Monday, December 18, 2017

2017 New NICEHCK DIY MX500 PK1 Earbud Review

About Me

I will keep the intro short to keep it real. I am not a paid reviewer as I don’t get paid or any shit like that. I am not a professional reviewer so don’t expect fancy graph or any technical analysis at all. Hmmm then what the hell am I going to write? Well… I am going to give my own personal opinion on the earbud and hopefully it helps others in choosing their right earbud. My impression of the bud could be not accurate because everybody hears thing differently. If you are old and have tinnitus, don’t expect everyone to hear the same thing as you. I am a treble sensitive guy, so any sibilance earphone, iem or headphone will go straight to the cold storage box. BTW I am a gamer too despite my lousy skill.

The Butt

I have to admit the main reason I get this earbud from NICEHCK is because of the rave review it is getting on forums and facebook. Most of the people vouch for this. Of course they are negative feedbacks but most of the feedback is positive. Being a curious guy, I jump the gun and order one from AE. And don’t screw me for mentioning the word NICEHCK. I have to because there are many DIY MX500 variant out there. Each variant of build will have an impact on the sound. Ok enough of the logical explanation on why I am getting the earbud. The reality of it is I am impulsive buyer who keeps on buying new earbuds/iem and I am a sucker for all white theme of this earbud 😊

 1. Product Name:  NICEHCK DIY MX500/PK1  Earbud In Ear Earphone Earbud  
 2. Model:  DIY MX500 / PK1
 3. Type: In-ear earbud                         
 4. Impedance: 16Ω
 5. Earphone sensitivity: 106dB/mW
 6. Frequency range: 22-22000Hz
 7. Interface: 3.5mm 
 8. Cable Length: 1.2m±5cm
 9. Weight: 15g
10.Color: Black, Blue, Transparent
11.Whether with mic: No
12.Earphone plug type: L Tpye
13.Earphone category: HIFI, Monitor
14.Drive unit: Dynamic unit drive


The NICEHCK DIY MX500 PKI Earbud build quality is good, simple but elegant. I bought the clear shell model because I like transparent shell. The Shell is identical to the one used in Monk SPC version. The cable unlike the other variant is not braided. It looks like SPC type and it is prone to microphonic. It is ok for me because I usually use earbud in quiet environment with little to no movement at all. The 3.5mm plug is made of metal and it looks good. It ain’t Oyaide but it looks good enough for this price point.

Overall, I like the build of this all white SPC transparent Shell variant of the DIY MX500.

First Blood

Right out of the box, this guy nail it! I usually test most of my earbud with Gundam! I mean Hiroyuki Sawano Gundam OST. Gundam Unicorn soundtrack especially 1ST MOV:BANSHEE is very busy with lots of instrument playing behind it. Is a god damn huge orchestra. Most of the bad earphone, iem or even headphone would fail this test. I tried with Monster Beats headphone before and omg wtf and the sound is congested, narrow and it feels like everything is mesh up into a fark up sound. All I hear is noise not music. Good music means I can hear every independent instruments, decent soundstage, good mid/vocal and enough bass/sub bass when the music demands it. So this lil earbud pass the first test.

Ok sorry I lied :P I don’t know about others but good music to me does not mean accurate sound or anything like that. Music mean a lot to me. Every time I suffer hardship, joy, success, failure, depression or any other events in my life, I will turn to music. Each specific music would remind me of a certain events in my life. In short, music bring backs memory. It is hard to explain but the same song played from different player or earbud will send different emotion to me if I listen to it. The sound I am looking for is not neutral, analytical nor accurate but more towards warm sound signature. Neutral with a hint of warm (slightly V shape) would be ideal. This earbud falls into this criteria. It don’t have a huge soundstage like Wong’s Blur earbud nor does it have super fine details like Beyerdynamic T1 mk2 / T90 but it is engaging enough to bring back memories to me.

This little guy has a soul!

Torture Chamber

In this review, I decided to pair it with AK Kann and the new Sony A45. Why not other DAP like Onkyo DP-X1 , Opus #1 which is still in my dry box? Well because new gadget always get all the attention. AK KANN and Sony A45 is the 2 new DAP which I have bought recently.

