Shuoer Tape – longest YouTube comments thread?

A lot has been written about the fantastic if flawed Shuoer Tape.

My review is here however they also inspired an interesting conversation with the YouTuber “Farsil The Wizard” in his review which I’ve copied below.

Shuoer Tape Review

GI Chow

Hi, unusual tho strangely captivating review 🙂 Several reviewers have described these as V-shaped however I don’t experience the mid recession you’ve described.

I bought my Tapes early July 2020 and using the supplied large black plastic tips the Samsung Adapt Sound equalisation required (on my antique S7 phone) shows them to be slightly mid-forward i.e. quite the opposite of V-shaped so not sure whether they have been revised. 

Apart from this equalisation required (to bring up the bass and high treble to the same level as the mids) and the cable which is not to my taste (I’d prefer straight v braided, inline controls to skip tracks and change volume and no balanced adapter) I am hard pressed to identify flaws in them (though they don’t gloss over sibilance in recordings – btw I wonder whether you hear that on your Koss ESP/95X in the line “give ourselves one more chance” in Queen/Bowie’s ‘Under Pressure’?).

I have a lot of audio from HD600 (natural vocals) to Amperior (impactful bass) to Genelec studio monitors with sub (great clarity) and am very impressed with the Tape though would ideally not need to equalise them (though haven’t tried foam tips).

Just re. the driver technology, it is I understand Earbridge proprietary magneto-static (diaphragm coated in magnetic material) which is different from electret (diaphragm permanently stores electric charge), electrostatic (diaphragm coated in conductive material connected to a high voltage source) or planar magnetic/orthodynamic (diaphragm conducts alternating current) technologies. 

Like you, I have been awed by the naturalness of their performance and to my ears this looks like a technology to watch – or rather listen to 🙂 btw2 what is with the gloves

2 months ago



Farsil The Wizard

Well at least it was strang- I mean captivating, yeah that’s what I meant. :3

To be honest looking at the fr sweep graphs they are most certainly a v shaped sound. Giving them a listen on a slew of stuff and I can say that… they both do and don’t sound like a v. I was sure I had mentioned that somewhere within the review, although seeing as you have said what you did I suppose I did not. So let me further explain what it is I am talking about when I say that they are and aren’t a v shaped sound. 

Depending on what you are listening to and roundabout where it lands on the fr spectrum, along with whatever else is going on in the mix-

look, these do a flucky wucky with the sound and none of us can really explain why. The Shuoer Singers do the same thing. We know they are a v shaped sound, they graph like a v shaped sound… but they don’t sound nearly v shaped as the graphs would imply, which is the strangest sensation. 

One I am certain you are all to familiar with at this point, given your comment thus far that I’ve read into it.  Now then, be that as it may… you are using equalization. Whether or not you are using it to augment the sound or you are using it for testing methodology. Great care must be taken to ensure that you don’t get that all borko’ed around. That is precisely why i have my foobar setup the way that I do, is so that I can look and actually see what the music is doing and compare it against what it is I am hearing. 

And I can say for certain that they are indeed technically a v shaped sound. There are parts of a particularly narrow-ish band where they are recessed the deepest. Although not in the normal region where a prototypical v would reside, if memory serves right.  There is indeed some upper mid range bump’n going on there and the recession is a bit more towards the middle mid to lower mid bands. 

This in conjunction with the weird ass tech they’re using just seems to carry the sound in the strangest of ways. So even though they are v, they don’t easily come across as v unless of course you’re listening to something that has a lot going on within the recession region. Ie; some of the metal I listen to. 

If you would like to reference the graph, you can go to and check out his response graph repository. Bear in mind that fr sweep graphs are not ever going to be the be all, end all in how one would ascertain all the eccentricities of how it sounds. But it can be a crucial tool to get a pretty good idea of how it will likely sound. And the graph does indeed support my statements. 

Now if you are having to equalize to bring up the bass and the treble.. then you are more than likely not getting a seal worth a damn, you’re not powering them “enough” (not enough current, more or less), you’re powering them “improperly” (too much output impedance on source), part of your chain is just very much mid focused (which can be a thing), or the music you’re listening to is dumping out sound in such a fashion that you might be confusing the different gamuts of sound that are being hurled into your ear holes. 

That is al no where near any kind of insult in any way shape or form, mind you. The last one especially so, given more people are surprised to learn that some of their “bassy music” is in fact, not nearly as bassy in the regions they had once thought it to be bassy in. I have stumbled onto quite a few people with this same issue and have showed them how to set up my foobar, via a channel in my discord ( ), so that they can look at what is actually going on in their music. 

More often than not, they’re quite surprised by the results. This can transcend just about any amount of experience with any amount of gear. Especially when you have something in your head as correct and it tends to be wrong. I have most certainly been guilty of this multiple times, so it’s not like I’m Mr. Perfect and am completely immune to this. 

