Message From Mike - Headfonia Reviews

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138 Comments

  • Reply June 11, 2011

    Anonymous

    You can now leave a comment here.

  • Reply June 13, 2011

    Mate Mayer

    I love Chrome also. Fastest browser of all with great user friendly interface.
    Matt

  • Reply June 13, 2011

    Anonymous

    I’d LOVE to see a comparison between the three Schiit amps! Also looking forward to their upcoming DAC.

    • Reply June 14, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hopefully we can make it happen. 🙂

  • Reply June 13, 2011

    randomperson

    Chrome is win. 

  • Reply June 14, 2011

    Danardono Anjar

    Come on man, finnish the portable amp shootout comparison, i cannot wait to read the review.
    I’ve been waiting for some comparison, for budget amp. i put high on your comparison. i myself trying to find some amp, that suit my Iaudio 9, in term of size and sound.

    • Reply June 14, 2011

      Anonymous

      Ouch, sorry I’m still overwhelmed with work.

      If you want to tell me your set up, music and priorities perhaps I can
      help you decide before the review is published.

      • Reply June 15, 2011

        Danardono Anjar

        owh im sorry,, 

        well, apparently im using Iaudio 9 ->Ultrasone Zino -> HD 497 ->UE tri-fi 10
        i find that each headphone already has nice sparkle treble and clarity, what im searching with amp upgrade is more bigger soundstage and more powerfull bass punch, slight warm character would be nice. i dont mind a bit treble roll off, as i find the high tone in all 3 cans already strong enough.

        and also for size, Iaudio9 is quite like T3 but slightly bigger.

        Thanks

        • Reply June 15, 2011

          Danardono Anjar

          ey sorry i forgot,
          and i also searching something that really has an amp sound signature.
          I tried E5 be4, and it seems to be just a volume boost to me.

        • Reply June 15, 2011

          Anonymous

          The SR-71a will give you a bigger soundstage, powerfull bass, and
          slightly warm character. I think it’s quite a spot on recommendation.

          If you want something cheaper, the JDSLabs Cmoy will also give a bigger
          soundstage and slightly warm character. To get the bass, just turn on
          the bass boost. 🙂

  • Reply June 14, 2011

    Anonymous

     

    Hi Mike,

     

    Just some comments about the DACport before you test it. As
    you would know, it doesn’t sample rate convert. It keeps the files at native
    resolution.

     

    So my preferred settings are as follows:

     

    1. I use my mac to upsample the 44.1kHz files to 88.2kHz (a
    simple 2X upsampling, rather than a ‘fraction’ upsampling to 96kHz). It
    smoothens the sound significantly. This moves the anti-aliasing artifacts of
    the digital filter to way above human hearing. If computer upsampling is not
    done, the DACport sounds a bit dry, forward and brittle in the treble. The
    minuses of upsampling are that the music looses some PRaT and cohesiveness. But
    I am sensitive to treble harshness, so upsampling is preferable to me. Of
    course if you have native high resolution 96kHz files, you can run the DACport
    at that sampling rate without sample rate conversion. The benefits are of
    course the same but without the minuses.

     

    2. The volume control of the DACport should be set at a
    minimum of 9 o’clock. Anything less, the sound becomes scratchy. There is an
    optimal range for all volume pots. Anything below the optimal range can induce
    frequency shifts, channel imbalance and noise.

     

    3. I usually use sensitive headphones. So if I cannot set
    the volume pot to at least 9 o’clock without the music sounding too loud, I use
    the iTunes volume control. It is dithered so it will not introduced significant
    artifacts. I try not to use more than half the slider ( around -6db) so not to
    potentially raise the noise floor to audible levels, depending on the
    sensitivity of my phones.

     

    Thanks for listening to my comments. Hope they prove
    helpful.

     

    Cheers,

    cansman

    • Reply June 15, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks for the tips, cansman.

      It’s interesting how you bring up the subjects of upsampling. When I was
      reviewing the Musiland, I found that 96kHz sound the most natural and
      smooth to my ears. 88.2 was a bit dark and unnatural, though better than
      44.1.

      Anyway the review will not be limited to 24/96 files, however, as the
      majority of music these days are still not available in 24/96, so my
      approach would be a more day-to-day listening impressions, how the
      DACport handles different file and recording qualities. I think this
      will be more relevant to the majority of readers as well.

  • Reply June 15, 2011

    joe

    ohh..i really can’t wait for dacmini and the schiits review!!! i believe you’ll have a good time with them, haha..

