Cyberdrive Seiun Player JR2 review
-expatinjapan


CURRENT STATUS: Pre-order. (unreleased at this stage, or in production)


The story
As I live in Japan I am well placed to attend some of the many headphone shows here  by Fujiya Avic and e-earphone which means I can try gear and meet people and companies.
One company of course is Cyberdrive, who I have met on several occasions now which mean I could get an early edition of their Seiun player-JR2 when I attended a show in July, 2016.
At the same show I got to audition an early Seiun Pro/X player which sounded, looked and functioned well.

I have delayed this review or set of impressions for several reasons: 
1. That people are waiting for their indiegogo Seiun Pro/X players and might be miffed to see another player entering the market (well... we can`t expect research and development to stand still on all fronts).
2. I was waiting for the Pro/X to go in production, which it has and will hopefully shipping in October. 
3. As this is an early rendition that hasn`t been released yet it seemed a bit pointless to review it early for those who might want to buy one, plus there may be changes in software or hardware closer to production which might render this review dated.

But for those hungry indiegogo investors I decided to just go for it and fill in the gaping void as they eagerly await their Pro/X to be delivered and hopefully give some clue as to what they could expect from a Seiun player, this one of course having lower specs.

*NOTE: I will try the Pro/ProX demo/prototype units at the October show in Tokyo and give an update then.

I have also included some extra photos from the Headphones here in Tokyo for the interested investors, some of which were already featured on the indiegogo page.


Details from the box

These are fairly accurate I believe, but keep in mind these stats aren`t the final version and may be modified.



A brief unboxing












A cloth slip for cleanliness and transporting, and oodles of cables.


Supplied basic in ears. Impact Dura.


lightning and micro usb cable


Micro to micro usb cable


USB-A to micro cable


The gangs all here reporting for duty



Nice palm sized footprint. Small screen.

Specifications

To enrich all your lossy studio files or Hi-Res music content
The true Hi-Res 384KHz/ 32bit audio output
1800mAh battery with built-in 32GB memory storage
Modern metallic finished with Native DSD support
The unique CAEE technology to make music sound better


OS circumstance: iOS, Mac, Android, Windows
Input Jack: Micro USB 2.0 (female)
Audio Output: 3.5mm Stereo Phone Jack
Internal storage 32GB
Input audio format: 44.1KHz/48KHz-MP3, AAC, APE, OGG...; 192KHz/24bit-FLAC, ALAC...
DSD Dac Amplifier: JR-2 via USB connection to cell phone/tablet & PC, PCM384KHz/32bit, DoP, DSD64/128/256
Output audio signal: 384KHz/32bit by Cyberdrive's CAEE technology
SNR: 121dB
Battery: 1800mAh
Continuous play: Normal music:30HR; Hi-Res: 15HR
Headphone amp:70Mw 16Ω
Operation Key: 7 key
Size/Weight: 112.5 x 48 x 10.0mm; 100 gram


Included booklet

Keep in mind these stats aren`t the final version and may be modified. I spotted a few mistakes or points which were not clear (I did some editing). But there is still enough information to get us started.




It seems to also function as DAC/amp for various devices.
I got it to function with my Macbook pro.
My ipod touch 6G said it needed more more power (I still need to test with a CCK and see If that fixes it).






A handy RESET button and an LED.



Value

At US$425 it could be called mid priced, but as DAPs seem to go up to $2000-$3000 dollars these days that cannot be said truly.
But I will still call it mid placed within the sane $1 - $1000 market.

There seems to be two versions, the one I have the JR-2 which only has 32GB internal memory, which is fairly useless for a hi-res player, imho. The other version I was told would have a micro SD slot. But keep in mind this is also an external dac/amp.

I gave feedback to Cyberdrive that they should discontinue the 32GB model. It seems that the final version will have 64GB internal memory, I mentioned it HAD to have a micro SD slot.

The JR2 also functions as a DAC which is perhaps its main focus. The upcoming Seiun Plus player has a similar footprint and is probably meant to be the music player of the two.

And as mentioned above second version is upcoming with a micro SD slot.(much better!).


Sound

With the Seiun Player-JR2 packing a ESS9018Q2C DAC its gotta sound fantastic amirite? amirite?

Well lets see.

Keep in mind I believe that although the JR2 can function as a portable music player or as an external DAC, its main purpose is as an external DAC.

As a simple portable music player.

Initial impressions are positive. I have the volume at halfway using Campfire Audio Andromeda and its a good volume (I like it loud enough that it gives a full sound overall).

Instrument separation is good.
Full bodied sound.
Took a minute or two to warm up.

Later impressions.

Nick cave, The Pixies, Lou Reed rendered quite wonderfully. It handled Nick cave without becoming dark and muddy, The Pixies weren`t smeared and retained good clarity and separation when the music got busy,  Lou Reed `such a perfect day` is quite lovely and subtle, a bit more treble would be nice.

Trespassers William `Lie in sound` is one of my favorite test tracks, soaring vocals, acoustic guitar and enough background micro details. The JR2 seems to handle it well, although there is a certain flatness to it.

Width appears great, but it seems to lack some height.

