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The Audio Bloke

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(410 Rate)

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Hi, my name is Fahim. I am fairly new in the audio game, my journey started back in 2009 with a TFZ Balance 1 & since then I have been hooked. I intend to to use this page to share my thoughts & do some reviews from time to time :)

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HZSOUND Waist Drum Mini Review:nnNote: My source during review period was mostly xDuoo Link2 Bal which is slightly warm and musical sounding, your mileage may vary with those typical bright/neutral sounding ESS Sabre chips.nn- Mid bass is fast, punchy and tight. But sub bass rolls off early, so don’t expect much rumble.nn- Tonality is more U shaped to my ears, note weight might sound thin & dry paired with neutral/bright sources. Waist Drum sounds more musical than analytical.nn- There is an upper mids boost, but not to the point where the Waist Drum would sound shouty. Vocal placement is more forward then laid back. Both male and female vocals sound great but acoustic and classical genres might sound a bit nasal at higher volumes, again that will depend on your source.nn- Treble is just the way I like it, no weird peaks like the Olina. There is good amount of details without being fatiguing or sibilant.nOverall a smooth and detailed treble performance. Treble heads will probably miss the air & sparkle up top.nn- Technicalities are good for the asking price. Soundstage is width and height are average, imaging is good, instruments can be pin pointed easily. Nothing home to write about when it comes to technicalities, just good for its price that’s all.nn- The resolution isn’t up to the mark, it’s doesn’t sound as crisp or level of clarity is not on par with the big boys like Olina, Aria etc.nnIf you want a fun musical sounding bullet shaped IEM, then HZSOUND Waist Drum is pretty good deal at $30 ish. Treble heads better look elsewhere. I decided to get rid of my Final E3000’s because they didn’t have a detachable cable and I heard of so many cases where once side stopped working after couple of months of use. I am glad they are finally making bullet shaped IEM’s with 2 pin connectors, hope it’s a trend that catches on!


I know I am little late to the party, but here is my Timeless 7 HZ vs Tri i3 Pro Impressions:nn· Timeless felt way too bright with treble that’s edgy and becomes fatiguing after a short listening period. Tri i3 Pro has a slight warm and smooth tuning on the other hand which you can listen to for hours without feeling any fatigue.nn· Timeless highlights details and micro details better compared to Tri i3 Pro due to its bright tuning. While Tri i3 Pro is no slouch in the details department either, but the 7 hz definitely does a better job here.nn· Mids on the 7 hz is more recessed compared to the Tri i3 Pro.nn· Timeless has very noticeable Planar timbre, Tri i3 Pro has a more natural sounding timbre.nn· Tri i3 pro has better bass quantity and quality compared to Timeless. Although Timeless has a good amount of mid bass punch, the slam is missing and it didn’t sound very textured. I definitely prefer the Tri i3 Pro bass performance between the two.nn· Tri i3 Pro has a wider soundstage compared to Timeless, height & depth seems to be pretty much on par.nn· Tri i3 Pro has been my daily driver for a while and upon 1st listen I definitely thought Timeless was going to dethrone it, but after listening to both extensively, i3 Pro still holds that daily driver title for me personally.nnPairing Timeless with a copper cable and warm/warm-neutral source: nn· The copper cable tames the harsh treble quite a bit, reduces fatigue overall in long listening periods.nn· There is warmth now in upper mids and vocals feel more intimate. And that thick planar timbre is much less noticeable.nn· There are improvements in both bass quantity & quality. Mid bass is more pronounced and feels tighter overall.


