Tuesday, January 31, 2012

[Impression] digiZoid ZO2.3 – Bass Deluxe™

First, I’ll like to thank digiZoid for the ZO2.3 sample. When digiZoid first introduced the original ZO to the market back in mid 2010, they nicknamed it the ‘personal subwoofer’ in order to give the buyer an idea of what the ZO is and how it is different from any other portable amp out there. While in retrospect the nickname does describe the function of ZO well, it did however unavoidably alienate most of the Head-fi community. A company with a name that sounds like it is from a Japanese animation series is trying to sell a little plastic toy like bass booster? It doesn’t inspire a lot of faith. Admittedly, I felt quite skeptical when I saw the ZO ads floating around the internet back then, and for almost a year there was nothing much about ZO on Head-fi. But when a few Head-fier began to experiment with ZO and reported back with really favorable result, it suddenly turned into a must-have almost overnight. Ironically, the same group of user who was turned away by the funky named device a year ago has become its biggest advocator (and I am among one of them). With the success of ZO on their belt, digiZoid began to develop a new ZO to address some of the shortcoming on the original ZO. After a few trials and errors, the ZO2.3 is born.

ZO2-01r.jpg
Packaging is identical to the original ZO

ZO2-02r.jpg

Saturday, January 28, 2012

[REVIEW] HiSound Audio’s Battleflag (Popo) / Crystal / PAA-1 Pro / Living

First, I’ll like to thank HiSound Audio (HSA) for the samples. A few years ago, HiSound Audio was introduced to Head-fi as an audiophile DAP maker and made a fairly big splash among the community.  Nowadays, they also have their own line of earphones. I’ll be reviewing one of their latest DAP, the RoCoo-P soon. But for now, let put our attention to some of their earphone models first, including two IEM models, Battleflag and Crystal, and two earbuds, the PAA-1 Pro and Living.

A few things to take note – Firstly, the official English name for Battleflag is ‘Popo’ (*no idea what that’s supposed to mean). The name ‘Battleflag’ is the direct translation of its Chinese name. Secondly, though I am reviewing Crystal, it is not the same Crystal currently on the market.  There have been several batches of Crystal being released in the past, and mine belongs to the previous batch. As far as I know, the same IEM is now being referred as Golden Crystal. So even though I am reviewing Crystal, you can equal it to the Golden Crystal as the current Crystal is a different sounding IEM of its own. Confusing? Yes, but we will leave that discussion to the build quality section.

The price on this models are: Battleflag – US$59; (Golden) Crystal – USD$199; PAA-1 Pro – US$49; Living - US$149.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

[Impression] FiiO E17 'Alpen'

FiiO has done it again with another ultra-budget all-in-one AMP+DAC called the E17 – or as FiiO like to refer to its official name, the Alpen. Never did a portable headphone amp + DAC with these many features were made in the sub-$200 market. Then again, it is not the first time FiiO has broken the record in offering class-beating bang for the buck product.

E17P-01.jpg
All the basic accessories that comes with E17,which is pretty much the same as what you will receive on other FiiO amps. There are also an optical and coax adapter included (not show in picture)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

CES2012: Aftermath

Like last year, CES this year gives little to no surprise as far as new IEM release are concerned. Your typical companies like Monster and SkullCandy are mostly showing off their old stuff; some new artist endorsed brands are (still) trying to make it big; some even just re-show their CES2011 line-up again (what is with that anyway?). The biggest news is actually Monster splitting up with the Beat by Dr.Dye brand, and I can't say it is a bad thing. Less boring than last year, even though the IEM market is still booming against the weak global economy.

Well, here is perhaps one of the most interesting IEM in the show - the AF78 by a new company called Audiofly. It is a balanced armature + dynamic dual drivers hybrid that will be sold at around $200. Not too bad a price actually.

MEElectronics is also showing off their latest line-up as well. The upcoming A161 is the most interesting as it closely resembles the Fischer Audio SBA-03 I have reviewed last year. If it is as good (or better), it will be something to look forward to. We shall see.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Digital Silence

There is nothing special about putting Active Noise Canceling (ANC) technology into IEM - Sony does it, Audio Technica does it, Panasonic does it, Pioneer does it (you get the idea)... and apparently,  Wolfson Electronics, the company best known for its DAC chips, is doing it as well. The sub-brand is called Digital Silence, and it already has a model in the market since mid 2011. The company now announced a new model called DS-421D with more advanced features, and as expected, it will pack a Wolfson chip inside to do all the ANC magic. The only question is, does it comes with an iron man certification?

Head to engadget for the whole list of features.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

New Force

NuForce is releasing two IEM on the CES2012. The NE-770X (as shown above) uses the same driver as their current NE700x model, but without the aluminum housing and Titanium diaphragm, and it is priced cheaper at US$50. The other model is the lower end NE-600X at $25. The new plastic housing on NE-770X actually looks quite nice and gives an impression of fun and lively. I won't mind ordering a pair to try out but the international shipping is almost equal to another pair of NE770x. If you are reading this, NuForce - it is time to rethink your international shipping policy and actually makes the affordable IEM, well, affordable.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Your Sound

Samsung just announced a new line of cellphone compatible IEM called 'Your Sound'. No, it really isn't that interesting and yes, it is likely OEM'ed by another company as most Samsung's earphone do. The new line will go as cheap as $30 and as expensive as $130 (* for the EHS71 shown above). Well, this seems to be the first IEM to hit CES2012 so far, lets be patient for now.

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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