BUS RIDE IMPRESSION: Blur 魔王

Wow. This was all I could say upon trying Light’s Blur 魔王. This is one of those few custom earbuds that you can only get by contacting the maker for one, and this one doesn’t come cheap. I know, why in the world would one want to splurge around $300 for an earbud? The price alone can net you a really good amp, or even an excellent DAP, even a really good pair of cans so why indeed?

Once you get hold of the Blur 魔王, I assure you, you will understand; pretty much everything about it exalts why the earbud is priced as such. Heck, after trying it on, I will be gutsy to say that it should have been worth more than that.

At this point I have tried quite a lot of earbuds offered in the market and this by far has to be the best that I have tried, even better than the renowned MX985 by Sennheiser which used to be on the top of my list. Funny thing, the first few times I tried this I had the gall to say that this beauty isn’t exactly the best there is in the market (a couple of friends were astounded when I said it) but when I had a better environment to try it out, I immediately became a believer. Continue reading “BUS RIDE IMPRESSION: Blur 魔王”

BUS RIDE IMPRESSION: Master & Dynamic MH40

Hello again and welcome to another edition of the Bus Ride Impression! For today’s edition, I am pretty much a lucky guy having been granted an opportunity to try the Master & Dynamic MH40. This can has been in my radar for quite some time now and to be honest it has caught my fancy given the feedback I have been reading about it on top of how it looks. Pardon me, but while the aesthetics did catch my attention, I have been interested as to how it sounds. I believe that the MH40 is one of the underappreciated brands in the market that deserves some attention thus my interest.

Lo and behold, upon getting my hands on one (thanks Pete for the loaner), my suspicions has been allayed; it does sound fantastic as it looks. I therefore think that it is about time the local market pay attention to one of these babies given how well they sound especially if it meets your preference. I would say that this should be part of a personal audio enthusiast’s collection given how well it works with a few of the sources that I tried it with.

Let’s get on with the review and find out how well it does. Continue reading “BUS RIDE IMPRESSION: Master & Dynamic MH40”

BUS RIDE IMPRESSION: Trinity Audio Sagaris Icarus III

One would probably wonder as to what else can Trinity Audio offer now that they have laid out most of their recent outings for the season. Sure, Trinity Audio has the 12 pair tuning filter on every product they currently have, so most of the TA fans must have memorized each and every tuning filter there is for the brand. Apart from that, one might probably ask, “what else is new?”.

Enter the Trinity Audio Sagaris Icarus III. One would think that the said IEM would just offer the fanciful face plates you can switch around based on your preference. Yes, it is nice and nifty, but upon trying the IEM, one would wonder how in the world does Trinity Audio able to come up with yet a different style out of its tuning given its usual formula.

Let’s read on and find out how the Icarus III fare.

Build

As mentioned, TA pulled some bells and whistles in terms of looks with the new Phantom Master and with the Icarus III through the face plates which allows users some sort of customization. This should be nice as it allows one not to only change the sound signature through its tuning filters but also with how it looks. For some, this allows some updates on the looks once one gets tired of it, and can even allow ease in identifying which earpiece goes to which ear. Not only aesthetic, but should be quite functional. The Icarus comes with a pair each of gold fibre, polished blue and polished red face plates, but given the current air of technology, some pretty crafty dudes can even come up with other colors through a 3D scanner and printer.

The Icarus III also emulated the new Master with its cable management tech by terminating the earpieces at the cable splitter, which according to TA is to allow the IEMs to be used in single ended connection and in balanced connection in preparation for its Sagaris DAP and DAC. This I think is quite a good move as the package comes with a single ended 3.5mm-3.5mm cable (TRS) and a 3.5mm-3.5mm balanced cable (TRRS), which means it can be used with balanced sources like the HM901S. Furthermore, one can still opt to get a custom 3.5mm-2.5mm TRRS cable for other balanced sources should this be the case for their DAPs. Only issue I have is that it would have been nice if the earpieces are detachable with either 2-pin or MMCX termination, although for some it won’t really be much of an issue since the cable splitter already allows one to switch around cables for SE to balanced options. This is really just a matter of what floats their boats.