Moondrop Kato is here 🔥🔥 Review coming up soon 😁


Shanling M3X vs Hiby R5 Saber: Battle of the Budget DAP’S!! nnIntroduction: While shopping for a brand new and shiny DAP I was confused which one would be best as per my budget of $300. Two DAP’s stood out from the rest of the competition the slightly aging Hiby R5 Saber and the new mid-range king Shanling M3X. While doing my research on both of these DAP’s I found some interesting content, for example a lot of users on were complaining about having poor WiFi reception on the Hiby R5 Saber and also poor Bluetooth connection. Same complaints could be also be observed from users on head-fi forums. So, I was a bit wary about buying this Hiby DAP as no such complaints could be observed regarding the M3X. And the other major differences between these two DAP’s were the power output and the MQA unfolding level. The M3X outputs 101 mW @32Ω through SE and 240 mW @32Ω through the balanced port, while the Hiby R5 Saber outputs 148 mW @32Ω through SE and 564 mW @32Ω through the balanced 4.4mm port. Hiby R5 Saber offer 8x MQA unfolding while the Shanling M3X offers 16X MQA unfolding. nnWhile asking users who have used both of these DAP’s something that grabbed my attention was how the majority preferred the sound quality of the M3X and no one took the higher output power of the Hiby R5 Saber into consideration. I am fully aware that the actual sound quality of a DAP trumps output power any day, but why were some users completely ignoring this part was still a mystery to me, left to be explored! I ended up buying the R5 Saber myself as I was promised better after sales service compared to Shanling if any issues did arise from my local retail shop. In this comparison review I will be exploring why some users are overlooking the higher output power of the Hiby R5 Saber, is the sound quality actually better on the Shanling M3X? And what are the issues plaguing the R5 Saber. nnYou can check out the specifications of both of these DAP’s here: nn & Accessories, Winner- Hiby R5 Saber: I would have to declare the Hiby R5 Saber a clear winner in this category simply cause of it’s gorgeous and premium feeling aluminum finishing. Compared to the Shanling M3X which feels more plasticky and less premium in hand. Accessories also goes to the Hiby R5 Saber as it actually comes with a leather case inside the box, where as you will have to buy a separate case for the M3X. You also get pre applied screen protectors and an additional screen protectors with the Hiby. R5 Saber is also more ergonomic and comfortable to hold due to its more compact size. The volume wheel on the M3X felt more comfortable to use than the separate volume control buttons on the R5 Saber. nnDisplay, Winner- Shanling M3X: M3X has the bigger display so it’s a clear winner for me, it’s much easier to use for someone with big hands like myself. Quality wise they both felt very similar, R5 Saber has a warmer tone while M3X is on the colder sider while displaying colors on the screen. nnConnectivity & Performance, Winner- Shanling M3X: The M3X has a Snapdragon 430 (8 core) while HiBy has a Snapdragon 425 (4 cores), so specs wise at least M3X has the lead. Although I did not feel a difference in performance due to Shanling’s DAP having more cores. Connectivity wise again M3X is the clear winner, although both supports Bluetooth 4.2 and 5 ghz Wi-Fi, the R5 Saber’s implantation of these features are pretty poor. I had to get my original Hiby R5 Saber replaced because it could not stream Tidal or Youtube properly and constantly kept dropping the Wi-Fi signal. While other devices connected to the same Wi-Fi network had no issues streaming Tidal without buffering, even the M3X! Using the Hiby R5 Saber as a Bluetooth receiver was another nightmare it constantly kept dropping connection and when it finally did manage to hold the connection there were some weird noises during music playback. Sad part is these weird Wi-Fi issues aren’t still fixed with my new replaced unit of the Hiby R5 Saber, doesn’t matter if I stream from the Tidal app directly or through USB Audio Player app there is always buffering and network lag present. Although the issue is less prominent than my original device and the Bluetooth issue is fixed mostly on my new unit. You can also see countless complaints on and Head-Fi forums regarding the bad Wi-Fi issues of the Hiby R5 Saber, if you plan to use streaming services a lot simply avoid this DAP!! nnSoftware, Winner- Hiby R5 Saber: Shanling M3X comes with Android 7.1 and Hiby R5 Saber comes with the new and updated Android 8.1, suffice to say that the latest