For an item, making it on here is no easy task. If we really love something and think it is reference class in its price range, then it may just get this prestigious award. These are also the things that we will be comparing new products too when we get them through. This is also something we will be updating so if something better comes along, you can say goodbye to this place, our pride of place!
Sub £250 Earphone – Dunu DN-2000J
These earphones offer surreal value at their price of £230. They are dynamic, balanced and very detailed sounding and they compete way above their price range. They also come with a great range of accessories, have some cool ideas regarding the ability to use different accessories to tune them and also are fairly comfortable. These are the universal for us. A great upgrade from the previous Pride of Place model in the DN-2000.
Review Link – http://inearspace.com/2015/09/13/measurement-monday-dunu-dn-2000-dn-2000j/
Cables – Double Helix Cables
Peter Bradstock’s Double Helix Cables is revolutionary. The ideas he brings to all things cables are a breath of fresh air and how hard he works to make sure his offerings are the best is phenomenal. Lets face it, you know someones gear is good when you see all the other brands copying his ideas.
Review Link – http://inearspace.com/2016/03/15/dhc-complement-4-review/
Price No Object CIEM – Nominees
We are currently in the process of reviewing a range of flagship CIEMs and building towards a big round up. Nominees so far: JH Audio Roxanne, Hidition Viento-R, 64 Audio A10 & A12, Vision Ears VE6XC, Rhines Ears Stage 7, Harschacoustics SH-3 U-Tune, Lear BD-4.2, Jomo 6R, UERM, Ambient Acoustics AM-6, ACS Encore, Heir Audio 10.A, Custom Art Harmony 8.2.
Sub £300 Headphone – ZMF Headphones Master Model
These headphones define musical. They make everything sound good with their rich, slightly dark sound signature. That being said they still do things that a lot of headphones at this price cant even dream of. What Zach does with a pair of Fostex T50RPs is truly amazing and these are one of our go to headphones for long listening periods.
Review Link – http://inearspace.com/2014/10/27/zmf-headphones-zpex-master-master-model-v1-and-v2-review-modifying-the-fostex-t50rp-into-something-special/
Sub £30 Headphone – Superlux HD681
These have been on my wall forever, they may not get much use but whenever we get them down and plug them in, they amaze us with how great they sound for no more than £26. They dont have a lot of bass and are a bit thin and bright but the details they offer, the midrange clarity and sense of space is hella good at such a low price.
Price No Object Closed Headphone – Beyerdynamic T5p w/ Double Helix Cables
These headphones are a fairly polarizing listen because of how revealing they are but with the right gear they are a true force. My pair are a bit special as they were modded by DHC and that has made them both a lot better and are a reference grade headphone.
Review Link – http://inearspace.com/2014/10/28/beyerdynamic-t5p-headphone-review-a-journey-through-cables-feat-double-helix-cables-effect-audio-and-nocturnal-audio/
Price No Object Open Headphone – Sennheiser HD800
Perhaps the best dynamic driver headphone ever made and also the only one that can keep up with the planars of today. This may not always be the most musical but has crazy levels of transaprency, detail and honesty. It is as handy a tool for testing DACs and amps as it is for giving my ears a lot of pleasure.
BookShelf Speakers – Kef LS50
What a bargain speaker this is, at £800 it’s a truly great value loudspeaker from both an enjoyment point of view and from a reference point of view due to its transparency and versatility. It demands some pretty solid amplification, and will pull apart a poor source, but, you give it the right circumstances and it can truly be great. At this price, there isn’t another speaker I have heard that I prefer; simple as that.
Floorstanding SPEAKERS – Pearl acoustics sibelius SG
These mightily transparent speakers have both the sound and build quality to last a life time!
Portable Headphone Amplifier – Vorzuge Pureamp
This is my favourite pairing with the PWAK120-B and gives all my earphones that clean signal and dynamics they deserve. It has a small profile and no unneccesary features that go unused. It is a pure amp in all it does.
Price No Object DAP – Astell & Kern AK240ss
I use this because it is an outstanding source. Big storage, good UI, gorgeous aesthetics and build and astonishing sound, It offers detail, refinement, subtlety, aggression, poise, precision and oh the list goes on and on, but most of all it is a reliable source. It won’t let me down, I know it is giving me a true representation of the music and if I’m reviewing an IEM/CIEM, or simply listening for pleasure, what more can I ask for. It also does a good job bringing itself ahead of the standard version!
DAC – totaldac d1-tube-mk2
In France they are doing some special stuff with DACs, especially in Vincent Brient’s lab. This is a warm and lush tube DAC that is so natrual and spacious. It also doubles up as a top level pre-amp, which always handy, even if the price tag just under 10 grand isn’t cheap.
Review Link – http://inearspace.com/2015/07/18/totaldac-d1-tube-mk2-a-big-old-ladder-above-the-rest/
Headphone Amplifier – Questyle CMA800R mono Blocks
Doubling up what is already a very competent amp gives you a rather spectacular experience and also a very cool looking stacking two amps on top of each other. Capable with a range of headphones I find these to really shine with Sennheiser’s HD800!
Review Link – http://inearspace.com/2015/12/30/questyle-cma800r-dual-mono-double-the-magic/
Pre/Power Amplifier Combo – Parasound P5 & A23
A really talented pairing that shows what synergy can do for a system. For my system, this bridged the gap between an analytical solid state system and the body and depth of a valve system. It has plenty of power, it’s versatile and has an abundance of features from the P5 so you can utilise the amp for your cinema system too. There really isn’t anything to dislike about them. To offer this many characteristics of a higher end system at this price really has to be commended. BELIEVE THE HYPE.
Review Link – http://inearspace.com/2014/11/29/parasound-halo-p5-preamplifier-review-let-me-polish-your-halo/