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GoodCans Protective Headphone Bag (Soft Sided Case, Pouch) - Large Size - Fits Grado GS1000i, PS1000, Grado's w/G-Cush Earpads, most Sennheiser HD Series, AKG, and Other Full-Sized Headphones
GoodCans Protective Headphone Bag (Soft Sided Case, Pouch) - Large Size - Fits Grado GS1000i, PS1000, Grado's w/G-Cush Earpads, most Sennheiser HD Series, AKG, and Other Full-Sized Headphones
Offered by GoodCans by Listening Station
Price: $19.99
2 used & new from $19.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Slappa Hardbody Headphone Case Vs. GoodCans Protective Headphone Case, August 28, 2013
I was using the GoodCans Protective headphone case with my Fostex T-50RP headphones. I was not totally satisfied with the protection that the soft GoodCans case offered. A recent review of this amazing headphone - Fostex T-50RP, on audiopolitan dot com, made me aware of the possibility of using the Slappa Hardbody headphone case, so I went ahead and ordered it from Amazon.

As it turns out, the Slappa Hardbody is perfectly cut out for the Fostex T-50RP, just like the audiopolitan review mentioned, and at just a third more, in cost, the Slappa Hardbody is a an extremely well made and robust case. The GoodCans case is just a grey nylon bag with a soft material inside. It's not going to protect your headphones if there is a strong impact and is not at all suitable for use with volumetrically full backpacks and handbags. At least, I was not comfortable with it and I would think it may be better with cans where the ear cups turn flat and face the same direction, even then the protection is questionable. I don't see the value in its current pricing either.

I currently use the GoodCans protective case to carry my cables and other accessories. I have loaded some pictures, on Amazon, with permission from audiopolitan dot com, for you to view and see it for yourself.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 25, 2014 8:51 PM PDT


Slappa Full Sized HardBody PRO Headphone Case (SL-HP-07)
Slappa Full Sized HardBody PRO Headphone Case (SL-HP-07)
Price: $29.99
3 used & new from $29.49

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slappa Hardbody Headphone Case Vs. GoodCans Protective Headphone Case, August 28, 2013
I was using the GoodCans Protective headphone case with my Fostex T-50RP headphones. I was not totally satisfied with the protection that the soft GoodCans case offered. A recent review of this amazing headphone - Fostex T-50RP, on audiopolitan dot com, made me aware of the possibility of using the Slappa Hardbody headphone case, so I went ahead and ordered it from Amazon.

As it turns out, the Slappa Hardbody is perfectly cut out for the Fostex T-50RP, just like the audiopolitan review mentioned, and at just a third more, in cost, the Slappa Hardbody is a an extremely well made and robust case. The GoodCans case is just a grey nylon bag with a soft material inside. It's not going to protect your headphones if there is a strong impact and is not at all suitable for use with volumetrically full backpacks and handbags. At least, I was not comfortable with it and I would think it may be better with cans where the ear cups turn flat and face the same direction, even then the protection is questionable. I don't see the value in its current pricing either.

I currently use the GoodCans protective case to carry my cables and other accessories. I have loaded some pictures, on Amazon, with permission from audiopolitan dot com, for you to view and see it for yourself.


Kenny G: An Evening of Rhythm Romance [Blu-ray]
Kenny G: An Evening of Rhythm Romance [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Kenny G.
Price: $16.18
36 used & new from $10.49

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars You Will Probably Watch This Blu-ray Only Once!, August 28, 2013
It's not very often that one gets to see Kenny G's concert in Blu-ray or for that matter even on DVD. A great artist, good selection of songs and decent video quality that is let down by poor quality of audio. Even in DTS-HD MA the sound is shockingly poor! What were they thinking?

Nowhere on the Blu-ray does it mention where this Blu-ray disc is mastered and made. The sound quality is comparable to the shabby & shoddy media that is mastered & manufactured in South American countries. I avoid them like a plague!

This is the kind of Blu-ray that one watches only once because the sound quality so uninspiring that you may never play it again especially if you have a decent 5.1 A/V playback system. I do have a few discs that are worse than this concert. What a waste of efforts, time and money. Do yourself a favour, watch this concert on YouTube and you would not miss a thing!


Musical Fidelity - V-PSU MKII - Upgrade Power Supply
Musical Fidelity - V-PSU MKII - Upgrade Power Supply

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as impressive as the original V-PSU, June 24, 2013
I bought the original Musical Fidelity (MF) V-DAC in 2009 and I was really impressed with what that little DAC did to my system back in the day. The supplied Switch Mode Power Supply (SMPS) wallwart was really lightweight & was of poor / cheap quality. Upgrading to the original MF V-PSU gave me very good results. The V-PSU had a large toroidal transformer at the heart of it & it was built like a tank. I bought it from UK at a discounted price of approximately USD130. It was a worthy upgrade for that discounted amount.

