The Headphone List https://theheadphonelist.com Find the best portable audio for your needs Tue, 13 Nov 2018 20:32:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 EarSonics Grace https://theheadphonelist.com/earsonics-grace/ https://theheadphonelist.com/earsonics-grace/#respond Tue, 13 Nov 2018 16:36:11 +0000 https://theheadphonelist.com/?p=35870 I would like to thank EarSonics for providing Grace in return for my honest opinion.

The Headphone List and EarSonics; it’s been a longstanding tradition of collaboration. Back in the early days average_joe and ljokerl covered almost every model they had to offer, while my personal interest in high-end portable audio was equally kickstarted by EarSonics in-ears as the SM64 and Velvet. Since then I’ve made a similar progression through the newer EarSonics models, and have been fortunate to witness firsthand the evolution of Franck Lopez’ designing touch. For instance, the EM32, Velvet, and S-EM9 all bore a strong resemblance, combining a highly detailed sound with an energizing bass.

The EM10 in turn marked a departure to a different type of sound, focusing on tone rather than precision; a spiritual successor of models as the SM64 and EM6 perhaps. The EM10’s unique specialty however was its upper midrange, a region which traditionally always seemed a bit neglected with EarSonics models. In a way, the EM10 brought a new beauty to the sound that was missing in the lineup, although some might consider it an acquired taste. Their new model ‘Grace’ is again undeniably an EarSonics production in line with the S-EM9, but builds forth on this special element of the EM10.


Build and accessories

Quite frankly, neither the build nor accessories will be anything new for avid EarSonics fans. EarSonics is known to keep their designs simple, and again offers a classic black finish with the name ‘Grace’ in an orange-yellow hue. The shape of Grace’s shell is identical to that of the S-EM9, which have a semi-custom fit due to their oval form. The nozzles are slanted diagonally inwards and house three bores. The smooth body and moderately compact size make it a comfortable earphone, which I can’t see providing fit issues for most people. At the top Grace makes use of a two-pin connection, and is accompanied by the trusty Plastic One 3-wire OFC cable. The exception of course is that EarSonics designs their in-ears with reversed polarity compared to most others.

The box and packaging continues to progress with minimal adaptations. The box is a stylish matte black design, with a cover that folds backwards to display the earpieces. It’s a little bit of a puzzle to open up first, but makes for a beautiful presentation. The layout and carrying case remains the same, as well as the amount of accessories. EarSonics provides the mandatory cleaning tool and 6.3 mm adapter, as well as a small variety of foam and both single and bi-flange tips. It’s not an abundant collection, but should do for most people. The primary change is that the classic EarSonics bi-flange tips have changed from gray to black, to now match the rest of the packaging and black earpieces of course.

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1More Triple Driver Review – Wheel In Motion https://theheadphonelist.com/1more-triple-driver-review-wheel-in-motion/ https://theheadphonelist.com/1more-triple-driver-review-wheel-in-motion/#respond Sat, 10 Nov 2018 04:34:50 +0000 https://theheadphonelist.com/?p=35866 Pros –

Well-controlled yet engaging bass, Extended highs and spacious stage, All-metal build is a delight

Cons –

On-ear fit can produce hotspots, Thin dual entry cable, Vocals may be too recessed for some

Verdict –

This headphone may appear to cater towards the consumers, however, don’t be fooled, the Triple Driver Over Ear possesses enthusiast quality in every regard.

 


Introduction –

1More has built a reputation upon a foundation of value. Their Triple Driver and Quad Driver in-ears both provided great performance for the money and a sound tuning that pleased users and critics alike. Their new headphones follow suite, implementing three drivers; 2 active and one passive. In addition to a 40mm graphene dynamic driver, the Triple Driver also implements a ceramic tweeter and passive bass reflector. The headphones employ 1More’s signature aesthetic and high level of build quality while undercutting the majority of competitors at $250 USD. This makes it one of the cheapest premium portable over-ear headphones on the market. You can read more about the Triple Driver Over Ear here.

