Reviews by thaslaya

thaslaya

500+ Head-Fier
Precision Machined But Far From Cold
Pros: + Velvety vocals

+ Boomy bass

+ Tight treble

+ Musicality over technicality

+ Shell build quality

+ 2 carrying cases
Cons: - Pentaconn connection

- Stock cable

- Shell design

- Shape may cause fit issues/pressure

- Price to performance ratio
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thaslaya's star rating system:
☆☆☆☆☆ - Fantastic!
☆☆☆☆ - Recommended
☆☆☆ - There are buyers but not for me
☆☆ - Can't see the appeal
☆ - Product is a failure

Disclaimer:
These were lent to me by a friend for trial/review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Gear used:
●LG v30+
●Samsung Galaxy s22 Ultra
●Samsung dongle
●Hiby FC4
● Kiwi Ears Allegro
● iFi GO bar Kensei

Source:
Listening was done through Amazon Music HD or Ultra HD.
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Introduction:
Founded in 2013, Acoustune is a Japanese based audio company and iem manufacturer that developed their own unique dynamic driver material called "Milinx". According to their site, it's a "medical synthetic base material, formed into a thin film". While Accoustune is not a prominent mainstream brand, some of their iems are instantly recognizable due to their unique shell design. The HS1790TI released in 2022 and currently retails around $750-799. They feature a single dynamic driver utilizing Acoustune's own Milinx diaphragm paired with the rigidity of titanium to prevent resonance. Thats a lot of tech lingo but let's see how they sound.
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Build, fit, ergonomics:
The HS1790TI comes in an Acoustune branded box which contains a large carrying case, the iems themselves, a 3.5mm terminated Pentaconn cable, a smaller case, and a plastic holder for 6 sets of tips. The inclusion of both a large, hard travel case and a smaller, more pocketable one is great and more in line with what you'd expect to see in an expensive purchase. The shell showcases Acoustune's intricately crafted design that closer resembles something you might pull off the engine of a high performance race car than an iem. This style doesn't align with my personal taste but I can see why people could be drawn to them. The shell housing is made of titanium and has a great build quality with a nice weight balance. The fit is a bit difficult though as there are some edges and protrusions that caused me discomfort, particularly under my tragus. After some trial and error, I was able to get a fairly stable fit but I found myself having to readjust them over longer sessions. The nozzle length might be a bit on the short side at least for my ears. I would have liked them to be longer for a more stable, deeper insertion. The HS1790TI utilize Pentaconn connectors which makes cable rolling more difficult as it's less common than MMCX and 2 pin. The stock cable honestly feels a bit cheap and rubbery. The build quality doesn't match that of the precision machined shells and is better suited to a set under $200. It does come with a nice Acoustune branded leather cable tie though. Not all of the stock tips were included in the holder since this set is borrowed so I can't speak much on their quality and fit. I used my prefered Penon Liqueur tips as I find their seal to be best for me.
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Sound impressions:
I woud describe the HS1790TI tuning as warm/neutral with boosted bass. It does a remarkable job of straddling the fine line between being too warm, making highs lack shimmer and sparkle, and having too much energy in the upper frequencies that can present as fatiguing and over detailed. The soundstage is on the average/narrow side to my ear sounds and comes off more intimate with vocals and mids taking center stage. Even though it can sound somewhat restricted, it never feels claustrophobic or congested and seperation is very good giving each note its own room to breath. It almost sounds a personal concert is being played just for the listener in a small venue. While they aren't necessarily hard to drive, they do respond well to power and benefit from amplification to bring out their full potential. I found them best paired with the more powerful iFi GO bar Kensei on Turbo mode compared to the Hiby FC4 and Kiwi Ears Allegro.
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●Lows - Bass is big and subbass rumble reaches pretty low. The bass gets even bigger with high gain on the Kensei. It can get near basshead levels when pushed but never sounds bloated or overbearing. The sub bass is more prominent and the mid bass stays clean and doesn't bleed or hinder the mid frequencies. It's not the best performing bass as far as speed and tends to have a slower decay but it has great texture and a visceral quality that is more musical over technical. I would decribe them as thick and syrupy but in the best way, almost like being wrapped in a warm blanket.

●Mids - To my ear, vocals are the star of the show on the HS1790TI. They are so smooth, non-fatiguing, and inebriating and I could listen for hours. Both male and female artists sound fantastic without shout or sibilance. There is a fair amount of energy in the upper mids that could be just a tad much on certain tracks but that also depends on listening volume. The timbre is spot on and the mid frequencies have a very realistic and organic timbre. As I touched on in the lows section, the mids stay free from any bleed and have plenty of separation to shine on their own. That syrupy feeling carries over from the bass and the mids also sound rich and luxuriant.

●Highs - The treble takes a back seat to the other frequencies and that exactly matches my preference. There is plenty of detail to be heard but it's done in a musical way that keeps it from sounding cold and clinical. There's enough air and shimmer to satisfy most (maybe not the trebleheads out there) while also allowing the mids and bass to grab the spotlight and take center stage. Some of the more troublesome high notes, such as claps and cymbal splashes, stay free of any irritation for the most part. I did sporadically encounter just the smallest twinge of "hot treble" causing a slight unpleasantness but it happened so rarely that it was easy to overlook. This will also depend on listening volume but for me it didn't really retract from the overall product.
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In conclusion:
Rating the Acoustune HS1790TI is difficult for me. One on hand, I absolutely love the tuning and it's definitely one of the best iems I've heard to date. But on the other hand, the shell design is not my style and the shape causes some difficulty with fit and comfort. Also at $750, it's not a cheap purchase. As most people in this hobby eventually discover, diminishing returns become very real as the price increases. Just because something is double or triple the cost doesn't mean it'll have double or triple the performance. For me this became fairly evident during my time with the HS1790TI. Don't get me wrong, they are absolutely great and could easily be endgame for a lot of people, myself included. But I've also experienced ~90% of their sound value in sets costing $300. That makes these a tough sell at $750. So what does a buyer for the HS1790TI look like? In my opinion it's someone who enjoys a deep, visceral bass, a smooth, vocal-forward midrange, and a tight treble that exhibits just enough air and sparkle without detracting from the other frequencies. Their tuning shines best with soft pop, soft rock, R&B, and other vocal centric genres. It also wouldn't hurt if the buyer loves the unique aestetics. After all, a lot of us listen with our eyes as well as our ears (at least I'm very guilty of this). Ultimately, I can recommend them if their tuning and design resonate with you. Thanks for reading and I hope I've been able to shine some light on one of the most unique iems I've had the pleasure of reviewing.
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The Acoustune HS1790TI is endorsed by local wildlife.

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thaslaya

500+ Head-Fier
All About That Bass
Pros: + Bass quantity

+ Great build quality and design

+ Stock cable
Cons: - Bass quality (bloated)

- Sibilant at times

- Treble lacks extension
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thaslaya's star rating system:
☆☆☆☆☆ - Fantastic!
☆☆☆☆ - Recommended
☆☆☆ - There are buyers but not for me
☆☆ - Can't see the appeal
☆ - Product is a failure

Disclaimer:
This product was purchased by me and all opinions are my own.

Gear used:
● LG v30+
● Samsung Galaxy s22 Ultra
● Hiby FC4

Source:
Listening was done through Amazon Music HD or Ultra HD.
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Introduction:
Hawaiian Bad Boy (HBB) is an audiophile YouTuber and reviewer. He has done quite a few tuning collaborations with different iem manufacturers. Most of his sets are very bass heavy and oriented toward the low end. The Blon x HBB Z300 contains a single dynamic driver and is indeed very bassy. It is currently priced at $35 on Amazon. Let's break it down and see what $35 can get you.
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Build, fit, ergonomics:
The shells are constructed of metal and have a nice heft to them. They feel very premium and have a great durable build for only $35. They are available in 2 color options (gold or cobalt blue) and feature an artistic dragon design on each faceplate. The stock cable has a premium look and feel and is available in 3.5 or 4.4mm termination (I opted for 4.4). It's one of the nicer stock cables I've recieved with an iem under $50. There are 6 sets of silicone tips and a small carrying bag also included. Overall the accessories are adequate and about what I'd expect for the price tag. The nozzle length is on the shorter side which might cause fit issues for some. I did have to do a fair amount of tip rolling and settled on medium Penon Liquer orange tips for the best seal.

Sound impressions:
The soundstage has good depth but the width is just average. It could benefit from more width to have better separation and allow the frequencies room to breathe. They aren't great at detail retrieval or very resolving but to be fair that's not what this specific tuning was made for.
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●Lows - The bass hits right away and seems to never let up. If bass is your thing then the Z300 are probably right up your alley. Sub bass rumbles deep and mid bass has good punch and impact. There is a fair amount of bloat and bleeding into the mids on certain tracks. It's not a very fast bass and has a slower decay that seems to linger. Usually I associate a fatiguing profile with too much treble but in this case the bass wears me down over time and my ears need a break. It's not the quantity but rather the quality. I enjoy big bass but it needs to stay in it's lane and not completely dominate the other frequencies. Even with more easy listening tracks from Adele and John Mayer, the bass is constant and never let's up.

●Mid - I was afraid the big dominant bass would push the mids back too far but to my surprise they aren't actually that recessed. Vocals are clear and positioned just a bit forward on the stage. There can be a hint of shoutiness in the upper mids at times depending on listening volume. The bass bleeds and muddles up the whole lower mid range.