Early in 2012, I bought the V-DAC II & yes it was an improvement over the original V-DAC. But what I did not like about the V-DAC II is the cheap 'Brushed Aluminium' finish which MF claims has better perceived quality. Lol. It stands out like a sore thumb in modern black colored systems. The supplied stock wallwart with V-DAC II was an improvement over the original wallwart, it is much heavier & is well built. I'm not sure if this new wallwart is a SMPS or if it has a small transformer inside it.

I bought the MF V-PSU II from Amazon when the price dropped to USD130 & it was shipped by Audio Advisor. I bought this in the hopes of improving the performance of the MF V-DAC II in my desktop / headphone system. The first thing I noticed about the MF V-PSU II is how lightweight it really was when compared to the original V-PSU. I then plug it in with the MF V-DAC II & I'm not as impressed as I was with the original MF V-PSU when it was first introduced in my system. The improvement is very marginal at best & it did not have quiet the same impact in my system like the original MF V-PSU.

I then open the MF V-PSU II's case & I'm surprised to see that this new PSU no longer uses a 'toroidal transformer'. In fact, it uses a small laminated transformer much smaller than the one used inside the 'Pangea Audio P-100'. If I had known this I would have gone with the Pangea Audio PSU & saved myself USD60. Even the aluminium case used in the V-PSU II is an afterthought. The circuit board is no longer held by the 03rd & last grove inside the case, it is held by just 02 screws on the side plate. See the pictures I've posted in Amazon. In short, the new PSU circuit board has been forced to fit an old V-Series aluminium case. Never expected such a flimsy job from MF!

I can't imagine how MF was selling the V-PSU II at a M.R.P. of USD250. At that price, I would have surely given it a 1 star for extremely poor value for money. After getting to try the Beresford Bushmaster & Audioquest Dragonfly DACs, recently, in my system, I'm now convinced that Musical Fidelity's V-Series no longer has any value or shine left. This is my 06th V-Series component in the last 04 years & quiet possibly the last one too. For USD130, the MF V-PSU II is currently cheaper in the US than it is in the UK. It does a decent job of making my desktop system sound a little more polite / refined. It also saves me the clutter of having 03 ugly wallwarts sucking the juice off the power strip!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 27, 2013 2:11 PM PDT


Monster M850 DCX-8 M-Series 850 Digital Coaxial Cable (8 feet)
Monster M850 DCX-8 M-Series 850 Digital Coaxial Cable (8 feet)

4.0 out of 5 stars Beware of the 'death grip' offered by the turbine connectors!, June 24, 2013
I was using a Monster BSDC-2M digital coaxial cable with my Sky box Monster BSDC-2M Digital Coaxial Cable (2 meters) & a Monster MC 600SW-2M subwoofer cable with my Polk Audio subwoofer Monster MC 600SW-2M Ultra-High Performance Subwoofer Cable (2 meters). I have always liked & appreciated Monster cables regardless of what people have to say. They offer well made products at a higher price point compared to the mass market but affordable junk found in Walmart.

I recently bought a pair of Monster M850 DCX-8 digital coaxial cables for a combined discounted price of USD50 + free shipping. They have since gone up in price. These replaced the above mentioned cables. There is an obvious improvement in sound quality which is what I expected & I'm happy about that.

This cable uses a solid core silver plated copper wire which is both it's strength & weakness. The strength lies in it's performance. There is an increase in volume & details with both my Sky box & Subwoofer that are connected to the Onkyo AVR. I've always enjoyed the sound from solid core wires than their stranded counterparts. Because this cable uses a solid core wire the cables are really stiff & is not practical in situations where there is minimal space behind the equipment & cable management is next to impossible. I hate it but I can live with it as long as it sounds / performs good!

The next disappointing & deal breaking aspect of this cable is the 'death grip' offered by the 10-cut turbine connectors. The Monster 400I & 600SW series cables that I have used in the past have 12-cut turbine connectors & they were very easy to plug in & out of equipment. I've only experienced this 'death grip' with Monster's cheapest 200I series of RCA cables that uses 6-cut turbine connectors Monster MC 200I-1M Advanced Performance RCA Stereo Cables (1 meter) which I no longer use due to fear of damaging my audio equipment. I did not expected this gripping issue from their far more expensive M850 series of cables that uses the 10-cut turbine connectors. Years ago, I had a Belden component cables with Neutrik RCA plugs that had this problem of 'death grip' & they eventually damaged the female RCA sockets on my Samsung CRT TV. Both the Monster M850 digital coaxial cables fit only about 80% into the female RCA sockets of my Sky box, Polk Audio subwoofer & Onkyo AVR. Even their thin purple rubber grips come off their grooves when you attempt to push the RCA male plugs into the RCA female plugs. If I had known about this problem before, I would not have bought these cables regardless of the discount or performance offered.

If I had bought these cables for their original M.R.P. of USD80 for the 8ft cable then I would have surely given it a 1 star rating. For about USD20 - USD25, I gave it 4 stars purely for their good performance to price ratio. I wish Monster could drop their prices, across it's entire catalogue, & make itself more within any audiophile's reach.


