Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hisound audio N1

Special thanks to emOkia of lowyat.net forum:  http://forum.lowyat.net/topic/2669159/all for this unit N1 sample.This is a sample unit offered by N1 that has the label on it. So, since there is no packaging, it will be omitted.

SD Memory card expandable: yes
Internal Capacity: 4 GB

Display and Looks

HiSound Nova N1


Navigation could do some serious getting used to. There isn't any label stating which button does what, not even a graphical indication. All they give is a red light. That is confusing. We need at least an indication of what all the buttons do, instead of reading the manual, if there is one. I constantly mispressed here and there, and sometimes can say that i got lost in the navigation.

Power button is also something that might need reworking. The spring load button, if got caught on a knit in the trouser while you put it into one, might hook on the N1 and turns it off. 


Have you ever seen a red text on black and white chequered background? Neither did I, go try it out on some graphic tools you have, and you will understand the difficulty level to read on this thing.The background and the text mix so well that it is eye-irritating to read it in one go. I did my navigation based on guesses as I couldn't get what is it in there. Once you get pass that, reading becomes so much easier, like the bottom image indicated above.

Audio Quality


To be frank, the bass N1 gives is actually quite flat. Not much pronounced nor accurately beaten bass. It is just a good mixing, and nothing too special to mention about.

Vocals + Mid

N1 does better in the vocal section, singer is quite forward and the pronunciation can be well listened to. Background vocal seems weak, and couldn't be separated clearly with the main vocals. 


Treble is quite weak as i chosen songs that rely a lot on treble + cymbal hitting to spice the music. There isn't much around, and so i can confirm you, imagine an eq with everything at zero. That's as closest sounding to N1 you can get.


Not much to talk about, it is quite a studio like staging effort. Even in hall mastered music, it does feel that way. 


What can I say good about N1 since I critic almost everything about N1? Well, flat sound lovers will certainly love this N1, and also believers that headphones will change the music signature. Consider this as a raw output for music, and let your headphones do the music changing trick. For portability, with that much drawback, I might think this is more for the specific taste. That's all for N1, and as always, test everything, leave nothing behind.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The HiFiMan HE-400, something good

Well, I obtained the unit from a purchase by Mr Adre, thanks for letting me try this unit. HE-400 is a Planar Magnetic driver headphone with a high efficiency, as stated in their site ( google: Planar Magnetic, site: http://hifiman.com/).


What can i say.. nothing special actually that is really worth  mentioning. It's all the basic essentials, which is a cloth pouch and a 3.5-6.5 adapter. 


The HiFiMan HE-400 is built very solid and I can expect it to take a beating and survive well. Still, the shiny surfaces might get scratches, if cosmetic outlook is what concerns. The cable is using canare L-4E5AT, which I have no idea on technicality, but I only know canare cables are not bad, and is durable without much drag weight. Something that concerns me is the screw on type of plug to both side of the headphone driver.
Screw on type input jacks
What I worry is down the years, the screw on might get loose due to frequent friction, but still it locks on better than other 3.5mm input without lock mechanisms.

Driving the HE-400

Actually, it might sound scary when it comes ot planar magnetic, as people might think it need a super amp to drive it. Well, good news, even the simplistic Objective 2 amp can drive it nicely without any much fuss, and leave more power to go with. If you have some headphone amp that drives 250 ohm, you are good to go. 



I really like how the treble is clean and is very solid. Cymbals can be heard clearly and not missing any beats. Crystality is  how i can describe it. No doubt that the treble overall is mixing in "near perfection".

Mid / Vocals

Vocals wise is quite forward, it places the singer quite near to us (in feeling). The mid range separation is also doing real good in a sense that it separates the background singers and the main singer into 2 positions.


Bass is quite short and accurate. I can hear the tonality of the bass guitar and still not fill / overpower other instruments. This is definitely not a bass heavy headphone, instead is for those who appreciate quality over volume, cause this headphone has quite some quality bass without over mass.

