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KZ DQ6 Unboxing and First Impressions

KZ DQ6 Unboxing and First Impressions

Hi everyone,

Today, I got the KZ DQ6. This IEM contains 3 dynamic drivers per side, which is a bit different than the usual BA and dynamic drivers combination they usually make. It is made of a single 10mm “Xun” unit that handles the bass and 2x 6mm drivers that handles the mids and treble. KZ is well known to experiment with different driver configurations and this is no exception. We’ll see how they perform below.

Unboxing

The box is the usual we get with KZ IEMs. It’s small and practical.

In the inside, we can see both units. The form factor is similar to their previous KZ ZSX “Terminator”.

KZ DQ6 3

We get the usual offering with these IEMs: A silver 0.75mm 2-pin cable, which is what KZ is now packaging, the tips, and the usual instruction manual.

The headphone tips are no longer the “star” tips. Rather, they decided to change them to a soft white tip. Unfortunately, these tips are way too soft and they make the DQ6 not fit the ear properly. This is no problem, as most would use third-party tip, but there is actually another problem: The nozzle diameter is smaller than the previous KZ IEMs, making some of the tips not compatible with them.

I tried the SednaEarFit Light to replace the stock tips, but the nozzle diameter of them are bigger than the KZ DQ6 and therefore, they would get out and not seal properly. Fortunately, the SednaEatFit Xelastec fits as well as the Spinfit CP100:

First Impressions

This IEM has a great tuning and I consider it an improvement over their latest hybrid IEMs. In the bass region, there is more presence without being overblown or being too fast. The mids are less recessed. Vocals are clearer, not metallic and warmer. The treble sounds extended without being sharp and fatiguing, something I had issues with their hybrids. The instruments are very well separated and well coordinated. None of the frequencies dominate the audio and seem to work together to produce a beautiful, musical, detailed, warmer sound.

I also own the KZ ZS7, ZS10 Pro, AS16, ZSX and ZAX, and I feel these DQ6, while being cheaper and having less drivers, do sound better than all of the previous mentioned models. I can also listen to these for more time without having ear fatigue. For me, these are the most balanced KZ IEMs I have ever tried.

Conclusion

It’s interesting to see KZ try something different than their usual hybrids. They nailed it with the tuning on these, really! Just be sure to change those stock tips to something better like the SpinFit CP100 or the SednaEarFit Xelastec. You’ll note how comfortable they will be and the sound will not disappoint you.

KZ DQ6 8

You can get these on Amazon at the following link:

The HP BD-R DL 50GB Blu-Ray Discs

The HP BD-R DL 50GB Blu-Ray Discs

Hi everyone,

Early this week, I ordered more Double Layer Blu-Ray discs. Unfortunately, the Philips 10pk BD-R DLs that were at $9 each were out of stock, so I had 2 options, both listed at $11 dollars:

  • Philips BD-R DL 10pk – Logo surface
  • HP BD-R DL 10pk – Logo surface

I decided to go with the HP ones since I’ve already tested the Philips BD-R DL 10pk printable discs, and maybe the Logo surface ones were the same CMC Magnetics discs. With the HP ones, I have the opportunity to review these and see if they are the same or different than the Philips discs. Because the Verbatim 100GB discs are still very high on price and seem to be low on stock, I need to get more BD-R DLs than usual. This is why I ordered 5 of these packs again.

Basically, last time I wasted a full 10pk of the Philips discs doing tests, until realizing that the Pioneer BDR-2212 drive was the one that handled them best. Will the same happen here again? We’ll find out.

The disc packaging is very similar to the Philips discs, except that these spindles have a paper on the top as well as the branding on the sides. Both were made in Taiwan. They are also rated to be burned up at 6x, although the burning speeds available depends on the burner capabilities and firmware itself.

Opening it, we have the shiny top logo surface discs:

The discs does look to be very well made. The data surface also look very smooth too.

It also has a dark gold-colored look, as opposed to the dark grey color of the Philips discs. This is important because it may tell us that the manufacturer is different.

My first thought was to insert this into the Panasonic UJ-260, to see what it thinks of this disc.

