Archive for Reviews

MEElectronics M-Duo IEM Review

IMG 7758 MEElectronics M Duo IEM Review

Over the last several years I have tested and used a few of MEElectronics IEMs and they have stood up to the test of time. So when they reached out to ask my opinion of their new dual driver IEM I accepted the challenge. While not all their IEMs are as perfect as a picky person like myself would like, they certainly deliver a great sound in relation to your investment. Of all the ones reviewed I still use the A151s, the A161Ps and have now added the M-Duo’s to my list.

I received the M-Duo’s mid summer just before I headed off on vacation so I now have almost 2 months testing them, which makes me feel more than prepared to discuss them. Dynamic drivers typically provide a fuller bodied sound signature with less detail, precision and speed than balanced armatures deliver. Nevertheless throw in a dedicated tweeter and woofer and they can deliver a very fun sound signature.

With that thought in mind, read on if you would like to take a closer look at the M-Duo.

Continue reading…

From the forums: €999 Samsung YP-W3 retro review

ypw3 560x420 From the forums: €999 Samsung YP W3 retro review

Sometimes, electronics companies release limited edition devices aimed at people who have a lot of money. That happened back in 2005, when Samsung released the YP-W3 pocket watch style DAP. One of the versions of the DAP came with all the bells and whistles, including platinum plating, eight diamonds, a wooden box, the best earphones Samsung had at the time, and more. The cost? €999, or about $1300 with today’s exchange rate.

The combination of a high cost and few units made caused this DAP to be somewhat of an impossible dream for many DAP collectors, including our forum moderator, lebellium. Thanks to the miracle of eBay, however, he managed to get his hands on a used one 7 years later, for the much nicer price of €70. It might be 7 years old and technically outdated by now, but the YP-W3 is a very special piece of DAP history. Lebellium now has a review of the player in our forums, so if you want to read about the DAP that cost more than a nice set of high-end tablets today, check out the review by hitting the link below.

[ABi Forums]

User review: V-Moda M80 headphones

jm m80 User review: V Moda M80 headphonesForum member Jörgemeister took the time to write up a nice in-depth review of the near-full-sized closed-back V-Moda M80 headphones.

Hollywood-based V-Moda are known for usually taking a bit of a style-over-substance approach to headphone design, but with the M80 they obviously got the sound aspect right as well – next to the flashy design with changeable ear pad covers and removable cables.

While one of their first products, the V-Moda Vibe (which I reviewed ages ago – back when I was young, stupid, and slightly less caustic in my posts) sounded nice for the median quality available back in the days, they certainly had bad build quality and durability issues. With the M80 however it seems that V-Moda tackled that problem as well, delivering a well built and flexible phone with quality materials.

Sounds interesting? Check out Jörgemeister’s full V-Moda M80 review in the forums.

Sony SA-NS500 Review

006 5 560x280 Sony SA NS500 Review

While we may be a little partial here at ABI to some great sounding headphones paired with a clean sounding DAP on the go, there are surely those times when you just want to share your tunes with everyone around you. Those of us that don’t venture into the iOS world have a little harder time pairing up to a speaker dock, but there are still some choices out there. This is when the Sony SA-NS500 portable speaker comes into play. A portable speaker rated up to 8 hours of operation without being plugged in, 4 tweeters spreading 360 degree sound, and an upward firing woofer packaged in a….dare we say eye catching design, is sure to land on our radar. To top it off, the NS500 is DLNA compatible, Airplay compatible, and is set up for Sony’s Party Streaming feature to spread music around your house in different rooms wirelessly. How does this intriguing package stack up to the dime a dozen companion speakers out there? You’re going to have to read on to find out. Continue reading…

Soundmagic E30 Review

sm e30 main Soundmagic E30 Review

After being very positively surprised by the Soundmagic E10, it goes without saying that their slightly pricier brethren, the E30, should get the same review treatment as well. ‘Pricier’ here means a difference of a whopping five currency units – 35 vs. 40, either US dollars or Her Majesty’s pounds, depending on where you live.

