All posts by Gavin Fabiani-Laymond

About Gavin Fabiani-Laymond

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

iBasso DC-02 Hi-Res USB DAC review

Welcome to my review of the iBasso DC-02 USB DAC that sells for £39.

Key Features

– AK4490 Premium 32-bit Stereo DAC with VELVET SOUND™ technology
– Support of PCM up to 32bit/384kHz
– Support of Native DSD up to 256x
– Dedicated headphone amplifier with 3.5mm single-ended output port

Review

Conclusion

My favourite USB DAC and hence why I personally have more than one of these! Highly recommended.

Useful Links

iBasso DC-02 on Amazon

AKG K371 vs Sennheiser HD599 headphones – 3 month review

Welcome to my review of the AKG K371 and Sennheiser HD599 headphones. These are two of the best value wired headphones you can buy right now selling at £99 and £150 respectively.

Key Features

AKG K371
– Closed-back, oval over-ear design offers superior isolation, improved low-frequency response, ergonomic fit
– Engineered to match AKG’s Reference Response curve acoustic target for accurate, neutral sound
– Largest-in-class, 50mm transducers with pure OFC voicecoils
– Superior sensitivity (114 dB SPL/V @ 1kHz) and impedance (32 ohms) for use with professional and consumer devices
– Best-in-class frequency response: 5 Hz to 40 kHz
– Calibrated headbands with slow-retention oval foam pads offer precise fit, superior comfort

Sennheiser HD599
– High-Quality around-ear open back headphones
– Padded headband and luxurious ear-pads suitable for long listening sessions
– Cable options: Robust 3 m detachable cable and 6.3 mm jack and additional 1.2 m detachable cable with 3.5 mm jack
– Frequency response:12- 38,500 Hz
– Sensitivity 50ohms

Review

Conclusion

Absolutely amazing headphones from AKG and Sennheiser. The AKG K371 at £99 are incredible value and everyone should own a pair of these!

Useful Links

AKG K371 on Amazon
Sennheiser HD599

HiFiMan RE-400c vs RE-600s v2 Earphones – Review & Comparison

Welcome to my review of two IEMs from HiFiMan. The RE-400c and the RE-600s v2. The RRP of the earphones are $99 and $199 respectively.

The Key Features

RE-400c
– Analogue Type C
– 15hz to 22khz
– 32 ohm

RE-600s
– 3.5mm
– 8.5mm driver
– 15hz to 22kHz
– 102db
– 16 ohm
– Composite cable

This is the first pair of in ear earphones that I have heard from HiFiMan, and there sound signature is different to other headphones that I have listened to. Watch my full video review to find out more.

Review

Useful Links

HiFiMan headphones on Amazon
HiFiMan website

iFi Audio hip dac review – a fantastic portable headphone amp dac with MQA support

Welcome to my review of the iFi Audio hip dac . The iFi Audio hip dac retails for £149.

The Key Features and Specifications

– Portable, slim design with up to 12 hrs of battery life and a slim.
– Hi resolution audio support including Spotify, Tidal MQA to MP3. Play any high res audio format with native digital to analogue conversion so you can listen to any song the way the original recording was intended.
– Powerful amp ideal for in ear monitors or over the ear headphones with 400 mW max power output from the on-board amplifier via the 3.5mm headphone socket or 700mW via the 4.4mm balanced.
– Connects via USB, works with iPhone with Apple Camera Kit
– Power Match and XBass offer adjustable analogue enhancements to customise your listening experience without compromising the digital conversion
– USB C and USB Type A

Review

iFi Audio history. iFi Audio was born in 2012 to produce ultra-fidelity audio products that push the sonic envelope whilst still priced within the mainstream. iFi audio is now under parent company AMR (Abbingdon Music Research), which designs and produces top-end luxurious audio products. AMR saw in 2010 that customer demand for wireless and portable headphones was expanding as the whole audio dynamic was changing. Thus, iFi Audio was launched.

The iFi Audio hip dac smart stuff. The DAC section is based around a Burr-Brown DAC chip that provides a lovely fluid, highly musical sound quality and also true native architecture. iFi Audio have then desgined their own circuitry. This means you get bit perfect PCM, native DSD and MQA. Hi-res PCM and DXD audio data is supported at sampling rates up to 384kHz, alongside DSD from 2.8MHz to 12.4MHz (DSD64, 128 and 256). Thanks to the Burr Brown chip’s True Native design, PCM and DSD take separate pathways – this enables both PCM and DSD to remain bit perfect in their native form right through to analogue conversion.