Sound stage

One word, wide. It is very entertaining to listen to the HE-400 when the music involves positioning of four ways, front-back-left-right. Echoes can travel quite some distance before it gets killed. It is rather relaxing to listen to slow paced music or some country music with it. Hard rock / Metal... well, not so much. Live musics is very entertaining to listen with and recommended to use with. 


Speed and attack is where the HE-400 is not good in. In speedy songs, it couldn't catch up on some of the pace, bass gets slow slightly and you can somehow hear it delay that so slightly at times but still obvious.


If you have a bag of cash, but not that fully loaded, the mid range HE-400 can be a good option, depending on your music taste. This is more for the slow pacers instead of hard beats or speed monsters.Either way, this is my first recommended gear to go with, and as always, test everything. leave nothing behind.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

HE400 arrival

Well this is a short "coming soon". Just got the HE400 in hand, and will do a series of music test before i fork out the review, in the meantime,

Remember, as always, test everything, leave nothing behind.

Special thanks to mr adre for the unit loan

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Unique Melody Miracle

UM Miracle with BTG Audio cable

Logo option = UM / Unique Melody

Serial number on top, and AT = Alan Tan

The UM Miracle is the one and only CIEM that I have, and was luckily obtained at a very much lower price promo time. It was during the Global Promo by UM, and there was only two person in Malaysia who obtained that chance, me and another anonymous.

About CIEM / Custom IEM

They are one of a kind IEM that caters to each person's unique ear layout. You have to find an audiologist to make an impression before delivering it with your order. CIEM ear fit is very nice, and with isolation that can really kill external sound, so you get a real personal experience.

Unique Melody Miracle

The Miracle is / was the flagship of the Unique Melody line up, It consists if 6 drivers, 2 Highs 2 Mids and 2 Trebles, with 3 Crossovers.


This is quite subjective, and some may need to get a couple times of refit before it is perfect. Luckily mine got done in the first go. Well isolated that someone screaming beside me and I'm not aware.Wearing a CIEM is a different feeling, as you can have it on for long hours with no fatigues, cause of the fitting that is supposed to be exact to your ears.


Well, what can i say? This is the one of the most entertaining piece among my past inventory, and I had eQ7 from Ortofon before, and wasn't even close to what this can give me.


Bass is deep and exact, it gives the thump when demanded for, and can do short bursts of bass when it comes. It might be the 2 bass drivers working individually, so they can do the stack bass of technos. Oh yeah, it does give that rumbling bass some people crave for, and does it real beautifully.


Mids are very clear cut, and vocals are quite forward. They do not get muffled off by any other instrumentations and even with heavy bass, the vocals are still put up to scale.Separations between background vocals and main can be separately distinguishable, depending on the level of mastering of the song.


The highs are crystal clear, and does not give the pierce that a lot of IEM will produce. It gives that "just enough to hear" level of treble and highs, making it relatively balanced and evenly distributed. Nothing extra and that's a good thing.


The soundstage here is one of the widest of I have heard before. That hall feeling does appear when i play the live song records I do have. Echoes can travel far to the rear, and projections can give the realism. Goosebumps OMG~


By default you will get a stock cable that comes along in a nicely packed box with your ID card inside. What i thought of the cable is that it is quite a undesirable piece. It tangles easy and the twisted cable can get loose after some time. Hence I went off to find another cable until I got the BTG Audio cable. Now this cable gives a stiff and tangle free experience, and durability surpasses what stock cables can offer. Hence my advice here, get an aftermarket cable from the cable maker that you trust will not bullshit you into the gimmicks that are of "cable myths". I myself trust BTG Audio as they state that they do not believe in the "cable changes sound" talk that people crave to hear about, cause of the enormous price tag.

Here is a little snippet from Bryan himself on his site, stating his stand point:
and here is some cable facts, "food for thought": http://www.btg-audio.com/cable-facts

Final thoughts

With the right cable, you will get yourself one hell of a CIEM that can compete top tiers in the industry, Westone, UE, JHAudio etc. Some distributors/ resellers do hold the universal fit of the CIEM, so dig them out and give it a try, I',m sure if you are a first time to the CIEM, you will like it. Seasoned players tastes may vary. Lastly, as always, test everything, leave nothing behind.