VERBAT-IMf-000 Panasonic UJ-260

ImgBurn says these discs are made by Verbatim! The media code ID is VERBAT-IMf-000. The Panasonic UJ-260 can burn them at 2x and 6x. This is higher than the RITEK-DR3-000 and CMCMAG-DI6-000 discs, both of which could be burned up to 4x on this drive (Note that the CMCMAG-DI6-000 failed on this drive, but it could burn the RITEK-DR3-000 perfectly fine).

Given this, let’s try to burn a disc with Nero at 6x.

VERBAT-IMf-000 Panasonic UJ-260 Burning 6x on Nero

It did seem to start burning great, but unfortunately, the disc failed to burn with just a generic burning error:

VERBAT-IMf-000 Panasonic UJ-260 Burning 6x on Nero Failed

This is the first time the Panasonic fails on me while burning a disc. This is also unexpected, given that Verbatim discs should be the best of the best. Usually, this drive would burn a disc fine but may fail on the verification, like it did on the CMCMAG-DI6-000 discs. Maybe it couldn’t handle burning at 6x.

HP BD-R DL 10pk 6

As we can see, it failed at the first layer.

My next try was of course, on the Pioneer BDR-2212. It burned all of the Philips spindles flawlessly, altough on just one of the discs, it wrote a bad sector and this drive was able to read it back while the others failed on that sector. I discarded this disc, but the others wrote and verified just fine.

VERBAT-IMf-000 Pioneer BDR-2212

The Pioneer drive reports that this disc can be burned at up to 8x.

I fired up Nero and attempted to burn the disc at 8x. The CMCMAG-DI6-000 burned great at this speed and the verification went really well too. No speed slowdowns happened at all when reading them.

Nero was able to burn and verify this disc successfully. In fact, it also read back fine in my LiteOn iHBS112.

HP BD-R DL 10pk 7

The finished disc has a dark grey burned color. Here we can see it compared to a burned CMCMAG-DI6-000 disc:

HP BD-R DL 10pk 8

The CMCMAG-DI6-000 on the left has a darker burned color than the VERBAT-IMf-000 disc on the right.

Next are the usual quality scans. I really don’t pay attention to it, as it’s been proven that the drives can handle high amounts of LDC/BIS numbers and the only discs that failed on me were scratched or rotten ones. This happened some years ago, but none of the discs I’ve burned so far has given me issues.

Test results of an 8x burn

VERBAT-IMf-000 Burned with Pioneer BDR-2212 at 8x and scanned on LiteOn iHBS112 at 4x

The LiteOn iHBS112 seem to read the disc just great but reports high numbers on the first layer and a bit on the 2nd one before going back down to numbers that stays within the limits. Besides this result, the disc was completely readable.

VERBAT-IMf-000 Burned with Pioneer BDR-2212 at 8x and ScanDisc on LiteOn iHBS112

Now, let’s move on to scanning and verifying it on the LG WH16NS58:

VERBAT-IMf-000 Burned with Pioneer BDR-2212 at 8x and scanned on LG WH14NS58 at 4x

The LG drive stayed between the tolerance numbers except once it reached the 20GB mark, where it went up. It stabilized again on the 2nd layer at around 29GB and stayed within its limits. The disc once again was completely readable according to Nero DiscSpeed.

VERBAT-IMf-000 Burned with Pioneer BDR-2212 at 8x and ScanDisc on LG WH16NS58

Test results of a 6x burn

I burned a disc at 6x, which was successful too. The difference between a 6x and 8x burn is about 5 minutes.

Now, let’s see how it scanned:

The scan on the LiteOn drive is very similar to the 8x burn. On the LG drive, however, it seems the first layer was burned better. The start of the 2nd layer did present a spike but seem to correct itself. Remember that the Pioneer drive performs some calibration while burning. It usually does it at around 56% after starting to burn the second layer of a BD-R DL disc. The rest of the disc burned with good quality and no spikes.

Even with those spikes on both scans, the disc read fine on both instances.

Burning on the Panasonic UJ260 at 2x

I decided to give this drive another try, but this time burning at 2x. Surprisingly, it handled burning it and succeeded in the verification stage.

