Reviews by WoahReQQuiem


Not permitted to do trades.
Pros: Value, performance
Cons: None
plusSound Exo Series Custom IEM Cable Review

I would like to thank plusSoundAudio for providing me a loaner of the cable for this review. I would also like to thank you, the readers, for taking the time to read this review. 

I received the cables in a fairly secured package, sealed in a zip-lock bag, wrapped with the invoice, another wrap of brown paper, and, finally, the USPS box.

The Exo Series line is the “budget” line of plusSound, aggressively priced at $84.99. However, do not let the low price fool you – the build and sound is really good, and I suppose that plusSound treats all of their cable lines equally.
The Exo Series cable is made up of 4-wire braids insulated with a polyethylene material. plusSound offers multiple choices in their wires – copper, silver-plated copper, and silver + 1% gold as stranded wires, and copper, silver, silver-plated copper, and gold-plated copper as solid (single-core) wires. plusSound also offers a wide range of options for connector styles – UE, Shure, Westone/Aurisonics, Sennheiser, and many more.
The cable is surprisingly well-built for the price. A little stiffer than stock cables, but that is expected, due to the thickness of the cable. The cable has a reassuring solid look and feel. Comfort is good, but it makes its presence felt. However, it’s not really intruding.

Cable debunkers may say that aftermarket cables make no difference in sound at all, and cable fans may say that aftermarket cables improve the sound dramatically. These two conflicting sides makes it all more confusing, especially for beginners. However, the reality lies somewhere in between. Cables make a difference in sound. Not too large to call it a “necessity”, but just enough to improve what is there, and small enough to be considered as a luxury.
My setup consists of an iPhone 4, with a Matrix Mini-Portable headphone amplifier connected through a FiiO L9 LOD, and the Aurisonics ASG-1 revision 2 with the Silver+1% Gold plusSound Exo Series Cable. My commonly played genres is Classical, Math Rock, Pop Rock, Soul, and Electronic. I did not do a blind A-B test, since that was somewhat impossible in theory, due to the differences in comfort by both cables.
The sound improvements brought by the cables overall made the ASG-1.2 smoother and more enjoyable. The treble is smoother and more present. The mids are less congested, and are clearer. The bass is tighter. The soundstage slightly improves. Music flows through with less effort.

For those who want to try aftermarket cables on a lower budget, plusSound is the way to go. The small improvements are worth it, for me. Aside from the good sound, the build quality is good as well, and the customer service is great. Should something go wrong, never hesitate to contact them!
All plusSound Cables come with a 1-year warranty.

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Thanks for the review XD There's not many reviews on this cable out there =/


Not permitted to do trades.
Pros: Build quality, Great bass, Smooth mids and treble, forgiving of poor quality recordings, incredible packaging, not demanding with amplification
Cons: Tight clamp for my head, somewhat stiff cable, pad locking system, lacks technicalities
Information :
     Hifiman / Head-Direct was kind enough to give me a review sample of the HE-300. Please take note that the fact that this was given to me for free will not affect my bias for this review.
Equipment used : 

     Amplifiers : Onkyo TX-SR308 / iBasso T4 / Meier Porta Corda III 
     Sources : iPod classic (line out) / Samsung BD-D5300 / Meier Porta Corda III (USB DAC)
     Other headphones used :  Grado SR325i

EDIT (1/1/2012) : I have a new amp / DAC, the Meier Porta Corda III with the USB DAC. I will put my impressions with the amp at the bottom of the "Sound" section.

Packaging & Accessories :

     The packaging is simply superb. Although the box may look a little cheapish, once you open it,  it really is wonderful. That silk really looks luxurious. Inside, you have another velour bag holding the cables (along with the 6.3mm adapter) , the manual and the headphone itself.    

*pictures coming soon*

Fit & Finish : 

     The HE-300 looks like a luxurious product. Although I think the paint ruins it (it looks plasticky), and the yoke as well (it looks like it was used for a good long time), once you get them out of the equation, it feels like quality in your hands. The weight is perfect. Not too light to look flimsy, but not too heavy to make it unbearable in your head. 
      The clamping force is definitely on the strong side. I can't bear wearing it for more than 2 hours. But eventually, you will get used to the pressure, and it is definitely comfortable. Not as comfortable as the Sennheiser HD650, but for the price, I wouldn't complain.
       Two things I also don't like is the cable locking system and the pad locking system. The cable locking system may get a little loose overtime, but it is a good thing my dad is a DIYer and fixed it for me. The pad locking system takes too much time to fit all the slots in, IMO. A more solid solution would be more welcome.