*Of note, the silver/grey variant reviewed here is not to be confused with the brass/black model, that is an older variant with a titanium as oppose to graphene driver and a different tuning altogether.

 

Disclaimer –

I would like to thank 1More very much for their quick communication and for providing me with the Triple Drivers for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the headphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.

 

Accessories –

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A signature trait of 1More products is their elaborate packaging. The Triple Driver OE is no different with a lavish unboxing that feels delightfully premium. Inside the box buyers will find a compact hard zipper case with internal scaffolding that perfectly cradles the headphones. The case has a soft velcro pouch that contains the cable and other accessories such as a flight and ¼” adapter.

 

Design –

As aforementioned, the Triple Drivers stay true to 1More’s reputation for solid build quality and industrial design. Small touches such as a concentric ridging of the driver enclosure, transparent face-plates emblazoned with a Maserati wheel design and chamfered edges all portray an image of structural integrity. The entire assembly is aluminium from the 3-piece ear cups to the sturdy pivoting hangers and folding hinges; all integral parts of the headphone’s structure prone to wear and breakage, it’s good to see 1More considering longevity. The headband is well padded with a grooved design that’s said to spread weight more evenly. Unfortunately, the faux leather used here is not the greatest, it’s a little plasticky but gets the job done.

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The earpads are far better realised. They’re constructed from a softer pleather with a finer texture. They’re stuffed with slow-rebound memory foam that conforms to the ears over time and permits a strong seal. Inside are bold orientation markers and lightly padded driver covers that aid comfort. Unfortunately, it’s in this regard that the headphone falters slightly. Though marketed as an over-ear, the Triple Driver is much more of an on-ear headphone on behalf of its rounded pads with a small internal opening that fails to fully encompass even my average sized ears. Moreover, the pads are quite thin so don’t expect comfort similar to Bose’s QC range for instance.

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Being a portable headphone, the Triple Drivers are comfortable for a handful of hours before they start to wear on the outer-ear. That said, discomfort never forced me to stop wearing the headphones and, combined with their light weight and medium clamp force, they are stable and an excellent choice for commuters. Being a closed-back design, they offer above average isolation on top perfect for public transport if not quite perfect for air travel. Still, they are not the most comfortable headphone for prolonged listening at home due to their aforementioned comfort niggles.

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The adoption of a dual entry cable system contradicts with this sentiment slightly as most portable headphones implement a more convenient single-sided cable. This also makes it harder to convert them to wireless using an adapter. That said, it’s fairly safe to assume that a wireless revision is on the close horizon given 1More’s recent releases. Still, the cable is light and unobtrusive. It connects via recessed 2.5mm connectors that snap confidently into place. From the y-split down, the cable is well-constructed with a braided sheath leading to a case-friendly straight 3.5mm plug. Above the splitter, the cable has basic rubber insulation and is fairly thin, however, it is nicely relieved at both ends which should contribute to greater longevity.

Next Page: Sound, Comparisons & Verdict

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Tethered to Eternity – A Review of the Meze 99 Series Balanced Cable https://theheadphonelist.com/tethered-to-eternity-a-review-of-the-meze-99-series-balanced-cable/ https://theheadphonelist.com/tethered-to-eternity-a-review-of-the-meze-99-series-balanced-cable/#respond Sun, 04 Nov 2018 17:07:50 +0000 https://theheadphonelist.com/?p=35695 ::Disclaimer::
Meze provided the cable free of charge for the purpose of my honest review, for good or ill.

The 99 Series Balanced Cable sells for $99 USD.
www.MezeAudio.com


This will be very, very short, because there’s not a lot to say. This is not some special, braided cable with super pure materials. It’s not what you’d call an upgrade cable. Of course, Meze isn’t pricing it as such, either.

They’ve redesigned their basic Oxygen-Free Copper with translucent sheathing, instead of the Kevlar found in the stock cable. More than that, this cable is terminated in 2.5mm TRRS, for balanced audio players. So it’s their entry-level balanced option.

