Skylab Posted: Nov 03, 2014 22 comments
My previous review here on InnerFidelity was a large black box with a forest of vacuum tubes rising up from its surface, and nary a digital function to be found. Almost diametrically opposed to that, the Oppo HA-1 ($1199) took up residence immediately thereafter in my review cue—gleaming silver, LCD display, remote control, and as modern an integrated DAC/Headphone amp as one could imagine. And yet at the risk of spoiling the surprise, or lack thereof, I will tell you that the Oppo is also outstanding, and represents somewhat of a bargain.
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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Oct 31, 2014 15 comments

It's been scary in the laboratory the last couple of months!

Tyll Hertsens Posted: Oct 28, 2014 47 comments
Woot! Tidal opens today, let's bog its server down!

Just signed up and got my mitts on lossless streaming; checked out a few tracks I'm familiar with;'s just like the CD!

John Grandberg Posted: Oct 27, 2014 10 comments

Noble Audio has been shaking things up in the world of custom in-ear monitors. I take two models for a spin and see if they really deserve all the attention they've been getting.

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Oct 24, 2014 12 comments

All I can say is "Wow". CanJam this year was impressive. The main CanJam room was pack to the gills and about eight exhibitors overflowed out into the atrium area. The aisleways between booths seemed smaller to me this year, but the truth is more likely that it just felt that way because they were crowded with attendees much more often than in the past. Booths were so well attended that getting face-time for a report was not very easy in some cases. Yes sir, the level of interest in CanJam seemed stronger than ever.

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Oct 23, 2014 12 comments

I knew going in that Sony's booth would be an RMAF highlight for me. Their new MDR-Z7 headphone with optional cables by Kimber Kables (here, here, and here) driven by the PHA-3 portable balanced headphone amp/DAC were a must hear. I heard, and I was very, very impressed. Samples for review consideration are winging their way towards Montana as I type.

But, as good as that was, there was something else in the Sony booth that absolutely blew me away!

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Oct 23, 2014 0 comments

Over the last four years or so, I've watched George Cardas slowly but surely zero in on his own unique and unorthodox understanding of what makes for a good IEM. I thought his first product, the EM5813, was a laudable effort, one revision was particularly gorgeous sounding, but overall I felt it had some significant ergonomic problems—mostly too heavy and cables to thick—and I told him so. Discussions like that can be somewhat uncomfortable for all concerned, but I always try to be clear and honest in my criticisms. George, to his great credit, didn't get pissed, he just got busy re-thinking his approach.

The result has me giddy with excitement.

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Oct 22, 2014 1 comments

It's always a pleasure to visit with Mike Dias of Ultimate Ears. It's doubly a pleasure when he has such an interesting topic matter: How to produce a custom IEM very quickly. Mike walked me through the process, and I have to say it was an excellent experience.

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Oct 22, 2014 2 comments
I just love checking in with Val Kolton, CEO of V-MODA, he's always working on something cool. Don't let the whole focus on fashion thing throw you off, V-MODA is sound and build quality first. The fact that their designs are so striking is icing on the cake.

This year Val was showing of some limited production run (500 units each) headphones: The Master Edition M-100 Over-Ear and XS On-Ear. These aren't just cosmetic makeovers, but essentially a platform for V-MODA to introduce some new technologies their working on.

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Oct 22, 2014 4 comments

I guess I first talked with Lionel Goodfield, Simaudio PR & Marketing Mgr, about this product development effort at least two years ago. He was quite excited about Simaudio moving into the headphone space, and spent quite a bit of time talking with me about headphone amps and the type of things headphone enthusiasts were looking for. Well, the Moon Neo Series 430HA is here, and it's a doozy!