Tag Archives: Under $200

IKKO OH10 and OH1 review: Still have it

INTRODUCTION:

IKKO is one of those brands which exploded into the audiophile scene. They did not come up with a lot under their belt but has two very good IEMs with consumer oriented tunings. Both the OH10 and OH1 have done exceptionally well all across the world and is one of the hottest selling earphone in their price segments but of the two it’s the more premium OH10 which reigns supreme. IKKO seems calm about their strategies. They are not launching products left and right but are trying to time their launches. IKKO’s portfolio is not a very busy one, after the huge success of their IEMs they introduced a couple of DAC/Amps (and a refresh to the OH1, OH1S very recently) too.

Both the IEMs I have here have the exactly same driver configuration. Both have a single 10mm polymer composite titanium film dynamic drive paired with single Knowles 33518.

These IEMs were launched at $199 and $140 for OH10 and OH1 respectively but to make these IEMs more competent IKKO has reduced their prices. OH10 is $40 cheaper taking the price down to $159 while the OH1 can be bought for $100 from Drop. Both these IEMs do not have many color options. The OH10 comes in metal grey color with chrome finish on it while the OH1 gas a matte blue paint on it.

I have had a few good IEMs under $200, BQEYZ Spring 2, Summer and TRN BA8 and will bring the Campfire Audio Honeydew occasionally for comparisons.

Get one for yourself from these links:

https://audio46.com/blogs/headphones/ikko-oh10-obsidian-hybrid-iem-review

PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES:-

IKKO has implemented exactly same packaging for both the OH10 and OH1. They come in a colorful outer paper package with a cardboard box in it. These IEMs have an elegant yet simple unboxing experience. Upon opening the flap an envelope greets is. It has some product details and warranty details on it. Below that the ear pieces and a cufflink are stuffed inside a foam pad while the all leather carry pouch is placed aside it. Under the carry pouch 3 pair dark grey and 3 pair of smoke white tips with black flanges can be found.

HOW ARE THE CABLES:-

I am not a fan of this kind of cables being packed with IEMs over $100 but since this cable has its own aesthetical appeal due to use of metal parts in the 3.5mm jack, Y splitter and 2pins. Both the IEMs ship with the same 4 core OFC silver plated copper cable but have different color to them. The OH10 ships with black and the OH1 ships with a grey cable.

Both the cables have exactly same profile and feel to them. These cable are supple and do not have much memory to them. The braiding is slightly on the stiffer side but it doesn’t make the cable stiff. The 90 degree 3.5mm jack is convenient when gaming and the cable guides are very comfortable on the ear. I found the lack of cable slider to be a bit bothering since the cable up from Y splitter is thin and can tangle easily.

BUILD AND ERGONOMICS:-

Both the IEMs have exactly same design, the triangular back plate have similar dented pattern but different finishing and housing material. The OH10 has heavier body with titanium coating on the outside of a copper shell. There is platinum coating on the inside.

The cheaper OH1 has aerospace alloy hosing and is much lighter than the OH10 at just 6g.

Both the IEMs do not have a semi custom type shell. These nozzles are 5.7mm wide but are deep enough for a secure and stable fit. Protection on the 2.5mm socket give these earpieces an unique character. Both the IEMs have two pressure releasing vents, one can be found aside the 2pin socket while the other is near the nozzle’s base.

PAIRING WITH SOURCES:-

Both the IEMs have exactly same specifications too.

Impedance: 18 ohms.

Sensitivity: 106dB.

Frequency Response Range: 20Hz-40kHz.

Thanks to the highly sensitivity of 106db and source friendly impedance of 18ohm both these Ikko IEMs are very easy to drive from most of the mobile phones. But obviously providing these IEMs a bit of power yields better stage and details. No need to worry, it is very good with decent mid range mobile phones too.

The post IKKO OH10 and OH1 review: Still have it first appeared on The Headphone List.

Original Resource is The Headphone List

Final Audio A3000 & A4000 Review – Aberrant

Pros –

Class-leading soundstage space and separation, Agile transient response, Fast and defined bass, Strong definition, Comfortable design, Very easy to drive

Cons –

Brightness is something to consider (especially A4000), Below average isolation, Cable may be prone to splitting

Verdict –

Final Audio’s latest earphones offer unique qualities you won’t find recreated by competitors but also tonalities that differ from the majority. So long as this is to your preference, there is much to like about their detail retrieval and ability to play with space and clarity like few around this price point and well beyond.


