Reviews by OSiRiSsk


100+ Head-Fier
Pros: 3D+ and XBass+ effects, ability to drive sensitive IEMs and demanding headphones, musicality
Cons: unsuitable for portable use, minor issue when using as a DAC
iFi Audio Micro iDSD Black Label

I have received Black Label from iFi company as part of the review tour, in exchange for my honest opinion
You can find specification here
The price is currently at 549 USD on amazon, and the official iFi distributor in my country (Czech) is selling it for roughly 650 USD
So what is Black Label? It is a headphone amplifier+dac combo in the first place. It supports pretty much every music format humankind has every invented.
  Design, build, portability

The design is very smooth in my opinion and I quite it very attractive. There is just something special about that dim black finish of the device.
All iFi amps and dacs reminds me of a star destroyer. Which I really love as a Star Wars fan :-D
I can't help it, but it reminds me Star Destroyer! Another reason to love it!​
For a desktop amp/dac the size is rather small, no external power cord is needed and you can simply hook it up via provided usb cable to your laptop. It has even some battery inside which allows it to run as a amp alone, without the need of powering it. However, given its size I feel like this is quite impractical and for my use case I have never used it and didn't even plan it. It was just too clunky in my opinion, to stack it with your DAP or something like that. Not sure what was the intention behind this battery thing, but in my case, I was always running it hooked via USB cable. Though maybe for somebody it will make sense to run it just from the battery.
I will miss you Black Label!​
Features, sound, power

Features - I would say this is the strongest advantage of the Black Label. It is definitely one of the most versatile device on the market, pretty much only thing which is missing is the balanced input/output. Otherwise it's really all-in-one solution. There are lot of switches and I must admit that stuff like "Polarity" and "Filter" didn't really change the sound at all - at least I couldn't hear any sort of difference, so even after reading the provided manual, I had no idea what it's supposed to do.
However, there are many useful switches too - especially the "IEM match" and "Power Mode". These two allows you to configure gain of the amplifier, which makes Black Label compatible with all sorts of headphones ranging from sensitive IEMs such as Shure 846 to hard to drive planars. I have tried to set "Power Mode" to "Turbo" and it almost killed me, so I just switched it back to "Normal" for the remaining time.
I used "IEM Match" functionality when I was testing the Black Label with my Shure 535 which are considered quite sensitive. It worked brilliantly and it gives you great flexibility on how much power you want to feed your headphones with. 
The Black Label was also always dead silent - I haven't heard any background noise or hiss with any of the tested headphones, which is really great. No interference whatsoever.
From harder to drive headphones I have used Fostex T50RP MK3 which was easily driven by the Black Label. My current main go-to headphones are Lawton Audio LA2000 which is a modification of famous Denon AHD2000 and the result was spectacular.
Not so much difference between Black Label and FiiO K5+FiiO X7...unless you use effects!​
It's a bit tricky for me to evaluate amp or dac quality, as I feel most reviewer tend to focus on the headphones itself, which I don't want to do. With all of the tested headphones (Shure 535, Lawton Audio LA2000, Fostex T50RP MK3, VE Monk Plus) I have received satisfactory results - I was able to squeeze maximum potential from these headphones, drive them really easily and the sound was always which I consider a good match. My current desktop combo is FiiO X7 docked into the FiiO K5 amp. Sound wise it's quite similar, with one difference - FiiO K5 is a bit sharper in sound, while iFi was slightly more musical. But the dac section - i.e. the detail, resolution was pretty much on the similar level. I am not sure whether this is a compliment for or insult for either of these rigs, but that's just the way it is.
But here comes a twist - Black Label has two magical buttons - 3D+ and XBass+ - which as the name suggest, first should increase the sense of space and second enhance the bass. When I first switched these on, I was disappointed - the change wasn't as big as I was expecting. But nevermind, I kept on listening. After 15 minutes or so, I switched them both off. Only then I've realized what a drastic difference it was. I am listening to a lot of EDM music - drum and bass, techno, house, hip hop, RnB.. So the XBass+ effect was extremely addictive with me. Without these effects off I'd call Black Label a decent amp/dac combo. However, with some track, the synergy of these effects is so immersive that it takes the whole device to a completely different level. For a longer listening session, it can     be a bit fatiguing, because the intensity of the music you will hear is just huge. Still, for me this was the decisive point which catapulted the Black Label to a whole new level and I really recommend everybody to it, because some tracks were just made for 3D+ and XBass+. 
With XBass+ the bass had much more body, it became more physical. With fast pace tracks there was more rumble. But the bass duration wasn't really changed, so in the end it didn't really overflow to other frequencies, and that's what made it great.
With 3D+ I have felt almost concert like experience. The instrument separation just become much greater which gave you that extra feel of space. Again, some tracks didn't benefit so much, but some were excellent.
This is what made Black Label such fun and versatile device to use.
However I have found also some quirks, which I need to mention. When Black Label is used as a DAC, it has always 1-2 sec initial delay when it's turned on - meaning, when you start to play some music or video, the Black Label will be silent for 1-2 second and only after that it will start playing sound. Once it starts, there is no delay though and the sound is perfectly synchronized, which makes it suitable even for watching movies. 
Also, couple of times it happened, that when connected initially, the sound was completely distorted almost unbearable to hear. However, after re-connecting the device it always went back to normal.
I was using Black Label only with my Macbook so can't comment on how it works with Windows or Linux systems.

