All posts by Gavin Fabiani-Laymond

About Gavin Fabiani-Laymond

President, CEO & Editor of https://gavinsgadgets.com Reviews & News of Technology

Sivga Phoenix (Polycarbonate Film Zebrano) Headphone review

Welcome to my review of the Sivga Phoenix headphones that retail for £235.

Key Specs/Features

– Energy conversion method: Moving-coil
– Loudhailer diameter: 50mm
– Impedance: 32Ω
– Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz
– Sensitivity: 103dB
– Weight: 296g

Audio Tracks used for Review

– Roxy Music – True to Life (Remastered)
– Leonard Cohen – In My Secret Life
– Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy (2012 Mix Master)
– Eric Clapton – Layla (Acoustic Live at MTV Unplugged)
– Axel F – From Beverly Hills Cop
– Natalie Merchant – Ophelia
– CeeLo Green – Bright Lights Bigger City
– Stevie Ray Vaughan – Tin Pan Alley
– K.D. Lang – Constant Craving
– Nigel Kennedy – The New Four Seasons
– Hans Zimmer – Mountains

Video Time Index

00:00 Intro
00:38 Specs
01:19 In the Box
02:50 Sound Quality & Comparison

Video Review

Conclusion

A beautifully finished headphone, very comfortable and with a fresh, engaging and dynamic. sound. A delight to listen to! Highly recommended 9.5/10.

Useful Links

HiFiMan Arya (Stealth Magnets) review

Welcome to my review of the HiFiMan Arya with Stealth Magnets. The HiFiMan Arya retails for around £1,350.

Key Specs and Features

  • Planar Magnetic
  • 91db
  • 41 ohms
  • 8Hz to 65kHz
  • 400g
  • Stealth Magnets

Audio Tracks used for Review

– Roxy Music – True to Life (Remastered)
– Leonard Cohen – In My Secret Life
– Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy (2012 Mix Master)
– Eric Clapton – Layla (Acoustic Live at MTV Unplugged)
– Axel F – From Beverly Hills Cop
– Natalie Merchant – Ophelia
– CeeLo Green – Bright Lights Bigger City
– Stevie Ray Vaughan – Tin Pan Alley
– K.D. Lang – Constant Craving
– Nigel Kennedy – The New Four Seasons
– Hans Zimmer – Mountains

Video Time Index

00:00 Intro
00:13 Specs
00:39 In the Box
02:00 Sound Quality and Comparisons

Video Review

Conclusion

A top class planar magnetic headphone from HiFiMan. The addition of the stealth magnets improves the winning formula. 9.2/10. Highly Recommended.

Useful Links

https://hifiman.com

Vitec acquires Audix – All the Info

Vitec Imaging Solutions, a Division of The Vitec Group pc (“Vitec”), the international provider of premium branded hardware products and software solutions to the growing content creation market, is pleased to announce that on 10th January 2022 it agreed to acquire Audix and its
affiliates, with the deal expected to close shortly.

The acquisition continues Vitec’s mission to marry great audio with great video for all types of creators.

Audix is a leading, high-quality microphone brand for studio and live performance audio based in Portland, Oregon, with a cult following in the US market. The highly respected brand focuses on premium, professional vocal and instrument microphones, designed for studio, commercial and live applications, with cutting-edge audio technology designed and manufactured in the US.


As part of the Vitec family, the Audix team and facility in Oregon will become Vitec Imaging Solutions’ Audio R&D Centre of Excellence, enabling the acceleration of in-house microphone product design,
development and manufacturing across all Vitec audio brands. With the acquisition of Audix, Vitec’s audio capture strategy is now structured around three core brands that cover all growth segments of the $1 billion microphone market: Audix, Rycote and JOBY.

Sivga SV021 Closed Back Headphone review

Welcome to my review of the Sivga SV021 Robin Closed Back Headphone which retails for £149.

