неділя, 16 жовтня 2016 р.

Літаюча штормова аудіохмара / Flying Storm Audiocloud

 Об'єднавши зусилля дві компанії - студія Річарда Кларксона та Crealev зробили отаку
штормову хмару, яка левітує над дзеркальною поверню.

2 companies studio of Richard Clarkson and Crealev united their efforts and created levitating storm cloud with Bluetooth speaker inside.


субота, 15 жовтня 2016 р.

Relaxed dream of cherished audiophile

When I received DHL parcel from Thailand I've been suprised by sizes of Fidelizer Nimitra. It's really small device, even I may call it "miniature". Terse frontal panel with only one power knob, austere black colour, light weight (2 kgs). And full enigma with name despite on my numerous attempts to put on the rack a Google seaching machine.


Ok, this secret was opened to me by developer of Nimitra, also know to computer audiophiles as creator of Fidelizer audio optimizator for Windows, Mr. Keetakawee Punpeng:

"I chose Nimitra as a word from one of popular traditional Thai music "Tri-Nimitra".
Nimit means "dream" and tra comes from 'tra-trueng', something like captivating, cherishing.
So, Nimitra means "cherished dream"."


3 in 1, main features are: Music Server, Streamer, Network Player. So you may use Nimitra as simple Transport of USB Stick Memory, it's exactly what I mostly did during the striking of laptop's keyboard.

"Nimitra is a computer audio server based on streaming solutions using JPLAY Streamer and Asset uPNP. You can control Nimitra from just connecting device to home network, install mobile app like Linn Kazoo and play audio effortlessly with the most accurate PRaT and neutral sound." (from site of developer).






Back panel equipped by many various connections was nameplated "Demo" (my device was numbered as "4", I could see it during settings). Well, not mine favourite figure, but I don't like to be so boring perfectionist.


You may add keyboard, mouse, display and use it as standard desk-top PC, side USB connectors will be suitable for it.

Ful set of supplied items was predictable: Nimitra server, power adapter with standart computer cable, 2 antennas "whip" type, user's manual.



























I didn't install any driver for my AMR DP-777, developer already did all routine job collecting drivers for various devices. Do you impress enough??? It's first goal voting for purchase of Nimitra by non-computerly advanced audiophiles.

 After about 30 seconds of turning on device will make a greeting saying "Fidelizer Nimitra is ready".


One of the first my question to Keetakawee was "What is inside of your magic box?"
And he promptly dropped me this photo in Skype.




























Most of my readers will look on this photo with same level of knowledge as mine, so I will also copy description from Fidelizer's site:

"No moving part: moving part causes vibration affecting the accuracy of electricity’s transmission.
Low power consumption: the best way to reduce pollution is to consume less power not adding more filters/isolators. Resonance control for chassis: it’s often overlooked in digital audio but resonance of chassis affect digital audio a lot too.

As a result, I finish its hardware design with the following specifications:

Fanless machine – No fan, no vibration from fan and no noise pollution in listening room.
mPCIe SSD for OS storage – No moving part, no vibration and no data/power cable for signal degrading.
Intel Celeron J1900 2.0GHz CPU – Quad core, low power consumption but powerful enough with 2MB L2 Cache.
Kingston DDR3L 4GB Memory – It’s a hard decision between lower CL with DDR3 or lower voltage with DDR3L and I chose the latter.
Direct 12VDC input power supply – Feeding power directly to the board reduces noise and pollution inside.
3.5mm aluminium alloy frame – It also comes with only 3 pieces having less frequency shift with audio-grade isolating feet.
Built-in WiFi/Bluetooth – You can setup Wi-Fi and Bluetooth speakers to use with music server platform."


The rest information regarding construction you may find below in Specifications and on site as well.

Second goal for the gentlemen which are not so much familiar with modern computers - direct support with Teamviewer.

That will mean:

"For audiophiles without computer knowledge, it’s very important to have remote access for cases like installing drivers for new devices after purchasing Nimitra. You don’t have to worry about being left behind after purchasing Nimitra with Teamviewer access built-in for professional support." (from site of manufacturer)

I have to make a Confession here: I consider myself quite advanced PC user, but received technical support was ample, qualified and honest. Of course if you will be ready to give access to your home network to Keetakawee.

Thus, dear gentlemen, nobody will leave you with computer-network problems alone, Mr.Punpeng will fight till the last breath to solve the issues. Just believe my own experience.
 