Channellock 909 Crimping Tool with Cutter
Channellock 909 Crimping Tool with Cutter
Price: $18.22
52 used & new from $16.01

1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beware Of Texas Tool Traders!, November 4, 2012
The Channellock 909 crimping tool is an excellent tool. I've used it for many years & it's a high quality product that is made in the USA. It lasts really long. It's a must have in any DIY enthusiast's tool kit. It gets 5 stars from me.

Early this year, I wanted to upgrade to the Channellock 909CB crimping tool, it comes with a thicker comfort grip & is priced higher. Texas Tool Traders charged me USD25 for the comfort grip version but they carelessly sent me the normal Channellock 909 crimping tool without the comfort grip. A friend of mine had purchased this order on my behalf & a refund in the difference in price to his credit card just does not solve the issue for me. I now have 02 of these crimping tools. I'm gonna use them for a very long time to come. Lol.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 8, 2013 2:42 AM PDT


No Title Available

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chi-Fi For The Budget Audiophile., July 14, 2012
The good:

1) One of the most powerful T-amps ever made based on the Tripath TA2022 chip.
2) Rated 50W @ 8 Ohms. Enough power to drive most real world speakers.
3) Very good build quality for the budget price. It's truly compact but it's big & really heavy by T-amp standards.
4) Detachable IEC power cord & user replaceable fuse.
5) 2 inputs with changing lights to indicate the input in use.
6) Dual toroidal transformers inside for an extremely stable power supply & it shows in the sound quality.
7) Very low power consumption compared to other Class-D amps.
8) On/off switch on the front panel (faceplate). Having the on/off switch at the back can be a pain in tight spaces if the amp does not have a remote control.
9) Excellent packaging.

The not so good:

1) No right & left balance control. Most real world room acoustics demand a balance control to help the speakers to keep the image perfectly in the centre of the room or given space.
2) No subwoofer out. W'd have been a great addition for that occasional movie / concert watching experience in a small room.
3) Bundled power cord & fuse is of very cheap quality. Well, no one gives a good quality power cord & fuse anyways.
4) No universal power supply. For a device this small & compact a 110V/220V user selectable switch w'd have made it very portable.
5) No remote control. I can live without one so not really a deal breaker for me.
6) Annoying & bright blue LED light on the front plate.

Background:

Last year if anyone w'd have recommended me a Chinese brand for any of my audio system requirements, I'd have surely laughed at them. I know most big international brands manufacture stuff in China but the thought of buying a Chinese designed & developed product was unimaginable to me until 6 months ago. The following 3 Chinese audio devices, see pix posted above, have completely changed my perception of Chinese Hi-Fi:

1) Grant Fidelity B-283 MKII Tube Processor:

It all started with me looking out for an impedance matching device, to use between a Musical Fidelity V-DAC & Cambridge Audio Azur 350A amp, in the hopes of further improving an already great sounding budget system. The system was already tweaked to the max with upgraded interconnects, power cords, fuses etc. I still wanted to know the benefits of impedance matching. I browsed through Attenuators from Rothwell, Russ Andrews etc & came away unimpressed either due inferior looking product or due very high cost. I then stumbled across the GF B-283 MKII on Grant Fidelity's website. At just USD185, it looked stunning, affordable & promising. Especially with the possibility of tube rolling, if one really wants to do so. Grant Fidelity (GF) is a Canadian distributor of Chinese Hi-Fi.

After sending a couple of emails to GF, I ordered the GF B-283 MKII online. In about 2 week's time, I received a package from their Hong Kong warehouse. Upon opening the box I saw this well made, heavy, beautiful looking tube processor. The first thing that caught my eyes was the transformer box, behind the vacuum tubes, was not perfectly aligned with the main base or body of the tube processor. It was slightly turned-in on one side & looks a lil' awkward. Most people w'd not observe it. A quick look at the pictures posted on GF's website did reveal that it is indeed a design glitch & not a random manufacturing defect nor was it a shipping damage like I'd initially suspected.

The bundled power cord & the stock Shuguang vacuum tubes that came with GF B-283 MKII were really of very cheap quality. Even after 150 hours of burn-in the stock Shuguang vacuum tubes failed to impress me. The fastblow 250mA fuses that came with it was already in a blown & unusable state. I switched from fastblow to slowblow fuse because I was losing a fastblow fuse almost every alternate day. I had initially ordered a set (5pcs/pack) of Russ Andrews 250mA fastblow fuses & lost all of them in under 1 week's time. GF c'd not explain nor help me with this problem. A tube equipment designer / specialist recommended the use of slowblow fuse as vacuum tube devices have a lot of start-up power surge to deal with. That explains the problem that I was experiencing. Fastblow fuses were a poor choice for a tube processor to begin with. GF kindly take note of this problem & solution.