Side note: UM recently has very bad customer service, have been contacting them regarding the promo cable that i was eligible for, and they have ignored all my contacts. If you are still up for it with the bad customer support, by all means, get the unit, but don't expect any after sales support.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Beyerdynamic XP3 - neutrality

The Beyerdynamic XP3 is part of the line up of Beyerdynamic XP series that I have reviewed in the previous  session. The variations, according to majority of XP owners are like this:

XP1: heavy bass
XP2: neutral
XP3: crystality

Since i do not have an XP2, so i cant decipher the term neutral from this part, but the XP3 sure gives quite a crystal sound to an extent, and will be discussed shortly.


Well, all the XP series variation looks exactly the same, so it can be hard to differ from the first look. The only markings are on the IEM itself, it will have an engraving of XP1, XP2 or XP3.
Engraving to differ


All XP series pack the same number of items, so I will skip this part. Interested then read on the XP1.


For me, the XP3 has quite a clear extension on the treble, with a reduced bass which in my opinion is "just enough". Mid is also still recessed and positioned quite backwards. Music can sometimes muffle the vocals quite a bit, depending on the "loudness" of the BGM.


I myself would recommend XP3 for general listeners, and not for the bass heavy listeners, but thats just me, so what's your choice among the three?

That's all from today, and as always, test everything, leave nothing behind.

Beyerdynamic XP1- Bass and whole lots of it

I'm here today to review an item that is only available in the APAC region, which is the Beyerdynamic XP line up, and first of all is the XP1.
Beyerdynamic XP1 silver
There are 2 cosmetic variations to the Beyerdynamic XP series. One is in black and one is in silver like the top. The black one will look like this
Beyerdynamic Black
Lets walk through all the essential points that users usually concern on.


What you need what you get
The package is quite a basic essential and not much fanciness to it. You get 4 pairs of single flange and 1 double flanges. The bag has quite a long thread to it. Airport jack for in-flight music. That's it.


The Beyerdynamic XP1 has one of the biggest amount of bass among XP1 to XP3. The bass is not overly bloated though, and i would think it suits bass emphasis songs.Bass aside, the treble seems recessed and not very appearing. Treble could be said to be overtook by the amount of bass that is in the IEM.


Since you get quite a number of tips, you might be able to get one that fits you almost nicely, and once it does, you can go on listening for like.. forever? The cable is the annoying part of the XP series, micro phonics are quite heavy and will interrupt your experience on-the-go.Luckily there is a divider among the cable that is movable, so move it up near the chin and you are all set to go uninterrupted.

Cable jack is right angled so it might be non-favourite to some. For me, it is quite a good choice, as it avoids the cable from being damaged by unintentional pulls. 


There you have it folks! The xp1 from the view of the plain essentials. Like bass? then get this, it's a good choice at a low price. Consult your nearest Beyerdynamic reseller for more info, and remember as always, test everything, leave nothing behind.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Beyerdynamic custom one pro a.k.a. COP

Beyerdynamic cop has been one of the more creative product coming out of Beyer. These are unique in a sense that there is flexibility involved, cosmetically and audio.

Outlook / Appearance

This is the portion of the COP that has really attracted my attention and love. The can can be custom designed, as most parts are replaceable Besides that, there is the adjustable bass port that will change the bass portion according to which level it is at.
Couple of varieties can be designed

Adjustable bass port on each side
The bass port will be discussed in the sound section.

Cable weight is quite light, not as heavy and dragging as the DT770 250 ohm i have. This is due to the fact that it is using straight cable rather than a twisted cable. 

The end tip connecting to the amp is still using screw on 3.5mm-6.5mm socket type.On the other side, connecting to the can itself, is using a lock mechanism 3.5mm cable. This makes finding custom cable a tad difficult, unless you sand off the lock.
Lock mechanics
As you can see here, there is a little pop out on the hole, where the cable will fit and clip into. Getting rid of this will ease cable finding, but i havent tried to do so.


