What the hell, every other site is doing awards

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

Head pie awards, 'The Rudis'.
Best of the best of 2016 coming soon.
Hifiman and Campfire Audio Vega


Hifiman MegaMini review
-expatinjapan







Whats in the box?



The Hifiman MegaMini comes nicely packaged and supported by a foam bed



Beautiful to look at, simple is best.



Single end 3.5mm headphone jack, Micro SD card slot for up to 256GB, 
micro USB port for charging.


Volume buttons.


Power on/off. and navigation buttons below the screen.


Warranty and charge/media transfer cable.


The MegaMini boots up quickly.


Simple and easy to use UI.


Specifications

 Dimensions:1.69”x 3.93” x 0.31” (43.0x100.0x9.0mm)

Weight:2.43oz (69g)

Frequency Response:20Hz - 20kHz

THD: 0.08%

Max. Output:54mW (1.4V @36 Ohm)

Battery Life:15 hours

TF Card Capacity : 256GB 

Build
The Hifiman Megamini is solidly built with an aluminium sheath and sturdy tactile operating buttons.

Lightweight and a handy palm size.

UI is basic but easy to use.

Decent battery life.


Hifiman MegaMini and Advanced AcousticWerkes Q

Sound

I tested the Hifiman with various earphones and headphones of different price points, some of which you will see in the photos.

I was interested in how well the Hifiman MegaMini performed with earphones within its price bracket and also more pricey earphones.

Tracks were generally FLAC 16/41 or 16/44.

The sound stage is a small to medium sphere.
The treble is nice and clear, the bass present enough but could do with more definition.
Resolution is average as to be expected at this price point, but I did expect a bit more of a surprise, but you do get what you pay for.
With earphones within around the $100-$600 I generally didnt notice too much lack of detail and resolution, but with my upscale IEMs in the $700/$800+ range of course artifacts and shortcomings were noticeable. But do bear in mind this player wasnt designed for that market. imho.

The sound is generally laidback, basic and clear. I enjoyed very much listening to iBasso IT03 with the Hifiman MegaMini.

Hifiman Megamini and iBasso IT03

The Hifiman MegaMini has a fairly neutral sound, that although has enough detail and sound stage to please at an entry level it can appear thin compared to more powerful daps with more body to the music (as expected) and larger sound stages, the bass can be tight and thumping at times, treble extends enough, and has a solid presence of mids.
Although generally veering towards the neutral side of things, the MegaMini can at times appear with a bit of warmth.


Value

Retailing at US$249.00 the Hifiman MegaMini is reasonably priced within todays mega priced Dap market. If it was priced at $199 it could well be a sweet spot for many considering the MegaMini.

The promotional photos on the Hifiman site showcase the MegaMini as `going to to work` and `at the gym`, when purchasing the MegaMini or even reviewing it one must keep in mind that is a budget priced player for on the go. Its target audience isnt the high end market of which Hifiman has Daps for already.

This is an affordable player for those who want a light, simple and easy to use player at a low end price, that is not to say the sound is compromised at all, the sound is good. But of course dont expect $1000 sound quality. Lets be realistic.

Hifiman has five daps ranging from their most simple the MegaMini (US$249.00) up to their flagship player the HM901s retailing at US$1,499.00  http://store.hifiman.com/index.php/portable-players.html

So there is a price range and quality of sound that scales up for everyones needs and budget.


Size comparison with other players on the market.


Overall

The Hifiman MegaMini (and is more powerful sibling the SuperMini) have entered into a world where we are being showered with mid to high end (and priced) Daps as of late.

It is quite refereshing to see a release of well made low priced dap for the budget, on the go, commuting and more sporty minded market.

The MegaMini is an entry into a competitive market of low to mid priced daps, where the competition is fierce and each offers something different in the way of strengths and weaknesses.

The build of the MegaMini is solid, the UI easy to use and the unit iself is lightweight and of small form.

The MegaMini does not display album art at this stage and like some other features will probably be added in a future update.

I think the name Hifiman conjures up large players with a big and detailed sound, and headphones. Placing the MegaMini within the line up may be a stretch for some.

Hifiman have been in the business for a while and bought to the market one of the earliest Hi-res Daps, so they do have a lot of experience under their belt. Some might be expecting a big sound in a small package with the MegaMini, and in some ways it does possess these qualities. But it is a budget priced player with a decent sound, but to judge it alongside its more expensive and powerful cousins would be erroneous.

