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Reviews by: Quadpatch

Sleek USB Sound, Easily Transportable

Posted

Pros: Neutral, Neat, Nice Volume Dial, All Metal

Cons: RCAs on the front, Wish the headphone connection was the larger type

Here is my review of the Ifi iDAC - originally posted on my Blog - http://noblehifi.blogspot.co.uk/    Disclaimer: A big thank you to Ifi for loaning me the iDAC for this review! The iDAC is a combined DAC and headphone amplifier. The ESS 9023 Sabre DAC and class 2 Asynchronous USB is capable of decoding audio up to 24bit 192khz. Being over the magic 96khz it requires a driver to function on a Windows PC, but it will work out of the box on an OS-X Mac or Linux system. It shares the same aluminium chassis, shape and styling as the rest of Ifi's 'Micro' range and weighs in at 193g. The back-plate houses only the full-size USB-B...
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Tube sound effects for soundstage and extra smoothness that you can add for any solid state amp - what's not to like?! :)

Posted

Pros: Adds smoothness to any reasonably priced system with a dedicated amp, Small, Soundstage control, dissipates heat well through the aluminium casing.

Cons: Aesthetics can clash with some neat setups. Not much else really.

 Here is the original review that I posted on my blog: http://noblehifi.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/ifi-itube-review.html   Disclaimer: A big thank you to Ifi for loaning me the iTube for this review! After hearing the iCan I was eager to get my hands on more Ifi gear. Now I've even been lucky enough to get almost their entire catalog, as well as an exclusive. The iTube is launched today - 16th August (£275). This is a fascinating little audio gadget - a buffer stage with a pure analogue circuit that includes an active tube (GE5670). The iTube can be added to pretty much any audio chain with a dedicated amplifier (before the...
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Black Monster!

Posted

Pros: Great Detail, Epic Bass, Not Harsh, Pretty Neutral, Very Exciting

Cons: Non-removeable cable, a bit expensive.... that's about it

I just posted this review on my blog, which also has a review of the TH-900s   Disclaimer: A big thank you to SCV London for loaning me the TH600 for this review. When I reviewed the high-end Fostex TH-900 last December I compared it to the discontinued Denon flagship because it came from the same 'Foster Electronics' design (despite being about half the price). The TH600 also borrows the same design, but brings a sleek and modern looking matte black metal look to the cups. This matches the rest of the frame nicely and this new model is priced much more closely to the old Denon Flagship (which had a £900 RRP).  The box of...
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My first high-end production 'Planar' (Ortho) and wow, what a start!

Posted

Pros: Balanced, Decent Bass Body, Not much Plastic

Cons: Rather Heavy, Slightly overzealous Clamp, Cable connection could be better - Not much really

This review was originally posted on my blog [ http://noblehifi.blogspot.co.uk/ ].   Disclaimer: A big thank you to Electromod for loaning me the HE-400. For those of you who don't already know - Hifiman are a Chinese company, although technically founded in New York (2006), their R&D department is in China. In just a few years they've made quite a name for themselves making high end portable audio players, amplifiers and headphones. For the latter their focus has been with 'planar magnetic' (commonly and less correctly referred to as orthodynamic, or 'ortho'), apart from their entry level model, which costs £300. The ...
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Kinda like the Sennheiser HD650, but more exciting

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Pros: Amazing sound quality! Great soundsatge, strong bass and an exciting treble. Solid build, good articulation, good looks. Nice hard case.

Cons: Cable is too short and the extension is poor, ear cushion depth is the only thing holding back perfect comfort

This review is reposted from my blog: http://noblehifi.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/soundmagic-hp200-review.html   Disclaimer: The HP200 was given to me by SoundMAGIC for this review. This is my first headphone review in a while and I must say it's really good to be back! The HP200 is the first full-size open-back headphone from SoundMAGIC. Back in October I reviewed the companies first full-size closed-back headphone - the HP100 and this has been one of my favourite all-round performers (for the money) ever since. The HP200's design addresses pretty much all of the disappointments I had with the...
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A Headphone Amplifier that's great

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Pros: Transparent, Detailed, Exciting, Awesome Bass and Soundstage / Imaging Controls, Interesting Design

Cons: No on/off switch, a little fiddly with sensitive headphones, order of tone controls could be a little more intuitive

This review was pasted from my blog: http://noblehifi.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/ifi-ican-review.html     Disclaimer: A big thank you to Ifi for loaning me the iCan for this review! Before I talk a little bit about the iCan, let me first address the company behind it. iFi-audio have a small, yet intriguing line of stylish electronics, aimed at computer audio and using technology licensed from Abbingdon Music Research. They make a point of environmentally friendly materials and packaging (which is always nice). Their tag line: "Small in size, big on performance" seems pretty spot on, boasting "Class A analogue circuitry, no DSP...
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Bass - With Balance

Posted

Pros: Amazing frequency balance, Supreme bass body without being bloated, Looks pretty as hell!

Cons: Expensive!... Awkwardly placed Y splitter on the cable

  Here are my thoughts on the TH900, posted on my blog Disclaimer: A big thank you to SCV London for loaning me the TH900 for this review!  This flagship model is the first high-end headphone from Fostex and retails for £1499. The first thing to wow you about this headphone is the pretty pretty red paint job. This is Urushi lacquer and this photo simply doesn't do it justice! Finishing off the bold looks is the Fostex logo - in platinum. This sample has a few marks, but even the wear looks sexy on these things - like a used leather jacket. Underneath all this the cups are made from a special hard-wood to help acoustic ...
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Not what I was expecting

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Pros: Solid build, Matt black and orange looks cool, Amazing hinge / folding mechanism

Cons: Doesn't sound good for much music, Bass eats in the mid-range, Not like the M-80

I pre-ordered the M-100 after falling madly in love with the M-80 less than a year ago. I wanted a bigger sound and larger ear cups for an over-ear fit. Unfortunately I got bass that is crazy and kills the mid-range. I find the highs a little splashy too and I don't want to turn them up too loud as they hurt at both ends of the scale pretty quickly! The comfort is funky too, not much better than the M-80 because they don't sit away from the ears. I've had on-ears that cause less pain than these so that's another reason that they just don't improve on the M-80. Just to clarify - the sound is not as good as the M-80. Not just, not better, it's much worse generally.   If these...
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Airy Detail Monster

Posted

Pros: Crisp detail, Superb Soundstage, Perfect comfort, Great Build

Cons: Realistically nothing to mention

I just finished writing this for my blog, but here is the full review...     It's been a while since I reviewed some headphones - to long in fact. If you followed the 'USB DAC/amp' project - I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it, but for now that's on pause while I return to headphones. Bring on the DT880 Premium - 600ohm, Beyerdynamic's UK distributor (POLARaudio) are providing me with some of their new catalogue to play with soon, but for now here is a little gem that I recently purchased.  Rewind fourteen years and I was spending my own money on headphones for the first time. It was my first year at university, I had...
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Audio Pedigree for a bargain price!

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Pros: Smooth but pretty neutral, great detail/soundstage, Amazing build, neat

Cons: Nothing for this price!!

I just wrote this for my blog so I thought I would post it here too.     A&R Cambridge Ltd. (or Arcam to the rest of us) are well established in the field of hifi audio, but it could be said that the rPAC represents a departure from their usual products. It's true that they've made DACs before, but not combined with headphone amplifiers, not USB powered portables and not this reasonably priced.  Data is transferred to an asynchronous USB for the Texas Instruments PCM5102 DAC chip to convert - up to 24bit / 96khz - audio into glorious analogue. There are also RCA sockets for connecting the DAC to an external...
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