This is the section where we will start discussing on the bass port as I mentioned just now. Each bass port has it's individual amount of bass. It varies from port 1 with a tiny circle as a mark for closed port, least bass. Then it goes up till port 4, maximum amount of bass available.I will discuss the effect of each in one song repeating over and over.

Port 1: This port is for some bass near to none, suitable for people who thinks bass will knock their heads off. Things get pretty flat around this port. Vocals are more appearing, and is generally declared flat on the treble and bass part. This will make you wonder where did the bass go to? hmm..

Port 2: This port is the port that I generally use, as there are just enough pronounced bass and will not be a hard beater. Treble is smoothed out a bit for more enjoyment. Vocal is dropped back a bit.My favourite port to use.

Port 3: This is the heavier bass port. Bass get more appearing than the port 2. Bit by bits of the bass drum can be heard clearly. Male vocal somehow become thicker and even more laid back. Treble is getting lesser by the extent.

Port 4: Port 4 is the port I normally will use only with gaming, as the bass is quite something that packs drama into games. Explosives and etc becomes so fun to listen to. Music wise, well, I don't use them, how about others? comment a bit?

Soundstage: Generally the soundstage doesn't go through significant change.


All I can say about the pad is sweat. Whole lots of it, for a location that is relatively hot. Isolation is better than the velour pads that Beyer used to use. Clamping force on the head is quite loose. Not much force on it.

Final thoughts

My suggestion for people is do give a chance to listen to this can carefully on each port. You will be amazed on the creativity that Beyer has put into this unit. The cable lock mechanism may be a draw back for people who wish to use custom cable. Small sized low profile jacks might fit without any alterations to the lock.

I myself do love the creativity that Beyer has on this one, and the sound is not too bad, it will definitely suit the mainstream users. Change the pads, change the plates, change the cover, change the headband, change the cable, thats almost everything you can change for a street look.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro - 250 Ohm

Well, I had the DT770 for quite some time, decided it's a keeper, until now~ here is a review on it.
DT770 PRO 250OHM with coiled cables

The comfort on the headphone is very comfortable, due to the velour pads they use. It's soft and will not make your ear sides sweat crazily like leather pads.

The weight of the cans themselves ain't too heavy, it is quite comfortably light. The thing that is heavy is the coiled cable, it really drags the weight down quite a lot. Neck sore may occur over long hours if you take it on the go, cause of the drag down.

Packaging is very straight forward. There isn't anything fancy, or any casing / accessories  excerpt the screw on 3.5 to 6.5mm converter.

Sound quality
The DT770 is paired to my O2 and using CEntrance DACPort LX, going through ifi USB PSU that I had for a review.

Treble: Treble is relatively sharp in this case. The "s" in songs get annoyingly pitched up. I can't determine if it is the amp or the can, but the treble is quite overwhelmed.

Mid: The mid range of the DT770 is still quite acceptable. Vocals are present but can be interrupted by the "S" sound I mentioned before.

Bass: Some call the DT770 bassy, well, on my setup, it doesn't appear to have that amount of bass. They are there, just not the blasted bass type. It's more like "knocks on the door". Short and instant.

Soundstage: This is the part where I liked the DT770 to a certain extent. The soundstage is relatively wide, and distance can project up to a slight far distance. Makes relaxing songs quite an enjoyment, so are classical and orchestral.

Isolation: If you are a person who likes personal time with the headphone, without interrupting others, this can can do a fine job. Almost all sounds do not get leaked out of the can, and that's a plus for me. Of course for a closed can, we have to sacrifice soundstage to an extent.


