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Reviews by: nmatheis

T-PEOS RASIEL QUICK REVIEW

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Pros: Good build quality. Budget-friendly price.

Cons: Needs EQ. Ponderous bass. Non-ergonomic earpieces.

INTRODUCTION My first exposure to T-PEOS was back when the Altone 200 IEM was released. I pre-ordered it based on @H20Fidelity's impressions. It was my first hybrid IEM, and I really liked it for its killer combination of punchy bass, clarity, ergonomics, and price. Although I don't listen to them much anymore, Altone 200 are one IEM I'll keep in my collection if nothing more than for sentimental reasons. When T-PEOS released the follow-up to the Altone 200, the Altone 150, 250 and 350 lineup, I was able to extensively audition the lineup and provided impressions. The newer Altone lineup saw a break from the punchy, clear sound of the Altone 200. Instead, we got a more...
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HEM8: NuForce's New Flagship (With Comments on HEM2, HEM4, and HEM6)

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Pros: Good balance between musicality and detail. Very ergonomic. Good accessories package.

Cons: Mid-bass hump. No wide bore tips.

INTRODUCTION NuForce made its name under Jason Lim's leadership developing high-performance audio products that didn't break the bank. Jason Lim has moved on, but the NuForce brand is still going strong under the new Optoma NuForce brand name. Optoma is a well-known projector company that decided to diversify into the home and portable audio markets with its acquisition of NuForce. Recently, @jyri at Optoma NuForce reached out to me and asked if I'd be interested in reviewing their new HEM IEM lineup. This is an expansion of the work NuForce did with the Primo8 quad-BA IEM, with HEM2 single-BA, HEM4 double-BA, HEM6 triple-BA, and HEM8 quad-BA. I'd already heard their...
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Maestro & Miracle Universals: Unique Melody's Impressive Flagship IEM

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Pros: Balanced, refined sound. Holographic soundstage.

Cons: Large shells. Shallow fit.

INTRODUCTION Unique Melody. It's a CIEM brand that's been around for awhile. In fact, the UM Miracle was one of the very first CIEM I'd ever heard of and is still regarded as a classic. Despite being familiar with the brand, I knew very little about them, much less heard them. So imagine my surprise when MusicTeck reached out to me and asked if I'd be interested in taking the UM Miracle V2 and UM Maestro for a test drive. Of course, I said yes. Since receiving them, I've gone from playing Mr. Mom to helping rapidly commission a brand spanking new production lab in a very short amount of time. This caused a delay in letting you all know what I think of these....
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JDS Element: Simple design. Warm, engaging sound

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Pros: Warm, engaging sound. Nice design. Simple functionality. Big knob.

Cons: No coaxial input. No visual gain indicator.

Photo courtesy of JDS Labs. INTRODUCTIONI've been looking around for a pair of full-size cans, and one of my Head-Fi buddies was raving about his new pair of ZMF OMNI. In fact, he's so in love with them that he wanted to share the love and ended up loaning them to me for a couple weeks. In addition to the pair of ZMF OMNI, he also threw in the JDS Element for me to try. He said that was a good pairing, so I thought I'd relate my experience with that combination to you in a "quick review". In addition to the Element, I also paired the OMNI with the Apogee Groove, Aune X1S, and iFI Micro and will provide some brief listening notes on those pairings.   ABOUT MEWhile I'm primarily a portable...
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Meze 99 Classics: Great all-around woodie!

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Pros: Very nice, smooth sound. Fancy-schmany design. Pretty comfy.

Cons: Small cups. Shallow pads. Microphonic cable.

INTRODUCTIONOkay guys, this strange introduction. When I saw the Meze 99 Classics pop up in the sponsors forum, I didn't give it that much thought. Blinged-put woodies didn't look like my thing. Then one of my Head-Fi buddies PM'ed me and asked if I was going to review them. I've reviewed a fair amount of IEM and portable source gear but am a bit of a noob with headphones, but I thought I'd at least poke around and find out what these were. Searching the forums for Meze brought up some controversial posts regarding Meze's previous headphones. Go ahead, do a search sometime and see what you find. With that information in mind, I was intrigued and figured these deserved a listen. Would they...
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LZ-A2 Quick Review: Audiophile Fun!!!

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Pros: Smooth, fun sound with deep, powerful bass. Inexpensive for a triple hybrid.

