VentureCraft SounDroid Valoq (SDP-1) Review
By Dr. Sheep

Head Pie and Fiio have been working together to get an interview completed. That will follow soon.

In the meantime I present to you this brief article, certainly not a puff piece but more akin to an ohm image ohmage/homage.  More will follow in due course - such as the interview, but let this piece show we have not forgotten about Fiio, and neither have they forgotten about us.

Head Pie loves Fiio. Yes we have said that about other companies and sites, but its true. We do. It does not mean mean we love every audio company, and If we didn`t love a company I think we would be polite enough to not even mention it, I hope.

Fiio is known to anyone with an interest in portable audio gear, its affordable prices, well made gear
and Fiio`s excellent relationship with their community of Fiiophile fans.

Fiio burst onto the scene back in 2007 with their under the radar but sold well, dock for Meizu players.

The new Fiio E06.
The successor to the E5 and E6.

Later they burst onto the more global scene with their excellent series of small and well priced portable amplifiers, The E3 and the later E5. Those of us with cautious and not boundless pockets jumped on the products.
At the time it was Cowon player, imods and hefty amplifier stacks and wall to wall LODs. The Fiio series was refreshing and a sign of new times to come.

Fiio was and is still basically the budding audiophiles gateway (audio) drug products.

I personally owned and loved the E5 amp and the L9 LOD, later I bought the E11.

Luckily living in Japan I have had the chance to try out many Fiio products over the years either in store or at Headphone shows. I have always been amazed at their ability to listen to what their customers want and to deliver it to them. No wonder they have so many loyal fans.

By I digress...

As we know Fiio keeps churning out products, and they get better and better. We had the many renditions of DAC/amps beginning with the E7, the portable amplifiers that kept getting better and better in terms of sound and build many to mention, oh I give up thinking about them all from exhaustion.... you can see the present product range on their website page  and then ...

...and then they surprised us...with the Fiio X3 portable music player.

Fiio X3
It was an early attempt and a fine one at that. A bit of a quirky design that also tried to implement everything a community of Fiiophiles on suggested to include.

It set the stage for what became to known as the Fiio signature sound, slightly on the warm side. Although with later DAPs this began to change and more detail and transparency became the order of the day, but not at the expense of lush mids.

Fiio series of DAPs
Later came the X5, X1, X3 2nd generation, and X5 2nd generations of Fiio Daps. Each one more improved and with software updates released often.

X5 second generation pictured.

Fiio X7
Now we have the flagship Fiio X7 portable music player that is getting positive reviews from its purchasers.
Gone is the scroll wheel for a touch screen DAP.

I tried the Fiio X7 at the Fujiya vic Headphone show in Tokyo, Japan, October 2015.

"Fiio X7. The unit I tested still had on the protective wrapping so when the staff said that I was the first to listen to it, they weren`t kidding.
The X7 I found to be warm as is generally expected of Fiios in house sound signature.
I thought it was a great little unit with a well functioning UI.
The weight of the unit was a bit on the heavy side for me.
It had a great lush, warm sound without the muddiness of say the earlier X3, certainly I see listening to for extended periods wouldn`t be a problem."

That seemed to be enough. Fiio had covered about all the ground it could, or so we thought.

Suddenly Fiio announced the Fiio M3 a player dubbed `the sansa clip killer`, not that so many used them now as they did before. A small and affordable solution people said, well the Fiio X1 is affordable for sure, but this is one that can be taken to the gym etc.
Think of it perhaps as the X7 mini version.

Recently Fiio have entered the earphone market with the EX1 set of in ears, I have yet to try them but am very curious as how they match with the Fiio M3.

One recent release is the Fiio K1 entering into the field of mini dacs.

In between all this Fiio have released a wide range of connector cables, desk top amps, convertors, headphone cables and accessories.

Fiio is the everyman of the audio world.
They are like the water that fills a cup of stones, slowly they fill the gaps, moving ever onwards and upwards towards the top.

expatinjapan for head pie.

Head-fi. Well it had to be written eventually...didn`t it!? or did it?

head-fi, head pie - is it a homage or a mocking title?

Is this a click bait article where I reveal the inner workings of the largest audio and headphone forum on the internet, or discuss my many possible grievances?

Will writing a series of complaints or how I may or not have been offended , banned or otherwise make for compelling reading on the internet. And added hits for Head Pie?

Well, sorry to disappoint...

We at Head Pie love head-fi.

As like many of you it is the first site we visited to get information on audio gear, from a community that was by and by mostly very helpful and well informed.

I started off trying to improve my gaming set up and received accurate and helpful advice.
Then I thought about getting an improved portable set up to listen to music on the go, my last portable set up was a beaten up used cassette player and earphones of doubtful quality back in, well I won`t mention what year.