Now then, I wouldn’t call them terribly sibilant unless the audio happens to be inherently sibilant, though they can most certainly get quite a bit shouty when given ample current and/or gain. 

The 95x aren’t really all that sibilant headphones at all to be honest, especially not with the micro suede pads that I put on them (brainwavz xl round). That track is also not very sibilant at all either to be honest, if that is why you were suggesting my trying that track out. 

For the driver tech, yes I am quite aware of it now more so than when I had shot the video. The easiest way to explain them would be something akin to a planar or electret as their principle is similar but not the same. 

Finally, the gloves are because my hands are gnarled up by the work I do and I don’t like the way they look. Besides it’s more about the device and not my hands, the more distractions I can visually take away the better, more or less. That and they feel like my nifty set of slip on second skin. Given the industry I have spent nearly a decade in now, I am just completely and totally accustomed to wearing them when I am stressed, or just feel like wearing them. I enjoy the gloves, you should too, they’re lovely. 

ps; again please don’t take what I am saying as my wanting to pontificate upon you or insult your intelligence and/or experience in any way. I am just relaying my thoughts and/or findings in the most ipso facto way I possibly can. That way there is no confusion as to my “meaning.”

2 months ago


GI Chow

@Farsil The Wizard Hi, thanks for the very full answer. You may be right about the seal since I am just using the largest tips they were supplied with – while they are similar in size to those on several other earphones I have their material is particularly soft and pliable so may be compromising the seal. I will try others and see whether the required equalisation changes.

I use the ‘Adapt Sound’ equalisation built into my Samsung phone mainly to level out the frequency response and so enjoy music as it is meant to sound (one hears that e.g. America favours bass emphasis, China mids and Japan treble) – in a nutshell this feature plays a series of tones from low to high to tailor frequency response both to one’s hearing and particular earphones (I have stored settings for several earphones) and with the Tapes I see it boosts bass and treble. With HD600/Amperior/Etymotic MK5 it boosts bass and PortaPro treble so it seems to me to be compensating for the native signatures of these headphones/earphones and hence the reason I trust it to reveal the true signature of an earphone. For the Tape it is boosting treble and bass. I can understand bass boost from insufficient seal tho treble less so. 

My phone’s output impedance may be a factor tho I understand that the Tapes are supposed to be easy to drive. Also I used an output from a hifi separate CD player – remember those? 🙂 – to see how they behaved with a completely different DAC and amp but in a nutshell I found no issue with the mids.

Yes I don’t dispute the crinacle graphs (though never know what the ‘reference’  curve looks like – presumably not a flat line given nothing measures even near that way; I did tweet him suggesting that be superimposed and also that his graphs show no indication of how the frequency response changes with volume) or your listening/measurement findings which makes me wonder whether Shuoer may have changed something over time.

Re. music tracks that are useful for testing aspects of the quality of audio reproduction of audio gear maybe someone has a list but there is a thread on sibilance in Under Pressure here (I find it natively sibilant even out of my phone’s speaker but maybe there is a better or more recognised one for seeing whether one’s gear is prone to sibilance).

For bass, for example, I would use the intro to Massive Attack Angel.

The Tapes have impressed me (once equalised) so far with everything I’ve thrown at them however should you know a track/passage that highlights their flaw(s) (e.g. against say the HD600 handling of the same track) please do share (ideally one on YouTube or Spotify) since that might help demonstrate the Tape’s shortcomings most succinctly.

Sorry to hear about your hands and no worries at all – I appreciate your honesty and straightforward approach. Likewise my comments are intended in the same way and rest assured I appreciate the time you have taken on your content.

For now wishing you all the best.

2 months ago


Farsil The Wizard

@GI Chow 

You’re quite welcome for the reply, sorry it takes me so long to return a reply. I tend to be busy at every turn these days…

In the end eq is entirely up to you, I utterly refuse to eq anything unless it’s built into something within the chain that’s a simple dial or push button. So whether or not it will require it will be entirely up to you to be honest. 

I am also very, very familiar with the adapt sound and various eq options from samsung. I still own my note4 and note8 cells. It’s not entirely an eq but more or less a corrective thing that is supposed to help you pull up more of what you don’t hear or hear less of, and kinda emboss some of the stuff that you already hear well enough. Although given their dac and amp choices… well it’s just not sufficient  enough in the end given my desires for sound on the whole. Although that’s a whole different moot point and a rabbit hole in and of itself, so somewhat needless to say I will now digress from it. 