My eventual upgrades included a Pangea Audio AC-14SE power chord from Amazon, Shuguang's top-of-the-line Treasure CV181-Z vacuum tubes from eBay for just USD110/pair (including shipping) & a Hi-Fi Tuning Supreme 250mA slowblow silver fuse. Anyways, what started as an affordable USD180 impedance matching device, cost me another USD420 in power cord, interconnects, vacuum tubes, fastblow & slowblow fuses in order to make this device sing. Phew! After spending a total of over USD600, I did feel that this was one upgrade I c'd have surely lived without. But after getting used to the tube sound over the months, I must admit that this device did add some warmth to my budget solid state system. If I were to start all over again, I'd invest this USD600 in a better DAC, Amp or Speakers & not on an additional interface such as this high maintenance impedance matching device. Some audiophile ventures are just plain crazy!

2) Weiduka AC8.8 Power Strip:

I wanted a decent quality power strip that had at least 10 universal power sockets, that can accept power plugs from anywhere on Earth & at least 2 zone wise on/off switches. I found my very difficult & demanding design requirements only in the form of Chinese designed power blocks from brands such as Bada & Weiduka. There were so many other Chinese brands out there that I was not sure which one to buy. They all looked good from the outside, atleast from the pictures that I got to see online. There are absolutely no reviews in English anywhere on the World Wide Web. Of all the Chinese brands that I checked out, Weiduka was on the higher side of the price scale at about USD200 (including shipping). I then stumbled upon a blog by Lustyffh that showed the internal pictures of almost all the popular Chinese power blocks that are currently available in the market. These pictures actually gave me a glimpse of the quality of these Chinese brands. Of all the brands, Weiduka really stood out. The cables inside were neatly laid out, no cheap soldered joints, large EMI (Electro Magnetic Interference) filters & good quality parts / receptacles are in use. It was really impressive.

I took a chance & bought the Weiduka AC8.8 from the same eBay merchant, as mentioned above, for USD185 (including shipping). After about 2 weeks, I received the Weiduka AC8.8 my mail. It's very well built, heavy & performs better than all the budget surge protectors that I have used in the past. It even has a blue LCD that displays the incoming voltage rating. The power cord, as always, was really cheap quality. I replaced it with a Pangea Audio AC-09 power cord.

The Weiduka AC8.8 & Pangea Audio AC-09 power cord cost me a total of USD250. My system has never looked or sounded this good ever before. Truly amazing value for money! Of course at twice or thrice the price point there are some very robust & awesome solutions from PS Audio & IsoTek. But then again, they don't come with the on/off switch & they only accept region specific power plug pins.

3) Topping TP60 T-amp:

I bought the Topping TP60 T-amp for USD240 (including shipping & customs) from eBay. I've been reading about T-amps this whole year. I wanted a compact & efficient amp for my bedroom setup. I'd decided to buy the Winsome Labs (WL) Mouse based on Tripath TP2050 chip & rated 30W @ 8Ohms. Jay Hennigan of Winsome Labs was very helpful & patient in helping me understand every design aspect of the WL Mouse T-amp that he had designed. At one point, I'd even decided to have the WL Mouse specially modified to my requirements, such as upgrading the brass binding posts & female RCAs used on WL Mouse with WBT pure copper connectors. Jay Hennigan was more than happy to make such a WL Mouse for me as long as I c'd send the connectors to him. This project with the modification & upgrades w'd have cost me close to USD750. I had to wait to workup that budget.

In the meanwhile, I came across the Topping TP60 T-amp online & I gave it a try due to it's low cost & unmatched specs. At USD240 it cost almost the same as the Wireworld Supernova 6 Glass Optic cable that I use in my system. I dumped the cheap power cord that came with it & replaced it with a Pangea Audio AC-14 powercord. I also replaced the cheap stock Chinese fastblow fuse with a German Hi-Fi Tuning Supreme pure silver slowflow fuse.

After about 100 hrs of running in, it sounds amazing across the frequency. It's warm, clear, wide, deep, controlled & effortless. Because it is so efficient, it actually consumes very less electricity compared to other class D amps that I've used in the past. I listen to at least 5 hrs of music everyday. The savings made due to low electricity consumption, in about 2 years, will recover the cost of owning this product.

The Topping TP60 makes a good match with the Musical Fidelity V-DAC & Mordaunt Short Avant 902i bookshelf speakers. All low budget components but high on performance. The Topping TP60 has very good presence in the midrange, crisp treble & stout bass. I'm totally hooked to that kind of sound. I have heard quiet a few amps under USD1000 & the Topping TP60 stands out with it's impressive performance. If there is anything that I truly want to replace in the Topping TP60 then it w'd be the cheap gold plated brass binding posts & input RCA female plugs that is expected at this price point. If given a choice, I'd opt for upgrading to pure copper connectors from Eichmann, Furutech or WBT, but in doing this the cost of this affordable amp is going to skyrocket.

