RHA T20 Wireless IEM’s.

Disclaimer: I have not been paid or sponsored by RHA for this review.
The views in this publication are unbiased and my own.

Lorna and RHA kindly sent these IEM’s in for review and they currently sell for £199.95.

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Review equipment and software used:

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus.
Audioquest Dragonfly Black V1.5.
Spotify Premium.
Single ended output.

Astell & Kern AK70.
Balanced and single ended outputs.

iBasso Pelican PB2 balanced portable headphone amplifier.

Custom Forza AudioWorks balanced hybrid mmcx cable.

Packaging and accessories:

Where do I start? The RHA T20’s come boxed up in a lovely well presented package seen more in higher end products.
The box is packed with lots of accessories including some very premium “Attachments” which I will list below.

3 pairs of stainless steel tuning filters. Each pair has a different sound characteristic. These are screwed into and presented on a stainless steel holder which has a colour coded guide that clearly informs you which filter is which.
The holder itself is very well made with no sharp edges and a smooth black finish.

1 stainless steel card holding 10 pairs of ear tips.
6 pairs of dual density silicone ear tips. ( S, M & L )
2 pairs of dual flange silicone ear tips. ( S & L )
2 pairs of Comply Foam Comfort Tsx-400 ear tips. ( M )

Again this is very well made and presented and there are a good selection of tips to choose from as you can see.
This is also supplied in a smooth black finish.

1 single ended ( unbalanced ) OFC mmcx audio cable terminated in a 3.5mm jack.
Although the cable is shielded in rubber it feels and looks high end.
Made well and doesn’t feel delicate or fragile in any way.

1 SecureFlex Bluetooth Neckband with mmcx connectors.

1 USB A to USB type C charging cable.

1 Clothing clip.

1 Neoprene carrying pouch.

1 pair of T20 In-ear monitors.

Spec:

RHA DualCoil drivers.
Swappable tuning filters.
12 hour SecureFlex Bluetooth neckband with High-Fidelity AptX.
3.5mm OFC unbalanced audio cable for wired High-Resolution listening.
Comfortable and ergonomic design for optimal noise cancelling.
Included assortment of accessories as seen above.
Detachable stainless steel housings.

Build:

The T20’s astonished me the moment I unboxed them.
For a sub £300 pair of IEM’s they ooze premium craftsmanship.
The IEM’s alone are made of a high grade stainless steel and finished in a smooth satin black.
Although they have stainless steel housings they’re not heavy. But we’ll get into that more when we speak about comfort.
The tuning filters are a great touch, really well made and are easy to screw and unscrew into place. The holder for the spare tuning filters is made of a high grade stainless steel and again finished in a really nice satin black. It has markings that are colour coded to the filters so you know which filter has what sound characteristics.
The ear tips supplied are of a high quality, extensive and yet again are housed in a stainless steel card in that superb satin black.
The unbalanced 3.5mm audio cable supplied has a rubber shielding but is of a thick, strong quality. The mmcx connectors are snappy and secure and the 3.5mm jack and Y-Splitter are again made of high grade materials.
This is my first pair of IEM’s with a neckband and it was an initial concern as I’ve never been keen on the design. However I was pleasantly impressed with both the build and the stable Bluetooth connection. It’s flexible but doesn’t give me any concerns of weak points or poor quality switches. The band is a soft silicone/rubber material but I have no worries of it wearing away any time soon.
The supplied carry case is made from neoprene and is just the right size and shape to house the T20’s, all three cables, the ear tips in their card and the tuning filters and holder without putting any strain on any of the items. I was even able to place a custom made FAW balanced cable with pigtail adaptor in the case securely along with everything else and it’s still a good fit.

You really couldn’t ask for more from a premium pair of IEM’s at this price point, and that’s before we get to the sound quality!

Getting set up:

RHA have made a Bluetooth neckband that is easy to pair with both Android & iOS.
There is no dedicated app which at first I was a bit disappointed about, however after using and listening to these IEM’s heavily for a few weeks I believe it would just complicate matters and the built in “EQ” settings on Spotify or other streaming apps are more than sufficient to make any tweaks if required.
So just pair the neckband and start listening.
On a side note, before fiddling around with EQ’s, try out the different tuning filters first. In my opinion they are the only tweak you’ll need to think about aside from finding the right ear tips for you.

