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 http://www.shenzhenaudio.com/simgot-en700-in-ear-dynamic-earphone-24-original.html

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.

Specification:                                                                                  
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.

Overall:

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.

Verdict!!

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.)