I will say that the tech is interesting but again, on what it’s packaged with it’s something that I find can be entirely forgettable and doesn’t live up to the kind of kewl that it could otherwise be. Ok, now I’m digressing…

The oi of the cell may be an issue which, yes partly digs back into some of the prior mentioned stuff. Though if I am not mistaken you are more or less correct in that the tapes aren’t terribly hard to drive at all really. They do see a bit of improvement when amped harder although not a whole helluva lot to be honest. Mainly a better quality power source and dac would net you more or less a more substantial increase in perceived goodness, rather than just moar volume. I am sure you realize this already given the other devices you have history with, so I will also now digress from this talking point. 

I do indeed remember cd players, I had quite a few back in the day too. 

Crin keeps the volume for his measurements more or less the same for every run if I am not mistaken. I do believe there is a blog post of his that is effectively an exposit of how he makes the things in his database do. The reference would generally be nice to know but if it’s a mono tone sweep that is at the same volume throughout then there would be no giant need for that unless it were for analytical purposes. The compensation curves would be nice to be able to apply to the graphs, although that’s a premium feature I do not have the money for at the moment. 

As for whether they change through volume, yes all devices will more or less change through differing volumes, current, voltage, oi… er there’s a lot of factors if you want to get nit picky with it to be honest. I am sure you get the idea that there is always a factor somewhere to be had. On top of the physiological response to different volume levels / spl. Which adds even more complexity to the whole ordeal, hence why the audio hobby is one of the single most objectively subjective hobbies out there. 

For that particular track I honestly never found an issue with much of any sibilant sounds from it. I have a slew of tracks that I will use to gauge the effective amount of sibilance in something already. The bulk of the music I use day to day is generally metal of all sorts and types. You may balk at this so if you don’t agree, then we shall agree to disagree and entirely drop the subject. If you are curious, then yes I can assure you wholeheartedly that metal can indeed offer far, far, far, far more complexity than one might normally imagine. Some tracks I have shared with others are oft’ taken aback by the little things I point out, to which they then get sent down a micro rabbit hole of experiencing stuff for a little while. It’s rather lovely if I do say so myself. 

For bass… well for anything really I have a rather large swath of tracks that I will use in my foobar and otherwise to figure out what I am hearing and so on. Those plugins on foobar, as I had mentioned prior, aren’t just for show or to be pretty. I use them as tools in general analysis and enjoyment of the music. 

I for one am quite happy with the tapes and subsequently the singers from shuoer. I am glad you too also enjoy them, albeit with some eqing, though each to their own to be fair. 

If you want something that can focus more on the “failings,” rather I prefer the term shortcomings, would be with the band Insomnium. I would suggest beyond highly that you try to find the most lossless format you possibly can for that band. Not because it’s more “audiophile” or some stupid shitt like that. But rather the complexity is lost on lossy tracks, it may not be a lot to some. Though for someone with a shitt ton of ear time on their albums (effectively all of them at this point) leave me with wanting to get the best formats I can possibly find for their music. 

I am not sure if Deezer is any good, I will tell you now that tidal is utter garbage when it comes to most metal that I happen to listen to. So on the whole it may not be all that bad, just from the bands that I enjoy is the perspective. Yes, this of course would most certainly include the mqa formatted music they offer. It just does… nothing for the tracks I enjoy, their lossless is only just… So if you want a streaming service I personally suggest to everyone for lossless, that may or may not have the genres/artists/etc… you enjoy. I will always tell people spend the extra money and at least TRY out amazon HD unlimited. Give it a month or two, maybe three. It has converted me completely, even though I still willingly pay for spotify, and tidal hifi is included with my cellular plan. I still always gravitate back to amazon HD unlimited for more than just listening, but less than intensely critical listening, as I prefer my foobar layout for that. 

I am very, very happy that you are taking my words as I had intended and not trying to make a mess of the whole thing. It means a lot to me that you are willing to engage in this discourse with me, regardless on whether we agree or disagree about something(s). In the end so long as you enjoy it, then what does it matter if someone else doesn’t, right?

Oh and yes I thank you greatly for the appreciation given to me regarding my content. That too, means quite a lot also. :3

Warmest regards.

2 months ago


GI Chow

@Farsil The Wizard Thanks again for such a considered reply,  much appreciated. Yes, good description of Adapt Sound and equalisation of any kind is something I have until fairly recently steered entirely clear of since I felt such manipulation must inevitably corrupt the signal and hence alter the music in a way the creator did not intend. I have however employed it of late simply because I came to the view in this new DSP world that some audio manipulation is inevitable for music to be heard as intended given the distortions that are invariably introduced by all of the various physical aspects of the reproduction chain – including our ears themselves which have failings/shortcomings as we age!

Another reviewer I respect @metal571 included equalisation settings with his reviews which at the time I first saw them was something I would never entertain employing myself, thinking that, as I get the impression you do too, such manipulation of the audio truth would be beyond the pale. After all if one messed with the sound isn’t one effectively creating a new piece of work rather than listening to what the artist intended.

