Friday, August 31, 2012

[Impression] FiiO E09K QOGIR

Okay, here is the reversion of FiiO E9, now called E09K QOGIK. In case you have no idea what ‘QOGIK’ means, it is another name for the K2 Mountain, the second highest peak in the world. The original E9 is designed as a desktop headphone amp. It has the ability to let E7 (and latter in time, E17 Alpen) docks on top of it and utilities the line-out signal from the USB DAC. Of course, it will take any analog source as well. Basically the idea is to leave E9 at home for driving full sized headphone while using E7 for on-the-go. E09K is overall built on the same idea and design, but with upgrade features, some coming straight from user feedback.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Almost a year ago, Sony announced their first balanced armatured based IEM, the XBA series. Just a short while ago, they announced the latest addition to series, namely XBA-10, XBA-20, XBA-30 and XBA-40 (showing above). To be frank, besides using two new colour schemes and switching the cable from OFC to PCOCC (a type of OFC nonetheless), I don't detect any difference between the the current XBA series to the new addition by looking at the product pages,. In fact, the spec as well as the MSRP are identical between the old and the new series. If I had to guess, I'll say the new series looks much like a yearly minor reversion rather than actual upgrade. Well, time will tell as the new series will be released soon.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Back in the Game: UE900

Although the rumour about a new flagship universal IEM from UE has been circling around for quite a while now, the company, now part of Logitech, has shown very little sign of an actual release. The old flagship, 10, is one of the oldest flagship in the market, released since 2008. Here we finally have the UE900, a quad drivers (dual bass, one mid and one treble) balanced armature IEM with a price tag of $399. Given it is priced the same as TF10, this means it is highly likely the old model will finally get phased officially.

One of the more interesting bit of the story is, most of the current UE models have disappeared from UE website, leaving just UE350, UE500, UE600 and UE900 listed. Is that a sign that Logitech is cleaning up the current line-up, or maybe even trying to refocus the brand back to a more up-scaled market? I certainly think UE700 deserved to be kept as an intermediate choice.

In any case, I am glad to see Logitect/UE is finally releasing a new flagship universal IEM and not just pushing their custom IEM market.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

LEAR - Back for More

I received this baby last week but have to send it back for a minor refit (common for custom,in case you don't know). Hopefully it will be back by the end of the week or likely early next. It is the new custom flagship from LEAR Hong Kong, called the LCM-5. It is dual high, dual mid, single bass in three bores / three ways configuration. MSRP is around US$900.

My first impression of LCM-5, though short, is extremely positive. Well worth the title of flagship.

[update] The LCM-5 has returned and the fit is perfect now :)

On the other hand, LEAR is also releasing a new portable amp called the FSM-02 MK2. It is basically a minor reversion (on the casing) of the FSM-02 that has been released not too long ago. No words on the price yet, but hopefully not too far from the $260 original FSM-02. [update] I was told there are other internal improvement as well, which of course add to the final cost and price.

Friday, August 17, 2012

AKG's 2nd

AKG's Chinese distributor is showing a model that is supposed to be the company's second flagship model under K3003. It is called K374, dynamic driver based, comes in three colors (red / black / white) and has a price tag around $150.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Least Expected: Ultrasone and Musical Fidelity

Here are two companies I don't expect them to release IEM. But then again, almost every other company is releasing a model or two of their own, so why not?

Ultrasone is showcasing their upcoming US$770, single dynamic + dual BA hybrid IEM called the "IQ", in the Hong Kong High-End Audio Visual Show. Head over to Engadget for the story.

British audio company Musical Fidelity is releasing an IEM of its own as well, called EB-50. It is a single BA based IEM with an estimated US$240 price tag.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

New Image

When Klipsch released its first IEM (X10) a few years ago, it was nothing but awe from the community. But things took a turn for the worst when they decided to release variants of the S4 instead of bringing true innovation to the tablet. Even the Reference S4 is not what I'll call an upgrade over the original S4. The good news is, they are coming out with a new X series IEM called the X7i, supposedly a step down model from X10i featuring a proprietary single BA driver, ceramic housing and price tag of $200. Let's hope it will bring back the glory days.

Monday, August 6, 2012


A few months ago when Blox sent me the M2c for review, they also included a yet-to-be-released earbud labeled ‘BX3’, a prototype intended to be their next flagship. Though an excellent sounding earbuds on its own and better than M2c on certain aspects, it isn’t quite the ‘killer’ as one would expect from a model that will eventually replace M2c. Perhaps M2c is just too good of an earbud for the price (with top-tier performance no less) that it is hard to surpass with any good length. Fast forward to two weeks ago, Blox contacted me again about sending me the finalized BX3, which is now officially called the TM7. Frankly, I wasn’t keeping my hope too high at the time. Based on the BX3 prototype, I knew it should be really good sounding as well. But the question is, will TM7 be good enough to make M2c users swing, especially with the much more expensive price tag? That doubt eventually gets stamped out on the day I received TM7 – as I still remember that my usual 5 minutes brief audition before committing the earbud to burn-in somehow turned into a 2 hours long enjoyment, I know this is really something special. As I sat on the sofa listening to song after song that day, the only things that lingered in my mind are the awe for the sound and a clear thought: This isn’t the old BX3. It is a totally new beast of its own.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Designer + Brand

Interesting thing happens when you put a well regarded designer and a big beverage brand together on a mission to save the world. Okay, maybe not exactly a world-saving mission, but recycling in style is never a bad thing, especially if you can listen to music while doing it. Enter Michael Young, Coca Cola and the tech design firm EOps with their NOISEZERO Sports+ IEM that has 10% of recycle plastic bottle inside. It certainly looks good, but will it sound good as well? Regardless, I am always a big fan of titanium driver so hopeful this isn't going to be disappointing. General release is early August but not info on price yet. Lets also hope this won't get a designer price as well. [Update] The price is around US$103.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Sub-$200 Portable Amps Shootout – 12(+10) amps compared

This is basically an extension of the sub-$100 amp shootout I did a while ago as the evaluation and scoring method are essentially the same. As always, this comparison is only a subjective evaluation and nothing more than my own personal opinion.


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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