Key Features/Specs

– 50mm Dynamic Driver
– Frequency Response 20Hz to 20kHz
– Sensitivity 105 db
– Resistance 32 ohms
– Weight 275g

Audio Tracks used for Review

– Roxy Music – True to Life (Remastered)
– Leonard Cohen – In My Secret Life
– Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy (2012 Mix Master)
– Eric Clapton – Layla (Acoustic Live at MTV Unplugged)
– Axel F – From Beverly Hills Cop
– Natalie Merchant – Ophelia
– CeeLo Green – Bright Lights Bigger City
– Stevie Ray Vaughan – Tin Pan Alley
– K.D. Lang – Constant Craving
– Nigel Kennedy – The New Four Seasons
– Hans Zimmer – Mountains

Video Time Index

00:00 Intro
00:29 Specs
01:04 In the Box
02:31 Comfort
02:52 Sound Quality & Comparisons

Video Review

Conclusion

A really well constructed headphone, punchy dynamic fun sound and easy to drive. Highly recommended 9.1/10.

Useful Links

JOBY PodZilla Large Flexible Tripod Kit review

Welcome to my review of the Joby Podzilla Flexible Tripod Kit which retails for £45.

My journey using Joby tripods goes back 9 years to 2013. Thereafter, I bought a different style of Joby tripod in subsequent years; 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018 and now I have the Joby Podzilla. All of the Joby items still work today like they did when I bought them new, apart from one tripod as I lost this on a hike across Dartmoor. In my video review, I show some of these older items. To give you an idea of what I purchased, in 2013 I bought the Joby Gorillapod Micro 250 Folding Tripod, then in 2014 the Joby Gorillapod Ball Head for SLR Cameras, followed by in 2015 the Joby Gorillapod SLR-Zoom tripod. In 2017, I acquired the Joby GripTight One Magnetic tripod followed by in 2018 the Joby Griptight Pro for Smartphones.

Key Specs & Features

  • JOBY PodZilla Large Kit – Flexible Tripod with Ball Head, GripTight 360 Phone Mount, for Smartphones and Compact Mirrorless Cameras or Devices up to 2.5Kg
  • Flexible structure with a solid aluminum core and rubber exterior 
  • Includes a quick release plate for easy attachment of the camera thanks to the standard 1 / 4-20″ attachment 
  • The plate with ball head integrates a spirit level for precise adjustment
  • GripTight 360 Phone smartphone clamp with double sled attachment suitable for smartphones with a width from 6.7 cm to 8.8 cm

Video Time Index

00:00 Intro & My 9 Year Journey using Joby tripods
02:47 Specs
03:24 Demo / How To
05:22 Adding Mics and Lights
07:00 Comparison & Summary

Video Review

Conclusion

A superb versatile tripod kit from Joby, ideal for phones and camera. Highly recommended 9/10.

Useful Links

HiFiMan Deva Pro review

Welcome to my review of the HiFiMan Deva Pro that retail for £329.

Key Specs

– Frequency Response 20kz to 20kHz
– Sensitivity 93.5 db
– Resistance 18 ohms
– Weight 360g
– In the box – HiFiMan R2R Bluetooth USB DAC, USB cable, headphone cable, Deva Pro, Owners Guide

Time Index for Video Review

00:00 Intro 
00:51 Specs
01:54 In the Box / Fit
03:23 Stealth Magnets
05:11 Sound Quality – Bluetooth / R2R DAC Guide & Demo
10:10 vs Sony WH-1000XM4
10:43 Sound Quality – USB
11:49 Sound Quality – Wired
13:10 vs HiFiMan Sundara & Summary

Tracks used for Review

– Roxy Music – True to Life (Remastered)
– Leonard Cohen – In My Secret Life
– Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy (2012 Mix Master)
– Eric Clapton – Layla (Acoustic Live at MTV Unplugged)
– Axel F – From Beverly Hills Cop
– Natalie Merchant – Ophelia
– CeeLo Green – Bright Lights Bigger City
– Stevie Ray Vaughan – Tin Pan Alley
– K.D. Lang – Constant Craving
– Nigel Kennedy – The New Four Seasons
– Hans Zimmer – Mountains

Video Review

Conclusion

An excellent planar magnetic headphone from HiFiMan featuring stealth magnets for an improved sound quality. Add to the fact you can connect via Hi-Res Bluetooth, USB or wired and you have a highly recommended headphone. 9.5/10

Useful Links

HiFiMan website – https://hifiman.com/#3

HiFiMan HE-R9 review – Epic sound via Bluetooth, USB or Wired

Welcome to my review of the HiFiMan HE-R9 dynamic driver headphone from HiFiMan, which currently are on sale in China for RMB 4,000.

