The Biz: Asahi-Kasei and ESSTech go to war over mobile superiority

There’s no question that, over the past three years, ESSTech has completely dominated the premium portable digital audio segment. The fab-less circuit design firm kicked things off in 2014 with the introduction of the now-ubiquitous ES9018-2M, a mobile-minded DAC chip designed as a two-channel die shrink of the venerated 8-channel ES9018S (itself the evolved production…

iFi Audio iEMatch

Editor’s Note: iFi Audio provided the iEMatch free of charge for the review What is the iEMatch and why would you need one? iFi Audio markets the iEMatch as a tool to eliminate hiss, restore dynamic range and give you more volume headroom — sounds pretty simple but in the world of in-ear monitors, and in…

Op-Ed: Embrace the Jack-less revolution!

With the next generation Apple iPhone 7 set to be announced imminently, many people have bemoaned Apple’s decision (not 100% confirmed, but essentially a foregone conclusion, based on the substantial and numerous rumors) to remove the 3.5 mm analog jack from the phone. Not only have highly influential e-zines such as The Verge have come…

In Pictures: TEAC HA-P90SD

We didn’t get to listen to it at all, as the operating system froze and crashed repeatedly; turning the power knob to the ‘OFF’ setting couldn’t even turn it off — we had to wait until the battery drained. A very bad sign indeed. The build quality feels similar to that of the lower cost…

The Biz: Show Report – TAA International Hi-End Hi-Fi Show

The TAA International Hi-End Hi-Fi Show is a large annual audiophile exhibit organized by the Taiwan Audio Association. Held this past weekend at the Grand Hotel in Taipei, Taiwan, the show is hi-fi heavy in the traditional sense, so it’s mostly about the KEFs, the Focals, and the Magicos of the world. However, for the…

Rapid Reaction: Cowon Plenue P1

** UPDATED 2014/08/22 ** (scroll to bottom) If I had to boil my thoughts down to two words to describe the Cowon Plenue P1, it’d be: artificial analog. Sounds like it’s a bad thing, huh? Well, I don’t know. I really don’t, I swear.

Rapid Reaction: Calyx M

Everyone wants in on the DAP game these days, and the supply chain for lower power, high quality D/A conversion is easier than ever to tap into, and it seems like every hi-fi equipment manufacturer in China and Korea is releasing something within the next 18 months, setting high-end portable audio ablaze. With so many…

Rapid Rant: Hey, It Fits Well In Your Hand…

What. The. F**k. $250 for the AK S02 charging stand. Really? So the zillion percent profit margin isn’t enough? Please tell me that the leather case came from a kosher slaughter.

Live Event: PONO Music, Kickstarter, and High-Resolution Music

CYMBACAVUM is going live on YouTube! Join Lachlan and Tom for a discussion and Q&A session on the PONO Music Player, its Kickstarter campaign, and its possible ramifications on the future of high-resolution music! The event has ended. Please join us next time!

Sony’s NWZ-F886, 24-bit / 192 kHz, Android Walkman

The new Sony high-resolution Walkman models have been out for nearly half a year. People agree that it, along with the higher-end ZX1, has the most polished user interface of any high-resolution capable digital audio player on the market. Mr. T bought one at launch.

Final Impressions On The iBasso DX50

Editor’s Note: The DX50 is not a product that we here at CYMBACAVUM are able to endorse. TheDigitalFreak spent many long, painful hours really trying to like the unit, and just could not. Unfortunately, this is not an occurrence unique to the DX50, and is altogether too common a trend amongst recent budget audiophile DAPs….