The Watercooler -- Impressions, philosophical discussion and general banter. Index on first page. All welcome.
Sep 25, 2023 at 12:07 PM Post #64,996 of 89,806
Oh, I've never heard about this. Only my personal experience but I still have my original pair of AirPods from early 2017 that I heavily used until purchase of APP in late 2019, the later only used for sports since I got APP2 last year. All 3 work without problems.

The only problem I had was with APP original from 2019. They sometimes wouldn't connect with both sides. Apple replaced them immediately in the store after 6 months of use or so.
It could very well be that the number of Apple devices sold are higher than the others, so number of failures are higher but the rate is the same. This is of course just a speculation.
 
Sep 25, 2023 at 12:13 PM Post #64,997 of 89,806
Moondrop Dark Saber has pretty much the exact same driver config and is 800$
And we all know same driver count translates to same sound :-D
 
Sep 25, 2023 at 12:13 PM Post #64,998 of 89,806
Moondrop Dark Saber has pretty much the exact same driver config and is 800$
I don't think that really matters very much? There are single DDs from $5 to $3000. Implementation could be entirely different.
 
Sep 25, 2023 at 12:43 PM Post #64,999 of 89,806
N30LE Amber Pearl: Super Chinese Tactics II Turbo

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"There's a sucker born every minute" is a phrase closely associated with P. T. Barnum, an American showman of the mid-19th century, Wikipedia tells us. However one marketing master and a fan of P. T. Barnum, Joe Vitali, states that what he actually said is: "there's a customer born every minute", meaning that there is a never ending stream of new people who need to be served by your business.

The rapid growth of Chinese economy throughout the last several decades has created an unprecedented number of people who are well-off in the first generation. They need to use their newfound wealth and put it to good use. To taste life, to get something out of it, to live to the fullest. There are more middle-class people now in China than the whole populations of Europe or USA. Many of them are young and prefer to listen to music on a DAP and earphones than loudspeakers. Thus China (and, to some extent, the rest of Asia) seems to me one of the main leaders in new luxury products, pushing the boundary of how expensive we can get. Especially in portable audio.

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To some extent for these companies we are the metaphorical sucker, for whom they can sell an overpriced $8000 IEM or a $6000 cable. And to some extent we are their valued client, for whom they strive to push the boundaries of innovation, as the aforementioned IEM is both beautiful in looks and in sound. I was referring to my beloved UM LeLardin CIEM. And to PW Audio Orpheus, which on the other hand I decided to sell, but I keep the lesser clones (MAS, FTS, Inspire of...) and appreciate their sound immensely.

Is N30LE a great DAP? Absolutely yes, and no. It is a huge step up from N8ii which I had and quickly sold. It sounded rather harsh to my ears. It did not have the super black still canvas on which both AK SP3000 and Sony WM1ZM2 paint their music. The tubes did not help it become more musical. Quality of the device seemed "Chinese" also, with unelegant design as if made by unschooled designers who only learned how to use a 3D computer program. Even the case seemed like a knock-off of Dignis cases as if you gave the job to your junior graphic designer. The unit flew out of the case easily since it was open on one end, etc. There is a difference between a real designer and a technician who knows how to use design software. I had a similar story with N8 mk1 which I borrowed from a store and happily returned.

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(I really recommend hearing this song at least once in your life)

What N30LE really is? It is a Super "N8-II" Turbo to me. N30LE seems like a continuation of N8ii in terms of architecture, and it is also harsh to some extent. The highs are sizzling on top sometimes. There were times when I thought to myself: "I didn't really knew that I can still hear such high sounds". But that's not because N30LE adds +10dB in the highest octave. It's because of the quality and ability of this DAP to extract different layers of sounds from each other. So there's also an addictive quality to these sizzling highs. I want to hear more, to analyze more. The sound quality got upgraded so much from N8ii that I can no longer ignore it. Technicalities went through the roof. I am still lacking the black background that I love SP3000 and WM1Z for. But the power, resolution, details, layering and instrument separation - are all on a higher level than the aforementioned competitors. That does not mean I will instantly sell them, but it means I am getting addicted to N30LE.