Testing on the LiteOn and LG drives looked way, way better too

We can see once again that the LG scanned it a bit better, but the difference between the LiteOn and LG is not so much. Overall, this looks way better than the Pioneer burns at 6x and 8x.

This is very good to know because before the Pioneer drive, I was always burning on the Panasonic drive. This means that the only media this drive cannot handle well is the CMCMAG-DI6-000, but it could be because of the tint of those discs that I mentioned on that review and may not be the case with other branded CMCMAG discs.

Conclusion

The discs from the batch I got are all Verbatim 6x media. They are burning reliably on the Pioneer drive and at 2x on the Panasonic drive. The LG and LiteOn drives can read back the data on all of the above cases regardless of the quality scans without any speed slowdown. I’d recommend this media because of how cheap it is, considering they seem to be Verbatim media but branded for HP.

You can order these discs on Amazon at the following link:

Gigablock DVD+R DL 8x Blank Media

Gigablock DVD+R DL 8x Blank Media

Note: I had this post written since the summer, but somehow forgot to publish it. I apologize for my lateness on publishing it.


Hi everyone,

Today, I’ll show you the 50-pack Gigablock DVD+R DL media I brought on Amazon. This 50-pack cost about half the price of a standard 100-pack DVD+R spindle. They are rated at 8x.

Gigablock DVD+R DL 1

The discs do not come in a standard spindle, so you have to be very careful when opening it.

Gigablock DVD+R DL 2

They have a branded surface:

Gigablock DVD+R DL 3

The recording surface has a dark purple color:

Gigablock DVD+R DL 4

Disc information

When the disk is loaded in ImgBurn on a LiteOn iHAS524 drive with OverSpeed turned on, it will detect them as having a speed of up to 16x:

The disc media ID from this batch is RICOHJPN-D01-67.

Unfortunately, burning these discs with either 12x or 16x will not work and will produce coasters. They will actually write at 4x but will fail the verification. This is why I recommend turning off OverSpeed and burning at the rated 8x speed.

Here’s the disk information with OverSpeed turned off:

Burning

The LiteOn iHAS524 was able to burn the discs successfully when burned at 8x. I burned them with HyperTuning, Online HyperTuning and Smart-Burn turned on. OverSpeed was turned off.

Interestingly, it seemed to have burned some discs using a CAV strategy while the rest were burned using a Z-CLV strategy.

CAV Strategy

The disc started burning at 5x but eventually reached 8x. Then it went backward:

Data verification was successful going up to 16x:

Z-CLV Strategy

The drive burned the discs starting at 4x, then going up to 6x, and finally up to 8x. It then did the same on the opposite direction:

Data verification was also successful having a maximum read speed of 16x:

Disc Quality Test

I used Nero DiscSpeed to perform quality tests on these discs. It seems that there is a problem around the layer break when the scan is performed at the maximum speed which is 16x:

However, when we reduced the speed to 8x, we got some decent results with no issues at the layer break:

Conclusion

With a price of just $19.99, I think this is a good media to backup data. A 100pk Single-layer DVD+R spindle cost somewhere between $20-$25 these days. While these media are Double Layer, you’re getting half the discs with almost double the capacity for around that same price.

When burning these discs, just don’t overspeed them. You’ll have coasters. Burn them at their rated speed of 8x and always verify the data. While none of my discs had issues verifying the discs burned at 8x, those burned at 12x and 16x did experienced issues. This is why you should disable overspeed and burn at 8x.

Philips BD-R DL 10pk

Philips BD-R DL 10pk

Hi everyone,

Today, we will be looking at the Philips BD-R DL White Inkjet Printable Blu-Ray Recordable media:

Philips BD-R DL 2

These discs were at a surprising price of just $9 dollars on Amazon, so I picked up 5 spindles of these.

Philips BD-R DL media

These discs holds up to 50GB and are rated to be burnt at up to 6x. Let’s take a look at the disc surface and label sides:

The discs have the Philips brand at the center of the disc. Also, we can see that the discs have some sort of tint on the data side. Hopefully, these will not affect the recordings. Or will it? Let’s find out how my burners handle these discs.