  Few hints from my side grounding on my 3-weeks experience with Nimitra:

- Look on this photo. Your DAC should be connected to top blue, marked as "USB Audio" on picture above, USB Stick Memory or HDD with musical files - to lower blue (marked as "USB 3.0").
You may use also USB 2.0 on rear panel for USB and HDD, but sound can degrade a little bit. And don't use USB inputs on side panel, remote software will get significant delays and even can stuck.
 - Footers under Nimitra. I used 3 pieces of my own manufacturing and I could hear the difference.




- If you want to change files on USB Stick - don't switch off Nimitra! Just unplug, make changes on Stick and plug it back into the working Nimitra. Server updates library of musical files every 30 seconds.

I used mostly KAZOO programm for remote control of musical files (it's Android soft, can be found on Google Play Market). One significant moment which I found working with it - tags. All tags should be filled properly otherwise you will get a great chance to get a mess on the screen of your remote device. Kazoo is a little bit weird programm, but you will adopt to it for a few days.




























Sound

First of all, Nimitra had not exception as per my own experience: 100-150 hours of "break-in" process should be granted. Otherwise its sound may not impress you. It's quite easily to arrange using Kazoo. Open "All albums" file and touch in sequence all required albums. Just put your finger on musical album and hold it till it will be highlighted. Thus you can compose music for required time period. If you want to use same album for breaking-in - choose it several times to cover required time of playback. Compilation can consist from files of various formats, for example, I mixed up 16-44.1
with 24-96 (FLAC) without issues. Bingo!

Nimitra skillfully shows atmosphere of jazz club on legendary record -
"Art Blakey 1954 A Night At Birdland" (Blue Note Records). Announces of Pee Wee Marquette, solid blowing of Clifford Brown's trumpet, firm sound of Blakey's drums, background noise of club, everything what was soundshooted by Rudy Van Helder (R.I.P., Man!).

Cyrille Aimee from album 2016 "Let's Get Lost" has such characteristic properties similar
to the one of my favourite female jazz singer - Stacey Kent. Nimitra played it in so comfortable manner of intimacy of singing, I couldn't resist and gave highest numbers in category of emotional involvement.

Great performance on Danielsson Neset Lund 2016 "sun blowing" (ACT Records) permitted me fulfully to be enjoyed by the record, ACT is one of few recording company with good balance between excellent quality of records, smart music not rolled into madness of free forms and impressive list of artists. Fans of Nils Petter Molvær, put your eye ear on this job!

Unlimited energetic and real hit melodies on Filou 2016 "The Headphone Sessions" made my audition so joyful, transparency of Nimitra was highly helpful.

Soundspace building of vocals on track "Because" (19) was imminently gorgeous.
Basses were taut and tuneful on tracks "Growing Up" (12) and "Thlon" (10).
Mix of real and virtual instruments on track "Dead Already" (07) sounded detailed, with rich textures.
Musical vocal peaks on track "Con Te Partiro" (03) passed without limits.
Naturalness of grand piano on track "Fantasia op 49" (06) was amazing.

Sound resolution of Nimitra stays on high level of very good compact disc players, all nuances of sound textures will be achieved. Server will apply a strong resistance during so called "blind test" for sure.

Server produces comfort sound with great liquidity close to analog sources.

Few advices which I received from Keetakawee regarding opportunities for sound improvement:

1) Nimitra supplied by standard power adapter made in China. If you are ready to invest 3-4 green Franklins into linear PSU - you have a great chance to get more sound. PSU should be able to arrange 12V and 3A.

And yes - Keetakawee is working now for PSU Upgrade option.

Quotes from our messaging:
"Coming from stock PSU with Nimitra to affordable linear PSU at under $300 range in market,
it should provide 30-50% improvement for general audience IMHO."


2) What is power supply of your ... network router? Quite unexpectable question, neh? Well, replace it also by linear PSU. It will work as Nimitra's creator insisted. I didn't check yet but I will do it later and reflect it in update of present review.


