Head Gear Reviews by nmatheis
  1. Final Audio Design Heaven VII

    3.50 star(s)
    INTRODUCTION Final Audio has been manufacturing audio equipment in Japan since 1974.  Headphones and IEM are a fairly recent addition to the FA lineup and have generated quite a cult following amongst audiophiles.  The product I'll be looking at today is the Final Audio Heaven VII, a Single BA IEM enclosed in a fashionable  (Metal Injection Molding) housing.  For those of you not familiar with this process, it uses powdered metal which is poured into molds typically used for producing plastics.  This makes it easy to consistently get exactly the...
  2. ESS RLM-713 On-Ear Headphones

    3.50 star(s)
    First off, I got the ESS RLM-713 on loan from a generous fellow headfi'er.  You know who you are.  Thanks!   I have absolutely no connection to ESS and have no incentive to compose this review other than to provide my own honest opinion.   As with my recent E80 Review I'm going to make this a quick, nearly pictureless review.  I'll go through some highlights of what I thought made the ESS RLM-713 special and where I found room for improvement.   For some really stunning pics of the ESS RLM-713, please check out @hakushondaimao's review HERE...
  3. Soundmagic E80 in-ear monitor headphone

    4.00 star(s)
    First off, I got the E80 on loan from a generous fellow headfi'er.  You know who you are.  Thanks!   I have absolutely no connection to SoundMagic and have no incentive to compose this review other than to provide my own honest opinion.   I'm going to make this a quick, pictureless review (I know, I know.  Boring, right...).  I'll go through some highlights of what I thought made the E80 special and where I found room for improvement.   For pictures, please check out one of the other five reviews HERE.  They all took absolutely fantabulous pics...
  4. Alpha & Delta AD01

    3.50 star(s)
    INTRODUCTION The Alpha & Delta AD01 is the first house-brand product from Lend Me UR Ears.  LMUE is well-known to adventurous Head-Fi members who like to experiment with bang for your buck Asian portable audio gear.  I've purchased several IEM from LMUE and was intrigued when I ran across an email announcing the AD01, so I reached out to LMUE to see if we could set up a Head-Fi tour to see what the community here thinks of their first product. LMUE was very receptive to the suggestion, and here we are.  A big thanks to @TEOSJ from LMUE for helping...
  5. Shanling H3 Portable Amp/DAC with Apt-X Bluetooth

    4.00 star(s)
            BACKGROUND A bit of information about Shanling excerpted from their Website: Shenzhen Shanling Digital Technology Development Co., Ltd. is a joint-venture high-tech enterprise specializing in research and development, manufacture, marketing and sales of audio products.  Shanling began as a developer of audio products in 1988, producing its first Hi-Fi stereo power amplifier.  Since then, Shanling has grown and now manufactures a wide range of products – SACD/CD player, high fidelity solid-state and vacuum tube amplifier, advanced...
  6. Shanling M3 Portable Digital Audio Player

    4.00 star(s)
      BACKGROUND A bit of information about Shanling excerpted from their Website: Shenzhen Shanling Digital Technology Development Co., Ltd. is a joint-venture high-tech enterprise specializing in research and development, manufacture, marketing and sales of audio products.  Shanling began as a developer of audio products in 1988, producing its first Hi-Fi stereo power amplifier.  Since then, Shanling has grown and now manufactures a wide range of products – SACD/CD player, high fidelity solid-state and vacuum tube amplifier, advanced mini music...
  7. Cayin Spark C5 DAC Portable USB DAC + Headphone Amplifier

    4.00 star(s)
      INTRODUCTION Let’s cut to the chase, I’m a former Cayin C5 owner.  I loved the sound signature but found it’s amp section to be ridiculously over-powered on the low gain setting.  I could barely turn the volume knob before I felt like my eardrums might implode.  Not good.  Not good at all.  But that sound signature was oh so nice…   So when I heard Cayin was releasing a new iteration of the C5 with a built-in DAC that was supposed to be more IEM-friendly, it caught my attention.  When I heard Cayin was looking for reviewers, I immediately...
  8. RHA T20

    4.50 star(s)
      INTRODUCTION Being a fan of the RHA MA750 (RHA's first flagship IEM), I was quite excited to hear when RHA released the T10i.  The new stainless shells, novel "memory wire" implementation, and smartphone-friendly plug along with tune-able sound via interchangeable filters got me pretty excited, so I took part in a tour for the T10 at that time and spent a week using the T10 as my primary IEM.  While the new ergonomic shell and "memory wire" solved my biggest problem with my MA750 (comfortably staying in place), the sound wasn't what I was looking...
  9. FiiO X5 2nd gen Premium Hi-Res DAP

    4.00 star(s)
      DISCLAIMER I was provided the X5 2nd generation (from here on, I'll refer to it as X5ii) as a review sample as part of the U.S. tour.  There is no financial incentive from Fiio in writing this review.  I am in no way affiliated with Fiio, and this is my honest opinion of the new X5ii.  I would like to thank Joe & James from Fiio for giving me the opportunity to test drive the X5ii!     ABOUT ME I'm a 43 year old father who loves music.  From electronic (Autechre, Boards of Canada) to modern/minimalist composition (John Cage, Philip Glass) to...
  10. OPPO PM-3

    3.50 star(s)
    INTRODUCTION   Oppo PM-3 Audition Program   I'd like to give a shoutout to Oppo and @Jiffy Squid for organizing the PM-3 audition tour, giving me the chance to determine if the PM-3 are right for me!     ABOUT ME   I'm a 43 year old music lover who listens to a wide variety of genres and artists (but mostly electronic, metal, and modern composition these days). As with a lot of people my age, I've got some hearing issues - upper frequency loss and mild tinnitus.    My portable music journey started with the venerable Sony Cassette Walkman...
  11. T-Peos Altone250

    3.50 star(s)
    INTRODUCTION Altone250 U.S. Tour Being an Altone200 fan, I was quite excited to hear that T-PEOS was updating their IEM lineup with a new Altone series based on feedback received from the H300 and Altone200 IEM. EmpJ from CTC Audio heard about my interest and reached out to me to organize a U.S. tour for the T-PEOS Altone250, which is the mid-tier product in the new Altone lineup. Thanks CTC Audio!!! Jonyoo has linked to numerous pics of the new Altone lineup, so I'm going to borrow some of those since I'm not the best product photographer. I'll...
  12. FiiO X3 2nd gen Ultraportable Hi-Res DAP

    4.50 star(s)
    DISCLAIMER   I was provided the new X3 as a review sample as part of the U.S. tour. There is no financial incentive from Fiio in writing this review.  I am in no way affiliated with Fiio, and this is my honest opinion of the new X3.  I would like to thank Joe & James from Fiio for giving me the opportunity to test drive the new X3.     ABOUT ME   I'm a 43 year old father who loves music. From electronic (Autechre, Boards of Canada) to modern/minimalist composition (John Cage, Philip Glass) to alternative rock (Flaming Lips, Radiohead) to...
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