Pairing the Hifiman MegaMini with some of the $1000+ earphones is still surprisingly pleasing, but not entirely statisfactory - nor should it be. I would hazard a guess that earphones $100-$600 would be the sweet spot in matching for the Hifiman MegaMini.

When the screen is off the buttons dont function, to prevent accidental volume rises etc.
But one firm touch seems to bring the buttons back to functionality and one can adjust volume etc.
The two touch system seems quite sensible.

If one disconnects the earphones the MegaMini keeps playing, so be wary of battery drain.

In closing the Hifiman MegaMini is a great opportunity for those on a limited budget wanting a less expensive player, whilst not as detailed, smooth and resolving as others in a similar price range I am sure that If paired with the right earphones and activity the Hifiman MegaMini would be a satisfying purchase.

For those wanting more power, detail, soundstage and smoothness there are plenty of other Hifiman players higher up the food chain for one to select from.


Hifiman MegaMini, the entry level player for people on the go.

Hifiman MegaMini and ubsound Orchestra





Thank you to Hifiman for sending the MegaMini to Head pie for review
-expatinjapan
 
 

 

Viva la Vegas!
Campfire Audio Vega review
-expatinjapan


Dead Kennedys `Viva las Vegas` and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas-HST.

Whats in the box?


As usual no nonsense packaging from Campfire Audio.


A beautiful leather case for transporting your precious Vegas.


The Vegas come protected with each earphone piece within a soft, red velvet bag.



Build



Like all Campfire Audio products each comes with the excellent Litz cable.


Robust and strong MMCX connectors


Nice nozzles, not too short nor too long and angled just right.



A wire screen to prevent wax etc from spoiling your drivers.


Liquid alloy metal earphone housing



Specifications

Vega combines a single 8.5mm non-crystalline Diamond dynamic driver and a unique liquid metal alloy housing to flawlessly convey high fidelity music.

– World’s First 8.5mm non-crystalline Diamond Dynamic Driver

– World’s First  Liquid Alloy Metal Earphone Housing

– Highest sound conduction velocity of any IEM driver

– Premium Litz Wire cable; Silver-plated-Copper Conductors


5Hz–22 kHz: Frequency Range
102 dB SPL/mW: Sensitivity 
17.5 Ohms @ 1kHz: Impedance


Comparisons with the other DD earphones Campfire Audio just released.


Short impressions


I received the Dorado from Ken Ball at the Fujiya Avic headphone show in Tokyo in October, 2016 for review. I had a chance to listen to all new models at the time and listed my short impressions as thus: 



(Short time at the show impressions):
 `The Vega, Dorado and Lyra II
The Vega is deep and full sounding. It has excellent clarity and sound stage. The bass hits but is also clean, tight and fast.
The Dorado is deeper, and has a medium v shaped signature. Bouncy and energetic. It has a good weight to the sound. Fun but still CA smooth.
The Lyra II is more flat...in a sense, it has more mids, warm, even and with great instrument separation. Full with an excellent low end.

In terms of sound signature to my ears (And Ken confirmed I was pretty much on the Ball - excuse my pun).
Vega = XXX
Dorado = XxX
Lyra = XXx`

Of course short impressions at a show or in store can give a hint of what is to come, more is revealed with concentrated and analytical listening and more layers and nuances are discovered.
I also did not ask how many hours they had on them. They had stock foam tips fitted.



What one has to realize with these new earphones that Campfire Audio has released is that they do increase in sound quality by price point.
Each of their sound signature is well designed and incremental, the Dorado whilst definitely a V shaped earphone isnt strictly so in the usual sense, it is more of a flattened V which retains some body and soul of tracks recorded.
And the Lyra II whilst presenting itself as a low and mids focussed earphone certainly doesnt lack in the highs department.
It isnt extreme tuning at the expense of all else, it is a controlled and measured tuning to present the best that can be reproduce concerning certain traditional choices of sound signatures, being the XxX, the XXx and the XXX of the Vega. No sharp rises or drop offs here.
Smooth, measured and timely.



The new Campfire Audio line up of Vega, Dorado and Lyra II




Fit

*Excuse me again as I recycle once more this photograph to illustrate the CA DD fit.

The shorter nozzle is similar to the BA IEMs of Campfire Audio, you need to have the right tip to get a good seal to maximize the performance of the Vega and therefore your enjoyment thereof.



