Category Archives: Audio

Huawei Freebuds Studio Headphones review – Flagship Headphones from Huawei

 

Welcome to my review of the Huawei Freebuds Studio headphones which retail for £229.

Key Specs

  • Intelligent noise cancellation: with chipsets and sensors, the headphones offer hybrid active noise cancellation, attention mode and uplink noise cancellation during voice calls
  • Box contents: Huawei FreeBuds Studio, wireless ANC headphones with Bluetooth in graphite black, including case, charging cable USB-C, quick start guide, warranty card and safety information
  • Dynamic ANC: The multi-scene perception system, consisting of an IMU1 sensor and microphone system, automatically adjusts noise cancellation in different environments
  • Attention mode: Activate the ANC button in attention mode to allow ambient noise/set the “voice highlight” mode in the Al Life app to reduce noise
  • Noise cancelling for calls: the 4 outward facing microphones accurately pick up the sound from the direction of the voice – 2 inward microphones make voices more clearly audible
  • Dual Antenna: The headphones offer wide signal coverage with dual antenna design, even when the phone is in the bag or other disturbing environment
  • Low latency gaming mode: the algorithm for encoding wireless audio signals significantly reduces signal latency to provide a more intense gaming experience

The Huawei Freedbuds Studio are Huawei’s answer to Sony XM4’s and Apple AirPods Max headphones. In terms of comfort they do a great job. Sound quality is close to the Sony but not at Apple’s level. But like all headphones, the feature set on certain hardware is what can make or break these headphones in the eye of the purchaser. So watch my video review to find out more.

Video Review

Conclusion

The Huawei Freebuds Studio sound terrific and have excellent noise cancellation. To get the most from the feature set you really need a Huawei phone. They still work really well on android phones but there is no app available on iOS. Verdict 8/10.

Useful Links

More info & latest pricing on Huawei Freebuds Studio on Amazon – Click HERE.

 

Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+ True Wireless In-Ear Monitors review

 

Welcome to my review of the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+ true wireless in-ear monitors that retail for £119.95.

Key Features 

  • An upgrade to the award winning Melomania 1, now enhanced with App control and USB-C.
  • A massive 45 hours battery life.
  • Improved Comfort – Just 4.6g per earbud plus premium memory foam and silicone tips now included.
  • Melomania App  – Customise EQ, High Performance Audio Mode, Find my earbuds, Upgradable firmware and more
  • IPX5
  • SBC, AAC & APT-X
  • High Performance Audio mode
  • Qualcomm TrueWireless Stereo Plus

 

Audio Music Test Tracks List

  • 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 upgraded Melomania 1+ are a superb addition to the Cambridge Audio line of true wireless earphones. Excellent sound quality, good fit, easy to use and a long battery life, mean that these achieve a 8.8/10.

If you have enjoyed the review and would like to buy me a coffee http://www.paypal.me/gavinsgadgets

 

iFi iDSD Diablo review – Insanely Powerful Portable DAC & AMP

 

Welcome to my review of the iFi iDSD Diablo which retails for £899.

The Key Features 

  • Dual Core Burr Brown True Native chipset supports all hi-res audio formats up to PCM 32 bit / 768kHz, DSD512, and MQA (decoder).
  • Up to 4,100 mW headphone amplifier with balanced topology and 4.4mm output. Easily switch between Turbo (4,100mW) /Normal (785 mW) /Eco (265 mW) modes
  •  Ultra-Low noise, low distortion (0.00006%) OV2028 OpAmp, devil bass reproduction, and unbelievable resolution provide an unbeatable experience
  • Rechargeable battery provides 6-12 hours of listening, or play while charging
  • USB A, S/PDIF digital and optical audio inputs; 6.3mm and 4.4mm headphone outputs

Audio Music Test Tracks List

Below is a list of the music used to test the iFi iDSD Diablo.

  • 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

Stunning sound with a very comprehensive set of accessories and case included. Verdict 9/10.

If you enjoyed watching the video review and would like to buy me a coffee, please use http://www.paypal.me/gavinsgadgets .

 

AirPods Max review – 3 months later

Welcome to my review of the AirPods Max which retail for £549.

