In this review, we take a look at a collection of portable headphone DAC/Amps, compatible with iOS devices: the Apogee One, CEntrance Mini-M8, Oppo HA-2 and V-MODA Vamp Verza. Every one of these products sounds dramatically better than my iPhone 5S by itself.
We've been waiting for the PonoPlayer for a long, long time. Neil Young was first pitching this thing on Letterman in 2012. The kickstarter campaign, which raised nearly 15x the initial goal of $800,000 ended on Tax Day 2014 with delivery promised by October.
HiFiMAN is probably best known for their headphones and headphone amplifiers, some of which we have reviewed, but they also manufacture portable music players as an alternative to the ubiqutious iPod. The HM-802 is one of several models, including the HM-700, which is less expensive than the HM-802, and the HM-901, which is more expensive. You also have the option of having a balanced amplifier module in the player or the standard unbalanced one. In this review, I cover the model HM-802, with the standard unbalanced amplifier card, as well as with the optional balanced amp card. It plays PCM music tracks up to 24/192 and DSD64, as well as wav, flac, mp3, alac, aac, and aiff files.
Computer audio is quickly becoming the source of choice for high-resolution audio playback. A vast number of products focused on computer audio are available today, but most of the attention is paid to hardware: DACs and computer audio interfaces like the Bryston BDA-1 and Halide Design USB to SPDIF Bridge I reviewed last year. In all our reviews, we forget one key component of the playback chain: the software player. I have complained extensively about the difficulty of getting no-compromise audio playback from a computer.
The iPod dock/speaker market continues to grow every year and more high end speaker manufacturers are joining the game. Products range from cheap and flimsy $20 plastic models to higher end models such as the Fatman iTube Red-i that lists for $649. Bowers and Wilkins, renowned British loudspeaker company, has created their own high end iPod speaker dock system called the Zeppelin, which lists at $599, and is the subject of this review.
There are plenty of iPod Docks out there for you to plug in your iPod and listen to your music using speakers instead of earphones. Some of them are very inexpensive and others somewhat more, but what sets the Earthquake Sound iQuake IQ-52B apart from the rest are its sound quality and features. Read our review to see how flexible this little package really is.
The past seven years has seen rapid proliferation of the iPod dock market. Unfortunately, while many of the products have succeeded in following the Apple aesthetic, rarely is there substance behind the flash. Is the entry by Focal merely more eye candy or is there something more compelling? The XS 2.1 distinguishes itself by offering something beyond your typical iPod speaker dock.
The mStation 2.1 tower is an all in one solution for taking your iPod music out of your ears and into your room. The tower consists of one down firing 5.25" woofer, and two speaker modules with 2 – 2" midrange and 1 – 1" tweeter per speaker. There is a docking station a USB port and a 1/8" (3.5mm) stereo miniplug jack. All in a four foot tall, 14" wide aluminum tower.