OS will be supported longer by devs when it comes to their apps. Hiby has a more stable OS compared to Shnaling M3X, while using the Shanling I have encountered many weird bugs which were not present with the Hiby. For example, there were random crashes, freezes and instances where the music refused to play unit or unless I restarted the device. In the OS and software, the Hiby delivers a better performance overall. nnBattery, Winner- Shanling M3X: Spec wise Hiby has the lead in this department as it has 200 mA more of battery than the M3X. But in real life usage Hiby R5 Saber’s battery life is not good at all, especially during standby time the battery drains pretty fast. If you are streaming tidal on the 4.4 balanced port on both of these DAP’s, Hiby can go 5 to 6 hours max before the battery dies, while M3X lasts up to 7 to 8 hours on a single charge and continued usage. I can’t comment on offline playback usage as I use streaming services exclusively, I don’t have a huge offline FLAC collection unfortunately to test this part out. Shanling M3X’s claimed 23 hours of music playback is for the single ended port playing offline files only. nnAudio Quality, Draw: These two DAPS are pretty much neck and neck when it comes to audio quality. Although the Shanling M3X uses an ESS Sabre chip while the Hiby R5 Saber uses a Cirrus Logic one, they both sounds surprisingly similar. The only major difference I could tell between the two is that the Hiby’s tuning emphasis heavily on detail retrieval aspect, whereas the Shanling M3X sound slightly smoother, warmer & more well-rounded in comparison. But honestly the difference in sound quality is negligible and you will have to listen really hard to point out the differences in sound I highlighted earlier. I also A/B tested MQA playback on both using Tidal app in UAPP but failed to notice in any significant quality difference between 8x MQA unfolding of the R5 Saber and the 16x unfolding of the M3X. Let’s come to the output power of these two DAP’s, this is the part that had confused me most during the time of purchase, and this is the part which most reviewers ignore when comparing these two DAP’s. And there’s a good reason for it, the 240 mW @32Ω power output of the M3X is more than enough to bring out the full potential of even the most difficult to drive IEM’s. In short IEM’s don’t require that much power unless it’s really difficult to drive stuff like the Final E5000 or Tri Starshine, and most people don’t own stuff like this, so the power output difference between M3X & Hiby R5 Saber is not noticeable for them. nnFirst let’s come to the single ended output of these two DAP’s, specs wise Hiby is the winner as it outputs 140 mw vs the Shanling M3X’s 101 mw in dual dac mode. Here the difference in power output is clearly noticeable, and it’s not just about power, the Hiby actually sounds better in the single ended port as well. There is clearly a bigger gap present between balanced and unbalanced port of the Shanling M3X. As an experiment, I decided to test out Hifiman Sundara and the Philips SHP9500 over-ear headphones to test the power output differences between the R5 Saber and M3X balanced ports. M3X failed miserably when it came to powering the Sunadara, below 100% volume the sound was too low and tiny and at 100% there was noticeable distortion in music playback. The Hiby R5 Saber on the other hand was able to drive the Sundara to an acceptable degree without any noticeable distortion in full volume. But even though the Hiby R5 Saber was able to drive the Sundara much better than the M3X, still it was nowhere near a dedicated desktop dac/amp setup. Both Hiby R5 Sbaer and Shanling M3X were able to drive the Philips SHP9500 to its full potential, but it sounded louder and fuller on the balanced port of the Hiby R5 Saber. nnConclusion: I don’t think there’s any clear winner between these two DAP’s. Those looking for a better streaming device should definitely go for Shanling M3X. Those looking for a better stable OS and more power output should choose the Hiby R5 Saber. As for the sound quality it will come down to a matter of preference at the end of the day, both DAP’s sound extremely similar. The Hiby R5 Saber sounds neutral bright with a clear emphasis on details retrieval while the M3X sounds slightly warmer, smooth and more well rounded in comparison. I hope my findings here have helped those who are trying to made up their minds between these two mid-range DAP’S 😊 nnFollow my page The Audio Bloke for future content like this, since I am already reaching near 500 likes really appreciate the support guys! nn


