October 2018
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>> Breadcrumb ://Innerfidelity

RMAF 2018: Astell & Kern rollout new players, firmware upgrades imminent

By | October 16th, 2018|Categories: Innerfidelity|

Astell & Kern seem like a company hell bent on introducing new models that are feature-packed based on feedback from both existing customers and those they are courting to embrace the brand.

I say this because they continue to add specific features and new, updated hardware/software not only for their latest off the production line models, but with continuing support of legacy or existing models with an array of cutting-edge re-ups via firmware updates.

The company was showing off their new SP1000 and SP1000M portable players along with their T5P second-generation Beyerdynamics headphones at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, so I gave both a spin and also discussed what was happening with the Android APK (Android PacKage is the package file format used by the Android operating system for distribution and installation of mobile apps and middleware) rollout.… Read the full article

RMAF 2018: iFi xDSD and Pro iDSD impress at both ends of price spectrum

By | October 15th, 2018|Categories: Innerfidelity|

I always make a point to stop by the iFi booth as the folks who work there are super friendly and I enjoy their products.

They were showing an immense AMR DAC that looked a bit like the front end of a DeLorean. I believe it was called the Diablo. They also had the new xDSD on display, which I currently have in for review and am liking quite a lot. I won’t spoil the review, but the sound quality here reminds me of their Black Label products in a very good way.… Read the full article

RMAF 2018: ZMF impresses with Verite and Aeolus prototypes

By | October 14th, 2018|Categories: Innerfidelity|

ZMF

You’ll have to forgive me for not being the savviest picture take this Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, but there was so much to see and do, and most of the pictures I took on my iPhone were either woefully inadequate or unusably blurry – luckily Rafe is an expert photographer and has lots of gorgeous shots for you to pore over in his posts. In any case, on to the booths I saw…

I’ve known Zach Mehrbach, the founder and owner of ZMF for several years now, and he’s quite an interesting guy, having at various times been a professor of film at Columbia, a professional luthier, and now a headphone maker.… Read the full article

RMAF 2018: Sony DMP-Z1 Headphone amp and MDR-Z1R headphones

By | October 12th, 2018|Categories: Innerfidelity|

Walkman.

That’s pretty much all you have to say to anyone to trigger a universal response to conjure up the name SONY.

The company which has been around since 1946 got its name from a mix of the Latin word sonus (root for sonics, or sound) and good old American slang sonny, which to the Japanese at the time meant a smart, hip and well put together young man… this is part of the history that launched a corporate juggernaut in electronics and heavy industry that currently has a $15 billion valuation.… Read the full article

RMAF 2018: Meze Empyrean headphones

By | October 9th, 2018|Categories: Innerfidelity|

The Meze booth stood out to me upon first walking into CANJAM at RMAF this year because their managing director, Mircea Fanatan, was standing there looking very peaceful amid a sea of headphone-enthusiast chaos which was buffeting every surface and corner of the event. It practically felt windy in there.

He seemed buddha-still amid all the movement so my eyes seemed to naturally seek his booth out as a great place to start my journey that morning. Meze is a Romanian company well known for their highly-praised, and budget-conscious 99 Classics ($309 USD) and 99 Neo ($249 USD) headphones, so when I first heard about the new flagship planar-magnetic design-based Empyrean – featuring the first Isodynamic Hybrid-Array driver of its type – around the time of High End at Munich this spring (before I was at InnerFidelity) and their $3,000 USD price tag, I made a mental note that the company had decided to jump into the deep, shark-infested waters of upper-price, open-back, over-ear headphones.… Read the full article

Ether 2 and Diana Phi: CANJAM at RMAF 2018

By | October 6th, 2018|Categories: Innerfidelity|

The well-dressed twenty-something’s eyes were wide open and he was rocking back-and-forth in his chair with a look of euphoria on his face.

“You gotta hear this!” He yelled at his friend who was hovering over his shoulder checking the track listing on the laptop that was part of the system feeding the new MrSpeakers Ether 2 headphones he was demoing.

They quickly swapped positions and queued-up the track again.

I glanced over expecting to see some rock, indie, electronica or EMD song title.… Read the full article

RMAF 2018: MrSpeakers Ether 2 and Abyss Diana Phi

By | October 6th, 2018|Categories: Innerfidelity|

The well-dressed twenty-something’s eyes were wide open and he was rocking back-and-forth in his chair with a look of euphoria on his face.

“You gotta hear this!” He yelled at his friend who was hovering over his shoulder checking the track listing on the laptop that was part of the system feeding the new MrSpeakers Ether 2 headphones he was demoing.

They quickly swapped positions and queued-up the track again.

I glanced over expecting to see some rock, indie, electronica or EMD song title.… Read the full article

HIFIMAN launches Arya, Limited-Edition HE5se, Jade II ElectroStatic Headphone System and R2R2000 Streaming Audio Device at RMAF

By | October 4th, 2018|Categories: Innerfidelity|

Wasting no time in making new product announcements, HIFIMAN has hit the ground running at speed in the mile-high city with multiple launches of their latest products. The company rolled four major announcements today, so let’s touch briefly on each one based on their press releases and then follow up with more detail after RMAF.

Let’s start with the new Arya headphone which is a planar-magnetic over-ear that adapts HE1000 V2-series driver technology at a lower price point ($1,599 USD).

“Our HE1000 series is an audiophile favorite.… Read the full article

InnerFidelity Podcast No. 2

By | October 2nd, 2018|Categories: Innerfidelity|

Welcome to the second edition of the InnerFidelity Podcast which features an interview with Jason Stoddard, co-founder of Schiit Audio.

In this podcast Stoddard discusses the basics of audio design and what it’s like to run a company with explosive growth. He teases with the musings of a man tasked with keeping up with the technological curve, creating the next best thing and holding on to the reigns of a market that reshapes itself every few years.

Even though budget-audio product seekers within the personal-audio community can be fickle at times, Stoddard continues to drive the market forward with new options and constant innovation.… Read the full article

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RMAF 2018 with InnerFidelity

By | October 1st, 2018|Categories: Innerfidelity|

The Denver airport is one of the strangest I’ve ever encountered, with a bizarre history rife with grist for online conspiracy-theorists and it’s a haul from the airport to the Denver Marriot Tech Centre, but once you’ve navigated those minor obstacles one of the best audiophile trade shows in North America awaits you.

I’ve been hitting RMAF for a number of years now and if you’ve never been, I find that there are manufacturers, distributors and high-fidelity designers that seem to only go to Denver as far as North American shows go, so it’s always a special one for me to attend because I get to see so many great people I just wouldn’t see anywhere else in the world.… Read the full article

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