Burning on Panasonic UJ-260

My first attempt to burn these was with my old but trusted Panasonic UJ-260 drive. It has been successfully burning discs with media codes RITEK-BR2 (25GB), RITEK-DR3 (50GB), CMCMAG-BA5 (25GB) and VERBAT-IMk (100GB).

The disc was recognized as CMCMAG-DI6-000 and can be burnt at up to 4x in this drive:

CMCMAG-DI6 on U260

The disc was able to burn fine, but unfortunately failed verification. Let’s see the disc burned surface:

We can see that there are burning issues. The Panasonic UJ-260 writes double layer media in two zones. It starts at 2x, and then burns at 4x. On the 2nd layer, it goes from 4x to 2x. The red zones are when the drive spins down to 2x to burn the final parts of the disc.

Still, out of curiosity, somehow this disc was readable on the LG drive when I did a ScanDisc run on Nero DiscSpeed:

I burned another disc, this time at 2x. The burn again went fine, but the verification failed on the 2nd layer again.

Philips BD-R DL 7 Burned at 2x on Panasonic UJ260

The disc looks awful. You can see the rings in the recording surface. The scans also points this issue out:

Both drives agree that something is wrong at the end. The disc should technically be looking darker like the rings look, which would explain why the second layer was scanning properly until the rings started to appear.

Few days later, I burned another one at 4x using ImgBurn. The previous 2 were burned with Nero, but that shouldn’t had be an issue. This time, the disc burned and verified fine, but it still did rings at the disc surface:

Philips BD-R DL 7 Burned at 4x on Panasonic UJ260 Success

Scans looks better, but I wouldn’t trust the disc in its condition:

It’s still clear that the rings are affecting the burn.

Burning on the LiteOn iHBS112

I burned another disc on the LiteOn iHBS112. This drive is able to burn them at 4x and 6x:

CMCMAG-DI6-000 LiteOn iHBS112 ImgBurn

The disc burned and verified fine, but the drive produced rings on the disc surface too.

Philips BD-R DL 7 Burned at 6x on LiteOn iHBS112

This burner also burned this disc in 2 zones, one at 4x and the other at 6x. The first layer burned fine, but we can see it struggled on the 2nd layer at the 4x zone:

Regardless of the scans, the disc was completely readable.

LG WH16NS58

This drive is interesting in that if I burn with Nero, it fails immediately with “Write Error” and closes the disc, effectively not allowing us to retry burning anything since it changes the book type to BD-ROM somehow. I tried with ImgBurn at 6x and it managed to burn and verify the disc, but again, it came out with rings:

Philips BD-R DL 7 Burned at 6x on LG WH16NS58 Success

The drive did seem to produce a better burn except at the layer break. Also, the several rings do have an effect too:

I burned another disc, but this time it failed verifying:

Philips BD-R DL 7 Burned at 6x on LG WH16NS58 Failure

Scans:

It seems this time the issue is mostly at the layer break.

LG BP60NB10

I have this slim drive, and surprisingly, it did not produce any visible rings in the disc surface. It is also able to burn it at 6x:

Philips BD-R DL 7 Burned at 6x on LG BP60NB10

The disc was verified successful too. Let’s see how it performs at the graphs:

The LG seem to tolerate the disc better than the LiteOn. The first layer scanned fine. In both cases, the disc was completely readable without errors.

Pioneer BDR-2212 (BDR-212ULBK/BDR-212M)

I recently got this recorder to try burning these discs and see if it would offer a better burning experience. It is able to burn these discs at up to 8x on this drive.

I burned some discs with Nero 2017, which I haven’t upgraded since that version since every version is essentially just the same, and it burned the discs fine at 8x.

Philips BD-R DL 7 Burned at 8x on Pioneer BDR-2212

The disc surface looks very good. No rings are present either. However, when I first scanned the disc with my LG drive, it gave a really bad result:

CMCMAG-DI6-000 Burned with Pioneer Scanned with LG

So I re-ran the test again and got a way better result:

CMCMAG-DI6-000 Burned with Pioneer Scanned with LG retry

The LDC numbers may look high but the BIS numbers are almost within the standards. High, but the disc works fine across all my drives. The above scan was also performed at 8x. Below, we have the scans from my LG and LiteOn drive, from the same disc burned at 8x:

As we can see, the LG drive scanned the disc better than the LiteOn drive, but it was read without any issues there.