●Highs - To be fair if you're listening to an HBB collaboration you're probably not interested in the best treble presentation. There are a few problems here. The highs roll off too early. The lack of extension hinders the overall presentation of the treble. It makes the sound more congested. Also, there is sibilance at times. Treble sensitive folk like myself will find the S's and cymbal crashes to be harsh on certain tracks.
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Summary:
At $35 the Blon x HBB Z300 lies in a crowded tier. If you're a basshead on a budget these might be a good one to try. The build quality is very nice and competes with iems double and triple the cost. They deliver a big bass experience but don't expect the best technicalities, treble extension, or overall tuning in this price bracket. In my case they worked best with rock, hip hop, and chillhop. If the budget can be pushed higher to $50, I would reccomend checking out the Juzear Clear. In my opinion, the Clear are superior across all frequencies, have better technicalities, a more premium design, and one of the best stock cables under $100.
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thaslaya

500+ Head-Fier
Legendary
Pros: + Premium sound

+ Impeccable build quality

+ Filter options

+ XBass and XSpace

+ IEMatch

+ Carrying/storage case included

+ Both lightning and USB-C cables + USB adapter included

+ Unboxing experience
Cons: - Price

- Case can't be used while device is connected

- Finish prone to scratches/fingerprints
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thaslaya's star rating system:
☆☆☆☆☆ - Fantastic!
☆☆☆☆ - Recommended
☆☆☆ - There are buyers but not for me
☆☆ - Can't see the appeal
☆ - Product is a failure

Disclaimer:
This product was provided to me by iFi Audio in exchange for my impartial and honest review. I recieve no compensation and all thoughts and opinions are my own. A special thanks to Karina at iFi for coordinating this unit for review.
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Gear used:
● LG v30+
● Samsung Galaxy s22 Ultra
● Samsung dongle
● Various iems

Source:
● Listening was done through Amazon Music HD or Ultra HD.

Introduction:
Honestly iFi Audio needs little introduction for those in the audiophile community and, if you're looking to purchase the GO bar Kensei, chances are you're familiar with the brand. The Kensei is the third iteration of the GO bar dongle DAC/amplifier. The previous being the original GO bar and the 10th Anniversary gold edition. Kensei is a Japanese word that translates to "sword saint" - an honorary title bestowed on very few warriors who displayed legendary swordmanship. It's a catchy name for sure but does the newest model of the GO bar live up to it's namesake? A question I hope to answer in this review.

Unboxing:
The packaging isn't much different than other iFi products but once the outer box is open there is a nice surprise waiting. The Kensei comes in a beautifully engraved wooden box. It's a work of art in and of itself and makes a nice display piece to place on a shelf. Included with the usual paperwork and user manuals are both a USB-C and lightning cables. Also there's a small USB adapter for use with desktop setups. It's simple to include all the connections one could need but it's always appreciated as some companies make you choose between cable types when ordering.

Design:
I have seen pictures of the GO bar many times in listings on Head-fi and Reddit. I always assumed its length to be much longer so I was taken aback when I opened the box to find how little it really is. It's surprisingly small but very dense and much heavier than anticipated. Don't let it's size fool you though, this thing is an audiophile's dream tool whose size undercuts its power, not unlike the samurai swords of old. Made from Japanese stainless steel, the Kensei is sturdy, robust and lustrous. The build quality is absolutely superb. It feels great to hold in hand and premium to the touch. The only drawback may be the finish is a bit prone to fingerprints and scratches. On one end of the unit you'll find the USB-C connection and on the other are the 3.5mm and 4.4mm ports. Located on the side of the Kensei are the function button, + and - volume buttons, and the IEMatch toggle. On the back are a plethora of indicator lights to show the playback format and the current options being utilized.
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Technical Information:
The Kensei utilizes a 32-bit Cirrus Logic DAC chipset. It supports the following audio formats: PCM up to 32-bit/384 kHz, native DSD playback up to DSD256, 2x DXD, and full MQA decoding. I'm not a very tech savvy user so I will have to differ to iFi's website for all that mumbo jumbo. A full rundown of the internals and circuitry can be found here.


Features:
The list of features on the Kensei is very impressive, especially when you consider there's no companion app. There is, of course, iFi's staple XBass and XSpace. There's also a Turbo mode, essentially a high gain level, and 4 digital filters to toggle through that I'll touch on later. Specific to the Kensei version of the GO bar is the new K2HD mode that, according to iFi, "revives rich, natural harmonics into digital sound, adding an organic quality unlike any other". It essentially aims to make your music sound a bit less digital and more lifelike.

Power consumption:
With great power comes great...battery drain? I don't think that's quite right but in the case of the Kensei it's close. This thing does indeed drain your source's battery fairly quickly but it also depends on what options are enabled at the time. When using higher volumes, XBass, XSpace, and Turbo mode, the power consumption will be higher. My LG v30+ was only able to last about 2-3 hours of continuous use. My S22 Ultra faired better at around 4-5 hours but I was also browsing and utilizing other functions of the phone.
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Sound impressions:
I don't know what magic is going on inside the Kensei but it elevates everything I've paired it with to another level. There's enough variety with the plethora of options that makes using any iem/headphone an easy and fun interaction. The 4 filter options are Bit- Perfect (cyan), Standard (red), Minimum Phase (yellow), and Gibbs Transient-Optimized or GTO (white). My filter of choice varied with each iem depending on the synergy. It's a bit hard to explain the subtleties that accompany each filter and compare them to each other. I believe the best way to convey what I hear is to share what settings I used with each individual pairing and how it affects the sound compared to the stock tuning.

Aful MagicOne - Standard (red) filter, K2HD enabled, 4.4 connection with IEMatch, Turbo mode, and XBass and XSpace enabled. This added a touch of warmth to the vocals but still allowed them to shine. It also opened up the soundstage and added some much needed bass emphasis.

Kiwi Ears x Crinacle: Singolo - Bit-Perfect (cyan) filter, 4.4 conncection with IEMatch, Turbo mode, and XSpace enabled. This added more vocal presence while preserving the excellent timbre of the mids, more tightness and speed to the bass, and an enhanced soundstage.

Softears Volume - GTO (white) filter, 4.4 connection with IEMatch, Turbo mode, and K2HD enabled. There's a bigger midbass slam and texture, vocals had a slightly more organic timbre, and the entirety of the frequencies had more energy without any troublesome peaks.

Truthear x Crinacle Zero:Red - Minimum Phase (yellow) filter, 4.4 connection with IEMatch, Turbo mode, K2HD, and XBass enabled. There's a deeper subbass rumble and presence bordering on basshead levels but overall the bass had more separation with no bleed. The overall warmer tuning was still present but vocals and mids had more clarity and were presented more forward on the stage.

Accoustune HS1790ti - Bit-Perfect (cyan) filter, 3.5 connection with IEMatch, K2HD, and XBass enabled. The bass sounded more full with a bigger rumble, vocals were slightly more forward with a warmer organic tilt, and the upper mids/lower treble had better separation and overall better dynamics with more energy.
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Final thoughts:
Honestly, this was an arduous review to get through. Not because I didn't like the Kensei. It's quite the opposite actually, I thoroughly enjoyed every moment! Reviewing was difficult because I found myself getting lost in the music due to the superb sound quality. I often felt drawn to hold the Kensei, relishing the weight and excellent build quality. Also somewhere deep in my subconscious I knew that with every word I typed I was closer to having to return the unit to iFi (maybe I should have drawn this one out a few weeks 😏). I have been a fan of iFi since I first tried the original hip dac. I'm now a full on disciple at the feet of the Kensei. Yes the price is high but the quality is absolutely there and in spades. The 4 distinct filters, K2HD, Xbass, XSpace, Turbo mode, and IEMatch all somehow add up to something that is more than the sum of their parts. I understand that a lot of consumers will probably never consider spending $450 for a dongle DAC. However, for those that can afford the cost of entry, the iFi GO bar Kensei is one of the finest products I've had the pleasure of using and easily the best portable DAC that I've come across. In my opinion, it has cemented it's legendary status and earned the moniker of "sword saint".
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thaslaya
thaslaya
You make a very valid point but the truth is I don't have access to any other similarly priced products and I don't have the means to buy everything to compare. I do know that the Kensei is by far the best product I've tried to date but at the end of the day it may be outclassed by a competitor. Maybe I should change the rating system to reflect that. Thanks for your input.
ahammedsojib
ahammedsojib
Excellent review sir 🥰
microiden
microiden
I’ve had the Kenzei for about a week. I love it a lot.
I previously had the Cayin RU7 (sold it). In my ears the Kenzei sounds way better. I also compared it with my Ibasso DC04 pro. Sound wise I think they’re close, but the Kenzei excels by having so many configuration options (I’m running an Iphone, and then you can’t use the Ibasso app).

thaslaya

500+ Head-Fier
Capable Collaboration
Pros: + Fun, energetic tuning

+ Better treble extension than some previous Crin collabs

+ Technical performance

+ Attractive shell design

+ Lightweight, small, and ergonomic

+ Natural timbre especially on percussion and guitar
Cons: - Occasionally shouty/sibilant

- Can sound a bit cold/clinical at times

- Stock cable and tips

- Short nozzle length
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thaslaya's star rating system:
☆☆☆☆☆ - Best in class/buy it now
☆☆☆☆ - Highly recommended
☆☆☆ - Sound for thee, not for me
☆☆ - Can't see the appeal
☆ - Product is a failure

Disclaimer:
This product was provided to me by Linsoul in exchange for my impartial and honest review. I recieve no compensation and all thoughts and opinions are my own. A special thanks to Carina at Linsoul for coordinating this unit for review.
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Non-affiliated link here: https://www.linsoul.com/products/kiwi-ears-x-crinacle-singolo

