Reviews by lambdastorm


500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Nostalgic sound. Very relaxed and none-offensive.
Cons: Absolutely refrain from it if you want a head banger. This is not the IEM for those genres.
Unlike other reviews, I won't be posting any photos or videos on this IEM. This is a very plain IEM, comes in a very plain packaging and looks plain until you put them in your ears.

I don't think any graphs will do this IEM justice, because if your looking for an IEM with excellent top to bottom extension or extra clarity, you're at the wrong place. If you like listening to EDMs or stuff you want to bang you head along to, again you're at the wrong place. This is an IEM for memories long since sealed away. Put on an old song and prepare to cry. Yes, this is what it does best. The folks at Shozy designed this driver from scratch, and it sounds like nostalgia. Any old song you play will sound like an old song. Without a hint of modern touch, but with all its tubey glory well-preserved, just like how the artists sealed the vinyl in the 70s.

This thing sounds like nostalgia. And there's not one single IEM I've heard that sounds like this. For this very reason I have to give it 5 stars. The folks at Shozy clearly knows what they're doing, because these absolutely nails it in the emotion department. One last word about eartips rolling: Don't do it. JVC Spiral Dot, Spinfit and Sony hybrid tips all have better end-to-end extension than stock tips, but they all sound modern. Nostalgia is the name of the game, and stock tips is part of the magic.
Crikey ..can i really believe what this bloke says?


500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Very punchy and fun; non-aggressive
Cons: none at this price point.
Over the years I've acquired more than a few keyboards, CM, ducky, DAS, you name it. Guess which one's my daily driver? IBM Model M. It's turning 31 this year, but its every bit as good as its modern siblings. In my headphone collection I have HE6, LCD2 Rev.1, HD600 and Porta Pros. Guess which gets the most head time? Porta Pros.

Switching back to porta pros from any other headphones feels like going home. It's a sound signature I'm familiar with, and I can very comfortably sit down for hours with these on my head. Okay u say, where's the subbass? Missing. Where's the treble? Muffled, completely cut off above 10K. None of other headphones in my collection exhibit these problems, but none of them gets this much love.

There is a reason why portapro remains popular after 3 decades. It's non-offensive nature, its powerful mid-bass, its mids. There are a list of things I can say about PortaPros but let's not forget its a headphone engineered 3 decades ago, and it unmistakably exhibits that kind of sound you'd expect from the 90s.

None offensive in nature, yet highly dynamic and engaging. Porta Pro has that sort of power that sucks you into music without thinking about gears or anything audio related. I can definitely notice the missing subbass switching back and forth between these and LCD2s, the endless treble extension of HE6 also put these to shame. But the mid is among the most life-like I've ever heard. It's very muffled yet highly realistic. It conveys the emotion even Utopia fails to bring out, and romanticize it 1000 times more. There you go. A sound addictive like no other. Adding sub-bass or treble extension would kill portapros, cuz that's what makes them unique. I use them every day for more than 8 hours since I first bought em in 2002, and if u ask me to keep only one headphone, this is the one. It happens to be the cheapest one, but over the years it has proven itself to be the most loyal companion. My one and only safe house. To anyone out there who wants to buy one, don't be fooled by its price tag. There're only two headphones that'll drive you to tears: Orpheus and PortaPro.


500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Clean, CLEAN, CLLLLEAN! Refined, powerful and dynamic
Cons: Could use a better look, could use better specs. Whoever designed this doesn't care anything other than sound and that's a bad BAD thing, cuz these sound absolutely wonderful.
Whoever says Magni's better either hasn't heard of these, or works for schiit. For the longest time I've had a Magni 3 and it kept me wondering: that's it? It's a nice little amp but honestly I expect more from all the hype I've been reading. In short, Magni doesn't do anything wrong but doesn't check many audiophile boxes either.

Then one day, I had the privilege to try this little wonder at a friend's house. Looks can be deceiving, because when I saw it I have no intention to hook my headphones up for a listen---it looks just like any other headphone amp out there, if not a little outdated. Any $30 amp on Taobao looks better. But my friend insisted that I give these a go, boy, am I happy I did.

The first thing I noticed, switching from my Magni 3 to RNHP is how refined it is. There's no clear definition of refinement in audiophile territory but everyone agrees that HE6 sounds better on a speaker amp than say, a Magni because speaker amp gives HE6 better control and frees up its dynamics. Same rule applies here, RNHP gives all my headphones a refinement boost. HD600 sounds significantly more controlled, to the point which I doubt its even a 'slow' or 'romantic' sounding headphone. My DT990 600ohm also benefits from the near-zero output impedance character of the RNHP, there's no mud or extra meat to be found, everything's just wonderfully organized and controlled, much like a well-cleaned room. The Magni sounds very cheap in comparison. Again, what it lacks isn't power. 2W/channel sounds lovely, but the 300mw device (RNHP) clearly takes the edge.

RNHP doesn't bear impressive specs, in fact most people will find its specs rather lackluster. 300mW/channel looks quite famish compared to what modern day amps have to offer, and the 6W SMPS is nothing to write home about. Combined with its low-key looks most people would probably ignore it and move on, but I beg to differ. There's rarely any amp out there that sounds this clean at any price point, and what's better, this little wonder has a very linear volume pot which is scratch-free and noise-free, and offers extremely precise volume control with any headphone you own. Quit unlike the one on Magni, which is scratchy, has channel imbalance on low volume, and is simply not linear at all. I for one, also don't think it lacks power---it drives my HD600 just fine at 1/4 the volume, DT990 needs a bit more volume but nothing past mid-point.

In the end, I was so impressed with RNHP that I sold my Magni on the second day and bought a RNHP for myself. I've loved it since I got it. Don't let its look fool you, its clean, precise and dynamic, has tons of power to spare. All of these adjectives don't make sense till you hear one for yourself. If there's no headphone shop at your place, go ahead and grab one on eBay. It usually goes for around $300 used. Even if you don't like it, you can always resell it without much loss.


500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Music music music and nothing else
Cons: None.
      It all started 14 years ago when I came across a Monsoon system, namely the monsoon PlanarMedia-14. Monsoon was, at that time, the only company that manufacture planar magnetic computer speakers. I was immediately hooked by the sound: it can't play loud like those logitech bigass offerings, neither does it have the dynamics of ProMedia 2.1s, but the details, coupled with the fact that they portray soundstage in such a unique way makes it the most immersive 2.1 system available up to this date. For $150, it was a bargain. Two planar speakers reproduce mid and high frequencies and an 8' subwoofer handles frequencies from 200Hz to down below. Granted, an 8' sub would struggle for freqs above 120Hz and it'd make the sub easy to localize, but Monsoon did such an excellent job that every time I turn them on I refuse to acknowledge the presense of a subwoofer---there isn't a hint of crossover, neither is there any unnaturalness transitioning from fast ribbons to slow cones. Up to this date, magnepans came and gone, but I still keep these Monsoons and enjoy them everyday. I dare say, as I did all those years ago, put a blindfold on your eyes and you'd swear you're hearing full-rangers. They portray music in such a way that even 13 years after they're discontinued, I still have a hard time turning them off every time I turn them on. "One more song" they beg, "Just one more."
   Over the years I've had all sorts of headphones, from HD600, 650 to Audeze LCD2 & 3, Focal Utopia to Ultrasone Edition 12. All sorts of amplifiers, from Schiit Asgard 2 to Ygg, Liquid Gold to Headtrip. Never had a pair of headphone captures the magic of music like these monsoons do. I sold them all. 
   It's over. I've long since given up on this bizarre hobby, as I have the best 2.1 speakers in the world from the very start. I've left so many headphone meets unimpressed: OMEGA+T2 combo, LCD4+DAVE combo, Abyss+Headtrip combo. That is, until my friends hook me up with ORPHEUS 4 months ago. He borrowed it from one of his friends place for three days and called me over to his place for a listen. 
   The listening is done on orpheus combo hooked up to a DAVE. From the very first moment I pull it on, I knew something's different. Going through my playlist seems like revisiting childhood. For the very first time in my life I felt like a youngster once again. College football tournament seems like yesterday, jogging has never becoeme a burden. It was midnight when I put Orpheus down again, all songs on my playlist finished. "How is it?" My friends asked. 
  Are they good? Of course they are. But there is something present that I've never heard on another pair of headphones---emotion. Orpheus has a mind of its own. I wouldn't comment on any other aspects such as mid-bass or detail retrieval or soundstage: words are pale describing Orpheus. They paint music on canvas, and present to you in an utmost elegant way it'll remind you the first time you hear that song. Yeah, they're just that immersive.
  So I told my friend it resembles my PlanarMedia a lot. Had he know what a PlanarMedia is he would proly laugh at me for comparing such a TOTL system to a 2.1. But ultimately, both give me teary eyed moments, both take me to another dimension when I'm listening. And Orpheus, they're the first and'll likely be the last that allows me to finish all songs on my playlist without being aware of time. I'd quote Monsoon's catchphrase as an end to this review: drenched in sound.
Impressive review. Wish I will have a chance to have a listen to this legendary system.
Lovely write up. Enjoyed reading that.


500+ Head-Fier
Best-in-class noise canceller that can also play music
Pros: Absolutely top-tier ANC
Great wearing comfort
Cons: Forget it if you want to listen to music
Unlike most of my reviews I'll just cut to the chase for this one.

The Sony WH1000XM3s have long been regarded as the king of ANC headphones. If only ANC is concerned then I have no doubt that it's truly the best ANC headphone money can buy along with the XM4. Ironically, I do not think the XM4 offers any improvements in the ANC department. Our local SONY flagship store is literally 20 minutes walk away from where I live, so I take my XM3s there to compare to the XM4s pretty often. From what I can hear the XM4s cancel certain frequencies better than the XM3s, but the XM3 outdoes it in other frequencies. It's a toss-up. Comfort wise both headphones are excellent. They are nowhere near as comfortable as, say the QC35, but apart from the shallow earpads they are pretty comfortable. I can wear them for several hours at a time before my ears get too hot.

It's in the sound quality department where the XM3 really, really falls short. I don't usually criticize a headphone to this extent but my god, the XM3 sounds truly AWFUL. The latest 4.5.2 firmware makes it a slightly better headphone, but for my set it produces a very noticeable amount of hiss that's absent on earlier firmware. I've tried all three early firmware, 2.0.0, 4.1.1, 4.2.2 and let me tell you, you do not want to listen to music on any of these firmware. At default settings the bass sounds very one-note. It's a confused mess with no depth or impact. Mid range is all right. Treble is at the same time muted and a little peaky. I don't know how that's even possible. Every time I try to listen to music I would just end up using the computer speakers instead. Those are infinitely more tolerable than the XM3s. What's actually funny is that BOSE's QC35, despite not supporting APTX, sounds so much more agreeable than the XM3s ever will be. For one the QC35 actually sounds pleasant. It doesn't resolve like a wired headphone, but the low end extension is there. The bass has dynamic and depth. Mid-range is good, and treble is very clean. The whole package sounds so much more transparent and enjoyable than the XM3. It's for this reason that I never listen to music on the XM3s. I use them to listen to podcasts on a subway or on a train. For that purpose they are fantastic.

That sums up my review. These headphones are truly special, they are one of the 3 headphones with a sound that I absolutely cannot stand, but they also have the best ANC of any ANC headphones on the market. So yeah, grab them if you commute often, listen to a podcast or watch YouTube videos, you will truly find yourself making good use of your time on the subway. Do not grab them if you don't commute or don't spend much time in noisy environments.
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500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Very nice bass
Cons: muffled sound, not the most transparent IEM out there.
I've been wanting these for a long time. And after a whole year waiting to get a good deal on these, I finally got it for quite a discount. But when i put these in my ears there's a frown on my face. That's it??? That's what ppl call 'bass head IEMs?" It's a joke right?

A joke it is. If ur a basshead, there's no way u'd be satisfied with this IEM as I would describe it as more of a warm IEM than bassy. And what's worse, it doesn't have that level of transparency purists seek. The only redeeming quality of this IEM is probably its non-fatiguing nature---you have probably guessed it. It's muffled, so it sounds extremely non-offensive much like my old LCD2 Rev.1, both sounds good but lacks the energy & bite necessary to convey the necessary emotion in a song.

At the end of the day, this IEM is good for pop songs. I enjoy Sia & Katy Perry stuff a lot more on these than on my higher end setup, which consists of HE6+EF6, and that's saying a lot. Aside from pop tho I'd take HE6 anyday, even for EDM cuz it offers far greater punch and speed.

If ur inner basshead is still screaming for a bassy BA, get a SE846 instead. I love innovation, and the subwoofer system in SE846 is truly one of a kind. That thing takes BA bass to a whole new level and I've yet to hear any IEM that comes even remotely close. Shame on u, Dulce Bass, bass is in ur name yet u failed so bad.
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500+ Head-Fier
Sony strikes twice.
Pros: Good wearing comfort
Extremely lightweight
Very easy to drive
Did I mention how comfortable they are?
Cons: Maybe a bit too ez to drive
Prone to background hiss. behaves much like an iem in this regard
Back in the day, Sony produced the 1R series in the hope of introducing an audiophile model to the mainstream consumer market. The result was a headphone that sounds decent for the price and has superior wearing comfort. They later produced a Mk2 version, then the 1R evolved into the 1A. And then we have the 1AM2. This headphone has been on my buy list for a long time. It's very lightweight, it looks stylish, and I've tried the 1000XM series enough times to know how comfortable they are. I finally took the plunge last August. Now that I've had these for a half a year, I want to give them a fair and hopefully unbiased review (as unbiased as i can be harhar).

Coming from behemoths like HE6 and Abyss, anything can be comfortable. But the 1AM2 still stands out as one of the most comfortable headphones I've owned. These weigh almost nothing and the weight distribution is excellent. The headband distributes weight very evenly on your head, and the pads provide just the right amount of clamp. Not too loose, not too tight. These feel very secure. Speaking about pads, did I mention just how comfortable they are? These are hands down the softest earpads I've touched. Sony went out of their way to create an earpad that softens up upon direct contact with your skin. Yes you heard me right, when you put them on your head, your body heat will soften the earpads and instantly transform them into the softest material imaginable. They conform to the shape of your ear and make sure you get a perfect seal. Overall I'd give it 10 out of 10 in the comfort department. One of if not the most comfortable headphone on the market. Sony really knocks it out of the park in this one.

Build is pretty utilitarian. The housing is made of plastic, the headband and earcups are made of synthetic leather. Despite the simple choice of materials, they look very well put together. There are a few details that stand out: The hinge that connects the headphone to the headband doesn't squeak when you rotate it. Sony mentioned this in the product literature cuz a lot of users complained about this detail in the 1A. The headband extension mechanism also feels smooth and quiet when you extend/contract it. Very nice attention to detail. Overall, plain but by no means flimsy.

If I'm being honest, when I got the 1AM2 I have no expectation for sound quality. Not that I expect it to sound bad but for a headphone at this price I just don't expect too much. I was pleasantly surprised. Detail retrieval is actually pretty decent (for the price), and the amount of sound it blocks out is also impressive. Sony even included a 4.4mm pentaconn cable in the package in case you want to step up the amplification. Well I did try it on a hiby player but I don't think it really needs balanced amplification. Here's why.

First, this headphone is crazy sensitive. I have had many portable headphones and none are this sensitive. It almost behaves like an IEM in this regard --- on an iPhone I actually volume match it with my DD IEM and find the volume to be sufficient. On most desktop amps it will hiss. Again something that's much more common with IEMs than full-sized headphones.

Second, the frequency response. Oh my oh my the FR. Do I not like it. This headphone would actually sound good if it can retain its technicalities and go with a different tuning. The tuning on these is, well, how do I put it. Sony-esque. They are targeted at mainstream consumers so you already know it's going to sound bassy. But the mids and treble sound a bit too withdrawn. For pop music they are alright, but for any serious listening I think you're going to want something different, starting with more clarity, more mid and treble focus and less muddy bass.

Even within the realm of super boosty bass headphones, the 1AM2 is not a good example. They sound colored and artificial. Listen to any acoustic music and you'll see what I mean. It's such a shame because the technicality is not bad. They can retrieve a decent amount of detail, but the FR is too far gone to make it a solid headphone. I personally use it for watching YouTube videos and taking online classes, or just any multimedia purposes in general. That's where they really shine. Superior comfort plus low weight means I can wear them all day. As long as no serious music listening is involved, they're gucci.

Is a headphone still worth buying if it doesn't sound good? A year ago I would've said no, but for the 1AM2 I am going to make an exception. These headphones are so comfortable that I find myself using them every day despite their unagreeable FR. Multimedia applications are where they really shine. Put them in a bag, take them on a trip, bring them to a party. You'll find yourself much happier if you just use it as a regular headphone instead of an audiophile worship object. If you don't take the sound too seriously, you'll enjoy them a lot more. That concludes my review.
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Thank you doesn't sound like worth an upgrade from my MDR-1R's.


500+ Head-Fier
Not impressed
Pros: Touch em woodies
Cons: Lackluster sound
I'll cut to the chase here. This is not a good sounding headphone, but if you like the looks I guess you can go get it.

First, the build. Build is actually the best part about this headphone. It is quite well built. The joints that connect the headband and the earcups are quite sturdy, and the braided cable that comes out from the earcups does look like it will last a long time. Looks wise if you like Audio-Technica woodies, then you are definitely going to like this headphone. It's essentially a trimmed-down version of a full-sized AT woodie. The wood feels very nice to the touch and although I'm not at all into woodies, I find myself fondling the wooden earcups all the time. It's a very elegant design that appeals to everyone.

Moving on to sound is where the not-so-good stuff comes out. The MM400 houses a 40mm free edge carbon driver that looks exactly like a smaller, more compact D7100 driver. However the two couldn't have sound anymore different. The D7100 is bold, outgoing and muscular. The bass is quite prodigious on those and the soundstage is pretty good for a closed-back. It's never going to be a studio headphone but hey, they are not designed for that purpose. The MM400 on the other hand is just plain unimpressive. Nothing really stands out. There isn't much to fault but there isn't much to like either. Resolution is mediocre. Soundstage is congested even for a portable headphone. Bass, mids and highs are all very average. They have no memorable qualities. And it's for this reason alone that I can't recommend them. Yes they have the looks, yes they are built well, but at the end of the day it's the sound that matters. And these really fall short in that area.


500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Very nice chassis

AMP section has remarkable amount of control and drive

Battery lasts reasonably long
Cons: Absolutely horrible DAC

Channel imbalance
With everyone loving these and hyping this lil' box up, I'm gonna play the devil's advocate and call it terrible, and I've owned two over the course of a year, got the first one here for around $320, bought another one brand new for $599.

Let's not talk about aesthetics. That's what lures me in in the first place. It looks pretty dang neat. A few switches here and there, a 1/4 port on the front, a set of RCAs, one optical and one USB port in the back. A real swiss army knife huh, compact and thoughtful.

But that's where all good news end. I literally cannot find anything positive to say about the sound. It's terrible, no, horrible actually. I bought the second unit just to see if I got a lemon, and bam I did not, it really just sounds that bad.

First of all, the headphone amp is actually pretty decent. It has plenty of drive and decent level of control for high impedance cans. HD600s sound great out of the amp, why the AMP section you say?

Because its DAC section is unforgivingly terrible. I've used the RCA ports in the back many times and everytime I plugged something in, it makes me wonder how on earth would these guys pair such a horrible DAC with such a good sounding amp in such a deceivingly nice chassis. The sound it puts out is lifeless, greyed out and lacks air. Detail retrieval is actually pretty decent, but highs are rough, mids are okay-ish and the bass on this thing is just an abomination. Not only is it loose, it doesn't have much extension down low and lacks quantity. My PS Audio Nuwave and Perfectwave MkII DAC both eat this thing for breakfast. Going back to those two makes me realize how artificial and harsh sounding this DAC/AMP really is, cuz the DAC section ruins what would otherwise be a fantastic dac/amp.

The amp section is pretty decent however. I tried hooking up my desktop DACs to this lil thing with a RCA-3.5mm cable, and it sounds pretty dynamic. Lots of power, pretty good control and reasonably good bottom end extension. Doesn't really sound like a portable unit, but the horrible DAC section makes the unit as a whole very tiny sounding.

In the end, I suggest any other users to steer clear of this dac/amp. The AMP section of this lil box trumps most if not all portable units on the market, however the DAC section is just so uninspiring it ruins the whole experience. It's tiny sounding, doesn't have much dynamics and lacks air. I don't really think its worth it even for the $320 I got it for.
Just picked this up used, and I think it sounds great. However, it doesn't sound great as preamp to my Jotunheim amp. I did some A/B testing with Jot balanced DAC, I noticed very little difference (grouped zone via Roon, so they were volume matched). But the iDSD by itself sounds awesome to me, so for me this is a great value for a portable dac/amp. I sold my mojo, it seemed lifeless and uninspiring in comparison. We all hear differently and have different preferences I guess.
It is obvious that you cannot hear the major details of this DAC, let alone the most subtle.
Some people can't tell the difference between High-end and mid-fi.
The ear just isn't capable.
Just got mine, and holy cow. Even on eco mode the LCD-2F is nearly unbearable loud at 12 clock volume. With the xbass on, it (LCD-2) will beat your ears up.