The final arbiter for me was the effect eq had on the music itself and of course ultimately its communication and emotional impact – which is after all the reason why many of us audio adherents/weirdos pursue the hobby 🙂 Hence I depart from the straight and narrow path, so to speak, tho still in the interest of achieving a theoretically correct response when a headphone’s other qualities (clarity, bass impact, natural sound, etc.) make me think it worth the sacrifice of purity – though of course I would prefer not to equalise (not least because that is an extra step one must then introduce to every source).

Yes my typical source gear is far from audiophile standard though for me convenience and a degree of economy and value for money is as much a part of my pursuit. Hence, I have started using TWS more of late and enjoying the easy ‘package’ of musical experience they offer, albeit with a set of limitations.

Yes re Crinacle graphs, by reference I meant the ‘expected’ line (i.e. what the levels at various frequencies should be for the device to be perceived as flat/natural) though I understand there are several such curves (Harman In Ear, Diffuse-field, etc.) and baseline frequencies (200hz, 1khz) to peg comparisons at which makes the exercise of showing departure from the target response involved. I’ve noticed that some earphones are much more satisfying at certain volumes which is why I think it worth considering that in measurements though of course there is already a lot of information in even a simple plot to apprehend so as you hint at a balance needs to be struck – perhaps just noting that volume affects the curve significantly for certain earphones is enough. In the case of the Tape I find them satisfying even at low ‘bedtime’ listening levels which is quite unusual – often with earphones and headphones I find the need to crank volume to an unhealthy (!) level for them to be satisfying, particularly with music that relies on bass impact.

I am not hugely familiar with metal as a genre though can fully appreciate that it is as rich in emotional expression as any genre. 

Thanks for the advice re. lossless..I may try Amazon HD though tbh the difference for me in the emotional experience of even low end gear against high end is often not great (though I do feel a need to have heard as close to the true unadulterated original music as possible since I may need to rely on that ‘memory’ when using less faithful equipment) and in fact I have enjoyed some ostensibly low quality YouTube tracks or even YouTube recordings of headphones more than the original tracks from ‘very high’ quality Spotify downloads. I also understand your desire to find your favourite music in the highest quality format available.

I completely agree about everyone being free to enjoy what they do. My own particular concern is more about whether what I am enjoying/experiencing (through the Tapes) is faithful to the original music or compromised in some significant way and hence materially altering the true nature of whatever music I listen to. I suppose that leads to another question of how close to the original recording a reproduction of music needs to be for it to convey/communicate what the music intended. Though that is probably getting on to a much bigger discussion 🙂

Good to know you are at least somewhat happy with the Tapes (and the cheaper Singers). I will need to decide whether to keep them i.e. whether what they bring is worth their cost and so far I am (unfortunately for my wallet as they say!) finding the incredible realism they can deliver rather irresistible 🙂

Anyway thanks again for taking the time to deliberate on all this and I look forward to catching up with more of your unique productions! Until then, may all your spells be happy ones 🙂

2 months ago (edited)


Farsil The Wizard

You are quite welcome for the reply, it is my pleasure. 

I will say though, about eq there isn’t a whole lot of destruction or corruption to the signal when done correctly. The whole idea of it is that you can augment and cut or slightly boost what your are missing out on or feel is too much/lacking with the set you are using in that there and then. Although the manual eq on ANY samsung device is utterly garbage and needs to be late term aborted from existence, yes it’s THAT bad. (coming from something that doesn’t suck such as the Radsone ES100’s eq would bsacially be the bar for entry in this regard mind you.) However their presets are.. ..quite addictive. Hedonistically so, such as their “tube” sound one, I rather enjoy that one quite a lot. But I digress, if done correctly there is not really much to worry about when it comes to flucking with the sound. If you want to know what the creator intended then you need to contact the person(s) that mixed and mastered it, along with the artist to get the precise gear they had. 

Else you will NEVER, FLUCKING EVER get that sound. You can get something that is “true/honest” to the mix, in that it just reveals everything is to hear from it, relatively speaking. But to get the “intended sound” is more or less a fallicy when you don’t have the same gear as them. As it will realistically never sound the same. Get what I mean?

Rather than chase that, chase after a sound that you know YOU enjoy. To flucking hell with the naysayers, if you enjoy it that’s all that flucking matters and don’t you let those troglodytes try to “correct” you. 

Whewf… well that was one helluva tirade… my apologies for that. But I utterly ABHORE that behavior from the audio community.. and I will curb stomp it with EXTREME prejudice whenever I come across it. The whole.. insulting others for what they like trope, not like.. your view on the eq thing from back then and such. That’s totally understandable if you keep it as your preference kinda thing and don’t screw with others on what they decide to do. 