There are two USB ports – USB Type A for audio data and USB-C for charging. The USB Type A input features a male connector, rather than a typical female port. This provides greater mechanical integrity than USB/Micro USB ports.. This is an advantage for iPhone and iPad users, because it accepts Apple’s Lightning to USB Camera Adaptor directly without requiring an additional female-to-male USB adaptor, as shown in my video review. The optional bass boost enhances low frequencies without muddying the mid range, and is particularly useful with earphones and open-back headphones that may lack deep bass. It operates entirely in the analogue domain rather than messing with the digital signal via DSP.

Sound quality. For this review I used a range of headphones including the Focal Elear, Sennheiser HD599, AKG K371 and Fiio FA7. I also tested the 4.4mm balanced using the Fiio FA7 with the Fiio 4.4mm headphone cable. iFi Audio recommend activating the PowerMatch for over ear headphones. So for this review all my over the ear headphones had this activated. When using my Fiio FA7 IEMs this was turned off.

Genres. All genres were tested from electronic, jazz, blues, classical, pop, rock and alternative. I spent hours and hours testing the hip dac including a 10 hour burn in before listening to it. All the over ear headphones were driven with ease, scale and presence. The XBass feature is great to use, but there is already IMO enough drama without having to use it. However, my AKG K371 headphones just loved the XBass being on and transformed from being a fairly accurate sounding headphone to a Tyrannosaurus Rex. OMG what a chalk and cheese difference and for the better. The Burr Brown chipset provides a lovely musical presentation, slightly warm, but with plenty of scale, drama, soundstage across all genres. And speed too. The 4,4mm balanced output added a little hiss with my Fiio FA7. This hiss was not present using the 3.5mm option. So ultra sensitive IEMs are best used with the 3.5mm jack which is extremely powerful in its own right.

Video Review

Conclusion

The iFi Audio is a fantastic compact headphone amp dac and highly recommended and one of my favourite amp/dacs!

Useful Links

Latest pricing & more info on iFi Audio hip dac on Amazon

How to use manual video controls on the iPhone 11 incl sample photos & video using Moment lenses

Happy New Year everyone.

In this article I am going to explain how to use manual video controls on the iPhone 11 Pro along with what accessories you will need to accomplish this task.

First, why bother. Well the difference before and after is night and day. Video footage is smooth with the correct motion effect that isn’t jagged, instead it’s smooth.

First things first, I headed over to the Moment store and bought myself their Moment Photo case for my iPhone 11 Pro. If you have some spare time, and you are into video & photography the Moment store is one helluva a great place to browse with tons of great useful gear for your phone, not just iPhones either.

Moment have 3 styles of cases for the new iPhone 11 range, and I have all 3 which I’ll be covering off the pros and cons of each shortly, however, my strong advice is just to buy their strongest and toughest case only, the Photo case. Once you have this case, you can now attach their lens, filters and more. It’s a small price to pay for the extra benefits.

In terms of filming the video, there are 2 apps I would recommend on iOS. Filmic Pro or the Moment app. If you have Moment lenses then their app is ideal. You will be advised to grab a gimbal for even smoother video footage. The DJI Osmo Mobile 3 is what I use. I’ll leave links to everything at the end of this article. In terms of filters I got a set of ND & CPL filters from Gobe on Amazon.

So now you have all the accessories and apps for your iPhone, what next. Well you need to setup the manual video controls. Here’s the rule of thumb. If shooting at 30fps , your shutter speed needs to be double at 1/60. Same rule applies for other FPS. So another example, shooting at 60fps needs a shutter speed of 1/120. The great thing about shooting at 60fps is that you can slow this down in post production for even smoother footage. For editing video on the iPhone, the best app is Luma Fusion.

Sounds simple, and it is , except now that you have a slow shutter speed, too much light will be entering the lens, so you need to attach a ND filter over the lens to counteract the extra light. In the video below, I used a ND8. I then used my DJI Osmo Mobile 3 gimbal.

Above is a photo using the Moment Anamorphic lens. It creates a cinematic look and in video is stunning. Especially when it counters light sources as you get those blue lines across the screen.

The above shot was taken using the new fisheye lens from Moment.

Now back to the video created. It’s just over 2 mins long so enjoy.

Useful Links

Moment Store

Moment Lens, Cases & more on Amazon

Gobe Filter set on Amazon

DJI Osmo Mobile 3 Gimbal on Amazon

Honor MagicWatch 2 – Hands On + UI & Watch Faces

Welcome to my hands on and full walk through of new fitness watch from Honor, the Honor MagicWatch 2. This Honor MagicWatch 2 retails for around £159.