Gear used:
● LG v30+
● Samsung Galaxy s22 Ultra
● Samsung dongle
● Hiby FC4
● Kiwi Ears Allegro
● Ifi hip dac 3

Source:
●Listening was done through Amazon Music HD or Ultra HD.
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Introduction:
Kiwi Ears have been working overtime lately with three new iem releases in the last 5 months (and that's not including their DAC/amp, the Allegro which I reviewed here). In November 2023, the planar iem Melody made its debut. Then in December, the budget hybrid Forteza released to less than stellar reviews. Now in March 2024, the company is hoping to bounce back with their first ever collaborative project, the Kiwi Ears x Crinacle: Singolo. It's currently available for $79 on Linsoul and it sports a single 11mm dynamic driver along with something called KARS (Kiwi Ears Resonance System) which is their new soundtube technology. This maze-like tube will look familiar to those that have seen or own the Aful MagicOne. Let's break down the Singolo and see how they stack up in the market today.
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Build, fit, ergonomics:
The shells are made of solid clear resin and come with either a blue or black faceplate featuring the Kiwi Ears logo. I recieved the blue colorway and the shell design is very attractive. The iems are small, ergonomically shaped, and lightweight. My biggest issue with the design is the nozzle length. I think Crinacle took to heart some of the fit issues people have had with his other collaborative iems ie: Blessing 2:Dusk, Truthear Zero/Zero:Red. Those sets have notoriously long and wide nozzles with a deep insertion; however, the nozzle on the Singolo is much shorter. In fact its too short. In my case, it's very difficult to get a deep enough insertion with the stock tips and they fail to seal properly. The included tips are also too short and flimsy to be paired with this particular iem. There are 6 pairs in the box but I think Kiwi Ears should have included the option of longer tips for deeper insertion as well. After lots of tip rolling, I was able to find a stable fit and seal with the large Penon Liqueur tips. The stock cable is a disappointment too. It's thin, tangles easily, and looks cheap. It doesn't feel good to use and doesn't compliment the fabulous build quality of the iems themselves. Also the cheaper Forteza even includes a small zipper case but there isn't one here with the Singolo.
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Sound impressions:
The Singolo has a v-shaped tuning with elevated bass and treble, the former being more prominent. The soundstage has good width and depth especially in the sub $100 bracket. There's also good technical performance but not quite on par with Simgot EA500LM. For listeners that prefer a warmer signature, they can sound slightly cold at times. The Singolo definitely benefits from amplification. They arent hard to drive unless, like me, you listen at high volume levels. There is a great synergy between the Singolo and the Kiwi Ears Allegro DAC/amp. Their strengths compliment each other very well. I found that pairing with the Hiby FC4 blunted the treble extension too much. Using the hip dac 3 with XBass is a great experience for bassheads and low end lovers.
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●Lows - The bass is undoubtedly boosted but remains well balanced between mid and sub. The sub digs deep (really deep when paired with XBass on the hipdac) without distortion. Seriouslly, the sub bass can extend very low when pushed. My go to track for testing this is Mountains by Hans Zimmer from the Interstellar soundtrack. My ear drums were vibrating like I was sitting between 2 subwoofers. The mid bass punch is not overwhelming but makes just enough of an impact to make it's presence felt. There is little to no bleeding into the mids that i can hear. Overall, I wouldn't consider it the cleanest or fastest bass but its very musical and has a way of enhancing the low end without compromising the rest of the frequencies.

●Mids - This area is a bit strange to me on the Singolo. The vocals are great and have a nice natural timbre but they sound a bit off due to their placement. They aren't recessed per se but it's more like they are placed slightly too far back on the stage as if the vocalist is standing behind the lead guitarist in a rock band. The vocals are then overshadowed somewhat by the instruments. Guitars, piano, strings, etc. sound fantastic and the detail of every key stroke and string pluck can be heard clearly. I do find myself wishing the vocals held a more forward position in the entirety of the mids but that's my personal preference.

●Highs - This area is not what I'm used to hearing from a Crinacle iem. The treble is well extended with a sufficient amount of air. They don't feel smothered by bass or roll off early like the Truthear Zero/Zero:Red. Percussion instruments like snare hits and cymbal crashes sound particularly great. They are not harsh and have a realistic timbre and decay. The high mids/low treble part of the frequency response is slightly boosted around 3.5-4kHz. This means there is a tiny bit of sibilance that can rear its ugly head on certain tracks so those that are treble sensitive may want to look elsewhere.
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Summary:
There are no shortage of Crinacle collabs to choose from these days and most of them share a similar tuning template. I am glad to say that the Singolo is a little bit of a departure from that same ol' Crinacle sound. The treble quality and quantity is superior to other offerings in the sub $100 tier such as the Truthear Zero models. The technicalities and timbre are fantastic for as well. The bass is of course boosted because, well, it is a Crinacle iem after all; however, at the end of the day, I'm not sure the whole package warrants the $79 asking price. It's not a bad iem by any means but there is a TON of competition nowadays and new releases are coming at a very fast pace. The Singolo's tuning and performance are not the things I take issue with; it's the fit and accessories. The sub par cable, shallow nozzle, and mediocre tips hold back what should be an easy and strong recommendation. So who is the Singolo for? Well, if you have fit issues with long nozzled iems, have alternative tips and cables to roll, or have $79 burning a hole in your pocket then I say go for it! Ultimately, it's a very well tuned, fun, and technically savvy iem that plays most music genres fantastically.
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thaslaya

500+ Head-Fier
Red vs Blue
Pros: + Tight bass response that increases with included adapter
+ Smooth vocals and inoffensive treble
+ Lightweight and comfortable
+ Price
+ Warm/neutral with bass boost
+ Attractive design
Cons: - Treble might be too tame/boring for some
- Stock cable
- Nozzle size may cause fit issues
- Needs amplification for higher volume levels
- Build quality a bit lacking
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thaslaya's star rating system:
☆☆☆☆☆ - Best in class/buy it now
☆☆☆☆ - Highly recommended
☆☆☆ - Sound for thee, not for me
☆☆ - Can't see the appeal
☆ - Product is a failure

Disclaimer:
This product was purchased by me and all opinions are my own.

Gear used:
● LG v30+
● Samsung Galaxy s22 Ultra
● Hiby FC4
● Ifi hipdac 3
● Kiwi Ears Allegro
● Truthear x Crinacle Zero

Source:
Listening was done through Amazon Music HD or Ultra HD.
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Introduction:
Back in 2022 the Truthear x Crinacle Zero burst on to the scene and made quite a splash. It was not Crinacle's first collaboration but it remains one of his most popular to date. The Zero received generally favorable reviews and nestled in to a nice little spot in the ~$50 budget tier. Then in 2023 Truthear and Crinacle got together again to release the retuned Zero:Red. Again, the hype train barreled through the audiophile community and the RED has been well received garnering favorable reviews. At the time of this review, the Zero is listed for $49.99 on Amazon and the Red is $54.99. Below I will break down these two very similar models and highlight their differences. This will serve as a dual review for both the original Zero (hereafter refered to as Zero:Blue or BLUE) and the Zero:Red. The star rating and pros/cons listed in this review are specific to the Zero:Blue. For continuity purposes, the Red is on the left and Blue on the right for all comparison photos.
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Build, fit, ergonomics:
The Blue and Red obviously share a lot of similarities. Both feature dual dynamic drivers. The shell shape and size are almost identical although the Blue is just slightly larger. The shells are made of resin but are hollow. This makes them lightweight but they also feel a bit cheap. The nozzles are long and wide and they are identical on both models. Those with small ears may have fit issues though I personally found them to provide good seal and comfort. The overall packaging and accessories are basically the same as well. The stock cable is thin, feels cheap, and tends to tangle easily. It's the same cable that comes with the Truthear Hexa and I didn't really like it then either. I prefer a thicker more robust cable but the stock cable is serviceable and some will surely like it. The included tips consist of 6 pairs of silicone with 2 various bore sizes and 1 pair of foam. I really liked using the stock tips with both Zeroes. They provide a good seal and are comfortable for long sessions. There's also a small carrying pouch included (again, same as with the Hexa) that I don't really like. Sure it's small and pocketable but provides little protection and again feels a bit cheap.
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Sound impressions:
I would describe the tuning of the Red as warm/neutral with bass boost and the Blue a bit more v-shaped with a little more elevated treble. The soundstage is average for the price bracket and basically identical on both. Detail retrieval, imaging, and instrument separation are also average and about what you'd expect to find at this price point. Both Zeroes veer more towards musicality rather than technical performance.They lack the high level of technicalities of something like the Simgot EA500LM but are also not nearly as bright.

●Lows - Both models sport a deep sub bass extension. The bass on Red is more balanced and cleaner sounding. Using the included adapter brings out a bigger bass response and fullness approching basshead levels although it doesnt quite get there. However, if you purchase a higher impedance adapter, say 200 ohms, and you have a good enough amplifier then the sub bass can get BIG (as seen in the chart below). The Blue has more midbass presence and punch which makes it sound overall fuller and more robust although I can hear a bit of bleed into the midrange at times.
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Credit to HBB for the measurements.

●Mid - Vocals are slightly more forward on the Red. The Blue have more energy in the upper mids/lower treble region which means they can be shouty with certain tracks. I feel that the mids on both models are well placed and are a highlight of the tuning. The timbre is organic and both male and female vocalists sound great. Guitars and other instruments also have good presence and are well represented.