The Key Features

  • Apple-designed dynamic driver provides high-fidelity audio
  • Active Noise Cancellation blocks outside noise, so you can immerse yourself in music
  • Transparency mode for hearing and interacting with the world around you
  • Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking provides theater-like sound that surrounds you
  • Computational audio combines custom acoustic design with the Apple H1 chip and software for breakthrough listening experiences
  • Designed with a knit-mesh canopy and memory foam ear cushions for an exceptional fit

 

Video Review from Dec 2020

 

3 Months Later

So what is my view after using them for a longer period and have there been any new issues. In terms of ease of use, sound quality, movie experience and instant device switching etc, there are amazing. I still think these sound better than the Sony XM4, but to justify their extra cost, you must have a few pieces of Apple hardware to gain the benefit of all of their features. No surprises that Apple Music sound the best thru them as well.  I did have a blue colour originally but I not have space grey which I think is the more practical finish as it will show less dirt over time.  So some of the issues have been unexpected battery drain. This should be a firmware fix and maybe Apple can add a power off sequence too using the buttons as that would help. With three plus hours of continuous use, condensation build up starts to appear under the magnetic cups. This does evaporate. My advice is simply to check if using for a long period and wipe away or take some breaks.

 

Conclusion

My opinion still stands. If you are all in on Apple hardware, there is nothing quite like these. The best wireless headphone. 9.5/10.

 

Useful Links

Latest pricing on Amazon for the AirPods Max – click HERE.

Lindy BNX100-XT Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones – Budget Headphones at their best!

Welcome to my review of the Lindy BNX100-XT wireless noise cancellation headphones that retail for just £99.

Key Features

  • Premium wireless headphones with hybrid noise cancelling, Audio Pass-Through and Auto-Pause technology for a modern, feature-rich listening experience
  • Refined audio performance from the award-winning BNX-100s with new, improved driver technology for a detailed, true-to-life sound signature
  • Convenient operation with Auto-Pause so you never miss a beat and Audio Pass-Through so you can stay in-tune with your surroundings
  • True wireless connectivity with Bluetooth 5.0 technology and up to 15 hours battery life
  • APT- X
  • Comes with 3.5mm audio cable, 3.5 to 6.3mm adapter, airplane adapter and hard case. Plus USB C charging cable.
  • 40mm drivers
Video Review
Conclusion
Really impressive budget headphones from Lindy. Not only that you get a wealth of accessories and a hard case.  Highly recommended. 8.5/10.
Useful Links
Lindy BNX-100XT latest pricing and more info on Amazon – click HERE.

Cambridge Audio Melomania Touch review – HiFi grade True Wireless Earphones!

Welcome to my review of the Cambridge Audio Melomania Touch earphones that retail for £129.

The Key Features 

  • Bluetooth 5, class 2
  • Triple core processor architecture
  • Qualcomm QCC3020 & Kalimba DSP
  • APT-x, AAC and SBC
  • Low latency
  • 7mm Graphene enhanced dynamic driver
  • 9 hours continuous battery life
  • 2 hours to charge from  0 to 100%
  • MEMS mics with cVc noise cancellation
  • Siri or Google Assistant
  • IPX4 – case and earphones
  • Each earbud weighs 5.4g

Within my video review I show you how to setup the headphones, all the companion apps features and settings, discuss the audio quality, the HiFi audio and call quality. Video latency is discussed as well as the fit and finish. Finally, I compare these to AirPods and AirPods Pro.

Video Review

Conclusion

A truly cracking set of true wireless earphones with an excellent companion app. Highly recommended 9/10.

Useful Links

Latest pricing and more info on the Melomania Touch on Amazon – click HERE.

iFi micro iDSD Signature review

Welcome to my review of the iFi micro iDSD signature which retails for £649.

The Key Features

  • Dual Core Burr Brown True Native chipset supports all hi-res audio formats up to PCM 32 bit / 768kHz, DSD512, and MQA
  • 4000mW headphone amplifier with balanced topology and 4.4mm pentacon output
  • XBass+, 3D+, and iEMatch create an immersive and personalized headphone or speaker listening experience
  • USB A, S/PDIF digital and optical audio inputs; 6.3mm and 4.4mm headphone outputs, RCA line outputs
  • Rechargeable battery provides 6-12 hours of listening, or play while charging

 

Review

A wide range of over the ear headphones and IEMs were used for the review, from Fiio FH7, Fiio FA9, HiFiMan Sundara and Ananda as well as headphones from Sennheiser and Sony.

Below are the music tracks used to test the iFi micro iDSD signature.

  • 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 Ophelia – 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

 

The iFi micro iDSD Signature is an absolute delight to use. Music comes alive with any pair of headphone or IEM that you care to throw at it. The musical experience feels like the headphones disappear on your head, leaving just the music floating around you. Bass is fast, tight and controlled. Mids and exquisite. Treble is excellent too. Superb soundstage.