I’ll be honest, I prefer the Kevlar sheath. There’s something springy and unwieldy about the TPU coating, whereas the stock Kevlar draped nicer. Now, I’ll take a handsome braided cable over either solution any day. Way back when I first got the Meze 99 Classics I build my own cable, which closely resembles some of Meze’s newer creations.

However, mine required modifications done to the 99C just so it would connect. Now a days, it’s easier to simply buy one pre-built from the Meze Store.

Which is what I recommend doing. Even this springier TPU is unquestionably a solid product. It’s light, it’s sturdy, and it’s a quick way to get your Neos or Classics ready for Balanced playback.

How does it sound? Well, like I said, it’s not an upgrade cable. Any improvements/changes should mostly be attributed to the Balanced output of your source. If you desire to go all-out, try their 7N OCC Silver-Plated Copper, at double the price.

-~::Pinky_Powers::~-

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Shozy Pola First Look https://theheadphonelist.com/shozy-pola-first-look/ https://theheadphonelist.com/shozy-pola-first-look/#respond Sat, 03 Nov 2018 01:52:16 +0000 https://theheadphonelist.com/?p=35690 Introduction – 
Hong-Kong/China-based audio manufacturer Shozy has formed a loyal cult following with their classic sound tuning and daring designs. They’ve been pushing boundaries recently with the release of the POLA, their latest collaboration with AAW and one of the first in-ear earphones to sport electro-static drivers. Though it is no longer alone with contenders from Jomo, Fitear and NF Audio on the horizon, the POLA will likely be the cheapest with an estimated RRP of $750 USD. Let’s take a closer look!

 

New Design – 

The POLA releasing today at Canjam Shanghai is the 4th version of many iterations and a completely different beast from initial units displayed in early 2018. It has a new housing design that’s compact and ergonomically formed. In addition, the earphone now comes with a custom cable featuring Neotech wires (not pictured). Custom options will be available at a later date.

 

A Short History – 

Sonically, the innards of the POLA have gone through multiple revisions too. Shozy worked with various driver setups, 2, 3 and 4-BA to complement the ES tweeters. However, ultimately BA drivers proved challenging to implement due to a mismatch between their sensitivity and the insensitive ES tweeters that require a step-up transformer. The BA drivers required heavy damping which compromised efficiency and fidelity. Ultimately, Shozy settled on a massive 13mm graphene dynamic driver that matches the character of the ES driver, that Shozy claims to effectively provide excellent end to end extension free of obtrusive peaks and troughs. The POLA is stated to carry a slightly darker sound with pronounced vocals and a focus on dynamics.

 

Look forward to initial user impressions from Canjam and a full review on THL soon!

 

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The Better of More – A Review of the Effect Audio Thor II Plus https://theheadphonelist.com/the-better-of-more-a-review-of-the-effect-audio-thor-ii-plus/ https://theheadphonelist.com/the-better-of-more-a-review-of-the-effect-audio-thor-ii-plus/#comments Sun, 28 Oct 2018 22:36:19 +0000 https://theheadphonelist.com/?p=35644 ::Disclaimer::
Effect Audio provided Thor II Plus free of charge for the purpose of my honest review, for good or ill.

Thor II Plus sells for $569.90.
www.EffectAudio.com


My God in heaven. What grief Pinky has wrought for the industry. Giving one’s honest opinion can make enemies, when it bruises the ego. A company may wonder what it takes to garner Pinky’s praise. My published history speaks for itself: loaner or free sample, all are subject to my scrutiny, and, if found wanting, the lashing of my tongue.

Present a good product. That is all it takes.

Hence my continued adoration for Effect Audio. Every cable they’ve sent me has been a study in excellence. They take into account the whole cable. Starting with sound, they toil to create a unique auditory experience. Moving on to build, they make sure the cable flows properly, and holds together as it does. Aesthetics are another priority. Headphone cables are seen, and EA desires their work to catch the eye. And finally, there’s ergonomics. I lament for the manufacturer who deludes themselves into thinking their product sounds so good I will endure horrors just for the honor of hearing it.

