Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Fischer Audio Golden Wasp Quick Review

Fischer Audio Golden Wasp Quick Review

Thanks to Frogbeats for the sample

Brief: Bzzzzzzzz

Price: £22

Specification: Impedance 16 Ohm Cable Length 1.2m Sensitivity 98dB Frequency Range 20 - 20,000 Hz Driver 9mm dynamic driver

Accessories: 3 Silicone Ear Tips (S/M/L), Storage Case, Warranty Card

Build Quality: Meh. I may have been unlucky but I had two with issues.

Isolation: A little on the lower side of things but enough for normal out and about use.

Comfort/Fit: Fairly good, comfort was fine but the fit look a little wiggle to sort itself.

Aesthetics: Actually I rather like their strange and quirky style. It’s fun and cheerful.

Sound: Bass. That’s about all you really need to know about these, they are big bass monsters and they move a shed load of air. It’s all big abundant power and energy. Its vigorous and powerful and if that’s what your after these may be for you but they were not for me. Oh my it’s so much its actually bothering my sinuses. The mids and highs are both reasonable but in quantity very much over shadowed but the dominance of the bass. The bass may not bleed up and blend with the mids but in terms of quantity there is no question. Bass bass bass and then some more bass.

Value: Erm, if you really want loads of bass that is pretty fast and punchy given how much there is.

Pro’s: Gob loads of bass.

Con’s: See Pro’s

Fischer Audio Golden Wasp Review

Fischer Audio Golden Wasp Review

Thanks to Frogbeats for the sample


First Impressions: The outside of the box is pretty ordinary but ounce you open the leaf just what the F! A wasp with zzzz zz zzzzzzzzzz zzzz etc etc written. Okay its kinda stupid but I must say I love its quirkiness. Inside they have a very pretty erm sleeve sort of thing rather than a case and frankly while it looks nice I’m not really sure just what I’m supposed to do with it. It looks cool though. First listen and I get some venting issues, well it is a Fischer Audio product after all. Bassy, really rather bassy still not too bad sounding. Burn in time.


Source 1G iPod Shuffle with a 75 ohm adapter added

Lows: Vast. The first thing you notice is that they are hugely present, way too present for me. Still there is a pretty prevalent market for this sort of thing. I can see it being pretty popular too, it’s quite a dryish bass tonally even though it’s there in boat loads. It makes for a pretty quick and snappy bass, it likes to punch you in the side of head and while I dare say many will find this immensely fun, I do not. It’s tiring on my delicate little ears. I can’t really fault its quality though, there is remarkably little bass bleed, honestly there is next to none which is a bit of a surprise given its low cost and abundance. Fischer have clearly gone for a fun populist level and style of bass. It is fairly tight and quick for the price and abundance, it likes to do power and punch. Its “fun” but too much for me and too dominating.


Mids: Actually not too bad, kinda on the dry and airyish side of things and goes nicely with dry voices like Kate Nash’s. It’s a pretty nice rendition even if she is well behind that big bass. The bass may not be muddying the mids but they are go much grander in scale. They come through okay but they are so not the focus of what going on here.

Highs: Reasonable. Nicely inoffensive and well behaved. Reasonable detail too but its still well behind that big bass. They do a little bit of edge and crispness to keep things from being overwhelmingly slanted to the low end. It gives a fair level of detail too. Its has a nice timbre to it.


Soundstage: Nice, a bit on the narrow side but a nice out in front portrayal.

Comfort: Physically they were fine but the vast amount of bass got pretty tiring pretty quickly.

Fit: Well they gave me quite some trouble as I’m sure they weren’t vented equally well on both sides. One they were in though they did settle down and equalise but it irritated me.


Cable: Actually I rather liked the cable, it’s a little plastic but its braided and the jack on the end feel super sturdy.

Microphonics: I wore these up and didn’t really get any.

Isolation: They did isolate reasonably well, honestly it’s not great and probably pushing the limit of what I’d want for on a bus say but enough for general usage.


Amped/Unamped: They liked more power but really who cares. These will never see an amp and they sure as hell don’t need a bass boosting.

Value: If you want something that has massive amounts of bass then they are a contender. The mids and highs are decent but the bass is so on a different scale it’s really all that matters. Do you want a ton of bass and air being moved? If so they are reasonable value.