 

Conclusion

The iFi iDSD micro signature is my personal favourite headphone amp DAC. 9.5/10.

 

Useful Links

iFi micro iDSD Signature on Amazon

 

iFi ZEN DAC Desktop DAC Review & Comparison

Welcome to my review of the iFi ZEN DAC which retails for £129. In my video review, I also compare the ZEN DAC to my ZEN Blue and ZEN Can combo,

Key Specs

– Input: USB3.0 B Socket (USB2.0 compatible)
– Formats: 44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192/384kHz PCM, 2.8/3.1/5.6/6.2/11.2/12.4MHz DSD, 353/384KHz DXD
– DAC: Bit-Perfect DSD & DXD DAC by Burr Brown
– Line section -Output: Audio RCA (UnBAL), 2.1V fixed, 1V / 3.3V max. (variable), 4.4mm Pentaconn (BAL) 4.2V fixed, 2V / 6.2V max. (variable) Zout: <= 100 Ohm (UnBAL), <= 200 Ohm (BAL)
– SNR: < -116dB(A) @ 0dBFS (UnBAL/BAL
– DNR: < 0.0015% @ 0dBFS (UnBAL/BAL) L)
– THD+N: 280mW @ 32R, > 36mW @ 300R, BAL: > 380mW @ 50R, > 70mW @ 600ROutput Impedance: < 1 Ω (UnBAL/BAL)
– Dimensions: 117(l) x 100(w) x 30(h)mm
– Weight: 491g (1.08 lbs)

The Review

So for this review, I used a number of headphones. These included the HiFiman Sundara and Ananda, Sony MDR-1AM2 in 4.4 balanced, Sennheiser HD599 and a selection of IEMs from Fiio and others. I also listenend to as many different genres as possible from jazz, blues, dance, rap, hip hop, classical, pop, rock, electronic and orchestral.

The ZEN DAC doesn’t need a power supply as it runs via the USB power from your PC or even smartphone. IMO I don’t think you need to spend more money on a stand-alone power supply either. Using just USB power from my laptop, there was surprisingly enough power for both my HiFiman Ananda and Sundara.

With IEMs, there was no floor noise or background hiss. Balanced output using my Sony MDR-1AM2s was fantastic. All my headphones sounded excellent with plenty of dynamics and detail. The mid range had a lovely bit of warmth with it, ideal for some of my favourite classical piano, orchestral and classical tracks. In fact, music genres including jazz, blues, dance, hip hop, rap, pop and rock came across really effortlessly. Good separation and soundstage too.

Compared to the ZEN Blue/ZEN Can Combo

The ZEN Blue/ZEN Can benefit from using external power supplies and therefore are able to add that extra dynamics and sparkle to my music. However as the ZEN Dac is a wired solution, this helps it compensate with some extra clarity. Personally I prefer the combo solution, but then it is twice the price too.

Video Review

Conclusion

I highly capable desktop DAC and headphone amp, in a stylish design that looks good in any room. Highly recommended. 9.5/10.

Useful Links

iFi ZEN DAC more info and latest pricing on Amazon Uk – Click HERE.

iFi ZEN Blue + iFi ZEN Can REVIEW – the ultimate combo!

Welcome to my review of the iFi ZEN Blue and ZEN Can. The iFi ZEN Blue retails for £129 and the ZEN Can for £169.

Key Features/Specs

ZEN Blue

– Power: DC 5V
– Input: Bluetooth 5.0TM with AAC, aptX, aptX HD, LDAC, HWA Codec
– Output: Optical/Coaxial, Audio RCA L/R, 4.4 Balanced Lineout
– Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz <+0/-0.5dB (44.1kHz)1Hz – 44khz = 88.2kHz)
– Output Voltage @ 0dBFS: 2.05V (+/-0.05V)
– Dynamic Range: 109dB (A)
-Signal/Noise ratio: 109dB (A) @ 0dBFS
– THD & N @ 0dBFS: < 0.0015% 10k Load
– Dimensions: 158 (l) x 100 (w) x 35 (h) mm
– Weight: 476g (1..05 lbs)

ZEN Can

– Inputs -4.4mm Pentacon BAL, RCA L/R Socket SE, 3.5mm Jack SE
– Balanced Output – 15.1V/385 mW (@ 600 Ohm), 11.0V/1890 mW (@ 64 Ohm)
– S-E Output – 7.6V/196 mW (@ 300 Ohm), 7.2V/1600 mW (@ 32 Ohm)
– Gain 0dB, 6dB, 12dB and 18dB
– Frequency Response – 20Hz – 20kHz (+0dB / -0.03dB)
– Input voltage – DC 5V/2.5A, AC 100 -240V, 50/60Hz
– Dimensions – 158 x 117 x 35 mm
– Net weight – 515g

The Review

So for this review, I used a number of headphones. These included the HiFiman Sundara and Ananda, Sony MDR-1AM2 in 4.4 balanced, Sennheiser HD599 and a selection of IEMs from Fiio and others. I also listenend to as many different genres as possible from jazz, blues, dance, rap, hip hop, classical, pop, rock, electronic and orchestral.