Specifications

CPU: Intel Celeron J1900 Quad Core 2.0GHz
Memory: 4GB DDR3L
USB: 5 x USB 2.0 / 1 x USB 3.0
Connectivity: LAN / WiFi / Bluetooth / HDMI / VGA
Supported formats*: AAC, AIF, AIFC, AIFF, APE, ASF, ASX, BWF, CDA, DFF, DSF, FLAC, M2A, M4A, M4B, MP+, MP1, MP2, MP3, MP4, MPA, MPC, MPEG, MPG, MPGA, MPP, MPX, OGA, OGG, RADIO, W64, WASAPI, WAV, WMA, WMV, WV, WVX
Power input: 12VDC with 2.5mm DC jack
Power supply: 12V 5A switching 100-240V 50/60Hz (PSU upgrade is coming soon)
Dimension: 225(W) x 44(H) x 200(D) mm
Weight: 2kg
* for streaming from built-in Asset uPNP library server. JPLAY Streamer accepts only WAV and TIDAL streaming

Retail price: 1 395 USD (with 30-day money back guarantee!).

As conclusion

Transparency. It is the main feature came in mind if somebody will ask me about Nimitra sound.
Server is able easily to show a difference between artists, label, recording rooms, used recording techniques on high level.

Comfort. One of the biggest "pro" is even reflected in the name of my review. Gold medal on the championship amongst the laziest audiophiles in the world is your!

Price. Not cheap, yeah, but most of competitors cost more & much more till lunatic XX XXX USD.
When I tried to calculate the price for so called "Musical desk-top PC" I overlaped the sum of 1 500 USD quite fastly. Ok, that was been together with HDDs, but it was simply PC without any optimization! In case with Nimitra you'll buy device which is very close to formula "plug and play" if to factor out developer's support. Also cost of used software (Windows 10 Pro + Fidelizer + JPLAY + Asset uPNP) is more than 300 USD. And don't forget about money back!

Nimitra succesfully eats any audio formats (even including newest MQA despite it's not described on site!), so you rather will get restrictions from your DAC like in my case with DP-777, where the nowadays DSD is not supported.

In case if you will upgrade Nimitra by separate linear PSU - don't forget to replace fuse (if suitable) and power cable. I believe such manipulations will add some coins on the bowl of audio justice. Choose the right bowl!

You may try to find something better for this money. My hottest regards.

Home System

        Speakers: Audio Physic, model Avanti, first generation.
        Power Amp: T+A, model 1500.
        as Pre-Amp: AMR DP-777.
        as DAC: AMR DP-777.
        CD Player: T+A, model CD 1220 R.
        Rack (audio furniture): DYI from Ikea tables, model Hemnes.
        Speakers Cable: Acoustic Revive SPC-Reference (bi-wiring).
        Component Cables: 1) Acoustic Revive, model RCA-1.0PA; 2) XLO Reference 2 1A.
        Power Cables: 1) Sound-YP, light version (Ukraine); 2) DYI cables made from polished soviet military copper bus with German connectors; 3) Neotech NEP-3001 MK3 3x5.25 OCC/SPUPOCC hybrid power cable with Neotech NC-P303 OCC EU power plug Gold (on Power Amp).
        Headphones: HiFiMan HE-1000, Audeze LCD-X (recabled by DYI silver wires cable), AudioQuest NightHawk.
        Head Amp: hybrid version between “Hi-Dynamic” and “Hi-Power”, 5 Watts in class A on 16 Ohms, MOSFET-transistor output, Amp made by Peeves (Lugansk City, Ukraine).
        USB Cables: 1) WireWorld USB Audio cable Starlight Platinum (1 m).                            
        Accessories: DYI footers under units, speakers and acoustic cable.
        PC Laptop: Acer Predator 15, model G9-591-7451 (RAM 32 Gb, CPU Intel ® Core (TM) i7-6700HQ 2.60 GHz, Windows 10 Home).
        Remote software: Kazoo (Android).
        Remote control unit: Tablet PC - Lenovo B8080-H (32 Gb).