The Key Specs / Features

  • Frequency Response 15kz to 35kHz
  • Sensitivity 100db
  • Resistance 32 ohms
  • Weight 328g
  • Balanced / Unbalanced
  • In the box – HiFiMan R2R Bluetooth USB DAC, USB cable, headphone cable, HE-R9, Owners Guide

Audio tracks used for the review.

  • Roxy Music – True to Life (Remastered)
  • Leonard Cohen – In My Secret Life
  • Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy (2012 Mix Master)
  • Eric Clapton – Layla (Acoustic Live at MTV Unplugged)
  • Axel F – From Beverly Hills Cop
  • Natalie Merchant – Ophelia
  • CeeLo Green – Bright Lights Bigger City
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan – Tin Pan Alley
  • K.D. Lang – Constant Craving
  • Nigel Kennedy – The New Four Seasons
  • Hans Zimmer – Mountains

Video Review

Video review index –

00:00 Intro 
01:05 Specs
01:52 In the Box / How to pair the R2R DAC
03:40 Owners Guide and detailed info on the headphones
04:47 R2R DAC How To & Info
06:18 Close up of HE-R9
06:53 Sound Quality Bluetooth, USB and Analogue and versus Sony WH-1000XM4
11:00 Summary & Comparisons

Conclusion

An exceptional headphone from HiFiMan. Flexible input options either using bluetooth, USB or wired. Highly Recommended 9.5/10.

Useful Links

HiFiMan website – https://hifiman.com

iFi xDSD Gryphon review

Welcome to my review of the iFi xDSD Gryphon which retails for £599.

The Key Features

  • Full MQA decoding – Native DSD (up to DSD512) and full MQA decoding up to 384kHZ on a powerful 16 – core XMOS processor
  • Hi-Res Audio – PCM up to 32- bit / 768kHz via USB or 192kHz via optical or coaxial and Advanced 96kHz Bluetooth 5.1 + module with QCC5100 chipset supports various HD formats including aptX HD, aptX Adaptive, LDAC and HWA / LHDC.
  • Balanced (4.4mm Pentaconn) and S – Balanced (3.5mm) analogue inputs and outputs. Built – in iEmatch and auto – gain technology automatically adjusts output to suit headphones / IEM sensitivity.
  • Extras including XBass and xSpace settings, balanced circuit design with OptimaLoop multi – path feedback and an ultra-low noise, 1000mW high power amplifier
  • Military Grade Aluminum with an OLED display finishes

Audio Tracks used for Testing

-Roxy Music – True to Life (Remastered)
-Leonard Cohen – In My Secret Life
-Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy (2012 Mix Master)
-Eric Clapton – Layla (Acoustic Live at MTV Unplugged)
-Axel F – From Beverly Hills Cop
-Natalie Merchant – Ophelia
-CeeLo Green – Bright Lights Bigger City
-Stevie Ray Vaughan – Tin Pan Alley
-K.D. Lang – Constant Craving
-Nigel Kennedy – The New Four Seasons
-Hans Zimmer – Mountains

Video Review

Conclusion

The iFi xDSD Gryphon is by far my favourite amp/DAC with every option I would have ever asked for. Plus it sounds incredible. Gold star award. 9.9/10.

Useful Links

Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/xDSD-Gryphon-Portable-Headphone-Amplifier/dp/B09H39DBY6

iFi Audio website – https://ifi-audio.com/products/xdsd-gryphon/

iFi hip-dac2 review

Welcome to my review of the ifi hip-dac2 which retails for £189.

Key Features / Specs

  • 6-8 hrs of battery life
  • Hi-Res Certified – From Spotify to Tidal MQA to MP3 and more,
  • Powerful Amplifier – 400 mW max power output from the on-board amplifier
  • Connectivity – Connects directly to your smartphone with the USB Input, and works with balanced 4.4mm or S-Balanced 3.5mm headphone plugs
  • Upgraded – The hip-dac2 has been upgraded to give you an even more pleasurable portable audio experience, it now is a full MQA decoder and has an upgraded GMT Clock.