The Litz cable comes with a chin slider so one can adjust for fit.

Stock foam tips on the left, the Comply Tx-400 I got from the Andromeda/Nova boxes.

I settled on the Comply Tx-400 tips for the Vega in the end, silicone did the trick with the JVC Spiral tips and also Ortofon, But as Ken Ball at Campfire Audio said, foam is best for these earphones.

Campfire Audio Vega and Opus#1 Dap (With stunning new November firmware)

Value

At US$1,299.00 the Campfire audio Vega is relative to ones wallet size and commitment to audio quality.
It certainly is a level ahead of its DD siblings the Dorado and the Lyra II in terms of sound quality and ability.

Build as usual is excellent by Campfire Audio, and the sound from the Vegas is truly addictive.

If I had to choose three IEMs to take traveling with me, the Vega would definitely be one of them.

Campfire Audio Vega with Shozy Alien Gold Dap.

Sound

Testing of the Campfire Audio Vega was done with a variety of Daps and dac/amps from the Opus#1, Hifiman MegaMini, ipod touch 6G, Shozy Alien Gold, CEntrance DACportable, Hifi-Skyn to the CEntrance mini-M8.

Ipod touch 6G 128GB when with the DAC/amps I used Dan Leehrs Flacplayer app.

FLAC used was mainly 16/41 or 16/44.

The Vegas had a burn in period of over 100 hours before commencing with the review.

The Vegas, the Vegas... the stars of Campfire Audios new line up of dynamic driver earphones, the one that has been creating the buzz, the one everyone wants reviewed and to sample.

Is it better than this earphone or that? What is all this about the bass and so on ad infinitum...

Campfire Audio Vegas, not necessarily hotter than the Andromedas, 
just a different level of brilliance.

Vegas baby, Vegas!

Initial impressions as noted before was a quick demo at the Fujiya Avic headphone show:
`The Vega is deep and full sounding. It has excellent clarity and sound stage. The bass hits but is also clean, tight and fast`.
I described it as a XXX sound as compared to the Dorado XxX and the Lyra II XXx signatures.

I started reviewing the Dorado but couldnt keep my hands off the vega early in the game and scribbled down a few early burn impressions.

Using the JVC Spiral Tips for easy insertion I found the Vegas to be intimate, and reminded me slightly of the DITA Dream I had tried a few days earlier.
Vocals not creamy but kind of rolling, rolling hills over me like solid waves.

Overall smooth, organic but not swampy. Early days.
Dem mids!
Ghostly, otherworldly at times.

The Vega needs more hours to settle down in the lows and mids mainly.
Its a bit thick at the moment.
Silky?

BEAST FROM THE EAST


I hooked up the Andromeda and the Vegas to this double stack balanced out to see what would happen.
Andromeda: Silicone tips. More airy than I remembered, and vocals forward.
Vega: Foam tips. First thing I notice is more bass, the vocals are more around the same volume as the music.

Different beasts: Vega, clear, even.

I broke out a SPL app and did a bit of volume matching and checked out the Andromeda and the Vegas with different sources.

OPUS#1 Dap (before the firmware update).

Vega
Deep full bass, sub bass has med decay, upper bass fast decay.
Vocals just ahead of the music.
3D, not holographic.
V large sound stage.
Nice soft mids, lingering.
Great detail.
more width than height.
Spacey, airy, clear, clarity.
Not linear flat, but kinda even.

Andromeda
Softer bass than the Vega.
Fast sub bass decay.
Upper bass fast.
Vocals more forward.
More holographic.
large sound stage.
Great width and height.
Lush mids.
fast.
Very wide.
Full, wall of detailed and separated sound.



A short guide to expatinjapans rather opaque 3D/holographic descriptions by Mimouille.


Shozy Alien Gold

Vega
Light, airy.
Very even (not boring flat).
Deep full bass (but not  basshead bassy).
Nice soft treble.
Well balanced, smooth sound.
Coherent.
Accurate vocals.
needs less volume.

Andromeda.
Full.
Interesting lows and peaks.
Great bass, not overpowering.
Nice soft treble, but sparkly and extended.
Energetic.
The five drivers are well tuned, balanced.
Accurate vocals.
More sensitive, louder.



Hifiman MegaMini

Vega
Light, airy.
Even.
Coherent.
deep, full bass, but also clear and concise.