●Highs - The best word I have to describe the treble in the Red is "blunted". Claps and hi-hats lack a definitive edge and crispness. I actually like that quality as it aligns with my prefered warmer tuning preference. However, I do wish the treble and amount of air were extended just a bit futher. The Blue have more energy in the lower mids and contain just a hunt of sibilance at times with snares and such. The highs on both roll off just a bit early and, because of this, the treble loses shimmer, sparkle, and air.
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Summary:
Red vs. Blue. Which one is better? Well just like everything else in this hobby, that answer is highly subjective. Both models are similar shape, size, come with almost identical accessories, and the difference in price is only about $5. The answer isn't so much which model is better but which tuning is preferential. The Blue has a bigger default bass impact and fullness and there is a slight elevation in the upper mids/lower treble. The Red has a more warm/neutral tuning with a small sub bass boost and relaxed treble. The inclusion of the 10 ohm impedance adapter is what ultimately pushes me to recommend the Red over Blue. Using the impedance adapter adds tuning variety; adding extra bass is quick and easy. Even the Red's stock tuning is closer to my preference and is better suited for long listening sessions. Ultimately both models offer great value in the sub $50 price bracket. I think Truthear and Crinacle have created two great products that many would be glad to own.
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Flicoco
Flicoco
This was the best review ever about the Zero RED. Pros and cons are simply flawless. Those were my exact impressions too. Thanks a lot for your time.
thaslaya
thaslaya
Thank you! I really enjoy the Red much more than the Blue. It's not perfect but for around $50 it's an easy recommendation.
Flicoco
Flicoco
Yep! I personally love the tuning and for the ~$50 range this is overall ridiculously good.

thaslaya

500+ Head-Fier
Red vs Blue
Pros: + Big, deep bass
+ Forward vocals
+ Lightweight and comfortable
+ Price
+ Attractive design
Cons: - Can sound shouty on certain tracks
- Stock cable
- Nozzle size may cause fit issues
- Needs amplification for higher volume levels
- Build quality a bit lacking
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thaslaya's star rating system:
☆☆☆☆☆ - Best in class/buy it now
☆☆☆☆ - Highly recommended
☆☆☆ - Sound for thee, not for me
☆☆ - Can't see the appeal
☆ - Product is a failure

Disclaimer:
This product was purchased by me and all opinions are my own.

Gear used:
● LG v30+
● Samsung Galaxy s22 Ultra
● Hiby FC4
● Ifi hipdac 3
● Kiwi Ears Allegro
● Truthear x Crinacle Zero

Source:
Listening was done through Amazon Music HD or Ultra HD.
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Introduction:
Back in 2022 the Truthear x Crinacle Zero burst on to the scene and made quite a splash. It was not Crinacle's first collaboration but it remains one of his most popular to date. The Zero received generally favorable reviews and nestled in to a nice little spot in the ~$50 budget tier. Then in 2023 Truthear and Crinacle got together again to release the retuned Zero:Red. Again, the hype train barreled through the audiophile community and the RED has been well received garnering favorable reviews. At the time of this review, the Zero is listed for $49.99 on Amazon and the Red is $54.99. Below I will break down these two very similar models and highlight their differences. This will serve as a dual review for both the original Zero (hereafter refered to as Zero:Blue or BLUE) and the Zero:Red. The star rating and pros/cons listed in this review are specific to the Zero:Blue. For continuity purposes, the Red is on the left and Blue on the right for all comparison photos.
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Build, fit, ergonomics:
The Blue and Red obviously share a lot of similarities. Both feature dual dynamic drivers. The shell shape and size are almost identical although the Blue is just slightly larger. The shells are made of resin but are hollow. This makes them lightweight but they also feel a bit cheap. The nozzles are long and wide and they are identical on both models. Those with small ears may have fit issues though I personally found them to provide good seal and comfort. The overall packaging and accessories are basically the same as well. The stock cable is thin, feels cheap, and tends to tangle easily. It's the same cable that comes with the Truthear Hexa and I didn't really like it then either. I prefer a thicker more robust cable but the stock cable is serviceable and some will surely like it. The included tips consist of 6 pairs of silicone with 2 various bore sizes and 1 pair of foam. I really liked using the stock tips with both Zeroes. They provide a good seal and are comfortable for long sessions. There's also a small carrying pouch included (again, same as with the Hexa) that I don't really like. Sure it's small and pocketable but provides little protection and again feels a bit cheap.
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Sound impressions:
I would describe the tuning of the Red as warm/neutral with bass boost and the Blue a bit more v-shaped with a little more elevated treble. The soundstage is average for the price bracket and basically identical on both. Detail retrieval, imaging, and instrument separation are also average and about what you'd expect to find at this price point. Both Zeroes veer more towards musicality rather than technical performance.They lack the high level of technicalities of something like the Simgot EA500LM but are also not nearly as bright.

●Lows - Both models sport a deep sub bass extension. The bass on Red is more balanced and cleaner sounding. Using the included adapter brings out a bigger bass response and fullness approching basshead levels although it doesnt quite get there. However, if you purchase a higher impedance adapter, say 200 ohms, and you have a good enough amplifier then the sub bass can get BIG (as seen in the graph below). The Blue has more midbass presence and punch which makes it sound overall fuller and more robust although I can hear a bit of bleed into the midrange at times.
1000018228.jpg

Credit to HBB for the measurements.

●Mid - Vocals are slightly more forward on the Red. The Blue have more energy in the upper mids/lower treble region which means they can be shouty with certain tracks. I feel that the mids on both models are well placed and are a highlight of the tuning. The timbre is organic and both male and female vocalists sound great. Guitars and other instruments also have good presence and are well represented.

●Highs - The best word I have to describe the treble in the Red is "blunted". Claps and hi-hats lack a definitive edge and crispness. I actually like that quality as it aligns with my prefered warmer tuning preference. However, I do wish the treble and amount of air were extended just a bit futher. The Blue have more energy in the lower mids and contain just a hunt of sibilance at times with snares and such. The highs on both roll off just a bit early and, because of this, the treble loses shimmer, sparkle, and air.
1000018327.jpg

Summary:
Red vs. Blue. Which one is better? Well just like everything else in this hobby, that answer is highly subjective. Both models are similar shape, size, come with almost identical accessories, and the difference in price is only about $5. The answer isn't so much which model is better but which tuning is preferential. The Blue has a bigger default bass impact and fullness and there is a slight elevation in the upper mids/lower treble. The Red has a more warm/neutral tuning with a small sub bass boost and relaxed treble. The inclusion of the 10 ohm impedance adapter is what ultimately pushes me to recommend the Red over Blue. Using the impedance adapter adds tuning variety; adding extra bass is quick and easy. Even the Red's stock tuning is closer to my preference and is better suited for long listening sessions. Ultimately both models offer great value in the sub $50 price bracket. I think Truthear and Crinacle have created two great products that many would be glad to own.
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Ferdinando1968
Ferdinando1968
Excellent review.
I think you hit the nail on the head.
Personally I prefer the BLUE, but both are good.

thaslaya

500+ Head-Fier
Third Time's a Charm
Pros: + Top notch build quality

+ Plenty of power

+ Volume wheel for precise control

+ Long lasting battery

+ IEMatch

+ USB-C finally!

+ 3 different cables included
Cons: - Not very pocketable when connected to device

- A sleeve or case would be a welcome inclusion

- Price might be a barrier for some

- XBass can get muddy depending on the headphones/iems
thaslaya's star rating system:
☆☆☆☆☆ - Best in class/buy it now
☆☆☆☆ - Highly recommended
☆☆☆ - Sound for thee, not for me
☆☆ - Can't see the appeal
☆ - Product is a failure

Disclaimer:
This product was provided to me by Ifi Audio in exchange for my impartial and honest review. I recieve no compensation and all thoughts and opinions are my own. A special thanks to Karina at Ifi for coordinating this unit for review.
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Gear used:
● LG v30+
● Samsung Galaxy s22 Ultra
● Samsung dongle
● Various iems

Source:
Listening was done through Amazon Music HD or Ultra HD.