DIGRESSING!, terribly sorry..

As for the shortcoming and the other lovelies you had mentioned. I agree things change as we age and as tech advances, and so on. I can still hear well into and somewhat above the 20k region, although with significant diminished returns the higher we go within short order past 20k. And yes, I am quite dead serious. I actually believe more humans are capable of this than we think, given the hearing test rigs they use might not actually be… well good. The tin p1 sure as hell taught me that I can very, very, VERY much hear well into 20k… mwell.. sense into 20k might be a better description. As it’s like 20hz, it’s less hearing the actual tone and hearing more of what it does to the surrounding sound(s) and the sheer physical tactility of what that wave does when it slams into you. But… age will most certainly get the best of us all, I know my time will most certainly come, soon after I would surely be also upon death’s door. Though with any amount of luck that should still be quite far off as I am nearing 32 now as I type this. 

metal571 isn’t bad at all, though I have personal gripes with some of his process. It’s not thorough enough and he never tried hard enough to propely do even the most basic of mods, pad swapping (with cheap AND good pads). But your comment on his while eq thing was quite intriguing. I never really cared for it though, as I am sure you have likely surmised thus far. 

Though one thing he never seemed to mention, to the best of my knowledge that is… is that he never mentioned that eq in general will never give you more raw res out of a set. It will let you unlock or unveil whatever the driver/set is inherently capable of, but you will never get more than what is the limit of the unit. It is just simply impossible. Although it can be totally flucking fun if implemented correctly, as stated previously. 

You’re quite welcome for the suggestion, as I stated before it’s become as much as my preferred medium as spotty is. And I am still quite happy with the tapes, their an interesting enigma. The singers to me are a better overall package with an interface terminal I utterly prefer over mmcx, the 0.78mm 2pin. That and they fit like a dream and don’t seem to need me to give them the suc-suc on the nozzle when the driver wants to collapse and not move along its traversal path. Happens with age and use on some drivers, a simple fact of life I suppose. Overall though they and the singers are still an enjoyable set in my opinion. 

Thank you for the happy words, I too wish you the best. I will also tease that I am indeed working on more content as we speak. I refuse to just pump’n dump content. This is a hobby, one I happen to take fairly seriously. I am not in it for the YT money or YT bullshit fame. In fact getting too much of that would hinder my plans all together. I also simply refuse to become reliant on what I cannot perfectly calculate for. It’s far too much of a chaotic variable for me to justify. 

Besides, every design choice I make is like basically dick slapping the algorithm and the troglodytes that run the site in the mouth hole. I refuse to be click baity unless I think it genuinely deserves the bating. Such as with the Erish amp. Otherwise I will endeavor to do my best to never become like the others. 

I will take my time, I will be incessantly methodical, and I will give zero goddamn quarter when it comes time to do so. At least that is what I will try to accomplish. 

Any how… it has been quite enjoyable conversing with you over this. Albeit somewhat painful given how cumbersome yt commenting can be for both parties hahah. Thank you for the best wishes once more, again I too wish you all the best in your endeavors. 


2 months ago


GI Chow

@Farsil The Wizard Yes, what I value is a reproduction that is true in the sense of to the mix or sounding like real life in the case of binaural recordings – feeling like one is ‘there’, sometimes to the extent one turns one’s head in the direction of a sound. 

I guess the equaliser thing is reminiscent of the old audiophile aversion to tone controls – which were common on receivers and even amps from my childhood. Unfortunately my ears are rather older than yours 🙂 and according to the various YouTube frequency sweeps I can’t hear tones much past 13k, though like you say might be able to perceive something of higher frequencies.

Yes a lot can be done to a signature through pad and tip swapping and putting material into (Superlux 668B tissue or my Etymotic MK5 tissue filter mod on Amazon) or removing it from (Porta Pro quarter mod) the sound path from the drivers..though as you say (to paraphrase!) you cannae change the laws of physics Cap’n ..and it is the realistic nature of the Tape drivers that inclines me to stick with them.

Yes great chatting and thanks again. For now I’ve watched your Singer review and there are a few others that look interesting  – like that track at 5:23 of the Erish review btw!..for now have a great weekend and take it easy 🙂

2 months ago


GI Chow

Btw found it I think 🙂

2 months ago

Farsil The Wizard

@GI Chow 

I gave it a bit of a short listen, the subsequent link you posted, and given what you’ve said so far. I think you may have what you want and what you are experiencing kind of.. mixed up a little. Again not by any means an insult, the world of audio is a kind of labyrinthine thing to be quite frank. Even vets of this hobby tend to get things intermixed or just crossed at times. And with there being a… stark lack of a standard and wording that is intuitive, rather there exists fanciful jargon that is as intuitive as a car made for 4th dimensional beings pretending they can handle what the 5th dimensional beings can. 

