T.H.E. Show Newport 2016
Ok, so we can all agree the guys at Kimber Kable representing their Axios headphone cable line are the type of bros i'd party with... right up until the police arrived of course. Kimber's Axios series are hand made in Utah and use some of the very best copper wire available. Sure those stock headphone cables 'work', yet we audiophiles want the very best and for decades Kimber Kables has answered the call. Yes, i did beg them to offer pure silver headphone cables, because, well, those who know me also know that's what i do (when not begging / groveling portable audio player manufacturers to make a rose gold cased version of their products). The Axios series of headphone cables are available for certain models from Audeze, Enigmacoustics, HiFi Man, McIntosh, MrSpeakers, Oppo, Pioneer, Sennheiser and Sony.
Comply saved my arse! No, not from that night partying with the guys from Kimber Kable when the police arrived. i'm talking about Comply's Custom Wraps ($17.99) as during my review of the Hum Pristine Reference CIEMs they were sent back and forth twice yet still did not fit quite right. Those little strips of Custom foam had them fit well and so my review could commence after many months of back and forth shipping to Asia. Another product is Comply's foam tips, which substitute for those typical plastic universal in-ear monitor tips, saved my wife and Muse's ears from those harsh feeling plastic-types. i love 'em too! So if you use a universal in-ear monitor and think they don't sound quite right, or do not fit perfectly, then you have to get a set of Comply tips and enjoy the music. Tell 'em Soundaholic Steven sent you. Oh, wait, you want a review of those too? Ok, here ya go with a review of the Comply Premium Earphone Tips is at this link.
As luck would have it i caught the judging panel for T.H.E. Show's Innovation Awards at the Audeze booth. Ok, so Roger Skoff also writes for Enjoy the Music.com, but don’t hold that against him <wink>. We all love him and he's got decades of experience within the industry too. Audeze, like you didn't know this already, sells great planar magnetic headphones. Sorry, their LCD-3 Steampunk Edition you've seen Yours truly wear at shows and within our videos is a limited set 1 of 1, yet you can own their excellent new Audeze SINE ($499). The SINE use planar magnetic instead of ordinary dynamic drivers and folds flat for easy traveling. They also look stylish as Designworks, a BMW group design subsidiary, worked their magic. Sure thing we reviewed the Audeze LCD 2 headphones at this link.
EveAnna Manley. Oh EveAnna, EveAnna, EveAnna how just the thought of you launched 1000 glowing tubes into audio gear. Having caught her as she just arrived to T.H.E. Show Newport, via motorcycle of course, means no time for makeup or snazzy hairdo fix. EveAnna has no need for either of those as her radiance, like Manley Labs vacuum tube amplifiers, shine though naturally. Manley Labs' Headphone Amplifier ($3500) is a brilliant design i can't wait to get my ever-yearning ears on. Offered in three different chassis colors, have been reading up on these and well, holy cripe! Ok, i’m gonna copy/paste a bit from their website, "There are twelve independent controls designed for maximum performance and customizable handling of sonic adjustments for a wide variety of audio experience. Of special import are the custom hand-wound air-gapped dual-mode Manley Iron output transformers... these transformers are easily user-configured to drive three ranges of headphone loads, from 12 to 600 Ohms or greater. Additionally, the output stage can be switched on-the-fly between all-triode Push-Pull and Single-Ended topology. The Variable Feedback switch applies from 0dB to 10dB of Global Negative Feedback around the amplifying stages while maintaining absolutely ruler-flat frequency response across the audio band... Volume Control is performed by a Precision Stepped Relay ladder matrix. Furthermore, left-right Balance control is also provided to trim out uneven recordings. The Manley Headphone Amplifier operates fully symmetrically, enabling it to drive balanced headphones through its XLR outputs...". Yes, a standard 1/4" stereo headphone jack is also provided. Am not even sure where to point you for a Manley Labs review, so just type in "Manley Labs" on the search engine at the top of our homepage and have at it :).
The Magic Bus is now sponsored by Sony's Hi-Res Audio division and featured Grammy award winning guitarist Larry Mitchell. Another Sony vehicle and display board showcased the many products Sony offers for Hi-Res Music enthusiasts. Sony's head unit handles all types of digital audio files including FLAC, WAV and DSD. No word yet on MQA support. Sony's hottest portable digital audio player was stashed within the Magic Bus, just as i use mine within the car. Feel free to read my World Premiere review of the NW-ZX2 Hi-Res Audio portable media player plus an interview with the designer.