AK KANN is really a good all-rounder. Support micro SD and SD card, powerful amp but …it is freaking huge. Which is why I get the Sony A45. I don’t intend to bring the KANN when I am on the go. Eg jogging, going out for any active activities where I know I will not be doing any critical listening. Sorry I lie again. The real reason is because Sony is giving a good bundle promotion when you buy the new Sony WI-1000x noise cancelling hyrid IEM! Damn it why am I confessing to the entire world. Something is not right with me today.


No sibilance. Which is good news to me. I really really really hate sibilance sound. When pair with AK KANN I don’t expect harsh treble or anything like that. KANN is warm, therefore any treble happy earbud you pair with it will be tame. But don’t let this statement confuse you. The treble is smooth with enough extension.

Sony A45 is definitely a brighter player compare to KANN. But still you don’t get sibilance sound with you pair it with MX500.

This is all I ask for in treble. My requirement is bloody low right? One important thing to note is if you are the kind of person who like the “s” sound in every vocal track and love those bright treble then this earbud is not the bud for you.


Sony A45, the mid is definitely the forward type. It kind of give you the on stage feel.

(Aimer – Egao) Forward mid and engaging sound, you can hear the separate musical instrument, decent soundstage.

(Emi Fujita – Imagine) sound similar. Imagine all the people, living for good music…

On my AK KANN it sounds similar too. Definitely the forward mid type. Just to be sure I tried another song Rick Astley – When I Fall in Love. Damn it bring backs memory.


This earbud gives you enough bass but it is not a bass-head earbud. To be honest due to the design of earbud I don’t expect any miracle here. But this earbud is performing way beyond my expectation.

It does not matter if I pair this with A45 or KANN, the result is similar. The bass is control, sufficient not bleeding into the mid region. Bass do roll off significantly. If you are a headbanger, you are better off with Monster Beats.

(Linkin Park - Numb) Yes you hear bass on this earbud but it is not the thumping type. It ain’t weak but just nice.
(Madonna – Erotica)  I don’t expect the same amount of bass compare to my JVC FX850 but like I say it is enough. Control bass it is….. ( imagine this words coming out from Master Yoda)


Wait, that’s all? No more analysis on the sound from MX500? Yes no more. I just point out the stuff which I think is important and I don’t intend to go and google all the nice bombastic jargon and put in this review to make it look professional but confusing at the same time.

To be honest , at the given price point, there is not much to complaint really. You get smooth treble, forward mid, decent bass and soundstage. Build quality is excellent too. It is good for various genre of sound due to the neutral warm or V-shape sound signature. Will I recommend it to others? Yes definitely.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Zishan Z1 firmware Update and Manual

I found out Zishan has released a new firmware for Z1 player. It supports three new playback modes.

download here..

The update is simple. All you need is the and a TF card. I used a 32GB TF card in FAT32 format.
1) Turn off Z1 player;
2) Extract app.bin from, and put it in the root directory of the TF card;
3) Insert the TF card into the player;
4) Turn on the Z1 player. The LED light will be on for 3 seconds and then blink ultra-fast for around 5 seconds. (Done).
5) Remove the file app.bin in the card.

What's new in v0.2:
1) Add 180 EQ settings. ('s a screen-less player.)
2) Add 3 playback modes: Repeat, Shuffle and Default. (Very useful for me.)
3) Fix a DSD problem.

How to choose playback modes:
Press 'Prev' for a few seconds until the LED light blinks faster than normal, then release. And:
a) Press 'Prev' to choose Repeat track mode.
b) Press 'Stop' to choose Shuffle all tracks mode.
c) Press 'Next' to choose Default play mode. It plays in alphabetical order, I think.

How to set EQs:
Press 'Stop' for a few seconds until the LED light blinks faster than normal, then release. And you are in EQ settings mode:
a) Press 'Prev' to choose previous EQ.
b) Press 'Next' to choose next EQ.
c) Press 'Stop' to choose current EQ.
d) Press 'Prev' for a few seconds to disable EQ.
Total 180 EQs.

