Dear headpie fanatics. I would like to share with you some impressions from the Beijing HIFI Show 2018. Highlights : Cayin N8, Suyama San from FitEar introducing the Titan Universal, and more. I am sorry but this will be brief as I could only spend 1h30mn at the show, or risk divorce.

I had only maybe 10-15 MN with the Cayin N8 as there were many people willing to try it. I tested with SE5U and Nerva X, both with 4.4 balanced, and compared to my WM1Z, on Flac Redbook tracks. These are very early stage and brief impressions. The player has incredible build quality, everything is super solid, well put together, knows are responsive and robust. Top marks for quality. I am not a fan of the looks, but it is is quite OK still. I did not fully test the UI, but it seem robust and fast. Sound wise, first thing that is obvious is power. It is loud and well controlled at barely 20-30% of volume, and SE5U has high impedance and not very sensitive. The tonality is warm and VERY full, sort of a tube type signature. On top of the natural tone and fullness, the key winning point is stage depth and layering. The music is incredibly fleshed out and holographic, even more so than the WM1Z. On the latest 2.0 FW, the WM1Z is more reference, and wins in clarify and precision. An interesting player to follow, with, at this stage quite a special approach to sound. From memory, the signature is at the opposite from LPG Touch.

I had the chance to briefly talk to Keita Suyama, the legendary FitEar creator. He comes off as a humble, kinda and simple person from a first impression. He introduced his new Titan Universal, a very interesting hybrid. The nozzle is super wide but accommodates Spinfit 145 well. It requires quite a lot of juice and I didn't have a balanced cable underhand so I had to push the WM1Z single ended almost to the max. It does not sound like the FitEar BAs I know, much less warmth and thickness, more fast, precise and neutralish. I am very interested in these and will try to grab a pair from Jaben when they come out.

I spend some time with Moondrop and fell in love with their Liebesleid Earbud, it is beautiful and very open sounding. I will grab a pair for sure very soon, in the 4.4 version. They were also demonstrating their Kanas dynamic IEM, which on top of having and incredible metal shell, sounds awesome, especially for around 140$.

One of my favorite shops had the whole Campfire Audio lineup, and I briefly auditioned the Atlas and Andromeda (white) side by side. The Altas indeed sounds big, with full and deep bass, with tons of controls (wouldn't call it tight either). The Andromeda sounds very different to me, like and extremely well balanced multi BA, less bass, more air, less meat on the bone. The Atlas is a great package, super build, quite small actually, comfortable, great engaging sound. I don't really need another bass oriented IEM but if I didn't have the IE800s I would grab it. I wish I could have compare the two by the way....from memory the Altas seems to have bigger stage and sound fuller.

The charming cosplay lady from the Eros standing was eying me all the time so I had to indulge her in a selfie (or was it the other way around, I can't quite recall).






























This was originally first published in the Head pie Campfire Audio Cascade review. This except is now also published as its own piece as many people enquired about the SXC-8 cable.

Also here is an earlier post.
ALO Audio Tinsel, Litz and Reference 8 cables comparisons:

On with the syndicated impressions...!




ALO Audio Litz MMCX to 2.5mm to iBasso CA02 2.5mm to 4.4mm adapter 
versus 
ALO Audio SXC-8 MMCX to 4.4mm.



Hopefully to further shed some light upon the differences between the two cables going out on a side limb here. The important part being they both share the 4.4mm connection, and hence the same iBasso amp 4 unit for consistency.

Using iBasso DX200 with Amp 4. Low gain.
JVC Spiral tips.

Campfire Audio Vega: 
ALO Audio Litz: Bass, though not as heavy as the Cascade, lots of space, extended highs, subtle mids. Excellent resolution and clarity. 
ALO Audio SXC-8: More clarity, increase in space, more body, rich.

Campfire Audio Andromeda:
ALO Audio Litz: Open, wide sound stage, lovely mids, extended in all directions, exquisite layering and timbre. Light.
ALO Audio SXC-8: Lovely body, layering is defined, imaging is definite and clear, deep and full. large sound stage.

Campfire Audio Orion:
ALO Audio Litz: Soft, even, mids, linear.
ALO Audio SXC-8: More definition, slightly wider, still mainly retains linear signature.

Campfire Audio Lyra ii:
ALO Audio Litz: Fairly linear, reference leaning, nice light touch of body, very gentle. Upper bass and lower mids quite complementary towards each other.
ALO Audio SXC-8: More speed, increase in body and timbre, imaging improved, vocals more silky smooth.

Campfire Audio Dorado:
ALO Audio Litz: Bright, and low ended. Medium sound stage at times.
ALO Audio SXC-8: Deep full bass, clear vocals, highs clear but not over extended, mids come up more. Larger sound stage. More depth and body. Smoother.

In summary: The sound stage is increased, mids brought up a tad, more coherency, smoother, overall body has depth and the layering is more defined. Via the better clarity instrument placement and separation is more noticeable.



With the Campfire Audio Cascade



Campfire Audio stock Litz cable (Silver plated copper with cloth jacket) 
versus 
ALO Audio SXC 8 x 22 awg silver plated copper cable

Early impressions after 150 hours.

Cascade stock cable
1: Still a bit bassy, a pad scrunching evened it out a bit.
2: Clean sound, still bass - sub bass.
Deep. Fairly flat. Needs more definition.
3: More delicate. Fairly even. Still that 'boom, boom'.

SXC-8
1: Fuller overall. Still dat bass. But more control(?).
2: Clears it up a bit. Better separation. More space.
3: Bass lingers.

After 300+ hours

Cascade stock cable
It has balanced out more. Bass is tight and controlled. Still full bass. Clean defined sound. Even, not overly dramatic.

ALO Audio SXC-8
Beautiful. fuller, sound stage expanded. Imaging exquisite. Instrument separation and general timbre is excellent. Resolution and detail are greatly improved. Vocals are gorgeous. It comes alive in a sense.

Changing to the SXC-8 made me stay up for another hour past midnight - aural bliss.

*Results may be skewered due to using the iBasso DX200 Amp 1 for stock cable and Amp 4 for the SXC-8.
*I will also experiment with the Vega and Andromeda with MMCX Litz 2.5mm to an iBasso 2.5mm to 4.4mm adapter and also the MMCX to 4.4mm SXC-8 cable ultilizing Amp 4. (see further below past the colorful pictures).











Cable chin slider kludge

The cable Y is quite long so I made a neck slider out of the tiny velcro strips which come wrapped around IEM cables.