Here are my thoughts on the Bori. Hope you all enjoy it!
Aurorus Borealis – Dynamically Classic
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.
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...
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...
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.
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...
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...
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...
I have been thoroughly enjoying my Yamaha NS5000 speakers since I purchased them in early 2020. They have truly amazing imaging and a natural tonality that lets you settle into the music and really be convinced of the performances you hear. I have powered them with older Bryston 4BSST amplifiers in mono mode. I briefly tested a single 4BSST in stereo mode and was extremely impressed with further improvement in imaging, resolution and staging (likely due to better impedance matching). But despite the great sound I was getting I did wonder how far I could take sonic experience.
Optimizing my front end with a Lumin u1 mini streamer (powered by a Keces P8 ext PSU) feeding a Audio GD DI20HE digital converter before going into my denafrips terminator dac certainly provided a fantastic source. I noticed when adding the lumin and agd devices a blacker background with more microdetails and holographic layering that...