Okay so if you hadn’t noticed its December and that means Christmas is impending. So here are 5 of this year’s recommended Audio bits and erm, one or several honourable mentions. Okay so mostly it’s that I can’t really narrow things down to 5 or even to 10 so I’m just saying, there is a good chance some things get in or not off the back of a coin toss. Frankly there has been just so many things that have been great I feel like I just must include them but unless the list is to be 30 plus things, that can’t happen. So onward we go and I’ll start in reverse order.
5 xDuoo X-CAN
Let’s start off with a little one, and a maybe unexpected one. Yep it’s a case but it’s awesome, it’s the mast mad case I’ve used, the thing feels indestructible, thick and what feels like anodised aluminium. I so want someone to put one in a hydraulic press to see what it can take. The thing is the ultimate in earphone protection and it’s a fun little stocking-stuffer. It pleases me.
4 Etymotic ER4-XR and the ER4-SR
This is going to be a joint one. The brand new iterations from Etymotic than have only taken the a million or so years to come out with. Ety are the great granddaddies of IEM’s and have been making the ER4 since the time of the dinosaurs. This is their first really major alteration. Both are superb sounding, isolate like nothing else on earth and will likely outlive you with their build. The down side is some major wallet ouch. Cash per year of life might be good but cheap they are not.
3 Bluedio AS Bluetooth Speaker
Yeah this may seem a bit unexpected. It’s not a big high end fancy audio product but with its Bluetooth abilities then that it can double as a WiFi extender and supports airplay, yet its only fifty quid. It’s a versatile little thing that is such a bargain. I mean where else can you get a WiFi enabled speaker, Airplay capable and WiFi repeater for this money? Oh and its audio isn’t bad either for a portable Bluetooth speaker. It’s just such an all-round bargain.
2 Trinity Audio Phantom Sabre Earphone
Yeah this one is a great sounding product with so many bits and bobs and 400 million filter combinations. I love their dark yet cold sound and while for me as a reviewer filters are such a pain as they make so much more work it enables a range of acoustic flavours for the end user. So if you aren’t sure exactly what sound sig you want for yourself, or if it’s for a Christmas time gift then you can practically guarantee with the options they have to mould the sound balance on the Phantom Sarbre’s to find one of three that they just love. A dead set sure-fire gift winner.
1 1MORE Triple-Driver In-Ear Headphone Earphone
Yeah so it may not have the best name I’ve ever seen its one to keep an eye out for. At Canjam London this may have been the star of the show. Not because it’s the worlds “best” IEM but because of its price. The thing comes in at £100 and whoa baby!!! The packaging on the thing is crazy, seriously masterful presentation that even Shure and Etymotic can’t match. If you want a prezzie to make an impression this is the packaging that’ll do it. Then the sound, well it’s pretty bloody good. First class excellent audio that almost crushes all before it in audio / price ratio’s. This screams the perfect Christmas morning present.
What you might be thinking, 00 but those in the know might know exactly what I mean. The absolute top spot must go to the Massdrop / HiFiMAN collaboration that is the RE-00. If you don’t know, it’s basically a halfway step between the old RE-0 and the RE-ZERO and while they were both stunning little beasts in their own right the 00 has come along and swept all before them. You see not only are they more or less acoustic perfection the have come back from the dead, risen like Lazarus yet this time with a price tag of US$35. While I know this isn’t a product for all listeners as its bass response is textbook in quality and quantity so it will be far too light for some. There is also the issue that you can’t just buy one and have it show up in a day or so. You have to wait for the drop to take place. So it’s not perfect for Christmas but…… if you want something for the budding audiophile in your life then these are what to get. They are acoustically outstanding in a way that you assume the price must be a mistake, it must be a scam of some sort because there couldn’t possibly be any way something that can sound this good at this price, it can’t. I know I was sceptical too, I thought it must be just playing on the name but it’s not. These ladies and gentleman is the real deal, acoustic perfection at stocking stuffer prices. Buy one, hell buy 5 or 6. Keep a backup or two for yourself and get a few for friends. This has been no question the star product of the year, easily.
Yeah so I suck at just picking those and leaving it there. There have been plenty of great new things this year and not to mention things from years past that are still great.
Another Massdrop / HiFiMAN collaboration and just like the 00 it’s the price to audio ratio that blows the scale away. They sound stunningly good for the price, they are a touch bright for me personally but you just can’t find this kind of audio quality elsewhere in a headphone at this price.
Yeah so I couldn’t pick which of the Superlux’s to put in so I’m just putting in the whole brand. Their headphones are not the best audio quality ever but….. for the price, whoa they are stupidly cheap. Stunning bang for the buck.
MEE audio Pinnacle P1
This is the first time MEE have stepped up to play with the big boys and they have shown they can go toe to toe with the best. Great looking product and its sounds fantastic too.
PMV A-01 MKII Earphone
Another triple drivered wonder. It may have been over shadowed by the 1MORE but it’s still fantastic sounding and fantastic value for money.
AAW Q In-Canal Monitor Earphone
Okay so my review of it’s not up yet, sue me. Yet these are fabulous little gems. Insanely tiny, too tiny actually but they sound near miraculous.
Okay that’s it, I have to stop or else this is just going to get silly. Frankly there are so many things that were great this year and are so many from years past too that where to draw the line is so hard. If you ask why didn’t X product make it in, the answer may well be err because, reasons. Seriously I have no good reason why the q-JAYS, RE-400, X1, Curve 2.0, MA-750, Delta, S500 etc etc etc didn’t make it beyond I didn’t review them in 2016. There are so many great options out there and I hope this maybe have helped one or two of you grab something special this Christmas.