Conclusion: I don’t like these. They are very, very bassy and I’m not taken by the build quality. I accept given the number of stuff I see every so often I will get a dud, it happens rarely but the numbers mean it certainly will. Therefore I’m happy to forgive if I get one with a problem but when the replacement one falls apart and I have to sellotape it together I’m less forgiving. I get this is an el cheapo and maybe I was just super unlucky getting two with issues. That aside these are big old bass monsters with a lot of air movement and power. It’s pretty fast punchy power too and that was very tiring on my ears. I know that there are lots out there who would love that sort of playfulness and ability to kick you in the head. Seriously it’s bothering my sinuses. For me this is a negative but if you want this kind of thing then go for it. However as I look at Frogbeats to check their price I see the Meelectronics M6 going for a pound less. If it was my money I’d get them.

TFTA-2100-2V1S Quick Review

TFTA-2100-2V1S Quick Review

Thanks to TFTA.EU for the sample.

Brief: Holy crap that’s some bass!

Price: £100

Specification: In-ear Silver Metal Housing, Driver unit 10.0mm, Impedance 16ohms, Rated power input 2mW, Max power input 30mW, Frequency response 20-20,000Hz, Sensitivity 100dB at 1KHz, 1mW, R/L output difference <3dB at 1KHz, 1mW, Distortion <2% at 1KHz, 2mW, Connector 3.5mm stereo plug

Accessories: 3 pairs of tips but I believe it is being upped to 5.

Build Quality: Great, metal and shiny and I have nothing at all to fault.

Isolation: Very good for a dynamic. It’s not quite what I would choose for everyday on the Tube or for a lengthy flight but more than enough to cope with the rigours of day to day use. Easily enough to get you run over if you aren’t keeping your eyes peeled for death on wheels.

Comfort/Fit: I did have some venting issue and more than a bit of driver flex. I gave up and used Comply’s which solved the issue. Time would have I’m sure worked too but I’m impatient. That aside they were not a problem, very comfortable in use despite their large size.

Aesthetics: I like them. Aesthetics is always a rather subjective matter but I like their shiny gun metal finish. It’s pleasing to the eye yet not too bling bling.

Sound: Bass by container ship load. Hell, bass by the fleet of container ship loads. The bass is gargantuan. It’s so vast, so deep, so powerful it’s like being in a small room with a sub cranked all the way up. Did I say one sub, I meant twelve. Its quality is pretty faultless so long as you choose not to fault the quantity. There is just so much, so ungodly much I don’t care that its awesome it can physically move so much air as to make me queasy. It’s mental! Mental good or mental bad is entirely for you to decide but it’s not something my delicate little ears would or could live with. The mids are good, a bit dark and dry which balances it a touch but not really enough. The highs are pretty impressive, very nicely extended and delicate but don’t really have a much of a bight. Given the bass the highs somewhat sit in the dark and a bit more edge would have helped them stand out. Not a bad thing just a sound signature choice.

Value: If you’re a bass head then these are pretty much what you aspire to. Stupid depth and power with mesmerizing quantities of low end everything. If that is what are looking for then you aren’t likely to do better than these.

Pro’s: Pretty, isolate well for a dynamic, it’s a bass deity

Con’s: The phrase “power overwhelming” springs to mind, venting issues, it could make me feel ill.

TFTA-2100-2V1S Review

TFTA-2100-2V1S Review

Thanks to TFTA.EU for the sample.

First impressions: Well my first thought is this thing needs a better name because I can’t see any one remembering it. My second is that these very much are reminiscent of the Denon C751 to look at and I can see a comparison coming. Actually given some of the crazy stuff I’ve read about these it makes me wonder just what sort of stuff they should be getting compared to. The box isn’t very inspiring and I’m a touch disappointed that they have no case which I think any £100 IEM ought to.

First listen and what instantly strikes me is these are sealed and venting issues, after about 2 minutes I decide that I’m finding a pair of Comply’s as I cannot be arsed getting them to sit just right so I can pull them back out to compare to something as one tends to do when reviewing. Once you get them sitting right though they are stupid powerful. Insane! Looking back at the box to check, nope these aren’t the Extra bass 3V2B ones (seriously rename all of them please) I wonder if they maybe put the wrong ones in the box? Holy crap these are powerful beasts. Think JCB meets rocket engine. Burn in time.