For those who dislike the idea of having Chinese Hi-Fi, the Winsome Labs Mouse is a 'made in USA' T-amp alternative. However, the dual transformer power supply in the Topping TP-60 seems to me as more 'audiophile grade' than the Switch Mode Power Supply (SMPS) used in the Winsome Labs Mouse T-amp. Surely Topping has left no stone unturned to design probably one of the best & most powerful T-amps ever made in the form of TP-60. 'Price to performance' ratio is second to none.

Conclusion:

I have had great success / fortune hunting for bargains on eBay despite the risks involved. Of course, PayPal is a very secure way of buying stuff online but U always have the risk of ending up with purchases that may be defective or dead on arrival (DOA). Returning a DOA to a merchant in Hong Kong or anywhere & getting a replacement can cost upwards of USD100 for items as described above. I'm glad to see the Topping TP60 T-amp on Amazon. I feel buying from Amazon is a more secure way of online shopping. It guarantees peace of mind as it takes care of warranty issues, excellent customer service & after sales service. If nothing else, U c'd at least return a product if U are not totally happy with it. What more can one ask for?

None of the above mentioned devices sh'd be considered as giant killers. In fact, they are very carefully designed components that offer superb 'value for money' for budget audiophiles. They offer unique & affordable solutions not easily found anywhere else. It's only a matter of time before the Chinese will improve their branding, marketing & English speaking skills. They already have the know-how of good & affordable audio possibly due years of executing outsourced audio Hi-Fi projects from around the world. I can't wait to see the kind of Chinese Hi-Fi that will roll out in the next 5 - 10 years from now. It's only a matter of time before they will literally occupy Audio Wall Street. Lol.

Just my $0.02.

Brgds.


Koss Porta Pro KTC Ultimate Portable Headphone for iPod, iPhone and iPad
Koss Porta Pro KTC Ultimate Portable Headphone for iPod, iPhone and iPad
Price: $49.00
5 used & new from $49.00

51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never fix what's not broken!, June 7, 2012
The good:

1) The Koss Porta Pro KTC has retained the same level of performance of the original Koss Porta Pro but with Koss Touch Control (KTC) Microphone & Remote. Even more funtional than before.
2) Folds up into a small round form & is ideal for travellers & people on the go. Highly portable.
3) Sound quality for the money is second to none. For under USD100 there are no better headphones out there. Period.
4) These are one of the lightest & most comfortable headphones. I can wear them all day long without tiring.
5) Easily available & user replaceable cushions.
6) It's Very easy to drive these cans. Even my iPhone 3GS drives them loud with ease, without the need for a headphone amp.

The not so good:

1) The carrying pouch is useless & is not stiff enough to protect these cans. I suggest buying the Koss Hard Case B directly from their website. It's priced at USD10 & is an essential accessory. Inside the Koss Case B there is a thin sheet of Nylon that acts as a partition to seperate the chord from the phones, it's a nice touch. The Case B does protect the phones really well, but it's a lil' too big for these cans.
2) The styling looks really dated now. Well it was launched in 1983 & still remains unchanged after almost 30 yrs. A classic indeed!
3) Open back design means that the sound leaks. Not a deal breaker for me.
4) It's lightweight & that adds to it's superb comfort levels, but on the other hand, it's not rugged at all. Needs to be handled carefully.

Background:

I have been using the original Koss Porta Pro for the last 5 yrs. I still have them & use them whenever I'm travelling or late at night, when I cannot afford to disturb others in the house. I also have the Bose MIE2i earphones that I use only when I'm expecting calls in moderately noisy environment. The Bose MIE2s, though are in-ear by design, never offered total isolation anyways. They just cling-on to the inner earlobes & are also very comfortable when compared to other in-ear monitors. For listening to music, in quieter environment, I prefer the Koss Porta Pro over the Bose MIE2s as I prefer the lightweight structure & comfort the Koss Porta Pro's offer.

Ever since I got hold of the Koss Porta Pro KTC, I barely use my Bose MIE2i earphones. I can now make / take calls & listen to music with the Koss Porta Pro KTC. The Koss Porta Pro KTC Touch Controls are just below the earphones at lip level to aid the use of the in-built microphone.

Setup & listening:

I mostly listen to 24bit/96kHz FLACs. I have my 16GB iPhone 3GS loaded with a FLAC player that I bought from iTunes for USD10. I also use the iPhone with the Grantwood Technology's Armband when I go out for evening walks. The Koss allows me to hear ambient noise so it allows me to know what is going on around me. I actually prefer this over the total isolation that some in-ear monitors offer.

I also have a desktop system consisting of Dell Vostro CPU, Musical Fidelity V-LINK II, Musical Fidelity V-DAC, Cambridge Audio S30 Bookshelf speakers & Topping TP-32 T-amp. I also connect the Koss Porta Pro KTC to the headphone out of the Topping TP-32 when listening to music late nights.