If you are looking for a Beyer mid range can to begin with, this is a fine option to go with. Just make sure that you have an amp that synergies well with it, cause mine spiked the treble like mad. Finally, as always, test everything, leave nothing behind.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Intriguing special product

I was browsing around, and noticed something unusual among the products, which looked like this:
Now this is something i wished i had the chance to have a look at, it's the V-Moda Verza, a Universal DAC+Amp for android Samsung GS3 line out and also apple line out. It is priced @ USD600.00. No idea how much will it be locally, but my guess on rates should be more than RM2k. Ouch! @@ Here is a snippet from the site itself:

O2 + Interconnect cable comparison (extract)

The following is the review I did in the past for earmass.com, so I'll just copy and paste it into here, simply because it's mine, haha XD

Side by Side
(From left)BTG,Bos 4 and BOS3LE
O2 Amp comparisons:
Summary: Both sounds just about the same, no difference in sound signature is detectable, difference mainly in builds and size
JDS Labs : Smaller housing, better volume pot and jack qualities, power and gain button spacing is tighter, volume easier to control because of its tightness.
Leolabs: larger housing, cheaper rate for purchase, jacks not as tightly secured as JDS used, no branding on the unit at all, it’s a DIY after all. Springs can be seen at the power button and gain button, revealing a slight loose house fit and volume control.
Both has the same gain amount, as they build based on the reference design.
Output cleanliness: Since both has about the same SQ, we shall compare how clean the signal passes through the amp to output. On low gain, the differences are not very noticeable, but on high gain are different. All my units are low impedance, so on a high gain, I will be able to detect which distorts sooner.
JDS: The output is far cleaner than of Leo, there are less clippings and distortions detectable. On several occasions, the whole SQ seems to be sleek and cleaner. We can’t blame the differences cause sources for components in Malaysia is not very wide, quality components are quite costly. A DIY is very hard to beat one made by companies, but a very good effort by Leo, hence for this, unless you are up for a premium price, might as well take Leo’s unit for a run. The output cleanliness is only detectable when you have sensitive rigs, which I suppose mainstream listeners tend not to have.
Cable comparison:
BTG Audio Interconnect
Build: BOS3LE has sleeving, which is a good thing, prevents damages to the cables, but tends to be harder to bend. Sleeving caused it to “remember” the position it was bent. Repairs to this cable may be troublesome, the repair will need to first take off the sleeves, and then only make repairs, then sleeve back again, in this situation, and workmanship may cost more. Silver Rean plug is used on BOS3LE which I expected on first look will be more vocalist sounding, and I was right.
SQ: The sound of this cable tends to bring the whole song more forward. It places the singer quite near the ears. What I think it outshines is the guitars, the guitar tends to sing better in this cable compared to the other cables. Since it brings in a very forward sound, naturally, vocals will sound best in this too. Pronunciations of the singer can be heard really clearly, every word can be heard well with no misses.
Build: Build wise is similar to BOS3LE, although uses silver sleeve so that can be easily differentiated from BOS3LE. Memory effect tends to be lesser on the BOS4. If BOS4 was put together with the BOS3, we can see that the BOS3 bent more than BOS4. Gold Rean plug, which normally I expect a relatively wide soundstage and dynamics, and I might have a good feeling on this one.
SQ: BOS4 has a much better pronounced bass, but lacks separation in the bass hits when fast bass drums roll in. Soundstage on BOS4 is an A+ on this, feels something like a small hall, echoes are slight longer and lasts a bit. Vocal on the BOS4 is slightly laid back and mix into the songs together, overall what can I say is this is slight balanced, so you hear everything, and nothing pops out from the crowd. Recommended as a cable for flat EQ listeners.
BTG Audio
BTG Audio cable is the cable I bought myself, and it has no sleeving, and yet more expensive than the other cables I have seen, excluding exotics like ALO Audio.
Build: BTG Audio build has in comparison lost to BOS due to lack of sleeve and shielding, but since mine is a right angle jack, it is more convenient to use than of BOS, and cable doesn’t need to be bent, saves the trouble of memory cable, and cable will have lesser bent pressure, so damage chances will be lower. Oxidation will be a problem with the cable, and BOS is the winner in build comparison.