Shells are obviously where TA invested on improvements. While the older IEMs of TA has an uncanny issue on durability, TA decided to make this issue a thing of the past. The shell halves are now secured by screws, which mean only the totally clumsy ones can wreck havoc on the otherwise sturdily built earpieces. Overall, it is a kudos for TA to keep on improving their craft. This should quell some people’s malicious claims on TA IEMs’ durability.

As usual, the Icarus III carries twelve pairs of tuning filters, which should allow its users a wide array of tuning options.

In terms of weight, the Icarus is also significantly lighter compared to the new Master. Perhaps it was because of the number of drivers the new Master has, that I really am not sure.

Overall, the build of Icarus III has indeed been incredible, perhaps one of the best in terms of durability. Paired with TA’s one year warranty, the Icarus should be one of the best, at least on its price range when it comes to durability.

Sound

As I have said, one would wonder if TA has anything else to offer with their new line Sagaris. Fair enough, based on my initial impressions I was able to draw some differences on how TA tunes their usual lines particularly the Phantom series.

With Sagaris, TA opted to go for a couple of different drivers. They are pretty much driven off the typical BAs and DDs, and I was not really sure how the dual coil electroacoustic transducers and the series 2 wideband balanced armatures would sound differently from the typical ones. This we will tackle as I take the Icarus III for a spin.

For the test, I will go with my trusty Hifiman HM-901S and Aune M1S. Will also be switching the SE and balanced cable around to see how much difference it will make in comparison to each other.

Gravity (Sara Bareilles, Brave Enough: Live At The Variety Playhouse)

Perhaps this is where the strength of the Icarus III lies: live tracks. It places you in the midst of the crowd with relatively close seating from the stage. You won’t hear any echoes, Bareilles’ voice stands out well while harmoniously accompanied by the piano. The crowd erupting in applause only adds to the sense of realism you hear off the track, and it actually gave me goosebumps especially around 3:30 of the track. Bareilles’ voice was really made to shine with the Icarus III. Perhaps it was because of the gold undampened filter that I used, but the mid ranges are definitely spectacular, more so when using the balanced connection on the HM-901S which added an even wider soundstage and better clarity of the higher frequencies.

The Day I Tried To Live (Soudgarden, Superunknown)

This track sounded quite very interesting for me. Started off using the purple filters and balanced cable, the guitars at the start of the track sounded very distinct and crisp, with the drums entering with such resonance. Sub-bass is just lovely, with that very clean rumble that doesn’t spill over the neighboring frequencies. Cornell’s voice also stood out, but a bit of a downside is how rolled off the cymbals sounded like. Not too rolled off, but me being who I am feels that it somehow rolled off a bit too early for my taste. Soundstage still is superb, width is far more superior to the point that I feel this usually from open backed cans.

Dreams (The Cranberries, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?)

On the third track of the test, one thing stood clear, that is the Icarus III sounded with such excellent clarity. I tried to do some filter rolling and I still get to be satisfied with the level of clarity the Icarus III delivered. With Dreams, details sounded crystalline and no hint of veiling was observed. The details are amazing to the point that micro details are easily distinguishable. Of course, there’s also the separation which is, I must say, is better than most IEMs I have tried at the same price range. The rumbles on the track was amazing, guitar strums lingered quite well (pun unintended), vocals showed such assymetry that is truly awe-inspiring. I just realized that I am getting hooked with the Icarus III at the moment.

Between the balanced and single ended cables, I will have to say that I urge anyone who gets an Icarus III to please, please try the balanced cable. While the single ended connection is already excellent, I will have to insist that you try to use the balanced cable and be blown away. I think with the balanced cable, the dynamics and soundstage improved even further.

