Sonic Visions

Aurorus Borealis Review

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Hey All,

Here are my thoughts on the Bori. Hope you all enjoy it!

Aurorus Borealis – Dynamically Classic

Introduction
Borealis – or Bori for short, is the creation of Aurorus Audio, a small but ambitious headphone shop with a very simple premise – to deliver high-end listening experiences without the stratospheric price tag commanded by most TOTL headphones. In doing so, they have created a very interesting headphone that succeeds in that endeavor, with some caveats.

Looks/Style

First up – the styling. I struggle to think that there would be someone who would look at this headphone and not find it polarizing. The Bori looks as though two trash can lids were cut out to make room for drivers. Its frame looks like it was taken from those toys you played with at the Doctors office as a child (you know the ones). And its headband…well let us just say that the Bori would earn a 5-star crash test rating from the IIHS. Its Industrial, its minimalist, and I think...

YG introduces dual coherent 2

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Press release from YG Acoustics:

February 2021 – YG Acoustics is pleased to announce DualCoherent 2, a significant advance in one of our core and unique technologies.

DualCoherent 2 builds on YG’s industry-leading DualCoherent crossover technology, further optimized through the powerful modeling capabilities of Cambridge Acoustic Sciences (CAS)

https://cambridgeacousticsciences.com/.

Working together with CAS, we measured the electronic and acoustic behavior of our proprietary drive units to an unprecedented accuracy. Leveraging the petaflop compute cluster at CAS, we were able to build detailed models addressing the elaborate interplay of amplifier, crossover, drive units, cabinet and listening room—all simulated playing real, high-resolution music.

Designed and optimized exactingly around the detailed phase and frequency behavior of the YG proprietary drivers, DualCoherent 2 matches phase to an extraordinary level at the crossover point.
In addition...

Interview with Rune Skov - Sales director at Gryphon audio

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We were very lucky to have the legendary Rune Skov of Gryphon audio have a chat with us about various topics. Please have a listen.

Pass labs X350.8 with headphones (HD800S)

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I just want to add today I used the X350.8 to drive the Sennheiser HD800S with an XLR to speaker tap cable from Ted Allen.

My reference amp is the Audio GD HE9. It is a great amplifier that sounds very neutral, spacious and fast. Combined wtih my denafrips terminator dac I think it makes for an excellence tonal balance that is mostly neutral sounding.

Switching to the Pass amp:
Listening to all my reference tracks after allowing about 1 hour warm up I was blown away by the transformation of the sound (HE9 served as the preamp). Before listening I did notice there was a very quiet audible level of noise but when listening to music this proved to not be problematic or overly distracting.

The first thing I noticed about the sound (and my biggest problem point for the HD800S) is the improvement in bass! I remarked upon listening finally there is REAL bass! The bass was better extended, more authoritative with attack and slam and simply more satisfying while remaining...

Willsenton R8 (integrated TR/UL amplifier)

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Footnotes:

There's been a bit of hype around this amp in the low cost audio space.
I purchased it from https://www.china-hifi-audio.com/ for $708 + $372 shipping = $1080
The price above is also $60 off normal, by selecting EL34 tubes instead of KT88 to come with it.

There is a write up on china-hifi-audio.com from the owner stating the price on this amp will be increasing by tiers over the next year.
By Feb 16th 2021 it will be priced at $893 (vs the $708 I just paid for it)

I will be reviewing this amp in the context that with shipping, somebody can acquire this amp for under $1300.

Let's start with tubes. It arrived with the stock Willsenton 3x 6sn7, 2x 6sl7, and 4x EL34. (9x tubes total)

Right off the rip, the stock tubes are kinda meh (in comparison to other cheap tube alternatives).
I didn't let them burn in. I've read on other forums with burn in they are decent.
While I do generally like, and...

I love budget IEMs, CCA CST is my new #1 budget

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Link to my review:

TLDW: it's great, the only issues are stage is smaller and upper treble is elevated with a crashy timbre.

New Solitaire PSE headphone

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T+A has introduced a more affordable but still very pricey headphone. The Solitiare P-Special edition. RRP will be £3,000. More details to come.

"We certainly intended to differentiate the Solitaire P-SE from its big brother, but not just by its external appearance. That’s why we introduced a modified transducer in addition to the external changes "
- Project Manager, Sebastian Kobel

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AKG K371 review

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SV Member MShenay has another great review, check it out:

HD560S Impressions from Oak Forest Audio

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Please find impressions from SV member MShenay of Oakforest audio:

Schiit Modi 3+

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Schiit audio recently released their Modi 3+ dac. Their new upgraded entry level dac.

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"Modi 3+: All The DAC You Need—For $99
Plug Modi 3+ into any virtually any computer or streamer and you’re ready to go, complete with the best USB interface available: Schiit’s own Unison USB™. Or, choose and optical or coaxial digital source with the included wall power supply. Or connect to your phones and tablets that need a low-power-draw device, again using the wall power supply. Modi 3+ accepts pretty much any input you can throw at it! "

More details here: Schiit

Denafrips Hermes DDC

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Denafrips is on the verge of releasing its mid-range DDC. Details below:

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"DENAFRIPS DDC, Digital To Digital converter, offers excellent rejection to the digital signal jitter by means of proprietary reclocking and adaptive FIFO buffering the input digital signal, the resultant digital output signals are of ultra-low jitters, cleaned. The sonic improvements by adding the DDC in between the digital source and DAC are evident. "

More info here

ES Lab ES-1A: Review and On-Going Impressions

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First and foremost I want to thank the Team at ES Lab for giving my self the chance to hear this headphone! While minimal, the overall presentation in person is stunningly polished. The grain on the wood storage box has both a nice feel and look to it, there's even a pair of wood wings for the outer face of the cup which make the headphone lighter.