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(I listen to it mostly on Hyper and with Modern tube timbre - sounds technically more proficient than Classic setting)

I love it with Aroma Jewel - it is an end-game setup, especially given the authority on the DD lows and the polish on 6 EST upper registers, which - as we know - are delicately recessed on Jewels. The synergy is strong with this one. Notice I am talking about bass and highs all the time, and maybe that is because N30LE is not very vocal forward. It does not seem to be created for the lovers of mids to analyze each and every vibrato in your favorite singers voice. It may sound strange, but I would call it a "V-shaped" DAP, as opposed to maybe WM1ZM2 which is a "smooth fluid" DAP and SP3000 being my "smooth reference". I would say that NE30LE is also very colorful. When I started to get to used to it I was amazed at how many colors it may portray within the music. That is my best metaphor; I am not implying to have synesthesia. I just felt it was very expressive.

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(I love that it has Night Light setting!!! Much more usable in the late hours than SP3000 which is the equivalent of shining a flashlight into your eyes)

Of course it also has strong synergy with its own Amber Pearl IEM. Could this be the one-and-done solution? Yes. I also love how N30LE drives my SE6 edge, which sometimes can get dull and congested, but became a technical monster on this powerhouse. I could go on and on and list you all the albums I have heard during these several last days. If anyone is interested, let me know. What is more important though is that N30LE is strong enough to power up planars like DCA Stealth or Hifiman R10P. To sum this part up, the overall character of Cayin house sound is rather bright to my ears, and this DAP is "agressive" for me, definitely not laid back like WM1ZM2, which I absolutely love. But it is agressive at a very refined level now. I can live with that.

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(A part of my collection... I really love my wife)

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(A part of my collection pt.2, my wife is the best)

The unit is unfortunately much bigger to pay for that sound quality improvement. It is probably contending with iBasso DX320 MAX Ti, which I have not heard. I have heard one of the older units - maybe it was DX300 MAX, I am unsure - and I was unimpressed. So this is barely pocketable... From these three flagships that I have, WM1ZM2 is the easiest to pocket. But given proper trousers, you can still fit N30LE in! Even today I walked around the home with this in my sweatpants. Or you can use a messenger bag for the city. It is not too large to use while commuting.

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(The unit itself looks better from every angle now than N8ii; still not a piece of art like SP3000 or WM1ZM2 but getting close)

Even the case was done right this time. For most part. There are no open sides now. Unit sits tightly inside and will not slide out. The color is not yellow or orange, or some other Chinese joke of cultural differences (as in Aroma Audio new yellow flagship, for example). Chinese still learn design, as they use three different fonts on the back of the case with "Pearl" written in Arial (or something) and "Never be the Same Again" slogan in some kind of kids font taken straight out of Paint. Yes, with the words "Same Again" capitalized like that. I care about details, as you see, but I can live with these. It is just funny.

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(Dignis-type case that everybody copies nowadays; strange shapes and fonts designed in Paint by Cayin's new intern)

So you can see I will not be your typical hype-boy. This thing costs $13000 with an IEM. Is it worth the money? Nope. There is little value for money at this price. At least for me, owning other UM flagships already. However I would say N30LE is a superb flagship DAP worth the MSRP of $5000 (yes). But the additional IEM is not worth $8000 to me. And that is what I would call Super Chinese Sales Tactics (II Turbo). However I need to be honest: it may be worth that money to you, if you do not have LeJardin or Multiverse Mentor yet, and you do not care if it is an Universal IEM or a Custom IEM. I will discuss the IEM more in a minute.

Getting back to the whole package... In theory, the DAP itself got a bit upgraded. And it has a serial number (mine is lucky #13). We discussed this before - the components changed are not uber expensive. We do not really know if it sounds better in Amber Pearl version. Who knows? Lets say that the DAP is worth 5500 USD then, making the IEM 7500 USD, and take it from here. That is why I thought of returning the unit. But both the DAP and IEM made me return for more every day. I decided to keep.

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What Amber Pearl really is? It is a repackaged and corrected Unique Melody Multiverse Mentor (MM; shown on the picture above also). It has additional 2 EST drivers on the top end. It is made from stabilized wood. It does look beautiful. It sounds a bit more refined than MM. But on the other hand, I have MM in custom format, which is usually more comfortable and gives a better sense of immersion in the sound. On the other hand, MM has some nasty treble peaks in the upper registries. Even though I am not a type of person who would boast hearing at 20 kHz, I can still hear some of them and they seem unrefined (and hot) to me. That is where Amber Pearl shines with perfected highs. That is that.