This drive seem to have better results when writing the 2nd layer, which is unexpected. Usually, the 1st layer is the one that gets burned the best. I did noticed that this drive seem to do a power calibration when switching layers, which can explain why the LDC/BIS numbers are low at that point. I think of this because the drive seem to slow down and pause when it reaches the layer break. The drive then proceeds to burn the disc as usual. My other drives would just keep burning immediately at this point.

Conclusion

These Philips BD-R DL use discs from CMC Magnetics with media code CMCMAG-DI6-000. These discs seem to have compatibility issues with some drives. In fact, go to Amazon and read the reviews and you’ll see some people are also having issues when burning these discs. Unfortunately, drive vendors that update their firmware are low. LG and Pioneer seem to keep their drives up to date, but the LG doesn’t seem to have the best luck burning them, as some discs may come fine and some may fail. The Pioneer seems to handle them the best and can even overspeed it to 8x. I think the investment on the drive paid off. Considering these discs spindles can be found cheap now, I think I’ll keep purchasing them for my archival needs.

You can buy these discs on Amazon here:

TP-Link Archer T2U Nano: AC600 USB 2.0 Wireless Adapter

TP-Link Archer T2U Nano: AC600 USB 2.0 Wireless Adapter

Hi everyone,

Today, I’ll show you the TP-Link Archer T2U Nano AC600 USB 2.0 Wireless Adapter:

TP-Link Archer T2U Nano AC600 USB2.0 Wireless Adapter 1

This is a USB 2.0 Wireless Adapter about the size of a mouse USB receiver, very small. It follows the Wireless AC protocol and should theoretically give us speeds of up to 600Mbit/s. If that’s true or not, we’ll see later in this post.

This wireless receiver is currently being sold at about $13 dollars on Amazon, or at $12 if you buy them as a “Renewed” item, which is Amazon’s terms for refurbished items.

The above ones were purchased renewed, as this is more friendly to the planet and should work just like a new one. In fact, you can see one of them is packaged differently than the other. This doesn’t matter, but you know they are repackaged items because of how they are.

Unboxing

The front of the box shows the overall product details, like saying it should be faster on the 2.4Ghz band and that it also supports the 5Ghz band, given it’s a dual band adapter:

TP-Link Archer T2U Nano AC600 USB2.0 Wireless Adapter 2

On the back, we have a better description of the adapter:

TP-Link Archer T2U Nano AC600 USB2.0 Wireless Adapter 3

The receiver is packaged inside this big box:

TP-Link Archer T2U Nano AC600 USB2.0 Wireless Adapter 4

The reason for it to be big is that they have packaged a regular CD with the device driver. It has to be known that Windows 10 detects the adapter natively and uses its own driver, as we will see later too.

TP-Link Archer T2U Nano AC600 USB2.0 Wireless Adapter 5

We also have the user manual and an Amazon Certified Refurbished card.

The adapter is really small:

TP-Link Archer T2U Nano AC600 USB2.0 Wireless Adapter 6

Taken out of the box:

TP-Link Archer T2U Nano AC600 USB2.0 Wireless Adapter 7

Now it’s time to plug it into my laptop. Almost unnoticeable:

Testing

The TP-Link Archer T2U Nano is natively recognized by Windows 10, and uses Microsoft’s native driver:

TP-Link T2U Nano speedtest 4

However, it only seems to be using a fraction of my wireless router, only showing it is running at a rate of 86.7Mbit/s:

TP-Link T2U Nano speedtest 1

In fact, running a speed test doesn’t give the maximum speed of 250Mbit/s of download I’m supposed to be getting:

In comparison, when using the laptop’s integrated Wifi card, it indeed reaches the full 250Mbit/s speed:

I then decided to use TP-Link’s driver to see if that would improve things, but infortunately that wasn’t the case:

And even switched to the other adapter to make sure it wasn’t defective. Unfortunately, I also got a slower than expected speed:

TP-Link T2U Nano speedtest 9

Conclusion

The TP-Link Archer T2U is a small wireless adapter. Maybe it’s because of that the fact that we don’t see the full speed being utilized, but one thing is for sure; it serves its initial purpose of bringing Wi-Fi to a laptop. While it may be slow, we can also see that the adapter works simply by inserting it. No extra drivers are needed on Windows 10, and we can start navigating the web fast.