Source 5G iPod Video line out through a Practical Devices XM5 with LM6171 opp amps, 1G iPod Shuffle with a 75 ohm adapter added and an HM-601

Lows: Power, power and then a little bit more power. Honestly I can’t think what the extra bass one must be like as these are just a torrent of abundant force. Oh god they are powerful. They move a vast amount of air, just gargantuan amounts. In small doses it’s very much entertaining but I have delicate little ears and these are raucous brawling brutes that feel like they have strapped my hearing to a rocket sled, they just utterly power through anything. Make no mistake whatsoever, these are bass monsters. The bass is so tactile and forceful I can see why some have been so awe struck by it. It really is a force to be reckoned with! Quality of the bass is superb too and almost miraculously it can go away a bit if asked to. However if there is the slightest consideration of there being a low end note then it leaps back into action. It’s very agile and super quick to respond, and oh so achingly powerful. Honestly its way too much for me but then big bass has never been my thing. It’s stupid deep and stupidly good at holding a low note, given its massive size it’s remarkably punchy too. It’s not uber tight but much better than it should be at this quantity. This may be the ultimate in basshead IEM’s.


Mids: Okay they are very clearly not what’s centre stage but ignoring quantity the quality’s pretty good. You would expect the mids to get more lost in the sea of bass or suffer with a mid / bass bleed but nope, mids are pretty dark given the dark overall feel of these but tonally you can feel them trying to be a little dry. Striving and reaching for the dry and light but not really quite making it. It balances the vocals out and I must say they are lovely. Of course they are way too far back for my own tastes but they do stay crisp and clear no matter what I tried with them. They did prefer a dry voice though as the more liquid they go the more the darkness obscures. Not that it’s likely to matter as if you’re a big Nora Jones listener then you’re probably not buying these anyway. These are for things like Britney’s “Hold it Against Me” the bass and lows on it with it pulsing rhythm you’ll either love it or hate it. In my case these things do a fine job of pumping out her warbling but the bass actually made me feel sick. Holy crap these are scary.

Sorry, yes the mids, good for the price and do a fine job of holding their own but they are only ever a supplementary here, if a good one. They ensure all the lyrics are there if you want to have them but it’s not something for rich swooping vocals. It’s about getting the job done capably and efficiently.


Highs: Good, but I rather think they could have afforded to be less refined and offer up a bit more edge and crispiness. Taken on their own they are very nice and I’d normally praise their ability to shimmer and decay. They do stand clear and are easily audible but they are overshadowed in abundance by that mammoth bass. The highs could do with a bit more bight to be more in line, but maybe that’s how they are supposed to be. You can’t have 3 super stars on a stage and the treble isn’t what you’ve come to hear. Its good stuff though, not outstanding, blow you away but good enough to keep up with the better stuff and for the money pretty nice. It’s not up to IE8 levels of clarity and refinement but surely gives the IE7 a run for its money. It easily out paces the aging C751 too. I do like the level of refinement and control they show. They also have a pretty damn good extension which you don’t often see in this sound signature, very good quality and behaviour just wildly in the shadow of the bass. That shadow makes these all rather dark and foreboding and it makes it really temping to hit the treble boost button to balance things out a bit.


Soundstage: These can sound voluminous but they are closed in, they offer the feeling of being in a closed if biggish room. Their dark nature doesn’t lend themselves to any sense of air and openness but still they have power and offer a good sense of scale. Placement is more about distance than good positioning. This is all what happens when you have a dynamic and close it in. Instrument separation is pretty good, vocals in particular always being clear and distinct.

Fit: Their closed nature gave me venting issue and driver flex. If you don’t get the pressure equalised then these sound meh so make sure you get it right and you will be rewarded. Or you could do what I did and stick on Comply’s but they don’t last very long. I’m sure they would equalise if you gave a them a minute or two but when reviewing you don’t get to stick them in and leave them for hours, in normal use it should be okay.


Comfort: Physically totally fine, I may have been concerned given they are giganto but the C751 are about the same size and they never ever gave me any trouble, turns out these didn’t either. However they move so much air then actually can make me feel queasy.

Cable: Nice. It’s pretty good, not blowing me away and not doing anything to make me dislike it. No complains but nothing amazing either. Nicely integrated chin slider though.

