Reviews by DigitalFreak

DigitalFreak

镇老鹰
Pros: Can be tweaked to your hearts content, a tube rollers dream come true. can drive a ton of different headphones no matter what the power requirements
Cons: jumper clips can easily be lost,
Video review below, enjoy
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DigitalFreak

镇老鹰
Pros: smooth, well balanced, rather funky looking design, great depth in the soundstage, accurate bass
Cons: may cause fit issues for some people
video review below
 
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DigitalFreak

镇老鹰
Pros: awesome bass, excellent detailed mids, light formfactor,
Cons: treble can be a little overly edgey
Video review below
 
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DigitalFreak

镇老鹰
Pros: great mids, well controlled bass, most interesting highs I've ever heard
Cons: high clamping force
The headphone modding industry has been slowly heating up as more and more cottage industries pop up. Luis Flores, creator of the Paradox, has taken it a step further by going out and sourcing his own custom built drivers and tuning it to his liking.The Enigma is a departure from what I'm used to hearing from Luis in that it's voiced to be a potent sounding fun headphone. Even so, it still shares a bit of the DNA that the Paradox is known for. Curious to see what I'm talking about? If so hit the play button below, sit back, and enjoy my latest review.
 
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DigitalFreak

镇老鹰
Pros: nice mids, good build quality, smooth sound
Cons: not a flat cable lover, overly large Y-split, bass needs more extension and control
Full video review below
 
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DigitalFreak

镇老鹰
Pros: Great pounding bass, excellent depth, good sound stage, great headphone for electronicas or hip hop, forgiving of bad source
Cons: mids can be a tad to laid back for some people, slight bleed into lower mids, not a good choice if you're not a bass head
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DigitalFreak

镇老鹰
For Noble 4 in In-Ear
Pros: Great mid range clarity, nice big sound stage, nice prat, nice quick detailed bass
Cons: would have liked to see more extension in the lows, can be sibilant with badly mastered music,
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Allucid
Allucid
I like the less extension in the lows - it makes the soundstage open up and feels smoother.
DigitalFreak
DigitalFreak
From what I know, yes Noble 4 is supposed to be the universal version of the 4s. Whether it will sound exactly alike remains to be seen. I have the 4s coming my way and it should be here in a few weeks. I'll update the reviews section once i've had a chance to compare the two.
P
Paul de Jong
Do you know if this is similar to the new Trident C?

DigitalFreak

镇老鹰
Pros: Fun settings to play with, good amp for the new enthusiast looking for his/her first amp,
Cons: can sound a little hot in the treble with some headphones when 3D boost is used, slight bleed into lower mids when max bass boost is used
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K
KmanChu
Nice video! It holds its own pretty well against even significantly pricier gear. One thing I found is that while its output power is listed at a rather modest 400 mA, that feels like a very conservative rating. It have used it with Alpha Dogs and LCD-3s and it does pretty darn well with both even at the middle gain setting.
jesse111
jesse111
When discussing the 3d toggle, what does ""basically" no effect whatsoever" mean?
Tunkejazz
Tunkejazz
Thanks for the review. I am considering this amp or the Vali for my HE400i. I am somewhat more biased towards the Vali, but I cannot demo it :frowning2:
Please could you comment on how the ICAN micro compares to the Vali?

DigitalFreak

镇老鹰
Pros: great price, nice full bass, excellent pairing with the Q701,
Cons: tube ringing when plugging in headphones.
Very few times in this hobby have I run across a piece of gear that's turned me into a rabid raving lunatic fan boy.
 
The Vali is a nondescript no frills entry level tube amp weighing in at a lowly 119.00 bones. Whats special about this little amp is the phrase "entry level" is deceiving when you take into account what its capable of. Compared to far pricier amps the Vali may lack fineness but in still exudes tons of control and detail over the gear it drives. So much so I have no qualms saying that its the titan amongst other amps of its price bracket and in many ways a predator capable of embarrassing some gear out there that's two or three times its MSRP.
 
You don't believe me? Watch my video review below and then go order yourself one and decide for yourself. Considering its MSRP the risk is quite minimal. Be warned, since I've owned the Vali many of the other amps I own have since started to collect dust leaving me to wonder why the heck I ever wasted my time and money on them.
 