As far as sound quality is concerned, I find the Bose MIE2i is a tad more detailed of the 02 headphones. It has a more forward midrange, extended highs & a very controlled bass that can be insufficient for bass heavy music. The Koss Porta Pro KTC, on the other hand, has a lil' laidback midrange & sufficient bass. I'm not a basshead & I cannot take any more bass than what these cans have to offer. To me, the Koss is well balanced, very musical, easy going (forgiving) & more comfortable than the Bose. It's actually not a fair comparison at all as both headphones are designed differently & as such offer very good value for the money.

The Bose MIE2i's remote control is a lil' more complex & fully featured as compared to the simpler Koss KTC. Apart from basic features, the Bose's remote control allows for declining a call, swapping a current call with an incoming call etc. The Koss KTC, on the other hand, is much more user friendly & easier to remember due simpler fuctionality & features. It ain't a deal breaker for me at all.

KTC Microphone and Remote Controls user guide:

1. Play/Pause:
· Tap this button once to Play or Pause your music.
· Quickly double tap to enable additional controls for the +/- buttons.
· When receiving a call, tap this button once to answer the call. Tap once again to end the call.

2. + (plus):
· Volume Up
· Skip to next song (after double tapping Play/Pause)

3. - (minus):
· Volume Down
· Return to previous song (after double tapping Play/Pause)

Conclusion:

Never fix what's not broken! There are some timeless classics that follow this principle, like the Klipschorn Speakers, Porshe 911 Cars, Zippo Lighters, Koss Porta Pro headphones to name a few. They are so good to begin with that no one wants to change anything & lose that magical charm. With the Porta Pro KTC, Koss has taken the classic Porta Pro & added more functionality to it. I suggest that every budget audiophile, who uses an iPhone to listen to music, should give these cans a try.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 7, 2012 3:15 PM PDT


Musical Fidelity V-LINKII 24bit 96kHz USB to SPDIF Converter
Musical Fidelity V-LINKII 24bit 96kHz USB to SPDIF Converter

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old wine in a new bottle!, June 4, 2012
Background:

My desktop music system currently consists of a pair of Cambridge Audio (CA) S30 bookshelf speakers & a Topping (TP) TP-32 T-amp connected to a DELL Vostro CPU. The CA & TP combo is way better than many other multimedia speaker systems that I've tried in the past from brands such as Creative & Bose. I've never really liked computer speakers as they relied on the computer's jitter prone internal soundcard & as such sounds horrible! I even tried a Creative Audigy ZS soundcard in the past & I've come away unimpressed. I w'd turn on my multimedia speakers only when I have to watch a You Tube video & never for music playback. With the CA & TP combo connected through the synchronous USB, I managed to get some decent quality sound that I c'd finally tolerate.

For the money, the Topping TP-32 is a very well specified & functional T-amp. It comes with a remote control & has an in-built DAC. When connected to the CPU / Laptop with the USB, it switches on & off automatically in sync with the CPU / Laptop. It even has a mode that allows both the heaphone out & speakers to operate at the same time. This feature allows one to connect a subwoofer if needed. The TP-32 only has 15 watts that seems decent by T-amp standards. The volume can go to a maximum of 99 on the LCD screen. I c'd get decent sound output only past 65 on the LCD & past 85 on the LCD, the amp starts losing composure & control.

The Cambridge Audio S30 are decently efficient bookshelf speakers that are not too hard to drive. Even then, it seemed that the Topping TP-32 did not have enough juice to drive these speakers. Because I used this system only to watch You Tube videos occasionally. I just let the desktop music system be the way it was & never bothered to experiment. Watching You Tube was more enjoyable, most of the times, than listening to FLACs. The internal DAC of the Topping TP-32 is a big disappointment! There were times when the quality difference between 320kbps MP3s & 16bit FLACs was so narrow that I never really liked listening to music on my desktop.

Recently, I upgraded the DAC in my main system from a Musical Fidelity (MF) V-DAC to a MF V-DAC II. I plugged in the old V-DAC to my desktop system & I was blown at what I heard. It opened up my system to a level that I never imagined was possible. The quality differences between, MP3s, FLACs & You Tube became more apparent. The volume level of the system went up too. Earlier, I had to raise the volume to 70 on the TP's LCD to get decent output. Now, I get the same level of output at just 50 on the TP's LCD screen. It's a night & day difference. With the MF V-DAC in my desktop music system, I was able to appreciate & enjoy both the Topping TP-32 as a T-amp & CA S30 as bookshelf speakers. I now know why both of them are so appreciated by budget audiophiles.