Microphonics: Not a lot but then I was using Comply’s which helps. That said if you wear them up and if needs be use the chin slider then you’ll get none. It’s really up to you but that’s how I would and did wear them.


Amped/Unamped: These loved power, the more the better. They improved markedly with the more power available to them. At £100 it’s not something than naturally belongs with a good amp but they do scale very well. Not that they needed volume, the Shuffle with the 75 ohms added could easily make them go too loud but they never mustered the same clarity and detail retrieval that they could when driven with the XM5. Amp them and be rewarded, just don’t really go for a thick or bassy amp, these don’t need leaning in that direction any.

Isolation: Very good for a dynamic. Of course it has all the corresponding venting issues and what not but if you want isolation then these are rather good. Maybe not right up and every day on the Tube level but easily enough for most environments.


Value: There are coming in at £100 and there is a ton of stuff that sits around that magical round number. So would I pay that for them? Hell no. I know me and these are not to my tastes. However having seen a couple of people’s reactions to them I can tell you that there are people out there that would pay it and more. These are crazy stupid bass behemoths; god only knows what the extra bass ones must be like. Any bass heads out there should be falling over themselves to throw money at TFTA for a pair of these. So to a bass head, yes these are jolly fine value for money!


Conclusion: These do so much so well and bit of me thinks oh wow! Then they begin to move so much air the pressure on my ears makes me a little queasy. Yes these right now give me that sensation my mouth is about to water up and then I’m going to get to see lunch again. Oh god there is there is so much energy and power in the bass it’s phenomenal, it goes stupid deep and there is no roll off, absolutely none. The bass is masterful in its abilities but for the love of god there is too much. If you are after bass monster then this has got to be on your list, absolutely got to be. The bass is stunning in its quantity and its control of the enormous volume. Sure you can etc better bass, cleaner, quicker, tighter even at this price but there is no way you get this good at this quantity. Holy crap there is a lot of bass and it’s of an excellent quality. I can really see some adoring this and its dark heavy, overpowering sound. Everything else it does too is very fine but were largely irrelevant. This is all about the bass plain and simple, it just happens to have good mids and highs but they are not important.

The TFTA-2100-2V1S (seriously you have to rename these things) is a pretty incredible IEM. It is by no means perfect, even amped up it’s not up at IE8 levels of clarity particularly in the mids but it’s crazy ass bass is on another level. The IE8 bass is pretty midbass humpy and does roll off but this thing, it’s vast and has no roll off at all that I can tell. It’s like being in a small sealed room with a sub cranked up full. It wasn’t to my tastes but if that’s the sort of stuff that floats your boat then you really ought to give these a try. They are just crazy stuff. To call these bass cannons is to overinflate the capabilities of a cannon, this is more akin the guns on a good old fashioned battleship, you know the kind Cher likes to drape herself over when singing to sailors. Whether you will like it or not I can’t say but I promise it’s certainly impressive in its sheer power.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

MEElectronics A151 Review

MEElectronics A151 Review

Thanks to Frogbeats for the sample


First Impressions: The box is fairly non descript, the insides are a bit too. Nothing bad in that however, I do see something I like though. MEElec’s little case is always a very welcome sight as all IEM’s should come with cases and MEElec is one of the few companies that seem to now always do it. Inside the case is a heap of tips which is good. The buds look rather large, hmm why so big and it’s a bit of a weird shape too. I’m hoping that doesn’t cause any fit issues.

First listen and I’m not really that chuffed. I know it’s got a “Siren” armature in there but it seems to have been tuned to be a little soft and fuzzy. Hmm I’ll give them some hours just in case.