Availability, Convenience and options: well, unless BOS has the option of a full series of jacks, doesn’t seem that BOS wins over BTG. BOS is easier to get than BTG, so win goes to BOS. BTG has to be ordered from the US, and payment by Paypal. With an expensive postage included, it can be a hassle to get one. The price is more expensive than BOS line up at a shorter distance, which will cause more considerations.
SQ: BTG Audio by far has the best bass among the 3, every single beat of the bass drums can be heard clearly, bit by bit, how many steps did the drum make. This will explain the clarity level of BTG. I believe that the BOS uses copper cable, and BTG is a silver one, so the cable is about details, all details will not be missed out. Vocal wise is just below BOS3LE, slightly laid back than BOS3, but not as far as BOS 4.
Overall sound: Go for BOS4 or BTG
Vocal freaks: BOS3LE
Detailings: BTG Audio with silver cable
Listening instruments:
Foobar2000 – WASAPI- DACPort LX 24/96 DAC – JDSLabs O2 / Leolabs DIY O2 Amp – Custom One Pro (Port 2)
Songs Line Up:
So Far Away, God Hates Us – A7X –Guitar, Bass, Vocal
紅塵客棧 – jay Chow – Instrumentation, Soundstage
Life of the party, Be your everything – Boys Like Girls – Vocal, Bass
Gotham’s Reckoning – Hans Zimmer – 24 bit instrumentation, soundstage, dynamics
Chicken fried – zack brown band – guitar, dynamics
O2 comparisons:
JDS Labs: much cleaner output, bass is lesser, but I can feel the whole song has cleaner cymbals and distortion rate is lower.
Leolabs: well, “dirty” output doesn’t mean it will sound bad. It sounds good in dynamics and vocality, but there are distortions and clippings here and there for not pickers / really sensitive IEMs, and the “dirty” sound results in a flatter sound output too.
Side note: on normal headphones, pop sound is not apparent, but once I use the CIEM, there tends to be a slight pop on both devices, sensitivity can pick up things some cant.
Equipments: JDS O2 / Leolabs O2 + UM Miracle+ BTG Audio Cables for CIEM and also at the interconnect
Cable Comparisons:
In this second review, I will be using the JDSLabs amp as the focus output, so decisions can take on consistencies.
SQ: Bass is still not very well separated. Continuous bass drums couldn’t be sorted out piece by piece, vocal is more forward than I expected. Seems my first review didn’t go off course too much. Not much pronounced highs, cymbals are placed at the rear together with the drums, only make the suitable appearance as recordings should be. Instrumentations are also still brought to the forward positions, not covering the vocal, which is what people need in their music, instrumentations stay at the back, where they should be.
Soundstage: since I mentioned that almost all sounds are brought to the front, that counts into “not much soundstage to be said”.
Dynamics: Seems that there will occasionally be mix ups, where certain instruments couldn’t be taken into the suitable position, and becomes quite unsettling to the very familiar songs.
SQ: instrumentations and drum sets make a pronounced appearance, vocals take their positions really well at the middle, but not overwhelmed by the instrumentations. Continuous drums can be well separated, and I can manage to count how many hits on the bass drums did the drummer hit it. Very well balanced mixture overall. Not forgetting, the BOS4 seems to have a better gain and volume than of the BOS3, might have to do with the plugs used, gold = best conductivity = faster throughput = less resistance which finally equals more throughput
Soundstage: Can be sensed that it can project soundstage echoes to quite a distance. Echoes from the instrumentations seems to be able to be pulled longer before it ends, overall a really good soundstage offering given here. Doesn’t give a “studio” feel to music, instead is “entertaining”.
Dynamics: Compared to BOS3, there are more details revealed, and they mix in the overall music “just right amount”.
BTG Audio
SQ: BTG has better pacing and speed compared to BOS, there is also a “unexplainable glare” it adds to the music, makes the music feel they have “emotions”, it might be due to the fact that it uses silver cable and REAN plug, the whole transparency level just won over BOS totally. Vocal is still defeated by BOS3LE, soundstage is defeated by BOS4, but others, well everything else BTG owns them hands down.
Soundstage: Although not as wide as the BOS series, it does give a sense of “hollowness” in it. My ears can roughly estimate the distance of the instrument, and how far off the echo roughly is.
Dynamics: The overall music feel is very well mixed, with placements slightly more accurate, and takes into consideration “the glare” I mentioned, it is a very nice little cable, but do consider the price, it is quite steep, ouch! For a shorter than both BOS cable, it is way more expensive than them.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

