Headfonics Top Gear Awards 2023

Headfonics Top Gear Awards 2023

This year too, the best Head-Fi products were chosen by Headfonics and Headfonia.We are particularly proud that we carry all of the following award-winning products in our shop! 😊😍

Headfonics Awards 2023 

Our 2023 Top Gear Awards — Headfonics

 

TOP GEAR BEST CUSTOM IEM 2023

TOP GEAR 2023 AWARDS – BEST CUSTOM IEM

Unique Melody Multiverse Mentor

"If ever there is a BA custom monitor that will give die-hard high-end dynamic driver fans pause for thought then the Unique Melody Multiverse Mentor is likely the one that will come the closest to doing that.
It’s an absolute tour de force in delivering a darn near perfect tonal quality, an exemplary immersive holographic staging quality with pinpoint accurate imaging. The crazy thing is that it sounds so natural to the ear despite being so technically brilliant.

Quite often monitors that try to stretch everything out sound either too thin, bright, or bloated on the low end. You get nothing like that here. It sounds wonderfully coherent, almost too darn perfect, we want flaws and I can find very little of that here, at least sonically.

The benchmark for 2023 for a multi-BA custom monitor performance? Yes, and beyond BA for that matter. This will be a tough one to beat for sure."

 PROS
  • Unique bone conduction influence on the bass
  • Complex and highly engaging soundstage
  • One of the best customs fits in the business
CONS
  • Disparity between advertised and actual face plate design
  • Tuning might be too 'perfect' for some

TOP GEAR BEST UNIVERSAL IEM 2023

TOP GEAR 2023 AWARDS – BEST UNIVERSAL IEM

FiR Audio Radon 6

9.4 Award Score 

Buy FiR Audio Radon 6 from Audio Essence

FiR Audio Radon 6

"The FIR Audio Radon 6 is the most complete and natural-sounding monitor we have heard from the company to date.

We adore the explosivesiveness of the Krypton 5 bass and it has its place in our line-up for specific genres. However, the Radon 6 works wonderfully well with almost everything, especially if you want an open midrange with excellent levels of detail.

And it’s a flexible sound signature also. The combination of ATOM XS filters, tips, and source will emphasize or diminish both the bass weight and degree of timbral smoothness depending on your preferences.

It is a pity that this is a limited edition release for now because the Radon 6 is an excellent high-end monitor and one of our favorites since first hearing it at CanJam Singapore."

PROS
  • Neutral tuning with excellent resolution
  • Flexible filter system
  • Durable compact design
CONS
  • Limited availability
  • Tiny ATOM XS filters could get lost easily

Noble Audio Ronin

9.4 Award Score 

Buy Noble Audio Ronin at Audio Essence

Noble Audio Ronin

"The Noble Audio Ronin is the company's most balanced and detailed-sounding monitor to date. It is also one of their most accessible tunings with a natural tuning that makes it a non-fatiguing pleasure to listen to."

PROS
  • Beautiful vocal rendition
  • Spacious soundstage
  • Excellent passive isolation
CONS
  • Lacking a little sub-bass weight

TOP GEAR BEST CABLE 2023

TOP GEAR 2023 AWARDS – BEST CABLE

EFFECT AUDIO CLEOPATRA II OCTA

9.2 Award Score 

Buy Effect Audio Cleopatra at Audio Essence

Effect Audio Cleopatra II

"The Effect Audio Cleopatra II OCTA has excellent dynamics, more than what I was expecting, and meshes really well with monitors that have excellent bass capability. If you want your tone smooth and natural but with a bit of sparkle up top combined with excellent imaging capability then this is a good cable pairing."

PROS
  • Powerful natural sound quality with paired monitors
  • Robust and attractive design
  • ConX enhances IEM compatibility
CONS
  • Heavier than your average IEM cable
  • Cable organizer strap too small

TOP GEAR BEST DONGLE DAC 2023

TOP GEAR 2023 AWARDS – BEST DONGLE DAC

CAYIN RU7

8.8 Award Score 

Buy Cayin RU7 from Audio Essence

Cayin RU7

"I have heard quite a few dongles now in the last few years, and all at a roughly similar $200-300 price range. I haven't heard all of them. However, from what I have reviewed to date, the RU7 is probably the best of the lot, both in terms of agreeable timbral coloration and technical prowess."

