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…

Quick Thoughts: FIIL Carat

You’ve probably have read the review of the Diva Pro by Mr. T here on CYMBACAVUM. At their price point, the Diva Pros were impressive, so we were excited to hear about FIIL‘s Bluetooth in-ear line up. We contacted FIIL regarding their Carat and Carat Pro, and received a pair of Carat for review. (At the time,…

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…

The Biz: More Companies Join In On The Manufacture of Balanced Armatures

With so many companies making earphones and headsets, it’s no wonder demand for balanced armatures is on the rise. They’re not just for premium earphones anymore, as BA and hybrid earphones can now be found for under $30, and reach prices upwards of $2500. As mentioned in a previous article of ours, ‘The Biz: What…

Critical Analysis: 1964|ADEL — Science or Science Fiction?

Editor’s Note: At CYMBACAVUM, we’re constantly trying to bridge science with the wonderful audio experiences we have. @miceblue takes on an scientist’s curiosity to examine Asius Technologies and 1964Ears’ ADEL — how it functions, the scientific principles behind it, and what it might or might not be. This article was intended to be published on…

Quick Thoughts: Ion by Soranik

Editor’s Note: Our thoughts are based on pre-production, prototype units of the Soranik Ion and may not necessarily be fully indicative of the state of the final production models. Pictures were generously provided by Soranik. In the grand scheme of things, the financial requirements for becoming a custom IEM manufacturer are not all that stringent….

Celsus Sound: Trailblazing Wireless Freedom

Editor’s Note: Another incredibly late article — apologies to everyone all around! We’re extremely limited on time! Last year, I had the good fortune of meeting with Jason Lim, co-founder and former CEO of Nuforce. Since leaving Nuforce (the company is now a subsidiary of Optoma), Mr. Lim has been busy. He founded Heap Venture,…

The Empire Strikes Back: Empire Ears Line-up Overview

Editor’s Note: shotgunshane was able to get a 10-day loan of the Empire Ears’ universal lineup; read the introduction, or jump straight to sound impressions… By now most of you have probably heard of EarWerkz , perhaps from one of our reports on the company (read more) and their previous flagship Legend CIEM (read more);…

The Biz: E-Earphone’s CIEM Store in Akihabara, Tokyo

Founded by an Osakan man with a full head of hair and a hope to spread the spirit of porta-fi to the masses, E-Earphone is one of Japan’s premier personal audio store chains, with storefronts in both Tokyo and Osaka metropolises. Its aisles upon aisles of headphones and earphones are famed to the enthusiast community,…

Quick Thoughts: Sony’s Hybrid Evolution, from A to Z

Editor’s Note: This thing was supposed to come out months and months ago; it somehow slipped through the cracks. Better late than never, though. Sony has been making a big push with its hybrid earphone models. Last year, they released the first generation of their hybrid series in the XBA-H1, XBA-H2, and XBA-H3.

News: Reid Heath Acoustics Introduces the DualCoil™ T20

Reid Heath Acoustics (RHA) has not been around for all that long, but in the three or so years that it has been, the Glasgow-based audio firm has done a whole lot to up its profile in the competitive and increasingly crowded earphone space. New companies constantly come and go, and while there have been…