A Headphones Reviews Blog
Aurisonics is an in-ear-monitors and hearing protection manufacturer based in “Music City” Nashville. The company was founded in 2011 by Dale Lott, an experienced mastering engineer & audio equipment expert, with a goal to make products that “would help musicians to hear the music the way that it is intended to be heard”. Aurisonics’ first IEM model was the AS-1, a single dynamic driver utilizing custom-fit in ear monitor, handmade in the USA (like all of the company’s products) and designed to be used by touring musicians. Dale also made a universal generic-fitting version so that potential buyers could try it before making a decision to purchase it. Later, because of the very positive feedback that it got, this generic-fitting version was added to the Aurisonics catalog as the ASG-1. After a few (quite different sounding) revisions Aurisonics started selling the ASG-1 Rev. 1.3 (which will be the last revision of the ASG-1) a few months ago. The changes from the earlier revisions are very big, and they include a new shell design, a new in-house made dynamic driver and even more.
M-Fidelity is a custom in-ear-monitoring and hearing-protection company based in Norway. They were formerly known as “Starkey Norway”, but since their lab’s contract with Starkey has ended they have became “M-Fidelity”. The company has quite a few CIEM offerings in their line, ranging between a large range of prices. Their flagship is called the SA-43 and it has 4 balanced-armature drivers inside of its shells, but there is a twist to that – the user can choose if he wants to turn on the 4th driver in order to change the sound or not. The product of theirs that I am going to write about in this review is called the SA-33. It is very similar to their flagship, and in fact it differs only by not having the 4th BA-driver, meaning that it is actually an SA-43 without the user-controlled sound.
Fanmusic is a distributor and a brand of Chinese audio-equipment which also has an eBay store. I was contacted by Tony, their manager a while ago and he informed me that they were working on an IEM (under their brand as far as I know), with a dual-dynamic setup in a metal housing with a user replaceable cable, simply named “MS-E1011”. Tony offered to send me a pre-production/prototype to review it and the MS-E1011 is going to be the subject of this review. Read more of this post
LEAR (an acronym of “Listen & Learn Everything. Acoustic & Audio Revolution) is a Hong-Kong based audio-products manufacturer founded in 2008 (which has recently also opened an HQ in Japan). The company makes portable headphone amplifiers, some different types of cables and adapters and also custom-fit in-ear-monitors (“CIEMs”), but in the past, they’ve also made some universal IEMs too. LEAR is owned by one the most famous audio stores in Hong-Kong, “Forever Source Digital”, which also distributes LEAR’s products. In 2011, LEAR has introduced their CIEMs line. They are proud of it because they say that it is the first CIEMs line to be fully developed, tuned and manufactured in Hong-Kong. About a year afterwards, LEAR released their flagship CIEM, the acrylic-material-made LCM-5, which sports five balanced armature drivers per earpiece with a 3-way crossover. One of the drivers produces the bass, two others are responsible for the midrange and the left two are treble drivers.
HiFiMan is a very well regarded Chinese Headphones, Earphones and Portable Players manufacturer that was founded in 2007 by Dr. Fang Bian. Their IEMs line is known to give a very good value for the money; from the RE0 & the RE-ZERO to the RE262 & the RE272, all are known for that. Lately, the company has announced two new models, which are going to replace their whole lineup (which has been discontinued following that announcement). The new models are the $99 MSRP’d RE-400 and the RE-600 (its MSRP is currently unknown, but it should be around $400). The RE-400 has already been released to the market a few weeks ago, while the RE-600 is said to be released around April-May. Like all of HiFiMan’s past IEMs, the RE-400 utilizes a dynamic-driver; Titanium coated 8.5mm sized one in this case.
TDK Life on Record is a huge, very well known data storage, recordable media and audio manufacturer. In the 90s, almost every cassette and VHS Tape was manufactured by them. In the 2000s, when the DVD had begun to be the most used media, TDK started to slowly disappear from the market. Fast forward to 2007, Imation, an American corporation from Oakdale, Minnesota, had purchased TDK’s brand name, and made a new TDK brand: TDK Performance, which offers mostly portable audio products: Headphones, IEMs, “Digital Boom-boxes”, etc. About the same time a year ago, I have reviewed TDK’s BA200, an IEM which is actually my personal-favorite. I found it to be on the best in its price range and even above it – an IEM which some people say that it can compete even with IEMs that cost double than it. A few months ago the company announced about a few additions to their Headphones & IEMs line – one of these additions was the IE800, a Dual-Dynamic IEM, which I immediately knew that I’d like to review, after having such a nice experience with the BA200.
SWP (or in its full name, SWP-Shinwoo-Tech) is a South Korean earphones, speakers and microphones manufacturer founded in 1986. Until recently, the company has been solely an OEM manufacturer for some of the leading cellular-phone companies, such as Samsung, LG and Motorola, manufacturing some of their audio components. Recently, the company has moved out of “the backstage” and introduced their own IEMs brand, called “T-PEOS” (an acronym of “The Premium Earphones of Shinwoo”). Just after that, the company introduced the brand’s first products, including IEMs in several price-ranges; out of them, their current flagship, the H-100 has caught my eyes. It is a Hybrid IEM, based on a single BA driver and a single 8mm Dynamic driver per-earpiece. I had already tried a Hybrid IEM before, the Audiofly AF-78, which honestly, I wasn’t too impressed with, so I hoped that the H-100 could fix that and be a good sounding Hybrid.