BTG-Audio’s Sunrise Custom IEM Cable | Austere Professional

A while ago, I bought a Sunrise CIEM cable from BTG-Audio. It sported no exotica, didn’t license anything from Ohno, and didn’t make any claims of enhancing the sound quality of a portable system, but yet it remains to this day one of the most impressive cables I own, especially when we consider that it’s essentially a cable made by one single person (well, with the help of a few machines). BTG-Audio is headed by one Brian Goto, a young fellow out of Northern California with an assiduous disposition and a forthcoming nature. He began the business providing re-cabling and modding services for headphone and IEM users; his willingness to perform what others are reluctant to do is what makes his brand stand out. BTG-Audio has also continued to innovate, by bringing out the only aftermarket FitEar cable (other than ALO Audio’s pricey SXC cable and FitEar’s own 00 cable) under $100, also with a sturdy overmold and two wire materials (copper and silver-plated copper), due this March. I’ve already put in a pre-order. Continue reading BTG-Audio’s Sunrise Custom IEM Cable | Austere Professional

Firestone Audio’s Fireye HD | Clean, Clear, Effortless

Firestone Audio is known as a value brand in the world of headphone amplifiers and audio accessories. The Taiwanese company has made a name for itself making the Cute series of small, box-type amplifiers and power supplies. However, over the last couple of years, it has been a little silent with product announcements. Only recently did it come out with an entirely new line of products, beginning with a revamp of the Fireye line. The new line consists of the Fireye HD — Firestone’s flagship portable amplifier as well as the current topic of discussion, the Fireye DA — a combination DAC/amp, and the Fireye HA — a lower-end amplifier based off the output end of the Fireye DA. Continue reading Firestone Audio’s Fireye HD | Clean, Clear, Effortless

Tralucent Audio T1 | Crisp, Powerful, Centered

Tralucent Audio is a new, Hong Kong-based audio outfit that has been making waves in the portable audiophile world. The brainchild of Gavin Chiu, a longtime audiophile, Tralucent’s mission in audio is to deliver the visceral realism of full-sized speaker systems to the world of portable earphones. Tralucent currently has two products in its lineup; the first is the 1Plus2, a universal in-ear monitor configured with a dynamic moving coil driver seated within a tuned acoustic cavity and a tiny dual balanced armature driver at the very tip of the earphone — hence the name “one plus two“. A review will be coming shortly. The second product is a portable amplifier, the T1. Continue reading Tralucent Audio T1 | Crisp, Powerful, Centered

TDK BA200 | Back to Black

Editor’s Note: When I first wrote about the TDK TH-ECBA200BBK over a year ago, it was an unknown quantity. Few people had access to it, so its popularity didn’t catch on until much later in the year, when it began selling in retail locations worldwide. While it’s definitely one of the best dual balanced armature universal IEMs available on the market, it is unfortunately, still a bit of a dark horse compared to the popular offerings from Shure, Westone, and Ultimate Ears. I was immensely happy with it, however, especially when I picked it up for less than $140, which was a price basically unheard of a dual BA IEM. It is now known that the BA200 actually used groundbreaking AcuPass technology from Sonion to achieve its target response. You can read CYMBACAVUM‘s analysis of AcuPass and its benefits here.

It seems like every manufacturer wants a piece of the headphone market these days. Blame the iPod perhaps, for putting a digital music player in the hands of every man, woman, and child. Then blame Dr. Dre, whose Monster (well, no longer) marketing machine altered the status of the premium headphone — from audiophile plaything to trendy status symbol. No longer are in-ear monitors merely analytical tools for recording engineers; they’re now tuned with every type of ear in mind, and originate from more manufacturers than you can shake your DAP at. Whatever the culprit, there’s no denying that headphones and earphones these days come in every color imaginable – grapity purple, wildberry blue, orangey orange, lemony yellow, and even raspberry red.

However, I want to concentrate on only one color: BLACK.

Continue reading TDK BA200 | Back to Black

RedGiant A03 Ossicle | Supernova in the Making

Editor’s Note: This is part of a legacy series of reviews; CYMBACAVUM concentrates mostly on the high-end, but once in a while, we also look at things that are a little more down to earth in price, even if the RedGiants are out of this world!

UPDATE, 2013/03/25: Sound + Vision Magazine has measured the A03 Ossicle here (However, the measurements should be taken with a grain of salt, as the site doesn’t necessarily measure with accepted ear simulator standards with respect to in-ears.)

What is a star at the end of its life?

It’s a burgeoning mass of spent gases — a giant red fireball, simmering in the sky. Its gentle glow belies the immense power it stores, able to burst into an array of primary elements, releasing, in the form of a mesmerising planetary nebula, critical star & planet-building materials into the vastness of space.

Such is the fate of a red giant, and although our own sun is not due to evolve into one for another few billion years, a RedGiant is indeed upon us…

Continue reading RedGiant A03 Ossicle | Supernova in the Making

A New Beginning…

And so it starts…

The first posts of CYMBACAVUM will be reorganizations of impressions and reviews that I’ve written in the past on head-fi (I’ve been contemplating taking a break from the forum, as it has gotten a bit too impersonal for me), so that they’ll have a permanent resting place on the net.

They’ll be published (and sometimes back-dated) in order of relevance.