Introduction:
Ifi Audio produces some of the best rated and most popular DAC/amplifiers on the market today. They have many choices in both the portable and desktop categories. Today I will be reviewing one of Ifi's newest portable releases, the hip dac 3. Despite the name, it is actually the fourth iteration but it comes with some substantial differences that will be showcased below.
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Design:
At first glance it may be hard to differentiate the variations in all of the hip dac models. They all boast a fantastic build quality and different colored finishes. The hip dac 3 sports a "titanium shadow" color that is a more neutral departure from the previous blue, orange, and gold options. I personally prefer the blue and orange colors of the first two as they are more fun but the newest colorway does look more expensive and classy. On the bottom of the unit you'll find two USB-C ports, one for charging and one for the source connection. Ditching the old USB-A input for a USB-C is one of the best upgrades of this newest version. I have owned both of the previous models and one of my biggest complaints was the awkward, cumbersome, and frequent disconnections with the USB-A cable. The volume wheel retains the same look and feel as previous models. It also functions as to power on the device. There are two indicator lights on either side of the wheel that change colors to denote the sample rate of the source. The overall build quality is outstanding with a premium finish that feels fantastic in hand.
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Features:
The "Power Match" and "XBass" buttons are back and their functions are the same as before. There are small indicator lights to show when these options are enabled. The Power Match is essentially a toggle for low and high gain. The XBass function injects a healthy amount of bulk to the lower end. It works really great with iems that are light on bass but can make others sound a bit bloated. It will mostly depend on the tuning and the user's penchant for bass. The hip dac 3 now features Ifi's IEMatch technology in the form of a toggle switch on back of the unit. It ensures a noise free background and is very helpful for reducing any hiss from high sensitivity gear. Included with the unit are three different cables with USB, USB-C, and lightning connections. It's a small inclusion but it ensures that the hip dac 3 can be used with any device right out of the box. There are also 4 little rubber "feet" in the box that are a nice little bonus.
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Power consumption:
The hip dac 3 can deliver up to 400mW@32 ohm for balanced output and 280mW@32 ohm for standard.The unit uses a lithium-polymer battery that's robust and definitely holds a nice charge. Ifi touts the battery lasting up to 12 hours depending on volume and enabled options. In my testing when using IEMatch, Power Match, and intermittent XBass, it easily offers 6+ hours of play time. The battery indicator light is the same as past models and changes color depending on the remaining charge. Also thanks to the separate USB-C inputs, the hip dac 3 can be used while being charged which is great for desktop use.
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Sound impressions:
The hip dac 3 still uses the same Brown-Burr chipset as the other iterations. These Brown-Burr DACs are known for adding warmth to the frequency response. To my ears it's a very subtle but welcome inclusion. There also seems to be a small increase in the overall soundstage. The hip dac 3 will faithfully and accurately reproduce the stock tuning of your favorite gear (with a touch a warmth) and take everything to the next level when using the extra features. I also had the chance to test the unit while watching Dune and Top Gun: Maverick. The added bass rumble with XBass enabled is awesome!
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Final thoughts:
Is the newest iteration of Ifi's excellent hip dac worth the $199 asking price? I'd say it's a resounding "yes!". It sports excellent options and features, packs plenty of power, and can move seemlessly from desktop to portable use. Now the harder question: is it worth upgrading to the 3 if you already own one of the previous models? That answer is more nuanced. Do you need the IEMatch feature for sensitive iems or headphones? Is the USB-A connection a deal breaker? (it was for me) Is the titanium shadow color calling to you? Only you can answer those questions. For myself I found that the newest iteration packs every feature I could want in a DAC/amp and also addresses problem areas found on previous models. The hip dac 3 sets a new high standard in the portable DAC/amp category and is another fantastic product in Ifi's stable.
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thaslaya

500+ Head-Fier
Retro look, modern sound
Pros: Fun design - not just another black rectangle
Compact size (seriously small)
Competitive price
Both 4.4 and 3.5 connections
Independent volume control
Crisp, energetic sound
Cons: Not the most refined sound
Face buttons not functional 😞
Might not pair best with bright tuning
Barebones accessories and function
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Thaslaya's star rating system:
☆☆☆☆☆ - Best in class/buy it now
☆☆☆☆ - Highly recommended
☆☆☆ - Sound for thee, not for me
☆☆ - Can't see the appeal
☆ - Product is a failure

Disclaimer:
This product was provided to me by Linsoul in exchange for my impartial and honest review. I recieve no compensation and all thoughts and opinions are my own. A special thanks to Carina at Linsoul for coordinating this unit for review.
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Gear used:
● LG v30+
● Samsung Galaxy s22 Ultra
● Samsung dongle
● Hiby FC4
● Various iems

Source:
Listening was done through Amazon Music HD or Ultra HD.

Introduction:
The release of the Allegro marks Kiwi Ears' first release outside of iems. It is currently priced at $59.99. Kiwi Ears is following in the footsteps of other companies that have released DAC/amps like Moondrop (Dawn Pro), Truthear (Shio), and Aful (Snowy Night). The budget DAC/amp market is quickly growing and there are a ton of choices under $100. Let's see if the Allegro can carve out a space for itself among the competition.
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Build and features:
The Allegro sports a ES9028Q2M DAC chip which, according to Kiwi Ears' description, is "known for its high signal-to-noise ratio and low distortion, guaranteeing an unmatched audio clarity". When i first opened the box I was surprised to see just how small it is. Despite it's size, the construction feels solid and robust. The face design is that of a retro video game controller. Its a fun aestetic that sets the Allegro apart from its competitors. I do wish the face buttons were functional though (maybe as the volume control). On one end of the unit you'll find a USB-C port for connection to a smartphone, DAP, PC or your source of choice. On the other end are the 3.5mm and 4.4mm connections. There are also + and - volume buttons on what I'd consider the top of the unit. The volume control is independent from the source device and it stays at the last level between uses which is super handy. On the back is a small indicator light that shows the sample format. It displays blue for PCM and red for DSD. I do wish they could have incorporated the light to the face design. The overall package, accessories, and function are simplistic. There's only the dual sided USB-C cable included and Kiwi Ears doesn't have any companion app for EQ or filters.
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Power consumption:
Some audiophiles prefer to use a DAC/amp with its own internal battery as to not drain their source device. I do mostly prefer the dongle DAC/amps as its one less thing to worry about charging. The Allegro's output power is 70mW@32 ohms and 155mW@32 ohms for 3.5 and 4.4 respectively. To test how much power the Allegro draws from a device I ran a short trial. With my devices in airplane mode, I left my library to play on a medium high volume. Here is the battery drain results after 1 hour:

●29% on LGV30+ through 4.4 and 23% through 3.5.

●12% on Galaxy S22 Ultra through 4.4 and 8% through 3.5.
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Sample track breakdown:
The following impressions were made using the Softears Volume, Simgot EW200, Kiwi Ears Dolce, Truthear Zero: Red, and Aful Magic One.

● "Animals" - Maroon 5
The guitar and bass strums in the intro have a little more separation. Midbass slam has more punch but also sounds a bit bloated with slight bleed. That could be a limitation of the iem itself though. Snares and cymbals have more energy and are more prominent with a bit more air.

● "Closer" - The Chainsmokers [feat Halsey]
The piano in the intro has a fuller sound with more energy. Claps and hi-hats are quick and precise. Notes are snappier with quicker attack and decay. This leads to better note separation and a slight boost in technicalities. The vocals are maybe the only thing that doesn't pick up any added energy which can make them sound a bit recessed.

●"Think of You" - Chris Young [feat. Cassadee Pope]
The kick drum in the intro is much punchier but the quicker decay helps keep them from sounding bloated. The guitar strumming throughout the first verse has great separation and sounds more technical. The entire song has more energy and a more "in your face" sound almost like you're at the concert.

● "I Alone" - LIVE
Guitars in the intro again have better separation and individual plucks are more apparent. When the chorus comes in, there is an added energy injected in the entire frequency response. The Allegro adds a nice addition to the bass shelf while also giving the treble a definite bite and edge. Cymbals in particular are more refined and less sibilant prone.

● "The Way I Am" - Ingrid Michaelson
The bass line hits deeper but also sounds cleaner. The bongos hit with a quicker attack and are better defined. Ingrid's vocals are as pleasant as ever but theres a tiny bit of sophistication and technical chops that wasn't there before. Guitar plucks and claps have more bite but stay free of sibilance.
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Comparison:
●Hiby FC4 ($79)
Both are very compact and weigh about the same however the FC4's body is longer, slimmer, and overall a little more cumbersome. Both the Allegro and FC4 accentuate the lower frequencies and add more rumble however the Allegro adds more overall energy to the whole spectrum. The FC4 tends to smooth any troublesome treble peaks where the Allegro allows the treble to play to it's natural tuning. To my ear the Allegro sounds a bit more technical with better note separation. For a more full and organic sound, I'd recommend the Hiby FC4. If it's more energy and bite you're after, the Allegro is an excellent choice.
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Summary:
The Allegro is a very fun and interesting new release from Kiwi Ears. It sports a playful aestetic and energetic sound. Throughout my critical listening, the Allegro takes the tuning of the iem and pushes it one step further. It adds a fast attack and quick decay making the entire spectrum sound a bit snappier. Also there's a bit of a crispness to the notes and music sounds more technical but still lively. I'd recommend the Allegro to anyone wanting to add a bit of sharpness and energy to their favorite tuned iem or headphones. It should synergize best with a warm or neutral tuning but it really sounded great with anything I threw at it. Personally I prefer a more organic and warmer sound; however, the Allegro is very nice for what it offers and at $59.99 it's a fantastic buy.
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thaslaya

500+ Head-Fier
Full Bodied
Pros: Sturdy build quality
Compact
Independent volume control
Plenty of power for iems
Warm/neutral and full bodied sound
Cons: Light on features
Hiby Music app not compatible with Amazon
Thaslaya's star rating system:
☆☆☆☆☆ - Best in class/buy it now
☆☆☆☆ - Highly recommended
☆☆☆ - Sound for thee, not for me
☆☆ - Can't see the appeal
☆ - Product is a failure

Disclaimer:
This product was purchased by me and all opinions are my own.

Gear used:
● LG v30+
● Samsung Galaxy s22 Ultra
● Samsung dongle
● Various iems

Source:
Listening was done through Amazon Music HD or Ultra HD.
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Introduction:
Hiby is widely known for their great DAPs. They also produce dongle DAC/amplifiers and even some iems. Their products range from budget entry level to TOTL. The Hiby FC4 is currently Hiby's second most expensive dongle DAC/amp and is available for $79 on Amazon at the time of this review.
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Design and features:
The FC4 features dual ES9218PC chips. The retail box contains the unit itself along with a dual sided USB-C cable and a USB to USB-C cable for use with PC. The design is minimalistic and sleek. The rectangular body has a nice matte finish and an aluminum build that feels both light in the hand and premium to the touch. On one end of the device is a USB-C port for connection to your source of choice. The other end features both 3.5 and 4.4mm connections. There are + and - buttons on the side for volume control that is independent of the source's volume. It's very convenient to be able to adjust both the volume on the DAC/amp and the source separately for more incremental control. The FC4 also remains at the last set volume between uses which is handy. Just above the USB-C port is a small indicator light that displays the sampling rate. There's no way to apply filters or EQ without use of the Hiby Music app. Unfortunately the app only works with local files and Tidal streaming.
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Power consumption:
The FC4 boasts an output power of 110mW @ 32 ohms (single-ended) and 340mw @ 32ohms (balanced). To test the FC4's power consumption I ran a short trial. With my devices in airplane mode, I let my library play on a medium high volume while making sure to limit any unnecessary interaction with the screen. Here is the battery drain results after 1 hour:

20% on LGV30+ through 4.4 and 15% through 3.5.