Cons: Wide nozzles. Need third-party tips to sound their best. Discontinued :(

INTRODUCTION I first heard of LZ-A2 from @RedJohn456 and @Hisoundfi. They were both talking about this Chinese DIY triple hybrid that had amazing bang for your buck. At that time, I was deep into the FLC8S (still am, by the way - LINK), so I didn't think too much about LZ-A2 and went about my business jamming the FLC8S. Then @peter123 joined in the LZ-A2 love-fest, and I thought to myself, "Nikolaus, you need to get yourself a listen to these LZ-A2." So I reached out to the now defunct Faith Audio and secured a pair for review. Little did I know that they would end up collectors' items, as the LZ-A2 was discontinued right after I received them. After spending some time...
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HiFiMan Edition X: Easy to drive, great sound, comfortable, could be better built, spendy.

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Pros: Smooth balanced sound with good soundstage. Comfortable. Very easy to drive.

Cons: Ginormous. So much plastic. Spendy.

INTRODUCTION I'm a HiFiMan HE400 owner. They were my introduction to both planar and higher-end headphones. Yes, I know HE400 isn't really a high-end headphone, but at the time I bought them it was the most headphone or IEM I'd purchased to date. I've given the old HE400 a lot of love over the years and have recently started down the path of modding them with velpads, a Lohb suspension strap, and (soon) some Sorbothane. I'm hoping they'll take me farther into the future with a little love. So as you might be able to tell, I've got a bit of a soft spot for HiFiMan headphones. I've also taken a two-week test drive of the HE400S. While those were nice, they weren't quite what I was...
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q-JAYS 2.0: Possibly the most ergonomic IEM you'll ever meet!

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Pros: Superb ergonomics. Good design. Balanced sound. Good spacial cues. Tiny. Beautiful.

Cons: Lack bass impact. Hits my sensitive spot for treble. A bit on the spendy side.

Image courtesy of JAYS  INTRODUCTIONHi guys. I recently got a chance to listen to the new q-JAYS courtesy of @shotgunshane and thought I'd let you know what I thought of them. Prior to this, I'd heard of JAYS but had no experience with their IEM, so I started looking into them a bit and found out I've got a bit of a tangential connection. Not really a connection to JAYS but to where JAYS come from. You see, my wife's father moved to the US from Sweden after university. My wife still has family in Sweden, and I've been to Stockholm (where JAYS are headquartered) twice since we were married. We walked all over Stockholm. I probably walked past JAYS HQ and never even knew it. I can tell you...
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Soundaware Esther Analog and M1PRO: Beautiful sound held back by quirky firmware

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Pros: Beautiful warm sound. Small form factor. All-metal build. 2 mSD slots. L, M, H Gain options.

Cons: Quirky UI. No gapless. Poor battery management. Output impedance.

*** SEPTEMBER 2016 UPDATE: SOUNDAWARE M1PRO *** Thanks to Mary at Soundaware, I recently had the opportunity to audition the Soundaware Esther M1Pro. I thought it would make sense to update my original review of the Esther Analog since there are so many similarities. The user interface is identical to the original, so please refer to the main review below and watch the UI video I uploaded to get a good feel for how the M1Pro works. It's still a very basic user interface that lacks amenities found in DAPs from AK, Cayin, FiiO, iBasso, Shanling, etc. Despite that, it is ultimately quite useable. Maintaining a highly-organized music library is a must, as Esther relies on folder browsing. If...
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VE Zen 2.0: VE Strikes Again

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Pros: Great sound that can be tuned to your liking with covers. Comfortable. Attractive.

Cons: Needs a good source to really shine.

  *** I originally posted this review under the VE Zen listing, but since a VE Zen 2.0 listing was created after my initial review I'm reposting here. ***   INTRODUCTION Upstart Venture Electronics has been making quite the name for themselves around Head-Fi in 2015. It seems like everybody who listens to their gear is nothing short of impressed with what this new company has been able produce in a short amount of time. From their super bang for your buck $5 Monk earbuds to their high-resolution Duke IEM to the Runabout amp, their products never cease to impress. The same can be said for their Zen earbuds. In fact, I received a review sample of the Zen earbuds quite some...
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Head-Fi.org › nmatheis › Reviews by nmatheis