*pictures coming soon*

The Sound : 

     Concise Sound Signature Impressions : It definitely leans into the warm side. They pack a strong bass punch, and although it isn't as tight as some may prefer, I really like its woofer-ish quality. It's not too boomy, but it isn't tight. The midrange is incredibly smooth. They don't stand out, but  they aren't recessed as well. They are very balanced. Voices and instruments sound natural, although not as natural as the Audez'e LCD-2, which it shouldn't, given the price and difference of technology. The treble slightly lacks energy, but it is smooth and forgiving. It isn't sibilant, but it is present enough to make high-tone instruments sound natural. Overall, a very balanced can with slight emphasis on the warmer side. But don't mistake warmth for lack of detail, as I think they are more detailed than the Grado SR325i. They are not picky with amplification, so a portable amp / budget desktop amp will do you well.

      Bass : The bass is round, has decent impact and slightly rumbly. It is powerful and musical. Percussion is decently snappy. Most bassy instruments are well presented, and they sound natural instead of neutral. Electronic bass with these is incredible, but don't expect them to trump Ultrasones with Dubstep / Trance / EDM anytime. They are a little too slow for those genres. 

      Midrange : The midrange is balanced and smooth and rich. It is are slightly warm, but not laid back. It is placed nicely in the stage, front and center. Voices sound clean and natural. Guitars aren't as engaging and detailed as the Grado SR325i, but they are more life-like in tone (IMO). Male and female vocals are equally great. 

       Treble : The treble of the HE-300 is smooth, very slightly laid back and refined. It isn't as open and airy sounding as the Grado SR325i but it sounds more natural. Cymbals have a decent splash and decay. Female voices are never sibilant if it is not present in the recording. They are more detailed compared to the Grado SR325i. One thing I like is that they aren't as laid back with the treble as the HD650, but aren't as energetic as the SR325i. It is very balanced, much like the HD600. 

        Soundstage, Seperation & Imaging : This is the Achille's heel of the HE-300. They don't do soundstage very well. They don't have much width, and no front/back soundstaging, and much less, height. It is 2-dimensional. They also don't seperate the instruments very well, as they do get slightly mixed up. Imaging is okay, but not bad as well.

1/1/2012 : I have a new amp/DAC, the Meier Porta Corda III with the USB DAC function. The Hifiman HE-300 sounds more alive now, with deeper and slightly more power in the bass section, midrange is now more open and detailed, and the treble gains more presence and air. Soundstage improves a little due to the midrange being more open.

Overall : 

    I think Hifiman did a good job with the HE-300. It brings top-class musicality in a bargain $249 product. Packaging, fit, finish and build quality is akin to its bigger brothers as well. What the HE-300 may lack in the technical side, its musicality really makes up for it. I think it would be fairer for Hifiman if it was priced at $299, but for $249, there's really nothing to complain about, and I think it's a steal. That said, it isn't a perfect product, and it definitely has its problems with the build and sound. But if you can live with those slight problems, you will not regret your purchase.

Supposedly you can fix the comfort issues by bending the headband (this is Hifiman's recommended method). Several people in the HE300 thread have reported good results doing this.
I tried doing it once, but now the top of the headband is putting much more pressure on my skull. I just let my ears get used to the pressure, and tada, a week later, I can wear them for hours and hours :)
Nice review . . . what are you asking Deep Funk what they said thanks for? Obviously they mean the nice review . . . what else would they be thanking you for?


Not permitted to do trades.
Pros: Smooth, weighty sound
Cons: Might be too dark for some, prone to scratches

I would like to thank Matrix Audio, for I have received this unit from Matrix themselves, free of charge. Please take note, however, that this would not affect the bias of my review whatsoever.


The Matrix Mini-Portable is Matrix’s first step into the portable realm. And a big step, at that – the Mini-Portable is priced at $349, where there is a lot of heat in that segment.


The Mini-Portable’s DAC is equipped with the AD1955 D/A chip, capable of 24/192 over coaxial and optical, and 24/96 over USB, while the headphone amp comes with the AD8620 opamp.
It uses a high-capacity lithium battery, which allows for 8 hours playback with high impedance headphones. With sensitive IEMs / headphones, however, I am not sure of the playback time that the Mini-Portable can provide.
The battery is also equipped with a battery protection system, which will warn you when the battery reaches 10% and 5%.


The Mini-Portable comes in a plastic box with a lid, with cut-out foam inside, and cardboard around the sides, printed with information about the product, and Matrix themselves as a company. The cardboard at the top is also the manual for the Mini-Portable.