Comfort:

I’ll cut to the chase here.
These are by far not my most expensive pair of IEM’s.
However they have rapidly become my “Go-To” in ears.
I get a near perfect fit in my ear canal , both cables supplied are comfy over the tops of my ears and don’t dig in or rub.
Of the ear tips I’ve so far tried they are all made of premium silicone and foam and are silky smooth in my ears.
Although the housings are made from stainless steel they don’t feel heavy, hard or cold. Against most of my lighter plastic IEM’s these are comfier by a mile.
Also, the housings are relatively small as you’ll see in some of the comparison images.
The neck band is light and soft and after a short while I can almost forget it’s there, similar to a necklace you constantly wear and get used to.
I’ve worn the T20’s in their various iterations and can say that I can happily wear them for well into three hours without any discomfort.

Mic/ANC:

The RHA T20’s don’t have built in active noise cancelling, however they create a very good seal with the correct ear tips fitted. So they passively cancel noise very well.

When speaking to my wife over the phone and FaceTime we found the mic to be clear. Background noise can be heard but at ambient levels.

Soundstage/Imaging:

Soundstage isn’t narrow but I wouldn’t go as far as to say it was wide either. I imagine myself in a decent sized studio as I find the soundstage “focused”, almost like listening to a pair of near field monitors.

Imaging is exceedingly good with great instrument separation and positioning. I can make out each instrument with no fatigue or noise.

Noise floor is really low so I can listen to the T20’s at lower volumes and get fantastic results which is something most of my other IEM’s struggle with. Get a good seal and paired with the low noise floor and you’re golden!

Bass:

Deep, rich, low, clinically precise bass.
I really can’t put it any better. It’s not often that I hear a pair of IEM’s or headphones for that matter that go low and deep while keeping control and sounding accurate.
The T20’s maintain good separation and pace even at the low end of the spectrum.

Mids:

Luxurious, airy, smooth, extended.
The T20’s boast a lovely midrange that isn’t over extended or harsh.
I don’t like a lot of midrange but I’m beginning to find with certain IEM’s or headphones that I like a fair bit of midrange if it’s delivered perfectly. Yeh I’m a touch OCD about these things sometimes. And oh do the T20’s deliver!

Highs:

Razor sharp, accurate, fast and agile.
The highs take point. Every high hat hit, even the softest brush,
Percussion instruments, strings and brass all come at you with a fast and accurate energy that is quite simply the tip of the sword of the T20’s sonic abilities.

Wired VS Wireless:

I didn’t notice much of a difference between wired or wireless use of the T20’s.
Obviously using them wirelessly you’re limited in power output. However saying that, the SecureFlex neckband delivers a solid connection and sound. I don’t find the need to crank the volume right up when using it.
As an extra I tried these IEM’s out with one of my custom balanced cables on both my AK70 and powered from my iBasso Pelican PB2 balanced amplifier and I heard a significant tightening up and boost in all areas of their sound quality.

Recommendations and summery:

Go out and buy these now! Whether you’re a veteran and have a fortune to throw around or you’re new to high end audio and are looking for a nice pair of entry level IEM’s.

RHA have knocked it out of the ball park.
The T20’s have astonished me with their level of craftsmanship, tuning, design and bang for your buck.
I expected them to be good and sound decent.
I did not expect them to blow me away the way in which they have.
Until something else comes along, out of all the IEM’s I have owned or sampled in this price range the T20’s have taken the top spot in my sub £300 list of favourites.

I have tried and I mean tried really hard to find something about the T20’s to dislike or be annoyed at. And I can’t.
There is no pros & cons list to see here.

At £199.95, quite simply, they are a steal.

Thank you Lorna & RHA for sending me out such a magnificent product and for your patience.
This was my first experience with an RHA product and I will most definitely be returning to them in the future!

As always, thanks for reading folks.

Paul.




Meze Audio 99 Classic Review.

Disclaimer:

I have not been paid or sponsored by Meze Audio for this review.
The views in this publication are unbiased and my own.

Alexandra and Meze kindly sent these in for review and the currently sell for £278.30.

Review gear:

Samsung Galaxy Note Ten+ running Spotify premium & foobar2000.
Audioquest Dragonfly Black V1.5.
Astell & Kern AK70. ( Single ended )
Macbook Air running Spotify premium & Audirvana Pro.
Teac HA-P50 DAC/Amp.

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Packaging:

These came in the same packaging as the 99 Neo’s did, All be it with different imagery for the Classics. The packaging is basic but well done and protective. The box has a magnetic lid that stays shut in place for easy storage.