  • Reply June 20, 2011

    Ndr

    Can`t wait to see the review of FOSTEX HP-A3.

  • Reply June 20, 2011

    Keshminder Singh

    Hi Mike,

    I’m new to portable hifi, so I thought I’d start with something affordable. I am in Hong Kong for work and saw your message about the Audinst AMP-HP. I contacted the local distributor here and to my luck they just got their first shipment this afternoon (6/20/2011)….I went in to pick up the 1st unit hot off the pan!

    I’m in no way to give a good review….but man this thing sounds awesome! My source is my iPhone 4 running the Flac Player and Audio Technica ATH-M50. The sound stage is so much better than running it just form the iPhone 4. 

    I can’t wait to get your opinion and expert evaluation of this nice unit. Form factor is really nice for a portable and build quality is excellent! Can you recommend some good music that will do justice…I listen to good R&B, Soul, Jazz and music with lots of percussion’s like indian tabla, sitar etc.

    Hope to hear from you soon, cheers…off to enjoy more of the Audinst AMP-HP! 

    • Reply June 21, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks for sharing! that sounds like a great amp. I can’t wait to get
      it, should arrive any day now.

  • Reply June 22, 2011

    David winarso

    The Audinst AMP-HP is interesting. It uses MUSES opamp which is expensive and rare (even in Japan itself, I think).

    Hmm… why it still uses NiMH in the age of Lithium battery? You may want to ask them, Mike…

    • Reply June 22, 2011

      Anonymous

      Will do. I’ll post back here when I hear back from them.

      • Reply June 22, 2011

        CccC

        Ah. With my limited experience with how Japanese language goes about.. Audinst’s representative was possibly trying to say “lower portion” as in having the battery taking up lesser space than their Li-On counterparts. 🙂 Though I might be wrong…

    • Reply June 22, 2011

      Keshminder Singh

      Muses official press release of the MUSES8820 used in the Audinst AMP-HP

      http://www.njr.co.jp/english/products/semi_2010/MUSES8820.html

    • Reply June 22, 2011

      Anonymous

      I think there is a BIG language barrier here between us and Audinst.  This is what he says:

      ————————–
      Hello.

       

      1. Used MUSES opamps for maximize the quality of AMP
      HP.

      2. Used NiMH battery for Lower portion of the battery and using MUSES opamp to improve
      output quality.

       

      Thank you.

       
      ————————–

      • Reply June 22, 2011

        David Winarso

        🙂 really big barrier…

        anyway I just found that MUSES 8820 is not that expensive at $5… the MUSES 01 and 02 are (at $80 each)

        I just wonder why they particularly choose NiMH, is it for sound reason or else?…  Lithium battery are quite cheap now. But internal impedance and cell voltage of NiMH and Lithium batteries are different… so that could have an effect on the sound…

  • Reply June 25, 2011

    eugenius

    My guess is the DACport will do extremely good for a portable but the DACmini will dissapoint for a desktop solution. 🙂

    The current Sabre32 marketing champion 🙂  is the Audiolab 8200CDQ. I’d like to read a comparison of that with the reference 7.1.

    • Reply June 28, 2011

      Anonymous

      The DACmini is actually quite good for a desktop solution. I wouldn’t
      say it’s disappointing. After a certain level, any additional
      improvements in technicalities are not that important unless you listen
      to strictly 100% audiophile quality recordings. The question left is
      then, is the voicing of the DACmini proper for you?

  • Reply June 28, 2011

    Tim

    Looking forward to the review, am currently torn between getting the DacPort DAC or the HRT MS2+…

    • Reply June 28, 2011

      Anonymous

      If you don’t need the all-in one DAC/HP out on the DACport, I think the
      MS2+ is better.

  • Reply June 28, 2011

    Barry

    Mike, I am new to headfonia, and I really liked they way you give out guides and opinions. I am looking to get a JH 7pro. However, its really hard to find reviews about them online. Mostly JH 5 or 13,16. Can you share with me your impressions with the JH 7pro if you have ever tried them? Why are they so unpopular by the way, is there something wrong with them? Thanks and keep up the good work x

    • Reply June 28, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Barry,
      Thanks for the compliments. I think the reason for the lack of the
      reviews on the JH7 is that JH makes so many different models, and them
      being relatively expensive components, people tend to stick to the
      popular models that has gotten previous reviews.

      I think the JH5, JH10, and JH16 pretty much covers a good range of the
      JH products. I can tell you that the JH11 and the JH13 are both good
      IEMs as well, but I’ve never tried the JH7 so I can’t say.