How to reset the player:
1) Turn off the player;
2) Press 'Prev' and hold, turn on the player. If the LED light blinks fast, it means the player is reset to factory status.
3) Turn off and on the player again.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Simgot EN700 Codename Suzaku Review

Pros: Solid build, A Lot of details and smooth high, the mid think and laid back at time depending on the source and the bass is great as expected from a dynamic driver.
Cons: Source dependent. Good source an amp will bring out this little gem potential ! Think Chord Mojo!
Disclaimer: I am not a professional reviewer and I am doing this out of love. I hate the over hype review found in most site and often lead me to buying a not so great product. So here I am trying to give you the most real impression based on my personal opinion and taste.

When I was doing my usual windows shopping this little gem caught my attention. And it is not hard to see why later! It just look like a mini Hifiman HE1000!

I decided to get it from

I prefer to deal with this site than taobao cause they ship direct to my country anyway.

About Simgot EN700 Code Name: Suzaku

Copper bird (SUZAKU) was originally designed with a heavy sense of history while taking into account the elements and elegant , with reference to the four mythological creatures in the Chinese constellations. They are the Azure Dragon (Chinese: 青龙; pinyin: Qīng Lóng), of the East, the Vermilion Bird (Chinese: 朱雀; pinyin: Zhū Què) of the South, the White Tiger (Chinese: 白虎; pinyin: Baí Hǔ) of the West, and the Black Turtle (Chinese: 玄武; pinyin: Xuán Wū) of the North. Each one of them represents a direction and a season, and each has its own individual characteristics and origins. Symbolically and as part of spiritual and religious belief, they have been culturally important in China, Korea, Vietnam, and Japan. In the latter countries, they are known under the names, correspondingly: Cheongryong (청룡)/Thanh Long/Seiryū (せいりゅう), Jujak (주작)/Chu Tước/Suzaku (すざく), Baek-ho (백호)/Bạch Hổ/Byakko (びゃっこ), and Hyeonmu (현무)/Huyền Vũ/Genbu (げんぶ).

Simgot EN700 is a masterpiece encompassing a full metal IEM with great looks. But the most important element is the sound itself. Simgot want to create an IEM with HIFI sound.

Maybe if i mention that they are the same guy who made Ostry KC06A then you will feel right at home.

Product Name: SIMGOT EN700 In Ear Earphone
Type: In-ear
Brand:  SIMGOT
Model:  EN700
Impedance: 24Ω
Headphone sensitivity: 101 ±3 dB/mW
Frequency range: 15-25000Hz
Degree of distortion: <1 101db="" p="" pa="">Sound track difference: <1 .5db="" 1000hz="" at="" p="">Power Rating: 10mW
Conductor: 25 * 0.05mm silver-plated oxygen-free copper wire antibacterial TPU
Interface: 3.5mm
Cable Length: 1.2m ±0.05m
Color: Silver
Whether with mic: No mic
Earphone plug type: Line type
Vibrating membrane: polymer composite diaphragm
Drive unit: 10mm ultra high magnetic composite dynamic unit

The packaging

The packaging clean ala Apple style.

The front of the packaging spot the design of the unique IEM. You will either love it or hate it. It is made of metal. Beautiful it is.

Behind the box contain the specification of the IEM and an explode view of the IEM.

When you pop open the box, there is another black box where you will see the bird SUZAKU!.

 This is how it looks like when you open the black box. You will be presented with the IEM and a beautiful leather pouch.

This is what you get in total package. You get plenty of tips to play with. It comes with a warranty card /VIP Card and also IEM cleaner to clean the ear wax from the IEM.

The IEM build 

 A close up of the IEM let you admire the beauty of it. Make no mistake it is not very heavy. Despite it looks it is actually very comfortable on your ear. It come with a memory wire which allow you to wear over your ear. Once you have the correct fit you will be smiling :)

 The headphone jack even have the engraving SIMGOT on it. This is call great detail in build!

The sound!

