” The beauty of the WA8 lies in its simplicity, but since it offers an analog input which bypasses the onboard DAC, I decided to try it as an amp. With the Codex configured as DAC and connected to the WA8 with Wireworld Pulse 2xRCA-to-minijack interconnect, I heard most of the advantages of both units: a large, holographic headstage combined with the burnished tone of the tube amplifier. ”
“This is an IEM that needs good current to get the best out of its dynamic driver and produce some seriously excellent sub-bass performances and the PB3 delivers. If anything balanced it just a bit more “in your face” compared to the unbalanced output which has a slightly more neutral “standoff” staging across the board.”
“The second tweak for me is a slightly lower emphasis on vocal performance on the A5 over the E12a. The more elevated and planted low end of the A5 and slightly more forward treble will take a little away from the neutral vocal performance whereas the E12a has less low-end and treble emphasis allowing the vocals to come to the fore a bit more.”
“That said, the Liquid Carbon 2.0 is best appreciated with great recordings, like mandolinist-singer Chris Thile and pianist Brad Mehldau’s brilliant self-titled new album. The sheer clarity of their music, Mehldau’s touch on the keys, and the texture of Thile’s strings are fully revealed over the Liquid Carbon 2.0.”
“When we look at sound alone REI does not have to fear this giant. The uber-resolving Mojo does beat REI when it comes to details but to my ears Mojo is less lively than its competitor. REI has more blood in its veins, meaning a fuller body and a more pleasing sound signature. Soundstages are similar but REI’s background is darker and hissing is absolutely not given, whereas I can hear Jupiter go nuts with Mojo. Layering from both devices is about the same and instrumental separation is pretty much equal with the REI being a tad in front. I personally think REI outperforms Mojo for what it was made. An add on DAC for your smartphone, whereas Mojo is more like an audiophile Swiss army knife with the same purpose, but REI simply does this job better than the Chord.
“Much of that perception of being veiled on the HA-2 comes with the HA-2SE sounding much more open and spacious in the midrange performance with better spacing for vocal reproduction than previously possible on the HA-2. Spatial cues are more tangible on the HA-2SE, instrumental placement and imaging a touch sharper, as well as sibilance being well under control. This is much more vivid or lifelike midrange response than what came before”