Test compilation

01. Rex tremendae (Mozart – Requiem KV 626 – Philippe Herreweghe – La Chapelle Royale – Collegium Vocale – 1996 – Harmonia Mundi)
02. Tuba mirum (Mozart – Requiem KV 626 – Philippe Herreweghe – La Chapelle Royale – Collegium Vocale – 1996 – Harmonia Mundi)
03. Con Te Partiro (Andrea Bocelli – Romanza (XRCD))
04. Manha De Carnaval (Susannah McCorkle – Most Requested Songs – Concord)
05. Koni Priveredlivye (Vladimir Vysotsky – Izbrannoe (1974-75) – Melodiya)
06. Fantasie in F Minor op 49 (Chopin - Luca Ballerini)
07. Dead Already - (OST "American Beauty" - Dreamworks Records)
08. Mercy Street (Peter Gabriel – So – Geffen Records)
09. Hotel California (Eagles – Hell Freezes Over – XRCD)
10. Tlon (Nils Petter Molvaer – Khmer – ECM)
11. Tomorrow's Girls (Donald Fagen - Kamakiriad - Reprise Records)
12. Growing Up (Peter Gabriel – Up – Real World)
13. Marche au supplice (Berliner Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan – Berlioz – Symphonie fantastique · La Damnation de Faust – Danses – Deutsche Grammophone)
14. Carmen Fantaisie (Ruggiero Ricci – LSO – Pierino Gamba – Carmen Fantaisie – XRCD24)
15. Wherever I May Roam (Metallica – 1991 – Elektra)
16. The Sound of Perseverance (Death – The Sound of Perseverance – Nuclear Blast)
17. Fortunate Son (Creedence Clearwater Revival - Willy And The Poor Boys - Fantasy Records)
18. Lucky (Molly Johnson - Lucky - A440 Entertainment)
19. Because (OST "American Beauty" - Dreamworks Records)
20. Killing Strangers (Marylin Manson – The Pale Emperor – Cooking Vinyl, Loma Vista Recordings).

Also were used some albums released in 2016:

1) Filou 2016 The Headphone Sessions
2) Cyrille Aimee 2016 Let's Get Lost
3) Danilo Rea 2016 Notturno
4) Opeth 2016 Sorceress (2 CD)
5) Danielsson Neset Lund 2016 sun blowing
6) Gianluca Petrella 2016 Trio 70's

and

Art Blakey 1954 A Night At Birdland (Volumes 1 nad 2), 24-192.


P.S. Update will be published.



середа, 12 жовтня 2016 р.

HiFiMan - next lunatic level

Meet new Shangri-La Statement Product by Hifiman.

New top electrostatic headphones with dedicated tube amplifier will be available for ONLY 50 000 USD.  Good luck with selling the both of your kidneys.




субота, 17 вересня 2016 р.

Коньяк з ламповим забарвленням


Коли я отримав від мого ділера пропозицію взяти на рев'ю щось таке, що прозвучало для мене як повна тарабарщина, я трохи вагався. Але повне ім'я дівайса у Скайпі швидко розставило крапки на "і" :
1. Це - абсолютно незнайомий для мене бренд.
2. Я ще ніколи не тримав в руках подібний прилад, тим паче - ніколи не писав про таке.




lars & ivan THA-8X... А чьому б ні?



Обожнюю писати про абсолютно нові бренди. Відчуваешь себе мандрівником, що ступає по terra incognita. Ніколи не знаешь, що там знайдешь. Я дійсно не мав жодної ідеї стосовно бренду lars & ivan незважаючи на те, що він присутній на ринку аж з 2000 року (!).

Вам знайоме почуття, коли закохуєшься у прилад з першого погляду?
Під скромною зовнішністю ховаються неабиякі таланти.



Звісно, я не зміг стриматись та не приєднати вухопідсил до Великої Системи.
Тож, зараз я можу дискутувати про нейтральність, прозорість, розподільну здатність та iнші
терміни зі словникового запасу членів клубу глухих аудіофілів.


Тепер - серьозно.

Тож - які переваги можна отримати у разі застосування THA-8X?

Панч. На таких треках як "Killing Strangers" та "Tlon" я почув величезну різницю. Звуки різноманітних барабанів йшли з таким смачним панчем, що я перейду відразу до наступного пункту.

Контроль за навушниками. Безсумнівне поліпшення контролю над навушниками на рівні, коли можна говорити вже не про якісь відсотки, а - про рази, у порівнянні вихіду з THA-8X та iPod Nano четвертого покоління або - з RME Babyface. Або навіть - з вихідом зі смартфону Meizu Pro 5.

Якщо хтось не знає, що таке Meizu Pro 5 -  то краще сховайте посмішкі. Цей смартфон легко порве на шматки 70% спеціалізованих портативних плейєрів на ринку.

Я би сказав, що нейтральність/прозорість вухопідсилювача знаходиться на високому рівні, бо я легко відрізняв вихід з THA-8X та iPod/Babyface. Звук з iPod-у мені сподобався більш ніж з Babyface, але золоту медаль серед джерел сігналу я б віддав смартфону.

