Two years ago, boutique manufacturer MST rocked headfi by teaming up with iBasso to create what was arguably the highest quality portable amplifier on the market. Getting one required some patience as MST are a small outfit with a few employees. Their FiQuest, which has been upgraded in the year 2012, is better than ever. In this review, TouchMyApps will be looking at two versions, plus a small optical DAC.
I’ve been following #Japan on Twitter since the horrible earthquake and corollary tsunami last week. Among the myriad voices, the Japanese audiophile community has been rallying support. MST Audio, maker of the fabulous FiQuest headphone amp, will be donating 32% of the proceeds from their new, limited edition Red Tide interconnect cable, to the Japan Red Cross. Red Tide uses 15cm long CV4.2 cabling from AudioQuest and will hook up your iPhone/DAC to a headphone/car/home amp. Red tide will cost 95$ of which, 30$ will be donated to the Red Cross. Cables should be ready to ship out one in April. Since many of Japan’s supplies are constrained after the devastation, only 50 of MST’s Red Tide will be made. Shipping information is as follows:
ASIA:$12; Oceania and Northern America:$15; Europe:$18; Southern America and Africa: $20
Via first class international
ASIA, Guam & Saipan:$4.5; Oceania, North America & Europe:$5.5; South America and Africa: $6.5
Purchasing will be handled through MST’s sales account: firstname.lastname@example.org
MST Audio are located in Tokyo and have seen first hand the devastation wrecked by the earthquakes and tsunami. They’re a nice bunch of lads who have their ears on one thing: audio perfection, and their hearts in the right place. Thank you MST!
NOTE: Watch this post for information on where to sign up for Red Tide.
If you aren’t ready to take the wild walk on the DIY side, but still want to really get down and dirty with tweakable headphone amps, there are a very few options available to you. One of them is to experiment McGuyver style with cotton, fish, cookies, and an oiled grouse to achieve a truly experimental sound. But if lock picking DIY isn’t your thing, there are only a few choices on the market. Some such as Graham Slee, Firestone, iBasso, etc., offer headphone amps with user-replaceable op-amps and slightly modifiable circuits, but no one outdoes MST, a one-man operation out of Akihabara Japan. MST’ FiQuest project is as ground-up tweakable a design as is possible in a pre-fabbed design. In a way, it is the audio evangelist among portable amps.
Feel free to discuss the FiQuest in our forums.