In simpler words… stupid shitt’s going on ’round ‘ere and folk feel smart for using a flawed system. (this is my personal interpretation of course, based on my lab experience in the chemical industry nearing about a decade now.)

But getting back to my point now, what it sounds to me is you aren’t looking for a true to life sound. Based on how I am perceiving what you’re telling me, along with my strange perception of sound in all of my weird “mommy’s special boy” ways. I would argue that I think what you might really want out of a headphone is an impressively expansive stage, backed by very good to stellar imaging quality. With tone being something less of an important thing so long as it doesn’t stray too far into any extremes. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not trying to dictate to you that I know you better than you know yourself. I just perceive things all strange like and when I come up with these oddball suggestions for those intrigued enough to try them. I end up, well typically any how, with reports back of surprised enjoyment, or a new found spark. A spark akin to finding out a new trick for something you’ve done or have experienced a huge number of times and never thought to try a different way before. 

If you could get time with the Edition XX cans in a fairly quiet room I daresay you’d likely lose your mind and enjoy them to no end. They give the illusion of being something akin to “real” or “true to life” when more or less they’re just a believable level of “realistic.” I shall further iterate upon what I mean by this;

The overall tone is warm to warm-ish, with a sort of dichotomistic treble that ebbs and flows aloft an “icy-hot” nature. Although it does smooth things out when looking at the raw resolution of things. It’s never really been truly offensive, in fact it plays well with nearly everything I’ve put the cans on. Though I mention it smooths things over I will tell you this, it still has quite great overall resolution in spite of this and imaging that is delightfully playful in its presentation. It never feels like it’s lying to you and although isn’t fully holographic around your head, the areas of the stage it sets up feel completely immersive within short order. Essentially it has a holographic quality to the sound without it having the holographic quality to the stage and/or imaging. 


The most accurate and well laid out presentation of a holographic stage so far has to go to the Ether CX. It’s an honestly limited sized stage but it can easily play ventriloquist with your ears and mind. It can simulate a quite large stage and I find, in gaming at least, that when the mix is made well it will throw sounds further than you will anticipate based on it’s general audio presentation. 

The differences being that one has a playful and welcoming lush quality with its tonality and presentation, whereas the other comes across as a sound akin to being reference or analytical and arid-like in nature. Although not as playful it can still be fun in its own way. 

To be honest having obscene levels of resolution and a perfectly balanced stage is something I have yet to experience. It’s entirely possible that something like that exists and is just something I have yet to experience. As the case with the singers and the tapes, they have wider than anticipated stage and adopt that aforementioned ventriloquist like nature to the width and depth of the stage. With rather fine imaging quality given the price of the iems. Along with a tone that doesn’t quite throw one for a loop, so to speak. 

As for the tips and pads thing, oh hohoho, trust mang. I know entirely all too well what pads and tips can do and just how entirely crucial a comfortable fit can mean you’d end up borking over the sound. 

Sorry if some of that came across as a pontificate spergoid derp. At times typing things out just fails to help me deliver what it is I am trying to get across at times. Hopefully you get where I’m coming from with my strangeness and with greater hope it spurs you to question things you feel you already know, this in turn instigating you to try something new and/or different.

2 months ago


GI Chow

@Farsil The Wizard Thanks for taking the time to offer your insights and suggestions. Yes the vocabulary for describing sound has always intrigued me and as you know there are various dictionaries e.g. ..and then various usages by different reviewers! (e.g. by ‘dark’ some mean bassy rather than not bright i.e. not treble heavy).

You are kind of right in that the sound I like from ear/headphones is open (so it sounds like the sound is from beyond one’s head rather than within it, the latter I find soporific) and natural (realistic) but with both adequate bass impact/slam/speed (quality) and body/rumble/organic decay/extension (quantity). I do not like anything jarring like treble hotness or artificial bass resonances/boominess from the headphone structure or unnatural harmonics (e.g. Dunu Titans without suitable tips had a metallic quality). I can deal with and even enjoy a warm (even harmonics/tube) sound whereas a cool/analytical/studio reference sound will not engage me long term.

So in a nutshell the transparency/speed/naturalness of electrostatic (have only heard such speakers tho the Tape driver tech has I understand similar qualities to electrostatic headphones) but with the the deep, fast and full bass more typical of closed back and planar magnetic headphones like the Denon D2000 or Fostex T50RP.

In an Amazon review of the Tape someone in fact considers the Tapes preferable to their Ether CX and the Edition XX will I guess share some of those planar magnetic driver qualities (which provides the speed in conjunction with bass – tho with my T50RP experience not the vocal naturalness of the HD600).