Розподільна здатність. Значно більше з вухопідсилом. На таких недорогих навушниках як Sennheiser PX 100-II (рітейл десь 55 USD) я легко чув різницю між файлами форматів WAV та mp3 навіть на вулиці! На вихиді iPod-а різниця була не така впевнена. Одного цього параметру вистачить, щоб серьозно замислитись над покупкою любого якісного портативного
вухопідсилювача головних телефонів. Стосовно привнесення лампи в звук: якщо знову порівнювати вихіди iPod та THA-8X, то перший видає суто цифровий звук, а вухопідсил має псевдо-аналоговий окрас, який маскує цифрові артефакти.



THA-8X гарно працює з такими різніми навушниками як AudioQuest Nighthawk та HiFiMan HE1000.



У випадку з HE1000 я завжди мав запас гучності, я ніколи не викручував позицію регулятора більше ніж на 03:00 - 04:00.



Комплект постачання:
- керівництво користувача (можна загрузити ще варіанти на декілька мовах, крім англійської)
- 2 міжблочних кабла для стерео міні-джека (3.5 мм) різної довжини (я використовував інший - фірми Sure загальної довжини 155 мм, що люб'язно прислав ділер)
- USB кабл для зарядки
- пластиковий чехол (я його відразу надів на підсил, зручно) 
- ґумові кільця 2-х різних діаметрів (для кріплення плейера чи смартфона).

Доволі богатий комплект. Не вистачає лише чохла, але він є на сайті виробника.



Конструкція

Вухопідсил у реалі важить усього 150 грамів, на фото він виглядає дещо монументальніше.



Присутність 2 входів для джерела сігналу з обох торців прилада - правильне рішення. Це додає зручності при використанні.



2 індікатори

Червоний на задньому торці: сігналізує про процес зарядки прилада, по закінченні він гасне.



Зелений на передньому торці: вухопідсил включений.



Червоний на передньому торці: батарея розряджена.

Вихідний каскад виконаний на двох суб-мініатюрних лампах Raytheon, модель JA6418.

Високоякісні підвійні операційні підсилювачі (OPA) - модель MUSES 8820 від фірми JRC.

Незважаючи на мої сподівання, корпус THA-8X не гріється зовсім, тобто ніяких обмежень в процесі використання вухопідсила немає. Тож, любі шановники сігарного диму, підкурювати від THA-8X не вийде й доведеться, як завжди, використовувати стодоларові банкноти.



Використовування ламп у портативних вухопідсилах - не таке вже рідкісне явище, я можу, не вагаючись, назвати 5 моделей від різноманітних брендів, але ціна там завжди більш, ніж продукція від lars & ivan.

Характеристики:
Вихідна потужність: 180мВт х 2 (160 Ом), 22мВт х 2 (300 Ом)
Імпеданс: 16 - 300 Ом
Загальне гармонічне спотворення (THD+N): меньш ніж 1%
Сіввідношення сігнал-шум : меньш або дорівнює 80 дБ
Діапазон частот: 10 Гц - 65 кГц
Ємність акумулятора/Тип/Тривалість роботи: 1800 мАг/Літій-іон Полімер/16-18 годин
USB або micro USB зарядний порт: 300 мм
Розміри: (включно з розмірами регулятора гучности) 125.6мм(Д) х 78мм(Ш) х 16мм(Г)
Вага: 150.5 гр.

Ціна (на сайті Soundmag): 6 760 гривень.


Висновок:
Ваші головні телефони мають шанс отримати чималу порцію теплого аналогову коньяку
лампового звуку старої школи або вдохнути друге життя в Ваш старенький аудіоплейєр.
Або виписати магічного пєндєля Вашому смартфонові підняти на новий рівень Звук Вашого смартфона, підключивши його до lars & ivan THA-8X.



А теперь повернемось до назви ревю.

Бо заїдливий читач може запитати (має право!) - а до чього тут коньяк?



Зараз відключить усі Ваши знання стосовно аудіо приладів та подивиться на фото, що вище.
Ну от що нормально людина (не меломан чи аудіофіл) може подумати про це?

Це - ж пляшка для конька, нє?

