As more phones are removing headphone jack nowadays, people are starting to go with wireless headphones. However, for some of us that already have a wired headphones that we love, a Bluetooth receiver with more sophisticated DAC and amp section could be a good solution. Audio Technica has been in this market since at least 2014 with their AT-PHA50BT. This product I featured here, is AT-PHA55BT, the successor that released late last year in Japan.
Personally, I like the convenience to disconnect myself from wire between my phone and my headphones, so lately my collection of Bluetooth receiver has been growing. The AT-PHA55BT is one of my favorite and perhaps have the most unique character that separate itself from the rest.
Bluetooth audio has gone a long way and is starting to sound as good as the wired counterpart, especially with high resolution codecs like LDAC and aptX HD. But to be completely free of cable, the true wireless technology is still pretty early. I’m not convinced at this since I had a bad experience with the first generation of Samsung Gear IconX, but with bonafide audio company starting to enter this scene, including Master & Dynamic, Sennheiser and lastly Audio Technica, I’m ready to give it another chance.
Enter the Audio Technica true wireless lineup that was revealed a few months back at IFA, which includes the workout-friendly ATH-SPORT7TW and audiophile-centric ATH-CKR7TW. It is the latter that intrigued me and I have been pretty excited to own one since then. It is finally released last November in Japan and I decided to import one from there.
On my article about working with the Surface Go, I found issue with using regular power bank that is insufficient to charge the Surface Go, to the point that it could throttle the processor when going below 20%. So right after I wrote that article, I went on to search for a power bank that support USB-C PD (Power Delivery).
However, not many power bank is up to the criteria that I needed. The first and foremost requirement is the size must be reasonable, as I’ll be taking it around along with the Surface Go, so anything beyond 20,000 mAh is out of question.
Another thing is, I’m looking for a more well-known brand, so I avoid generic power bank that has unknown brand name. This means I’ll be looking for the likes of Anker, Aukey and other reputable company in this space. I also wanted to be able to charge the Surface Go at full speed, so the USB-C PD must be able to output at least 24W.
As my activity is getting more mobile these days, I found a need for a small laptop that is easy to take around. Looking for a 10 inch laptop is proving to be more challenging that it seems. This category of small laptop is full of cheaper option that people bought for school or for a very light workload, which most were powered by the old Atom and some newer one with Celeron.
Granted, some of these Atom machine were actually quite nice, even if some were from 2 years ago, notable example being the Lenovo Yoga Book, ASUS Transformer Mini T102 and Chuwi SurBook Mini. The only exception to this is Samsung Galaxy Book 10.6 with Intel Core M3, but it was also from 2 years ago and miss a refresh afterward. So when Microsoft finally reveal the Surface Go, there is no hesitation in my mind, I want to get one, as soon as it is available!
One of the issue I had with Nintendo Switch is the headphone output quality. Due to how compact it is and the fact that it houses an active cooling fan inside the same housing, caused audible hiss to carry over to the headphone output. The issue, in particular, made worse in sensitive IEM, while Switch itself isn’t capable at driving full size headphone very well. The use of standard USB-C port in Switch gave me some hope, but USB audio support isn’t there at launch.
Then the 4.0 update came and some big features finally arrive. Important one like system transfer finally there and addition of video capture allow sharing great moment as easy as holding the screenshot button. But the most important feature for me is not mentioned anywhere in the changelog and it is the USB audio support. Yes! Switch finally allow you to use external USB DAC.
So last weekend is the first week of ARMS Global Testpunch demo sessions. I have the chance to join 4 out of 6 available 1-hour-long session. There will be another group of sessions next week at the same time, then the subsequent release at June 16th, roughly two weeks away.
At CanJam Singapore 2017, I have the opportunity to try out the best headphone system in the world right now, reborn of the legendary Orpheus, the Sennheiser HE 1. The slot is limited, with CanJam attendees must reserve for a slot beforehand. I got to reserve a slot, along with a couple of my friends. Each slot is about 5 minutes long, so it is a short experience. But how good is it? Is it worthy of the £55,000 price tag?
When Audeze introduced the Sine headphone at CES earlier this year, it has caught my attention since then. The Sine became the entry-level from Audeze highly regarded line up of headphones and is the first on-ear from the company.
Like other Audeze headphone, it uses planar magnetic driver, complete with the Fazor elements and Fluxor magnetic arrays Audeze used in their higher-end line.
Unlike the LCD audiophile-minded design, Sine continues the consumer-friendly approach started from EL-8, with option for Cipher cable that connect to iDevices via Lightning connector. BMW DesignWorks is again behind the design of this nice looking headphone.
I have been using Sine for a couple of months now and I can say that I’m quite impressed by the sounds. Mine is the standard option without the Cipher cable though, so I can’t speak on how the Cipher cable improves on iDevices.
I have heard about Echobox earphone before, but I never paid attention to it. That is, until one day I went to my local headphone store and came across to this earphone physically. Fully named as Echobox Finder X1, I didn’t have big expectation on this small in-ear at first, that is until I tried it myself and went home with one. Since then, the Finder X1 has become my on-the-go cans.
Echobox is a small company that is based in US. They previously run Indiegogo campaign for this earphone along with a Digital Audio Player with Android OS, the Explorer. Both products is very compelling, a small titanium in-ear that built like a tank and an Android DAP with unique wooden housing. I hope I can review the Explorer one day (it’ll be released this month), but here is my review for the Finder X1 earphone.
Apple make a bold move when they introduced the new 12″ Macbook last year, that it features only one USB-C port which doubles as both data and charging port. It became the main critics in the tech community, though Apple keep going with their decision when they updated the Macbook this year, still features the single USB-C port.
However, one good thing about the USB-C port is that it is universal. Apple sell expensive adapteralong with the new Macbook, but other companies also has the freedom to offer cheaper alternatives, like this adapter from Juiced Systems. Another advantage of USB-C, together with low-power Core M processor of Macbook is that it has low power consumption and in turns, allow it to be charged from a portable battery. Enter Anker PowerCore+ 20100, one of the portable battery that tries to sell on this capability and I put it into my own test.