Key Features

– Battery Life: The Honor MagicWatch 2 is an ultra-thin sports smart watch featuring a super long battery life, lasting up to two weeks on a single charge
– Smart Features: Integrated smart features such as Bluetooth calls, music playback, scientific sleep monitoring, stress monitoring, information assistant, heart rate monitoring, GPS tracking and more
– Fitness Monitor: The lightweight design and water resistance rating of 50 m makes it an ideal fitness tracker. Monitoring your daily activities and steps as well as providing exercise statistics
– Always-On Display: The always-on AMOLED display stays lit so you can glance at the time without the screen taking time to brighten
– Design: The watch features a double crown design, while its colour screen is matched with a strap that passes strict skin allergy tests to provide you with a safe and comfortable wearing experience
– Built in Speaker & Mic
– Stress Monitor
– GPS
– Dual Satellite GPS

Video Review

Conclusion

A full feature packed fitness watch from Honor. Recommended.

Useful Links

Latest pricing on Honor MagicWatch 2 on Amazon

Honor 9X – Full Screen Phone – Unboxing, Setup & First Impressions

Welcome to my Honor 9X unboxing, setup and first impressions. The Honor 9X retails for £249, and at that price you get a lot of phone for your money.

The Key Features

– 6.59 inches IPS display with high screen-to-body ratio of 91%.
– AI Triple Camera, 48MP High-resolution main camera, 8MP Super Wide Angle Camera 120 degrees, 2MP Depth Assist Camera will provide hardware-based bokeh effects.
– AIS Super Night Mode can help you capture the beauty of night by holding your phone in just 6s.
– Pop-up camera withstands loads of up to 15 kg and passed testing to be able to raise & retract 100,000 times.
– 4000mAh large battery capacity, doubled with AI Power Saving technology, can last all day without stress.
– Memory 4GB RAM+ 128GB ROM
– GPU Turbo 3.0
– Powered by AI, HONOR 9X allows you to have interactions with EMUI 9.1. HiVsion is your personnel assistant, and can support QR code scanning, Object Identify, AI Shopping and Calorie Measure.
– 3.5mm headphone jack with built-in Histen 6.0 allows you to have immersive experience.
– HONOR 9X also has customized eye comfort mode certified by TÜV Rheinland, that can better protect your eyes by filtering blue light. With AI Video Enhancement.

Video

Conclusion

First impressions are positive. You get a lot of phone for your money and currently there is a deal available on the Honor 9X too.

Honor 9X on Amazon

My Top 5 Phones of 2019 – And there’s a surprise winner + apps/games on my phone

Welcome to my top 5 smartphones of 2019. This is my personal lineup of which phones are my top 5.

Factors that were taking into consideration include –

– Overall experience
– Camera Experience
– Camera quality split into video and photo and other features
– Phone UI
– Links to a wider eco system
– Software and security updates

The second half of the video, is a close up look of what’s now on my phone in 2019 and why. This includes apps and games.

Video

If you have a different top 5, what are they and why?

Useful Links

Google Pixel on Amazon
Huawei on Amazon
Oppo on Amazon
Honor on Amazon
Apple on Amazon

AirPower in 2020 – Mophie 3 in 1 Wireless Charger Unboxing & First Impressions

Welcome to my first impressions and unboxing of the Mophie 3 in 1 wireless charger that charges your AirPods, Apple Watch & iPhone all wirelessly. Fast wireless charging is available for the iPhone as well.

This is what AirPower should have been. It’s a seriously cool product and currently exclusive to Apple, retailing for £130.

One of the positive aspects of the wireless charger is the two white lights on the front edge initially and gently glow for two or three seconds before turning off. The left white light is to acknowledge AirPods are charging and the right side is for your iPhone. So at night , you won’t get an annoying charging led light that so many other chargers seem to have!

Video Review

Conclusion

It’s expensive, it’s sold exclusively at Apple. But it’s relatively compact and looks fabulous on your bedside table.

Useful Links

Mophie chargers on Amazon UK

Jabra Elite 75t review vs AirPods Pro

Welcome to my review of the Jabra Elite 75t.

The Key Features

– Compact new shape, tested for secure fit
– 4-Mic call technology for superior call quality wherever you are, even in noisy and windy environments
– More power, more freedom, with more than 7.5 hours of battery and a total of 28 with charging case
– Make your music sound exactly the way you want it to, with a customisable equaliser, available in the Jabra Sound+ app
– Durability guaranteed, with IP55-rated protection and a 2-year warranty against dust and water
– 7.5 hours battery life extended to 28 hours with case
– USB C charging on case
– Full range of controls on earbuds

Review

Conclusion

The Jabra Elite 75t are the best true wireless earbuds I have tested. 9.5/10. Highly recommended.

Useful Links

Latest pricing on Jabra Elite 75t on Amazon