Introduction –

Final Audio are a rather profound audio company in that their focus lies not only on audio but also how it is perceived by listeners. In turn, their designs can be highly experimental, and all carry a purpose that works towards the company’s end goals. Each product generation signifies the pursuit of a certain quality and these learnings are then passed down to future, often more affordable models. In turn, the company exists in a state of flux and you can never tell where they’ll take things next. Enter the A3000 and A4000, that bear striking resemblance to the stunning A8000 and B-series that came before. These models undertake an intriguing shift, with a design based upon the differences in listening conditions between audio experts and regular consumers during daily use. Final have invested in offshore manufacturing for a new custom 6mm dynamic driver to slash the price whilst retaining the same quality we’ve come to love from the company.

The A3000 and A4000 come in at $140 and $160 respectively. You can read more about them and treat yourself to a set on hifiheapdhones.

Disclaimer –

I would like to thank Final Audio and hifiheadphones very much for their quick communication and for providing me with the A3000 and A4000 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.

Contents –

Behind the Design –

f-Core DU Driver

Image credits: Final Audio

Final designed custom 6mm dynamic drivers from the ground up for the new A-series earphones. Tuning was conducted according to the parameters found most impactful on sound quality established from designing the flagship A8000. This includes material selection, with a brass enclosure that increases rigidity and mass for reduced resonances in addition to offering better electromagnetic shielding. To tune the time-response, Final have implemented an ultra-thin 30-micron CCAW diaphragm on both units and have even reduced the amount of adhesive used to further enhance transient response. They have also introduced a new diaphragm production technique that permits tighter tolerances between each unit. The A3000 was designed to deliver a natural sound with a more robust low-end while the A4000 targets an immersive soundstage with sharp imaging.

Unboxing –

Final Audio always provide a great unboxing experience and a well curated accessory set, a mantra that is also embodied with the new A-series earphones. Both come within a clean white box with the case and ear tips inside within a protective foam inlet. The earphones are protected within the included carrying case, it is identical to those included with the E-series earphones, with a matte silicone construction. I love how thoughtful the case design it, the earphones coil neatly inside which prevents kinking of the cable and the flexible lid secures the earphones, so they don’t jostle and scratch each other during transit. As before, Final include 5 pairs of their renowned E-tips with flexible sound tube that aid a strong seal in addition to ear hooks as the cable has no pre-moulded ear guides nor memory wire. The tips have a nice plastic case which keeps them organised. As the earphones now use a 2-pin cable, the MMCX assist tool is not included.

Design –

Both earphones have identical designs, varying only in colour scheme – black for the A3000 and a dark navy for the A4000. The shell design is very reminiscent of the B-series and A8000 with a trapezoidal shape that is visually distinct yet also designed to be congruent with the natural folds of the outer ear. However, here, Final have employed an ABS over metal construction leading to a substantially lighter housing. Alongside the price drop, tolerances are noticeably worse than the A8000 though not in a way that would substantially impact longevity nor with sharp edges that would affect comfort. A soft-touch finish with aggressive texture gives a pleasing, tactile in-hand feel.

The cables on both earphones are identical to that included on the E4000 though with 0.78mm 2-pin connectors. As the connectors are both recessed and keyed, aftermarket support will be limited. It isn’t the most robust design, but the OFC cable is of good quality overall. It has essentially zero memory and microphonic noise transmission alongside boasting a very smooth and supple feel. This means the cable stays put well once routed over the ear despite the lack of ear guides and it is highly comfortable during daily wear. The right-angle plug is case-friendly and well-relieved though the cable below the y-split may be prone to splitting due to its design.

Fit & Isolation –

The A3000 and A4000 both provides a very comfortable fit. In fact, I found it slightly more so than the A8000 due to the lighter weight which puts less pressure on the features of the outer ear. Don’t let the angular design fool you, the inner face is rounded and elegantly shaped. In turn, I was able to wear these earphones for hours on end without hotspot formation. They also have a very open feel and minimal wearing pressure due to the obvious venting of the housing. Similarly, there is no driver flex and the fit depth is medium to shallow depending on your choice of ear tip size. Given that both earphones have a brighter top-end, I found a deeper fit to yield the most natural and balanced sound. That said, the design is accommodating of different fit depths should you want to size up tips and go for a brighter presentation. Isolation does suffer due to the vented design, being below average. They are just sufficient for daily use and commute but are not a strong choice for travel and frequent use in loud environments.

Next Page: A3000 Sound Breakdown

The post Final Audio A3000 & A4000 Review – Aberrant first appeared on The Headphone List.

Original Resource is The Headphone List

Product Launch : Hisenior Febos Fe3U

IEM market is still on the rise, demand for good quality “Value for Money” earphone is growing every day. Chinese brands are leading the way with a lot of new entries into the market. Those who existed are introducing earphone in new price brackets and different target consumers.


