Friday, October 28, 2011

VSONIC GR01

As reported a while ago, the new VSONIC flagship, the dual balanced armature GR01 (was GR00) is going to be released before the end of the year - now we have a date and a price: It will hit the China market on late November on a MSRP of US$210.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

[REVIEW] Fischer Audio - License Renewed

First, I want to thank Fischer Audio for the samples. This will mark the third review collection I have rewritten on Fischer Audio’s IEM. Including in this review are Mighty Bug, FA-977 Jazz, Ceramique, Paradigm v.3, Consonance, Tandem and SBA-03. Ever since FA’s first introduction to the international market, they are steadily being recognized as one of the true bargain brands in the headphone world. Some of their headphones have been compared with others that cost twice and more of their price. While the overall build and sound quality are improving over each generation, one thing that remains true to FA is the rather large quantity of different models being released each year. Personally, I think it is time for FA to scale down a little bit and try to focus on just a few. By limiting the number of production models, more resource can be utilized to further refine each model Instead of offering too many similarly price models which could dilute the brand’s value.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hot Oct. in Japan

After announcing the release of the single balanced armature BA100 two months ago, now TDK is following up with a dual balanced armature IEM nicknamed BA200. It will also have the flat cable from BA100 and priced around US$240.

Audio-Technica just announced a truck load of expensive headphones to celebrate its 50th anniversary (or maybe more correctly - asking buyers to help funding its 50th anniversary :) ). Among them includes some new Solid Bass (CKS) series IEM, and 4 really interesting models - (1) ATH-CKW1000ANV (top left in picture), priced around $600 with wood + titanium housing, a specially developed 14mm dynamic transducer  and limited to only 2500 pairs worldwide. (2) ATH-CKM1000 (top right), priced around US$520 with aluminum + titanium housing and another specially developed 14mm dynamic transducer. (3) ATH-CK100PRO (bottom left), priced around US$650 with titanium housing, 3-ways triple balanced armature transducer, horn-nozzle design and removable cable. (4) ATH-CK90PRO MK2 (bottom right), priced at US$260 with horn-nozzle design, presumably the follow up model of the original CK90PRO.

Price quote are all referenced to Japanese market, expect to add a hundred or two when they went oversea :p

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

VSONIC - More to Come

VSONIC just released the latest of their line-up - but not a flagship, not just yet. The new models is called GR06 and it is priced around $50. There are however more models to come, including (1) GR99 and the next flagship dual balanced armature GR01 (was GR00) that are supposed to come before the end of the year, (2) the dual balanced armature + one dynamic GR08 and 6 balanced armature GR09 for next year, plus (3) the portable headphone ST11, two earbuds OX01 and OX02 with at least 3 more models that have yet to be confirmed. 

Yeah, it will be a busy year for VSONIC.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Phiaton PS20 BT

I reviewed the Phiaton PS20 a while ago and now they are releasing a bluetooth v3 version of the same model called the PS20 BT for cellphone user. It looks rather classy and will cost you US$125 a pair.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

[REVIEW] Blue Ever Blue 328R “The Black”, 866B “The Red” and 868B “The Silver”

First, I’ll like to thank Blue Ever Blue (BeB) for the samples. BeB is a company specializes in making earphones under the HDSS (High Definition Sound Standard) licensing. What is HDSS exactly? Well, it is based on a patented technology called the ETL (Embedded Transmission Line). The description on ETL is rather confusing on BeB website, so I dig up the actual patent and read it form the source. In simple term, ETL is basically a special way to dampen the unwanted sound wave inside the speaker enclosure. By dampening these unwanted sound waves, the speaker will be able to move more freely, thus lowering distortion and getting better or more linear performance across the whole frequency response range. ETL is originally invented by Jan P. Plummer of TBI Audio Systems to be used in the company’s loudspeaker design. Now it has found its way not only to BeB’s earphones, but also to loudspeakers made by Sharp and Marantz. This is of course a good sign to indicate some effectiveness in the ETL technology or else these companies won’t be paying for the HDSS licensing. The real question is - with enclosure so small on an earphone, does ETL works just as well as their loudspeaker cousin? It is really hard to say in definitive on whether ETL has a very significant effect on sound quality of BeB’s earphones or not. But there is a simpler question we can ask – do they sound good or not?







Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ghost of the Past

When JH3A first announced, I really thought it was one of those brilliant idea that the IEM industry needs to push forward the technology. But today the sad news is, it will not be JH Audio to do it. The idea of active crossover came to Jerry Harvey a few years ago when he was still the owner of UE. Naturally he went ahead and patented the idea under UE's name - with that patent granted to UE early this year and a possible lawsuit if JH Audio decided to continue the JH3A, Jerry had to back off and redesigned the whole JH3A into something without the active crossover (thus the big reason why JH3A's release has been delayed for such a long time). In any case, I am not happy to see JH3A becomes something that is no longer a JH3A. But there isn't much anyone can do at this moment. 

R.I.P, JH3A, for what you were meant to be and a dream short live.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Old Dog, New Trick.

ACS has released their redesigned T15 and turns it from a semi-custom (that's meant to be used with custom eartips) to an universal with custom eartips option. The GBP$150 price tag is a bit expensive for a pair of single BA these day, but it is still cheaper than the ACS' own single BA custom, the T3.

[Impression] FiiO E10

Again, just want to thank FiiO for the E10 sample. Note, this is a pre-release E10 sample that has the same hardware as the final version, but the packaging might be slightly different.

FiiO sure is fast this year with one release after another. This time it is the E10, an USB DAC with a headphone amp. Here are a few things that need to be clarify before we go into the actual impression:

First, E10, like E9, is not designed to be portable as there is no battery inside. At most, it is transportable. For those who own a NuForce uDAC before, E10 belongs to the same class of product. You should think of it as a high quality external soundcard dedicated to drive headphone (though it can be connected to powered speaker as well via its line-out socket).

Second, E10 is a pure USB DAC that has a headphone amp section. It has no line-in so you can’t connect it to your DAP. USB is all it takes so you should use it with PC, well, perhaps some other devices that has an USB host function as well. If you have no idea what is a USB host function, don’t worry – just understand E10 is supposed to be used with PC and you will be fine.





Thursday, October 6, 2011

[Impression] LEAR FSM-01

First, I’ll like to thanks FS-Digital.net for the sample. FS-Digital is a headphone store in Hong Kong. For those of who are not being here not enough to remember the brand LEAR – it was a joined venture for a few international parties (FS-Digital as one of the partner of course) and their first product is an IEM called Le01 (which I reviewed over 2.5 years ago), followed up with the improved Le01+, than the brand went silence for quite a while. Now that the brand has consolidated under FS-Digital, the first product of LEAR’s relaunch is a small amp called FSM-01, and it comes with some really interesting features. The MSRP is around US130, though the eBay listing from a China seller (which is the only one that carries it) seems to be around $150 or so. Not really sure if FS-Digital accepts international order at this point, but I'll ask them and update the post if I have any news. [update] They do take international order, detail is in the link to LEAR website above.





Wednesday, October 5, 2011

DUNU custom

The story and rumor about DUNU's custom IEM R&D has been floating among DUNU fans for quite a few months now, but todays we finally see the company posting some real pictures of a 4 drivers model over at Facebook. No further detail at this moment.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

EM4

The French IEM company EarSonics has introduced a new custom flagship called the EM4. It is a 4 balanced armatures IEM with one treble, one mid and two bass unit and it will cost you just under US$1200.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Paradigm Shift

The Canadian speaker company Paradigm is venturing out a new sub-brand called the Paradigm Shift for their more casual line of products. Including in their first line of the new brand are three 8mm dynamic transducer based IEM, the E1, E2m, and E3m ('m' means it comes with mic).  The real interesting bit is they will all be manufactured in Paradigm's Canada factory, which is rather rare (*for made-in-North American) these day. The expected price should be below / around $100 (not confirmed). Picture above shows the E3m.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

[REVIEW] Brainwavz B2 - Phoenix’s Rebirth

First, I’ll like to thank MP4 Nation for the sample.

Before we go into the review of B2, let’s take a look at the story of B2 itself. Well, for those of you who have done your reading, you would have known there is another ‘B2’ before this B2. It is the very well received DBA-02 from Fischer Audio (reviewed here). MP4 Nation is able to contact the same company that OEM the DBA-02 for Fischer Audio and begin a production of its own (note, this is not considered cloning since the OEM company is holding the design right of the IEM and free to sell it to anyone). While the IEM itself might be largely the same, MP4 Nation has given it a facelift and much easier accessibility for those who want to buy one, which is the one hinder that keeps DBA-02 from getting really popular and a full 5/5 recommendation from me. With the B2 however, everything is a step closer to perfection.





Brainwavz M4

MP4 Nation is showing off their next IEM, the Brainwavz M4, over at Facebook. Said to be an upgrade over M2, it should hit market before X'mas, possibly under $100. No other detail yet.

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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