Audiosense DT 600 one of the most premium unboxing I've done so far 🔥


Just received the Tri TK-2 Dac/Amp big thanks to TRI Audio for doing a review tour in Bangladesh 🇧🇩nnFull review and comparison with Hiby R5 Saber & Shanling M3X daps coming soon 😊nnFor now having fun stacking the TK-2 with my Hiby R5s 🔥


Ikko OH10 Obsidian Review: Undisputed nnSources used during review: Shanling M3X, Hiby R5 SabernnCables used during review: Yinyoo 16 Core High Purity Copper Cable, FAAEAL Hibiscus High Purity Copper CablennTips used during review: Final E-Tips. CP-145nnDisclaimer: I originally borrowed the Oh10’s from a friend to review on, later on I ended up liking it so much that I got a pair for myself as well. Needless to say, all the views expressed in this review are my own and not influenced by anyone. It is always my goal to provide a bias free and honest review.nnExecutive Summary: Ikko Oh10 Obsidian is a near 2 years old IEM which has stood the test of time quite successfully. It is a hybrid IEM consisting of a 10mm dynamic driver made of a polymer composite and a Knowles 33518 balance armature driver. Ikko has redesigned the dynamic driver in house so that it can deliver superior performance. When people in various Facebook audio enthusiast groups recommended me to try out the Ikko Oh10, I was a bit skeptical as it was an older IEM with a dual driver configuration and a hefty price tag of $159. But boy was I wrong, newer always doesn’t mean better. nnHits: nn- Nice airy well extended treble with a lot of sparkle and energy. Treble is quite nice and engaging making instruments like high hats, cymbals, violins sound crisp. nn- Excellent detail retrieval ability compared to some of the warm & smoother IEM’s in this price range.nn- Brilliant resolution and technicalities. A wide soundstage with precise imaging performance. nn- Natural timbre for instruments, midrange instruments like cello, electric guitar, drums sound very pleasing. nn- Both male & female vocals sound nice. Vocals are positioned nicely in the mix, they don’t sound too thin or overly recessed like some typical V-shaped IEM’s. nn- One of the best low-end performance’s I have experienced so far, the bass is textured tight and punchy. Complimented with true bass-head level quantity, the sub-bass has massive rumble and the mid-bass punch is clearly distinguishable as well. And regardless of the bass quantity there is no bleed into other frequencies. nn- The bass is fast and tight enough to keep up with busy tracks effortlessly. Genres like Rock & Metal sound wicked on the Oh10’s. nn- The shells are made out of thick metal and the honeycomb design pattern makes the Ikko Oh10’s look stunning. Although my personal unit came with some scratches and dents out of the box but Ikko has graciously agreed to replace it for me. nn- The build and fit are a perfect match for me personally. I can wear the Oh10 for long listening sessions without feeling fatigue. But I have some noticed other reviewers complaining about the metal shells being too heavy, causing discomfort for them.nn- Easy to drive, given 18 ohm impedance of the Ikko Oh10 any mid range dongle like the Shanling UA2 for example should be enough to drive it to its full potential. nnMisses: nn- Rubbish stock cable, at $159 asking price this type of garbage stock cable is totally unacceptable form a well-established company like Ikko. nn- Rubbish ear tips and other accessories in the box like that carrying pouch, even if we can call it that. nn- Slightly thicker and a bit more forward vocals could have really made the Oh10’s iconic. It’s more like wishful thinking rather than a complaint. nnConclusion: The Ikko Oh10 really managed to surprise me with how they sound. Apart from the awful packaging and stock accessories there isn’t really much else you can fault it with. If you plan on buying the Oh10’s please add a good upgradable cable and some nice tips to your budget as well and you will be good to go. Those with smaller ears might be better off skipping this one. If you want a pair of IEM that can do most genres justice and really satisfy that bass-head beast inside of you that the Ikko Oh10 should definitely be on the top of you list. nnComparisons: I will be including the Ikko Oh10 in my Sub $200 IEM’S: A Battle Royale Style Comparison thread soon, where it will compete against 8 other IEM’s in same price range. Follow my page to see how it performs, stay tuned! nn


So one major thing when it comes to Hiby R5 Saber vs Shanling M3X which major reviewers seems to talk about or ignore is the power output.nnAnd I don't blame them cause while testing IEM's you really don't feel much of a difference between both in 4.4mm or even the 3.5 mm single ended port. So I decided to test both 4.4 mm port with a magnetic planar headphone, the Hifiman Sundara.nnAnd boy oh boy are the results interesting 😏 Will be posting my comparison review soon where I'll talk in length about the audio quality as well. Stay tuned folks.


Autumn looks gorgeous! Plus a single DD IEM for Bqeyz got me excited :D


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