Monday, June 25, 2012

[Impression] JDS Labs C421 (OPA2227 vs. AD8620) featuring cmoyBB, O2, T5 and UHA-4.

I have to admit that I took immediate interest when JDS Labs announced their C421 project. Not only because their cmoyBB has impressed me before, but the fact that they are offering C421 alongside with the much acclaimed NwAvGuy’s open source Objective 2 (O2) amp (*End Note) is a great sign that they are confidence about their own design.

C421 came in three flavors at first – you could select OPA2227, AD8066 or AD8620 as the main opamp, which are also the choices JDS Labs offered for their cmoyBB and some of the most popular opamp choices for DIY amps. The option for AD8066 is later removed since not many buyers ordered it, but it is still available under special request.

C421-03.jpg

Saturday, June 23, 2012

[REVIEW] RHA MA-350

RHA, or Reid and Heath Acoustics, is an U.K. based company that engineers their own headphone. They still make their headphone in China, but the emphasis is on the fact that they are not offering off-the-shelf products rebranded from an OEM company, but take the time to do things right. Being in the U.K. seems to put them in a disadvantage since the overhead of business and general prices of headphone are usually quite high in that part of the world. However, the company do have big plan for releasing higher end IEM. The MA-350 under review is however their first model and oriented toward the budget market for just under US$50.



Thursday, June 21, 2012

First Look: FiiO E12


This is just an initial rendering of the upcoming FiiO E12 - the company first audiophiles targeting higher end amp. No other detail yet.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

N for New

MEElectronics is releasing two new IEM called the N8 and N9. Both are exclusive budget model developed for Newegg.com and will be sold under $40.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Rock and a Hard Place (not really)

FiiO is releasing image of an upcoming product call the E02i 'ROCKY'. You can think of it as an upgrade mix of FiiO E1 and E3, an in-line amp with mic and remote support for the iPhone. Detail is slim at the moment, but there is also the possibility of a version for smartphones other than Apple.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

TDK CLEF-BA

Here is a new entry to TDK more budget / casual oriented CLEF series of IEM called the CLEF-BA (or BA700, if you like). It is single BA based, 55 ohm impedance with a silver plated OFC cable (if I am not mistaken). Being the budget line, the IEM will be sold at just under US$80 in Japan sometime this summer (staring mid June). Anyway, the slightly interesting part will be its adjustable outer ear rubber 'hook' (*not sure what to call it, the blue part in the picture above) that will provide the user with a more secure fit. This design is kind of like the long discontinued HifiMan RE252, but with more flexibility.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

[REVIEW] TDK Life in Record's EB950, BA100, BA200, and ST700 - Serious Business

Up until recent, TDK is best known for its storage media – from the early cassette and floppy, to the more recent CD-R and DVD-R, and perhaps also for the lesser known of its involvement in developing and licensing of Blu-ray disc as well as USB flash drive. What isn’t quite as well known about TDK is that most of the company has been sold to another digital storage giant Imation in 2007 while only keeping its R&D, manufacturing and OEM business in digital storage. So effectively all TDK branding of consumer products in the market now are part of Imation’s operation under the ‘TDK Life on Record’ trade name. Okay, enough on the history – what really interesting about all these is the recent change of TDK’s headphone business. As far as I can remember, even after Imation’s takeover, TDK still treated itself as an accessories maker when it comes to its headphone business, competing with the lower end products from other big brands such as Sony and Panasonics. Until last year, most of its products include low to entry level earbuds and single balanced armature IEM that were only available in very limited area, almost miniscule in quantity when compared to the widespread of its storage media. What I am glad to see is that, with the release of the models under review here, TDK not only makes for a really ‘restart’ of its headphone business, but in fact shows just how seriously good they can be.


Friday, June 1, 2012

True Custom

UE / Logitech has announced another custom IEM to its line-up, and this time it is more 'custom' then ever. The Personal Reference Monitor, as its name suggested, will allow individual user to pre-tune the IEM to their own liking with a special 'Tuning Box' before the IEM is made. So not only you are getting a custom molded IEM, it will be custom tuned as well. The IEM itself will be a 3 ways, 5 drivers setup, and I assume the tuning is incorporated into the IEM most likely by some kind of custom crossover circuit that is based on the individual tuning preference. The whole thing will set you back a cool US$2k - but as of now, only available in very limited places in the US.

You can read Head-fi's boss Jude's impression here.

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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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