14% on Galaxy S22 Ultra through 4.4 and 12% through 3.5.
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Sample track breakdown:
The following impressions were made using the Softears Volume, Simgot EW200, and Aful Magic One.

● "What Was I Made For" - Billie Eilish
When compared to the simple Samsung dongle, the FC4 adds a bit of weight note to the entire spectrum. I really enjoy that the amplification makes the piano sound more visceral and real. Any slight sibilant tinges in Billies breathy voice are smoothed over and the vocals are more enjoyable. The sub bass is extended a bit and there is more impact and rumble. The bass boost also helps tame the treble a bit and the sound is more balanced.

● "Dreams" - The Cranberries
Again the biggest impact I'm hearing is a bass that extends lower with more rumble and impact. Any slight peaks in the upper mids and treble have their edges smoothed over just slightly making them more enjoyable. Cymbal crashes in particular have less of a harsh sound. Vocals, while still present and enjoyable, have been pushed back ever so slightly. The combination of the smoother treble, more impactful bass, and very slightly recessed mids gives the entire frequency response a more balanced/warm presentation that is most welcome.

● "Adelaide" - Anberlin
Fist thing I noticed with this track is the bass sounds a bit "looser" with a slower decay. Each impact lingers a bit longer with the FC4 which helps to add a little warmth and fullness. Snares and cymbal crashes are still crisp but the edge is taken off a bit making them less detracting from the overall musicality.

● "Adore you" - Miley Cyrus
That bass rumble is so much more impactful and full right from the start! Miley's voice comes in and there is a slight musical quality that wasn't present before. The snares have more impact but simultaneously have a somewhat bluntness with the edge taken off a bit. The strings that come in at the chorus have much more presence and sound like we're in the same room.

● "Heartbreak Warfare" - John Mayer
The bass strumming in the intro has a bigger presence and fuller sound. There's also a more impactful and constant rumble from that bass throughout the song that was missing a bit before. John's vocals remain balanced and are not recessed even with the added bass heft. Guitar chords too have more presence and weight.

● "Mountains" - Hans Zimmer (Interstellar)
I don't often listen to OST's but this particular song has always been a good test track for me. Because the arrangement starts slow, the changes in the beginning are more subtle. A bigger bass rumble is noticeable though. At the 2:03 mark is where things take off. When the full orchestra comes in it feels like I'm sitting in the front row. The sound completely envelops me and I get goosebumps! The added weight of every note hits so much harder but is not harsh at all.
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Final impressions:
If you're in the market for a dongle DAC/amp that adds some weight and musicality to your music I think the FC4 is perfect. It boasts a neutral/warm sound that smooths any troublesome peaks just enough without detracting from the overall sound profile. The added note weight makes every track sound more organic, full, and overall more enjoyable for my taste. The FC4 doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles but the overall value for $79 is great. I highly recommend it those in need of more power and a fuller, more musical sound.
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thaslaya

500+ Head-Fier
Still Competitive in 2024?
Pros: Sturdy build
Neutral tuning without sibilance
Fit and comfort
Clear vocals
Cons: Soundstage not as wide as I would have liked
Lacks punch; a bit boring
Technicalities lacking compared to newer releases in same bracket (Simgot)
Thaslaya's star rating system:
☆☆☆☆☆ - Best in class/buy it now
☆☆☆☆ - Highly recommended
☆☆☆ - Sound for thee, not for me
☆☆ - Can't see the appeal
☆ - Product is a failure

Disclaimer:
This product was purchased by me and all opinions are my own.

Gear used:
●LG v30+
●Samsung Galaxy s22 Ultra
●Samsung dongle
●Hiby FC4

Source:
●Listening was done through Amazon Music HD or Ultra HD. Iems were burned in for 30 hours prior to review.
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Introduction:
● Truthear is probably most widely know for their 2 iem collaborations with the YouTuber Crinacle: the Zero Blue and Zero Red. The Hexa has a hybrid 4 driver configuration consisting of 1 DD and 3 BAs. They released back in 2022 to mostly positive reviews. It was a set that was highly recommended from the community when I first started my foray into iems. Let's see how they hold up in today's scene with the constant release of new products being pushed out every week.
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Build, fit, ergonomics:
● The Hexa sport a very sturdy build with a unique geometric shape and design (I love the inclusion of the screws on the faceplate). Just by looking at them I didn't think they would have a very pleasant fit but to my surprise they are very comfortable. The nozzle lacks a lip for the tips to sit on but I never had issues with tips coming off while using them. The stock cable doesn't due the Hexa justice. It is thin and looks and feels cheap. It's really deserving of a better quality cable in my opinion. I was impressed with the inclusion of 6 sets of silicon tips of 2 varying bore sizes and 1 pair of foam tips. It also comes with an interesting and mostly useless pouch that is neither big enough or very functional for my purposes.
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Sound impressions:
● Overall tuning is mostly neutral with bass and treble rolling off at both ends. Soundstage has decent height but lacking some width. They are not the most resolving set and instrument separation could be better. The note weight is on the thinner side and some complex tracks can sound congested. There is also a hint of BA timbre at times.
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●Lows - Although the sub bass has a but of rumble when called for, it doesn't extend very low. Mid bass is prominent but not overbearing. There is sometimes a slight bleed into the mids. The bass impact leaves much to be desired for me. Since this is a mostly neutral tuning, I didn't expect a ton of bass but the bass can come across lackluster.

●Mid - This is where the Hexa's tuning is best. Mids sound neither recessed nor forward but right in the middle where neutral should be. Vocals are clear, smooth, and sound correct with no shoutiness in sight. I prefer a slightly more mids forward tuning but I wasn't left wanting here.

●Highs - Neutral sounding treble but it rolls off too early. Because of this it sounds a bit light in the highs. I think more air would help push the tuning to the next level. At least there is no sibilance which is a big plus for me. I did sometimes pick up some mettalic timbre in certain tracks especially with cymbal crashes.

●Balanced - For added power I used the 4.4mm connection through the Hiby FC4. It seems to add a little bit more heft to the note weight. There's a bit more extension on each end although I would still like more bass. Running the Hexa from an amp makes them slightly better to my ears but the extra power doesn't go far enough to improve all my complaints.
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Summary:
If you're dead set on a neutrally tuned iem that can play back your music accurately with a relaxed tonality, I think the Hexa is a good place to start. At $79.99 at the time of this review, they aren't super cheap but they won't break the bank either. For me the tuning lacks excitement and dynamism. The lack of bass and treble extension hinders the totality of the sound you can get. I think EQ can help to fix some of my issues but not the narrow soundstage or lack of clarity. Considering some recent releases, I'm not sure if Hexa has the staying power to withstand the test of time. I would take the Simgot EW200 at half the cost of the Hexa. If it's more detail you're after, the Simgot EA500LM is an even better value at similar cost to the Hexa.
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Leonarfd
Leonarfd
Good job, nice seeing you review more👌
thaslaya
thaslaya
Thanks! All you guys are my inspiration 😊

thaslaya

500+ Head-Fier
Stiff Competition
Pros: Attractive shell design in multiple color choices
Safe tuning
Price
Fit and comfort
Cons: Insufficient bass slam and texture
Technicalities behind competitors
Lean note weight feels lifeless
Budget tier has better choices
Thaslaya's star rating system:
☆☆☆☆☆ - Best in class/buy it now
☆☆☆☆ - Highly recommended
☆☆☆ - Sound for thee, not for me
☆☆ - Can't see the appeal
☆ - Product is a failure

Disclaimer:
This product was purchased by me and all opinions are my own.

Gear used:
●LG v30+
●Samsung Galaxy s22 Ultra
●Samsung dongle

Source:
●Listening was done through Amazon Music HD or Ultra HD. Iems were burned in for 30 hours prior to review.
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Introduction:
● The Kiwi Ears Cadenza has earned a good reputation in the budget/ultra budget tier. They are available for $34.99 at the time of this review. The Cadenza contain a single dynamic driver but there are a lot of single DD iems to compete with at this price point. Let's see how they sound and how they stack up to some of the competitors.
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Build, fit, ergonomics:
● The resin shells are nicely built. The multiple color choices are a nice touch for customization. The included cable is serviceable but nothing to write home about. It's a bit too thin for me personally. There are plenty of included tips to work with so finding one that fits shouldn't be difficult. The small ergonomic shape and smooth shell make for an easy fit and can easily be worn for long sessions.
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Sound impressions:
● Safe. Boring. Lackluster. I think a big reason i hear them this way is because the note weight is thin. The tuning is just "meh" for me. It sounds slightly V-shaped but leans bright. The bass needs more authority and slam to feel present. The upper mids/lower treble are recessed and make the whole tuning feel lifeless. The treble lacks extension and air and rolls off too hard too soon. Cymbal crashes and "S's" sometimes have a tinny, metalic timbre and sibilance. Soundstage sounds flat and lacks depth. Technicalities could be better even in this price range. They struggle with complicated tracks and things get congested.
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Comparisons:
● Kiwi Ears Dolce ($24.99) - The Dolce have a more balanced tuning. Most importantly, the note weight is fuller and just sounds more alive. There is a bit more treble air and extension. Both struggle with layering on complicated tracks and have timbre issues with a bit of sibilance and spicy treble. Soundstage is deeper but maybe not as wide. I would take the Dolce over Cadenza and it's cheaper.