Additionally there are two sets of pads, a "dark" pad with a fabric center and another set of pads without the fabric. For this review the Dark Pads were used as they removed some mid-range etch at the expense of just a little top end energy.

Overall Sound Signature
ES-1A has a slightly dark neutral sound with a rich harmonic presentation. I find it's sound stage to be cohesive with good precision, it's mid-range is rich with a little added body. High frequencies are a bit rolled off but don't sound lifeless or lacking extension.

What impressed me the most was it's...

Hifiman Jade II - Reviews & On-going Impressions

Denafrips releases Venus II Dac

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The Venus II DAC is upgraded with:
1. TCXO - Temperature-Compensated Crystal Oscillator. This is the prime performance improvement that brings the Venus sonic performance very close to the Terminator DAC
2. MU Metal Shielding between the PSU and Main DAC board, like one found in the Terminator DAC. A metal sheet is added in between.
3. EVOX MMK caps
4. Germany Film Caps WIMA
5. Upgraded DSP board

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Venus II

YG announces partnership with Cambridge acoustic sciences

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"Ultra-high-end speaker manufacturer, YG Acoustics (www.yg-acoustics.com) announces an exclusive partnership with Cambridge Acoustic Sciences to develop innovative loudspeaker technologies, both to launch a range of new models and to continue the evolution of the existing YG Acoustic products.

Founded in 2002, YG Acoustics is recognized as one of the most prominent companies in the high-end audio industry, a pioneer whose technical advancements remain unmatched. YG Acoustics has a strong heritage of breakthrough technological innovations, such as our patented BilletDome tweeter, as well as other advances including ViceCoil, BilletCore, ForgeCore, DualCoherent, ToroAir and FocusedElimination. These, combined with world-class, in-house precision manufacturing capabilities, have allowed YG Acoustics to deliver generation after generation of industry-leading loudspeakers.

Cambridge Acoustic Sciences (CAS) provides state-of-the-art measurement...

Topping L30 - Budget King of Value

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In a world with so many options and ever decreasing levels of distortion one has to ask what separates the many acceptable solid state amplifiers from the truly great! There's a dozen designs that all push the lower limits of measurable distortion, all of which falls far below our human threshold of hearing.

To explore that concept I figured it would be worthwhile to start by having a set standard for absolute greatness, and I'm happy to say the Bricasti M3 with Headphone is exactly that for me. After years of reviewing and Hi-Fi show demo's, press exclusive listens it is the only product offering that long awaited greatness I've been hunting for! With a truly amazing solid-state amplifier and top of the line DAC in tow I feel fully...

Interview with Michael Borresen

Streaming in the Modern Age - Overview, Comparisons and Thoughts

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For the longest time I was a firm believer in offline playback for Hi Res content. I appreciated the flexibility and discovery power of apps like Napster [formally Rhapsody] and Spotify but those services are limited to only lossy.

While there has been a few Hi Res Lossless streaming services available prior to 2019, I really feel this year has seen a surge in them. Not only do we have access to Tidal and Deezer Hifi , but now also Qobuz and Amazon HD music. An for the purpose of my overview and review I will be focusing only on Tidal with and without MQA Rendering, Qobuz and Amazon HD Music using content shared between the three with only the highest BitRate output option in each platform.

I used an iFi xDSD with my HD 600 for listening purposes when exploring each platform. I did listening on both Mobile and Desktop platforms via my Cellular Devices and my Win10 Laptop. As for music I spent a few weeks with each listening to a wide variety of music to get a feel for the...

Cayin N6ii - Review & On Going Impressions

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I want to start by thanking Andy of Cayin for giving me a chance to hear the N6ii with both it's A01 and T01 modules thru a brief in home demo. I've had a chance to hear quite a few of the Cayin Digital Audio Players over the years and they've always impressed me!

Some history for my self, I am a happy owner of a Hifiman HM901 that I run exclusively line out into a Custom iBasso PB2 amp. Sound quality of this system has for years been unchallenged by all of the modern Digital Audio Players I've heard. Still this old vintage player has terrible battery life, no streaming support and the amp it self is twice as thick as the already large player. So my little tower is by no means a shining example of "portable" sound quality. Price was around $1500...

Streamer/DDC Showdown: Pi2AES vs Sotm SMS200 Ultra Neo

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TLDR: Pi2AES kicks some serious ass. Get a nice PSU


So I've been working on my digital side of things for a little while now, and have as of late been exploring networked output options. I'd started with a raspberry pi, and after hearing the difference that made vs direct USB to my PC, but also how the USB 2.0 ports on the pi4 differed from the USB 3.0 ports, and then how the pi3b+ actually sounded better (likely due to being a lower noise/power consumption board), I explored other options too.
A member of a group I am in told me that after trying the Pi2AES, it had actually beaten out his singxer SU-6, and so that seemed like a crazy option for the price, especially given as I'd been considering the singxer anyway!

Another network streamer that had been getting heaps of praise was the sms200 Ultra Neo, and so that was on my consideration list too. In the end, I got both, and wanted to share my...
Streamer/DDC Showdown: Pi2AES vs Sotm SMS200 Ultra Neo.
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