Super Best Audio Friends

The evolution of the original irreverent and irrelevant and non-authoritative site for headphone measurements, i.e. frequency response graphs, CSD waterfall plots, subjective gear reviews. Too objective for subjectivists; too subjective for objectivists

Soekris dac2541 technical measurements. Notable highlights below:

  • dac2541 demonstrates excellent performance in a small package and a properly designed SMPS is nothing to fear.
  • Very low distortion
  • Power supply noise spectrum are at or below -160 dBFS in balanced output
  • The power supply spectrum residual noise was so low it was necessary to reconfigure y-axis scale low enough to see the noise floor.
  • Balanced output Dynamic Range of 126 dB
  • Balanced output Cross-talk is dual mono with > 145 dB isolation
  • Balanced output Gain Linearity is nearly perfect to -110 dBFS, less than ±1 dB to -130 dBFS
  • Exceptionally low jitter
  • Single Ended performance is slightly less than Balanced output, as is typical
  • Single Ended performance is still exceptional compared to many competitor DAC SE outputs
I've skimmed over @rhythmdevils posts, but did not read them in detail, or to the point where I remember exactly what he may have said. This was intentional because I didn't want someone else's observations to totally skew mine. This thread is intended to be more of an objective analysis, to see if any measurements taken and presented correlate to perception. Per my usual procedure, I listened to them using various tracks, and jotted down some notes before I took the measurements. There's some very interesting stuff here to be sure. FWIW, I use the CFA Ara IEM on a regular basis and as such consider this to be my reference. (A reference is just that, a reference. It does not mean awesome in every way known to humans).

I have now had all 4 iterations of the Campfire Audio Solaris here in house and currently have 3 of them here all at once- the og Solaris (gold), the og SE Solaris (abalone inlay) and the 2020 LE (all black with spiral pattern). So I obviously need to write something about how they compare.



The Solaris 2020 (the smaller one) is by far the worst of them all. I go back and forth on which of the other 3 I like the best they are all very similar. They each have strengths but I think the og Solaris (gold) wins in the end for me by narrow margins followed closely or perhaps equally by the SE Solaris.
The Dunu SA6 is a six balanced armature in-ear. In fact, it is Dunu’s first foray into an all armature setup. The shell is a hand poured universal with stabilized wood faceplates. The faceplates come in many different colors and patterns but I don’t think you can choose, rather it is just random selection. The tour set is a bit boring looking but I’ve seen some nice purple and blue hues online. The shell shape is a semi custom-like universal. It’s plenty comfortable but the nozzles are pretty very short. You’re not going to achieve deep fit here. The nozzle doesn’t seem to have any ridge or notch to keep tips in place but I’ve yet to experience a tip getting stuck in my ear.


My first impressions were of a very mild V with a slight downward tilt but after a while I’ve settled on neutral with slight bass boost. There is a switch that turns on “atmospheric immersion mode”, which seems to boost the bass a few db’s pretty evenly across the entire low range. While pleasantly done, I prefer the switches in default mode, for the more neutral of the two approaches, but I can see many enjoying the little extra thump and rumble.
Many many years ago, @zerodeefex pieced together a solution to run his IEMs via Bluetooth / LDAC for devices that supported Android O. This solution consisted of the Sony "XBA Series Bluetooth Upgrade" or MUC-M2BT1 (probably not availability in North America) and a few wire hooks. Fast forward a few years, and Shanling has made this solution easy for us with their MW200 IEM Bluetooth doodad.


The MW200 cables are terminated for use with MMCX micro coaxial IEMs. There is no need to purchase over the ear hooks are these are built into the cable. I guess the downside is if one uses IEMs where the cables drop down. An AKM DAC/amp chip deal feeds the IEMs. I have only have a chance to try the MW200 with Campfire IEMs, known for their super sensitivity. I can happily report that I do not hear any hiss or noise. BTW, the price is a stupid low $120.
ES Lab’s ES-1a which I will talk about in several posts in this thread was on my checklist for a good reason.