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(Amber Pearl frequency response measurement - note for Google)

That is all, probably. Otherwise it is hard to compare head to head for me, as a CIEM and UIEM just sound differently. So do I have two different IEMs or similar ones? In the end it seems I got something else in a way. Amber Pearl somehow makes me return for more because of the refinement it brought to the table. Such a minor correction resulted in more than a minor change in my behavior, as I really like to reach for it more than for MM.

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(Amber Pearl versus Multiverse Mentor)

Amber Pearl cable (called Amber Pearl also) looks very similar to MM's Deep of Universe cable. (I wish that Peter Wong learned some grammar... I am not a native speaker either but I would at least double check my product names, lol). But we know that it is a different cable, 6N copper, as opposed to silver plated copper in the latter. The weaving is a little more relaxed this time, which feels nice. It sounds all right and could definitely stick to Amber Pearl as the first and last cable you would use before exiting the audio game. However I have decided to switch to my Horus 8w with flat 2pin for increased comfort and better looks (gold with amber). And see if I could get the bass and highs become more refined, spacious, holographic, less sizzle on top. And it absolutely did that. The imaging and sense of spaciousness also improved. The bass became lighter which would not be a welcome change by all of you.

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Horus 8w is not even a summit-fi flagship anymore. I have not yet tested stronger cables against the stock here. And Amber Pearl is just 6N (99.9999%) pure copper. It is not much. At a price level of $8k we had LeJardin with a flagship beautiful MAS cable. To this day I have not found any cable that would make LeJardin shine better than on MAS. Even more, MAS is so good I started collecting it (and now I have 3). Amber Pearl however was easily upgraded. It is a mid-level cable, similarly to Deep of Universe probably (but I have not yet compared them head to head). So there's a sucker born every minute, it seems. MM is worth $4500 in universal and $5000 in custom, and we got a beautiful wooden shell for something like $3000-3500. Lets remember also that LeJardin was more than just a new shell - apart from the TOTL cable it also got a stronger BCD driver to the original Mason Fusang.

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(Which one do you prefer? As a side note, there are more companies capable of doing wooden shells, including Soranik, Ambient Acoustics and Noble)

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(Amber Pearl versus LeJardin CIEM)

But it sings. And if you are a part of success of growing economies like China (or Poland, in my case) maybe that does not matter if you can really afford it. What it means is that it is not a huge part of your budget and you will not have to sell your kidney to pay rent afterwards. Some of us worked hard to build something. And Cayin graciously allowed us to spend our hard earned money on overpriced stuff. To taste life, to get something out of it, to live to the fullest. Or maybe we are just suckers. But at least we are hearing things!
 
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Sep 25, 2023 at 12:46 PM Post #65,000 of 89,806
I don't think that really matters very much? There are single DDs from $5 to $3000. Implementation could be entirely different.
100%/ The quality of the BA's matter so much more than the count or anything else. I'd take two open BA's from 64 over 20 lidded Sonion BA's from a Chi-Fi company. It goes beyond driver allocation, beyond graphs, beyond current measurement capabilities.
 
Sep 25, 2023 at 2:31 PM Post #65,002 of 89,806
Do we need Canjam Spoiler tags? Nio's big brother is on the horizon...

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Love the purple plates. 2 dynamic drivers so hot right now.
Looking forward to Volür impressions!
 
Sep 25, 2023 at 2:34 PM Post #65,003 of 89,806
Do we need Canjam Spoiler tags? Nio's big brother is on the horizon...



Love the purple plates. 2 dynamic drivers so hot right now.

This IEM is beautiful. My wallet is thankfully safe though as I don’t believe it is going to be offered as a CIEM and I don’t like their universal fit. Seeing what appears to be a higher tier offering of Nio is exciting.
 
Sep 25, 2023 at 2:46 PM Post #65,004 of 89,806
I don't think that really matters very much? There are single DDs from $5 to $3000. Implementation could be entirely different.
It could also be better and cost less. Or not, who knows. But a tuning difference could be "solved" with EQ.

I just wanted to bring an alternative to the table, even though I maybe should have said that to begin with.
 
Sep 25, 2023 at 3:06 PM Post #65,005 of 89,806
Last time my dealer said the price range is below $3k, but I don't know where did they get that info.
It's around 2'600$ (4'299 Aus. $)
Minidisc had a false start last week and had the description, specs and price up for some hours. Here it is.

