April 12, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“The FiiO M9 uses a locked down Android and only supports specific applications. Repeat after me: “The FiiO M9 uses a low-power processor meant for wearables and only allows white-listed Android apps or else performance will suck”. And say it over five times, please. As one of the main contributors to Head-Fi’s FiiO M9 thread, it is excruciating to get the plethora of tin foil hat theories of why FiiO limits the apps you can install despite low-level engineering explanation and even James (CEO of FiiO) coming into the thread and confirming. The M9 comes with Tidal and some other music apps that are more relevant in Asia like KKBOX or MOOV with the ability to install Spotify through downloading the APK onto the SD card manually.”


Aurender Flow DAC & Headphone Amp Review

March 25, 2019 § Leave a comment

Astell&Kern A&Futura SE100 Digital Audio Player Review

March 15, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Sonically the SE100 delivers the goods. If you want to tailor the sound, you can make and save your own EQ settings. My early Rolling Stones albums especially benefitted from some EQ adjustments. When I compared the default “normal” EQ settings with “EQ off,” the normal EQ setting had slightly lower volume coupled with a tighter, more controlled low end. I made several “UserEQ” configurations for “bad” recordings such as my Charlie Christian box set. I especially like the fact that you can easily erase especially egregious EQ experiments.

While the SE100 is certainly not inexpensive, it delivers a premium experience, with its physical style, ergonomic elegance, and sonic prowess. With its extensive networking, USB connectivity, and firmware updatability, the SE100 should remain a musical constant companion for many years in the future. Maybe that’s why it’s in Astell&Kern’s futura line.


March 10, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“And then finally there is the SR15 from AK’s A&Norma line. Obviously the SP1000M is leagues ahead. Not just in terms of features with double the internal storage, USB C or the bigger screen. The SP1000M also has a more advanced sound. It creates a cleaner signal, brings out more details on a darker background and stretches a bigger venue. The SR15 has more emphasis on warmth, whereas the M is more neutral, though still warmer. The treble section of the M is more agile and the bass has higher dynamics. The SP1000M is the more exciting sounding unit that keeps on wowing on a more constant note, while the SR15 is a highly enjoyable and relaxed.”


February 25, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“It took me no less than a full album to get my hearing accustomed, even more with classical music. A good track to test was “Aulos” from Vladimir Cauchemar – Orchestre lamoureux version, beginning pianissimo and rising steadily to a massive fortissimo.

And this is where the Shanling M5S outshines its direct competitors : dynamics. Soundstage isn’t especially larger than other players, but once you begin to upper the volume you can distinguish subtle nuances previously unheard. Separation is excellent and above all, the player never differs from its neutral path.

Compared to the FiiO X5iii, found at the same price, the FiiO seemed more engaging and less natural. The M5S offers more detail at the same volume, you can really feel it when the drummer hits his drum, as if you couldn’t hear the skin going back and forth before.”


February 8, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Getting away from a generic Android operating system is a real plus. The player responds to touch faster than the Android based players I’ve used. This was surely more expensive to offer, but I think the performance dividends are obvious when you use it.

At $2500, buyers should expect a lot, and sound-wise it is all there. Is it 2.5 times as good as a $1000 DAP? Probably not. But if you want to squeeze the last ounce of performance out of a portable player, and you want a beautiful compact design, you’d do well to consider the HiFiMAN R2R2000.”

HiBy Music R6 Pro $799 Review

January 29, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“This almost turned into a full review but then again there is a hell of a lot to talk about, so cutting this off at the right length to inform and I guess “tease” was a challenge. What I can say that at this point is the R6 Pro is looking very much like a contender for the price to performance ticket in 2019.

With more power, lower output resistance and an updated OS it should remain very relevant in today’s DAP market. I highly suggest you demo it in the forthcoming NAMM and CanJam events Q1 2019 and find out for yourself! Our full review will be coming along very soon also if you do not get a chance.”

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