What’s in the box & Accessories:

Inside the box you will find the Classics encased in a decent hard-case. Inside said hard-case you will find a zip up pouch that houses the cables.
You will also find any documentation and a Meze Audio sticker to add to your collection. I stick mine to my fridge!


Specs:

  • Transducer size: 40mm
  • Frequency response: 15Hz – 25KHz
  • Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
  • Impedance: 32 Ohm
  • Rated input power: 30mW
  • Maximum input power: 50mW
  • Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
  • Plug: 3.5mm gold plated
  • Weight: 260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables
  • Ear-cups: walnut wood
  • Ear-pads: PU Leather

Build:

As I have come to expect from Meze Audio the 99 Classic’s are build with the most exquisite craftsmanship and premium materials.
CNC carved walnut ear cups, cast zinc alloy hardware with electroplated coating, stamped manganese spring steel headband.
Ear-pads and headband cover made from a very soft and luxurious feeling PU Leather.
The cables are high quality and as well as being made to last and sound great, they look great too!
One of my pet peeves when it comes to headphones is a brand making a stunning headphone then making a cable that feels and looks like an afterthought. A lot can be learned here from Meze.
And Meze Audio state that the 99 Classics are serviceable and built to last. A comforting thought and an example of their fantastic customer care.
The Classics exude premium quality and a solid build that I have sometimes not experienced with more expensive items. Meze have their eye on the ball when it comes to design and quality control and I applaud them for it.

Setup:

Not much to see here.
Meze headphones come with detachable cables which are clearly labeled left and right.
Just plug them in and start listening.

Comfort:

As a result of the love and care that goes into the design of Meze’s products I have so far found that they are some of the more comfortable headphones and in-ears that I have worn.
The ear pads don’t get all sticky after hours of use, even on a hot day like today.
Clamping force is just in that sweet spot of not being too strong or too weak. Once they’re on and you’ve settled into a good two hour long listening session, you’ll hardly notice they’re there. I wore these up to 4 hours with no discomfort or chaffing of any kind. Not that I expected any to begin with.
The cables although strong and well made are very light so don’t pull on the headphones in any way which just adds to the already great comfort levels.
I will add for the record that the Neos are exactly the same in this regard so if you’re looking at them then be reassured the build quality and comfort levels will be the same as the Classics. Please note I do like to tweak my gear so I have a different pair of ear pads on the Neo’s and not the stock items.
Also you can see Meze Audio balanced cable upgrades. These will be in an upcoming review!

Soundstage and imaging:

In my opinion the soundstage is spacious. Instrument separation is excellent with positioning being clear and concise.

Bass:

The Classics surprised me with the weight and depth of bass they produce.
They present you with a fast but deep bass that works well with various genres, however I found EDM and Metal stood out here receiving the largest benefits.

Mids:

I noticed a dip in the mids. Not so much a V shape in my mind but a slight recession of midrange. However the midrange still manages to sound airy and good with vocals.
I feel with a little tweak in EQ settings and listeners will have no issue getting it dialled in.

Highs:

Beautiful highs with a crisp and speedy accuracy.

Recommendation and summary:

I have a few other headphones that sit around this price point and I will say that the Classics are on par with all of them in sound characteristics and performance. They do have one edge over the others in the bass department with more depth and punch.
As for build and cosmetics the Classics are in a league of their own against the other cans I have in that budget range.
They are quite simply a beauty upon the eyes, with an elegance that so far I have only experienced with Meze Audio products.
These are a stunning pair of headphones in sound, comfort, looks and build and they are a testament to Meze Audio’s excellence in design.
If you want to feel like a customer that is being thought of every step of the way from the drawing pad through to customer care you can’t go wrong here.
They suit almost every genre of music I played through them and perform especially well when listening to Dance music or Metal.
I am giving the Meze Audio 99 Classics The Audiophile Cafe’s 5 star rating and couldn’t recommend them highly enough.

You can follow the link here to take a look for yourself.
https://mezeaudio.eu/collections/all/products/meze-99-classics-walnut-gold-wood-headphones

Thank you Alexandra and Meze yet again for sending me out this review item. As always, It’s been a pleasure.

And thank you to my readers for taking a look at my latest review!

Thanks and as always folks, Stay safe.

Paul.

Sennheiser HD450BT wireless headphones with active noise cancelling.

Disclaimer:

Sennheiser sent these in for review. I am not paid or sponsored by Sennheiser. The views in this review are unbiased and my own.