Well done Schiit Audio. Fingers crossed your upcoming flagship gear will blow people away like the lowly Vali has.
 
 
 
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coletrain104
coletrain104
I'm looking for an amp to pair with my HE-400s. Do you have any idea how this amp compares to the Magni with them? My main concern is that the Vali might darken the sound on an already dark sounding headphone (to me, I know some think the treble peak makes them bright)
DigitalFreak
DigitalFreak
I'm guessing you're a treble head because I've never heard anyone describe the HE-400 as dark. The Vali will smooth the treble of the HE-400 or at least it did for mine. Mind you my HE-400 has the jerg pads installed so your findings may differ from mine if you have the stock pleather pads. Its been a long while since I heard the Magni but going by memory the Magni was brighter compared to the Vali. I also remember I didn't think it was a good pairing for my Q701. Back then I didn't own the HE-400 so I really can't comment on pairing the Magni with the HE-400
coletrain104
coletrain104
Ok, thanks a bunch :)

DigitalFreak

镇老鹰
Pros: good highs, fluid mids, excellent female vocals, decent air between instruments, slightly expanded sound stage compared to original M80
Cons: noise idolation is only decent, would have liked just a tad more detail in the mids, wish cables had been improved
Copied and pasted directly from the description section of my YouTube video
 
Over two years ago Val Kolton, the CEO of V-Moda, sent me his then recently released M80 Crossfade on ear mobile headphone. He sent it to me, and others, free of charge in exchange for a review noting the pluses and minuses of his new product. It was my very first official review for a company and the online community of head-fi. Unknown to me, two plus years later my rants and ravings over gear have yet to stop. In my mind it was Val Kolton and his M80 who started me down this path of pseudo armchair audio gear reviewer.
 
The XS isn't a new product but a tweaked product that builds off the already solid performance of the original M80. The form factor has been improved by the addition of  the M-100's foldable hinges thus making the headphone even tinier then before. Because of its even tinier size its carrying case has also shrunk making the XS probably one of the most least space demanding headphone for mobile use currently available on the market.
 
With improved form factor we also now have improved sonics. While the original M80 may have been overly polite and soft in the highs the new XS brings in better extension and sparkly highs all the while retaining its smooth fluid character and avoiding the metallic tinniness lesser headphones are known for. Because of better highs the headphone now sounds better balanced and the sound stage seems to have expanded a tiny bit more in comparison to the original M80.
 
Major kudos and much respect goes out to Mr Val Kolton for taking our group feedback from over two years ago and quietly going to work behind the scenes and building an even better mouse trap. Considering Mr Val Kolton's family is of Italian ancestry all that's left to say is.....
BUON LAVORO IL MIO UOMO!!!
 
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BadMoose
BadMoose
Wow! I knew it was gonna be small, but seeing it in your hands and seeing exactly how small it is was really surprising!
VAF Research
VAF Research
First let me declare that VAF make loud-speakers in Australia, so we fall in the trade category and also retail hi-fi and head-fi gear from many other brands. Having said that, this is my personal feedback and we aren't aligned to any particular headphone brand.
 
I'm very excited about the V-Moda XS. Built quality is excellent and they're very comfortable (especially for an on-ear, which I tend to find quite tight). They look great and obviously have great portability. I was impressed by the sound and agree with DigitalFreak so far as a reasonable soundstage and balance. I found they sounded "bigger" than they are.
 
Ideally I would have liked these to be a touch more sensitive. Driven by a phone or iPod they are loud enough, but only just (given their size and price they should be popular with the heavy travelling crowd). Adding a USB DAC like a Resonessence Herus or an A&K AK10 was enough to make them really sing, especially adding power & definition to an already impressive bass. Better cables would be nice, but simple enough to improve.
 
Long story short, if you're looking for something lively and responsive that fits your travelling lifestyle the V-Moda XS is good value and worth having a listen to.

