Top Left to Down right
The first picture is a saimple but very good portable setup that has desktop sound quality. The Cypher Labs Duet is a fully balanced amplifier and when you use the Astell&Kern AK380‘s balanced Line Out to the it, in combination with the balanced output, you get extremely good sound. The Duet/AK combo has never disappointed me and it always sounds great with both (sensitive) IEMs/Customs as well as full sized headphones.
The second picture is one of portable triple stack where the AK70 -DAP of the year 2016 – is used as source. The AK70 uses the ASEN cable to pass the digital stream to the Chord Mojo, which serves as DAC. The Line Out option of the Mojo is activated and it passed the audio signal to the tube driven ALO Audio CV5. Again, a top quality portable setup.
The top right picture is a very basic setup where the Hifiman Supermini is the DAP and the splendid Inear ProPhile 8 is the universal monitor. The Supermini is a “back to basics” DAP which we still need to feature on the site but it hasn’t really convinced me yet. The ProPhile 8 on the other hand just missed the “IEM of the year” title because of the incredible oBravo EAMT-1A.
Picture four is one I shot when I arrived at work and stacked up the gear I brought for testing. From top to bottom we have: the Chord Mojo, the ALO CV5, the RHA DacAmp L1, the ALO CDM, the Bakoon HPA-01M and the Chord Hugo.
The middle picture is a line-up of 6 of my favorite headphones (I have more favs) I was using for testing the Auris Audio HA2-SE tube amp with. From left to right we have both the Hifiman Edition X V1 and V2, the HE-1000 V1 and V2, the original Sennheiser HD800 and the classic Audeze LCD-2.1. Yes, it was a great test.
The picture next to that is of two boxes… Pretty impressive if you know we hardly ever talk about the boxes the units come delivered in. It probably made the top nine because at that time both the RHA CL1 IEM and DacAmp L1 weren’t available yet to the big public. Review soon on Headfonia.
The low left picture is of a tube setup is was testing with the Violectric V850 used as DAC. The amplifiers used are the Cayin HA-1A mk2 and the Auris HA2-SE. They don’t only sound good, but they look good together as well. Reviews? Soon!
The second last image is the same setup as the middle picture but from a different angle. It does show the white Sieveking-like headphone stands better but that’s about the only difference. The last picture down right is one I took early in 2016 and it was a selection of DAPs I had at that time for testing. In the meantime both the AK120II and AK240II have been replaced by the AK380.
If you like looking at pictures of new audio gear, our Instagram account really is where you should be. Compared to the weekly “Picture Sunday” post, we at least publish one picture there each day. If you’re curious what gear we already have in to review in 2017, you might find some clues there as well.
Enough about 2016 though, let’s really get started with 2017. Happy New Year.