Effect Audio is not like that. They strive for perfection, forever refining and evolving their craft. This is the reason they stand so mighty amidst their peers.

After my last Effect Audio review, I surprised Eric Chong when I told him I wanted to write about the Thor Silver II Plus next. Indeed, he tried to talk me out of it. It’s not the newest of products, after all. But I had already reviewed Thor II, and Thor II 8-wire. I felt compelled to finish the line. More than that, I wanted to know, for my own personal edification, the sonic variations in 4-wire, 8-wire, and 4-wire with a thicker gauge. The Thor line-up is the ultimate experiment. You get to hear how pure silver can change as you f**k around with configurations. This was an opportunity to glean important information, and so Eric conceded.

As is always the case with Effect Audio, the presentation is captivating. Thick streams of pure silver wreath about each other, forming a shimmering, almost luminescent, braid of staggering beauty. The special endowment of 22AUG is not lost to the naked eye. Thor II Plus clearly out-weighs the 26AUG variant, unmistakably richer in precious metals.

This added thickness is felt, as well. It is a heavier, stiffer cable, and less ergonomic because of it. Yet I found it pleasant enough to wear. Certainly, I recommend a shirt clip. But I use those for all cables always. Even very light cables have enough weight to trouble my head-movements, and a cheap lapel clip has become a requirement for my enjoyment of IEMs. Employing this trick, Thor II Plus, with all its mass, bothers me no more than the non-Plus model. I can wear this cable all day long with nary an incident.

As for sound, the 22AWG version shares the inimitable Thor tonality. This is of course clear and detailed, smooth as silk, with a touch of warmth. Pure silver is known for high degrees of resolution, and Thor does not disappoint. Those higher frequencies extend with profound naturalness. Although, it strays from tradition by tempering all that clarity with easygoing warmth. This is unusual for silver.

The above paragraph characterizes those virtues shared by the entire Thor II line. What the thicker gauge offers is WAY more body. Mid-bass in particular is emphasized, increasing warmth, harmonics, and note weight. Low-end beats hit harder, and everything feels more substantial.

The standard Thor cable is no joke on its own. I don’t want anyone thinking they need the Plus or the Bespoke just to have a serious, quality cable. This is how they break down to my ears:

Thor Silver II (4-wire): Clean, liquid, and slightly warm. Wide soundstage. Great body. Excellent bass presence. Smooth highs, outstanding detail, and awesomely holographic.

Thor Silver II Plus (4-wire): Clean, liquid, and a bit warmer. Wide soundstage. Big emphasis on body and bass presence. Smooth highs, outstanding detail, and awesomely holographic.

Thor Silver II Bespoke (8-wire): Even cleaner-sounding, if that’s possible, liquid, and more or less as warm as the basic model. Wider soundstage than the other two. More body than T2, but not as much as T2+. Smooth highs, best detail of the line, and the winner of holographic rendering.

Han Sound Audio Agni: This is perhaps a more traditional silver. It does the clear and detailed thing great, and has little or no warmth. It possesses a thinner note body, though I wouldn’t go so far as to call it out-right thin. Only in comparison to the Thor line. Soundstage is about equal. It’s not as liquid or as holographic. I’ve been enjoying this with my very, very warm IEMs, like CA FIBAE ME.

As you can imagine, my favorite is the Bespoke. It’s simply the best cable I’ve ever heard. But goddamn it is expensive. And quite frankly, depending on the needs of the IEM, T2+ may suite the situation better.

One thing is for sure, Thor II Plus gets my recommendation. It’s too much fun, and too bloody good. If you’re looking for something to beef up the listening experience and unlock the rebel in your favorite monitor, this cable is for you. It has attitude and technical mastery. You’ll love it!