The box includes a shielded USB cable, a small USB wall charger, and the amp itself.


The Mini-Portable is similar in length and width to an iPhone 4, but it is nearly twice as thick. The chassis is made up of aluminum, and weighs in at 180 grams. Heavier than what I’m used to, but not a nuisance. In terms of looks, I’d say that it’s a bit better than iBasso’s amp/DAC combos, but not as pretty as RSA amps.


The front side has the 3.5mm input and output jacks, the volume knob, an input selector, and a gain switch. The jack is a little too tight at first, but it will loosen up after a few days. Also, the jack (from the outside) is plastic, and it has some imperfections, but nothing too bad, I’m just nitpicking. The knob turns aren’t smooth, but are slightly stepped. At the bottom, you will see the label for each jack / knob / switch.


The back side has the coaxial, optical, and USB inputs. Also, there is a switch below the USB input which allows you to stop the unit from charging. A neat feature if you want to improve your battery life.



I wouldn’t go into detail about the sound, and describe what I’m hearing track after track like I would do with headphones, as with amps and DACs, it is harder to detect the small improvements that amps and DACs bring. However, I will try to describe what I can in detail.

All audio files used in the test are 256 kbps AAC / 320 kbps MP3 and above.

Equipment used :
1. iPhone 4 > FiiO L9 > Matrix Mini-Portable > Aurisonics ASG-1.2
2. Laptop > foobar2000 + WASAPI > USB > Matrix Mini-Portable > Aurisonics ASG-1

Set-up 1

I never really paid attention to the flaws of the iPhone 4 headphone out, until I heard the sound from the line-out to the Mini-Portable. The sound is smoother, thicker, weightier, cleaner, better and more natural tonal balance, and wider, although it is darker and more laid-back. The bass and mids are fuller, something that is a hit-or-miss with an IEM / headphone with the darkness of the ASG-1. On the ASG-1, the sound may be less impressive at first, but all the technicalities will start to make themselves known, and you will grow on the weightier sound. However, naturally, the sound signature of the Mini-Portable is better paired with neutral to bright IEMs / headphones.

Set-up 2

The differences between the iPhone 4’s DAC and the Mini-Portable’s DAC is quite hard to distinguish, especially for someone like me, since it is the first time that I owned a better source. Nonetheless, I heard some improvements. The soundstage is a bit wider on the Mini-Portable’s DAC, due to the less upfront sound signature. The signature is much more closer to neutral. The tonal balance is also more realistic through the Mini-Portable’s DAC. There is also more clarity and definition throughout the spectrum.


Overall, I think that Matrix did a good job for their first foray into the portable amp industry. A solid build and a solid sound backed with a respectable brand name – a good recipe, in my book. Once again, thank you, Matrix Audio, for this opportunity, and for everyone who read this review.

FYI- Can confirm this works with my Ipod Touch 64GB with a CCK.


Not permitted to do trades.
Pros: Easy to drive, smaller for portability, great finish, great sound for the price, treble and midrange.
Cons: Long-term comfort, shallow pads, K 240 mk. II is better in everything besides portability, lacks bass punch
EDIT (9/23/2011) : After getting my hands on a couple of "Audiophile Reference" albums, I did more critical listening and added more impressions.
         (12/9/2011) : Finalizing review after gathering 200+ hours of use.

Hi guys, this is my first review, so forgive any mistakes. :). This is also my first headphone purchase beyond $60, so my thoughts about this headphone might not be as accurate compared to those with more experience. 

Setup : iBasso T4 > LOD > iPod classic "7G"

Build quality : These headphones are solidly built. Proper strain relieves, detachable cables, aluminum, and tough plastic materials used.  Rating : 4.5/5

Accessories : Extra (coiled) cable, threaded 6.3mm adapter, velour pads, and documents. Rating : 4/5 (would be a 5 if it had a stand or a carrying case)

Comfort : Ears start to hurt after 1-2 hours with pleather pads. Much lesser fatigue with velour pads, although your ears will be red when you take them off. Rating : 3.5/5

Sound : 

      Concise sound impressions : Soft, smooth bass with midrange focus, and laid-back treble. Has the speed to keep up with faster paced music, even unamped. Needs an amp to sound best. Great imaging and instrument separation. Shines with good recordings. It is like a baby K 701 (post burn in).

