Firstly, I’m not dead. Now with that out of the way:
What do you get when you combine the audiophile heart of the iPhone with a juiced-up ad-hoc power supply? Or, perhaps I should ask it this way: what made VentureCraft, maker of car-mounted cameras and creative telegrams, shoot for the moon and create an audiophile iPhone battery jacket? My guess is a pioneer spirit. VentureCraft are the first company to build such a combination. As off-beat as the GoDAP battery jacket and headphone amp combo unit may sound for a company like VentureCraft, it is certainly worth the raised eyebrows and facepalms. It’s just so ingenious and geekily disturbing that it’s worth a perfectly long review!
Feel free to discuss VentureCraft’s GoDAP in our forums.
Firestone Audio have been making steady strides in desktop audio. To complement this year’s long, hot summer, they pushed out two hot amps: the Rubby power amp and the Libby headphone amplifier. Why they are such big news here at TMA is that both mains-powered amps also feature great USB/Optical/Coax and analogue audio inputs. If you can put two and two together, you’ve probably figured out that this means hi-res audio from the iPad through the Camera Connection Kit (CCK). Recently, I`ve forgone the whole computer thing in favour of just this combination. Still, both amps work great with computers, with external DAC`s, and with other Hifi gear. Nevertheless, TMA will keep the iPad slant in this review, but show just what can be done with these two desktop amps.
If Final Audio Design were in charge of the world’s marketing, everything from cars to cakes would glisten with the magicalest of molecules. The clearest timber would resonate in plastic pencils and cooking pots. Flowers would reflect the warmth of a thousand suns. Thankfully, however, Final Audio Design cook up wonderful audio equipment like the 1601 series earphone and today’s FI-BA-SB and FI-BA-A1. With these new models, Final Audio took a new approach, creating practical listening devices for the busy, but discerning audiophile.
Feel free to discuss the FI-BA-SB and FI-BA-A1 earphones in our forums. And if you’re in the mood, contact Musica Acoustics to purchase the FI-BA-SB or FI-BA-A1. Musica Acoustics also stock a lot of other very good earphones.
Sunrise’s three earbuds are a hit here at TouchMyApps, their inner earphone, the SW-Xcape, is bound to be the one to turn the most heads. Why? Well, it’s an isolating earphone, capable of dulling the sound of crying babies, loud airplane engines, and your snoring spouse. Fortunately, it also sounds very good, augmenting Sunrise’ newly-minted fun, full house sound. If you like a good, full bass and this time, a pretty focused treble, you’ll love the Xcape.
Feel free to discuss the Xcape in our forums.
Thanks to the truly rubbish glut of pack-in earphones from Apple, Cowon, Sansa, et al., earbuds have got a bad rep. The truth is that there are many good earbuds. Sennheiser’s MX series has been a low-priced, high-value hit for years, and YUIN’s OK and PK series is even better. Even the Apple iBuds, though not really ergonomic, economic, or well built, can sound good. The newly-minted Sunrise, a Vietnamese company who’ve been OEM manufacturing for years, have debuted the following: AS-Miss (entry level), AS-Feeling (audiophile level), and AS-Charm (high end), which are perfect companions for music lovers who can’t bear the feel of slimy inner earphones, but still want good sound.
Any headline from boutique audio house, Final Audio Design, is news at TouchMyApps. Recently, their first balanced armature series headphone, the Final Audio FA-BA-SS hit the market to some good reviews, but with a price around USD 1000$ and sold in very limited numbers, this flagship earphone didn’t have a chance to capture the market before selling out. The two new models, FA-BA-A1 and FA-BA-SB (ostensibly in aluminium and brass), however, are sold at the much more reasonable prices of 300$ and 400$. Final Audio look to be following Monster and Jays’ lead by introducing a flat tangle-free cable for the FA-BA-SB. A more traditional cable will adorn the FA-BA-A1 earphone.
Currently, both models are sold out across Japan, but FAD are accepting pre-orders for the next batch. If you are scared about ordering from Japan, don’t be. There are a couple of reliable options. One is Seyo Shop, an exporter of fine Japanese headphones and camera equipment. Their prices are usually excellent. Currently they don’t carry Final Audio.
Preliminary review impressions of the FA-BA-A1 are up at TMA’s Forums. For more pictures and product spec, jump the gap:
“Back when Cube was rollin’ with Lorenzo” – stolen from Dr. Dre’s What’s the Difference, is innocuous; it betrays nothing of Dre’s ego. But American rap’s pride is why after years, I keep coming back to it. And though this is a headphone review, I think that a bit of good ol’ fashioned American pride applies tastily. In 2010, the Swedish headphone guru, Jays, redesigned itself, shirking cuteness in favour of big business, of pride. One look at the newly minted a-Jays will prove to you just how much business they mean too: flat cables, matte colours, three bold designs, and good prices is enough to make any Monster shake – at least a little bit.
Earsonics have a killer lineup. Their SM3 professional universal monitor is fantastic, blowing the socks off a disgustingly large portion of the audiophile earphone market with its easy-to-drive architecture and beautiful sound. Its lofty price tag is worth it. So how about Earsonics’ top end; how ‘bout their customs? you might ask. Same old story. The triple-driver, dual-crossover EM3Pro is a beautiful product at a fantastic[er] price that should come away from a firefight with the biggest and best in the land without a hitch.
The ever-stylish Jays have got a new piece of eye-candy headset for music-loving iDevice owners. The new headset is based on the a-Jays Three, a bass-driven earphone for music/movie lovers on a budget. The new a-Jays comes in the following models: One, Two, Three. The headset, a-Jays Four is a natural extension of the new line. The a-Jays Four has a beautifully designed remote/microphone pill built into the cable.
TouchMyApps will be reviewing the a-Jays Three in a couple of weeks.
More information after the gap:
Back when Earsonics’ SM2 debuted, it rocked the professional earphone scene. Dry, neutral, detailed, powerful, and well-constfitructed (for a professional earphone), it sort of bagged the cat as it were. It was – and still is – one of the best professional earphones available. But Earsonics perfection-pursuing head, Franck Lopez, has looked to his laurels this year and debuted an even better earphone. The Earsonics SM3 betters the SM2 in almost every benchmark and along the way, has become a personal favourite of mine.