-~::Pinky_Powers::~-

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AAW’s New Beginnings: A Comprehensive Overview of the A3H (2018) and A1D (2018) https://theheadphonelist.com/aaws-new-beginnings/ https://theheadphonelist.com/aaws-new-beginnings/#respond Fri, 26 Oct 2018 11:11:31 +0000 https://theheadphonelist.com/?p=34375 DISCLAIMER: AAW loaned me these universal demos in return for my honest opinion. I will send the units back following the review. I am not personally affiliated with the company in any way, nor do I receive any monetary rewards for a positive evaluation. I’d like to thank AAW for their kindness and support. The review is as follows.

Advanced AcousticWerkes (or AAW, for short) is an in-ear manufacturer based in Singapore. Prior to the technology’s resurgence in 2018, they were one of the few major proponents of hybrid IEMs – marrying balanced-armature drivers with proprietary dynamic diaphragms through their TruXross crossover system. After making headlines with their flagship W500 – and its successor; the W900 – AAW have gone back and revamped several of their entry-level IEMs; developing a new house sound in the process. The 2018 iterations of the A3H and A1D carry excellent treble extension to complement their dynamic low-ends, producing two of the strongest entry-level pieces I’ve heard all year.

Build and Accessories

Both monitors came boxed in their retail packaging, which features a more colourful, commercial aesthetic – rather than the classy, matte black look that’s been dominating the custom in-ear space. The print work is excellent and the matte finish only further accents the gorgeous, metallic-silver text embossed on top. If I were to nitpick, the text on the A3H box is slightly misaligned. But, I’m sure more care will be put into the boxes that go out to their paying customers, and it’s still a mere nitpick regardless. Sliding off the paper sleeve reveals a black box, with the IEMs and accessories inside.

The monitors come stored in a zippered carrying case; lined all around with a cloth-like material and accented on top with a metallic AAW badge. Inside, you’ll find the IEMs and a cleaning cloth, with enough extra space to fit a spare wire and/or a wide selection of tips. Inside the accessories package, you’ll find a gorgeous owner’s card with a QR code to activate three-month’s worth of extra warranty, five pairs of spare tips (three Comply and three silicone in total; including the pair pre-attached to the IEMs), an airline adapter and a 1/4″ adapter. This is one of the most complete packages I’ve personally reviewed. It’s missing the usual desiccant and cleaning tool, but considering the bore design of AAW’s UIEMs, the latter wouldn’t be necessary anyway. Kudos to AAW for including so much within the price range.

Both the A3H and A1D are gorgeously built, showcasing AAW’s vast experience at the craft. The contours of the body are supremely smooth with some of the most beautiful lacquer work I’ve seen since Jomo Audio’s Haka and Vision Ears’ VE6XC. The A3H in particular features a glittered faceplate that’s reminiscent of a glimmering, starry night. The vinyl inlays are also well-done – cleanly-cut and fingerprint-free. Finally, both monitors sport a grooved, perforated metallic bore. This effectively prevent tips from sliding off in use, lowers the monitor’s failure rate (as the stems aren’t made of the more fragile acrylic) and minimises the probability of wax build-up. Once again, AAW boasts outstanding build quality despite their aggressive pricing – further solidifying these IEMs as disruptive forces in the market today.

Page 2: AAW A1D (2018)
Page 3: AAW A3H (2018)
Page 4: Verdict

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Fiio FH5 Review – The Juggernaut https://theheadphonelist.com/fiio-fh5-review-the-juggernaut/ https://theheadphonelist.com/fiio-fh5-review-the-juggernaut/#comments Thu, 18 Oct 2018 11:07:02 +0000 https://theheadphonelist.com/?p=35308 Pros –

Pleasantly balanced presentation – nice all-rounder, Well-detailed, Excellent construction quality

Cons –

Somewhat slow bass, 4KHz dip can make some vocals sound truncated

Verdict –

The FH5 is a versatile IEM that provides is a rare W-shaped signature realised through impressive technicals at a reasonable price.


Introduction –

Renowned value-champ audio manufacturer Fiio’s first foray into IEMs was met with very positive response; appropriating Dunu’s in-ears into a more affordable package. However, it was only when they began releasing their own in-house designed models that their IEMs took root in most buyer’s minds, with the triple hybrid driver F9 leading the charge. The FH5 continues this trend, adopting a higher 4-driver count with single dynamic and ED30262 + TWFK-31082 armatures.