I would love to give them all a try one day tho a large part of the charm of the Tape for me is the convenience aspect (driven straight from a phone, can wear lying down, tho still not as good as TWS sets I have, so will ultimately likely get less use; also the Tape may have reliability issues worn out in the real world with rain etc.).

Anyway, I’m very flattered you have taken the time to consider these recommendations and will hopefully get a chance to try them out one day – couldn’t persuade the gf to go to the last London Head-Fi meet but maybe one day 🙂

2 months ago (edited)

GI Chow

Btw I put together and have now shared a playlist of some music that moves me (plus a couple of tracks to assess technical qualities) to help me when checking out head/earphones 🙂

2 months ago


Farsil The Wizard

@GI Chow 

I gave a quick look through the terms they had listed and although not bad, it’s still quite limited. Though there is a swath of options out there available for one to pour over. I am trying what might be a potentially different approach. No idea how it’ll work out until I get it out there I suppose. All in due time though, all in due time. 

I will say if one prefers the tapes or singers to the ether cx or the edition xx then I suppose a linear sound is NOT what they were looking for. Those kinds of sounds are something that “audiophiles” seek but I don’t think all of them really get why… I honestly prefer my edition xx and my ether cx to the tapes or the singers. After spending more time with all of the devices one can much more easily tell how sunken in the dip in the mid region can be. Although not every bit of audio suffers from it, nor will all tips accentuate this dip. In the end whether or not you like the device is all that really matters. Whether or not someone agrees or disagrees with you is a relative thing within the absolute case of your own personal enjoyment. Another things, said “audiophiles” always seem to neglect… rather they would look down their nose at those in admonishment rather than respectful, albeit playful jabs and understanding. 

You flatter me with all of your kind words to be honest. I am but a simple nerd that takes time to make a hobby out of making content. I am not the be all end all, I just have sensitive hearing, a rather verbose vocabulary, and a perception of sound that borders on the utterly strange. 

As for your other half, give her some time. Ease her into things like the blon bl03 or the tinhifi t2+. Those are quite friendly to get into, especially the former set. They’re basically a much higher quality sounding generic tuned iem. That would be the most succinct and friendly way of describing the sound of them. Especially seeing as my content happened to be quite… verbose I suppose would be a good way to put it. 

I did give the playlist a quick looking over and not much of that is stuff that sits in my alleys of preference. All the more power to you for liking them, though I will stick to my metal and other strange music that I happen to enjoy the most. As I am sure I have stated before, many would be quite surprised as to how much stuff like metal can get a benefit from higher end audio devices. That genre is also one of the genres of music I have spent the most of my life listening to. So when something sounds good or bad I tend to realize it rather quickly, rather… I get the top note on whether something will be worth my time in that genre or not I suppose. 

I am not saying I admonish you for sharing what music you like with me, or that I don’t appreciate trying to assist me in finding some more tracks to test things with. But if I don’t have a lot of time with it a type of music. Well I don’t feel as engaged or apt to want to listen to said music. Regardless of how useful it can be for testing purposes. Although I have been corrected more than once in this regard. The fact remains that I am a stubborn jackass of a man that likes what he likes, and tends to not step from the safety of his preferences all too often. 

I fully admit I didn’t give all that many of the tracks a good listening to. I am also sure that I would be proven wrong in some regard or another where it comes to liking some of those tracks or not. But for now I must lament that I am sticking with what I know as it’s the most relaxing for me in such batshitt crazy times. 

The thought is not lost on me though, so please take note that I do greatly appreciate it. I am by no means trying to thumb my nose at you and not appreciate the eager gesture as personal as sharing one’s beloved music. It means a great deal to me that you felt compelled to share with me, it’s quite humbling actually. In due time I may just give some of them a listening to. Hell, thanks to moments like that I have found at least ONE underground style rap album that I genuinely enjoy. So there is still a chance there will be something in there that will entertain me quite greatly. 


2 months ago


Farsil The Wizard

@GI Chow 

Actually after giving it an additional look, there are some song on there that I recognize and do more or less like. So It seems like the ones that caught my eyes were the ones I had already known to either dislike or just flat out didn’t recognize. 

Shows what I know, right? XD

2 months ago

GI Chow

@Farsil The Wizard Thanks again for such a considered reply. Just to update you I ended up keeping the Tapes since I trusted my ears and after a bit of equalisation I found they met the sound characteristics I value and offered an experience like nothing else I’ve heard (tho I don’t have the most exotic gear!). I know a lot of reviews mention issues with their mids but with mine at least I didn’t experience that (and I have HD600 which are considered to be reference in mids).