      At the moment I’ve been making a lot of recommendations for the JH5 as I
      feel it to be a very solid IEM that rivals the triple-driver universals
      directly, and yet I feel the JH5 to be a better choice for mainstream
      pop and rock which is what most people listen to.

  • Reply June 30, 2011

    Shahrose

    Oh, very excited about the high-end DAC shootout. Finally, an end to all these portable product reviews!

    • Reply June 30, 2011

      Anonymous

      Not a big fan of portable products huh. 🙂 

  • Reply June 30, 2011

    BtD

    I’d love to see the Matrix Mini-I included with these DACs just to determine where the law of truly diminishing returns kicks in.

    • Reply June 30, 2011

      Anonymous

      Sorry I don’t have the Mini-i around anymore. But I am including the Audinst HUD-Mx1 and HRT MS2+ so that should be a good frame of reference.

  • Reply June 30, 2011

    Anonymous

    Schiit just announced their new entry level DAC Bifrost, priced at $349 (w/o USB, or $449 w/ USB)… Too bad one would have to wait till end of Aug to get one shipped.

    • Reply June 30, 2011

      Anonymous

      Yes, thanks for the update. I sent an email to Jason at Schiit right away.
       
      Amazing how they are doing their product launches I must say. Upgradeable DACs with 24/192 over USB.

      • Reply July 1, 2011

        joe

        any plan on doing review for the Schiitty DAC, mike? lol

        • Reply July 1, 2011

          Anonymous

          I would love to. We’ll see though. Still quite far from release date.

  • Reply July 4, 2011

    Shahrose

    Hey Mike, not sure if you heard of the new revised LCD2, but they’re changing the drivers to improve the sound. Audez’e describes it better here: http://www.audeze.com/driver-update-and-leather-headband

    For me, it sounds like they’ve addressed some of its shortcomings. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on it.

    • Reply July 4, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks for posting. I bet you knew that I didn’t know about it.

      The last LCD-2 revision I’ve listened to is the one with ADZ cables and new pads. But this one sounds like an even better headphone.

  • Reply July 12, 2011

    Barry

    Hi Mike, did you say that you strongly recommend JH Audio earphones to go with a Pico Slim AMP? I have got a JH 7 and a Cowon D2+. What amp do you recommend? Also, I am thinking to upgrade to TWAG elite cable for my JH7, is there any special technique when you change the cable? I am just afraid that the cable losening problem (that happened after i changed my UE TF10) will happen again. 2 questions, thanks mike and keep up the good work.

    • Reply July 13, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Barry,
      Yes in my experience the Pico Slim works very well with the JHs that
      I’ve listened to including the JH5, 10X3, 11, 13, 16.

      As for the cable, I just pull them out by hand. Don’t know, I haven’t
      really had a problem with the connectors getting loose, even considering
      that I plug and unplug them fairly often (likewise the stock ones) for
      review purposes.

  • Reply July 13, 2011

    Barry

    Thanks agian, so what do you think about pairing the Pico Slim with a Cowon D2+ , with my JH?
     
     

    • Reply July 13, 2011

      Anonymous

      I think it would be nice. Not so sure about the D2 since I heard it’s a
      bright DAC.

  • Reply July 29, 2011

    Donunus

    You are an overachiever Mike! Name me another site on the web with one man doing all the reviews and doing so many good ones of key products all at the same time. I don’t think you have any competition. well maybe Tyll is doing a similar thing but you’re definitely reviewing more interesting stuff.

    • Reply August 1, 2011

      Anonymous

      Lol, thanks, Donunus. 🙂

  • Reply August 3, 2011

    Jlle

    • Reply August 4, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks, Jlle.

  • Reply August 6, 2011

    Dave.

    Hi Mike,
    I have an interesting word doc with some photos re the DT 1350’s that I think you might find interesting. Thing is I can’t insert it here so do you have an email adress I can send it to?
    Regards,
    Dave (The Colorfly Guy)

  • Reply August 10, 2011

    Earfonia

    Tried DT1350 with some Violin concertos, somehow it sounds weird and unnatural.  Maybe DT1350 is just not for violin 🙂  YMMV though 🙂

    • Reply August 11, 2011

      Anonymous

      Definitely not for violin.

    • Reply August 11, 2011

      Dave.

      Hi there,
      Take a look at my posting/photos’ on the review thread. Might just explain things. Rewired they become very capable of  dealing with anything I’ve tried so far. If they could only sound like they do now ‘ straight out of the box’ then you’d have something well worth the money!