Emily and Sennheiser kindly provided these for review & they sell at £159.99.
https://en-uk.sennheiser.com/hd-450-bt

Review equipment & software used:

iPad Pro 12”. Spotify Premium. Wireless.
iPhone XS Max. Spotify Premium. Wireless.
Samsung Galaxy Note Ten+. Spotify Premium. Wireless.
iBasso DX80. FLAC & Wav files. Wired.



Packaging & Accessories:

USB Type C charging cable.
3.5mm stereo audio cable for wired use.
Carrying pouch.

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Spec:

  • Frequency response (Microphone) – 80 Hz to 6,000 Hz (-3 dB)
  • Transducer principle (Microphone) – MEMS
  • Bluetooth Version – 5.0
  • Supported Profiles – HSP, HFP, AVRCP, A2DP
  • Frequency response – 18 Hz to 22,000 Hz (-10 dB)
  • Sound pressure level (SPL) – 108 dB (1 kHz/0 dBFS)
  • THD, total harmonic distortion – < 0.3 % (1 kHz, 100 dB)
  • Ear coupling – Around Ear
  • Transducer principle – Dynamic, closed
  • Weight – Approx. 238 g
  • Charging time – Approx. 2 hours
  • Pick-up pattern – Dual Beamforming
  • Operating time – 30 hours music playback via Bluetooth with ANC activated
  • Battery Specification – Built-in Lithium-Polymer rechargeable battery: 3.7 V ⎓, 600 mAh
  • Transmission frequency – 2,402 MHz to 2,480 MHz
  • Charging Current – 500 mA max.
  • Audio codec – SBC, AAC, AptX™, AptX™ Low Latency
  • Charging voltage – 5 V, DC
  • Modulation scheme – GFSK, π/4 DQPSK, 8DPSK
  • App support – EQ and updates via Sennheiser Smart Control

Build:

The HD450BT are very well made. Considering they are made mostly of plastic there is no audible creaking and they are flexible when opening them to put on your head.

The size adjustment has a good solid click but isn’t too stiff or loose like I have found on other similarly priced headphones.

The folding mechanism is smooth and doesn’t snap in or out of place which I like.

The cables are pretty basic but well enough made.

Although I’m not sure how well the audio cable will hold up under constant use further down the line.

The carry case isn’t a hard case but it holds the headphones and a few cables with ease and as long as you remember it’s not a hard case will help protect and organise your HD450BT’s well enough.

The ear and head pads are made from a soft leather like material. ( Still waiting on confirmation of material at this time )

Available either in black/grey or white.

One thing that I found frustrating was the lack of any markings on the buttons on the headphones.

For someone with sight issues they could find this a setback. I even had to remind myself at times which button did what.

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Setup/App etc.

Pairing the HD450BT is a breeze. Hold the power button until the indicator flashes and pair it in your bluetooth devices.

The Sennheiser smart control app is free and available for iOS and Android. Once it is installed it will ask to search for any devices. Make sure the HD450’s are on and paired.
For the record I found the app isn’t optimised for iPad but does work.

On my iPhone XS Max or my Samsung Galaxy Note 10 plus the apps appearance is the same and I noticed no differences in the way it works aside from the obvious OS implementation.

The EQ is different to what I am used to. Instead of a 5 band EQ for example Sennheiser provide an EQ where you slide your finger around to find your preferred colour.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s ok and does a good enough job. However I like a little more control over my EQ in order to get the sound just right for me.
Maybe this is something Sennheiser could look at in future updates. Perhaps as an “Advanced EQ” or “Pro User” selection?

Comfort:

For the price tag these headphones have an extremely luxurious quality to them. The ear and head pads feel cool and soft against my skin and don’t get icky after hours of use.
The clamping force is in somewhat of a “Goldilocks” zone.

Not too tight or loose which is something I sometimes have problems with with Sennheiser headphones.

I was able to wear these for a good three hours without any discomfort or unwanted stickiness from body heat.

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Mic/ANC:

The active noise cancelling is activated with a button on the side of the headphone which is easy to access.

After a few test calls we found the mic to be clear and doesn’t pick up too much background noise.

Soundstage/Imaging:

I found the soundstage from the HD450’s to be somewhat narrow.
However they do have some depth and they image well with decent instrument separation.
I can clearly tell the instruments apart and can make out plucks and string swipes.
I compared them quickly to my HD25.I.II’s and the soundstage is very similar.

