Audiophile Friday #1: Cypher Labs Algorhythm SOLO vs Venturecraft Go-DAP Unit 4.0 – Digital Output

Last week I half-arsedly introduced two accessories made specifically for the iDevice audiophile, the Venturecraft Go-DAP Unit 4.0 and the Cypher Labs AlgoRhythm Solo. Both are able and willing to replace larger, more expensive and decidedly untransportable HiFi gear, but only one is worthy of doing so.

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ALO The National headphone amplifier in review – a new class

Handsome and powerful - and compact

After having created perfection in the Rx, ALO are free to experiment. Their first experiment, The Continental, is quite a hit, especially as it packs valves under the bonnet for a truly classical sort of listen. But as ALO explain, the use of limited valves means that the Continental has a shorter time on this planet. Enter The National, an amp that they reckon is the answer to the Continental. I can tell you right now: The National is a single box that can fill the void of both portable and living room headphone amp.

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Audiophile Friday Intro – A look at the AlgoRhythm SOLO and Venturecraft Unit 4.0

SPDIF is no longer the iPhone's Holy Grail

Today, I’d like to briefly introduce two remarkable iDevice accessories: the Cypher Labs AlgoRhythm SOLO and the Venturecraft GoDap Unit 4.0, both portable units that output SPDIF digital signals to high-end audio equipment. iPhone zeitgeist, marked as it was by cute bunny-eared cases, vibrators, and farting apps, has obviously evolved.

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Digizoid zO2 Personal Subwoofer in Review – who let the dogs out?

Indeed. Digizoid dub this diminutive piece of plastic a ‘personal subwoofer’. I’d dub it a personal wolf pack – that is, if wolfs were known for barking. They probably growl, so maybe the metaphor stands. Which is more than I could do the first time I heard the zO2, which floored me.

I’ve been mopping up ever since.

Care to discuss this in our forums? Go ahead!

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GoVibe VestAmp+ in Review – Jaben’s Coming of Age

GoVibe products have come a long way, thank God. Remember the Hippo Box+? Rife with mis-labelled parts, a broken website, and costing a pretty penny for what, essentially, was just a battery box, it was embarrassing. It sounded good, though, and therefore got away with a TAP. Today, GoVibe, together with its cheaper Hippo branch, is generally a badge of quality. The VestAmp+ is a high-performance headphone amp with a 24bit DAC thrown in for good measure.

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Beyerdynamic T50p Manufaktur hitting the IFA; sporting sexy new leather

Beyerdynamic have been kicking out new products at what amounts to breakneck speed. Their new flagship 32Ω ultraportable headphone, T50p, was released last year has quickly developed a strong following among music lovers. At the Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) Berlin, from September 2-7 of this year, Beyer will unveil the T50p Manufaktur, a customisable version of the T50p featuring hot colours and new materials. Their studio and professional line have offered Manufaktur options for years. (I’ve owned two Manufaktur DT880 headphones in my tenure as a music lover can say that without a doubt, Manufaktur is the way to go if you’ve got the wonga.)

No one has done this before; the T50p Manufaktur will be the first truly customisable headphone for portable music lovers. Now, I’m not holding my breath that Beyer will allow customers to choose Ω options, especially as the T50p is specifically targeted at portable music lovers who need sensitivity and isolation to hear the great Tesla acoustics.

Update: The standard T50p starts has an MSRP of 349$ US. The T50p Manufaktur will start at 420$ US.

Pics and press release after the gap:

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MEElectronics A151 inner earphone in Review – KICKASS!!

MEElectronics are hit makers. The M6 and M9 earph0nes defined perfection within their price points, sporting great build quality, good sound, and an impressive array of accessories. With the introduction of the A151, MEEl have outdone themselves in a number of areas, making on of the truly must-have earphones. Caveats aside (and yes, there are a few), this new single armature earphone is a must have for every music lover with a medium-sized budget.

[Bef0re y0u ask: my little 0h and bracket keys have been damaged by a stray glass 0f water. Please bear with me till I can aff0rd a new c0mputer!]

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Sleek Audio CT7 custom earphone in Review – masterless sound

In 2009, Sleek Audio officially released the CT6, their first custom earphone. At its introductory price of 300$, the single driver earphone dominated the budget custom earphone world with great sound and a slew of innovations at a great price point. A LOT has happened since then, and while the CT6 remains a great earphone, it has been outclassed by newcomers. Naturally, Sleek Audio couldn’t leave it at the top of their portfolio. Enter the CT7, a completely redesigned custom iem sporting dual drivers, higher sensitivity, better artwork, and one of the rawest, fastest, most impressive sounds I’ve heard at any price.

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MST Audio supporting Red Cross Japan with proceeds from Red Tide sales

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:

Via EMS
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: sales@m-s-tech.jp

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.