● 7Hz Zero 2 ($24.99) - The Zero 2 shares a similar tuning with the Cadenza but just does everything else better. Sub bass is more authoritative and present. Mids sound more natural. Treble has no sibilance, more air, and doesn't roll off as early. Most importantly again is the note weight - fuller sounding with a more natural timbre. Soundstage might be a touch less in the width but has more depth. Technicalities are better as well. It's hard to recommend anything other than the Zero 2 at this price point and it's also cheaper than the Cadenza.

● Simgot EW200 ($39.99) - The EW200 are better in every way and it's not close. They lean a bit on the bright side but the treble quality is much better. The bass is more impactful and sub bass has more rumble. Mids are more forward and give a lot of life to the tuning. Soundstage is more expansive. Technicalities are better and there's improved instrument separation and layering. The note weight is a bit leaner than I prefer but still not as bad as the Cadenza. For $5 more, the Simgot wipes the floor with the Cadenza.
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Summary:
The Kiwi Ears Cadenza exist in a very crowded budget tier. Back when these debuted in late 2022 I might recommend them but here in 2024 there are just better options. The safe, boring, and lifeless tuning won't offend but they also won't excite those looking for something better. To anyone considering the Cadenza I would recommend checking out the 7Hz Zero 2 and Simgot EW200.
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thaslaya

500+ Head-Fier
Technical, Bright, and Shiny
Pros: Technicalities in a league of their own at this price
Imaging and separation
Great build quality
Tuning nozzles add versatility
Cons: Bright
Fatiguing over long sessions
Lean note weight
Nozzles don't offer enough of a difference
Lackluster accessories
Mirror finish prone to fingerprints and scratches
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Thaslaya's star rating system:
☆☆☆☆☆ - Best in class/buy it now
☆☆☆☆ - Highly recommended
☆☆☆ - Sound for thee, not for me
☆☆ - Can't see the appeal
☆ - Product is a failure

Disclaimer:
This product was purchased by me and all opinions are my own.

Gear used:
●LG v30+
●Samsung Galaxy s22 Ultra
●Samsung dongle
●Hiby FC4

Source:
●Listening was done through Amazon Music HD or Ultra HD. Iems were burned in for 50 hours prior to review.
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Introduction:
● Simgot has had quite a few releases in the past year: EW200, EM6L, EA1000, EA500 and now EA500LM. Most of them have been well received. I have not heard the original EA500 so can't say how the LM model builds on its predecessor. The 3 tuning nozzles is what sold me on wanting to try the newest release by Simgot. Let's see how they sound.

Build, fit, ergonomics:
● The 500LM sports an all metal shell construction. The weight strikes a perfect balance for me. Fit was not an issue at all, however, I would have liked more than just the 3 pairs of included tips. The stock cable is pretty lackluster for the price. It feels and looks cheap compared to the iems themselves. I would expect this cable to accompany the EW200 which is half the price. It is nice that there is a small zipper case included but it's nothing to write home about.
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Sound impressions:
● Let's start by saying the 500LM is a brightly tuned set. The note weight is pretty lean. I would have prefered it to be slightly thicker. There are 3 tuning nozzles so it should offer 3 distinct tuning options. I would describe them as follows:

Gold - smoothest presentation of the 3
Silver/red - very close to gold nozzle with a little more treble sharpness
Silver/black - sharpest treble and most extension
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I'm disappointed that the nozzles don't vary more in their tuning. To my surprise I prefer the silver/black nozzle even though I would consider myself treble sensitive. It has the sharpest treble presentation with the best extension but without sibilance. I found it to be the most balanced. The vocals have the best presentation of the 3 which is probably why I prefer this nozzle. The gold nozzle is the least bright but I couldn't tell much difference between them and the silver/red. Tuning aside, the 500LM's biggest selling point is its technicalities. The imaging, instrument separation, and overall amount of detail at this price point is insane. I would say the soundstage is above average and instruments are well placed.

●Lows - The bass quality and quantity are very good. There is plenty of sub and mid bass to please most. I would say there's more sub bass but not by much. It has a quick attack and decay and it stays nice and tight with no bleed. The notes are a bit leaner than I prefer.

●Mid - The mids on all 3 nozzles are generally recessed compared to the bass and treble. Vocals are recessed a bit too much for my liking on the gold and silver/red nozzles. They aren't necessarily veiled but they get a bit smothered and take a back seat. With the silver/black nozzle, vocals came forward a bit more and I didn't detect any shoutiness.

●Highs - If you like a bright and crisp treble you will find it here in spades. The 500LM will please most trebleheads. The air and extension is really nice. Plenty of shimmer and sparkle with very little sibilance to be found. For me personally this tuning can get fatiguing fast so it isn't my preference but I can see the appeal for someone looking for detail above all else.

●Balanced:
The 500LM are very easily driven so using a balanced connection is definitely not required. When hooked up to my Hiby FC4, the details seem to get a little sharper and notes seem to get a little more weight. The treble isn't quite as fatiguing and the sub bass digs deeper. I prefered the balanced connection over the simpler 3.5mm due to these changes. The entire spectrum seems to warm up a bit which is my preference. Of course that could be the FC4 injecting it's own flavor into the 500LM.
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Summary:
Trebleheads rejoice! If you value a resolving iem with great instrument separation, the 500LM is what you're looking for. For under $100, I didnt think I would ever find something this technically savvy. I was hearing every detail in my music, even those I didn't know were there. It's a technical marvel but it's not necessarily my personal tuning preference. I do enjoy my time with the 500LM but overall I prefer warm and musical over bright and technical. There is absolutely great value here and I recommend this set to anyone who wants a technically correct sound and a very technical set.

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thaslaya
thaslaya
Hard agree! I'm currently enjoying the EW200 much more than the 500LM. Great treble and less recessed mids. Just an overall warmer sound which is my preference. Still has that Simgot house sound.
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P
pk4425
Yep. I'd give the EA500 LM four stars because the technicalities it offers are outstanding for less than 100 bucks. But that doesn't mean I enjoyed the sound signature all that much once the "holy crap" factor of the energetic tuning wore off.

Different strokes ... :)
C
Codename john
Great technical set but cold and uninviting for me. Much prefer the original EA500. Spot on review 🙏🏿

thaslaya

500+ Head-Fier
Magic Indeed!
Pros: Smooth!, intoxicating vocals, stock cable, attractive design, warm tuning is my personal preference
Cons: Even though the bass is quite good for a BA it's still BA bass, power hungry, price could be more competitive, occasional pressure build up, musicality over resolve
Thaslaya's star rating system:
☆☆☆☆☆ - Best in class/buy it now
☆☆☆☆ - Highly recommended
☆☆☆ - Sound for thee, not for me
☆☆ - Can't see the appeal
☆ - Product is a failure

Disclaimer:
This product was purchased by me and all opinions are my own.

Gear used:
●LG v30+
●Samsung Galaxy s22 Ultra
●Hiby FC4

Source:
●Listening was done through Amazon Music HD or Ultra HD. Due to the limitations of volume with 3.5mm connection, all listening was done with stock 4.4mm cable through Hiby FC4.
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Introduction:
Aful has been doing well with their release of the Performer 5 and Performer 8, both receiving tons of praise. Here we have the MagicOne which sports a single balanced armature driver and a unique acoustic tube design. The MSRP is $139.99 which seems pricey for an iem in 2024 that consists of just a single BA driver. Let's break them down and see if it's worth the price of entry.
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Build, fit, ergonomics:
The MagicOne comes with your choice of 3.5mm or 4.4mm termination. After reading other users mentioning these needing power, I opted for 4.4mm. The cable is great quality and the aestetics match very well with the shell design. Just like other Aful products, they come with silicone tips, a nice cable, and the puck style case. I don't personally care for this style of case but to each their own. I did get some occasional pressure build up with deep insertion but it usually resolved itself.
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Sound impressions:
The first word that comes to mind when listening to the MagicOne: smooth. Velvety smooth. Actually shocked that Aful was able to create this sound with just a single BA. The technicalities are average to above average for the price range. The soundstage is neither narrow nor wide. I'd say it's positioned well in the middle where instruments can be heard well without competing too much for attention. The tuning is a touch on the warmer side but there is plenty of sparkle in the treble. The highs do roll off a bit early and I wish there was just a little more air up top.

Lows - BA drivers have a reputation for poorer quality and quantity of bass compared to other drivers and deservedly so. However, I feel the bass is adequate here. Definitely not bass anemic whereas i can actually hear the sub rumble on certain tracks. Other all BA iems I've had were lacking there. The sub and mid bass will satisfy most listeners but not those looking for v-shaped or bassheads.

Mid - This is where things get magical. The vocals are pushed to the front of the stage but not overly so. Both male and female voices sound so good. They are a bit warmed over which plays right into my personal preference. No shoutiness anywhere in sight. I found the best vocal performance when paired with soft pop like Adele and John Mayor - could listen for hours and hours like a warm blanket.

Highs - There is plenty to like about the treble. It sparkles and shimmers but never gets sibilant. I would have liked a bit more air in the top end but that's pretty nitpicky.