HiSenior has been making a lot of waves in the entry level market with their T2U dual BA earphone which is priced at just $80. And guess what, they have another $80 IEM which has 5BA drivers per side. They have a whole array of IEMs starting a just $60 going as high as $819 for the flagship MG12U for universal earphones. They have a range of custom IEM, a bit more expensive than the universal trim. Most of their IEMs are bang for buck, for an instance, it is hard to find a 8BA IEM for under $200 but HiSenior has the B8 at just $199.

Now HiSenior has introduced a premium range of IEMs under their sister brand “Febos” and Fe3U is the first IEM from them. (with plans for Fe6U and Fe8U in future). It uses 3 BA drivers, one for bass, mids and highs each, incorporated in a 2 way crossover. It is available in only one color and is priced at $199.

Get one for yourself from here:

Get in touch with HiSenior:

https://www.facebook.com/HiseniorAudio ([email protected])

ABOUT FEBOS Fe3U:-

In their words:

“Fe3U Noise cancelling earphones is universal fit version Fe3 from Febos, the NEW independent brand set by Hisenior. Same as famous SHURE SE535, the Fe3U with 3BAs Sonion 33AJ and 2323 + 2Ways crossover sound tuning and delivers the spacious surround sound with clear separation of highs ,lows, mids for beautiful sound straight to your brain.”

      Allergy Free Egger Resin Shell/Faceplate
      Custom Personalized Shell and Faceplate Select supported
      Recessed 0.78mm 2Pins Connector (more tight and Signal deliver)
      8 Core OCC cable with L-shape male connector (default: 3.5mm jack-plug, 2.5mm/4.4mm available)     
      Custom-fit CIEM available

SPECIFICATIONS:-

Driver Type:                      3 x BA drivers (33AJ007+ 2323) 1 low, 1 mid, 1 high in a 2 way crossover

Frequency response:      15hz – 22khz

Sensitivity:                        113db SPL/mW

Impedance:                       40 OHM @1khz

Noise Attenuation:          -19db

Cable:                                0.78mm 2pin 8 Core Braided Detachable cable

Warranty:                         2 year (earphones only)

IN BOX CONTENT:

Fe3U Universal Fit Earphones

Waterproof protective case

1.2m/47″ 8 Core 6N-OCC Detachable Cable

3.5mm to 2.5mm Balanced Converter

Silicone and Memory Foam Eartips

Cleaning Tool

Consumers are impressed with the HiSenior T2U thanks to its “bang for buck” prospects. The Fe3U is not really cheap though. Priced at $199 HiSenior is projecting Fe3U as a more premium earphone. They are not leaving any stones unturned by comparing its frequency graphs with Shure SE535, one of the older but most successful earphones in the market. The graph of the Fe3U is more linear and doesn’t have the upper treble roll off seen in the SE535 graph.

Fe3U-vs-SE535-freq-graph

There are a lot of earphones in this price range, BGVP DM6, ISN H40, DUNU SA3, Spring 2 and many more, one can only imagine the volume of IEMs dwelling in this price range. HiSenior is trying hard but it remains to be seen how it fairs in the market.

Original Resource is The Headphone List

Product Launch: Fiio Q3 Affordable THX AAA DAC/AMP!

We’re all likely familiar with Fiio by now. The company has achieved unanimous recognition around the globe for their products that balance features and affordability. The value offered by their source devices, in particular, was reinforced when they adopted THX’s AAA amplifier circuits that boosted efficiency and measurable performance. The Q3 is their latest portable DAC/AMP featuring this innovation. Design-wise, it clearly takes a page out of the Q1 MKII’s book with a similar albeit elongated housing.

At its heart lies an AKM AK4462 DAC chip and XMOS XUF208 usb-decoder that enables file support up to 32-bit, 768kHz alongside DSD512. With an efficient THX amp chip, the Q3 offers a whopping 19hrs of runtime. It also features a flexible 3 outputs up from the Q1 MKII’s dual outputs – with 3.5mm, 2.5mm balanced and 4.4mm balanced too. The effective pure hardware bass-boost makes a return too for those wanting a punchier listening experience.

The Q3 comes in at a reasonable $150 USD and looks to be very fully-featured considering. You can read all about the Q3 and secure pre-order for yourself on Apos Audio. Specs below:

Audio Input: USB Type C

Outputs

  • 3.5mm Single-ended
  • 2.5mm Balanced
  • 4.4mm Balanced

Channel Balance: ≤0.2dB

Battery Capacity: 1800mAh

Charging Time: ≤2 hours

Native DSD Supported: 64/128/256/512

Max sampling rate supported: 32-bit/768kHz

Chipset

  • DAC: AKM4462
  • Amp: THX_AAA28
  • LPF: OPA1662
  • XMOS: XUF

SNR:

  • 3.5mm: ≥114dB
  • 2.5/4.4mm: ≥115dB

THD+N:

  • 3.5mm: <0.0012%
  • 2.5/4.4mm: <0.0012%

Output Impedance:

  • 3.5mm: 1.2Ω
  • 2.5/4.4mm: 3Ω

Weight: 3.8oz (110g)

Dimensions:: 4.1 x 2.3 x 0.49” (105 x 59 x 12.5mm)

Original Resource is The Headphone List

Product Launch: Topping A50s Balanced Headphone Amplifier!