As much as the MF-VDAC opened up my desktop music system, it was far from an audiophile grade music system. Because the MF V-DAC used a synchronous (sync) USB, I c'd clearly hear a lot of grunge in music that I'm so familiar with & it did lead to fatigue in very short listening sessions. I then ordered a MF V-LINK II to complete my desktop music system. I must admit that my desktop system now sounds amazing! With the V-LINK II, the system now sounds more refined, dynamic & easy on the ears. As a close monitoring system, I'm just enjoying my computer system so much that I have not played my main system for a while now. It's less analytical & more musical. Even MP3s have never sounded so good before & watching You Tube has never been so much fun! I'm exploring & rediscovering music videos in better fidelity. I'm planning to complete my desktop system by adding a pair of AKG K702 headphones & also by upgrading the Topping TP32 T-amp to a Topping TP41 T-amp. The Topping TP41 uses a linear power supply (not wall wart), has more power (14W X 8 Ohms) & no remote control (not a deal breaker for me).

Conclusion:

I opened the MF V-LINK II & found out that it is actually the original V-LINK in a new 'brushed aluminium' case. I'm surprised that MF chose to mark it 'version II' with nothing but a simple cosmetic upgrade - a new metal case! I really wish MF c'd post the internal pictures of all the V-Series components, on their website, for all to see & appreciate the upgrades or differences that the new V-Series has to offer from the previous Series if there are any. Pls do check the V-LINK's internal pictures that I've posted on Amazon.

The orginal V-LINK was on clearance sale for USD100 & it surely was a good deal. I missed that deal by about 02 months & I truly regret it! I'm using the V-LINK II with a Pangea Audio solid silver USB cable & Monster ILSR Toslink cable. If space is a constraint, the Halide Design S/PDIF Bridge is an equally good alternative as it eliminates a box (V-LINK II) & 02 seperate digital cables. The combined cost of the MF V-LINK II & a pair of good quality digital cables (USB & S/PDIF / Toslink) will be almost the same as that of the Halide Design S/PDIF Bridge. If I did not have the spare digital cables with me then I may have bought the Halide Design S/PDIF Bridge only to avoid some clutter in my desktop system.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 30, 2012 10:12 PM PST


Musical Fidelity V-DAC MKII
Musical Fidelity V-DAC MKII
5 used & new from $817.88

5.0 out of 5 stars V-DAC II = V-DAC on Steroids!, May 27, 2012
The good:

1) Improved electronics & improved sound over the original Musical Fidelity (MF) V-DAC.
2) Improved wall wart provided with the V-DAC II. It's heavier & bigger than the wall wart that was provided with the original MF V-DAC.
3) MF provides an option of upgrading to a better linear power supply - V-PSU II. The option of keeping the PSU away from the DAC is a plus point but it's at the cost of having too many boxes in the system.
4) Inbuilt 24bit/96kHz Asynchronous (Async) USB.
5) Built in Taiwan, just like the rest of the MF V-Series. The fit & finish is excellent even though it looks utilitarian.

The bad:

1) Brushed aluminium looks really cool. But at a time when most modern electronics are available in black color why this move? MF, like Cambridge Audio (CA), sh'd allow customers to choose between 'brushed aluminium' & 'black' to match individual system color themes / tastes. A 'brushed aluminium' component in an all black system stands out like a sore thumb. Even a dual tone color w'd have been a better approach (see pix).

Background:

2 yrs ago, I chose MF V-DAC over the CA DacMagic for it's beautiful midrange & a host of tweaks / upgrades that the MF V-DAC allowed me, it included - power supply (MF V-PSU), link cable (Russ Andrews' Kimber Cable), internal fuse (Hi-Fi Tuning Supreme 3.15A T silver fuse) & power chord (Pangea Audio AC-14SE w/ C7) upgrades. As a hardcore tweaker I just luv tweaking every stage, link & component in my system. I have come to realize that I have long forgotten how to enjoy music. I remember, in my teens, I used to listed to a magnetic tape boom box & still enjoyed listening to the music despite the hissing sound in the background. Now, even when I'm listening to hi-res 24bit/96kHz FLACs, I'm only straining to hear jitter & other artifacts in the recording. With much knowledge comes much disappointment, he who gains more knowledge also gains much sorrow (So true!).

I was in need of a new DAC possibly with an 'Async USB' to make use of a dedicated CPU / Laptop as the source in a second system. So when MF released the V-DAC II, it was a natural choice because of the great experience that I had with the original MF V-DAC with the V-PSU.

I ordered the V-DAC II & when I opened the box I saw a beefier wall wart than the original wall wart that was provided with MF V-DAC. The brushed aluminium finish with the new typography gives the V-DAC II a very serious look, whereas the old V-DAC with the old typography was a 'hippie', it has a very easy going look which I really liked.

Setup & listening:

I connected the V-DAC II to the V-PSU that I already had, burnt it for a few hrs & then decided to compare it with the original V-DAC. For this purpose, I used the Topping TP60 T-amp. It had dual inputs that allowed me to switch between both DACs in real time. The V-PSU has provision to connect up to 3 V-Series devices, so I was able to connect both the V-DAC & V-DAC II to the same power supply. I connected both DACs to my Pioneer DV-610 DVD player using S/PDIF & Toslink outputs. I played Dire Straits - Greatest Hits CD & kept switching the inputs in the Topping TP60 T-amp back & forth. I was surprised that I was actually straining to hear the difference between both the DACs & even where I felt there was a lil' difference to the airiness or detail, it really was very subtle. It was not very pronounced. I even swapped the S/PDIF & Toslink cables between the DACs & the conclusion was still the same.