iFi USB Audio Power Supply

A friend reviewer sent me the unit of ifi usb power supply to test out, as I was very sceptical on what it can do, and also what it"says" it can do. This is the statement they call from the site:
The most important feature of any USB audio device (USB DAC, USB Amplifier and USB Speaker etc.) is the power supply. The USB system as well as audio, carries its own power. Perfectly adequate to power anything from USB memory sticks to tablet computers; it falls far short from being a suitable noise-free power supply for high-quality music reproduction. 

To improve all USB audio devices out there, we wanted to develop not just a better power supply, but the best power supply for all audio devices. With the iUSB, quiet passages are whisper quiet. The climaxes are fiercer, and everything in between is richer, more vibrant and no longer grainy.

At first, i thought that man, this could be yet another B.S. marketing gimmick that is too good to be true. The my friend there, Mr Su as I would call hence forth, told me that it does condition the equipments to perform cleaner. I didn't buy the idea, so I asked for the unit to test, so here it is.

At my first test, in comparison to direct plug in, on my DACPort LX, things seems to get a better synergy then what there is from direct cable. Soundstage is where I could find the difference. Things get better separation, and bass gets slight accuracy up.

Then into further listening, i noticed that gain has slightly increased. My volume on my amp doesn't need to go more, instead, it is decreased, but with better conditioned music, no more static etc. I am now kinda buying this idea and quite liking it. After all, Hi-Fi needs power conditioner to make the synergy enhancement, why not us head-fi, right? ^^

Now into the specifications and packaging, which at this point, important notes that is our concern is forked out, remaining are for those interested to see the marketing side.

Up = On IsoEarth
Light ON = IsoEarth active

Now this IsoEarth (The Red Square) is something that ifi designed. It's main function, as from the site states:
Our engineers developed the advanced IsoEarth technology specifically for the iUSBPower. By breaking the noisy DC ground connection between the computer and your USB audio device, this further reduces the ground noise by a factor of 10. Your USB audio device can now operate in the cleanest environment possible; allowing your music to flow.
My own test, well, to be frank, i cant quite find the difference, maybe due to the DACPort LX itself has a very good grounding. So this section might be for those DAC that are slightly poorly designed or doesn't have grounding along with it. If you hear a lot of buzzing in your audio frequently, having this "might" clean it up.

Left = DC, mid = IsoEarth, right = USB input
Left = power only; Right = Power+ Audio

Image above is the 2 sides of the unit, as you can see, there are 2 outputs. 1 for pure power, easy to use to charge USB devices and thats all, no audio intended. 2nd is where audio counts. So in a typical setup, use that one with the audio out.

Input side, ensure that the connection is complete, that means USB input and 9V DC is inserted before initiating the device. The middle part is the IsoEarth. Pop up = On.

Final thoughts

Some people may not still get the idea of this PSU, but i do, and with the right amount of cash, it is well worth it. Normal retail in Malaysia takes this @ RM860.00. I say it is worth the money IF you believe in the changes that it can do. Suggest you test it out if possible, before buying it.

Side note: if you are not going to use the same USB port as you used in previous without ifi USB PSU, gamers and web audio may not work, mine didn't. So that's a heads up for you guys.

4/7/13 update: found a work around on the issue, apparently in comparison with direct usb to centrance, the device doesn't do downsampling, so, here is what we have to do to get it working.

