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MEElectronics M9P Review

February 26, 2010

Introduction

The M9P IEMs hail from a small California-based company by the name of MEElectronics. They produce a wide range of IEMs that cater to different users with various sound signatures. The M9 and M9P IEMs are among the most inexpensive products available and are currently selling for $20 and $23 respectively. I decided to buy the M9P IEMs because they not only function as earphones but will also have use as a headset for my cell phone and iPod Touch. After breaking them in and listening to them with a variety of music in my collection, these are my favorite IEMs in the sub $30 price range. So without further delay, read on for my thoughts on the MEElectronics M9P IEMs.

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MEElectronics M9P First Impressions

February 23, 2010

Early last week as I was browsing the forums at Head-Fi, I was alerted to a discount special by MEElectronics, a small California-based manufacturer of various gadgets such as DAPs and IEMs. Having read a few reviews on their more popular IEMs, the $40 M6 and the M9, which apparently uses the same dynamic driver and retails for about $20, I looked over their product lineup and settled on the slightly more expensive M9P, which comes with a built-in inline microphone which I figured I could use for making Skype calls with my iPod Touch. Yesterday (after a few shipping gaffes by USPS), I received my M9Ps and immediately gave them a listen straight out of the box.

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Sennheiser HD280 Pro Blu-Tack Mod

February 18, 2010

When I received my Sennheiser HD280 Pro headphones back in June of 2008 and started to listen to them, I was immediately impressed with the overall sound signature. These were my first “good” headphones and easily blew everything else I’d ever owned out of the water.

But…something was missing. Something I deem very important to my listening experience. That something was bass. Considering I listen to a great deal of Hip-Hop music, this was admittedly a very glaring omission from the Sennheiser HD280 Pros. Everything else about these headphones was great to my ears but without a well pronounced low end, the sound signature was lacking. I was able to boost the bass artificially by using a number of bass boosting EQ settings in many of my music playing devices. While this technique worked in the short term, I began turning to other sources to get my bass fix, such as my Bass-Freq earbuds, which, as I’ve already reported, were lacking in other areas and couldn’t compare to the overall sound quality of the Sennheisers.

Recently, while doing some research, I came across the Blu-Tack mod which was apparently an easy way to add some body to the HD280 Pro’s bass. I found a couple of tutorials on how to do it which involves opening the ear cups of the headphones and spreading the tack about liberally. Since I already have experience opening the headphones to replace a broken cable (don’t ask), opening them up again was a pretty easy task. So, I bought some Blu-Tack from Amazon and got to work when it arrived.

The mod itself is incredibly simple to perform and is easily reversed if the end result is a bit too heavy on the bass for your liking and I’m going to show you how it’s done below.

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Why I Chose a Netbook Over the iPad

February 13, 2010

Yes, I know I’ve been writing a lot about the iPad as of late. Just bear with me here.

Since the announcement of the iPad, the latest in a long line of portable gadgets from Apple, I’ve been thinking long and hard about this thing and trying to find a place for it in my day to day life. While I haven’t exactly caught the iPad fever here, I’ve warmed up a bit to the concept of the device. It’s the sort of device that seems to have a certain niche appeal and will end up polarizing the market. One trip to one of the many gadget blogs and websites out there will show you that it has already done an excellent job of doing just that. In thinking of the iPad, I was drawn to another gadget, a gadget that saw its beginnings in 2007 with the launch of ASUS’s now famous Eee PC.

With the launch of that tiny laptop designed for browsing the net on the go, the netbook was born, and created a new segment of the PC market which has exploded since and made significant gains in terms of marketshare and popularity. These little portable laptops, most of which are powered by Intel’s underpowered (for the purpose of delivering long battery life) but enduring Atom processor, have become a staple among consumers looking for a small device that’s capable of checking email, playing YouTube clips, updating Facebook profiles and writing MS Word documents and be thrown easily into a backpack or purse at a moment’s notice. While Apple has yet to produce a product that could be classified as a netbook, they’ve certainly taken notice. In fact, Steve Jobs aimed a shot at netbooks in his presentation prior to the unveiling of the iPad, calling them slow, clunky and bogged down by “PC” software (an obvious jab at Windows). After hearing this, I began to think, “Are netbooks truly inferior to whatever Apple has cooked up?” Well, after seeing what exactly Apple has created here, I don’t think so.

While it’s quite obvious that netbooks have their limitations, the iPad has quite a few limitations of its own. Quite frankly, I’d even go as far as to say that the iPad has more limitations than the average netbook and I’m going to run down a list of them as I continue on.

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HiFiMan RE0 Impressions/Pseudo Review

February 10, 2010

Over the last week or so of listening to the RE0s with a wide variety of music, I’ve grown accustomed to its unique sound signature because they are so unlike all of the various headphones/earbuds/IEMs I’ve listened to so far. Everything I’ve listened to prior to the RE0s has colored the music I’ve listened to with its own sound signature. From the cold, analytical presentation of my HD280 Pros to the deep, bloated bass of my V-Moda Bass-Freq earbuds, everything layers a bit of itself over the music. With the RE0s, there’s nothing there. The sound signature is entirely flat and while that may sound like a negative, trust me, it isn’t. This neutrality creates total transparency and allows the source to come through exactly as the artist intended it to. Because of this, the RE0s are unquestionably the best headphones I’ve ever heard.

