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Friday, May 27, 2011

[REVIEW] Sunrise Xcape Impressive Edition

First, I’ll like to thank Sunrise for the sample. Sunrise has had its up and down this year so far but they are not slowing down. Knowing that the China-market-oriented Xcape v2 missed its mark on the Western front, Sunrise is more than ready to replace it with something more worthy of being called the successor of the well-received original Xcape. After all, this new IEM is called the Xcape "Impressive Edition".

Thursday, May 19, 2011

[Impression] FiiO E11

Many thanks to FiiO on the E11 sample. This is the pre-release unit so the final package might be a little different.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

[REVIEW] Monster Turbine Pro Copper Edition

Disclaimer: This review is part of the Monster Turbine Challenge Review program on where selected Turbine models are provided to applicants free of charge in exchange for honest reviews.

I have been keeping my eyes (and ears) on the IEM market for the last 5~6 years now. If we were to go back to 2008 and before, the upper end of the IEM market was mostly dominated by balanced armature (BA) based canalphone (‘IEM’ for short) while the lower end was all dynamic (moving coil) based. That had been the trend going back almost as far as the birth of IEM as a new type of earphone. But since last few years, there has been an influx of higher and higher end dynamic IEM to the market, challenging the long held belief that BA based IEM must be inherently better than dynamic based IEM. This new trend couldn’t have been more apparent in the last one year or so.

When Monster first came to with its newly designed original Turbine back in late 2008, questions rose regarding the seriousness of the company’s intention to enter the IEM market. There had been many attends from many non-headphone related big brands trying to penetrate the IEM market and in most case, they just failed to follow up with steam after one or two models’ release. However, the original Turbine was (and still is) received fairly well in the community and Monster came back strong a year later with the late 2009 announcement of Turbine Pro (which later known as the Gold ‘audiophile’ edition), and followed a few months later with the CES2010 announcement of the additional Copper ‘Professional’ edition – which is what I will be reviewing here.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

[REVIEW] Future Sonics Atrio M5 with MG7 transducer

Almost 3 years ago I picked up my long dreamed pair of Atrio M5 after the reversion 2 reached the Asian shore. It was the tale about the legendary subwoofer-in-the-ear that attracted me the most, and it certainly wasn’t disappointing at the bass performance. But M5 rev2 wasn’t really turn out to be the greatest dynamic transducer based IEM as I once thought it was. In fact, M5 rev2 didn’t sound particularly impressive beside the hard hitting bass. Still, it is quite a smooth (if not darkish) and relaxing IEM to listen to and serves a good reference point of what a basshead IEM should measure to. Naturally I am slightly skeptical when I heard that there will be a new Atrio M5 with a new MG7 driver. Future Sonics, as low profile as they usually are, didn't even do any promotion or had a big press release on some convention. In fact, my inquiry to the customer service about the difference between the old and new Atrio M5 is simply: the headroom is improved so it is a little more detail – doesn’t seem like much, right? Well, that’s the assumption I had till I eventually picked one up myself, and how wrong that assumption is! The new MG7 based Atrio M5 is a totally new beast of its own!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

[REVIEW] NineWave NW-Studio Pro

No doubt high end earbud is getting harder and harder to come by these days. The stall of earbud development in Japan at the late 90s (probably a result of their economy crisis) pretty much marked the last golden days for earbuds user. Even though the introduction of Yuin PK1 in 2005 somewhat resurrected the high-end earbud market, it never does recover enough to match the exponential growth of the IEM market. The good news is perhaps the popularization of portable electronic devices (iPod, iPhone, iPad, etc)in recent years helps not only the IEM development, but also creates just enough user ‘pocket’ to allow high-end earbuds to flourish largely out of the public’s sight. NineWave (9w) as one of a handful of high-end earbud makers is actually quite young as a company. Only just incorporated a year ago, their first earbud, the NW-Studio Pro (retail around $175) created some buzz among earbud user when it was debuted at the headphone convention at Japan last year. How does it measure up?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

[REVIEW] DUNU Ares and Crius

First, I’ll like to thank DUNU for the sample. DUNU, also known as TopSound, might not be a familiar name to most of the newcomer in the IEM world. But a few years ago, they built themselves a reputation not only as the first Chinese IEM maker to manufacture balanced armature based IEM under their own brand name, but also one of the major headphone OEM for big brand name. However, conflict between a few major share holders in 2008 forced the company to temporary cease all operation on their own IEM brand and instead, switched the attention into OEM business. With share holders’ issue being resolved last year, DUNU finally is ready to re-establish themselves as a major player in the ever growing Chinese IEM market. The first two models of the company, Ares (DN-11) and Crius (DN-13) which will be reviewed here, mark the first wave of multiple new IEM that will be launched within the year. Though DUNU current main focus is still on regaining their foothold in the local Chinese market, I think it is only a matter of time before we start seeing their product being sold oversea. Why? Let’s read on.

Friday, May 6, 2011

[REVIEW] SonoCore “COA-803” 2-ways CoAxial Canalphones

First, I must admit I am a sucker for dynamic dual drivers, and I have quite a few in my headphone collection. Naturally when I saw the eBay listing for a relatively cheap (~$60), never heard of dual dynamic IEM from Korea, I just have to grab one. I really do not hope for much simply by looking at the packaging, but look can be deceiving. In the case of SonoCore COA-803, money isn’t all wasted.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

FiiO E11: First Impression

Want to read my first impression on the upcoming FiiO E11 portable headphone amp? It is over at Do check it out!

NOS - New Old Stuff?

EarSonic just relaunched their SM series of universal IEM with the addition of removable cable, a new housing design that resembles that of Westone, and of course an 'upgraded' price tag. The new series includes SM3 v2, SM2 v2 and the new SM1.  The good news is those who purchase their EarSonic on and after February might be entitled to an free exchange if you are willing to cover the shipping. [EDIT] and the fee for a new cable as well.

Future Sonics just recently launched a new low end universal model called the Atrio X with MSRP less than $100. It is said to use the old MG5 driver but I am not sure if it is the same driver from the old Atrio rev2 or the even older FS1.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

[Impression] Sony MDR-PQ5

This is yet another pair of earbuds I picked up from an electronic chain store just to get a feel of how consumer level earbuds sound this days. I am not going into detail on this one, since there really isn't much to say about it. If anything, PQ5 is more of a fashion statement than a serious earbuds. For $15 or less however, I guess you can't really expect much from Sony.

Disclaimer: All trademarks and logos in the website belong to their respective owners. Beside getting free review samples, I don't work for or get paid by anyone to write anything on this website, or anywhere else in that matter. Also, free review samples are never sold for any financial gain. I do buy gears and review them, but for simplicity you (the reader) should always assume what I review is free sample in nature (and thus comes with all the bias). The website does have Google Ads and Amazon Associates enabled (which I have no direct control over their content) - though I don't write review for a living, nor does the ads generates enough money to cover my breakfast (in fact, not even one breakfast per week). Listening to music and playing with audio gears are purely hobby for me. In short, I am just an audiophiles who happens to have his own blog. Not a journalist who happens to be an audiophile. Oh, and excuse my writing as I am not a native English speaker and can't afford a proofreader. Also, just because I don't write in a negative tone doesn't mean I don't write down the negative aspect of a gear. Please read them carefully. Last but not least, please note that this site uses cookies to track visitors' number and page view.

Important: All postings are my own personal opinion only and should not be treated as absolute truth. I do get things wrong just like everyone else. Always do your own research!

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