For just $12 or $13 dollars, we can’t expect it to do miracles with the speed, but it will keep you connected with no dropouts.

The internet plan used for the purpose of this review is 250Mbit/s of download and 25mbit/s of upload speed.

If you’re interested, you can purchase this item on Amazon below:

SednaEarFit Xelastec Review

SednaEarFit Xelastec Review

Ever since I got my Hidizs MS4 IEM, I became a journey to try several ear tips, after I lost one of their “Bass” ear tips. This journey began with me trying some Chinese replacements tips, in particular, some called “Spiral ear tips”. They were good, but I still tried other tips, including the highly acclaimed Spinfits.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t pleased with the Spinfits, as I found it degraded the sound to my likes. It was until I found the AZLA SednaEarFitLight that I was really pleased with how the sound came from them.

SednaEarFit Xelastec 5

AZLA is known to make one of the best ear tips. Their SednaEarFit line improves both sound and comfort, but one of their issues has to do with getting the right fit, and the high price. However, once you find the correct size for you, you will be really pleased with how they sound.

AZLA recently released the SednaEarFit Xelastec, which is made of different material that adapts to your ear. This makes them fit great and will not, theoretically, fall.

SednaEarFit Xelastec 1

I found that one of the most important thing that affects the size is the nozzle size and diameter. The smaller the diameter, the more dull the sound will be, and the longer or shorter the nozzle length is, is how the sound frequency will get affected.

SednaEarFit Xelastec 2

On the Hidizs MS4, the shorter the nozzle length is, will produce more bass, great mids, and tame the treble. The longer the nozzle length is, there may be less bass, with more treble sparks, and the mids, well, fall in the middle or may get behind.

Once I tried the SednaEarFit Xelastec, they became my favorite ear tip. Here’s why:

Ease of use

Some ear tips have a hard time getting placed in the IEM nozzle, because of its diameter. This was the case when I got the Spinfit ear tip, as the diameter was small. With the SednaEarFit Xelastec, they just fit without having any struggles. This may be due to its adapting material.

Sound

The nozzle length of the Xelastec is shorter and just a bit smaller than their SednaEarFitLight. However, due to the material it’s made, the sound doesn’t get affected much. In fact, it does a great job to reproduce a great frequency response. The bass isn’t overwhelmed but is improved. The mids comes more forward but not too much. The treble is tamed with no sparks to it. The sound stage is very good to my likes, which is a forward sound with great instrument separation and energy.

Fit

This really depends on the tip size used. In my case, the best size is their ML (Medium-Large) size. They are very comfortable and fits very nice in my ears. I can use them for hours without getting itchy or without causing discomfort. They also do not fall. The material they are made will give you a sticky feeling, unlike silicone tips which depending on the one used, may cause you some itch and discomfort.

SednaEarFit Xelastec 7

The only downside is that due to them being kind of sticky, you may have to clean them often.

Price

Let’s be honest, these tips are not cheap, but they are really worth it. The main problem you’ll probably face is spending money to test the different tip sizes. I used to be a medium size when it comes to tips, but for the AZLA tips, the best ones are their Medium-Large. Fortunately, you can get various tip sizes but at a premium.

Personally, I got the pack that comes with medium, medium-large, and large tips, just to see if the medium-large would still fit or I needed to go down to the medium tips. The large ones are large indeed.

SednaEarFit Xelastec 3

So, for starters, you may want to start here. At a price of $28.00, each tip size comes at $9.33 approximately.

Conclusion

I can recommend these tips if you’re looking for comfort without compromising the sound. It may even improve it depending on which tips you are using. Remember that not all tips will produce the same sound with every IEM, so your mileage will vary here, but if you, like me, own the Hidizs MS4 IEM, I can recommend them. AZLA makes one of the most amazing and high quality ear tips I’ve ever used.