Video Review

My review below includes a full comparison of the hip-dac vs hip-dac2, comparisons with other DACs including the ifi go blu and ZEN DAC v2, sound quality with a variety of headphones and much more.

Conclusion

The new ifi hip-dac2 is a dynamite piece of kit. Highly recommended 9.1/10.

Useful Links

More info on Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/iFi-hip-dac2-Headphone-Amplifier-Unbalanced/dp/B09H39FCTH

More info on ifi Audio https://ifi-audio.com/products/hip-dac2/

Google Pixel 6 Pro – What a disaster!

The Google Pixel 6 Pro was probably the most anticipated and hyped phone in a while. This was the first phone from Google that finally used new camera hardware. The previous Pixels phones had been using for the last 4 years the same camera hardware, with the reliance on its computational software.

So let’s start at the beginning. Above photo is the setup process where it is transferring all my data from my iPhone 13 Pro. This is a pretty good solution as its moves most of the core data across including SMS, photos and even WhatsApp chats. So a good start.

Then there’s the fingerprint sensor, which sits behind the front screen about one third up from the bottom. The Pixel also downloaded apps that were cross platform, that is available on iOS and android, so within a few hours I had a fully setup Pixel 6 Pro, complete with a out of the box firmware update as well. So what could possibly go wrong?

Well the first thing to test would have to be the camera.

Above, this is a Pixel 6 Pro night mode shot, edited by myself for a more dramatic shot. And with this one particular shot, it produced a better quality shot than my iPhone 13 Pro using its night mode. Except for two things. One the iPhone shot looked more realistic and more like what my eyes were seeing and secondly the iPhone 13 Pro only needed 23 seconds. For context, both phones were on a tripod to get the best night exposure times. The Pixel 6 Pro need 4 mins and 12 secs.

Above, another Pixel 6 Pro, using its fancy motion mode.

All was going well with the Pixel 6 Pro until I took it out during the daytime for some shots vs the iPhone 13 Pro.

This is when I began to swear at the frustration of unlocking the Pixel 6 Pro with its fingerprint sensor. It was so hit and miss and so slow. Face ID on the iPhone was instant. Switching between the two phones to snap each shot, I also began to appreciate the smaller physical size of the iPhone 13 Pro versus the large slab size of the Pixel 6 Pro. Just one more point on the fingerprint sensor, if you hands are even slightly wet, you’ll struggle even more to unlock it.

Have no fear I thought. The frustration of using the Pixel 6 Pro fingerprint sensor will be worth it as the photos will be so good vs the iPhone 13 Pro. IMO the iPhone did better in 8 out of 10 pics. The Pixel just goes overboard too much with the HDR processing to the point the photos look fake. When it comes to video, the iPhone is better, but that wasn’t unexpected. The other point I noticed was the battery drain. The iPhone barely broke a sweat, whereas the Pixel had lost a 20% more battery.

Just going back to the camera. With the Pixel 6 Pro it has the fancy long exposure modes. I took a shot of a waterfall. It took 4 to 5 seconds to take the shot. The iPhone 13 Pro was a split second using Live Photo mode. With the iPhone once you have snapped the shot, go to the Photo gallery, and toggle the Live Photo into long exposure. The end results. Not only did the iPhone take under a second to take the shot, but the silky water effect was miles better than the Pixel.

Android 12 had a number of positives but also wasn’t without its frustrations and bugs. Ultimately the inconsistency of unlocking the Pixel 6 Pro and my views of the camera not being blown away, have killed my love affair of this new phone from Google.

Now some context. I believe the December 2021 update is meant to improve the responsiveness of the fingerprint sensor. We shall see if this pans out, I have looked at photos from many other people who have shared their Pixel 6 shots. From what I have seen, pets and people work reasonably well, are punchy and sharp and instantly shareable on social media. Other photos even though they are heavy in the HDR processing do look ok on social media, just not my cup of tea at all.