This is the most difficult part. I am not an english native speaking guy so describing something so abstract and analog like sound is not easy. Anyway i will try my best,

The DAP I use for this review is Onkyo DP-X1 and Chord Mojo

This IEM pair well with DP-X1. There is no need to trigger the Variable line out mode as the default have enough juice to power this iem.

Test music is
Michael Jackson - Billie Jean format: DFF Sample Rate: 2.8 Mhz
Spandau Ballet - True format: DSF Sample Rate 2.8 Mhz
Tsai Chin - Bei Wei Wang De Shi Guang Sample Rate:  2.8 Mhz

Overall it sounded neutral at least to my ear. It is not too bright nor warm.

High : It is detail minus the sibilance. I am always treble sensitive at hated sibilance iem. It is smooth.
Mid: I feel the mid is smooth but a lil laid back just like beyerdynamic T1,2. It gives you the sitting in front row of a concert type of feel. However if you feed this iem to Chord Mojo it kind of bring the mid forward and it become more musical too. Strange as it may sound but this iem is really source dependent. The reason i use the term a lil laid back because on some tracks i get the forward mid sound. Strange it may sound but this is true.

Bass: This is certainly not a bass head iem. The bass is just right in my opinion and is not muddy. It has no problem extending to sub bass region when required. It is fast and does not has slow decay like the JVC fx850

Soundstage: It has good ambiance and enough depth.


At sub USD100 I really think this is a good buy. If you listen to a lot of jazz and old classic chinese female song then this is definitely a good match. I think the strength of this IEM is it is a very capable detail mid centric iem which is smooth and musical. It is not fatiguing to your ear and I can enjoy listening to it for hours. If you manage to pair the right DAP or AMP then you will certainly be rewarded! My favourite pairing is Onkyo  DP-X1 + Mojo + Suzaku!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Cayin N5 Review. A solid performer!

Pros: Dual Micro SD Card Slot, Solid build, Smooth interface, Premium Build quality, Smooth and warm sound signature, balance output, usb 3 interface,
Cons: Memory/USB port cover fits poorly and mar the overall look,
Disclaimer: The N5 I reviewed was a free loaner unit from Cayin, which will be returned to Cayin at the end of the review tour. I have not benefitted financially or materially from writing this review, with the tour unit provided in exchange for my true feeling and opinions towards the product. Cayin did not check review content prior to publication.

My first journey into portable hifi world started with a modest iphone 4. Then when i join this forum, i keep on reading how a good portable music player can improve or elevate the experience of listening to music. When Fiio launch X3, the price performance ratio is too tempting to be ignore and Imade my first purchase into hifi portable music player. True enough my whole listening experience changed. Then my lust for gear grow just like the hobbits lust for the ring in lords of the ring. I added many headphones/iem such as Beyerdynamic 880, T90 , T1 2nd gen, Vmoda M100, Sennheiser Momentum, Hifiman HE400i, Vjay, Logitech UE900, JVC FX850, Fiio EX1, Hifisound Wooduo and the list goes on... So what does it mean?? Well simple...the Fiio X3 or X3k can power some of these portable headphone/iem but for the power hungry monster, i have to get at least a portable amp to bring out its true potential.

Then my journey and search for a more powerful player continue..then Cayin N6 caught my attention cause of its marketing gimmick, a player which can cramp so many amp in fact 13 if i am not mistaken into a player. I research and hesitate for a while and then finally jump the gun again to purchase Cayin N6. Boy i was excited upon receiving it! It has everything i always wanted. A powerful player with stronger output which reduce the need for me to carry the portable amps. While I enjoy Cayin N6 very much, my only complaint is the size. I wanted something similar with smaller size just like Fiio X3. Then when the thread discussion for Cayin N5 pop up, i guess it generated a lot of interest because Cayin N6 has proven itself and everyone else is hoping this little monster can outdo its elder brother!

Thanks to Andy Kong i was given a chance to be a part of the Cayin N5 world tour.

The packaging!

 Cayin opt for the minimalist design. Nothing too fancy and yet not simple with a slight touch of mysterious with black emblen on the box marked against the black packaging.
This is a pre production version and maybe the final product packaging may change.