      Bass : The bass on these goes deep enough (except for Electronic music), but it doesn't hit very hard. Drums don't have a proper kick, unless you have a proper recording / good source and amp. But what you get is quality bass. It is never intrusive, it is always controlled and tight. Synthetic bass sounds somewhat thin, but EQing (J. River MC's Parametric EQ is very good at this) solves this. Too much EQ'ing makes the bass muddy, though.
    Midrange : The midrange sounds very natural in tone, but it is slightly forward. Upper midrange is somewhat sibilant unamped (on a somewhat bright source like the iPod), a warm amp such as the iBasso T4 changed this. It is very pleasing to listen to. Female voices sound better than male voices, but they aren't far behind in terms of realism. One of my favorites to listen on these are The Cranberries. Dolores O'Riordan's voice sounds as good as I have remembered listening to my dad's Hi-Fi when I was young. Beethoven's symphonies sound very spacious.
    Treble : The treble of these extends nicely, but they are slightly laid-back. They are fast, detailed but it is slightly laid-back. I like it for classical (in fact, this is THE sub-$150 headphone for classical, IMO), but it lacks the energy for Rock. It doesn't do micro-detail very well, though. It is forgiving of (not-so) poor recordings. 

      Soundstage : Soundstage isn't really large. It depends on the recording. For example, Beethoven's symphonies sound much more spacious than other songs I have tested them with. But it lacks depth, IMO. It sounds slightly 2D (except when you're listening to proper live recordings / audiophile recordings). 

Overall : Despite being a studio headphone, it is not analytical like some others. It is musical, forgiving of low-bitrate songs, and don't have much faults for the price (besides the slightly lean bass). Efficient enough to be used with an iPod, but benefits from amping. Being at the same price range as the AKG K 240 Mk. II, most people overlook this. But if you're looking for a much more efficient headphone to run unamped at the $100-150 price range (you can find them cheaper online, don't let what I paid mislead you, since I bought them locally from a store that sells recording studio gear.) thats especially great for classical / jazz / vocals, then look no further.

what's better, k141 or k240? [film editor]
also, do the k141s have the same fit as k142? I'm trying out the k142; couple hours later ears = OUCH.


Not permitted to do trades.
Pros: Good mids, out-of-head soundstage with good recordings, impressive after EQ / warm amp
Cons: Extremely harsh treble (before EQ / warm amp), slightly boomy bass
A concise review for the Denon AH-C260. It has about 50 hours on them.

Gear used : iPod classic 7G / iBasso CB04 / New iPod Line Out / iBasso T4

Bass: Slightly boomy with a decent punch, not so much sub-20hz rumble, though. Decent for a sub-$30 IEM. Electronic music sounds good on them, where accuracy won't matter a lot. They are not accurate enough to portray the "twang" of a bass guitar,  it sounds much larger than it really is. A very small nitpick for the price, though.
Mids: I found the mids quite good, if not slightly recessed. Violins sound great, and voices sound recessed, with somewhat inaccurate tonality. Nothing to complain about, really, since it is cheap.
Treble: Harsh. Piercing. That's what you'll hear when you play them out of the box, slightly less when burned in for about 20 hours, but still quite harsh. Properly EQ'd though, they are quite impressive for the price. Cymbals splash with good decay, and okay-ish tone. Strings and woodwinds at higher notes sound delightful.
Soundstage: The soundstage is good with impressive recordings such as the "Audiophile Reference I", where some tracks sound like 5-10 cm away from your head. With most music, I don't see much soundstaging.

Overall: They are quite comfortable, but they get loose very quickly when walking, as it is a shallow-insertion IEM. Very low microphonics. Acceptable sound for the price. 


Not permitted to do trades.
Pros: Free, okay sound
Cons: Nothing special, non-audible bass until 150-200 Hz
After reading InnerFidelity's article about the Apple iBuds, I was definitely curious about how they really sound. I was genuinely surprised, as I expected a tinny sound out of them, but no. It was relatively neutral for me, until the bass area, where they severely lacked. It had better tonal accuracy than my $20 Denon AH-C260. They also performed better in mids and highs compared with the same IEM, but the Denon's win out in bass, however it is muddy, it was satisfying enough for EDM. The iBuds had clearer bass but it was barely audible. If you try to cover the four holes with your fingers, it gets muddy, congested, loses its tone, etc. 
So far, I believe it doesn't deserve its poor bashings, as it was obviously better than their old iBuds, which really deserved its bad name.

Gear used: iPod classic "7G" > LOD > iBasso T4
how can you change tips on an earbud? Its not an iem.
Acoustibuds would probably do a better job. I wouldn't know from experience though, I haven't tried them.
@Crashonskis : Some earbuds have "sleeves" that are usually made up of foam. An example is the Sennheiser MX980.
Comply's use snap-ons.