Bass:

These headphones pack a hefty wallop once they’ve been broken in for a good day or so. They certainly have no difficulty reaching the lower frequencies yet have a tight accurate pace.

Mids:

The mids here are a little murky. Very forward in the midrange, however this can be backed off in the apps EQ setting.

Highs:

This is where the HD450’s shine. A good helping of clean crisp highs that have a little sparkle to them. Once I had the EQ set just right and played some High Res files the HD450’s revealed a detailed sound that I wasn’t expecting.

Wired vs Wireless:

I didn’t notice any discernible difference aside from the fact that when wired I could push more power through them. This tightened up the bass a touch but nothing too grand.

Summery/Recommendation:

Sennheiser have made a good affordable pair of wireless ANC headphones that fit well into their £159.99 price tag.

They have great sound characteristics and build that I would find in slightly more expensive headphones.

They are extremely comfy to wear and are somewhat easy on the eye.  

The lack of any markings on the buttons is an annoyance but the not the end of the world and has no effect on the performance of this item.

The ANC and mic are great and work as they are supposed to. The mic picks up my voice very clearly and at the same time not too much background noise is picked up.

I would definitely recommend these to someone looking for a budget pair of wireless ANC headphones that can pack a punch.

I listened to a varied selection of music and they performed well across the board.

Thank you Emily and Sennheiser for sending these out to me for review.

Why I do this.

After a long sleepless night trawling through youtube channels and reading a few of my favoured reviewers, I found myself pondering on why I do this.
What do I feel qualifies me as an audiophile and as an extension, an audiophile reviewer?
and what can I bring to my audience that makes it all worth it?

Most, if not all of my readers will know by now that I’m no expert on the technology and I don’t do measurements.
So how can I be an audiophile if I don’t completely understand the tech?
Well, I do have a basic to moderate knowledge of how the electronics work, I understand sound and how it is affected by the room, by the materials on surfaces in said room. And most importantly I hear how these things translate into the real world.
When I listen to headphones I know the room is not a factor, however the electronics and headphone materials come to the fore and I hear and feel the impact they have on what I’m listening to.

However. None of this matters if I’m not enjoying the music that’s playing at that time.
and here is why I do this…

I love music, as we all do in this community. I’ve loved music since I was very young.
But hearing it on great gear and enjoying what that brings is what separates myself and you from those who aren’t too bothered about the delivery of their favourite music.
The ritual that goes with listening to vinyl, or warming those tubes up is one that many of my friends or family don’t get, but I know most of you are sat there now knowing exactly what I mean. And that is just a small part of what makes us audiophiles.
Of course when I hear music on someones bluetooth speaker or radio I like hearing it, but I can never shake that desire to get home, kick back and enjoy my system and how it brings the music to life.

So what do I hope that you the reader gets from my reviews and articles that I publish?
I am not a magazine, I don’t have capital to throw at this or any sponsorship.
I do this because I enjoy it, and I want you to enjoy good audio also.
I won’t be that person that advises you to spend over a specific bottom end to get great sounding electronics. I have learned that you can get good results from gear at the lower end of the scale just as much as the higher end products. That’s not to say that I don’t like expensive hifi or won’t cater for higher end listeners. I pride myself on our social media community being all inclusive and that is an offshoot from what I am trying to achieve here.
I won’t lie to you if something doesn’t meet my expectations, regardless of the price tag.
If it sounds bad or is built poorly I’ll tell you. If it’s the best thing I’ve heard to date, I’ll make sure you all know. And of course this is all subjective as what my ears like isn’t the same as what yours do. You can be on your first steps on this journey of discovery or an enthusiast who’s been listening for years. I will treat you all as equals.
I’m learning new things all the time as I work my way through this project and get to know my way around more gear & speak with people in the industry from all over the globe, and I want you to learn with me.


If you like what I write please let me know and add this blog to your bookmarks.

New content is coming very soon once products begin to arrive again.

For now, thank you for reading and I hope you are all safe and well.

Paul.

Coming back to my roots.

As many of my readers may have noticed, there has been a considerable lack of content on this blog since last year. Some of you know that I was offered a spot on one of the hifi magazines as a freelance reviewer, an offer which I accepted.
For reasons I don’t need to get into I have recently parted ways with said magazine and we remain friends.
I’m no quitter, so I’m coming back to my roots and continuing on with the blog.
During my time at the mag I was lucky to spend the weekend at Bristol Hifi Show. I won’t share the content as although it was not published, it was undertaken exclusively for the magazine. However, as a result I learned a lot of things and made some amazing new friends. Listened to some fantastic systems and some not so great setups.
I plan in the coming years to revisit the show but under my own banner to give my own take on it. So as they say, watch this space…

I have reached out to my original contacts and new ones alike and those who have so far replied are on board and supporting me and the blog for which I am truly grateful.
Look out for new content coming really soon.