The E10 and E30 actually look nothing alike, the former being an aluminum barrel-shaped IEM, the latter being a plastic over-the-ear fit one. However, once they’re in the ears, the Soundmagic family resemblance is easily spotted. Read on for an in-depth look at the E30, and a comparison to the earlier reviewed E10. Continue reading…

Brainwavz B2 review

bwb2 main Brainwavz B2 review

After taking a closer look at the Brainwavz Beta and M2, it’s time to review their current flagship product, the B2.

Contrary to other Brainwavz IEMs, the B2 doesn’t use a dynamic driver; they sport a dual balanced armature to create all those wonderful sounds – not just any armature at that, but the widely used Knowles TWFK, the same one found in the Jays q-Jays, Audio Technica ATH-CK10, Ultimate Ears UE700, or the Fischer Audio DBA-02 (which also use the same OEM design as the B2).

Read on to find out how the B2 fare in the sub-$200 price range of in-ear phones. Continue reading…

FiiO E6 Portable Headphone Amp Review

 fiio e6 main FiiO E6 Portable Headphone Amp Review

FiiO is a Chinese audio company that should need no introduction by now. Among all the headphone amp, soundcard, and cable manufacturers they are probably the one with the best bang-for-buck ratio, consistently delivering high quality products for a very fair price.

Their older tiny portable amp model – the E5 – is still quite popular among users, and seriously well performing for its $20 price tag. Let’s see if FiiO could up the ante a notch with the E5’s recently introduced successor, the E6. Continue reading…

Cowon D3 Plenue Review

cowond3 00main Cowon D3 Plenue Review

Many reviews have already been written about the Cowon D3. Mine’s certainly late to the party, but for good reason: after seeing the somewhat underwhelming performance of the D3 with its initial Android 2.1 firmware, I told myself to wait until the release of the inevitable 2.3 upgrade before I give the D3 a closer look.

Now that yummy ‘Gingerbread’ has arrived on Cowon’s first foray into the smartphone-without-a-phone realms, there’s no more holding back. Continue reading…

Soundmagic E10 Review

sme10 main Soundmagic E10 Review

Soundmagic (or SoundMAGIC, as they write it) is one of the older Chinese headphone brands that’s available on the international market – and one that I shamefully neglected to review for way too long.

Many of their products got high marks in reviews and are often recommended as inexpensive quality IEMs. Their PL30, priced at less than $30, feature a bass dial like the much pricier Sennheiser IE8, and their PL50 are among the least expensive balanced armature driver IEMs. Both of these have a big fan base and helped to build the reputation of Soundmagic as a manufacturer of good sounding gear for a fair price.

Well, I missed to review those two popular phones, but now I have their newly released E10 in my hands (or rather, ears), and I hope I can make up for my negligence towards the Soundmagic brand. Continue reading…

Cowon C2 Review

cowonc2 main Cowon C2 Review

One thing’s for sure: never bet on what name/number Cowon is coming up for consecutive players in a series, you will most definitely be guessing wrong.

The D2/D2+ was a very popular player for its time, some four years ago, and many people craved for a more modern successor ever since it was released. Recently, when the D3 was announced, there were quite some outcries to be heard since it was a large Android phone-without-a-phone, with nary a resemblance to the D2 at all.

Enter the newly released C2. As I said, do not try to make sense of Cowon’s naming schemes – the C2 is ‘the real D3’, so to speak. It actually is still more of a D2 than anything else – basically the same hardware, the same form factor, the same screen, more or less the same functionality as its four year old ancestor. The most obvious differences are in the looks of the user interface, the move from a full-sized SD slot to MicroSD, the use of a power/hold button instead of a slider, and the addition of a speaker on the back.

Does that mean Cowon’s decision to move this revamped D2 one letter down the alphabet is a step back? Not necessarily, there are certainly some features to be found in the C2’s firmware that are fit for a 2011 player. Read on for the full review.  Continue reading…