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V-Moda Bass-Freq Review

February 7, 2010

Introduction

Back in 2008, I began making the transition from casual music listener to full-fledged audiophile. This was the year I sort of reached a sense of enlightenment and I began to reevaluate my tastes in music. I stopped listening to the radio and started listening to what I consider to be “good” music (IE anything that’s not on the radio), especially when it came to Hip-Hop, on my Zune whenever I went out. During this time, my Zune and I were inseparable. Any time I was driving, it is always plugged into the car’s stereo and set on shuffle mode and when I was a passenger, I always had my headphones on my ears, a trend that rings true to this day.

Back then, I owned a pair of Sony clip on headphones which had been decent for a while but when I made the transition to audiophile they just couldn’t cut it, especially after I picked up a pair of the full size and great sounding Sennheiser HD280 Pros. So, I had to do some shopping and eventually settled on a pair of $40 (at the time) V-Moda Bass-Freq earbuds that I managed to get from Amazon for $20. Based on reviews I’d read, these earbuds offered good sound quality while also delivering a very strong and deep bass. Being somewhat of a bass-head myself, I decided to order them based on their low price and bass-heavy sound.

After all this time, I’ve finally decided to write down my thoughts on the earbuds that have served me well over the past year and a half or so. Without any further delay, read on for my thoughts on the Bass-Freq earbuds.

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HiFiMan (Head-Direct) RE0 Unboxing and Initial Impressions

February 2, 2010

Earlier today, I received my Head-Direct RE0 In Ear Monitors (IEM) which I ordered early last week to replace my aging V-Moda Bass-Freq earbuds which decided to call it quits shortly before then. So, I recorded a short “unboxing” video which I’ve uploaded to YouTube and will be shared below.

After my Bass-Freq earbuds decided to call it quits, I did a bit of research into the world of portable headphones, coming up with a number of positive candidates in the process. My search turned up quality portable headphones from a number of manufacturers both familiar (Ultimate Ears, Klipsch and Shure) and not so familiar (YUIN and Fischer Audio) and after reading reviews on a multitude of portable headphones, I finally decided on the Head-Direct RE0 IEMs.

A few of you may know Head-Direct and they’re pretty famous in the audiophile community for being one of the leading importers of headphones and other audio accessories from a number of small overseas companies, some of which I’d never even heard of before venturing to Head-Direct’s site (YUIN being chief among those).  As it turns out, Head-Direct decided to venture into the highly populated IEM market themselves and begin selling their own RE line at varying levels of quality. Among the highest of these was the RE0s which, until the fairly recent release of the RE252s, were the company’s flagship IEMs. I checked out a number of reviews on the headphones before making my decision and saw that they were very close to the top of their class and could easily hang with some of the best on the market, even those which cost 2 – 3 times more than the RE0s themselves. After going to Head-Direct and seeing that they were on sale for $79 (down from $169), I was sold and placed my order.

So, I’m pretty sure you’re wondering if these things live up to the hype. So far, I have to say yes. I’ve listened to a number of songs on them already such as Wale’s Contemplate, Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven and 2Pac’s Temptations and they all sound great. I instantly noticed that the sound is, above all, transparent. The clarity in the sound signature jumps to the forefront the instant music begins playing and is immensely satisfying. After listening to my V-Modas for as long as I have and comparing them to the RE0s, they’re far muddier and less…open. The low end on the V-Modas is satisfying, but it really can’t compare to the RE0s and honestly, I didn’t expect them to, given how inexpensive they are (about $20) in comparison.

Now, I haven’t heard a great number of the more expensive IEMs so I can’t vouch for the quality of the RE0s just yet in comparison but I can say that they have impressed me right out of the box and, considering that IEMs with dynamic drivers such as the RE0s sound better after they’ve been broken in for a number of hours (10 – 50 is usually enough but some audiophiles say they need upwards of 100 hours to sound their best), things can only get better from here. I haven’t even listened to them with my portable headphone amp yet so I can tell that I’m in for a treat when they’ve been broken in and I listen to them amped.

As of now, I’d give the RE0s a high recommendation. This should be taken with a grain of salt seeing as I’ve only had a few minutes’ worth of listening time with them thus far. At the price they’re currently available for ($79), I honestly can’t see how you can go wrong with these as they offer exceptional depth and clarity even now, before they’ve been broken in and settled into their final sound signature. So, if you’re interested, you can check them out here. Keep in mind, however, that this is marked as a “Christmas Sale” and Christmas has obviously been over for a long time now. It’s highly likely that this sale price isn’t going to last for much longer so get them while you can!