DigitalFreak

镇老鹰
Pros: great bass, great price, good construction,
Cons: cable can be a little stiff, cable connectors don't impress, needs jerg pad to bring the headphones full potential out
Full video review below
 
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DigitalFreak

镇老鹰
Pros: good UI, sound swings above its price point, well made, Good battery life,
Cons: not crazy about the SD card covers, when navigating song titles wish fonts were bigger
Full review below
 
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DigitalFreak

镇老鹰
Pros: great performance for price, generally neutral with a tinge of warmth, plug and play, transportable, great for IEM's
Cons: slightly overly energetic in the upper mids (think shouty vocals)
Review below
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dfwallace
dfwallace
Nice job.
 
Sorry, but clean your fingernails before doing a vid w/closeup of the hands!

DigitalFreak

镇老鹰
Pros: great detail, great bass, great treble, good soundstage, good isolation, durable
Cons: microphonic cable, needs detached cable, needs amp to sound their best
Video review finally up. hope you guys enjoy, I've been meaning to do this review for awhile
 
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Claritas
Claritas
I would welcome a short written summary too.
collider
collider
Hi, 
 
I've watched your video and it is one hell of a review. Thanks for that.
 
My question is, for someone who owns TMA-1, and really dig their sound when EQ properly, but can't stand the fact they keep breaking, how do you think the DT1350 compares?

DigitalFreak

镇老鹰
Pros: durable, light, sounds great for price bracket, doesn't need amping, lifetime warranty
Cons: lack of isolation, supplied storage bag is to small, more sparkle in highs needed
Final impressions below, please feel free to ask any questions
 
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meanandgreen
meanandgreen
Having owned this same pair for many years now I found your review to be very entertaining!
 
Those comfort zone spring switches are to adjust the clamping pressure of the drivers on your ears. More clamping = better sound but less comfort.
 
You also can easily fit it in the bag if you fold the headphones into a loop and clip them together like this:
<img src='http://www.koss.com/~/media/Images/Koss/Headphones/PORTABLE/PORTA%20PRO/portapro-3.jpg?mw=445&mh=445'>
 
Great updated review on an inexpensive recommendable portable headphone!
 
I live in Milwaukee and went to the Koss factory showroom recently to get some replacement ear and temple pads (they wear out after a while) and they just game them to me no charge. Nice folks!

DigitalFreak

镇老鹰
Pros: Good fun sound, good build quality, well priced, nice tonality, good detailing in the mids
Cons: lack of strain relief, to much bass if you're not a bass head, bass leeches into lower mids
Many thanks to RHA Audio for providing this free review sample.
 
The MA600 is tuned as a V shape. For those who don't know what that means, a V shaped tuning means the treble and bass have been tuned to sound more forward and aggressive then the mids. End result, the mids tend to sound more laid back in comparison to the rest of the sound signature. Some good examples of gear, both earphones and headphones that have been tuned in a V would be the Ultimate Ears Tri-Fi 10, JVC FX700, Dunu Trident, Sony XB700 and Fostex TH900. If you've heard any of these ear/headphones then you've heard a V shaped signature. Sometimes, and I must emphasize the word sometimes, when a V signature is done right sound stage can sometimes be quite good due to good extension on the bottom and top end and instrument positioning within the sound stage itself can be very good. If done very good, although the mids may sound recessed in comparison to the highs/lows detail retrieval can range from acceptable to quite good. Something to keep in mind when purchasing a V shaped piece of gear is a V shape isn't tuned for reference monitor purposes but instead is tuned more for a fun sounding big bass and high kind of sound. A V shaped signature seems to especially be popular amongst the bass head crowd as well as being popular amongst the hip hop, dance, trance and drum n bass crowd.
 
