Sunday, April 24, 2011

Beyerdynamic DT440 review

Before I start this review, I had:
- burned-in for more than 500 hours
- iTunes -> PCM2704 USB DAC
- no amplifier used
- all test musics are ALAC format

Technical Information
- transmission type: Wired
- Headphone design: Open
- Impedance: 32ohms
- Frequency response: 5~35000Hz
- Nominal sound pressure level: 95db
- Cable & plug: Straight cable with 3.5mm and 6.5mm adapter
- Net weight without packaging: 350g

The Beyerdynamic DT440 headphones is one of their entrance level of their HiFi grade headphones. The price of this headphones is around RM560. There are many other headphones are around this price like the Audio Technica AD500, Alessandro MS1i and Grado SR60i (If i'm not wrong). But in this review, there are no comparisons done.

Design & Comfort
I personally liked the design of this DT440, the top of the headphones are made of rubber like material while the other place is made of plastics. From the look and hands on of it, it feels very solid but it's quite heavy. You are able to turn both of the cans 90 degree so you can keep it easily. When I wear it on my head, I don't feel comfortable at all, it's heavy the top padding of this headphones doesn't really helps at all, it keeps pressing on my head. The clamping of this headphones are tight too, I need to let it clamp on my handphone box for a few days so that it could loosen it, unfortunately my plan doesn't really works it does loosen abit the tightness but after a few days not clamping, it becomes tight back. So as for comfort I will grade it as 4/10 but design wise I will grade it as 6/10.

Sound Quality
I would say this pair of headphones is more to the dark side. Soundstage is not that wide, it does sounds accurate, every instrument are produced on this headphones are just right. Somehow the instruments of every songs are moved more to the front, leaving the vocal abit back. The bass produced from this headphones are tight, slightly punchy. The mids and highs are somewhat average. Clarity wise - average, which could be good and bad at the same time, some of the musics contains some recording errors, lower clarity headphones like DT440 could hide this errors but this could also hide some instruments that are playing at a very low volume. This pair od headphones are good for almost all genre of musics, but if you prefer vocal over instruments, this might not be a suitable headphones for you.

Overall, I think this is not a bad headphones for a price of RM560, so far I haven't pair it with any amplifier yet, but I believe with a decent amplifier, the soundstage could be improved.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Hippo Shroom EB Earphones Review

There is been a very long delay for this review to come out as there is some problems with the first Shroom EB that I got, luckily, Jaben Malaysia is willing to exchange one on one for me but that time there is limited stock with them, so I got to wait till recently, I exchanged and here is it, the review.

*Please be noted that before I start this review, I had:

  • Burn-ed in for at least 200 hours.
  • iTunes with PCM2704 USB DAC and Nokia 5800 as my source
  • No amplifier used in this review
For packaging information, you guys can read it from my first post of this earphones at Hippo Shroom EB Earphones First Impression.

  • Single dynamic driver, 6mm
  • Frequency range: 10Hz – 20KHz
  • Impedance: 16Ohm
  • Sensitivity: 95dB/mW
Retail price: RM190

Alright, lets go into the design. The build quality I will not rate it as very good, one of the reasons is their cable for left earplugs and right earplugs can be not even, the first one the right cable is longer than left cable by 2cm. While the current one the left is slightly longer than the right by few mm. It's actually not a big deal it does not affect the quality of the musics, but you guys can check the unit at Jaben Malaysia store before buying them. It's using the 'L' shaped 3.5mm gold plated plug, I'm sure you guys already know they advantages of using the 'L' shaped plug than the straight ones.

This earphones had a special design. Normally earphones' driver are placed outside of our ears. but this Shroom EB, it actually place it's driver inside out canal, that will explain why this earphones had a slightly small driver compared to others. The comfort level of this earphones I would rate it as normal, there are friends of mine who tried and they complained that it will hurt their ears as the earphones end is quite big. But for me, it's ok.

Noise isolation
One of the reason people would buy an In Ear Monitor (IEM) earphones is because they are good in isolation outside noise. For this pair of earphones, it's not really good in isolating outside sounds, well, it also depends on your ear's shape. In LRT, I could still listen to the announcement, but it totally isolates other's speaking voice when the music is turned on.

Sound Quality
After it is taken out fromt he box, it sounds very harsh, highs are very sharp, I couldn't stand it so I just let it burn with white noise for around 10hours. After 10 hours, it became better, and after 200 hours, I got impressed with this IEM, so far it was the most affordable high clarity IEM I ever used. It brings out all the details from a music no matter what genre it is. It is a bit bias to the high side, so bass will not be so obvious, but to me it's okay. Soundstage wise, it's considered as average, not wide not narrow. When I'm listening to Hotel California Live by The Eagles, I feel like I'm infront of the stage this probably caused by the design of this IEM, the drivers are very near to your eardrums so it will bring the stage nearer to you. After the 200 hours burn in, the highs are perfect, the cymbals in the musics just so nice, the bass is tight and for those bass lover, as I just mentioned that this IEM had lower level of bass, this is not the kind of IEM bass lover will buy.

This Shroom EB does pairs very well with Hippo Box+ amplifier, the amplifier that Hippo just released, it will cost around RM300, but it does brings out the mids in Hippo Shroom EB perfectly and when you turned on the bass boost on the amplifier, it makes the Shroom EB sounds more fun.