You can get these tips on Amazon here:

Individual sizes:

Comparison of the sound of the different Hiby R3 models

Comparison of the sound of the different Hiby R3 models

Hi everyone,

Today, I want to talk to you about the different sound signatures of the different Hiby R3 models.

Hiby is a company that specializes in audio hardware and headphones. They have created Digital Audio Players, Bluetooth receivers, and headphones. They have also created a modified Android version for their Hiby R5 and R6 players while also having developed the HibyOS operating system that powers the Hiby R3. They also use a range of DACs in their products that ultimately gives them their signature sound.

Two years ago, Hiby launched the Hiby R3 player on Kickstarter. This particular model used an ES9028Q2M DAC. It also offered a lot of great features for a price of just $189 at that time. Then, in the last months of the last year, Hiby launched the Hiby R3 Pro, changing the DAC to not one, but 2 Cirrus Logic CS43131. Finally, a few months ago, Hiby launched the new Hiby R3 Pro Saber which went back to using ESS DACs. This time, powered by two ES9218p DACs.

These players each have their advantages in the sound department, but none of them sounds the same. This is why I’ll be giving my thoughts on this.

Hiby R3

The original Hiby R3 is musical in the mids. The highs are not bright and the bass is not overwelmed. The sound is neither warm or bright, but rather neutral. This is why it seems like the mids have a better presentation.

Hiby R3 Pro

The Hiby R3 Pro changed the DAC to dual CS43131. Cirrus Logic DACs are warmer than those from ESS, which sounds more analytical and sometimes bright. Because of this, the bass and mids have a warmer tone, including making the vocals be warmer, The sound is also a bit more open due to the two DACs.

Hiby R3 Pro Saber

The Hiby R3 Pro Saber went back to the ESS DACs, particularly, the ES9218p. These DACs sound different depending on their implementation. On the Hiby R3 Pro Saber, the sound is more analytical, airy, and more open. The hights are bright but not to the point where they will cause hearing fatigue. I rather like the sound this way because it makes the highs be more detailed. The voices have a lot more air and are more forward and clearer than on the R3 Pro, which was warmer.

Below, you’ll find a video I recorded talking about these different models and their sound signature:

Which DAP is your favorite? Let me know in the comments.

The Western Digital 14TB Easystore Hard Disk Drive

The Western Digital 14TB Easystore Hard Disk Drive

Hi everyone,

Today, I’ll show you the 14TB Western Digital Easystore Hard Disk Drive. This is an external hard drive sold at Best Buy in the United State, and sometimes they sell them at a special price.

The drive comes with a USB 3.0 conection. It has plenty of space to store our precious data as well as allowing us to store backup copies of it. These hard drives are filled with helium which makes them not get too hot when we are using them.

Unboxing

The box comes with a simple presentation, usual of hard disk drives boxes:

When we open it, we see the hard drive:

On the side, we see the cables and the manual:

Disk Benchmark

I connected the drive on Windows which recognized it as a 12.7TB drive. I then went ahead and ran a benchmark using the CystalDiskMark utility. It reported over 200MB+ read/write speed:

Here’s a video of the benchmark, altough I used another drive and it reported over 170MB+. The difference was that this other 14TB drive already had data in it:

Conclusion

With 12.7TB reported on windows, this drive allows us to store huge amounts of data and store backups. It is very fast and comes with typical Western Digital quality. I expect this drive to hold still for a lot of years, as my previous Western Digital drives are still operating excellent.

You can buy this hard disk drive on Best Buy here.

The Avantree DG80 USB Bluetooth Audio Transmitter

The Avantree DG80 USB Bluetooth Audio Transmitter

Hi everyone,

Today, I’ll show you the Avantree DG80 Bluetooth USB Audio Transmitter:

Avantree DG80 - 1

This is a Bluetooth adapter that works as a PC audio card. It transmits audio via Bluetooth using the SBC, FastStream, aptX, or aptX Low Latency codec, depending on which codecc your headphone or adapter supports. Having the aptX codec provides us with a better audio experience.