1. Press the volume on taskbar and head to "mixer"
2. Press the speaker button on "speakers"
3. Go to "Advanced"
4. On "default format", instead of 96KHZ, drop down menu and find the 44.1KHZ instead.
5. It should be up and running now

Special thanks to Mr Su from earmass.com for this loan unit

Friday, April 5, 2013

Let's talk theory for a sec

So, many people have been thinking, does an item priced more expensive = better item. Take for an instance, in headphones, get a T1, uber expensive, so yeah it sounds good to all, cause it is expensive. Is this actually the way of people's first perspective? Yeah, for a beginner's mind set that is.

Now when we venture longer down the road, things start to get clearer that sometimes expensive =/= definitely good stuff. There are reasons behind some ( i cant say all, cause not everything is always priced right, but some does) things that price are often higher, but the quality may be just on par.

Since there is no definite perimeter that defines what is actually price: performance equal, so we tend to use price as reference to the performance, but I tend to believe in different things sometimes.

My method:
First thing to do is get review site as references, whole lots of it. Search engines are all over the place, and are always in forums to ease you finding what you need. Couple sites I use are:

Learn that you take the ideas given as a reference, search for the description that matches what you think of of your item that is in possession. Now that you have pin pointed that person and their line of description, search around if he has the item that you will want and has reviewed it. They can be closer to what you want, as he might have the same / closer preference to yours.

The next thing to do is bargain hunting, unless you have cash loads, which we tend not to have anyways. Search around your local forum, look for used items, they will cost lesser and most will have some adequate item condition. Negotiate pricing with them, pull the price to what you be able to fork out. So, with bargain hunting, you can save on the cash, and get what you want. Now isn't that wonderful.

Odd occasions, look out for bundles! In the near seasons festive etc, you will bump into several promotions, and joyful bundles. Now these are what some might be waiting for, cause your item may part of it, and you get more pay less. Yeah, babay! Cash in for the bonus!

Now that you have what you need, and nailed the price, learn to enjoy it. Don't let anyone local or internet judge what you have, don't let it get into your head. There is nothing "reference" level in this world, only "what we think is reference level". Go enjoy yourself! Till the next time, we discuss on different matters, or maybe start on a review of what i have myself.

Pre-initiation introduction

Self introduction

    The name noobandroid could be quite a familiar one, when it comes to the local LowYat.net forum community, especially in the audiophile section. People have been throwing in requests for suggestions in different rigs and equipments in the head-fi section (headphones, IEM, DAC, amp), and i have responded to ALL of them, no misses till now. Well, here is a little profile link to start with: http://forum.lowyat.net/index.php?showuser=487975

    Background story telling

   Well i started off with everything that i have with a low cost of RM100 each. Firstly, i did almost 2 months of pure reading, understanding every perspective on each components and their role in ensuring good audio experience.

     Next comes the expenses to learn. I realized that reading people's review is like a sensationalized story, they can deem something as godly as it can be, but some other say it's hell on earth. Well, what can i say, each man for himself, either you take it or you don't. So i have to find out myself.
     I started buying a whole lot of items, starting with the purchasing from Jaben Malaysia. Yes, they are a good place to start off. Got my 1st pair of headphone, which is an RM80 Superlux HD668B. That is when i realize that porta-fi can get somewhat a serious personal listening experience.

     Moving forward till today, year of 2013, i got myself a 24/96 DACPort LX from Centrance, then an O2 amp, custom cables, and 3 headphones, ranging from low impedance 32 ohm Custom One Pro to the 250 Ohm DT770 Pro.

     Thought that will be where i will be staying, headphone section, but then, i realize, it cant be called porta-fi without something portable to play with. So i tried some IEM, and throughout the journey, finally got an Custom IEM from Unique Melody called the Miracle (6 Balance Armature custom IEM). 

What to expect from me?

     I cant say i am the most experienced level enthusiasts out there, or the newest in one, i prefer to stand in the middle, somewhat new somewhat experienced. Following weeks, i will try my best to compile reviews on what i have now, and what will be coming soon. Please stay tuned, whether you are the best or the newest, i don't give a damm, we are here to share and discuss. I welcome discussions, flame or bash, godly praise or a "You Suck in reviews!!" type. Bring it on!!