Welcome to my review of the iFi ZEN DAC v2 which retails for £159.
The Key Features
Compact Digital Analogue Converter for home audio, office, or desktop use
Connect via USB3.0 (USB2.0 compatible) input from your USB source such as a computer or Digital Audio Player (DAP). Output to headphones, active speakers, or amplifier with 6.3mm Unbalanced / 4.4mm Balanced / RCA connections
Hear familiar songs in a whole new light with rich detail and warm natural tones created by the Burr Brown True Native digital to analogue converter which can process any hi-res audio format up to PCM 384kHz/24 bit, DSD256, DXD 384kHz, and decodes MQA all without additional conversion so you can listen exactly as the artist intended.
Variable analogue volume control, PowerMatch adjustment for iEMs/On & Over Ears, and TrueBass to add bass to iEMs and a new and improve low jitter clock with >20dB improved performance, you can listen to your music with smoother, cleaner, playback.
New 16 core XMOS chip that now decodes MQA and runs DSD 256 on the same firmware. Original version had a 8 core XMOS chip and was a MQA renderer.
Military Grade Aluminium makes up a sturdy and sleek exterior.
An exceptional DAC from iFi audio. Great clarity and detail with superb musicality. Brings your headphones to life. 9.8/10. Highly recommended.
Welcome to my review of the KZ ZSN Pro X that retails for £20. Not all IEMs are created equal, but what do you get for just £20?
KZ ZSN PRO X In Ear Headphone is an upgraded version of KZ ZSN PRO earphone. Soundstage and feelings are comprehensively improved, covering unit drivers, sound quality, cable material and appearance.
1BA 1DD Hifi Earbud Headphone: Combined with redefined 10mm dual magnetic dynamic driver and 30095 high frequency balanced armature driver on this KZ ZSN PRO X earphone, tuned by professional acoustic team, the frequency response becomes wider and the human voice become richer and clearer.
Shining Metal and Resin Shell: The Unique sparkle of the Zinc Alloy metal is combined with resin, fashion and durable. The curved cavity follows the ergonomic design concept and fits the ear tightly and comfortably. With the elastic memory PU tube around the ear, it can be more firmly and freely.
Detachable C PIN 3.5mm Jack Earphone Cable: Detachable features provides more ways of combination with this KZ ZSN PRO X earphone at your different needs. 4 strands of 100 wires silver plated copper cable can effectively enhances the details resolution, the loss and distortion in signal transmission are reduced.
For £20 the KZ ZSN Pro X is an astonishingly good value IEM that you just can’t go wrong with. Pleasing sound and easily driven from a portable device or smartphone. Recommended. 7.5/10.
Welcome to my review of the THX Onyx portable DAC amplifier equipped with THX AAA technology which retails for £199.
So what’s is all the fuss about this dongle. THX AAA technology has been taking the audio scene by storm. It enables the world’s highest fidelity audio and maximum dynamic range, whilst still being able to drive power hungry, audio grade headphones with significant volume.
In addition it features a MQA renderer supporting services that provide this from Tidal. This is direct rendering using the DAC.
Headphones impedance range 22-1,000 ohms
Dynamic range 118db
Output power per channel at 22 ohms 180mW
THX AAA-78 technology
ESS ES9281Pro DAC
Connect via USB or USB-c, android, iOS, Windows 10 or Mac.
Welcome to my review of the HiFiMan HE400se Planar Magnetic headphones that retail for $150.
Frequency response 20hz – 20hz
Impedance – 25ohms
The HiFiMan HE400se features a stealth magnet design that reduces wave diffraction turbulence and lowers distortion to barely audible levels. It is worth noting that the global model uses a silver copper cable.
The HiFiMan HE400se represent astonishing value for a planar magnetic headphone. Dynamic and lively, highly recommended. 8/10.
Welcome to my review of the Huawei Freebuds Studio headphones which retail for £229.
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.
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.
More info & latest pricing on Huawei Freebuds Studio on Amazon – Click HERE.
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.
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.
Latest pricing on Amazon for the AirPods Max – click HERE.
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
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.
A truly cracking set of true wireless earphones with an excellent companion app. Highly recommended 9/10.
Latest pricing and more info on the Melomania Touch on Amazon – click HERE.