      • Reply August 12, 2011

        Earfonia

        Hi, DT1350 sounds alright (although not very natural tonal balance) with other material I tried, vocal, jazz, etc.  But violin concertos are my daily main course, and DT1350 just sounds bad for violin, at least for my taste 🙂

  • Reply August 13, 2011

    Shahrose

    Hey Mike, you’ve been keeping up nicely with the popular new releases. When can we expect a taste of the LCD-2 Rev.2?

    • Reply August 15, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hey Shahrose,
      Don’t think I’m going to write an article on the Rev.2 as the difference is fairly slight. (Although it may be a good idea just for people looking for impressions on the Rev.2).

      I talked about it about two weeks ago on my Twitter. I think the main difference is in the mids. New drivers had a more upfront upper mids, which affects the vocal presence and instruments around that region, making them more present, more obvious. I did however find the lower mids on the new drivers to be congested and less linear than the old version. I think the new version is more likable for the majority of people (since that was one of the major complaints people had with the LCD-2: recessed vocals and such), but I actually enjoy the older version more due to the clearer and more linear mids. What’s strange is that the newer LCD-2 had a smaller soundstage than the older version. I don’t know why that is, but it was like that when I listened to it.

      Both headphones had the same cable (Silver Dragon) and the same pads (the newest style pads) when I listened to them.

      • Reply August 16, 2011

        Shahrose

        Hey Mike. I own the Rev.2s but don’t have the Rev.1s on hand so your comparison is most helpful. Thanks.

        It’s a curious thing though. Most people on Head-Fi are saying the new ones have a larger soundstage, tighter bass with more upper treble. Some of this matches your descriptions and some doesn’t. Setup variances? Differing preferences? Who knows.

        • Reply August 17, 2011

          Anonymous

          Well on a second thought using the same pads and cables may have not be the best idea. The stock cable on the Rev 1 is definitely darker than the silver dragon, and I’m not sure about the stock cable in the Rev 2 either. Likewise the pads (the Rev 1 was using the new style pads like the one on Rev 2) probably do something to the sound.

          But I was pretty sure that with that configuration, the soundstage is wider on Rev 1.

  • Reply September 2, 2011

    Andy

    I am deciding between these pairs of cans, really difficult to choose.

    -Audio-Technica SJ55
    -Grado SR60i
    -Superlux HD661
    -BeyerDynamic DT235

    Can you help me compare them?
    P.S. I’m only using an iPod to play music, no amps or anything.

    • Reply September 2, 2011

      Anonymous

      Well what do you want? Open or closed? Can you post on the Q-A section please?

      • Reply September 2, 2011

        Andy

        Sorry about that.

        • Reply September 2, 2011

          Anonymous

          Thanks, Andy.

  • Reply September 3, 2011

    GrayArea

    Mike, 
    Which new, cheap and good Superluxes were you referring to?

    I’ve had a go on the 651s and 681s but I think they’ve been out a while.

    • Reply September 5, 2011

      Anonymous

      They just released the new HD661 and I’m quite enjoying the sound of it.

  • Reply September 15, 2011

    SoulSyde

    I’d find a lot of humor in an iBud vs. PK1 review. ; )

    • Reply September 16, 2011

      Anonymous

      Ah you’re just intentionally trying to make the Ibud looks bad. 😉

  • Reply September 16, 2011

    joe

    mike..quick question while waiting for your e10 review.. does the overall sound signature dark-ish like the e7 or more neutral??

    • Reply September 16, 2011

      Anonymous

      Darkish like the E7 but fuller sounding on the mids and lows.

  • Reply September 17, 2011

    Anonymous

    Thanks buddy for your nice information i like to read it please join it and get more and apply on your business
    Digital Signage Technology

  • Reply September 30, 2011

    Ahok

    looking forward to your ibud review lol

    • Reply September 30, 2011

      Anonymous

      Nice, right? 😉 

      • Reply September 30, 2011

        Ahok

        its surely is 😉

  • Reply September 30, 2011

    Lieven V

    Thanks for the welcome, Mike!
    The first review will be of the Bowers&Wilkins C5 earphones…

    • Reply October 1, 2011

      Ahok

      cant wait to see the review
      cheers
      😀

  • Reply September 30, 2011

    Mentz

    Any chance of a review of the Matrix Quattro Full Balanced Amplifier i the near future?

  • Reply October 3, 2011

    Syakir Zainol

    I am listening to the portable Superlux HD572 and what an impressive USD18 cans they are!

    • Reply October 3, 2011

      Anonymous

      Nice! I still owe you guys the HD661 review.