It comes with a coaxial output cable, usb cable, screen protector, manual and of course the player itself. Something obvious was missing in this world tour unit which is the rubber silicon case for the Cayin N5. I was told that the final version may have the silicon protector included.

The looks and build!

I guess everyone first reaction is to compare the size of N6 and N5. Well as you can see it is much more smaller compare to N6. Well i would say it is around 20% from the looks of it. The build quality is awesome. Solid and craft to perfection but there is a flaw which is the rubber protector which is used to cover the microsd card slot which does not really jive in.

The back of the player still carry the DNA of its elder sibling. But i personally would prefer a brushmetal back plate but this is down to personal preference.

The scroll wheel is very usable and with as you can see, it is crafted with some groove to give it some grip with scrolling.

Overall build quality is top notch.

Here is a size comparison between, Cayin N6, Cayin N5, Fiio X3 and Fiio X3K. While it is smaller compare to Cayin N6 but is still a tad bigger compare to Fiio X3 or X3K

The line out and headout jack share the same port, It has a dedicated coaxial out and a balance out port. The power button is at the top too.

The bottom of the player housed two micro sd card slot and a USB port and reset button. I think the design of the micro SD card slot can be further improve because if you have long finger nails then you could potentially break it...(i mean your nail :) ) The rubber flab used to cover the port is not fitting well too and come off easily.

The sound!

Ok here comes the important part. The sound. I will skip the specification of this unit because it is all over the internet. I am not going to repeat it.
I am not a professional reviewer nor a graduate in audio engineering. I will try my best to describe the sound because it is not easy to describe sound as it sounds different to different ear and person.
Everyone perception of sound could be different. When i started my journey into hifi world, i notice everyone talk about hifi sound. So what exactly is hifi sound? After some soul searching i notice to some it simply means a sound signature which is giving the most accurate sound reproduce in the studio recording. Some describe hifi sound as having a neutral sound. I also come across some CD recordings which has been remastered to boost the mid and upper level of the frequency to give it the HIFI sound. ( so much of being neutral )

But does it mean having a warm sound signature is not HIFI sound? Well to me sound is art. There is not such thing as correct sound or wrong sound. Is either the sound is pleasing to your ears or not.
To me HIFI sound means the moment the frequency reach your ear and brain, I feel relax, calm and fun to listen. I want to enjoy my music and not becoming some mad scientist which keep on analyzing what is the best sound and whats wrong with sound signature.

Do I enjoy Cayin N5 vs let say the new Fiio X3k? I used a Fiio HS2 Headphone output switcher to do an AB test between these two players.

More power!!

A blind test with the same volume level set at 20 for both player would immediately let you get which player has more power!
Set at high gain for both player, Cayin N5 is at least 50% more powerful than Fiio X3k. I will have to set the volume at Fiio X3k to 40 to match the Cayin N5 at 20.
So most of the time you dont even need a portable amp to enjoy the music.

Engaging Sound !!

Similar to X3K, it has a warm sound to it with higher level of detail retrieval and music separation. But during the AB test you hardly hear the difference if you are unfamiliar with the track and with volume match. But it does make a difference to picky ear!

The track I used for the AB is from " Best of Vocal Works" - Kobayashi Mika

The Cayin N5 is what i describe as giving you the warm and smooth sound. Here is my take on the sound description:-

Bass: The player has certainly great amount of emphasize on bass and sub bass as well. It goes deep and hard. But not too overwhelming.

Mid and high: The mid is engaging giving you the in the first row of the stage feel and smooth high. If you have headphone with peaky trebble like Beyerdynamic T90 then this player should tame it :)
I find it pair very well with my Hifiman HE-400i and FX850. The synergy is superb. I always like warm sound. The cymbal, string instrument is certainly there and it sound smooth and more refine.

Soundstage and Imaging: You could certainly visualized where the instruments are coming from because it has good imaging. But soundstage could be wider and deeper just like Cayin N6.

There is no hiss coming from this player as hiss can be annoying.