For starters, I really appreciated the 4 way gain switch for a more precise adjustment. The HiFiMan Planar Magnetic headphones benefited from a +6db gain. With IEMs the floor background noise was non existent on the IEMs that I used. The bass boost and 3D spatial options are nice options to have to as some of my headphones can sound too bass light.

However this combo is an incredible system, and as a consequence it powered every headphone I tried effortlessly. Apart from the sound, the design looks luxurious and would be at home in any room in the house. The freedom of using the ZEN Blue with portable devices like your smartphone, and in my case my Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, meant I had LDAC quality music streaming to the ZEN Blue. The ZEN Can is full of dynamics and blew the cobwebs off some of the headphones I hadn’t used for a while. It also possessed good detail, wide sound staging. TBH the two components together make a cracking piece of kit.

Video Review

Conclusion

Freedom from wires with the iFi ZEN Blue with all the respective hi-res bluetooth codecs coupled with the iFi ZEN Can is a formidable combination and highly recommended. 9.8/10.

Useful Links

iFi Zen Can – more info and latest pricing on Amazon UK – Click HERE.
iFi ZEN Blue – more info and latest pricing on Amazon UK – Click HERE.

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless ANC Headphones REVIEW

Welcome to my review of the new Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless ANC headphones that retail for £349.

Key Features / Specs

– HEADPHONE TYPE – Closed, dynamic, 40mm driver, dome type (CCAW Voice coil)
– MAGNET Neodymium
– DIAPHRAGM Aluminum coated LCP
– FREQUENCY RESPONSE 4Hz-40,000Hz
– FREQUENCY RESPONSE (ACTIVE OPERATION) 4Hz-40,000Hz
– FREQUENCY RESPONSE(BLUETOOTH® COMMUNICATION) 20Hz – 20,000Hz (44.1kHz Sampling) / 20Hz – 40,000Hz (LDAC 96kHz Sampling, 990kbps)
– SENSITIVITIES (DB/MW) 105dB / mW (1kHz) (when connecting via the headphone cable with the unit turned on) , 101dB / mW (1kHz) (when connecting via the headphone cable with the unit turned off)
– CORD TYPE Single-sided (detachable)
– CORD LENGTH Headphone cable (approx. 1.2m, OFC strands, gold-plated stereo mini plug)
– PLUG – Gold-plated L-shaped stereo mini plug
– WEARING STYLE -Circumaural
– NFC – Yes
– DSEE EXTREME – Yes
– PASSIVE OPERATION – Yes
– BATTERY CHARGE TIME Approx. 3 Hours (Full charge)
– BATTERY CHARGE METHOD – USB
– BATTERY LIFE(CONTINUOUS MUSIC PLAYBACK TIME WITH INTERNAL MEMORY) – -Max. 30 hours(NC ON), Max. 38 hours(NC OFF)
– BATTERY LIFE(WAITING TIME) – Max. 30 hours(NC ON), Max. 200 hours(NC OFF)
– BLUETOOTH® VERSION – Version 5.0
– EFFECTIVE RANGE – Line of sight approx.30ft (10m)
– FREQUENCY RANGE – 2.4GHz band (2.4000GHz-2.4835GHz)
– PROFILE – A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP
– SUPPORTED AUDIO FORMAT(S) – SBC, AAC, LDAC
– SUPPORTED CONTENT PROTECTION – SCMS-T
– NOISE CANCELING ON/OFF SWITCH – Yes
– PERSONAL NC OPTIMIZER – Yes
– ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE OPTIMIZING – Yes
– AMBIENT SOUND MODE – Yes
– QUICK ATTENTION – Yes
– What’s In The Box – Carrying Case, Plug Adaptor for In-flight Use, Headphone cable (approx. 1.2m), USB Cable: Type-CTM (approx. 20 cm)

Video Review

Conclusion

Sony have delivered again with their new flagship wireless headphones. Highly recommended. 9/10

Useful Links

Latest pricing & more info on Sony WH-1000XM4’s on Amazon – Click HERE.