The dynamic driver implements their S.Turbo, an acoustic low-pass filter to maintain a clean, separated image. The FH5 also features a new housing design that is a noticeable step up from Fiio’s previous in-ears in weight and feel. Alongside the FH1 that came before it, the FH5 presents a warmer style of sound than the F9 earphones and represents Fiio’s most balanced in-ear to date. You can read more about the FH5 here.

 

Disclaimer –

I would like to thank Fiio very much for their quick communication and for providing me with the FH5 for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.

 

Accessories –

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The FH5 comes packaged similarly to other Fiio products, however, its all black colour scheme exudes a markedly more premium aura. Inside are the earphones seated within a foam cutout with the accessories underneath. Fiio includes 4 types of ear tips, all in 3 sizes; balanced, bass, vocals and memory foam. They provide basic tuning for individual preference. Also included is one of Fiio’s pelican-style hard cases which offers excellent protection. Inside it is a more pocketable fabric zipper pouch that is more practical for daily use. It’s a comprehensive selection of accessories that skips the fluff for function.

 

Design –

The FH5 is a larger earphone along the lines of TFZ’s designs. Yet, similar to those models, its smooth, ergonomic shaping enables a comfortable fit regardless. Moreover, it feels very well constructed with a 3-piece magnesium alloy enclosure that feels dense and solid in the hand without becoming too cumbersome in the ear. Meanwhile, subtle ridging of the faceplates harken back to the rippled design of the F9 earphones before it.

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Despite their size, the FH5 finds a very comfortable fit. All edges are delightfully curved and transitions are smooth to avoid the formation of hotspots. They have a larger bore size and a medium fit depth. As they are vented, isolation is just average, sufficient for commute but not louder environment such as the subway or air travel. Still, fit stability is very good despite their weight on behalf of a solid seal, well-shaped housings and a secure over-ear fit.

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Similar to the F9, the FH5 adopts a removable MMCX cable. The included cable is silver-plated and significantly beefier than previously included units with generous strain-relief. It’s a thick and slightly heavier cable with an internal braid, the two channels are also split beneath the y-split. It’s a fairly stiff cable but it has a smooth texture and its springiness helps to prevent tangles. Otherwise, the case-friendly right-angle plug is very sturdy and the pre-moulded ear guides offer solid fit and comfort. This cable is much improved from previous Fiio earphones.

Next Page: Sound, Comparisons & Verdict

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Effect Audio Leonidas II – A Legend’s Reprise https://theheadphonelist.com/effect-audio-leonidas-ii-a-legends-reprise/ https://theheadphonelist.com/effect-audio-leonidas-ii-a-legends-reprise/#respond Fri, 12 Oct 2018 17:57:28 +0000 https://theheadphonelist.com/?p=34957 DISCLAIMER: Effect Audio provided me with a discounted price on the Leonidas II in return for my honest opinion. I am not personally affiliated with the company in any way, nor do I receive any monetary rewards for a positive evaluation. I’d like to thank Effect Audio for their kindness and support. The review is as follows.

Effect Audio truly know no rest. The Singaporean ateliers have gone from strength to strength, especially throughout the past year. But, if one were to trace their exponential rise back to its origin, they’d find one common denominator: The Leonidas. First released in 2016, it was the cable that put the company on the map and it’s been the stepping stone to their overwhelming success ever since – which is why its discontinuation came as a shock to many across the globe. But as the saying goes, in every end lies a new beginning. A true successor in every way, a vast leap in speed, resolution and realism, brought to life by the bleeding edge of material sciences – Ladies and gentlemen… welcome the Leonidas II.