Form Factor/Accessories
 
The MA600 is a very nice looking piece of kit. Its lines are very crisp and clean and the IEM housing seems to have been quite well, ergonomically speaking, designed to insure a comfortable fit. Throughout my review time with the MA600 I chose to wear the IEM over ear. When worn down cable noise was very minimal but I'm quite touchy about microphonics and have never been a fan of using a shirt clip. If you're also touchy about microphonics be warned that the MA600's cabling will exhibit some mild microphonics when walking around. The good news, when worn over ear or with the provided shirt clip microphonics is nonexistent. As far as the cables themselves are concerned, I generally like the look and feel of the cabling. When I first saw the IEM's cabling my first thought was the cable looked a bit on the thin side but after a few days of use and handling them I'm quite confident in stating the MA600's cables seem quite sturdy and I'm guessing should provide a good life span for the IEM. The Y splitter and neck slider, as well as the right angle jack, are very well constructed and aid in making the IEM look very aesthetically pleasing. I would have liked to have seen a better implementation of strain relief’s or lack thereof on the housings and plug though. If there's a weak spot in how this IEM was constructed I'm guessing the minimalist approach RHA Audio chose to take by not implementing some beefier strain reliefs would be it. Whether this will be an issue for the end consumer only time will tell of course.
 
The IEM housing itself is comprised of machined aluminium and hard plastic. The black plastic backing on the housing, with its white RHA logo, gives the IEM a nice low profile, not overly flashy look, when its inserted into the consumers ear. Accessory wise you get a shirt clip, nice sized semi hard carry case and 6 pairs of ear tips , S x2 / M x2 / L x2, along with 2 pairs of double flange ear tips - S x1 / M x1. The extra tips are neatly housed in a thin metal tip holder. Overall, I have to say for the money spent the MA600 delivers above its price point as far as form factor and accessories are concerned.
 
Sound
 
As mentioned before the MA600 is a V shaped signature meaning the highs and the lows are the star of the show.
 
Bass
The bass hits hard and deep on the MA600 and lives in the realm of bass head territory. Speed is good for the kind of bass that is present although I wouldn't ever say they can keep up in agility to some of the more neutral and linear bass I’ve heard on other gear. Although not the fastest I've ever heard it does have some of the hardest hitting bass punch I've ever heard on par and probably surpassing my Monster Pro Coppers. To my ears the mid bass is where a lot of the low end power is coming from. Because of it the low end can really boom out at the listener and bass drums slam with authority. Because the bass is so powerful there is some noticeable leeching into the lower mids.
 
Mids
 
I was quite surprised with the MA600 mids. Because the IEM sounded so bass heavy I expected them to be quite thick and warm. They’re far from overly warm though and are quite dry and lean (think neutral with a touch of warmth) for the way the signature was tuned. End result, although nowhere near detail monster levels detailing in the mids, I would have to say, is quite respectable for this tier of IEM. Also, although dry the mids do seem to tie in quite cohesively with the upper and lower end and avoids sounding disjointed. The upper mid, for the most part, sounded quite smooth and transitioned quite well into the lower highs. Upper octaves of the vocals sounded very nice and sibilance was respectable for this tier of IEM. Although I would rate the MA600 mids as acceptable in speed of note decay I did notice some smearing when listening to some Megadeth songs and Decode by Paramore. Mind you, the last 30 seconds of Decode and Megadeth tunes are known for being quite demanding in speed. The major strength going for the MA600 mids, in my opinion, was overall tonality, tonality on the MA600 is excellent, and vocals, guitars, horns etc sounded quite natural.
 
Highs
 
The highs have generally good extension and air and seem to sound like they have a slow gradual roll off. They sound grain free and have a decent amount of sparkle although I would never say they display the amount of energy that a treble head would crave. Over energetic splashiness is thankfully avoided and although they seem to have some edge here and there, overall, highs seem to sound acceptably smooth. Also, overly metallic tone that some overly aggressive treble happy tuned gear is known for is non existent in the MA600. A little warning, even though I wouldn’t rate the MA600 as overly aggressive for my taste people who are touchy concerning highs and find themselves being easily fatigued might want to look elsewhere.
 
Final Thoughts:
 
The RHA Audio MA600 isn’t a giant killer and it isn’t what can be termed an audiophile reference monitor, nor does it try to be. What it is instead is a very well done fun sounding IEM that punches it out quite well with similarly priced IEM’s in its tier. For the price I have no problem recommending it to the budget conscious consumer looking for great bassy sound and build quality at an affordable price. As such, I’ve now added my MA600 to my stable of IEM’s and will be using it exclusively for when working out or for when working around the house. Overall, I’d have to say the MA600 is a good sounding and well priced mainstream consumer piece of gear.

Video Review
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warrenpchi
warrenpchi
Pretty much what I heard as well.  Thanks DF!  :)
DigitalFreak
DigitalFreak
Hi Warren, you're welcome and glad you enjoyed the review

DigitalFreak

镇老鹰
Pros: decent sound but nowhere near as good as the hype leads you to believe
Cons: USB connection problems, SDCard scan problems, player freezes, tag problems, file sorting problems, sluggish UI problems, touch screen to sensitive
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WeirdG
WeirdG
Just an FYI... this review was written before the v1.2.8 (Jan 26, 2014) firmware was released, which fixed several bugs and improved the sound quality.  iBasso is currently on firmware v1.5.0 (June 24, 2014).  There are also several custom firmware versions available which can greatly enhance the sound quality.  For under $300 new or around $200 used, it's a great beginner level option for people looking to move away from iPods.
Marcosinus
Marcosinus
None of the cons are still valid with the last firmware. And with Rockbox or Sound Unlock FW, ths player is just perfect.
Andymaxwell
Andymaxwell
Well, if it helps to balance out the criticisms of your review...I too have USB connection problems. Am sending back to China to see if they can sort it out.

DigitalFreak

镇老鹰
Pros: balanced sound, good detail retreval, controlled bass, awesome comfort and fit
Cons: not a fan of iPod controls on any IEM's, better strain reliefs needed on IEM housing entry points, roll off in upper highs, cable tangle prone
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If any questions please feel free to ask away on here or YT. Hope you all enjoy the video

DigitalFreak

镇老鹰
Pros: Great sub bass, Massive soundstage, Great PRAT, Oodles of detail, Great imaging, Great for live music
Cons: Lack of tip options is annoying, Silver cable needs a more refined look and may be to unwieldy for some people, Mids may sound to thin for some people

 
Ladies and gentlemen say hello to the Tralucent Audio 1Plus2 hybrid IEM. This little gem of an earphone easily falls into the group of pricey high-end mobile audio gear with its suggested MSRP of 1300 USD. On first glance this rather plain Jane piece of gear with its beefy silver cable may not look like much but you only have to give it a few minutes of listening time to realize it’s a brute like monster in the sound department. Before we get to the good stuff lets first get the small niggles out-of-the-way. At 1300 USD I expect a lot from an earphone both in the sound department and in the form factor department. Overall, I am generally pleased with the execution Tralucent Audio has taken form factor wise with this little beauty BUT there is room for improvement.
 
First of all, for such a pricey piece of gear I was rather put off that only 3 pairs of Ortofon tips were provided. These tips were useless to me and I found myself scrambling around going through my desk drawer trying to find tips that both fit the earphone as well as my ears. After a couple of hours and a lot of experimenting I settled on a pair of medium-sized Comply T-500 tips to give me a proper seal. The second little niggle I had problems with would be the removable cable. This cable is a pure silver 6n OCC cable with a very high MSRP all of its own. Overall, the cable feels quite sturdy and although a little stiff seems acceptably pliable enough for everyday use. The problem I have with the stock cable is for such a high-end cable I really am not to happy with its outer covering. The OC feels very rough to the touch and to the uninitiated gives an outward appearance that serves only to cheapen the product. At this MSRP I think a nicer more luxuriant feeling OC is a must have as well as a better selection of tips.
 

 
Now that all the little niggles are out-of-the-way let's get to the great stuff, the sonics. As stated earlier the 1Plus2 is a hybrid IEM. What that means is under the hood it sports dual Knowles TWFK balanced armatures (BA) that handle the high and mid frequencies but nestled behind the BA’s is a rather large 13mm traditional dynamic driver that handles all the bass frequency duties. The idea behind using a traditional dynamic driver is to try to give the bass frequencies a fuller more lush and natural sound. Because of how this dynamic driver is tuned, for me, the star of the show on these IEM’s is the bass.
 
It’s not a bass head-piece of gear by any stretch of the imagination but none the less it brings incredible speed, slam and punching power to the table. Because of its incredible speed and very tight control bass bleed into the mids is nonexistent. I’ve yet to hear an IEM that can throw out the amount of sub bass the way the 1Plus2 is able to and yet because note decay is so quick there’s no low-frequency smearing or bleed into the lower mids.
 