  • Reply October 8, 2011

    Ahok

    the headamp picoDAC is awesome when paired to the M50, 
    punchy deep textured bass, sweet mids, and clear treble, 
    not to mention deep and broad soundstage, 
    this thing is very” good

    • Reply October 8, 2011

      Anonymous

      Yea it does have a very nice warm mids and round bass sound. I think it’s one of the best amps around, don’t know why I don’t see them that often these days.

      • Reply October 10, 2011

        Ahok

        slow production rate maybe

  • Reply November 9, 2011

    Hellediemagnussen

    I noticed that you have been using the NFB-3 for some time. What do you think of it? Will there be a review on it? /Jonathan

    • Reply November 9, 2011

      Anonymous

      NFB-3? Actually not I’ve never used the NFB-3.

    • Reply November 9, 2011

      Lieven V

      Hi Jonathan. It’s me who has the NFB3. I wasn’t really planning on doing a review on it as the NFB3 isn’t available anymore. Mine has no filters inside and since the NFB3, Audio Gd has updated the DAC twice (once with internal filters, and now the 3.1 with the digital filters)

      I absolutely love the NFB3, it’s very musical, not too dry & analytical sounding. Slightly bassy/warmish in the eyes of most, but I wouldn’t really say that. If you have any specific questions, just ask me.

      • Reply November 9, 2011

        Hellediemagnussen

        Wow – I read headfonia regularly, and I never noticed there were more than one reviewer. Wow – that’s embarrassing:) oh I just wanted to hear others opinion on it. I have one myself and I really like it as well. But haven’t seen many others with it. Thank you for your thoughts on it:) all the best, Jonathan

        • Reply November 10, 2011

          Lieven V

          There are actually lots of people using the NFB2 and 3, I have only read 1 bad review of it, everyone else loves it 🙂

          • Reply November 10, 2011

            Anonymous

            Likewise on the NFB-12. Lots of people love it, only one bad review of it. 😉

          • Reply November 10, 2011

            Hellediemagnussen

            Have you tried comparing it with other dacs? Good to know I’m not the only one:) It is my first stand alone dac so I am curios how much there is to gain, of anything, by upgrading!

  • Reply November 12, 2011

    Jazz1

    If I’m loving my Sennheiser HD 650’s and my Beyerdynamic DT1350’s would I like the Grado PS500’s. I tried the Grado 325i and found them nice but too upfront and ultimately to treble shrill. I could only listen to them for an hour or two at a time.

    • Reply November 14, 2011

      Anonymous

      Yes then you’ll probably be better off with the PS500.

  • Reply November 13, 2011

    jeffreyfranz

    I liked the old format, with the drop-down menus better. 

    • Reply November 13, 2011

      Lieven V

      I prefer both at the same time but it’s just a matter of getting used to it. The search really is much better now

    • Reply November 14, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks for the input, Jeffrey. Yes there are pros and cons, but I think I’ve decided to stick with the current search format. Since every search method is listed on one page I think newcomers would find it easier to find an article.

  • Reply November 15, 2011

    Joe

    hey mike.. if you have access to DIY community, or if you’re into DIY yourself, it would be nice if you could review DIY amps.. i’ve been addicted to this in the past few months, and i think the amplifier designs offered by amb or cavalli are superior to the commercial ones at similar price range.. amps like CK2III, dynalo, EHHA, or CTH are really superb at their price range IMO..

    • Reply November 16, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Joe,
      When you say that DIY amps are superior to the commercial ones at similar price range, have you actually compared a DIY and a commercial amp within the same price range?
      I do DIY, and I have a lot of friends who design and build DIY stuff. But it’s mostly for the fun of doing a DIY, and/or my curiosity to see how a certain DIY amplifier sound. But as for a DIY design sounding better than commercial ones at the same price, it’s not really true.
      I think it’s mostly due to the cost of the components. We buy components in small numbers (even up to 100-200 pcs) whereas manufacturers buy them by the millions (hence bulk discounts). The cost of a good transformer, for instance, is quite high if you buy just one or two of them. Whereas manufacturers probably buy them by the thousands and get much lower prices than us. And that margin can add up quite significantly. Not to mention the cost of a good enclosure for a desktop amp which would easily go to $200-$300 including a good volume knob.
      And I’m not even counting the tooling cost needed to do the case work, and the time you need to spend building everything. And at the end, the quality of the casework almost never come close to a commercial amplifier.
      There are one or two designs that happens to be very very good, but most of the other designs are just okay, even DIY stuff that goes up to the $1K mark.
      I think the best value DIY amplifier I’ve built is Pete Millet’s Starving Student amp. Crystal clear sound, humongous soundstage, but a bit weak in the bass. If you like soundstage and clarity, the SSMH can take on some of the very expensive amplifiers around (my Grace m902 which costs $1,600 for instance).
      The Cmoy is another good value, but I’ve never personally build one. 😉