Effect Audio Leonidas II

  • Wire composition: 26 AWG UPOCC Palladium-plated silver + Litz silver hybrid
  • Default configuration: 4-wire
  • Key feature(s) (if any): Palladium plating, UltraFlexi insulation
  • Price: $888
  • Website: www.effectaudio.com

Build and Accessories

The Leonidas II arrives in Effect Audio’s classic premium packaging: A towering, black monolith wrapped in a decorative sleeve. But to mark the momentous occasion, Effect Audio have dressed the Leonidas II’s with a genuine leather skin; engraved tastefully with the product name on top. Inside the box’s circular recession, lies the cable in its lavish leather case – an impeccably-crafted, puck-like unit classier than anything you’d find with flagship in-ears even. Both elements are constructed entirely out of premium calf leather; exuding luxury in ways only Effect Audio know how. This is the wow factor I felt was missing with the far pricier Janus D; a clear indication of its distinguished status. Although it’s worth remembering the cable still requires 888 of your hard-earned US dollars, it – so far – at least has a package to match.

Handling the Leonidas II for the first time was an immensely pleasing experience. After becoming accustomed to the Bespoke Ares II and Janus D, the II was a welcome change in weight; just as supple, silky and smooth, but vanishingly comfortable as well. However, only time will tell whether or not that softness remains after some degree of use. The pre-shaped heat shrink located near the in-ear connectors have upped in transparency, to the point where I initially thought Effect Audio chose to forgo them. Braiding is uniform, but a touch looser than Han Sound Audio’s, for example. Visually, the Leonidas II’s conductors are certainly more subtle than those of its predecessor. Now constructed out of silver and palladium-plated silver, the Leonidas II adopts a classier, more understated aesthetic than its gold-bling’ed counterpart.

But worry not, because the Leonidas II compensates elsewhere; namely, its leather Y-split. Marvellously matching the box sleeve and carrying case, the Leonidas II’s Y-split is eye-catching-ly exotic. The matte, almost sunburst-like finish of the leather contrasts beautifully against the engraved chrome metallic accents. The black ties keeping the leather wound around the barrel does run the risk of looking a tad messy, but they’re kept to the rear where they’re practically invisible in use. And, the best part of this design is it’s entirely modular! The leather aspect can be removed and replaced without dismantling the cable outright. Additionally, this leaves the door open for more… interesting options in the future.

Lastly, the Leonidas II features the updated hardware we previously covered on the Janus D. The connectors, Y-split and plug all carry a seamless chrome aesthetic; sleekly mirror-finished. Effect Audio’s logos are engraved directly onto the components for a cleaner look with zero risk of fading. The 2-pin barrels stay rock-solid when cable-rolling. And finally, carbon fibre accents the hefty 4.4mm plug, developed in collaboration with Pentaconn – completing the Leonidas II’s well-conceptualised, uniform and utterly spectacular look. This is a cable I can guarantee you’ve never, ever seen before.

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Called Home by the Ringing of Brass – A Review of the Noble Audio Bell https://theheadphonelist.com/called-home-by-the-ringing-of-brass-a-review-of-the-noble-audio-bell/ https://theheadphonelist.com/called-home-by-the-ringing-of-brass-a-review-of-the-noble-audio-bell/#respond Tue, 09 Oct 2018 01:10:32 +0000 https://theheadphonelist.com/?p=35007 ::Disclaimer::
Noble Audio provided Bell free of charge for the purpose of my honest review, for good or ill.

Bell sells for $199
www.NobleAudio.com


Nobody needs an introduction to Noble at this point. They are synonymous with audiophilia. Love them or hate them, you certainly have more than a passing familiarity with their products.

When John announced his new EDC line, I could not help but wonder what he could do in the Budget-Fi realm. Velvet was the first. But when I contacted John, his mind was full of the next release. Bell.

As in, “Sings like a…”

The idea, as I understand it, is derived from the timeless perfection of brass bells. The housing is in fact made of machined bell brass, which is polished to a shine. Its hue is dark, oily, and quite attractive. It’s a heavy IEM, though boasting a simple 5.8mm dynamic micro driver, which comes from Denmark, the website makes special point in mentioning.