It would be remiss of me to write a piece and not talk about the state of the world and what we all are going through together right now.
Covid-19 has had a massive impact on the entire globe and is affecting everyone, no matter where we’re from or who we are.
I would like to take this moment to send out my warmest and most heart felt thoughts to every one of you! May you and your loved ones stay safe and well.
And may this all be over sooner rather than later!

Paul.

Founder, Owner and Writer at The Audiophile Cafe.


Respect for Women in the audiophile world & Why Men need to start realising what year it is and evolve.

One of the few reasons I founded The Audiophile Cafe was to create not a safe space, But a space where “Safety” is the norm and to encourage others to stop thinking about creating safe spaces but realising that anywhere and everywhere should be a safe space, Meaning there be no need for the title.

We’re approaching the year 2020 and the one thing I thought as a child I would see by now would be a world of fairness, Of respect and a world where we all feel safe and equal.

I’m ashamed and concerned as a white man to say that it was wishful thinking.

Still now, In 2019 am I seeing and hearing of friends and colleagues experiencing prejudice, disrespect or bullying of some form simply because they don’t fit into the cis white male’s comfort zone.

And to think that men in places of responsibility are accommodating this behaviour…
I find it embarrassing, shameful and unforgivable that women, &/Or anyone else that doesn’t fit into this small circle of so called professionals & enthusiasts are shunned, Ignored, or bullied into submission.

Simply put, It’s disgraceful!

Now I may be a small freelance reviewer who’s just starting out,
Or someone that is just starting out in a political career,
However I feel the need to speak up, As I think all men should and begin looking at how long we should allow this behaviour to continue unchecked.

I am proud to say that The Audiophile Cafe’s Group & Page on facebook are both spaces where I hold down a zero tolerance policy against any behaviour as described in this blog.
It goes without saying my on-line spaces are also safe harbours for anyone in the LGBTQIA+ / BAME communities.
Why ANY of you should feel unsafe or unwelcome in an audiophile community is beyond me and frankly sounds bloody ridiculous!

This piece will get some backs up and I have no doubt in my mind that some brands will avoid me now because of this article, But you know… I don’t care! I’ld rather be sent just a handful of products to review and not be paid to do it, Than sell my soul and work alongside people who I have zero respect for and 100% dislike.

So go ahead and remove me from your mailing list if you think I’m just another sjw or lefty loony. Please, You will be doing me a favour!

As for anyone who has had to put up with this horrid toxic environment for this long, Please feel free to look us up on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/516367948761119/

Where I promise you will be welcome with open arms.

As always, All my best, Paul, Owner & Founder of The Audiophile Cafe.

Eufonika H7 Headphone Tube Amplifier Review

First I would like to thank Wieslaw at Eufonika for sending me the H7 to review and for being so patient with me.

You can find his other products at their website and eBay storefront. –

http://eufonika.pl/index.html

https://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/eufonika?_trksid=p2047675.l2559

Like the previous time, The amplifier was sent in good packaging as were the tubes. And I must say shipping was fast and I wasn’t required to pay a hefty customs charge as I sometimes have with other firms. This I am very thankful for.

A power cable was again included.

The wood colour on this amp I found was a touch lighter than the H4 and is a nice contrast.

The build quality is of a very high standard and you just know that a lot of love and attention to detail has been put into this product.

Like the H4 this thing is no light weight so bear this in mind when choosing where you are going to situate it.

One thing I like here is the layout of the amp.
Essentially everything bar the tubes is placed in the same position on both amplifiers making it a very intuitive unit to use with nothing new to learn about where everything is or what each thing does!

I love the simple design, This is very much a case of Less is more! And the components used ooze quality.

So lets get on to the most important part… The listening experience!

So currently a lot of my gear is in storage as our house is being renovated, So I had to think outside the box in order to get this review done and to make sure I made Wieslaw wait no longer than he already had!

So, Out came the iBasso DX80 which luckily has a line out and will play back high res files.

Again like last time I used the Sony MDR SA5000’s to keep things as equal as possible, Although really there is no need as both amps are designed for very different headphones, So as such will operate slightly differently from each other.