So let's sum this up.
Powerful amp with the ability to drive most sensitive IEMs to most demanding headphones ✓
Plenty of detail, resolution, and nice musical sound ✓
Support for every possible music format every invented ✓
3D+ and XBass+ effects , yes please ✓✓✓✓✓
Affordable price ✓
On the other hand:
When used as DAC - ddd quirk of initial 1-2 silence when first playing the music 
When effects are off, the sound quality is in range of FiiO K5+FiiO X7 which I am still undecided whether it's compliment or not :) 

All things considered - if you are looking for an affordable all-in-one AMP/DAC solution, with ability to switch from sensitive IEMs to most powerful headphones (Turbo most truly does this, trust me) with fun effects to play with (3D+ and XBass+) you have my permission to pull the trigger :wink:


100+ Head-Fier
Pros: comfort, great imaging, overall warm, enjoyable, non-fatiguing sound
Cons: average soundstage, not audiophile-like detail


The Meze 12 Classics has been provided to me by the Meze company as part of the official European review tour in exchange for my honest opinion.
Later on Meze decided the participants can keep their headphones which I am grateful for.
I don't want to cloud this review with boring specs, so here is the link my fellow readers:
Retail price is 79.99 $

Non-sound characteristics

First of all - and I know this is really subjective, the Meze 12 looks really beautiful. The wooden element just makes them feel special.
The Meze 12 comes with a nice little black case and number of various tips - including silicon ones in different sizes and one pair of comply foam tips. Some sort of clip is included too, but I haven't figured out out the use case too, so doesn't look essential :).
upon its arrival​

Cable is non-detachable which is kind of a standard thing in the budget sector. I wish EU would issue a law that all headphones must have detachable cables :). No idea why this isn't a standard yet. Cable looks sturdy enough to me. It also has a a microphone but since I haven't used Meze 12 with my phone I can't comment on this any further.
Initially I've experience pretty serious microphonics - but oddly, only when I *was not* walking with them. When I was listening Meze 12 in the office and the cable touched my desk the microphonics was almost unbearable. However, when using them on the go, I haven't experienced anything like this. Not sure how this can be explained, but it's a true story :wink:.

Isolation & leak depends on the selected tips and the fit. With the comply tips, isolation was very high and leak was almost non-existent.

Similarly to isolation & leak this is also dependant on the selected tips. You likely will need to experiment to find a right one, but this is the same with any other IEMs out there. It's fair to say that Meze 12 are really small and should fit in most ears really well.
It certainly did into mines - I found the comfort exceptional, and wearing them for couple of hours is not issue at all. I was using comply tips and I was really impressed with the comfort. In this regard, I can nothing but recommend them.

Sound characteristics

I am not the one who can provide you with thorough description of each frequency range. I don't even find it all that useful. When I listen to music I don't measure - when I listen to music, I actually listen to music. And I can either find the headphones enjoyable or not. It's more of a feeling thing. You just know when something feels right. Let me know tell you what I hear & feel when I listen to Meze 12 classics.
I have used them mostly with FiiO X7 AM2 and also little with Cayin i5.
seriously just look at them..gorgeous​
pairing with Cayin i5 squeezed that extra drop of detail​
I find the overall signature to be rather on the warm side. It's really non fatiguing, listening to them for hours is not a problem.