      • Reply November 16, 2011

        Joe

        yes, but my experiences are limited to the less expensive ones.. i’ve built ck2iii, CTH, EHHA, and M3 so far..and i find them to have excellent performace.. take the ck2iii for example, i built it for rougly $120 and i think it’s better than the fiio e9 and asgard.. i also had the chance to compare my EHHA with darkvoice 337 and a little dot amp (i forgot the model).. i still prefer it to them both.. but i agree that it could be a hassle and built quality may not be as good as commercial ones.. but IME, DIY designs have much better price to performance ratio..
        and..another good thing about DIY designs (especially the old and popular ones, like the dynalo or SOHHA) is that a design has been built by many enthusiasts .. the designer should have received numerous suggestions and improvements to improve the schematics..

  • Reply November 18, 2011

    John T

    Hi Mike, on your recommendation, I got the FiiO E10 and E11 – unheard – for my iPod Classic and Mac, and have been very pleased with the bang-for-buck and improvement in sound I’ve had with my Sennheiser 238s and Klipsch X10i’s. I was wanting to get some much better headphones with mini jack for mainly listening through these, but also with the view to upgrading the headphone amps at some stage. Soundwise, PRAT is important to me, and I prefer not too much treble presence or brightness – The X10i’s are very good in this department, with a natural sound and realistic bass. Would consider up to the T1’s, but would prefer to spend less 🙂 Any thoughts? While poles apart, I was considering B&W P5s, some Grados or Beyers. Music wise, I mainly listen to rock, folk and country…Great site, thanks for your help.

    • Reply November 18, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi John, 

      You mentioned that you want a good PRaT but not too much treble. Grado and Beyers: I’m afraid you’ll run into too much treble with them. 
      The BW P5 sounds like the type of headphone that you would like, tonally smooth not too bright and good mids and bass body. It’s not too energetic though, and so you may not find the PRaT to be up there. 
      I can also recommend you to something like the Senn HD25-1 which has an awesome PRaT, but again I’m not so sure on how much treble you can really handle. 

  • Reply November 18, 2011

    Jeff

    Hi,
    I’ve been reading your great collection of reviews, ever since I found your website. I have a set of ATH-ESW9s which I really enjoy, and was thinking about adding a portable amp to my ipod for use use with these headphones. However, after reading your 3-way review of Shure/Senn/AT phones, it implies that the ‘tube tone’ of the ESW9s will not be changed or enhanced by a portable amp (I was thinking of getting a JDS Cmoy). Do you believe there is anything to be gained by adding the Cmoy to the ipod, with these phones?
    Many thanks,  Jeff

  • Reply December 5, 2011

    FrankyG

    Hey man! I’m interested in the Marshall Major headphones, but am wondering if I should fork a little extra dough to get the FX?!?

    Thanks!

    • Reply December 5, 2011

      Mike

      How is the FX different from the regular Marshall? Sorry I’m not even aware there is an FX model.

  • Reply December 7, 2011

    vasco martins

    Hi, Great detailed reviews and great sense of justice in the overall comments.. best place to learn about audio I seen so far in the net.

    I’m writing because I´m little nubby in this subject and I don’t want to start in the wrong foot in my first upgrades.
    So based in what you say in the FAQ section is useful that you know what kind of music is the equipment for:
    The set up will be a laptop, a DAC/preamp and amp for big rooms, the music is Tango in mp3 format recorded in the 50’s 60’s and 70’s , so some recording are not that good.
    I only need a DAC/headphone amp and a set of Headphones all in a budget and to be on the move 😉

    After reading all your reviews related to this subject I narrow it down to this options:
    audinst HUD-mx1
    ibasso D12
    VDAC II
    FIIO E10 
    NuForce uDac 2

    The headphones are second choice and not that important because the main reason for the DAC is to be amplified externally “by not so good equipment I must add” but anyway I want the feature as a plus so if you could sugest an all around budget Headphones too I appreciate.

    Thanks very very much in advance and sorry for the long comment but I really need some expert opinion on this.
    Best regards and keep up with the sublime work
    Vasco 

    • Reply December 7, 2011

      Mike

      Hi Vasco,
      So you’re looking for a DAC to go with a speaker system right?