Suffice to say I was lost in this new world, perhaps around 2010 (I just checked my profile).
Only five years but it does seem longer with the various changes in audio gear I have owned in that time. And also the vast number of new products that have been released in those five years.

I ended up with Sennheiser MX760, 4th gen ipod nano, and an LOD connected to a Fiio E5.
I was set, my terrible mp3 tracks playing back at blistering levels, I was very happy.

And then of course one reads more, and wants more.

It has been a great journey. Friends made, familiar names on the forums, learning more about gear - although I am still little more than a hobbyist, improving my set up so now I have a wonderful rig, meeting up for mini meets in Tokyo, Tokyo headphone shows (as head fi Team Tokyo with T-shirts to match) and meeting people from Head-fi, a few Tokyo based moderators and of course on occasion Jude himself. but always briefly because well....theres gear to checked out.

So thanks to head-fi. My experiences have always been positive and I still post on there in the various threads which I am most interested. I created a blog as a creative outlet and it seemed like it was time.

Head Pie is an entity in itself amongst all the other sites starting with `head`, but my first home was head-fi and so I guess you could call the blog title a homage of sorts, a head nod to where it all started. But also because I had a pie and thought headphones looked liked head pies in a Dada or Dali-ish way.......and also as you can see by our many memes, I have a terrible sense of humor.

Thanks head-fi.

Kind regards
Head Pie.

*NOTE: I have never been banned from head-fi, had any grievances and don`t believe I have been offend...yet.  :)

Well the silly season is over and things can get back to normal. 

Luckily we had the COZOY Aegis giveaway over Christmas time and that kept everyone happy, myself included. I was able to keep the Facebook group going with the usual Head Pie memes while we built up to the announcement of the winner of the COZY Aegis.
Which was useful as I only had my mobile device with me for the few days, and so updating the blog itself was difficult for a few days whilst I traveled.

So what does 2016 hold for Head Pie, a mere baby in the world of the many older audio blogs?

At Head Pie we have a people first philosophy, sure we love the gear, we love the music but essentially all that is useless without the people - from the designers, manufacturers and down to the consumers.

Which is why we have interviews with the companies who design and make the products we all love.
I myself am curious and love to read, I read everything and anything.
Our interviews are very simple and skeletal and reply on the interviewee to fill in the space.
I remember Parkinson was fabulous as an interviewer way back when on UK TV.

We contacted some companies who responded positively to participating in interviews with Head Pie, they were sent out mid December on the cusp of the busy silly season so hopefully we will see them returned from January to March for you all to enjoy.

Some of the interviewees are:
JH Audio
Cypher labs
Noble Audio
Carot One
Heir Audio
Mezzo Hifi
Sustainable rhythm project
Custom Cable Philippines name a few.

Unboxing, impressions and reviews.

We are looking forward to showing more unboxing pron of audio products, we will continue to showcase Rudi`s usual unique and succinct style of comparisons of hi end (and low end) portable gear - complete with accurate impressions and photos.

We have a few up and coming reviews early this year:
The Echobox Finder X1 IEM
Centrance Hifi-Skyn
DITA - The Truth revisited
Cyberdrive IEMs (more products will be sent to review)
ifi ipurifier
Relisten app updated version
..........and many more.

We welcome companies that would like to see their products reviewed. Contact us at
Our impressions and reviews will always be honest.

Also a warm welcome to Dennis Chung aka Dr.Sheep our newest regular contributor.

Head Pie has an excellent presence on Facebook. Someone described us as `the fun group` which was nice. Hopefully we can mix our hobby, enjoy with like minded people, mix with leaders within the industry, post pictures of the gear we have and want, post and read articles, discuss and debate in a lovely peaceful and respectful manner and of course keep things light with the a few Head pie memes - which also serve to break up the cascading wall of audio pictures which may eventually put us in a viewing stupor.

I am proud of the way our Facebook group has taken off so quickly, 1000 members in about a month.
That is fantastic. I like the contributions from our members, the photos with a detailed description, the polite questions, the offer of different opinions without getting into a fight.
I think our membership `gets` our group.

We are serious about audio....but we are also the `fun group` and I hope that continues. Life is too short.

We welcome anyone willing to participate to our blog, we have in the past picked a few pieces off the Facebook page and added them to the blog. Often the original writers have added more depth to their first posting before publishing.
This year we will continue to look for already completed pieces, unboxing, short impressions etc with photos.
It can be time consuming for us but we would like to continue this aspect in 2016.

Thank you all,
lets make 2016 a great one together.

Kind regards
Damon and Rudi.