Source: 1G Shuffle, HiFiMAN HM-601 and the FiiO E7 + E9

Lows: Well I think this is where it all revolved around. Balanced Armatures are well known for not moving a lot of air and as such they are regarded as being rather bass light. While some view this as a huge problem others happily take the clarity as more than ample return for sacrificing some quantity. The tuning here has been taken to give the low end a little more expansion and fullness, in particular a bit of a mid/bass hump that leads the ear to think there more bass than there really is. It’s also tuned to create a softer and thicker bass than the quick and punchy that BA stuff is inclined towards. Hmm I’m not sure I like it. It’s sacrificed the great quality for a bit of quantity and has chosen a style of presentation that to me it can’t quite do. Sometimes going for the middle way works great, sometimes it misses and I just can’t seem to enjoy the bass here. Yes it’s better than what I’d expect form a dynamic at this price but it lacks their power and depth. Depth is what matters as here it just doesn’t go down deep and it can’t punch hard enough to make up for that deficiency. Maybe for you it would suit better, certainly its low end is much more present than say of the PL-50 or even the DUNU Ares. To me its just too soft for a BA but lacks the depth of a dynamic. A valiant effort but I feel it’s a little bit of a miss. I guess it could make for a good transition IEM if you want to move from a dynamic to an armature maybe.

So yes the lows are good, detailed, airy and articulate and arguably better than any dynamic would be at the price.


Mids: It’s a bit like the bass here too but more successfully. Mids are very good as you would naturally expect of a BA but again it’s like they have tried to make it very dynamic like. Make it sound big and make it a bit fuzzy rather than the more typical in your head sound. I can see why they would but I can’t help but feel I the process they have sacrificed a lot. Sure there is a place for the A151 but I feel the push to make it very dynamic like has been pushed to the extent it’s sacrificed more than it’s gained. The Ares did the same but not quite taken so far, it was more of a one for one exchange. This feels as it’s been pushed as far as it will go. So if I stop bitching for a moment the mids here are still quite good. They have a very open, dry airy sound that goes great with any dry vocalists. Nora Jones sounds great on these and probably rather better than and any dynamic of the same price. Guitars too are still quick and clean with a very open feel. Liquid and rich stuff though doesn’t quite have the creaminess that it ought to though. I’m finding it extremely hard not to compare these to the PL-50 given they have the same driver, I love them a lot and the best I can say about the A151 is that it’s entirely competition.

So yes the mids are good, detailed, airy and articulate and arguably better than any dynamic would be at the price.


Highs: Dry, crisp and honestly a little bit gritty. The grittiness is down to their chosen sound signature being relatively bright. I don’t really think any BA ever gets treble right (at any price) the trouble is armatures are clean enough that if they go gritty you will be able to hear it. A dynamic that can’t quite go there just become fuzzy and splashy so you don’t quite notice it the same. I notice it here plenty and I know it’s a very back handed compliment but that’s just how it is. I can’t say I love that it’s been tuned so but again I can see it being a type of sound that will be more of what’s expected by someone who’s only ever heard dynamics. So while its probably popular I feel it’s not playing to the strengths of the driver. Can you use a Ferrari to ferry kids around? Sure you can but if that’s what you want it to do then why not use a Renault Espace? In the same way you can stick a Formula 1 engine in an Espace, why would you choose to? (Note: Renault actually did this, thing was 800 bhp, top speed of 198mph and could do 0-60 in 2.8 seconds)

So yes the highs are good, detailed, airy and articulate and arguably better than any dynamic would be at the price.


Soundstage: Really rather good, big and very airy. It’s pretty much the opposite of what you’d expect for a BA. The stage feels big and expands out far and wide either side of you. It never really wanted to put anything in front of me at any distance. Instrument separation while decent wasn’t all I’d hope for. It’s all just preference though rather than one being better than the other.

Fit: Given they have a weird shape and big I worried a little but they fit perfectly. Get the right tips and it was easy.

Comfort: Given the size and shape I was concerned but it was unfounded. They fit me perfectly and melted away after a few minutes.

Cable: It’s a great cable, super soft and super duper flexible. It looks boring but I love the flexibility. MEElectronics always does great cables.


Microphonics: None.

Accessories: A heap of tips that are all great, quality silicon a great assortment and their usual little case that I like so. No shirt clip but can’t think why you’d want one.

Amped/Unamped: These like a bit of oomph behind them an were noticeable bettor out of the HM-601 than the shuffle, the Shuffle being naturally gritty didn’t do its gritty top end any favours either. Really want did make a vast difference though was the adding of more impedance. I’ve seen a couple of things change dramatically with its use and this is one of them. It made them more resolving but removed any thickness or bass expansion too. If you have a bass boosting amp then you can experiment using more impedance and then using the boost to restore the low end. It really does improve the A151 greatly. However its price bracket doesn’t really incline it to the use of amps, still if you have an E3 or 5 or 6 already spending £10ish on a 75 ohm adapter will be worth it.