The aptX Low Latency codec allows us to watch movies and videos without any audio delay. Most Bluetooth receivers today support this codec and having a transmitter with it makes us take advantage of this.

Avantree DG80 - 2

Unboxing

The DG80 packaging is small and simple.

Avantree DG80 - 3

We can see the adapter along with its manual and documentation behind.

We can see the transmitter is really small.

Finally, we have the included documentation.

Avantree DG80 - 9

Package content:

Avantree DG80 - 10

Using the transmitter

Using this transmitter is as simple as plugging it into a USB port and going into pairing mode.

Avantree DG80 - 11

We can see Windows detects it as Avantree DG80.

Avantree DG80 Settings 2

The transmitter has a bit depth and sample rate of 16bit/48khz, which is common with these adapters.

Avantree DG80 Settings 3

I paired it with my Fiio BTR5 and we can see it is using the aptX Low Latency codec.

Avantree DG80 - 12

Here’s a video of the pairing process of the adapter:

Audio Quality

Becuase this transmitter uses a Qualcomm chipset, the sound quality is realy great, thanks to its support of the aptX and aptX Low Latency codecs.

Signal strength

Avantree claims the adapter will work up to 30 meters or 100 feet. This may be true unless there are some obstacles in the way. In my tests with the Whooshi adapter, known to have signal issues, I was able to listen to music while I was in the same room. However, going away I could hear the audio getting cut. If you’re looking for the best signal range, the Avantree DG60 is a better choice.

Conclusion

If you still do not have a USB Bluetooth audio transmitter, the Avantree DG80 is a good start. It’s small, portable, and cheap. It also supports the aptX and aptX Low Latency codecs to provide excellent audio quality.

The Hidizs Mermaid MS1 and MS4 IEMs with their cables and accessories

The Hidizs Mermaid MS1 and MS4 IEMs with their cables and accessories

Hi everyone,

Yesterday, I received the brand-new Hidizs Mermaid MS1 and MS4 In-Ear Monitors Absolute Kits.

Hidizs Mermaid MS1 and MS4 IEMs with their cables and accessories
Hidizs Mermaid MS1 and MS4 IEMs with their cables and accessories

The Hidizs Mermaid MS1 is an IEM with 1 Dynamic Driver, while the Hidizs Mermaid MS4 is an IEM with 1 Dynamic Driver and 3 Knowles Balanced Armatures.

Hidizs Mermaid MS4
Hidizs Mermaid MS4

My initial impressions are excellent. These IEMs do a lot to reproduce the music. I found that the MS1, with just the Dynamic Driver, produces a warm sound with great mids and smooth bass and treble. The MS4, on the other hand, improves the bass and treble while having great mids. Since the MS4 uses 3 balanced armatures for the mids and treble, they do a great job, and since the Dynamic Driver is focused on the bass, it also does a great job. The MS1, on the other hand, produces a warmer sound since the Dynamic Driver needs to reproduce the entire frequency spectrum.

The Hidizs Absolute Kits come with a choice of a 2.5mm or 4.4mm balanced cable, USB-C 2-pin cable and an aptX Bluetooth Cable using a CSR8645 chipset. They are also compatible with other 2-pin 0.78mm IEMs and you can also use other aftermarket cables due to their 2-pin connectors.

The IEMs can be driven easily since the MS1 only has an impedance of just 15Ω while the MS4 has an impedance of just 12Ω. However, you can use your favorite DAC like the Hidizs DH1000/Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus and use the balanced output to enjoy an even better sound. You can also use them with the 3.5mm cable with the Hidizs AP80.

Now, here’s my unboxing video I recorded yesterday where I unbox both kits, their cables and accessories:

I personally like the MS4 due to their more punchier bass and their extended treble. The MS1 have more forward vocals, so if you’re looking for that, the MS1 is for you, but if you want the treble and a bit more bass, go for the MS4.

Here’s the review video I also recorded with my thoughts on the IEMs and the cables:

Overall, Hidizs did a great job with these new In-Ear Monitors.

You can purchase these 2 Hidizs IEMs at Amazon using the following links: