Reviews by HideousPride


Member of the Trade: Worthy Audio
Pros: Compact size, brilliant design, built in DAC/amplifier eliminates need for additional equipment, no need to treat room
Cons: Rolled off lows, wireless streaming just so-so

Note to the Reader
This was a demo unit, part of a program organized by Todd the Vinyl Junkie. A big thanks to Todd for his generosity and allowing me a week to fool around with these little eyeballs in the comfort of my home.
As someone who has barely started treading water into the ocean that is the world of speakers, I am not the most qualified reviewer of the Eclipse TD-M1 by a long shot. As a consumer who enjoys music and who has a fair grasp on what good sound sounds like, I can at least give you my honest opinion to help you decide whether these are worth your time and consideration.

I first became really interested in speakers after a private audition of the Sennheiser Orpheus in Dallas – the owner of said headphones also had a gorgeous pair of speakers in the room. To date, that was the audio reproduction experience for me. Period, hands down, game over the most lifelike system I’ve ever heard.

With my current limitations in regards to space (leasing an apartment) and financial flexibility (not enough to entertain the notion of owning high-end 5 figure+ speakers), the treated and dedicated to music listening room is currently an unreachable fantasy of mine that I hopefully get a chance to revisit some years down the line.

Signing up for the Eclipse demo was my optimistic hope at finding a stop-gap – a good sounding pair of speakers that would tide me over until the realization of my speaker dreams. When the TD-M1 arrived, I had minimal expectations but optimistic hopes. I set them up next to my Macbook on the computer desk and plugged them in… only to hear nothing.

After a bit of fumbling and user error on my part, I resigned myself to consulting the manual. A driver download and a few button presses later, I was tentatively hovering over the Play button in my media player.


Oh damn.
Sound, Pros/Cons

Let’s not mince words. I was impressed. The sound was clear and enveloping, filling the room with the crystalline vocals of Nagi Yanagi. The fact that the sound was able to permeate my cluttered bedroom caught me by surprise; I was expecting a much more 2D-like presentation.

While running through the playlist, I read a little more about the TD-M1 online. They come with a built in NOS-DAC, play nicely with files up to 24/192kbps and are pre-equipped for battle with a class D amp. Very nice for newbies such as myself who only have the foggiest of ideas as to what other equipment would be necessary to make a pair of speakers sound their best.

Detail is very good. No fatigue from treble peaky songs or mid-range smearing from the thwacks and thumps of bass-driven hip hop. Female vocals with guitar/piano (my own personal fetish) sounded clear and intimate. Quite excellent!

For those of us that may employ the speakers outside of the musical realm (blasphemy!), I made a couple Skype calls and ran through the paces of a couple computer games I had on hand. The TD-M1 performed very impressively – it was a significant step up in terms of audio quality, and I think in doing so it enhanced my enjoyment of each activity. I found the fact that you can adjust the speaker tilt to be a very nice and welcome touch. Originally I had it on stands, but with a quick pull of the lever adjusted it up slightly to the right height. Similarly impressive is that you don’t necessarily have to sit in the “sweet” spot to get the full effect. Even moving around the room doing various things, the speakers sounded very good.

Now for the bad – I personally don’t think these are suited for movies. Low end frequencies sounded rolled off to my ears as I went through my movie collection and fast-forwarded to impact intensive scenes. The TD-M1 would fare rather poorly as a replacement for a proper speaker setup in the living room, but as it was made for desktop usage I personally wouldn’t dock significant points for that. Similarly, it might not have the thump thump thump bassheads crave in their music – I went through some clubby stuff and the nonexistent low end bass energy and impact made it a boring listen compared to some of the other genres I tested.

I tried the wireless playback connecting to my iPhone 5 and was fairly unimpressed with the results. It’s a nice added touch and I could see it coming in handy for parties or easy listening. Just don’t expect the full effect of sitting it down and plugging it into a source directly. In terms of value, I don’t think that these can be considered bang-for-the-buck speakers. If you know what you’re doing and already own receivers/pre-amp & amp combos, audio and whatnot, the TD-M1 will probably fall short of what you can find out there for the $1,300 MSRP tag.

So let’s talk about the intended audience of the TD-M1. It has quite a bit going for it, including:

• A small, compact size
• The design looks sharp and appeals to the eyes
• Instant gratification – No need to fumble around with wires or other equipment
• Plug and play setup, conditions of the room are not that important

I think the TD-M1 will appeal to the following groups

• People who are newer to speakers that want an easy, no-hassle experience
• People who have limited real estate for large speaker setups
• People that place a high priority on aesthetics

Actually, it feels like the Fujitsu/Toyota team had my generation in mind with the creation of such a product. For people living in an apartment/condo that are looking for an entry point into the speaker world in the form of a compact eyeball shaped bundle of wonders at a reasonable price, look no further – the TD-M1 delivers. For everyone else, I’ll leave it to the individual to decide.


Member of the Trade: Worthy Audio
Pros: Versatility, both configurations sound fantastic, detail, imagery, clarity
Cons: Discussed in review
The FR is a review sample sent from Noble Audio. The reviewer was compensated in the form of a ridiculously cool and form-fitting Noble Audio shirt.  
Despite humans having only a single pair of ears, many an audio enthusiast reading this review likely has more than one pair of headphones or IEMs. I myself am guilty of this. If pressed by family and friends as to my reasoning behind the madness, I point to a human fault I possess: whimsiness. 
Sometimes I'm in a mood for a more analytical sound and want to strain to hear all of the little nuances in a well-recorded song – when this is the case, I reach for my modded HD 800s. Other times, I just want to bob my head and rock my body to a fun song - here, I generally take my Senn 598s / Fostex TH-600s off the racks. For music listening outside my residence, I take a pair of CIEMs on the go. 
The desire for versatility is the cause of substantial time and costs that I’ve sunk into the hobby trying out a variety of fun and reference sound signatures. My story has a happy ending, as I eventually worked out my own personal preferences and now only keep a smattering of gear that closely suit my tastes. Unfortunately, this particular road might not be a viable option for everyone – with all of the headgear already out there and the recent explosive growth of new companies and products, it can be a daunting and expensive task for those newer to the hobby that lack easy access to a large brick and mortar store and/or well-established audio community. 
Enter the Noble Audio FR, with an innovative approach to the problem. The Noble Audio FR offers two different sound signatures in a single product:

F(ull Range) – A U-shaped fun presentation for those people that enjoy a splash of liveliness and colour in their music
R(eference) – Clear and detailed, this sound signature is for those who like to hear the music reproduced as-is
Product Details
The FR comes packed in a standard IEM case with 12 sets of eartips, 4 styles in sizes S, M and L. The product itself is slightly glossy and looks modest and understated in a jet black color. The Noble Audio logo can be seen etched onto the IEMs and looks incredibly sleek. The cable is the standard Noble Audio cable, which is excellent in terms of flexibility and does not tangle. You also get 2 Noble bands to strap your equipment with, and a Noble Ownership card where you can write your information down should you ever lose the IEMs with the case. 
Technical Information about the Noble FR 
The first question I had after listening to the FR is, “How does it work?” So I reached out to Noble Audio and received some interesting information to share.

Toggling the switch produces a drastically different sound without any time delay. I played around with the switches incessantly during the review process. A simple flick of my thumb or index finger is enough to change between the configurations; whether I decide to change halfway through a song or between albums, it’s an easily accessible toggle and rapidly becomes a second nature motion. I’ve been informed that the switch comes from the hearing aid world, repurposed for use in an IEM. The switch feels durable and is just the right length – too much longer and I’d worry about the possibility of the piece snapping off, too much shorter and it might have resulted in a clumsy fumbling of fingers between settings. 

The switch itself is an A/B switch that, when toggled, acts as a relay between two independent clusters of components (crossover network + corresponding drivers). The FR is technically a 3 driver BA IEM; however, two of the drivers are used exclusively by the F configuration, whereas the other driver is used only by the R configuration. 

I’m told that the hardest part of the creation of the FR was the soldering involved, which I can certainly believe after seeing and hearing the IEM firsthand!

On the F, the R and the Sound
I’ve owned and demoed a good amount of TOTL IEMs out there but struggled to find one without nagging downsides significant enough to prevent me from having a blissful listening experience. When I first heard the FR from Noble at the recent SoCal Head-Fi meet, both configurations made a positive impression on me but I hesitated to pass judgment before spending more time with them.

Now that I’ve had the chance to listen to them in both real world and ideal settings with my own music, I have to say Noble did a smashingly good job.
Sources and Conditions
I paired the FR with the AK240, the iPhone 5, and through my Macbook Pro through an Audioquest Dragonfly. I used the FR while at home in quiet settings, at work, outside in noisy conditions, and while flying.

Full Range
The Full Range is extremely pleasant to listen to, and is a fun signature done right. The right areas are accentuated without being overdone. The lower end receives a bump that makes head-bopping a given but doesn’t muddy the sound signature, the treble has a touch of added shimmer that adds brightness without causing fatigue. However, what makes the Full Range captivating is the vocals, which come across as amazingly lush. The intimacy and sweetness make the Full Range an intoxicating listen. Most importantly, nothing comes across as overly offensive or unbearable, whether in the form of excessive bass or shrieky treble. I could, and have, listened to these IEMs for hours without needing a break. Noble really tried to appeal to the whole range of listeners out there with their tuning, and I certainly commend them on their successful efforts.

But this wouldn’t be a review without discussing some of the weaknesses as well. The Full Range is a very intimate listen, but this comes at the expense of soundstage and imagery. I can compare it to being in the first row of a concert –you hear the big picture loud and clear and it’s a lot of fun, but you lose out on the placement of individual instruments due to the noise. Also, when I say I can listen to the Full Range tuning for hours on end, those hours are generally spent on albums where vocals are the star, accompanied only by acoustic guitars or other simple instruments. For complex albums with a lot going on, I feel the Full Range is a bit too rich for my tastes. 

