One way to improve the performance of your beloved headphone or IEM is by getting an upgrade cable, although whether the improvement is noticeable remains debateable. I have never been a cable believer and the thought to upgrade my cable never actually cross my mind. Until recently when I got myself a Radius HP-TWF41 and I genuinely hated the cable that comes with it, which brings me to some valid reasons for getting aftermarket cable: less microphonic, not easy to tangle and easy to skin.
Radius as a company is probably not widely known among audiophiles, unless if you are based or have visited Japan, chance are, you won’t find their products in stores near you. Their history actually started in United States on May 1986 as a subsidiary of Apple. In 1991, the company expanded to Japan. Not long after that, in 1996, the Japanese branch became independent and separated from their United States origin. Since then, the Japanese Radius has been focused on making peripheral for Apple devices and also on home and portable audio market. The United States branch however, changed their name to Digital Origin, allowing the Japanese company to keep the Radius name today. Quite a journey, eh?
The current product lines of Radius consisted of home and portable DAC and amplifier, earphones, the digital audio player software called NePLAYER and some other accessories for Apple and Android devices. What I’m interested in is their audio product of course, in the case of IEM, Radius has covered the market from the bottom into the mid-fi range.
Their highest-end IEM is unique that they have Dual Diaphragm Matrix (DDM) driver, possibly the first that combine dynamic and piezoelectric driver in each side of the IEM. That current lineup consisted of two identical siblings, TWF31 and TWF41. I have used their flagship, TWF41 for a couple of months now, while it’s not trying to compete with the (ridiculous) high-end market for IEM, it’s a quite impressive performer in their price range… and unique.
Craving for some wooden IEM? Then the Wood series from JVC could be a good pair to consider. Released back in 2014, JVC Wood series line consisted of FX650, FX750, FX850 and FX1100 (or FX1200 for international version).
This is my review of FX850, which I acquire earlier this year. Priced below the flagship FX1100/FX1200, FX850 shares many similarities with the flagship sibling, including the unique 11mm “wood dome unit” dynamic driver and detachable cable.
Last year’s Massdrop collaboration with Fostex is a hit among audiophiles, selling all the allocated 1950 units in just a few days. The drop has been successfully run the second time and has now added Purpleheart version to the mix, which has attracted more than 1600 buyer at the time of the writing.
There is a reason why TH-X00 is popular, since it follows the predecessor success, namely the Denon D2000, D5000 and D7000 made by Foster, which later Fostex (Foster consumer brand) succeeded with TH600 and TH900. The Denons has been discontinued, while Fostex TH600 and TH900 is still regarded as one of the best closed headphone today, albeit not for everyone.
I got mine from the first drop last year, while late, here’s my review.
I have never been an audiophile myself, although I love to own a good pair of headphones, I didn’t worry much about my setup. My personal belief is that to upgrade audio quality, a good pair of headphones is a lot more important than anything else. Of course, a good source is important, but I’m also in the camp that couldn’t distinguish a lossless file with a good compressed one (iTunes AAC files for example, is generally good).
But I have always been curious how a separate DAC/AMP could do to improve my setup. Is it worth upgrading over the on-board sound from my setup? So FiiO recently released Q1, an entry-level ($69.99) portable DAC/Amp and I decided to give it a test myself.