Головна Сістема:
        Акустичні Сістеми: Audio Physic, моедль Avanti, перша генерація.
        Підсилювач потужності: T+A, модель 1500.
        У якості попереднього підсилювача: AMR DP-777.
        У якості ЦАПу: AMR DP-777.
                У якості другого ЦАПу: - RME Babyface (Перша версія).
        ПКД: T+A, модель CD 1220 R.
        Програвач вінілу: ELAC, модель Miracord 50H.
        Фонокоректор: Abbas Esoteric Audio (Україна), модель "Treble Clef".
        Аудіомеблі: саморобна, столики Ikea, модель Hemnes.
        Акустичні кабли: Acoustic Revive SPC-Reference (bi-wiring).
        Міжкомпоненті кабли: 1)Acoustic Revive, модель RCA-1.0PA; 2)XLO Reference,        модель 2 1A.
        Мережні кабли: 1) Sound-YP, облегшена версія (Україна); 2) саморобні кабли, зроблені з полірованої радянської військової мідної шини, німецькі рознімачи; 3) Neotech NEP-3001 MK3 3х5.25 OCC/SPUPOCC - гібридний мережевий кабл з рознімачем Neotech NC-P303 OCC EU power plug Gold (на підсилівачі потужності).
        Головні телефони: HiFiMan HE-1000, Audeze LCD-X (рекейблінг саморобним срібним каблом), AudioQuest NightHawk.
        Підсилювач головних телефонів: гібридна версія між “Hi-Dynamic” та “Hi-Power”, 5 Вт у класі A на 16 Омах, вихід на транзісторах MOSFET, зроблено Півзом (Луганськ, Україна).
        USB кабли:  1) WireWorld USB Audio cable Starlight Platinum (1 м).
                              2) Sound-YP (Україна), топова модель Master SE (1.35 м).
        Аксесуари: саморобні ніжки під апаратурою, АС та акустичним каблом.
        ПК ноутбук:
        Acer Predator 15, модель G9-591-7451 (RAM 32 Gb, CPU Intel ® Core (TM) i7-6700HQ 2.60 GHz, Windows 10 Home).
        Програмне забезпечення: Process Lasso Pro, Fidelizer Pro, Bug Head Emperor (версія 7.54).
        Портативні джерела музичного сігналу: iPod Nano (четверта генерація), смартфон Meizu Pro 5 (32Gb).

Тестова збірка (PCM, 16-44.1):
01. Rex tremendae (Mozart – Requiem KV 626 – Philippe Herreweghe – La Chapelle Royale – Collegium Vocale – 1996 – Harmonia Mundi)
02. Tuba mirum (Mozart – Requiem KV 626 – Philippe Herreweghe – La Chapelle Royale – Collegium Vocale – 1996 – Harmonia Mundi)
03. Con Te Partiro (Andrea Bocelli – Romanza (XRCD))
04. Luca Ballerini –  Fantasia op 49
05. Manha De Carnaval (Susannah McCorkle – Most Requested Songs – Concord)
06. Koni Priveredlivye (Vladimir Vysotsky – Izbrannoe (1974-75) – Melodiya)
07. Mercy Street (Peter Gabriel – So – Geffen Records)
08. Hotel California (Eagles – Hell Freezes Over – XRCD)
09. Tlon (Nils Petter Molvaer – Khmer – ECM)
10. Growing Up (Peter Gabriel – Up – Real World)
11. Marche au supplice (Berliner Philharmoniker · Herbert von Karajan – Berlioz – Symphonie fantastique · La Damnation de Faust – Danses – Deutsche Grammophone)
12. Carmen Fantaisie (Ruggiero Ricci – LSO – Pierino Gamba – Carmen Fantaisie – XRCD24)
13. Lucky (Molly Johnson - Lucky - A440 Entertainment)
14. Wherever I May Roam (Metallica – 1991 – Elektra)
15. The Sound of Perseverance (Death – The Sound of Perseverance – Nuclear Blast)
16. Killing Strangers (Marylin Manson – The Pale Emperor – Cooking Vinyl, Loma Vista Recordings).

Данний огляд змiг вiдбутися виключно за всілякою допомогою iнтернет-магазину Soundmag (Україна, мiсто Київ). Завiтайте до магазину, де квалiфiкований та доброзичливий персонал зможуть допомогти Вам у виборі навушників та іншої персональної електроніки.





Cognac with tubey coloration

When I've got offer from my dealer to test something what sounded for me like abracadabra I've been in doubts. But name of device in Skype helped me quickly to catch 2 points:
1. unfamiliar brand; 2. absolutely new type of device for reviewing.



lars & ivan THA-8X? Hmmm... Why not when you don't have idea at all?