The solid build of Cayin N5, warm and smooth sound signature certainly put it on par with Fiio X5 range. Most important of all, i certainly enjoy using it over a week period. I feel that Cayin is moving towards the right direction in building a name in the HIFI world. I would highly recommend Cayin N6 as your first portable music player if your budget permits :)

(Note: I will come back and provide more details later when i am free and sorry if you are looking for a more analytical type of review. I am merely expressing my feedback as a consumer. Thanks for reading.)

Friday, June 19, 2015

What is DLP and how do you bypass it!

Data Leak Prevention or Data Loss Prevention depending on how you want to call it is nothing but a way to prevent confidential data from leaking outside your network.

In regardless of which vendor or product it works by monitoring data in motion, at rest and in used.

Data in motion = data that is being transmitted via secure or insecure channel.
Data at rest = data that resides in your machine or NAS
Data in used = data that is currently being process or in used.
Most of the time DLP comprise of 2 engine. The monitoring engine and the prevention engine.

Monitoring engine actually monitor the usage of the data in your machine or network. It monitors and send those information to the centralize server. All these events are known as DLP incident and ussually you would need a DLP administrator to monitor and evaluate whether a data breach has occur or not.

Depending on the policy you can set whether to trigger an alert on the desktop if a policy has been violated or just remain passive. Most of the organization would set the monitoring mode in passive mode to avoid alerting the crook /bad guy within their organization.

Another engine which is the Prevention engine is the actual engine which block or prevent the data from going out. It can block you from burning the data to USB, CD, DVD, ftp, cloud storage, print screen and etc..again it is set in policy. Some of the organization will set the prevention engine on the desktop level and some on the gateway level depending on the business case.

Detection can be done using regular expression, keywords, and even fingerprinting a documents. (I would not go into the details here..)

Now !! Here come the interesting part! How do you bypass DLP!!!!

1. Encryption!!!!!
A lot of IT administrator or DLP wannabe expert claim that you should encrypt the email or data on your desktop before sending it outside from the organization. The ironic thing is there is no DLP solution in the market right now which can automatically decrypt and encrypted file, inspect it with DLP engine before sending it out! So by allowing your staff to encrypt the file with password using their own encryption solution such as Truecrypt will render DLP solution useless!!!!

The right way is encryption on the gateway level! Lets look at the scenario below:-

User A send file to User B outside the organization.
User A send file >> file is intercepted by DLP solution in gateway >> analyze if it is a confidential data or not >> if yes encrypt before sending out and if not just send out

This is the right way to do it...

2. USB USB but what about SD card slot??
Most of the administrator set DLP policy on USB drive. To prevent users from copying file to USB. But wait ...what about SD CARD slot?? I am sure a lot of laptop has it. So try using your SD card slot and you will be surprised that the policy is not yet set to prevent data out using SD card slot.

3.Own FTP or HTTP server.
There is a lot of web based file server solution on Iphone and Android. You can just download the apps activate the web storage from your iphone and android and access those URL from your DLP enable laptop or desktop. Chances are you can copy those data out to the iphone or android. Reasons are DLP solution is all about rules. If the administrator set a strict rules that prevent all https and ftp then it is a problem cause it will create lots of false positive. So if you send data to the phone ftp or http storage, chances are it will still work depending on the policy set. However please take note that even you can copy the data out it does not mean it is not logged!! Yes remember i mention DLP has 2 part? Monitor engine and Prevention engine.

4. Fuck Windows ..Use Linux!
Ok DLP is a program. A program that hook to the OS kernel to prevent data loss. But what if you boot from a boot disk and run linux? Yes DLP will be ueseless!!! You can copy anything and DLP monitor and prevention engine will not be there to stop you. The mitigation control is to disable booting from USB or CD on your machine and set a BIOS password to it. I am sure 90% of the organization would not do this cause the so call DLP consultant or security consultant are mostly Windows user who has not actually try to hack anything in their life before!!!

There are more ways to bypass the DLP solution that is in the market now but i am sure the steps i mention above is more than enough to cause a data breach!

Note: The information share above is not meant to encourage malicious activity but to educate the public about their false sense of security when they claimed they are protected from data loss cause they just bought a fancy DLP solution from a vendor.

Feel free to contact me if you wanna know more about DLP :)