From aesthetical perspectives, es1a resembles the legendary Omega (SR-Omega, neither 007 nor 009). I auditioned the original omega many years ago and it was a mind-blowing experience. But the omega was simply unobtainable (rarely showing up in the used market, and NEVER EVER with reasonable prices to my knowledge) and all other stax higher ends weren’t as satisfying as the omega. ES1a’s development seems to be strongly motivated by SR-Omega, and the developer had a good amount of experience in dissecting Omegas and other stax/senn estat products. No wonder I was looking forward to seeing well-cloned Omega with a few modern tweaks.
I love the Joe Grado HP-1000. But I can’t stand John Grados, at lest not the classic ones I’ve heard a decade ago. After years of frustration with John and his treble peaky shit show I’ve finally found a mod that at lest makes them useful even if they remain un-listenable.

Thanks to @Bill-P for dropping this off. I have to admit that I have been super negligent because I've had them for months and forgot about them. The move has only compounded things.


What makes this Soranik IEM kind of special is the sound. The frequency response is agreeable to me, midcentric. Highs are relaxed and not boosted. Bass is extended and present. It many ways, the frequency response is like the Drop Plus, but with a maybe a peak or resonance thing in the midrange that brings out certain vocals. This effect can be lessened with deeper insertion, much like how the MEE Pinnacle P1's 3-4kHz peak can almost be eliminated.
For fun. Please feel free to imagine items for your own wishlist. I will incorporate them into the first post only if you can write a good two paragraphs making a compelling case.

  1. Fostex T50RP (Drop Fostex T-X0 II)
  2. iFi Portable Roon Endpoint
  3. Schiit Sabreius
  4. Schiit MagnIEM or Geshelli Archel IEM
  5. Schiit "Multius" and/or affordable NOS
  6. Soekris DAC with DIY digital filters
  7. Pi2 Design or Allo Idiot-Proof Ready-To-Go RPi/AES Streamer
  8. Sennheiser HE90 Resurrection
  9. Sennheiser "HD850"
  10. RAAL Requisite Headphone Version of SR1A
iDSD Diablo: revel in the detail

Dressed in devilish red, iFi’s new top-of-the-range transportable DAC/headphone amp sports a powerful engine under the hood, expertly tuned to deliver an exhilarating sonic performance


Southport, England – iFi ushers in the New Year with the best battery-powered DAC/headphone amp the company has ever produced – the devilishly brilliant iDSD Diablo. Engineered to sit proudly at the top of iFi’s illustrious range of mobile and transportable devices, the Diablo is built for the purists – the true headphone enthusiasts who crave pure, unadulterated sonic performance.

With dimensions of 166x72x25mm, its size is similar to DAC/amps in iFi’s long-running, transportable micro iDSD series, with a built-in, quick-charge-compatible battery that makes it easy to move from desk to living room to travel bag. Its sleek new design and fiery red finish, however, mark it out as distinctly different.

Apparently, there is been a series of L30s going up in flames and taking out headphones. Here is a discussion on Topping’s unofficial forum:


The scary part is that Topping has not recalled this amp yet and is refusing to cover the cost of destroyed headphones. At this point, I’m glad that I don’t own any of their devices any longer. It’s bad enough that they made an engineering mistake that is making these amps susceptible to failure caused by simple static electricity, but they are now compounding the damage by their non-reaction to this.
I've been looking for a tube tester for a while, and my options were:
  • Buy an old tube tester. It would need to be calibrated, and I don't know who are the reputable sellers. Prices varied a lot -- this option is basically a crapshoot.
  • Buy an Amplitrex. Good but very expensive -- about $3000.
  • Build one. The two primary options I found are the uTracer and the eTracer.
I opted for the 3rd option. The eTracer is a more complete kit with well-supported software. The only issue is that I didn't own a Windows machine. The eTracer with case, power supply, an extra top plate that I needed for 211 tubes, and shipping costs $1250. I opted to buy a Lenovo laptop during black Friday sales. The combo ended up costing me <$2000 (side note: I've been a mac user since 2003 -- Windows has come a long way, and I'm preferring this machine over my mac).