Friday, January 28, 2011

[REVIEW] VSONIC GR07 – Labor of Love

First, I want to thank VSONIC for the sample.  GR07, or originally called the VS-R07 / R07, was officially announced back in late 2008. After years of postpone due to unexpected prolonged R&D, the IEM is finally ready for the market at late November last year. According to VSONIC, it took a total of 3 years plus 3 months to bring this IEM from concept to design, development to fine tuning, and finally to a product that represents what the company can proudly refer as their flagship and the best that they have ever made.  Personally, I have a little worry in the beginning that GR07 might not be as good as I am hoping it will be. Given that I am slightly disappointed by my previous quick audition of Westone 3 (which also took several years of development), I begin to wonder if a prolonged development could really serve as an indication of a refined product (* and before you asked, I do consider UM3X to be the best of Westone has to offer, at least till I get a chance to listen to the new Westone 4). Also, VSONIC R04, which I do find to be a decent IEM for its price on my previous VSONIC’s review, didn’t quite go beyond my expectation for an IEM that took two years of development. Naturally, I have my reservation of how GR07 is going to be. However, my doubt was cleared the day I received the GR07. It is truly a wonder of its own, worthy to be called not just the flagship of a company, but a top-tier IEM as well.

GD07-01.jpg
Outer paper wrap

GD07-02.jpg

Sunday, January 23, 2011

[Impression] SoundMAGIC A10 - Oriental Beauty

I’ll like to thank SoundMAGIC for the sample. As far as I know, Sound MAGIC had been developing this little great looking gem for a while now and managed to keep it under the radar all these time. There is no doubt that the market of ultra portable amp is booming in past few years. It seems like just yesterday when FiiO E3 was being introduced to the community and everyone was excited about the wonder it does for such a low price. That was the time where even a typical DIY’ed cmoy with OPA2134 can easily be sold on eBay for $80+, but now you can get a decent one for less than half that price. No one really anticipated that there would have become such a big market back then, but now it is the ’hot’ place where every manufacturer wants to be in. I guess SoundMAGIC also see the potential of the market and willing to give it a try. They are known for their budget and entry level headphone / IEM, but do A10 measure up to the job, even for a fairly low US$60 price tag? Let's find out.

SM-A10-01.jpg
Size reference: PL-50.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

[REVIEW] MEElectronics HT-21

I’ll like to thank MEElec for providing the sample.  Ever since MEElec was introduced to the Head-fi community, it has become one of the names synonymous with bang-for-the-bucks factor. Sure, in many ways MEElec may not be quite the big hitter in sound quality. However, its strength lies in providing quality-made products that could easily cost several times more if they are from a big brand name. With almost one year of successful run with the M6/M9 series, MEElec is ready to strike again with a whole new series of products in 2011, and leading the way is the first portable headphone from the company, the HT-21.

HT21-01.jpg

HT21-02.jpg

Friday, January 14, 2011

Shure SE215: The New Dynamic

Shure just announced a new entry level IEM called the SE215, featuring the same overall design style as the SE315/425/535 model with detachable cable. This particular model seems to aim to breach the gap between the current SE115 and SE315 model. Another interesting aspect about this model is it utilizes a small dynamic transducer instead of balanced armature. Priced at around $120, it is still a bit above what a typical single dynamic based IEM would cost, though it is still within reason of what Shure usually priced their product at, which is slightly above the 'typical' price. It will hit the market in next few months.

ECCI: Goin' Low.

ECCI is introducing a new line of IEM call the PG series, aiming at the bottom end of the market. The first in the series, the PG100 is actually less than US$15, uses a more generic all plastic housing and meant to be easy to drive at 18 ohm impedance  / 104 dB sensitivity. I am quite impressed by the latest of their PR series, the PR401, so the natural question is - do they really need to go to such an low end of the market?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Brainwavz dual drivers!?

MP4 Nation is showing off their new Brainwavz dual balanced armature based IEM on Facebook, and surprisingly it looks very much like a Fischer Audio DBA-02. This of course prompts the question of whether MP4 Nation is sourcing the same IEM from Fischer Audio's OEM or maybe this will be different sounding. Time will tell, I guess.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

CES2011... or not.

CES 2011 has turned out to be quite boring for me this year. I practically haven't seen any new in ear model that remotely looks interesting. Sure there are some in ear models being released, mainly an Active Noise Canceling (ANC) model from Sennheiser, yet another IEM from Monster Cable, and the leaked Westone 4. Sleek Audio has a big hit on the show with their new wireless full sized headphone, but the elusive SA7 and SA6R are still a bit far from market release. There are other offerings from smaller companies as well, but nothing major to write home for.

The one thing that stands out in this year CES is Sonomax's Sculpted Eers. It is basically a self-contained one-times-only custom IEM kit that allow the user to make an semi custom IEM at home or at store. Check out this CNet video on how it works.


Anyway, here is something I missed last month that looks more interesting than those on CES: Future Sonics is making another custom IEM based on the MG5pro dynamic transducer from the last generation Atrio (the current version uses MG7pro). This will be offered alongside the new MG6pro custom IEM.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

MEElec - Yet Another IEM launch

Here is another upcoming MEElec IEM being officially announced. This time, it is the user tunable SP51. Some of you might recognize the same housing being used by Hippo VB before, though the new SP51 does have a lower price and a better cable. As of whether it will sound similar to VB or not is still a bit too early to tell, I do hope it can surpass the aging VB myself.

On other news - I have had the new MEElec HT-21 on-ear portable headphone for a few days now. All I can tell you is this is a surprisingly good headphone for the asking price and once again MEElectonics has done a great job on bring yet another bang for the buck product to the market. You can expect the full review to come after CES2011.

[UPDATE] Apparently the guys from Hippo ain't too happy that VB-like housing is being used on the SP51 as they just shoot me an email explaining to me that they are in fact the original designer of the VB housing.

[2nd UPDATE] MEElec stated that, although the housing is used by Hippo first, it is not an exclusive design but more of a generic supply. SP51 is using a different transducer and cable from VB, not to mention a different price point and targeted audiences.

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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