Now I’ve bought them I’m sure a better set at the price is bound to appear 🙂

I like your approach to music. Yes of course the best tracks are those that move us and am always open to new music too and going beyond my comfort zone to appreciate new genres. I remember friends introducing me to music as a teenager which I was ambivalent about at the time but have listened to ever since and consider now to be classic and indispensable! Be good to know some of your faves, however unusual! 🙂 I remember a very clever guy from my early 20s who was into metal which I thought unusual at the time given the popular reputation of the genre back then but never got to know him well enough to find out what in particular moved him. I look at my 17y old son’s playlist and recognise nothing though almost everything seems to have been marked as having explicit lyrics! One of his tracks at least I did like and added to my playlist 🙂

Recently I have come to think more about what it is about certain pieces that evokes such a strong emotional response – music can bring us to tears or inspire one to feel like anything is possible.

Btw here is another set of terms compiled by an extraordinarily prolific reviewer of earphones (ClieOS) of old:

Yes the gf likes my HD600s but didn’t really seem to notice the very natural and revealing qualities of the Tapes..though I didn’t really take time over finding properly fitting tips for her.

For now happy listening 🙂

2 months ago (edited)


Farsil The Wizard

​@GI Chow

No biggie bud, I’m just yer average nerd/audio nerd I s’pose. I will say though, it is a lot easier to get a hold of me when on discord. If you have an account, please feel free to join the server.

Any how,

I am glad that you enjoy the tapes and if that is how you perceive them, then by all means enjoy your perception. Audio is one of the most objectively subjective hobbies out there, next to something like art (in general of course). Though I will ensure to you once more, they are most certainly what I claim. Albeit with the caveat that there is indeed some strangeness going on that the measurement rigs don’t seem to be able to account for. As in, you’re not the only one to say that they don’t sound V. Trust me… there are more folks in that camp than you might think. Although it also doesn’t help that there are a lot of devices out there that have a harman or v like signature to some degree or another. 

What I’m trying to say is, if the dip that is there doesn’t bother you? Then to flucking hell with worrying about it and simply let thine ears enjoy the show. 

Having some more exotic gear might make perceiving it a lot easier, it might not. You may not have the ear for it, hell the way your ear simply IS can throw in a slew of additional factors that… well are a little beyond me at the moment to accommodate for when it comes to talking about anything’s signature. So to reiterate, you’ve decided you like them. I enjoy them, that’s all you really need worry about in the end. :3

(don’t worry I am just making myself as clear as possible and showing you that we can basically agree to disagree and just chalk it up to being fleshy meat bags. :3)

Digressing ENTIRELY from that now, hahahah.

Thank you for the compliment for my approach to music. Honestly if you know the given track inside and out… well use it to your advantage. A lot of the music I use now, as I believe I had stated before, I fuggin’ grew up on/with. So… to say that I know about it damn near inside and out would be kind of.. blase for how intimately I feel I know the given track(s) relative to the listening devices I have used in the past and present. Which is honestly great for when I am proven wrong and find something utterly new. :3

Ahh, I hope yer nice to yer youngn’ and let the lad keep his explicit tracks. I mean not to backseat parent but the way I figure it… he’s literally gonna do it any way hahahahah. I know I sure as hell would and, in fact, did! :3

All jesting aside, I am glad you and him could find at least a single track of common ground to enjoy. That is but a single step of many, of this I am hopefully not wrong in saying. 

I feel I must also truly agree with you, there’s something so truly…. MAGICAL about sound and music and.. well how it all inter connects and affects/effects one another.. i-…if that makes sense I suppose. 

Hence the whole Farsil The Wizard shtick. The whole thing is all just so magical to me. And the more people come to understand this, the more I feel the people engaging in the hobby in a manner similar to I, will find camaraderie with one another and enjoy in it more or less together. At very least share appreciation of/for one another and for the very hobby they have in common. Ya know… brotherly and sisterly love an’ all that shmoozy shitt. :3 

I really like that link you posted I will have to sit down with some bourbon or some coffee… maybe some lovely tea and read it over. There’s uhh… quite the plethora of terms there this time around. 

I’m also glad your other half enjoys the headphones. I too hope I can find a girlfriend that would… or rather will become my other half. I will say though, look into some of that normal person end game sorta stuff. Such as the Edition XX or the Ether CX and so on. You don’t need the most expensive and the drop collab stuff is honestly great for the person that is willing to spend up to that and absolutely no more than that. It might truly help her or you figure out where it is you wanna take the hobby. Higher.. lower… you get the idea. For all I know those, or those similar to them sure to come in the future at some point (we can only collectively assume) will effectively be where you decide to stop until it’s time to replace said unit(s). 

I wish you a most happy of listening right on back :3

2 months ago

(Expletives above replaced)


Sivga Phoenix v Sennheiser HD560S – Fight!

Left to right Creative Aurvana Live, