Reviews by a Snakeoil Salesman. Trust the Snakeoil Salesman . Unless otherwise specified, all reviewed gear are either owned by myself, or loaned from friends. Contact me if you want me do a paid review - if you dare (who in their right minds would want their products be promoted by a Snakeoil Salesman?!
Active Noise Control (ANC) headphones.
I’ve been wanting to get one for a while since I first tried the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II. The Bose is my first positive experience of ANC, and the Bose is THE phone to buy if you want the best ANC.
Here in Australia, we see QC25 and QC35 for sale/demo in the shops; and we see people wearing them like a fashion statement out in the streets.
The Bose has the best ANC, but not any more.
There is a new kid in town. All hail the market leader in ANC - the Sony WH-1000X M3.
Like Bose, this came from the left field. And like like Bose, it asserted it’s authority immediately on arrival. And now the Sony sits atop the mantle as the best ANC headphones available in the market today. If you need any proof the Bose has been toppled, just look at the street price for a pair of QC35II now. Stores has no choice to cut the price to compete with the Sony.
Actually, this Sony has been available for sale for a while (The M3 is released probably around ~ Aug 2018 if not earlier). It just took me this long to snag one at a good price - just under AUD$300.
For better or worse, it seems D+M have moved away from the Audyssey Pro Kit and is moving towards a more generic solution to Audyssey tweaking. This is their latest creation, the Audyssey MultEQ Editor. Available on Android and iOS.
At AUD$30.99 it’s one of the more expensive Android Apps out there. This app allows you to:
- View the speaker detection results, to check correct installation
- View before and after results of the Audyssey calibration, making it easy to identify room problems.
- Edit the Audyssey target curve for each channel pair to suit your tastes
- Adjust the overall EQ frequency roll off for each channel pair
- Switch between 2 high frequency roll off target curves
- Enable/Disable midrange compensation to make the sound brighter or smoother
- Save and load calibration results
At time of writing, this app has a rating of 2.8 on Google Play (Based on 175 reviews). There are 59 1 star reviews. Should you get this APP given the price and the reviews? Read on to find my take.
Music should not be a thing one can only be enjoyed at home, music must be enjoyed everywhere - at home, outdoors, or at work. Especially work!
Music brings a lot of joy, and everybody loves a happy workplace. With my new job, I no longer have a fixed office/desk. In the morning on every work day, I take all my work equipment from a central area and take it to an unoccupied desk in the “office pen", where I will work from for the the rest of the day. In the morning I’d unload my equipment, set it up, work and then pack everything up when the day finishes. Everything has to be packed up, no personal belongings can be left on the desk at the end of the work day.
This system is called hot-desking. I love the flexibility this system brings, and my employer can reduce its operating costs (Don’t have to maintain 1:1 staff/equipment ratio).
Win-Win! Except a hot desking environment is not ideal for an audiophile.
This environment is suited for a normal audio system because it’d be too time consuming to setup and dismantle every day. Headfi is the way to go. Previously I’m using a Teac UD-501 DAC. While that unit is already a compact DAC/AMP, the size is still impractical for a hot-desking environment. I need something smaller and lighter, something ideally suited for a hot desk office. Something that don’t require a audit every year. The Teac UD-501 is totally unsuitable in this environment and has to go. The fact that it’s a terrible sounding DAC really makes this a no brainer.
So off I go looking for the 501 replacement - the newcomer must satisfy the following:
- Budget of $AUD250 or lower
- DSD support
- Headphone Amp
- Stereo Input
- Digital Input
- USB input
- Works with mobiles as music source
Did not have a lot of time to do my research, so I randomly searched e-bay and basically purchased the only product that meet all the above requirements: xDuoo XD-05 DAC. All at a princely sum of AUD$212.41 (with 10% e-bay voucher applied).
So what’s in it? Let’s take a look and see what a $212 product brings.