If I should really the shortest description possible I'd use *pleasant & enjoyable*. I'd also call this sound really full, almost juicy. You'll definitely get a mouthful of your favourite music when you listen to these.
 I've never experienced any sibilance in the treble area, so no need to worry. The midrange is also very pleasant to hear - vocals are really smooth and makes the whole listening experience very very natural.
 The bass gives these headphones that fun factor which many of us looks for. It goes deep, extends just the right amount, and the impact is also there. They are not for bassheads I'd say, but because of the bass I can't really call them neutral. I listen to lots of electronic, hip hop, d&b music, and these really work well with these genres.
 The soundstage is quite average though. When I first listened to them I almost wanted to say that soundstage is non existent. But when I listened to some more quality recordings I've realized that these headphones simply don't exaggerate or emphasizes the soundstage. If it's there, you will hear it. If not, you won't. All in all - the soundstage is just mediocre. And if you want to use this for listening to your classical concerts it may not be the best fit.
 The detail on these is actually quite nice - not the highest resolution, but for 79.99$ really impressive. You want to use good source to squeeze the maximum out of these. Both FiiO X7 and Cayin i5 managed to do it, Cayin providing slightly  better resolution which catapulted these into higher level. These really has potential to shine. 
 Unlike soundstage, the imaging is actually absolutely superb. Goes well above the asking price if you ask me. When you close your eyes you can totally see the instruments in your head. However, given the smaller soundstage, it's a bit crowded in there :).

 The average soundstage is in my opinion also the reason why the detail can't go that extra mile to make these audiophiles headphones.
 But that wasn't really expected I'd say.
 The detail, imaging, overall tonality, bass - all of these aspects goes well above the asking price, and I'd call them exceptional value. Soundstage is probably only part of the overall signature which I can all average. Everything else just kicks ass.
 Word of caution: All of these impressions are based on using Comply foam tips. With other tips I haven't had such a good experience.
 Especially some of the silicone tips didn't provide such a good seal, therefore the back was lacking, and the sound wasn't so full / warm.
 I strongly recommend to try various tips to fight the one providing best fit - as in other iems, these are no exception that good seal drastically influence the resultant sound.
 Meze 12 were reasonably easy to drive. With FiiO X7 AM2 I was using about 50-60 volume (out of 120). So roughly 50% was sufficient for my listening levels.
 Comparison with Fidue A71:

 Fidue A71 are selling for almost exactly the same price, which makes it a good candidate for a comparison. They are more easily to drive than Meze 12 classics. They are slightly larger which may them more prone to being uncomfortable. I was able to achieve a good seal and comfort, but this may not be true for everybody. I think it would be necessary to try them out before buying..
 Their sound is quite different - it's definitely darker, treble more recessed. The bass has more impact than Meze 12 - which with my music genres is actually pretty enjoyable. While the impact is bigger, I don't feel it leaks to other frequencies. They are actually quite midrange centric.
 There is something absolutely addictive about their bass and midrange - which I struggle to put in words. 
 The overall value they offer is pretty much the same as in Meze 12, it's just they are quite different animals. I'd call it a tie between these two  and leave it to your sound signature preference. Also, Meze 12 will most likely fit any ears, while Fidue may struggle in comfort area with some people.
Collection is growing..​


 You already know this - I really like these headphones. They are beautiful, super comfortable (with right tips), offers great imaging, warm, enjoyable sound signature. While not offering the audiophile-like detail it still kicks well above the asking price. The only minus is the average soundstage - but they are simply honest about the recording, and even this is not reason enough to not give a great rating.
 With all being said I have no other choice than to recommend these - I've heard Meze 99 in the past, now Meze 12 and it seems Meze is really going in the great direction. Well done!


100+ Head-Fier
Pros: intuitive UI, retro and compact design, overall SQ, stable FW
Cons: no USB dac support, lack of features
I am very thrilled to be writing this review as I was looking for some alternatives to my FiiO X7 DAP - there will be plenty of comparisons later on. M1 PRO is a very neat little DAP, and I'll try to explain why. However, you'll find out, that it's not the most perfect one. Then again - is there any?
[color=rgb(34, 34, 34)] Formalities[/color]
Formality 1 - declaration
Soundaware M1 PRO was borrowed to me by Soundaware company as part of the official european Review tour in exchange for my honest opinion.
You'll see later on that I don't just praise this DAP as there are some clear flaws too.
Formality 2 - spec
Official M1 Pro specification by manufacturer
I don't to pollute this review by listing all the formats it can play, just use the link above.
Formality 3 - price
You can buy it from 658 $
Penon Audio is resseling this for 759 $
I haven't found any european re-seller which is really shame.
[color=rgb(34, 34, 34)] Packaging, Accessories[/color]
M1Pro was delivered to me in a very nice red box. There was a feel of luxury to it. Following is the list of items included in the package:
 - M1Pro body
 - MicroSD card
 - USB charging cable
 - USB card reader
 - 3.5mm to RCA coaxial cable
 - user manual (two of those)
 - rubber pad 
I am not sure whether everything is included in the retail unit as well, but it certainly can be handy to have USB card reader available out of the box. The content above was included in the review unit.