The first thing I noticed was the warmth and fullness of the sound.
It is rich and detailed yet has an airy, Forward sound that I really like.
Bass is tight and controlled with no boom. It certainly doesn’t wallow or muddy the experience. Quite the opposite really.
Highs are crystal clear yet not harsh or overwhelming.
However, Unlike the H4 the H7 presents a midrange that is more pronounced and forward, Yet in a way that takes vocals and strings and plays them back with resounding clarity. Wind instruments are a genuine pleasure to listen to and I can honestly say that I believe if and when Wieslaw creates a speaker amplifier, If paired with the right cabs could sound truly amazing!

I went on to try my Custom Senn-Grado’s, Meze Audio 99 Neo’s, Grado SR125’s and Hifiman HE400’s and all sounded sublime, Each in their own characteristic way. The H7 has no problem driving any of these headphones and does so with the highest quality in both presentation and performance!

Oh and Wieslaw, If you ever make a balanced version of these amplifiers…. Count me in please! ( Make it 4-pole XLR 😉 )

Would I recommend this or the H4 at their price points? Absolutely!

Worth EVERY penny! Don’t forget to take a look at the links at the beginning of the review.

Thank you again Wieslaw and Eufonika for allowing me the opportunity to review and keep one of your amazing amplifiers. This will certainly be not just a go to amp, But also a fantastic show piece and conversation starter!

I’ll leave you with some more photo’s that I took with the SA5k’s.

And for reference the H4 –


Meze Audio 11 Neo in Gun Metal Review.

Thank you very much to Doina Ferent for sending me these in ear monitors to review!

They arrived unscathed & in perfect New condition.

The packaging is nicely done and well presented with the rear being easy and clear to understand.



Unboxing was a pleasure and easy. For someone with OsteoArthritis & FMS you wouldn’t believe how many packages that arrive in my post that are a nightmare to get into.

The Case and Neo 11’s are encased in a nice sturdy foam yet are easy to separate.

Again, Really nicely presented wouldn’t you agree?

Included in the box were a plethora of various Ear buds to try out, which is definitely appreciated, Especially from a budget pair of IEM’s, Not something I come across much at this price point. Or at least not until now.

As for Doina, She has been a star to work with and extremely patient. Customer service is 5 Star!

Now, As for the Neo 11’s themselves? Well the first thing that jumps out at me, Well no, Sorry, The first things that jump out at me are the fact that a pair of iem’s at this price are so well packed, Come with a nice tough carry case, Plenty of ear buds to chose from and build quality that oozes high end craftsmanship and a really good design philosophy. They are really easy on the eyes, with subtle curves, Logo’s and so on that aren’t in your face yet look wonderful! The Gun Metal Grey is a great match against any of my Space Grey iDevices and watch which is a nice touch.

They are light weight and fit in my ears with comfort and don’t fall out at any time, Which is a nice change from the norm for me. Usually I can only wear iem’s with cables that fit over the ear. Something to do with the shape of my oddball ears lol!

Anyway, Let’s get down to the meat and potatoes as it were of this review….

How do they perform?

For a £50 pair of in ears I wasn’t expecting trash, Yet I wasn’t expecting a mind blowing experience either.

Yet they came close, Very close.

Bass is tight and controlled, Not too forward, Not too laid back, Just right for me in all honesty.

The highs are crisp and clear yet, They lose a little sparkle on faster paced songs.

I found these best suited to classical and jazz music. They really come into their own with excellent separation of instruments and present with a healthy helping of accuracy.

the only gripe I had with these out of the box was a slightly recessed high end and a ever so slightly over forward midrange.

However, Once I found the right ear buds for me ( Memory Foam Comply Tips ) and tweaked the EQ a smidge, I soon corrected these little foibles, Which in fairness, Are more of a personal taste than anything to do with the makers.

What I also found made a vast difference was switching from my iPhone 7 plus to my iBasso DX80. Switching sources made quite a difference and the Neo 11’s pair beautifully with the DX80.

Where some in ears tend to get uncomfortable to wear after an hour or so, These do not and I went for two hours very easily with no irritation, soreness or fatigue.

So would I spend £50 on these? Would I recommend them?
Yes. I’m not sure they would be my first choice out of the box, However, It would be hard to find an iem that was as well featured with as generous a package of accessories as the Neo11. So yes I would. They certainly would make an amazing gift to a loved one or maybe a child for their first pair of quality in ears without breaking the bank! So yes I would happily recommend them.