Topping has been hitting it out of the park with their latest releases that piggybacked on their very impressive NFCA amp modules that enable excellent measurable performance. Most impressively perhaps is that the company has transplanted this technology into their affordable offerings; we recently took a look at the entry-level L30 and found it to be one of the most competitive designs on the market in its price point. What it lacked was balanced output, input flexibility and, to some extent, soundstage expansion.

The new A50s look to address this, the successor to the A50 and, as one would expect, an all-around improvement at the same price point. It brings a higher 143dB SNR as opposed to the A50’s 123dB, and THD of just 0.0007% down from 0.004%. Implementing Topping’s renowned NFCA amp modules as seen on the flagship A90 and more recent L30, the A50s offers 3.5W x2 into a 32-ohm load, leaving plenty of headroom for high-impedance headphones.

In addition, it offers the same 0.1-ohm impedance and < 0.3uVrms noise floor of the L30, promising a black background and linear signature on even the most sensitive low-impedance multi-driver earphones. The A50s is also a balanced design with 4.4mm output in addition to a traditional 1/4″ single-ended output. It doesn’t support XLR in any manifestation, however.

The A50s is shaping up to be another promising offering from the company and will be available soon at $199 USD from Apos Audio. As always, look forward to a full in-depth review on THL soon!

Original Resource is The Headphone List

BGVP DH3 review -Different from the Crowd

I have been working on a handful of earphones lately, BGVP has dominated my list of IEMs along with ISN at this point of time. BGVP has a whole lot of IEMs in most of the price brackets, starting at $30 going as high as $1499. BGVP is better known for their BA based earphones but they have made some decent hybrid earphones too. BGVP DMG made some waves with its detailed and bassy signature.

The DH3 on the other hand comes under artmagic lineup and is tuned to be more reference type IEM than the DMG and DMS. The single 8mm dynamic driver is coupled with two BA drivers in a 4 way electronic crossover. It has two tuning switches to tweak the sound. It comes in a handful of colors and is priced at $149. It faces tough competition from Spring 2, ISN D10 and a whole lot of earphones.

Get one for yourself from here:

https://penonaudio.com/bgvp-artmagic-dh3.html?sort=p.price&order=DESC

https://www.aliexpress.com/store/5256156

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:-

The DH3 has similar set of accessories as the VG4. It has similar set of tips as the VG4, a pair of foam tip, 3 pair of white tips, 3 pair of mid wide bore tips and 3 pair of wide bore tips can be found inside the box. Of all these tips the foam, white and blue tips are stuffed in the foam along with the ear pieces while the wide bore tips can be found inside a paper box along with a cleaning tool and the cable. Some documentation like instruction and warranty card can be found inside a paper envelop.

WHAT IT FEELS LIKE:-

Earphones in this price range use good quality material with their earphones. BGVP has used metal houses for their DMG and DMS earphones in the past. But the DH3 has stuck with a full resin shell like the DM7 and VG4 which gives it a nice and sturdy still a very ergonomically feel inside the ear. The semi-custom type body with a wing design holds on to the inner ear with good amount of traction. The nozzle is slightly on the shallower side and doesn’t have the deep feel to it. But thanks to the lighter resin material the earpieces don’t fall out. The universal nozzle can fit t400 size tips but any wide nozzle tip can be used on it. There are a few layers on resin on the whole body, giving the DH3 a premium feel. DH3 has a two bore design, one for the DD and other for the BA drivers. There is a bass vent just aside the MMCX port.

The build is sturdy. Don’t put brute force on it and it will survive without any problem. It might not survive drops on marble or concrete floors either.

HOW IS THE CABLE:-

BGVP has been shipping their earphones with better than standard cables but the cheaper DH3 has a slightly cheap feeling cable compared to the VG4 and DM7. It is a 5N single crystal copper cable. It is not the best cable in this price range. Earphones like TSMR 3 and 4 ship with below par cables but the ISN D10 and BQEYZ Spring 2 come with better cables.

The cable guides are supple, holds the ear nicely and don’t exert much pressure. The cable splitter has a low profile. Cable slider or chin slider is tight but slides without much problem. The straight 3.5mm jack is very light and feels solid to the hand. The braiding is tight but still has fairly low amount of microphonics.

Original Resource is The Headphone List