Leonard Cohen `The future` from the movie Natural born Killers comes across deep and dirty, his vocals deliciously forward and snarling.

*With the Campfire Audio Andromeda it was pleasurable, non fatiguing, detailed, clean but lacked dynamics and did not sound `musical`.

With the JOMO 6R and natural airy, detailed and at times bright sound could be fatiguing with too much volume, too less of a volume and it got thin. Still no real dynamics.

Shozy Zero was quite pleasant, smoother, full bodied and I was able to crank up the volume more.

Campfire Audio Nova has a good match at times with it XXx sound signature than tamed the detailed and brightness.
Bands such as The Smiths, The wind and the wave, Coldplay sounded good.
Still the dynamics were low.
The Nova tamed the highs, whilst this choice of bright, detailed music seemed to even everything out with the Nova.
The Jesus and Marychain were not a good match with the JR2 and the Nova.

Back to the Campfire Audio Andromeda. The sound is more even, hard to get a perfect volume between 12&13&14, but more than acceptable (coming from the Opus with its many steps).

The JR2  is clear, detailed and with good clarity and resolution.
It has a clean sound, fairly neutral on the bright side at times, but lacks dynamics and can across as flat.

I would perhaps pair it with a warm-ish mid fi earphone or headphone.
Some of the sound is due to the ESS9018Q2C DAC and the rest to its implementation.


Using it as DAC with my Macbook Pro.

Using it with my Macbook Pro and ALAC tracks I quite enjoyed it.

It sounded fuller, deeper and had more dynamics.

Not as clear and detailed at times as when used as a pure player.

medium sound stage.

*With Campfire Audio Nova and Shozy Zero IEMs.

Using it with my Macbook Pro and ALAC tracks I quite enjoyed it.



Bonus* 
Cyberdrive at Fujiya avic Tokyo headphone show, April 2016.


Head pies intern



Seiun Plus players - The next item to be produced.


Wood, clear (for production or just demo only? I don`t know) and metal.


Screen is the same as the JR2


The circuit board of the Seiun Plus at an early 2016 show, 
Anyone care to share their tech knowledge on what they see here?

Although not the JR2 it can give us some clues as to Cyberdrive technology and design.



Micro usb port of charging and audio line out (looks like).




From the right, the up and coming Pro/X, Seiun Pro and basic Seiun player.


Overall

The Seiun player-JR2 is quite the player for a new company, clear, detailed and with clarity.

As a DAP it has a clean sound, fairly neutral on the bright side at times, but lacks dynamics and can come across as flat.
`Detailed and bright, but lacks body` was another friends guesstimate.
Sometimes seems like it lacks mids, a bit thin and is close to my ipod Touch 6G I thought at times.

As an external DAC it improves somewhat, as I suspect it is more designed toward this function rather than as a portable music player.
It sounded fuller, deeper and had more dynamics.
Not as clear and detailed at times as when it is used as a pure player.
It had a medium sound stage.

I would like to see more steps in the volume control.

The UI is basic but easy to use. I used it mainly as a shuffle system for a mix of my 99 favorite songs and testing tracks at the time.

The build feels fairly robust and solid, although of course I haven`t been giving it extreme drop tests or anything (I have dropped it though).

The low output impedance is a plus, DAPs and external DAC/amps need to be under 
1Ohm in this multi driver IEM world we now live in. 

Screen is a bit of a finger print magnet, but thats no biggy.

battery life is very good.

All in all a good effort for a new company. It is placed in the middle of their not yet complete for market line up. 
It is a combination of a Dap and external DAC/amp.
Some firmware or PCB changes could be worth it to improve the overall dynamics.
Clear and detailed are the positive points and give Cyberdrive something to build on..



BONUS* Cyberdrive at the e-earphone show July 2016, Tokyo



The show is included here as there are many indiegogo and head-fiers who would like more details on the Seiun Pro/ProX etc.
*Easier to extend the review to include this other information and keep it in one place.


The Cyberdrive Seiun Player-JR2 

Cyberdrive. 
They came prepared with a few finished pre-production sample models that I tried out.
Not sure If it was the Seiun Pro or Pro X but rest assured it exists indiegogo backers.



  
The Seiun Pro (X?) lives. Pictured with the Campfire Audio Andromeda IEM.


My ipod touch 6G for size scale with an early prototype Seiun Pro/X


Good sound, I only listened for a short time. 
Another of my favorites from the show.


The Pro/X, (ipod touch for scale) and the PHA makes its presence known.

With Campfire Audio Andromeda stellar IEM.


Pro or Pro/X, ipod touch 6G for scale, PHA and wood Seiun Pro player.


The line up (ipod touch for scale)
Seiun Pro/X, ipod touch, PHA, JR2, Seiun Pro (wood).


The PHA-X1 dac/amp





ipod touch 6G, Seiun Pro/X and Opus#1



Nearly the full line up.
Head pie reviewed the Seiun player to the far right.
]



The Head pie intern likes the Seiun Pro/X





Seiun Player, earphones and the Clarity feather DAC.




Thank you again to Cyberdrive for giving head pie the Seiun Player-JR2 for review
-expatinjapan