[color=rgb(34, 34, 34)] Design, usability, key features[/color]
Before diving into the description of sound quality I'd like to mention few features which makes M1Pro really special.
The first is definitely its design - for some it may look very old, but to me it gives special analog/retro feel which I really appreciate.
The M1Pro is really compact as well - in comparison to my FiiO X7 it's almost tiny. It's very convenient for wearing it in the pocket.
The display is rather small but I never struggled to see what was on there. 
Another thing about its appearance are the physical buttons. These day it's common that your DAP will have touch screen, but not this one. This one will bring you back to the basics. With the small size and the physical button the navigation is very easy even with one hand.
The buttons are very intuitive to use - after a while you will find out few little hacks and you will get used to it.
The best thing? There is physical button for lock! Sweet baby jesus, I had no idea I needed this so badly. It's awesome. You can't appreciate it now - trust me, you will.
physical buttons makes M1Pro very easy to operate with​
The button of all buttons - physical lock!​

Next I'd like to explicitly highlight the user interface of this DAP. I opened a few M1Pro reviews before, but didn't read them through completely, cause I didn't want to be biased. But all of them mentioned the UI in the cons section. I don't understand this at all. For me, the UI is one of the most biggest advantage of this device. It's extremely simple, almost primitive. But for me, in this context, the less means more. Why?
Because the more features it will have, the bigger chance there will be bugs. If you've read the FiiO X7 thread you know that most of it is just users complaining about issues. With M1Pro I honestly haven't encountered any sort of UI of other glitch. Everything just works smoothly.
Of course, you do not receive WiFi, bluetooth support. I think there is not even a support for a m3u and cue files. I don't really mind that at all. M1Pro simply gives me the possibility to focus on music and music only and takes away all the unnecessary features, which may be good to have, but at the end of the day, they are just distractions for me. For god sake, I don't even use the Music library menu - I simply play the music directly from the SD Card. This simply works the best for me.
I understand there will be many people out there disagreeing there. There are DAPs out there, which offers many features, advanced UI, and still functions without issues  - but what are these? Maybe high end Astel and Kern models which costs triple the M1 price.
I also understand that some people want as many features in their DAPs as possible - if this is the case, you may need to look for another player, as M1 focus on playing the music in its purest form, nothing else. No Tidal, no bluetooth, no playlists.
After using FiiO X7 for almost a year, this is pleasant change to me. I was drawn to the X7 because of the rich feature list it offered.
However it failed miserably on delivering these features - the player is just too unstable. M1Pro on the other hand, offers almost nothing extra besides playing the music, but it does it brilliantly without any hiccups or bugs. And isn't this what you want in your DAP in the first place?
Another great thing about M1Pro is that it offers 2 slots for SD card - 2x128 GB. That's a huge plus, which not every player can offer you. Hopefully with the FW upgrade, they will be able to support 2x200 GB cards as well. I haven't tried the 200 GB card personally as I don't own any.
Until now, M1Pro was a perfect player for me. Unfortunately there is a huge downside  - M1Pro doesn't have USB DAC functionality. For this price I find this unacceptable and in my eyes it significantly diminishes the value of the player. It's not a firmware issue unfortunately, there is simply no hardware support to it. Too bad..
See this link for general usability (for some reason, it's been rotated, sry for that)
[color=rgb(34, 34, 34)] Battery[/color]
Battery is the one odd thing about this player. It sort of behaves unexpectedly. I mean, you can't always rely on a fact how much percentage you have left because the percentage simply doesn't decrease linearly. 
battery is odd little duck. Playing music with 0% battery? mkay!​