      By the way the Q-A would be more appropriate to continue the discussion: http://headfonia.com/q-a-2/

  • Reply December 16, 2011

    Tan Xin Kun

    Really appreciate the reviews that you have done!  Thank God for your passion!

    Have you ever heard of Musiland? It’s a China brand. I’m looking forward for the review from someone so experienced like you! Thanks! 🙂

  • Reply December 19, 2011

    pete

    hey mike..i don’t know if you are aware of audiolab, a company founded by John westlake, which was the designer of the original dacmagic and several peachtree DAC.. He has just launched a new DAC called the Audiolab M-DAC
    http://www.audiolab.co.uk/M-DAC%20Series.aspx?lang=En 
    this dac is currently very popular in my local community.. perhaps you could get a sample for review?? the company is based in Europe, but i think it has quite a good distribution network

    • Reply December 19, 2011

      Mike

      Yes Pete, everybody’s been talking about the M-DAC. I’m going to try to do a review, but maybe not this month or the next. Have way too many DACs scheduled for the next two months. 

      • Reply December 19, 2011

        pete

        haha.. no problem mike.. i’m just giving a suggestion for you.. btw what are the reviews coming up in the next month?? perhaps you could give a sort of “anticipation” schedule lol, so we know what gear we would expect in the near future..

        • Reply December 19, 2011

          Mike

          Plenty of DACs, including the XDac, Dac HD and Devilsound, Bifrost from Schiit, and the Fiio E17.

          Sorry for the spelling mistakes, not very good with typing from the Ipad’s screen.

          • Reply December 19, 2011

            Lieven V

            And lots of other stuff as well, you’ll just have to wait and see 😉

  • Reply December 21, 2011

    Markro2011

    РоссМаркет – полный ассортимент отопительного оборудования и вспомогательных элементов по самым лучшим ценам от производителя. Цены на продукцию. Профессиональная консультация. Он-лайн заказ 24 часа в сутки.
    http://rossmarket.com.ua/

  • Reply December 23, 2011

    Whispering Jack

    Mike, I just wanted to wish you Merry Xmas and I really hope you can keep up the incredible pace you’ve set during 2011 in the coming year.  I dont know of any other reviewer who can get their hands on new kit, and get a review online, as quickly as you do – I may not always agree with you, but I respect your efforts. Thanks for Headfonia – its a real asset to our community.

    • Reply December 23, 2011

      Mike

      Hi Jack,
      Merry Christmas to you too. I’ve had a lot of help from Lieven this year, and likewise for next year hopefully we can bring more quality content for you guys.

  • Reply December 26, 2011

    Shahrose

    Happy holidays buddy. I’d like to suggest the Eastern Electric Minimax Plus DAC to review in the new year. In stock form it’s decent, but with a simple cheap opamp and tube swap…it’s great for the price IMO.

    • Reply December 26, 2011

      Mike

      Alright, thanks Shahrose. Happy Holidays to you too. 

  • Reply December 29, 2011

    Pablito

    Hello, im just wondering which model of headphones get to make music, i want them as flat as possible, im doubting between fostex t7h or akg k 701, hope u can give me some orientation? regards

    • Reply December 29, 2011

      Mike

      As flat as possible, or for music? Usually flat sounding headphones don’t make for a good music listening device, and the other way around.

      • Reply December 29, 2011

        Pablito

        Hello again Mike, I want them to make music, cause due to my neighbors, my flat mates and that i produce music mostly during the night i cannot use much the monitors, so lets say i want them flat so i got a neutral signal, hope this time i explain myself better ^^
        , regards from Spain.

        • Reply December 29, 2011

          Mike

          In that case yes, the Fostex and the K701 should be good for what you do. Both of them are relatively flat, though each with their own uniqueness. 

  • Reply December 29, 2011

    Bulmanxxi

    Mike, how would you compare the Objective2 to the Schiit Asgard?  Thank you.

    Any plans to review the new iBasso D7?  It would be nice to compare to HRT Headstreamer and Centrance Dacport.

    • Reply December 30, 2011

      Mike

      Bulmanxxi,
      Perhaps not the Schiit Asgard, I think the O2 is not quite there yet. Dynamics is still pretty low to be compared to a desktop amp.

  • Reply December 31, 2011

    Nightofjoy

    Heyey Mike, thanks for the impression of the Ojective  2. How does the Objestive 2 compare with the uHA 120 and the AHA 120

    • Reply December 31, 2011

      Mike

      I can only write about the AHA 120 as Lieven did the uHa120. The O2 is linear, dark, spacious, and clean black background. AHA 120 is warm, more analog, more intimate, more tube-like.