PROS
  • Excellent output power
  • All-to-DSD modes that make a difference
  • Impressive Line out capability
CONS
  • No iOS lightning cable as standard in the box

TOP GEAR BEST DESKTOP TUBE AMPLIFIER 2023

TOP GEAR 2023 AWARDS – BEST DESKTOP TUBE AMPLIFIER

AURIS AUDIO HA-2SE+

9.2 Award Score 

Buy Auris Audio HA-2SE+ at Audio Essence

Auris Audio HA-2SE+

"The Auris Audio HA-2SE+ is the perfect balance between the original's charming tonal quality and the HA-2SF's more aggressive but also more neutral tuning. It is beautifully refined and energetic with a smattering of welcome tube sweetness making it a very engaging SET headphone amplifier."

PROS
  • Beautiful balance between tonal sweetness and clarity
  • Plenty of space for tube rolling
  • Multiple connector options with pre out
CONS
  • Polarizing design change
  • Not true balanced

 TOP GEAR EDITORS CHOICE 2023

TOP GEAR 2023 AWARDS – EDITOR’S CHOICE

MEZE AUDIO EMPYREAN II

9.3 Award Score 

Buy Meze Audio Empyrean II at Audio Essence

"The Meze Audio Empyrean II takes a huge chunk of what made the original Empyrean headphones so good such as looks and comfort and integrates a new sound signature that should appeal to a much wider audience than before."

PROS
  • Enhanced clarity over the original
  • Incredibly comfortable headphones
  • Intricate and beautiful design
CONS
  • Will not win over fans of the original Empyrean sound

TOP GEAR WRITERS CHOICE 2023

TOP GEAR 2023 AWARDS – WRITER’S CHOICE: JOSHUA

KINERA IMPERIAL LOKI REVIEW

9.3 Award Score 

Buy Kinera Loki at Audio Essence

Kinera Loki

"The Kinera Imperial LOKI is a sonically exquisite masterpiece and one that produces a euphoric and captivating listening experience.

The company's first shot at a multi-kilo-buck flagship level IEM delivers a lush and hyper-detailed mid-range and excellent bone conduction implementation."

PROS
  • Holographic Soundstage & very detailed imaging.
  • Excellent bone conduction implementation.
  • Numerous Universal IEM Customization Options.
CONS
  • Average secondary cable for a flagship IEM.
  • Treble might be bright for some.

TOP GEAR WRITERS CHOICE 2023

TOP GEAR 2023 AWARDS – WRITER’S CHOICE: LYNN


"I was very surprised by the Spirit Torino IEM Twin Pulse Beryllium. And in a very good way. Its smooth character not only won me over but also, the level of detail that came with it.

You can make a reasonable assumption that detail, clarity, and good imaging do not always go along with a character of smoothness in the signature. This defies that logic presenting the listener with a rich, somewhat warm signature as well as some excellent definition to go along with it.

My only quibble is the bendable wire inside the ear hook area. I would have preferred a pre-bent, soft segment, which to me would be more workable. A minor flaw in an otherwise excellent package.

Changing the filter and tips can make for a nice flexible system to better tailor the sound of this IEM to your preference. Overall, this makes for a very versatile package."

PROS
  • Exquisite Aesthetics
  • Smooth signature with engaging character
  • Filter Choices
CONS
  • Memory hooks quite stiff
  • Isolation is tip-dependent

 TOP GEAR WRITERS CHOICE 2023

TOP GEAR 2023 AWARDS – WRITER’S CHOICE: RABI

LETSHUOER CADENZA 12

9.0 Award Score

Buy Letshuoer Cadenza 12 from Audio Essence

Letshuoer Cadenza 12

"I think the LETSHUOER Cadenza 12 is one of those IEMs that everyone will really like upon first listening impressions. It has no party tricks because it doesn’t need one. It's exceptionally well-rounded, answering a price gap in the $2,000 range that has been lacking quality top-of-the-line releases."

PROS
  • Great dynamics and note weight
  • Excellent shell and build quality
  • Feature rich packaging and unboxing experience
CONS
  • Slightly uncomfortable emphasis in lower treble
  • Mirror finish catches fingerprints easily

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