Isolation: Yey! A MEElectronics IEM that has no venting or air pressure issues what so ever. Ahh this is why I love BA stuff. They may not quite be Ety challengers but they easily isolate more than enough for to learn to look where you’re going or become a red stain on a road. I’d happily use these on the Tube or lengthy flight.

Value: Ohh ever the contentious topic. Assuming you have read all that’s above you will be aware I’ve not exactly fallen head over heals in love with these. Still these are a MEElectronic IEM and I’m not sure they know how to make anything that isn’t good value. These are going for just £40 and while I don’t know if it’s what I’d take as I prefer the flavour of the DUNU Ares and I adore the wonderful PL-50. I know what I like I love me those creamy butty mids on the PL-50. Still if I got these as a present I’d be perfectly happy to hear them every day. They aren’t perfect for me but are still excellent value for money. I think if I needed an isolating all rounder these would be in with a chance of getting my money, probably between these and the Ares I think.


Conclusion: I feel conflicted about these. When I ignore everything else I like them, I on the whole enjoy them. Okay I really wish they would sand down the treble a touch but otherwise they are nice. The trouble is I know what the driver inside can do and it’s a great driver, a truly fantastic little driver that’s used in a million things. It has been tuned to the very limits of where I think it can go, to make this BA not sound like a BA and I sort of see why but really I don’t understand why. If this had been the first ever Siren based thing I’d heard I’d be really pleased with it but I know just what can be done with it. Here it’s trying to do everything instead of playing to its strengths and I find myself being a little disappointed. It’s not fair as it really is a good sounding IEM but it can’t hold a candle to the mids on the PL-50. I know its lacking in the lows for many but honestly it’s a sacrifice I think is worth making to get something that excels so. The A151 is a compromise with a little too crispy highs. The A151 is all round very good but it doesn’t excel, it’s competent and capable rather than amazing and wonderful.

If I had to live with these day in, day out I’d be perfectly content to do so. They never really offend me or cause any unpleasantness but they never make me want to burst into song either. It is very good but so too is the competition.

MEElectronics A151 Quick Review

MEElectronics A151 Quick Review

Thanks to Frogbeats for the sample

Brief: MEElectronics does a BA.

Price: £39

Specification: Impedance 27 Ohm Cable Length 135 cm Sensitivity 111 dB Frequency Range 20Hz - 18kHz Driver Micro balanced armature

Accessories: 2 Sets of Bi Flanges, 3 Silicone Ear Tips (S/M/L) and pair of tri flanges.

Build Quality: Great, the cable in particular feels fantastic.

Isolation: Great stuff, it isolates among the best of the rest out there. Perfectly adequate for the Tube or for long flights.

Comfort/Fit: I did have concerns as they big and oddly shaped. In use they were absolutely fine, just shove in and then they would just melt away.

Aesthetics: Hmm they are big and silvery. I don’t think they are very pretty but they aren’t ugly either.

Sound: Very competent and capable. They have taken a BA and pushed it to sound as much like a dynamic as they possibly can and it has had to sacrifice something along the way. If I’d never heard anything else with the same driver then I’m sure I’d be very happy here but I know just what’s been lost and I really miss them. Yes compared to a dynamic these have very controlled lows and stellar mids but I know what they could be. The mids here are very open, airy and articulate but don’t possess the creamy smoothness of the PL-50 or even quite that of the DUNU Ares. Don’t mistake my comments for saying they are bad because they are certainly not, they are very good. The highs too are very good but I did find them to be a little over crispy up top and that lends itself to grittiness. It’s certainly much clearer than I would expect for a comparably priced dynamic however. I simply cannot help but feel they have not played to the strengths of the driver and have missed out on getting the very best from it even if it is still rather good. A little better depth and the low end wouldn’t hurt either.

Value: Okay so I bitch and moan but it’s still great value for money. I haves no doubt whatsoever that these are worth every penny as is pretty much everything MEElectronics make. They are the masters of value for money and they always give you case so well done them! These are very, very capable all rounder’s that make sacrifices here and there but would probably please most if not all.

Pro’s: Very competent and capable all rounder. Great isolation.

Con’s: Never excels. A touch crispy up top and bass hasn’t the best extension.