  • Reply January 5, 2012

    ahugs

    Hey Mike,
    I was wondering which headphones would be warmer, AD700 or HD598?

  • Reply January 7, 2012

    b3dz

    Yo Mike!!
    Have u heard the rumor about iBasso DX100?
    iBasso vs (Iphone4+HP-P1). i can’t wait any longer!!!

  • Reply January 12, 2012

    John

    Thank you Mike.  I am moving from mid fi to more Hi fi and would appreciate your advice.  I am going to purchase LCD-2. HE 500, Beyer T1, and either the new Senn 700 or the HD800.  At present I do not have an amp that will bring out the best in these higher end headphones.  I listen to a broad range of genres with the exceptions of classical and rap.  The best phones I own now are Senn 650 and Grado 325is and my only desktop amp is the Fiio E9/E7. I also own a number of portable amps. I am not locked in to a specific sound signature (see my phones) as I appreciate the differences.  I would like to stick with SS amps if possible in the $500 to $1500 range.  Your Q&A is a wonderful resource for us all.  Thank you John

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      Hi John,
      I think you have two great headphones there and personally I would invest in a good desktop amp before getting another headphone. You need to hear your headphones from a higher end amplifiers. The HD650 will scale up all the way to a $5K amp.

  • Reply January 12, 2012

    John

    Hi Mike.  My apologies for the previous long post.  I just read your review of the V100 amp and it sounds like a great starting point for me.  Any further advise on the V200.  Cheers John

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Lieven V

      Hi John, I did the V100 review and will be adding the V200 probably near the end of february. In my opinionthe violectrics are great amps for all the headphones you mentionned below, but the HD650 will always sound best with a good tube amp 😉

  • Reply January 17, 2012

    John

    Hi Mike.  I was mixing and matching some of the portables I own to see if I could put together a budget bedside setup.  I matched up laptop – music streamer II – JDS labs cMoyBB and was very dwith the synergy of this setup.  Sorry but I do not have the audiophile vocabulary to describe this, but it blew away my E9/E7 setup.  Is it the DAC that is giving me this huge improvement?  Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated as usual.  Thank you

    • Reply January 17, 2012

      Mike

      Hi John,
      It’s a combination of different things. Some possibilities:
      1. The HRT is definitely a better DAC than the E7
      2. The CmoyBB has a better midrange than the E9, this may have been the missing link in your previous set up. 3. The HRT + Cmoy combination gives a warm sound signature that may have been a better match for your music.
      Anyway the HRT + CMoy combo is one of the best out there. Fit the Cmoy with a 18V (or 24V if it can accomodate 24V, I don’t remember, please check the manual) wallwart and the sound should be even better.

  • Reply January 17, 2012

    John

    Hi Mike.  I am running the cMoyBB with a 15 volt AC adapter.  I did try it with the single 9 volt that the unit came with and it also was pretty good.  My Senn HD650 responded very well to this setup but can get much better with the Burson 160DS I have on order.  I was very dissapointed with my HD650 out of the E9/E7 so I took you advise you gave me earlier to upgrade to the Burson.  Thanks again for your comments and advice they are a huge help to us “newbies”.  Cheers John

    • Reply January 17, 2012

      Mike

      You’re welcome, John.

  • Reply January 20, 2012

    Irvin

    Hi Mike. I have an Audio Gd 7.1 Dac (that I bought after reading your review). I’ve also read how much you like the KingRex UD 384. Does using the KingRex as a usb to spdif converter into the Audio Gd improve it’s sq?

  • Reply January 20, 2012

    Jon

    Hi Mike, I’m buying my first portable amp. I’ve heard good things about the Headstage Arrow 12HE 4G  and I like its ability to boost treble but was wondering how it compares to the Audinst AMP-HP sound quality wise?

    • Reply January 20, 2012

      Mike

      I did a review on the 3G Arrow but have never listened to the 4G. Sorry.
      Can we keep this to the proper thread?
      http://headfonia.com/q-a-2/

      • Reply January 20, 2012

        Jon

        Sorry for the posting incorrectly. Thanks for the link!

  • Reply January 27, 2012

    Terrytan

    Hey Mike, any news on when the Audez’e LCD-3 review is coming out? What are your impressions so far? 

    • Reply January 27, 2012

      Mike

      Terry,
      I’ve been busy with other things and I haven’t even received the LCD-3 from Audez’e. Perhaps sometimes mid-end February.

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