Wrap-Up

So the verdict? I am hooked with the Icarus III. I will have to laud Trinity Audio for coming up with the formula. You see, most cases in the IEM sector of the hobby would depend on the regular BA and dynamic drivers, but TA did something that not every manufacturer is always willing to do: venture with new techs for better sound. It is understandable, in fairness, as catastrophe might hit if they try to tinker with a rather little known technology. With TA, they took the gamble, and with the skills (and ears) they have, it is no wonder they were able to capitalize on the technology quite well.

The Trinity Audio Sagaris Icarus III retails for 235 GBP, but trust me, the IEM sounded way much more than the value. I may be overstating it, but I haven’t come across something like this for quite some time now. If you got the budget and you want something amazing, I highly recommend it. I am not asking you though to take my word for it, but I highly encourage you to take it for a spin, and I assure you that if every you have doubts, all of those will be allayed.

BUS RIDE IMPRESSION: Bengkel Macro Edimun V3 (2.5mm TRRS)

I have become such a sucker for balanced termination. While single ended termination is much more common and convenient, balanced connection is definitely significantly cleaner. There are pros and cons, yes, but generally if done right, the connection should be able to yield immensely pleasurable experience.

Continue reading “BUS RIDE IMPRESSION: Bengkel Macro Edimun V3 (2.5mm TRRS)”

BUS RIDE IMPRESSION: Rock Jaw Audio Alfa Genus V2

Hello and welcome to another installment of the Bus Ride Impression. As we find ourselves time to contemplate, I found this to be an opportunity to get myself to enjoy some really good music and gear and I happen to receive the Rock Jaw Audio Alfa Genus V2. This isn’t exactly a new IEM and has been out for about a year now, but this has sparked interest for some given the tuning options it comes along in the package. I suspected this to fit a lot of new audio enthusiasts in the market given it price and its capability so I am giving it a go in today’s review. Continue reading “BUS RIDE IMPRESSION: Rock Jaw Audio Alfa Genus V2”

BUS RIDE IMPRESSION: The Budget DAP Shootout

Hello! Welcome to another episode of the Bus Ride Impression!

Why am I so damn jolly? Because today we are going to do a bit of a change in the BRI as most would normally know it. Yeah, I know I have done a shootout before, but that was for the trinity of entry level IEMs offered by Knowledge Zenith. Today, however, is going to be mighty different as I thought it might benefit you, our dear readers, if we will try something a little different. Continue reading “BUS RIDE IMPRESSION: The Budget DAP Shootout”

BUS RIDE IMPRESSION: Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7

I had this coming. Fact is, this is long overdue as I have always wanted to have this in one of my Bus Ride Impressions, but was unable to given the onslaught of items to review over the holidays. Plus I have no one to borrow this from. And the wallet already underwent several cardiac arrests due to the holidays so I practically have no budget for one. And the Chief Finance Officer (a.k.a. wife) will no longer allow me to get another one.

So I had to sit this one out. Continue reading “BUS RIDE IMPRESSION: Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7”

BUS RIDE IMPRESSION:Acquiring Gears

Hello and welcome to another edition of Bus Ride Impression! I have had several reviews tucked on me trusty belt and I thought of veering away just for the mean time from such as I cook more for the next episodes. Continue reading “BUS RIDE IMPRESSION:Acquiring Gears”

BUS RIDE IMPRESSION: Aune M1S

I wanted an Aune M2S. I do. Badly. Too bad for me though, the missus isn’t a big fan of me toting yet another DAP for no business reasons at all (honestly, I only get away getting another DAP by asking the CFO of Aurem Fidelitatem and Cruz Residence by saying that I intend to add the DAP to our growing product line). Sometimes I am lucky, sometimes I am not. However, in the absence of an Aune M2S, I got lucky by scoring the newest DAP from Aune, the Aune M1S. Continue reading “BUS RIDE IMPRESSION: Aune M1S”