The mids are rather hard for me to explain. Edgy would probably be a good word to use. They’re very crisp, clean and almost thin on first listen when compared to the bass. After awhile of listening to more music you start to notice subtle nuances in the music made possible by the extremely high detail retrieval. Guitar plucks and other instrumentation such as horns etc sound more life-like and the listener feels like they’re sitting in on a jam session.
 
165479_226529704155959_1885990847_n.jpg
 
The highs, well the highs are a piece of work. They extend extremely high and give the listener a sense of air. It's a little peaky in spots but overall it’s quite detailed, controlled and lends to the IEM’s resolving sound. Cymbal crashes are clean and decay seems ludicrously fast. The best part, because it's so clean there’s no hint of grain that can be detected. And if that wasn’t enough there’s no metallic like tonality that lesser IEM’s sometimes exhibit.
 
If all I’ve written wasn’t enough we now move on to the icing on the cake, the soundstage. When you listen to these IEM’s they don’t sound anything like traditional IEM’s but instead sound far more like a high-end headphone. The soundstage is massive both depth and width and sounds completely out of the head. Strangely enough, these IEM’s especially excel with live music due to it being able to image in such a way that the listener feels like the music is coming straight head on at them. On top of that the 1Plus2 somehow is able to install an incredible amount of air between instruments giving the added feeling that the listener is sitting in a large stage arena somewhere near the front center floor area bopping along as the band belts out tune after tune.
 
Is this IEM to me worth paying an MSRP of 1300 USD? Well, unfortunately I don’t own these IEM's. They’re a sample unit I received from Gavin, the mind behind Tralucent Audio, and as of tomorrow they’re being packed up and sent on their merry way to the next reviewer for product feedback. These IEM’s have made me stop and double think what the term flagship IEM is about and I’m finding myself doing some soul-searching on whether my next investment on mobile gear will be my very own 1Plus2. To answer the question to me they’re very much worth it.
 
Many special thanks to Gavin of Tralucent Audio for allowing me the pleasure of listening to his product. I hope he reads my final thoughts on his product and addresses the few minor niggles I pointed out. What an incredible sounding IEM.
 

 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Vespertine
Vespertine
2.5 weeks and I shall have mine! Gavin certainly knows his customer service. Will order a tip selection from Amazon or something to ensure I can get it right. Can't wait!
DigitalFreak
DigitalFreak
Congrats on the new purchase. I hope they're everything you want them to be.
Vespertine
Vespertine
Thanks! Your review was the first one I read, and I ordered them after reading it, then read the others after. You were pretty much describing my perfect IEM. To be honest, and although it will probably change as the business grows, but the personal touch from Gavin makes one feel like these are something even more special. It isn't like you are going into a store and just grabbing something off the shelf. No they are not cheap, but then again great things never are, however I am much more likely to support and be interested in boutique operations such as this, it is usually the case that a lot more care and attention is paid. It kind of feels like I am joining a club by buying them. There is no way my review will really be anywhere near as good as any of the others, I will do my best though!

DigitalFreak

镇老鹰
Pros: Great Sound, Transparent, Grat Battery life
Cons: The UI Sucks
I recently decided to take a bit of a chance and buy blind into a new DAP. Over time I've slowly become more and more tired of the mainstream Apple/Sony/insert company name here MP3 players on the market and their lack of audio capabilities. Nowadays my player of choice is the iPod Touch and although I very much like my iPod's UI interface I've gravitated towards using a mobile amp to bring the players sonic signature up to speed. Although results have been very good I'm now finding myself becoming more and more tired lugging a two piece brick around so much so I've decided to give the so called boutique audiophile DAP market a shot. After a little nosing around on head-fi and some discussion with a trusted friend from head-fi, lee730, I took the plunge and got the HiSound Studio V 3rd Anniversary Edition. This player is rather pricey, a little to pricey in my opinion, but I was lucky enough to hear about HiSound running a half price Studio V promotion in exchange for an honest review and feedback on their player. I was a little unsure about this purchase due to certain rumblings I had read about it. Buggy UI, loud hiss, limited file support, player freeze ups, seemed to be the main complaints from various users concerning this player. Even so I decided to take a big chance and purchase it anyways due to the vast majority of people, both fans and detractors alike, seeming to agree that this player even with all it's short comings still sounded pretty nice.