I like to write about new brand. And I like to do it extremely when the brand is absolutely unknown for me. You feel yourself like a brave explorer who steps on terra incognita. I really had no any idea even about lars & ivan brand name. Despite "lars & ivan" presented their first product on the market in 2000 (!).

Familiar feeling when you've fall in love with device from the first sight?
Modest exterior hides decent fascination in case with THA-8X.



Indeed I couldn't resist the temptation to connect it to my Home System. Now I can discuss about neutrality, transparency, resolution and the rest of voodoo terminology of old, bold and deaf audiophiles.


Now - seriously.

What are the main goals from THA-8X you may get???

Punch. I've heard huge difference on such tracks like "Killing Strangers" or "Tlon" (see list below). Sounds of various drums are much more punchy, thus I will drive to the next point. Control over headphones.

Improvement in conrol over the phones is without controversy.
THA-8X has in times better control compairing to outputs of iPod Nano (4th Generation) or RME Babyface or Meizu Pro 5. Forget about percents! I repeat - in times.

Who doesn't know what is Meizu Pro 5 - you may hide the smiles. This model of Meizu easily will tear to shreds at least 70% of specialized audio players on the market.

 I consider that neutrality/transparency is on good level, I could easily recognize difference between outputs of iPod and Babyface (iPod was prefferable than RME and Meizu got a gold medal).

Resolution. Much higher with HeadAmp. On such non-expensive headphones as Sennheiser PX 100-II (retail price about 55 USD) difference between WAV and mp3 files was huge. And not so much objective difference was on iPod's output. Only this parameter is enough to get a reason for purchasing of any good portable headamp. Also light warmth adds to the source a nice pseudo-analog coloration. Same musical material sounds more analog on HeadAmp's output compared to iPod Nano for example.



THA-8X works good with AudioQuest Nighthawk and HiFiMan HE1000. Radically different phones, right?
 
And in case with HE1000 I always had some spare juice in volume, maximal position what I've reached was 04:00. Please, don't mix it up - 04:00 a.m., not 04:00 p.m.!


Set of supplied items:

- owner's manual (you may download manual from site of manufacturer on the following languages:
English/Finland/Sweden/Hungary/Japan. A strange bundle of languages as for me. Where is Spanish? 2nd language on the planet, by the way.) 
- 2 mini-to-mini 3.5mm stereo interconnect cables of dissimilar length
- mini-USB to USB charger cable (only for charging)
- ribbed snap-on plastic cover for its back
- 4 white straps of 2 various diameters.

Quite rich set. But I should take from my dealer interconnect cable of Shure brand, type "male mini-jack - male mini-jack" with LOA 155 mm, you may see it on all photos.

Construction.

Light construction, only 150 grams (or 5.3 oz). When you look on photos your expectation is heavier.

Presence of 2 inputs from opposite sides is sophisticated solution. First - you will not need longer cable. And second - when you fix audioplayer by stripes you don't need concenrate too much from which side you did it.
2 indicators.

Red on back panel: when device gets charging (on bottom panel). If light will extinguish - battery is full. 



Green on frontal panel: when device is ON.

Red on frontal panel: battery is empty.

Voltage gain is provided by 2 US-made sub-miniature valves of model JA6418 from Raytheon.

High quality sound bipolar-input dual OP-Amp, model MUSES 8820 from JRC are used as well as in many other high-end devices.

Despite on my expectations the body of THA-8X stayed cool at all time during test/review. 2 valves will not add even 1 degree of temperature, so you can be calm and dispose headamp in any place. So, dear smokers, you don't have chance to light up your cigars from THA-8X and you should use for it the green banknote with Benjamin Franklin as usually. Oops, sorry, it's disjecta membra from very another my story!  

Usage of valves in portable headamp isn't so rare solution, I may call at least 5 such models of various brands. But, as I remember, price tags are always heavier then here.

Specifications:
Output power: 180mW x 2 (16Ohm Load), 22mW x 2 (300Ohm Load)
Headphone impedance: 16Ohm ~ 300Ohm
Total harmonic (THD+N):    <1%
Signal to noise ratio: less or equal 80dB
Frequency response: 10Hz ~ 65KHz
Capacity/ Cell / Battery life: 1800mAh/ Lithium-ion Polymer/16-18hours
USB OR Micro USB charging port Micro USB: 300mm
3.5mm: 110mm
Size (LxWxD): (including height of knob) 125.6mm(L) x 78mm(W) x 16mm(D)
Weight:    150.5g

Price (on site of manufacturer): 380 USD.

Conclusion:

your headphones have a great chance to get good portion of warm analog cognac old-school tubey sound and or you may fill up the second life in old portable player. Or get higher level of sound spurring to your smartphone by connection of THA-8X (in my case it was Meizu Pro 5, so called
"audiophile smartphone". This device has own good sound, but connection of THA-8X can launch it to the next level of sound).

And few words about name of review.
Finicky readers may ask - why is so strange name?

Now you will try to switch off all your knowledge regarding the audio gear and take a look on the photo above. What may regular man (non audiophilliac) say about this photo? Rhetorical question.
Cognac flask, neh? Сliché is still ruling by the world.

Home System

        Speakers: Audio Physic, model Avanti, first generation.
        Power Amp: T+A, model 1500.
        as Pre-Amp: AMR DP-777.
        as DAC: AMR DP-777.
        as 2nd DAC: RME Babyface (1st version).
        CD Player: T+A, model CD 1220 R.
        Vinyl Player: ELAC, model Miracord 50H.
        Phono preamp: Abbas Esoteric Audio (Ukraine), model "Treble Clef".
        Rack (audio furniture): DYI from Ikea tables, model Hemnes.
        Speakers Cable: Acoustic Revive SPC-Reference (bi-wiring).
        Component Cables: 1) Acoustic Revive, model RCA-1.0PA; 2) XLO Reference 2 1A.
        Power Cables: 1) Sound-YP, light version (Ukraine); 2) DYI cables made from polished soviet    military copper bus with German connectors; 3) Neotech NEP-3001 MK3 3x5.25 OCC/SPUPOCC hybrid power cable with Neotech NC-P303 OCC EU power plug Gold (on Power Amp).
        Headphones: HiFiMan HE-1000, Audeze LCD-X (recabled by DYI silver wires cable), AudioQuest NightHawk.
        Head Amp: hybrid version between “Hi-Dynamic” and “Hi-Power”, 5 Watts in class A on 16 Ohms, MOSFET-transistor output, Amp made by Peeves (Lugansk City, Ukraine).
        USB Cables: 1) WireWorld USB Audio cable Starlight Platinum (1 m).
                              2) Sound-YP (Ukraine), top model Master SE (1.35 m).
        Accessories: DYI footers under units, speakers and acoustic cable.
        PC Laptop: Acer Predator 15, model G9-591-7451 (RAM 32 Gb, CPU Intel ® Core (TM) i7-6700HQ 2.60 GHz, Windows 10 Home).
        Software: Process Lasso Pro, Fidelizer Pro, Bug Head Emperor (version 7.54).
        Sources of signal: iPod Nano (4th Generation), smartphone Meizu Pro 5.

Test compilation:
01. Rex tremendae (Mozart – Requiem KV 626 – Philippe Herreweghe – La Chapelle Royale – Collegium Vocale – 1996 – Harmonia Mundi)
02. Tuba mirum (Mozart – Requiem KV 626 – Philippe Herreweghe – La Chapelle Royale – Collegium Vocale – 1996 – Harmonia Mundi)
03. Con Te Partiro (Andrea Bocelli – Romanza (XRCD))
04. Luca Ballerini –  Fantasia op 49
05. Manha De Carnaval (Susannah McCorkle – Most Requested Songs – Concord)
06. Koni Priveredlivye (Vladimir Vysotsky – Izbrannoe (1974-75) – Melodiya)
07. Mercy Street (Peter Gabriel – So – Geffen Records)
08. Hotel California (Eagles – Hell Freezes Over – XRCD)
09. Tlon (Nils Petter Molvaer – Khmer – ECM)
10. Growing Up (Peter Gabriel – Up – Real World)
11. Marche au supplice (Berliner Philharmoniker · Herbert von Karajan – Berlioz – Symphonie fantastique · La Damnation de Faust – Danses – Deutsche Grammophone)
12. Carmen Fantaisie (Ruggiero Ricci – LSO – Pierino Gamba – Carmen Fantaisie – XRCD24)
13. Lucky (Molly Johnson - Lucky - A440 Entertainment)
14. Wherever I May Roam (Metallica – 1991 – Elektra)
15. The Sound of Perseverance (Death – The Sound of Perseverance – Nuclear Blast)
16. Killing Strangers (Marylin Manson – The Pale Emperor – Cooking Vinyl, Loma Vista Recordings).

And I kindly remind you - you may leave comments below.