Ushering in a new era of technological innovation, the Volür builds on the heritage of the highly successful Nio.

A New Era​

Ushering in a new era of technological innovation, Volür is a 10-driver hybrid universal in-ear monitor (UIEM), building on the heritage of 64 Audio's first high-driver count hybrid, Nio (released in 2020). The successful recipe of this hybrid platform propelled 64 Audio's appetite for discovery, resulting in one of the most challenging and rewarding developments in 64 Audio's history of pioneering industry-shaping high-end audio. Joining the ranks of 64 Audio's other technological powerhouses, like U18s and Fourté, this small package is filled with an almost impossible amount of proven and novel acoustic science.
The pulsating heart of Volür is made up of two new custom 9mm dynamic drivers in a True Isobaric configuration, delivering unprecedented sonic capabilities in the low-frequency (LF) band. While 64 Audio's direct radiating tia high-driver remains the criterion in high-frequency (HF) performance, 64 Audio's new tia waveguide optimizes its efficiency while offering greater tuning control. The six low-mid and single high-mid balanced armature drivers carry through to Volür. Their implementation was wholly re-engineered to maximize internal space while integrating 3D printed acoustic tuning features.
It’s important to note that the outer shell remains the same size, while all significant structural changes occur internally. The faceplate now features a sleeker chamfer, seamlessly blending with the matte black-finished aluminum shell. The final cosmetic touch comes in the form of an homage to the original Nio: a dreamy purple abalone chip made from responsibly harvested New Zealand Paua shell.
What is soon to be a new benchmark in acoustic delivery, Volür is capable of visceral bass while leaving room for the rest of the spectrum to shine. The saturated mids continue to evoke a similar analog warmth found in Nio, while the highs propel it into the territory of some of the most resolving audio products in the world.


Sound​

The goal with the LF response was to increase quality, not just quantity, and the dual isobaric drivers deliver both beautifully. Due to its distinctive damping qualities, you hear more of the music and less smear, in a sense lowering the noise floor to a darker background between notes/beats and allowing details to shine. There’s a more palpable impact, with subtle sub-bass information revealing the artist’s true intentions. This head-filling bass also allows you to experience a full sound at extremely low volumes, especially with a more isolating module like m20.
The familiar Nio mids, known for their rich character, maintain that signature quality, delivering an almost tube-saturated presentation. Volür’s unique response curve enhances that experience with holographic center imaging that really shines with vocals, making them feel as if they are floating inside your head.
The tia waveguide plays the biggest role in improving HF response since 64 Audio's invention of the direct-radiating driver. The clarity presented by the HF band, and Volür’s unbelievably wide sound-stage, puts it in the same sonic resolution category as the flagship Fourté. This is a rare high-end audio product that bridges the gap between indulgent bass-loving and technical detail-oriented audiophiles.


Isoabric Driver​

64 Audio's cone-to-magnet isobaric driver configuration consists of two drivers connected by an acoustically inert coupling chamber. One diaphragm is fully sealed off, while only the other contributes sound pressure. This complex application results in better damping, lower distortion, twice the power handling (because there are two coils and two motor structures), and extended LF response.
Because this iso-group needed to be wired in series, we worked with 64 Audio suppliers to create a new 9mm dynamic driver with an upgraded n54 magnet and 25μm PU/115°C + 19μm Ti Cone to increase sensitivity. To further shape the sound, we used a high-precision textile mesh acoustic low-pass filter (originally developed for Fourté Blanc).
SPECIFICATIONS
 

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Sep 25, 2023 at 3:24 PM Post #65,006 of 89,806
Do we need Canjam Spoiler tags? Nio's big brother is on the horizon...

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Love the purple plates. 2 dynamic drivers so hot right now.
Poor 64 Audio, someone spoiled their party and leaked this info early. From what I've read it's a >$3K Fourte-level flagship, but I guess we'll know soon enough.
 
Sep 25, 2023 at 5:34 PM Post #65,009 of 89,806
Aroma Fei Wan is inda house!
To my ears it’s the most musical but still very technical set Aroma ever made.
I can’t ask a better tuning, mids are to die, bass is punchy and fast but bodied and richer than Jewel bass.
Highs are natural never harsh or thin, and staging is incredible good, much better than 2500/4000$ set I heard.
I found my cup of tea, at least for now🤭
Sorry for crappy pics


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