Back when Cube, was rolling with Lorenzo in a Benzo, Sleek was polishing their chrome-trimmed SA6. Under da hood was a single ultra-wide band driver that laughed in the faces of the tubby competition. But times is changing. Sleek has doubled the SA6’s ultra-wide band armature count and dropped most of the chrome. Sleek’s hard core: the customisable VQ system, the coaxial detachable cable still roll with their shit off safety.
While the bulk of shiggy’s headphone and earphone reviews have moved to ohm-image, expect a few good reviews to come to TMA. Shiggy’s most recent review is of Earsonic’s SM64. Earsonics are a favourite here at TMA and the SM64 seems to be the hit of the SM line. Why? Shiggy has this to say:
The SM64 delivers not only crisp mids and highs, it serves up boiling, authoritative punches that roll through most of audible spectrum. Lower mids are fast up and down. They never tangle with bass. Kudos to kick drums, bass guitar, electronic kicks, and pretty much anything with a beat from there on down. Thruma thwaaaarck! goes lower bass. Thwacka thwacka! go upper mids. Speed is king.
Timeliness – while stereotypically not very French an asset – has a pigeonhole with an SM64-shaped aperture.
Timely and taut though it is, the SM64 stops far before it ever reaches the shrill, metallic highs that has ER4 lovers all agog. Some may take issue here. Metal-tipped responses can be hugely fun. But Earsonics are a musician-oriented company; and in Earsonics 2,0, equitability takes precedence over wow.
Fans of crispy crisp crisp will probably look elsewhere for their bacon. Similarly, fans of warm fuzzies may also have to turn elsewhere. With few outliers, the SM64 sounds rather flat – and certainly crisp – at the ear.
I have a hunch that Mr. Yamagishi, the former Sony headphone and speaker designer behind Ocharaku was drinking tea before he ever sipped into the idea of the Tornado Equaliser. That singular technology has since revolutionised the upgrade earphone market among price-conscious portable audiophiles in Japan. And with the introduction of Flat-4 SUI – and TE’s successor, TEE – in 2011, the technology has found itself in a new, better pot. Twin Equalised Elements (TEE) is the new leaf that Mr. Yamagishi turned over to create SUI and now KAEDE. If you’re interested in a few different views of KAEDE, check out Ω image’s KAEDE post.
Yesterday, I was asked by Musica Acoustics to shoot a new earphone, the FitEar ToGo! 111. The 111 is the ToGo! 334’s younger sibling. It was released sometime in the summer in Japan and has had very few legit sales channels abroad. This version is spread with a Musica Acoustics label. Evidently, Jaben have their own label. You can pick it up from Musica for 645$. From what I understand, it is the same as the regular ToGo! 111. Correct me if I’m wrong.
Heir Audio’s youngest children have been thrust into the thick of a do-or-die competition. Custom earphone manufacturers are pounding with exceeding energy toward the lucrative – and showy – universal earphone market. I see no end in sight – and to be honest, that is a good thing. Technology handed down from top-flight customs is good stuff. Heir Audio’s 3.Ai and 4.Ai carry the goods inherited from their more expensive, custom siblings.
Audiophiles are already aware of Etymotic, the company that single-handedly invented the world of inner earphones. Their ER4 series revolutionised portable audio before you were born. I can think of no other name to which my silly bicycle hat is tipped to more often. God bless you Etymotic. Well, their rather well-known app collaboration with Essensy, Awareness, has finally made it to Android, too. Awareness allows you to hear what’s around you no matter that you’re plugged into some of the best noise-isolating earphones in the world. Etymotic have always been about hearing safety. Awareness uses the microphones in their hf3 and mc3 headsets to filter in the important stuff: announcements, safety alerts, etc., so that you can enjoy your music in safety.
Awareness has been available on iOS for a while, but it’s great to see Android getting some love (especially since I’ve become an iBasso DX100 owner). Evidently, you don’t have to be plugged into 4,1 Ice Cream Sandwich to use the functionality, either. (God knows you are damned lucky if you can get 4,1 working on your system.) Now, I don’t have either earphone to test Awareness in iOS or Android, but damn it, it doesn’t matter. Someone will. Enjoy your music in safety, people.
Press stuff after the jump
Zip, ziiiip, wiiiiii, a mosquito. Chuka chuka chuka katakatatata, the Tsukuba Express plowing back to Akihabara. Click click click, my evil shoe-wearing neighbours on the eighth floor dancing up a spell. Summer’s heat amplifies each sound. So does after-work debauchery. So does Arcade Fire. And Markus Schulz’ Progression, Vibrasphere’s Lungs of Life, etc. and so on. Especially at the wee hours of 0:00 to 5:00. I get on fine after that. There goes my sleep. And whereas sometimes, screwing earphones into my ears helps me zone out and catch some zzz’s, screwing in the fabulous, new FitEar To Go! 334 zones me in, like never before. Hello Music!
It’s nice to meet you, I’m shigzeo, zombie.
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!]
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.