The Reference sound signature is true to its name. The R configuration comes across as very natural; lows, mids and highs, the right dosage of each make it easy on the ears. Vocals don’t lose the sweetness the Full-Range setting offers, and guitars and other instruments present in the midrange sound very lifelike. There are no significant peaks in the bass or treble that I hear, and the overall presentation sounds very involving and is an engaging listen. The neutral sound the Reference offers is by no means a boring one. 

And now here’s where the FR has a leg-up on the other offerings out there – the Reference configuration complements the Full Range nicely as it is strong in the areas of weaknesses I just mentioned. I had fully expected myself to prefer and to use the Full Range setting for the vast majority of my songs, and this was certainly the case for the first few days. After comparisons with my CIEM on songs I’m intimately familiar with, I found that where the universal IEM was lacking in soundstage depth and lower end slam (as expected in head-to-head against a custom), it made up for in the details, the imagery, and the clarity it possesses.

Details – The Reference does a great job of revealing the finer points in a song – Focusing on specific instruments strike me as audible and clear, even during passages of complex songs.     

Imagery – I use this to describe the perceived placement of the listener. The Reference performs very well, as the whole range of instruments comes across sounding centered and distance-appropriate. 

Clarity – Separation of instruments and vocals is excellent, particularly decay in the mid-bass. This allows complex passages of music to come across without sounding smeared or fuzzy. This strength of the Reference configuration is among the best I’ve heard in my experiences to-date as compared to both headphone and IEM products. 

I’d actually go so far as to say that out of all of the IEMs I’ve heard, the Reference configuration on the FR is the one that best suits my tastes. It plays well with every genre I threw at it, and I’ve yet to find a significant nitpick that would contribute to a less-than-blissful listening experience. 
The FR offers a high degree of versatility and fully checks off on all of the boxes I’d expect a TOTL IEM to. I find myself using the Reference configuration on the majority of the albums I listen to, especially when my surroundings are relatively quiet. For vocal-centric songs, when I’m out and about and need a bass bump, or even when I just feel in the mood that day for a fun twist, the Full Range setting delivers. It’s amazing to think that all it takes to meet my whimsy needs is the simple flick of a switch. Both configurations are a welcome addition to my IEM collection, and the fact that they came bundled in one convenient price and product is just the icing on top of the cake. Bon Appétit!
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Member of the Trade: Worthy Audio
Pros: Comfort, solid build, not fatiguing, fun!
Cons: MSRP $$$, Earpads can get heated, weighty - not suitable for portable use as Denon intended
Bought these used off the FS forums. I had been interested in these since release, but due to negative reviews did not think it was worth pulling the trigger when they sold for $500. At the price I purchased them at, I am quite happy with them. So long as you know what you're getting, I believe the D600 is a headphone that pleases.
The lower end has a very significant hump that can sound exceptional with certain recordings. I've heard details in the bass on certain songs that I never heard before because it is so audible on the D600s compared to the rest of the frequency range. It also makes you want to groove when you listen to dance-ish songs. You can definitely put these on your to-buy list if you enjoy a good time with a colored sound and a bumped bass. Do not expect strings to sound sweet and rich - midrange/upper mids seem to be somewhat lacking on these headphones. They sound significantly further in the background on recordings than more neutral headphones like the Paradox present violins/violas/etc. Female vocals sound natural but slightly recessed.
They may not be power hungry, but respond very favorably to amplification. I find that driving them out of the Cowon J3 alone delivers a somewhat lacking sound. Adding a PA2V2 seemed to help tremendously. Classical, orchestral and a capella recordings are not unlistenable, but definitely are not a strength. They are significantly heavier than I had expected them to be from pictures! However, comfort is excellent so long as your ears don't get heated. Denon includes a 3 button cable that is clearly intended for use on the go, but I honestly doubt you'll want to take them outside for a walk. If not because of the heat (sweaty ears are a blechy sitaution!), the weight alone will dissuade all but the most masochistic of headphone fans.
Probably the most interesting thing is how favorably the average music listener respond to these. I've given them to three coworkers of me, two males (Beats and Klipsch Image One users) who are absolutely bassheads with metal and rap, and a female who enjoys kpop. All three were thoroughly impressed by the D600 when I let them listen to them. Both males expressed an interest in purchasing a pair at the price I paid for them. The female, despite having listened to headphones I've brought to her such as the HD 800, the Paradox, and the LCD-2, believed these to be her favorite pair and the one with the best sound.
Overall, a reasonable purchase for bass lovers everywhere! If you have a chance to listen to them, do give it a go. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
Hi, Thanks for your detailed review. I was wondering about the midrange/vocals...did you find that they opened up a bit after burning in? I do find that the bass (which I love!) and the treble do seem to overpower vocals sometimes, which is a shame as I love the richness these cans produce! I'm more of a V-shaped headphone person although I do want to hear a bit of vocal!