double edge sword in this case). Charging socket could be prone to short circuit for clumsy people like myself.

  The TUR-06 is the smaller brother of the TU-05b reviewed here. This hybrid tube amp was added to the offerings of Analog Squared Paper earlier this year around late January 2013. The differences between the TUR-06 and the TU-05b are :-   Hybrid Tube/Transistor Amp 482g (vs 1kg for the TU-05b) 2x1U4 (1T4) estimated price to be USD$600 vs $1070 for the TU-05b   The TUR-06 is actually more practical due to its size by comparison to it's larger brother.     Sound Signature   As mentioned in my TU-05b review, I have had little experience with tube amps (portable, desktop, or speaker) until this month. My thoughts about...
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A funky transportable tube amp that rivals desktop amps

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Pros: Packs a great sound in a small transportable package.

Cons: A tad on the heavy side for daily on-the-move use, better plug protection for clumsy ppl like me

  Analog Squared Paper is small business run by Kageyuki Shikada. He makes each one of these amps by hand and they're effectively made to order. I won't belabour the specs and details of this amp as ianmedium has done a wonderful job at covering all of that in the Analog Squared Paper thread and in his review of this product. But I'll get into what this amp has done for me.   Shikada-san was extremely generous to loan me the TU-05b and TUR-06 for reviewing and I'm very thankful to him for such an opportunity. Getting Straight Into The Sound   I'll admit from the start that I'm a noob when it comes to tube amps at the time of writing this review. I've...
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