I placed the order and got busy encoding my key test tracks from ALAC to FLAC. Roughly a week or so goes by and one day a package from China arrives on my doorstep with my new player. Inside the beat up shipping box is my player and it's accessories safely stored in a leather display box. The presentation of this product I must admit is quite nice. By nature I'm a pretty simple guy and for me it's not about presentation and fancy packaging it's more about getting to the heart of the matter and how the product actually performs but even so I still had to admit the presentation was well done. The first thing that struck me about the Studio V 3rd Anniversary Edition was how freaking tiny it was and how perfectly sized it felt in my hand. It's roughly about twice the size of a box of matches and in my opinion the perfect size for mobile use. The next thing I noticed was how solid the form factor felt in my hand. No cheap plastic on this player the whole thing was brushed aluminum right down to the buttons. I'm very happy with this players physical form factor and my opinion is don't change a thing.

Quick aesthetic impressions aside it's now time to get to the sonics of this player which is the key reason I bought it. This player sounds very nice and easily destroys a straight up unamped iPod, Sony player or Clip+. The sound characteristics, it's lean sounding and fast and to my ears teeters just slightly north of neutral. The bass sounds nice and full, in other words it has authority, but it's still tight and has punch and detail. Mids, a bit on the dry side which in my opinion is a perfect match for my Sony EX600 and jPhonic K2 sp. I generally like dry mids so for me the mids were a nice surprise. As for the highs, it's bright and full of energy but not overly splashy meaning it doesn't sound like that crazy harsh sound of someone running their fingernails down a chalk board. People who are a little touchy concerning their treble may want to give this player a second thought before committing their hard earned bones towards it. That being said I personally think it's far from harsh and would describe it more as forward sounding highs meaning the treble hasn't been overly smoothed over and doesn't roll off so early like say my iPod Touch does. I'm also both happy and very relieved to report the hiss issues reported from users using other generations of the Studio V for me is almost completely non existent. When using my Sony MDR EX 600 IEM if I listen closely I can hear a very very soft hiss. I only noticed it because I was looking for it but if I hadn't been looking for it I doubt I would have noticed it.

The interesting thing about this player is it seems to love all the gear I hook up to it. Believe it or not the DT1350 sounds quite good on it. Originally when I heard this player the first thing to come to mind was my DT1350's loaded treble would be way to energetic with this DAP. In the end I wound up with mud on my face when I hooked it up only to realize the treble now sounded a little more detailed and slightly smoother in the upper mid to lower high transition. It wasn't night and day of coarse and I still had some sibilance problems with badly recorded music of coarse but overall I was quite happy with my DT1350 treble on the Studio V. Next up was my V-MODA M-80. I thought the M-80 sound signature would become more lean with this DAP only to be shocked to find the mids were now more detailed while still sounding as warm as before. The M-80 highs, still flat which was a bit of a disappointment considering I was hoping this player would give the M-80 a little more life up top. Oh well can't win them all I guess. On the plus side the bass seemed a little less bloated and the slight bleed into the lower mids seems to have improved a bit. From there I decided to hook up my recently acquired V-MODA M-100 headphone which has a forward sounding bass. The M-100 sounded very nice on the Studio V and I realized the bass although still quite forward sounding (it has 8 db of boosted bass) was now a little more detailed and seemed just a hair quicker on my Studio V when compared to my UHA-4 amp. The M-100 highs seemed well defined and although the Studio V didn't really boost them they did seem very well extended. Overall I would have to say the whole sound signature of the M-100 sounded slightly cleaner on the Studio V. Something interesting I would like to add, maybe it's just my ears but the M-100 has a slight U shape in it's mids and when paired with the Studio V that slight U became even more apparent. Even more interesting is when I hooked up gear which is known for being mid centric at it the mids suddenly seemed to become more prominent then I was used to.