I performed two tests:
  1.  How long does the battery last
I have used Shure 535 with various files, mp3, FLAC and even HD flac during the playback. Volume was set to 50, gain was set to High.
The battery lasted approximately 8h45min - it corresponds to what manufacturer claim on their website (they mention value of 9h).
It's not a lot, but it's not so little either, so I am kind of indifferent towards the battery life. For me, it's definitely sufficient.
Odd thing was that at 07:00 AM the batter was 29 %. At 08:13 the battery was all of a sudden 1%.  This is what I've meant when I said that the decrease in battery percentage is not always linear. I think the more you power-on/power-off the device, the more you drain battery, at least that's my personal experience. 
  1. How long does the charging take
I used USB charger with 2A throughput. It took approximately 5h30 min. Again, the numbers were odd - the batter increase was quite steady, until 99 %. It got stuck for more than 30 min at this value.
Also, Soundaware recommends that you have your device shut down during the charging period as it speeds up the whole process significantly.
[color=rgb(34, 34, 34)] Sound - quality, power, signature[/color]
I definitely do not posses with  perfect hearing capabilities, so maybe I am not the best judge when it comes to these sort of things, but here is my experience. Also, whenever I am reading AMP/DAC/DAP sound quality descriptions I feel like most of the times the reviewer are describing the headphones he used and not the device it self, and I'd like to avoid this.
While I've had the M1Pro I was mostly using it with my Shure 535, but also with Fidue A71. I also tried with couple of big cans - mainly Beyerdynamic T5p and Fostex T50RP MK III.
When it comes to the quality, the first thing that struck me the most was the overall resolution and amount of detail. It's enormous. In a good way. I was used to this from my FiiO X7 and M1Pro is easily competing with it. I was trying to find some differences between the two - FiiO X7 and M1Pro so I could compare the internal DAC section because initially they sounded very similar to me. 
For this I have used my Stax rig and fed the Stax SRM-3 amplifier from the line-out of the X7 and M1Pro respectively.
After the test they still sound very similar, the only difference I could hear was that X7 had more warmth (AM2). Remember, this is still a very minor difference and I will admit to you straight away, that in a blind-test I'd most likely fail miserably when trying to guess which one is which.
Comparing the DAC section of X7 vs M1Pro using my Stax rig​

M1Pro was more neutral - but not in a boring way. The sound is still very full and engaging, keeping the details on a very high level.
The one interesting thing I've noticed that with M1Pro I've almost never experienced the annoying sibilance which I experience much more frequently when using my Shure 535 with X7.
When it comes to power, the Shure 535 are quite sensitive IEMs but I have to use High gain (M1Pro has three gains by the way - L/M/H) and volume around 45-50 (out of 100).
For Beyerdynamic T5p I had to use around 60/100 volume, but it was driving them confidently.
The biggest question mark was around Fostex T50RP mkIII which does not have high impedance at all, but due to their lower sensitivity they are considered fairly harder to drive. In the end, I had to push the M1Pro all the way to 85-90 volume in order to drive my Fostex sufficiently. It sounded really good - I usually drive them with my FiiO K5 amplifier which is much more powerful. With FiiO K5 my pair of Fostex sounds more "confident", but even M1Pro did a decent job. 
Unfortunately I do not have any usual 300 ohms headphones, so couldn't test this aspect. For IEMs the M1Pro is certainly sufficient, and since it could drive even my pair of Fostex I'd say that it has plenty of power. Of course it can't compete with AM3 or AM5 of FiiO X7. 
To sum up - except my pair of Fostex the M1Pro drove all my headphones to its fullest potential. Didn't flavour sound at all, as it provided extremely neutral, balanced, yet full and energetic sound keeping very high amount of details. This is definitely not a DAP for bassheads - there is not even equalizer. You should use suitable cans for bass, as M1Pro will not flavour the sound in any way.
Shure 535 delivered fun and detailed signature, fostex had the rumbling bass just the way I remember it and T5p were extremely clear and detailed, just the way I know them.
[color=rgb(34, 34, 34)] Direct comparison with FiiO X7[/color]
I've already mentioned FiiO X7 couple of times, but let's have it under one place. These two are completely different animals.
X7 is android based player, which offers plethora of features and changeable amplifier section. While that is a great idea, X7 can't deliver
to its fullest potential due to firmware issues which are not ironed out even after one year.
M1Pro is stable in the first day after its release - mostly due to its lack of features and primitive UI. For me, that's a good thing though.
M1Pro have second slot for SD card, which X7 doesn't have.
Finally, X7 has USB DAC function which M1Pro doesn't have.
The sound signature really depends on what amplifier you use with X7 - I've used AM2 which is slightly warmer than the M1Pro. I wouldn't say one is superior when it comes to SQ - they are simply different.
I think these two are targeting completely different customer's base, so you should really pick based on your needs, as the differences are huge.
M1Pro can't compete with my bunny on FiiO X7's background​
M1Pro is really compact​