Andromeda
More even.
But still more fuller and has excellent separation.
Great soaring highs.

(Couldnt get a good clear reading between the two).

CEntrance Hifi-Skyn

Vega
Lighter.
Even.
Airy.
Plug in and forget.
Good details.

Andromeda
Full sound.
Medium to deep bass.
Light soft highs.
Excellent vocals.
Great sounding.
Rounded.
Deeper, fuller sound.


Vega a few days later after another days Dorado session....

Clear, airy as in it creates a sense of space between the instruments.
Not congested, excellent clarity.
Not airy in the sense JOMO 6R is airy.
Superb instrument separation.
Full, dense but still retaining a subtleness with an effortless brilliance.
A high level of overall coherency.
Sometimes airiness can be interpreted as a lack of power or dynamics, with the Vega this is not the case.

A few days later I took the Andromeda and the Opus#1 for another spin...

I can see now that the Andromeda has a  lighter bass and bigger soundstage than the Vega.
Warm mids, highly coherent, but not as coherent as the Vega.
Music is not so defined as with the Vega.

I think the Vega is a step up from the Andromeda (Using JVC Spiral Tips atm on both).

Going from the Andromeda to the Vega I am struck by how dense the Vega is. Full at its low end.



Opus#1 Dap just got a new firmware update, so i tried with the Vegas balanced out with the ALO Reference 8 cable.

better resolution, more airiness and space, great treble sparkle.
More space and separation between instruments.
beautiful Timbre.

Is it the cable? is the update? is it going from 2Ohm output impedance to 1Ohm?

anyways....

The choice still is If you want V excitement get the Dorado.
If you want something a bit warmer and perhaps a bit laid back get the Lyra II.
If you want the whole shebang of fullness, even and a bit linear get the Vega.

Another few days later.

Viva Las Vegas!

Its like I imagine the sound of listening to the master tapes of a band.

The bass has tamed and now is fast, it now has great texture and is well defined.

The Campfire Audio Vega is truly a majestic earphone to listen to.
Tight, responsive and textured bass.
Subtle yet present mids that sneak up from below.
Highs that reach out but not to the point of sibilance.
Turn up the volume and the Vega retains clarity.
Fit is easy and comfortable and light.
The Litz cable is a great match for the Vega.
I love the medium to large sound stage.
Fairly even soundscape, but full of life and musicality.
The impeccable instrument separation is a joy to listen to my favorite tracks on.

Effortless, natural, highly resolving. Viva Las Vegas!



Overall

The Campfire audio Vega earphone is a winner on all fronts, it is really hard to fault it overall.

Many early commentators have centered on the bass, whilst this a feature of the Vega it does tame down after a bit of play time to become defined and detailed.

Although I mainly used JVC Spiral Tips due the easy insertion I believe as Ken Ball of Campfire Audio does that the Vega really shines when used with foam tips. The bass does become more fuller and the highs receded, with a little of the airiness removed. But I am lazy and prefer the quick fit of a silicone tip, also the change of sound signature the silicone brings is also pleasing.

The Vegas, have excellent detail, the bass is full but not the be all and end all; after a time it becomes more defined and textured, the sound stage is medium to just under large, instrument separation is brilliant and clear, fantastic timbre and resolution. Also the benefit of dialing it up or down depending on the tips one uses is also a plus.

They are insert and forget, just a treat to to listen to music with, I dont find myself noticing any need to look for any faults when listening (although of course I did inspect a few trees for the review, the Vega is a truly an enjoy the overall view of the forest earphone).

With so many Campfire Audio products to choose from now, deciding which one is best for oneself is the first fun stage.
Price and sound signature. Simply once one has decided on a budget then the parameters of what one will purchase grow narrower, from there its simply a choice of sound signature preferable paired with a decent fairly neutral player with a low output impedance.

The choice still is If you want V excitement then get the Dorado, If you want something a bit warmer and perhaps even laid back get the Lyra II and If you want the whole shebang of fullness, balanced, linear even then get the Vega.

Viva las Vegas! Like the Andromeda, the Vega hits the ball out of the park and will have a place on the top shelf with the other best earphones.
A select few champions.

It truly is a little wonder.

I feel like I have missed something, but one must stop somewhere.



Thank you to Campfire Audio for sending Head pie the Vega for review
-expatinjapan