I allowed another 50-70 hrs to pass by. By now, the V-DAC II did open up a bit more. I was able to hear a clear difference between both the DACs. V-DAC II does have a lil' more extended bass & treble than the original V-DAC. The soundstage is a lil' more wider, taller & deeper with the V-DAC II. The air around instruments & their location in the soundstage is more obvious with the V-DAC II. The midrange in the original V-DAC is more dark & laidback, it's much more forward & present in the V-DAC II. Listening to old material from 1960s such as Nina Simone really was an ear opener. I have never heard Nina so up, close & personal before. The detail & ambience retrieved by the V-DAC II is definitely superior to the V-DAC!

I have a few 24bit/96Khz FLACs that I had downloaded from 2L's (The Nordic Sound) website. They are modern recordings & they sound very lifelike with the V-DAC II. I also have Seal's greatest hits (1991 - 2004) in 24bit/96kHz & it sounds far less stellar than 2L's recording. This difference in quality is a lil' more pronounced in the V-DAC II than the V-DAC.

After getting used to the V-DAC II for over 100 hrs now, I'm finding it a lil' hard to go back to the original V-DAC cos I really enjoy the extra detail & separation that I'm getting with the V-DAC II in my system. The original V-DAC has over 4000 hrs of use in my system. I'm positive that the V-DAC will open up & warm up a lil' more by the time it crosses 200-500 hrs of use. I liked the V-DAC II in my main system so much that I never bothered to try it with my Laptop's USB out. Instead, I'm going to use the original V-DAC with a V-LINK II in my second Laptop based music system.

Out of curiosity, I opened both the DACs to take a glimpse inside. The metal body / case used in the V-DAC II is a lil' thicker than the one used in V-DAC. I also swapped the side covers of both the DACs & I really like the way they look now with dual tones of silver & black. MF sh'd try this dual tone color scheme for the next-gen V-Series & I'm sure it will keep a wider audience of audiophiles happy. The electronics used in the V-DAC II is very different from what was used in the V-DAC. The soldering job on the V-DAC II looks very neat like the ones found on really expensive circuit boards / kits. Kindly check the pictures that I have posted on Amazon.

Conclusion:

In my original review of the V-DAC, I mentioned about the disappointment of not having an option between silver & black colors to match existing music systems. With the V-DAC II, I'm surprised to see the move from the more popular 'black color' to the more vintage 'silver color' (brushed aluminium). Of course, it still does not solve my disappointment, but I'm sure making a product in one color saves a lot of production cost & avoids difficulty in inventory logistics. In my review of the V-PSU, I mentioned about the disappointment of not having a universal power supply (110-220V), even though it can be solved by opening the V-PSU & switching the internal fuse to the respective voltage socket. With the V-PSU II, I'm pleasantly surprised to see MF add a hassle free universal power supply (90-253V). The V-PSU II & the V-DAC II duo are now a highly portable & universal solution for globetrotting audiophiles. MF surely looks like a company that takes customer feedback seriously & work upon it. I'm impressed!

2 yrs ago, I felt that USD300 for MF V-DAC was a lil' on the expensive side. But the V-DAC II, priced @ USD350, with it's improved electronics, 24bit/96kHz Async USB & better wall wart power supply is definitely better value for money than the original V-DAC. It is also a better DAC than the V-DAC in every way. It's an ideal starting point for anyone getting into DACs for the first time. Those who already have the V-PSU may also benefit from the V-DAC II. With the MF V-PSU, the V-DAC II does reach it's full potential, it becomes a fully matured & serious DAC that can compete with much more expensive DACs. MF is one amongst a hand full of companies that puts a lot of emphasis on providing a clean linear power supply (V-PSU II) even for their smallest & cheapest DAC (V-DAC II). The only other DAC, at this price point, that I'd like to try in my music system is the Schiit Bifrost. I'd surely luv to compare both DACs, Over Sampling (OS) DAC Vs Non Over Sampling (NOS) DAC, side by side, someday when budget permits & post the updated review here. For now, lemme just sit back & enjoy my new found toy!

The combined cost of V-DAC II & V-PSU II is USD600. At this price range, the MF M1DAC-A, at USD 750, with much more features does make an attractive & practical alternative, unless someone is really short on rack space or is in the lookout for a highly portable DAC with minimal footprint & separate components. For me, the V-Series is a keeper. I like the convenience of buying one component at a time, as & when budget & circumstance permits. That also makes the MF V-Series one of the few fully upgradable separate component series. I can just throw out the outdated V-Series Box for an upgraded V-Series Box. That's what I just did!


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