The cable is a light, flexible Kevlar weave of Japanese Silver-Plated Copper tinsel. No microphonics, and the sort of thing you easily forget you’re wearing.

Again, also simple, but it gets the job done. This package is everything you’d want in your every-day-carry IEM. It’s small, no-nonsense, and extremely comfortable. Furthermore, it feels durable, perhaps even rugged, like something I wouldn’t feel too bad about carrying loose in my pocket, though that’s not something I’d EVER recommend doing with any IEM.

For carry and storage, Bell comes with a tiny, low-profile protective case that could survive direct missile fire.

Indeed, for its stated purpose, Bell is goddamn perfect. In design, it’s an EDC success.

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Han Sound Audio Aegis – Rock, Romance N’ Rollercoasters https://theheadphonelist.com/han-sound-audio-aegis-rock-romance-n-rollercoasters/ https://theheadphonelist.com/han-sound-audio-aegis-rock-romance-n-rollercoasters/#comments Mon, 08 Oct 2018 05:38:53 +0000 https://theheadphonelist.com/?p=34629 DISCLAIMER: Music Sanctuary (Han Sound Audio’s official Singaporean dealer) provided me with the Aegis in return for my honest opinion. I am not personally affiliated with the companies in any way, nor do I receive any monetary rewards for a positive evaluation. I’d like to thank Music Sanctuary and Han Sound Audio for their kindness and support. The review is as follows.

Han Sound Audio is a Taiwanese cable manufacturer. Despite their relative youth in the public market, the company have been active for years developing a number of proprietary designs. Now, all their conductors and connectors are produced in-house, resulting in their cables being essentially inimitable. Consequently, these innovations have garnered critical acclaim from enthusiasts across the world. My fellow writers ryanjsoo and flinkenick are massive proponents of the Redcore and Venom, respectively, and a recent US tour found the company great success in the West. Today, we’ll be looking at the Aegis: A unique silver-gold/copper fusion capable of excellent energy, musicality and dynamic contrast.

Han Sound Audio Aegis

  • Wire composition: 23 AWG OCC silver-gold alloy & OCC Litz copper
  • Default configuration: 4-wire
  • Key feature(s) (if any): Fully bespoke design; DuPont Kevlar core
  • Price: S$499
  • Website: www.hansoundaudio.com; www.music-sanctuary.com

Build and Accessories

The Aegis comes in a black box with the Han Sound Audio logo embossed on top. Below the lid is a rubbery foam sheet, as well as a foam-lined interior to keep the cable in place during transport. A circular cut-out is where the cable resides, wrapped in an included, faux-leather cable tie. As far as packaging is concerned, this isn’t the most extravagant I’ve seen. But despite the minimal flair, extremely useful features like the foam sheet and the cable tie speak to how well the packaging was thought out. It won’t win points for style, but completion, practicality and safety rank very high.

Flaunting the company’s experience in the trade, the Aegis is a wonderfully-built cable. It sports one of the most uniform braids I’ve seen yet, and the individual conductors sport a gorgeous semi-matte finish. Although they aren’t as bling-y as the market’s most recent offerings, the brown tint gives the Aegis an undeniably unique look; understated, clean and classy. Han Sound Audio’s cables are also among the most flexible I’ve used. They aren’t as silky-smooth to the touch as PlusSound’s PS Insulation, but they hold zero memory even after tens of coils, and they’re the least stiff in my collection as well. Finally, both the cable’s diminutive wire gauge and tight construction keep weight at a minimum in daily use.

Completing the look is the company’s in-house hardware. The metallic Y-split and connectors resemble brushed and polished aluminium, respectively; both complementing the carbon-fiber Furutech plug below. The company logo is also engraved into the Y-split for instant recognition. The chin slider – despite its rather loose hold – blends excellently to the Y-split for a coherent, uniform look. Common among them all is great density, so the components feel premium, even if they aren’t vanishing in weight. With an abundance of faux-looking, metal-and-carbon-fibre aesthetics dominating the market, it’s refreshing to see a company with the wherewithal and finesse to pull off the ubiquitous look with style.

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