[color=rgb(34, 34, 34)] Verdict[/color]
You probably know by now that I am a huge fan of M1Pro - it offers neutral, detailed and full sound signature. It allows you to use 2 SD cards which allows you to take most of your music away with you. The battery life is average. The thing I like the most is the simplicity of its usage. The UI is almost primitive and offers very little features - for me that is a great thing as the risk of introduces bugs in the M1Pro firmware is much lower than in other DAPs on the market. Also, it gives me no distraction whatsoever so I can completely focus on the listening experience.
The reason why I had to put lower score in the overall value of the product is because of missing USB DAC support. Otherwise, for all analog, retro fans out there, who just want to focus on your music, without anything standing in your way - look no further. M1Pro is your end stop.
Great review! I agree with your feelings on the UI; I think it's simplistically fantastic! And the sound...amazing!!!


100+ Head-Fier
Pros: great design and build, does what is promised
Cons: questionable value when used with X7
I have received FiiO DK1 directly from FiiO company in exchange for my honest opinion (as you will surely find out soon).
This will be short, since you don't really need to know my personal preferences for sound taste for this particular product.
However, what I'd like to explain is why I was interested in getting my hands on DK1 in the first place.
I am already owner of FiiO K5 and I have been using it in combination with my FiiO X7 plugged into my Macbook.
The good thing about FiiO K5 - the charging of the X7 was much more faster/powerful since K5 is not powered by your laptop, it's plugged
directly into the circuit.
The bad thing - at least for me - is that I liked the sound of X7 alone better then when plugged into K5 - I simply prefer the sound signature of the AM1 and AM2 amplifiers instead of the K5.
So I was wondering - I'd still like my FiiO X7 to be nicely plugged into some docking station while listening to music from may laptop.
I'd still like my X7 being charged, but I still want to use the amp section of the X7 - and not the amp of K5.
So when FiiO announcend release of the DK1 - they got me all hooked up.
This review will cover how this worked out for me..
So what is FiiO DK1? Essentially is a docking station for variety of FiiO products - namely E17k, X1, X3II, X5II, and X7. And this is how it looks.
You can find official details here:
The retail price today, on, is 19.99$.
I have only used DK1 with my FiiO X7 so can't comment on how it works with other FiiO DAPs.
What FiiO promises DK1 delivers? It's quite simple:
  •  Line out
  •  Charging abilities
  •  Stand ability
Now let's get these three points break down - in context with my X7.
Line out
First of all - FiiO X7 has line out on the top end. Which means, if you dock X7 into DK1 you actually don't essentially need the line out of DK1. You could still use the lineout of X7 directly, and it would worked out the very same for you. However, using DK1 line out is probably more convenient for the cable itself. 5/10
Charging abilities
DK1 is connected to your laptop/PC via USB - your USB ports (and mine certainly) doesn't generate enough current (1.1-1.3A usually). Which means, that your X7 is inevitably discharging even if docked. It's quite simple - the energy consumed by X7 playing music is higher than the energy coming in through the USB port. Of course, it will last longer than usually, but if you'd just let it play indefinitely - X7 would sooner or later got out of battery power. 5/10
DK1 delivers what it promises - usb port and lineout. But is it enough without headphones port?​
Stand ability
This one really makes my X7 shines. I am not all about aesthetics and design, but my X7 looks gorgeous when docked in DK1. Definitely much more representative when it's just laying around the table. 10/10
my home setup​
X7 sure looks nice when docked into DK1​

If you read the BACKGROUND section, you know what my initial intention was going to be - I wanted to use X7 docked into DK1, connected to my laptop USB, and then feed the X7 with my headphones. I guess you already know what is the issue here - if X7 is docked to DK1 the headphone port is simply not accessible - because it's in the same area where the X7 is being docked, in the bottom.
So for my particular use case - listening to music via headphones from my laptopt - X7 docked into DK1 is simply unusable.
I have checked the picture of X5 II - and this DAP has headphone output on the top - so for the same use case, X5II and DK1 would make a great fit! Unfortunately - not with X7.
I know it's hard to design a docking station that it would fit all the FiiO's DAPs in a same fashion, but I am really sad I can't use it for my intended use case.
There isn't much more I am able to say about this. If I want to feed my X7(docked in DK1 which is connected to my laptop) to my hi-system via
line out - I don't really need DK1 for it, because:
 Whether I connect my laptop to my hi-fi system directly, or via X7 docked in DK1 I can't tell a sound difference. My Hi-Fi system is simply not that sophisticated, that X7's great DAC could show it's full potential.
So for me - for my purpose - the DK1 in combination with X7 offers only the esthetics functions.
For charging I can simply use the USB cable with my laptop, or if I want to speed things up, I can still use K5 or standard USB charger with 2A current throughput.