As I started throwing more gear at the Studio V (Grado SR 60i, EX600, Westone 4, K2 sp, e-Q7) I started to realize this damn player had no real coloration of it's own but instead preferred to disappear and let the gear it was hooked up to do it's own thing. Thus far this is sounding like a really great player isn't it? Sonically I have to admit I'm very happy with it. Oh and I almost forgot to mention, battery life is in the double digits as in 50 to 80 hours. I thought it sounded far fetched myself until I got the player. When I got the player I plugged it in and let it charge overnight to guarantee a full charge. In a span of roughly two weeks I was still showing two out of four power bars with roughly 3 to 5 hours a day of use. Two days ago I decided to plug it in again and let it recharge overnight and so far I'm still showing a full charge on the display.
 
Something else I think is worth mentioning is this players versatility in driving gear. Most of my stuff is known for being efficient. Probably the most demanding I have is the DT1350 which in the big scheme of things isn't really that demanding when compared to other headphones. To try and test this players amp section I shot by a fellow head-fiers home and let him have a listen. This gentleman is known around my city for having a wide selection of headphones one of which being the 600 ohm AKG K240 Sextett. I didn't expect the Studio V to drive this headphone and neither did he and it took maxing out the volume but it did drive it to an acceptable volume level with only some minor control issues in the lower bass. Although I've heard these headphones being driven better by other more powerful gear I was none the less rather impressed how well it was able to drive it.

This player is now really starting to sound like a real winner isn't it? Don't get to excited time to talk about the Studio V's achilles heel, the UI. In short, considering this player retails for a suggested street price of around 500 bones the UI can only be described as completely unacceptable. The good news, even though the UI is flawed it's still stable enough to make the player work for you. Let me try and explain. When you first turn on the player you're greeted with a HiSound logo and from there the player quickly scans your micro SD card. A few seconds later the main music app appears. Now if you hit the music app and navigate any music on it's internal 4GB memory generally you'll be OK. But if you try to navigate your music on your SD card look out boys and girls what you hear will sound like utter crap. What I mean is your music will play but it will clip and pop and if you try navigating around to find other music while there's music playing in the background the music will click pop and cut out with practically every click. I'm not even going to get into the buggy playlists option because no matter what I did I couldn't get it to work.

Thankfully there's a work around for all this silliness. If you completely ignore the music app and navigate to the Resource Manager app after clicking on it you'll then be greeted with 2 options, external memory and internal memory. Click on external memory and navigate your music to your hearts content because the resource manager app unlike the music app works generally not to badly. I did notice the odd little clip or pop once in a blue moon but overall it worked to my satisfaction.  Although I'm quite happy the resource manager works well enough to make the player work for me I still can't help but feel a little put out and bummed that such a pricey DAP's UI is buggy and can't help but wonder what was HiSound thinking when they decided to release a DAP with only half of it's UI running smoothly
 
Final judgement, this is a very nice sounding player that checks off two of the three must haves for a player to receive full praise from me. Sonically, it's a very nice capable player that will make your gear shine. All the gear I own seemed to synergize quite well with it to the point the player became transparent and I could just forget about it and concentrate on my music and what the headphone/IEM I was using could do. Physically it's form factor is the perfect size for mobile use and it feels rugged and solid in your hand. It feels like it will stand up to the test of time. If HiSound could get a firmware update out in the near future and fix or even maybe completely eliminate the buggy Music app section and playlist section on the UI this player would be a great player. As it is the UI is the only thing that's holding this player back right now and if HiSound decides to not further develop this player with a proper firmware update then they'll only be shooting themselves in the foot. This is a very nice sounding player with a premium price tag attached to it and a buggy UI in this price range is unacceptable to the customer who chooses to invest so much on an MP3 player. As it stands now I would rate this player a 3.5 out of 5 stars which can easily become a 4.75 out of five if the UI issues were addressed.
 
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soundbear
soundbear
A little "harsh" on the rating?? I'd give the T51 a 3.5, its user interface is pretty bad, definately give the V a 4 for the combined user interface issues plus there is no dedicated amp out. The V's internal amp can be cut off, but hooking up my uha4 to the ear out didn't sound as good with the internal amp off as leaving it on and using volume control on the V and 4.
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