Thanks again to Doina for sending these out to me to review, they are now on rotation with my old IE80’s and rapidly replacing them.
I hope to work with you again in the near future!

Until next time, Paul Out.


isoACOUSTICS Orea Indigo Isolation Pucks.

Thank you to Matt Esau for supplying me with these feet to review.

Welcome to IsoAcoustics

The packaging these feet come in is superb. There is really nothing more I can say about it. The feet are individually enveloped in a hard protective plastic which is housed inside a decent quality box.
As you can see in the above image they came as a set of four along with some speaker stands which will be in a different review.

So my intention was to use the feet under a isolation platform I made myself for now at least. The platform itself being used to give my SL1210 M3D something to sit on whilst hopefully damping down some resonance.

The rubber on the feet is a good one and once everything is in place, there is no loss of friction. The whole setup stays put.

In addition they look damn sexy! Making the setup look complete and easy on the eyes. Combined with the Silvernote Tonearm’s shiny bits it really does look quite lovely!

Now let’s get down to the most important part…

Do they make any audible difference to sound, And do they make any difference in performance?

So as far as performance goes, I’m happy to say that the feet absorb any external vibration very well. Where I have the turntable sat it is a touch susceptible to movement, ie my wife or son walking past or me getting in or out of my computer chair.
With the feet and plinth in place this has pretty much been eliminated.
So that’s some points scored in that department.

But do they make any difference to sound Paul?

Yes I think they certainly do. It’s not a huge difference, But it’s an audible one and one I gladly welcome. Since using the feet, I’ve noticed bass tightening up and the overall presentation sounding more controlled but not in a clinical or unforgiving way. This in combination with the tonearm & cartridge upgrade ( Cart not in pictures ) has taken my 1210 to another level.
I won’t go into that too much here but it is a valid part of the review considering the feet here are an integral part of my upgrade path I am taking for the 1210.

Do I think they are worth their £60 – £70 ( Individual ) price tag? Debatable. Personally I found it hard to part with that much for each puck. Maybe if they were that price per pair? It may have been a lesser pill to swallow.

However, Would I recommend them considering the target group of consumers? Yes. If you’re willing to fork out the price they ask, I do believe you’ll be happy with the performance you receive in turn. Let alone their fine looks!

Thanks for reading and I hope to get the next review up very soon.

isoACOUSTICS Aperta Speaker Or Monitor Desk Stands. ( Black )

Thank you again to Matt Esau for supplying these items for review from isoACOUSTICS.

Like the Orea Indigo pucks, The Aperta stands come in excellent packaging.
They are very well protected and the packaging gives a great deal of info of what is inside.

The first thing I notice about these is the weight! These are not light by any means and this can only be a good thing in my opinion.

They are easy to set up and have the flexibility of allowing angle adjustment.
Just like the Orea Indigo’s the rubber isoACOUSTICS use is spot on and nice and grippy.

They hold my speakers of choice well in place and they don’t budge easily.

they are a nice compact size that allows them to fit on my desk without taking up a ton of space, Yet they are heavy and sturdy enough to take speakers that are quite a bit wider and deeper than they are.

I tested these with my Monitor Audio Bronze BR2’s which are quite sensitive to placement, angle and whatever they are sat on.

The BR2’s have a less than easy to get just right soundstage and the bass they produce can be quite weak yet boomy or wallowy with an audible lack of control. Until you get them set up just right. But even then I still struggle to get the bass to sound how I want it.

These stands tighten up the bass yet somehow allow for a deeper bass at the same time. I don’t quite know how this is achieved, Maybe it’s their closer proximity to something behind them in conjunction with the feet?
Either way, I know that although these are not meant to be desktop speakers and more on the lines of standmount / large bookshelf, They are the best they have sounded yet.

I have no doubt in my mind if I got a larger set of stands to sit on the floor for some bigger speakers that I would be doubly impressed.

I wanted to write a longer review but I feel the review should reflect the product, And I find the product makes it’s point from the start in a sharp and concise manner.

Price is £195 for a pair. This I can get on board with easier than I could the Indigo individual price.

Do I recommend them? Absolutely! They make a fantastic and affordable solution for any desktop Or could quite easily be used as a solution on say a sideboard or some sort of living room or dining room cabinet.

They certainly make quite an audible difference to the sound in a positive way that I was happy enough with them to purchase them.

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