Balanced:
As I stated earlier, the MagicOne really need a bit of power to bring out full enjoyment. I was able to get to a respectable volume with the 3.5mm on my LGv30 and S22 Ultra but I do enjoy cranking my music from time to time. I would recommend getting an amp to anyone who plans to purchase these. A dongle DAC should supply enough to let the MagicOne shine.
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Summary:
Aful back at it again with an excellent iem. The MagicOne's tuning is very smooth and enjoyable. It may not appeal to those who prefer a brighter and more energetic sound signature. The bass is the best I've heard from an all BA set let alone one with just a single BA. Treble has plenty of sparkle and sounds great but it does roll off just a tad early. The power requirements and price may be the biggest limiting factors especially when there are no shortage of options in the $150 range. For me personally, these sounded best with pop, soft rock, country, and vocal centric genres. The MagicOne is aptly named because Aful pulled a fantastic set out of their proverbial hat!
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ctjacks336
ctjacks336
Congrats brother! Great review and beautiful photos. Look forward to the next🤙
R
rogeriobrandi
Great review... looking forward to mine arriving.
thaslaya
thaslaya
Thanks! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

thaslaya

500+ Head-Fier
Big Bass on a Budget
Pros: Price to performance
Big, deep bass
Soundstage
Accessories
Fit and comfort
Attractive design
Cons: Intermittent driver flex
V-shape might be too intense for some
Can be fatiguing over long periods
Thaslaya's star rating system:
☆☆☆☆☆ - Best in class/buy it now
☆☆☆☆ - Highly recommended
☆☆☆ - Sound for thee, not for me
☆☆ - Can't see the appeal
☆ - Product is a failure

Disclaimer:
This product was purchased by me and all opinions are my own.

Gear used:
●LG v30+
●Samsung Galaxy s22 Ultra
●Samsung dongle
●Hiby FC4

Source:
●Listening was done through Amazon Music HD or Ultra HD on an LGv30+ and Samsung Galaxy s22 Ultra. Iems were burned in for 30 hours prior to review.
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Introduction:
● Juzear is a newer brand on the market and they made a name for themselves with the release of the 41t to mostly universal praise in 2023. The Clear features a single 10mm LCP dynamic driver. It's currently priced at $49.90, $120 less than the 41t.
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Build, fit, ergonomics:
● The Clear are made from a nice blue resin and have an attractive understated design on the face. I was surprised at the size of the shell in person as it's quite small. I can't imagine fit will be an issue for most people, however, those looking for a deep insertion might not find it here. The included cable is one of the best stock cables I've owned and at this price point is surprising. It's a bit thick and nicely braided but not heavy. It also comes with varying sizes of both silicone and foam tips. The small brown zipper case is the cherry on top. Overall, the accessories are great. I did notice a slight driver flex from time to time when adjusting my fit but only if I inserted very deeply. Doesn't seem to affect the sound at all just a small nuisance.
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Sound impressions:
● The Juzear Clear is a V-shaped iem with boosted bass and treble. The frequency response is not my prefered signature for everyday use but I do enjoy V-shaped iems in my rotation. The soundstage has plenty of width but seems to lack a bit of depth. Instruments have room to spread but sometimes compete on the same level of the stage. Technicalities are very capable at this price point, no complaints at all. The Clear really shine with rock, rap, and EDM but they still perform well with genres like soft pop, soft rock, and country as long as you don't mind the boosted bass.

●Lows - The star of the show! The sub bass rumble really reaches low. Its not the deepest I've heard but its the best in ths price point by far. The entire bass spectrum has good texture and slam. Their is no detectable bass bleed to my ears. If you're looking for neutral or Harman tuning, you will be overwhelmed by the bass levels. However, if you're looking for a deep rumble and thumping bass, the Clear will please most bassheads.

●Mids - In typical V-shaped fashion, the mids are scooped so they won't be featured as strongly here. The vocals do sound natural and both male and female voices have good weight and texture, just a bit recessed due to the tuning. To my ear, the vocals and mids are well placed and are not actually recessed much in comparison to the rest of the frequency response. I enjoy their presentation and never found myself wishing for a boost in the mids.

●Highs - Treble is elevated to round out the V-shaped profile. It has an energy and excitement that plays well with the boosted bass. Music gets fun and comes to life in the higher frequencies but over time can get a bit fatiguing. I did notice an occasional sibilant quality here but definitely not the worst I've heard. I think the elevated bass goes a long way to making sure the treble stays fun and not shrill. For those that are treble sensitive, you will want to look elsewhere for that big bassy iem that doesn't get as hot in the highs.
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●Balanced:
The Clear are easy to drive so using a balanced connection with an amp isnt really necessary. Here i switched the cable to a NiceHCK Jialail JLY2 4.4mm and plugged it into the Hiby FC4. The bass sounds a bit fuller and the sub digs a little deeper with more power. The extra note weight on the bass helps to tame the slight treble peakiness I was picking up before. The sound is more colored and warmer with a bigger fuller bass that seems to bleed more into the midrange. My preference would be to drive them from the 3.5mm connection on the LGV30 or just a simple dongle since the bass was in a better spot without the extra juice.
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Summary:
The Juzear Clear is a successful follow up release to their debut 41t. It's v-shaped profile may not be for every listener. If you're looking for big deep bass and treble that doesn't take a back seat, you will find it here. Even though its not tuned to my personal preference, I do enjoy them when I'm in the mood for an energetic listening session. Taking price and accessories into account, the Clear is an easy recommendation if it suits your prefered tuning or for those looking to venture into something new.
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thaslaya

500+ Head-Fier
For $25 you can't go wrong!
Pros: + Price to performance
+ Solid tuning
+ Non-fatiguing - great for long sessions
+ Vocals
+ Fit and comfort
+ Lightweight
Cons: - Plastic
- Stock cable is bad
- Design may not appeal to everyone
- Soundstage a bit narrow (nitpick)
Thaslaya's ranking system:
☆☆☆☆☆ - Best in class/buy it now
☆☆☆☆ - Highly recommended
☆☆☆ - Sound for thee, not for me
☆☆ - Can't see the appeal
☆ - Product is a failure

Disclaimer:
This product was purchased by me and all opinions are my own.

Gear used:
●LG v30+
●Samsung Galaxy s22 Ultra
●Samsung dongle
●Hiby FC4

Source:
●Listening was done through Amazon Music HD or Ultra HD on an LGv30+. Iems were burned in for 30 hours prior to review.
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Introduction:
●7hz x Crinacle Zero 2 features a single 10mm dynamic driver. Like the original Zero, the 2 is a collaboration with acclaimed YouTuber and founder of In-Ear Fidelity, Crinacle. They are currently priced on Linsoul's site for $24.99 and are offered in 3 color variations.
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Build, fit, ergonomics:
●The Zero 2 are mostly built from plastic. The build quality leaves a bit to be desired but considering the price it's understandable. The nozzle is on the shorter side which could mean fit issues for some that prefer a deeper insertion. I was able to obtain a good seal and fit with the included multicolored tips with no discomfort over long listening sessions. The included cable is touted as an upgrade over the original by 7Hz but I personally don't care for it at all. I substituted for a Xinhs gold cable.
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Sound impressions:
●Technicalities and resolution take a hit but that's expected at this price point. The soundstage seems a bit narrow but overall satisfactory.

●Lows - Right off the bat I can tell the Zero 2 have a slight bass elevation. Sub bass can dig deep when pushed and mid bass slam is present without taking much away from other frequencies. The quality isn't the best and sometimes gets a bit bloated on certain tracks.

●Mid - To my ear, this is where the Zero 2 excels and gets things just right. Both female and male vocals sound great and are pushed forward slightly. The weight and texture are nice and there's no shoutiness.

●Highs - Treble is rolled off. I would have liked a bit more air and extension. On some tracks I detected a tiny bit of sibilance in S's, T's, and cymbals.
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●Balanced:
Switching over to the Hiby FC4 and Pac480 4.4mm cable, the soundstage seemed to open up a bit more. Note weight gets a bit of a bump across the spectrum and the bass digs a little deeper. The Zero 2 seem to come more alive and i can hear more of an energy across all frequencies. There is definitely good scaling with power but with that comes an added energy that may be fatiguing over long listening sessions.

●Sample Tracks
Below are a few songs I used to form my impressions. Let's break down a few.

"Begin Again" - Taylor Swift (Taylor's Version) - Taylor's voice has a bit of warmth and sounds great. The bass hits at the 0:31 mark and has a nice deep extension. Mid bass slam adds a nice weight without bleeding over into the mids. I do wish the soundstage was a bit wider and the treble extension went further to add more air.

"Sign of the Times" - Harry Styles - Harry's voice sounds perfectly placed at the beginning of the track. At the 1:21 mark the rest of the instruments hit and the whole spectrum gets more balanced with vocals taking a slight step back. Mid bass texture suffers on this track and sounds a bit bloated and boomy.

"Half of My Heart" - John Mayer - In the intro the guitar strumming timbre seems a bit off and metallic. John's voice is well placed at the front and has good timbre and weight. The elevated bass bleeds a little into the mids on this track.

"Save Your Tears" - The Weeknd - A nice intro with snare hits that don't have a hint of piercing quality. Sub bass hits well and deep at the 0:10 mark. The Weeknd's voice has good timbre and weight and seems to be well balanced. The highs have a bit of muted quality due to the treble roll off.

"I Hope You're Happy Now" - Carly Pearce & Lee Brice - A nice hitting bass right at the start does a good job of staying in its lane. Carly's voice has good timbre and weight. It is more forward throughout the song whereas Lee's sounds more balanced. A little more treble would help here to even out the spectrum.
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●Summary:
The Zero 2 has carved out a space for itself in the very crowded ultra budget tier. At only $24.99, it is a competent iem and a fairly solid all-rounder. It excels with more intimate, vocal heavy music but starts to struggle on complicated tracks. If you're looking for a slightly bass elevated, warm tuning with forward vocals, rolled off treble, and you have $25 burning a hole in your pocket then definitely give the Zero 2 some consideration.

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