For line out - again, I can simply used laptop jack directly, or simply connect X7 to my laptop with simple usb cable, and use X7's lineout (instead of DK1).
I was very hesitant whether DK1 will get positive or negative score.
In the end, I have decided to give a positive one, mainly because FiiO didn't make any false advertising on DK1:
  1.   You know it offers lineout (which X7 itself offers too though).
  2.   You know it offers charging abilities, but you know that it's done via USB connection to your laptop, so it's obvious, your laptop's usb ports doesn't provide enough current. FiiO didn't try to mystify this in any way
  3. Also, if you own X7 you simply know that headphones out is in the bottom, which will make it inaccessible if it's docked in the DK1.
 So currently - I am still looking for a docking station for my X7 which would allow me to listen music from my laptop and plug the headphones in X7. DK1 doesn't do the trick because of inaccessible headphone port, and K5 fails too, since the AM1 and AM2 delivers better sound signature to my ears, then the K5 itself.
 Before you make a purchase of DK1 - you really need to know why you need it, and whether it will come handy for your specific use case. For mine, it's just doesn't cut it.
 If DK1 would have headphone out, on top of already existing line out, it would be much more universal for everybody - unfortunately this is not the case.
It seems like DK1 is a friendly companion for every device  - except X7, which is too bad.
Vitor Valeri
Vitor Valeri
Do you know if it is possible to charge the battery Players from other brands? I wanted to recharge my Cowon Plenue using this dock ...
That's a good question. Unfortunately I don't have my Cowon Plenue at my possession - however, if this one has the USB input at the bottom, then it could be possible.
I suggest:
1) Send email to FiiO Support to ask, whether the docking capability is something FiiO specific, or if it can "dock" even non-FiiO device
2) If possible, try this at your local reseller
Cyberia Knight
Cyberia Knight
When I plug the X5ii into the dock the digital coaxial output is muted, so you can't use this dock to integrate your player with your hi-fi. This is a major floor and means the player has to be removed from the dock to play music through my hi-fi.


100+ Head-Fier
Pros: excellent value, overall good tonality, great bass
Cons: nothing really at this price, L/R marking not so visible when the light is not right

I am in no way associated with the SoundMAGIC company. I have bought ES18 myself and just expressing my honest opinion here.

I am a 25 years old music enthusiast and audio gear lover. I am not saying audiophile for a reason,as that sounds both, too scientific and pretentious. I simply listen to music easily ~8 hours per day, and I want to enjoy it as much as possible.  My first headphones were closed-back Sennheiser EH150 - very bassy and very uncomfortable headphones.

I was slowly upgrading my gear and currently I own BD T5p I. While I started as a pure bass-head I am able to enjoy the neutral headphones now too (with BD being one example). But I do listen to LOT of electronic music a lot - hip hop, dnb, techno, trip hop, downtempo -  just to name a few, which means, that I need my bass to be good. I am not saying loud, but simply good - quality over quantity, that's for sure. In the past few years I have been extending my music horizons, and I am well into some other genres as well, including folk, indie rock, indie pop, blues, soul, and even little bit of metal.
Currently my main source equipment is FiiO X7. I do own lot of FLAC files, but by no means 100%, so there are still a plenty of MP3s playing around.
SoundMAGIC ES18 are my first IEMs ever, until now, I only owned closed-back over-ear/on-ear pairs.
There is one thing I value almost as much as the sound quality - and that is the *comfort*. I don't care much about the headphones aesthetics, design and accessories. Sound quality, comfort and cable are the three most important things I value about headphones, and whenever I stand in front of a purchase I don't like to make compromises in any of these three areas.

So - why would anybody even consider buying these? I mean - I paid 14 € for these, and let's be honest - this sounds plain suspicious.
At least it did for me. My motivation was very simple - my Beyerdynamic T5p were being serviced (actually, at the time of posting
this review, they still are :wink:) and I simply needed temporary replacement and I didn't want to spend lot of money, since I knew that I'll have my BDs back in a 30 days tops.
So I came into my local audio shop and literally asked for the cheapest headphone they had - I was offered with these IEMs, and was told
that they actually don't sound that bad. Still, you know motivation for buying these, so you may have already guessed -
I've had absolutely zero expectations when purchasing these, and was not biased in any way.

So, I have bought these babies and plugged them right into my FiiO X7 /with AM1/. I have noticed two things right away:
  1.  They were slightly harder to drive then my Beyerdynamic T5p (just by few volume levels away)
  2.  The bass. It was everywhere. I didn't even know how to judge the sound quality.
My first track was some Drum&Bass and I guess  that the transition from high-end headphones to cheaper IEMs can let you pretty confused. In fact, the bass was so all-over-the-place that I had to EQ this thing! This was my first time ever I was using the EQ!
 Then, after 2-3 days of active listening, I decided to turn the EQ off and all of a sudden it all made sense.  Just like a virgin remembers  his first encounter forever, I will remember what it was to experience burn-in effect for   the first time.
 I don't really care whether this was a brain burn-in or actual burn-in but I know this for a fact:
  1.   The bass has considerably calmed down, and became much more defined. So, now the bass has been tamed, let's discuss the sound quality.
The orange looks really beautiful with these
SoundMAGIC ES18 with accessories - S/M/L tips

These definitely can't be marked as neutral. Even after the bass has calmed down significantly after the burn-in, there is still slight emphasis on the low-end frequencies. The bass has nice impact, and extends really low. Initially, it was all about quantity. After burn-in  the bass actually reaches pretty nice quality too. As a lover of electronic music I am very satisfied with this kind of bass. It is certainly not the most tight I have heard, but the combination of the impact and extension make it very good.
The mids and treble are just right for me - definitely not suitable for treble-heads, these aren't exactly bright.   On the opposite , the overall sound has quite dark signature. The vocals sounds very to put this - I have to say velvety, that's the impression I've got.  The soundstage is mediocre as one would expect from low-cost IEMs, but the imaging is pretty decent which compensates a lot.
Still, when I listen to music I don't really focus individually on the bass, mids and the treble. I try to listen to the sound signature  of the given headphones. And this one suits me really well - I find it very relaxing, with the slightly elevated low-end there is a nice "fun" factor to listening your music, and these are never fatiguing. It all sounds very natural to my ears.
To sum up : regarding the sound, there are couple of areas where these are average and couple of above average areas. And they truly   excel in the low-end.
For 14€ I was expecting mediocre OR worse. Definitely not something which I am enjoying as this much!
When it comes to comfort it depends on a fit you will be able to get. These comes with three pair of tips. With smallest size, the comfort is best for me, but the isolation not so much - which means the bass is slightly leaking.  With medium size, I have the average comfort (nothing hurts for the first couple of hours) - and the bass is just right. I haven't tried the largest tips, since they just seem too large :).
I also have to mention that the isolation is just great - these actually isolates better than *any* of my previous closed-back headphones! Of course, it also depends on what fit you will get with different tips.
The leakage is non existent as one would expect from IEMs.
Another thing - the cable. It's looks pretty cheap, but never had any problem with it so far. And trust me, I usually have  problems with cable :). It never got tangled so far, the jack is L-shaped which I actually prefer by far.
Finally, on my list of priorities the last thing - design. These comes in different colors, I have chosen the orange one - because why not?
I love the minimalistic design,and find it very chic. 
L/R marking is visible well only in correct light condition
14€ IEMs and 600€ DAP making a great combination
L-shaped jack looking durable

You have probably guessed right - I love these IEMs. Especially for the superb value they are offering for the price. Yes, if I compare them to the TOTL headphones I will have to say that these the soundstage is not very wide, lack of airiness, and they are not so detailed. But such comparison is simply not fair.
I have been completely ignoring this part of the market - I have actually never spent so little on any headphones for the past 10 years. I have also been secretly underestimating the IEMs in the past - this ends now, after this purchase. I am very surprised that there are manufacturers out there, who can offer so much, for so little money. I am not ashamed to say that I am enjoying both, SoundMAGIC ES18 for 14 € and Beyerdynamic T5p for couple of hundreds €. It's also a brilliant introduction to the world of IEMs for me - I keep asking myself - if 14€ IEMs can deliver so much, how must the Shure 846 sound?
I guess I will have to find out someday.. But until then, I'll stick with my SoundMAGIC ES18 and I am going to love it.
PS: Since this is my first review, I thought I'd give you some treat for reading it till the end - here, enjoy my rabbit (Johanka) wearing the SoundMAGIC ES18 - she enjoys them too.
Johanka, enjoying SoundMAGIC ES18 too
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There are the best budget headphones ever produced.
@Sulbh I agree ! :) I am waiting for the VE Monk to arrive, maybe that will change my opinion.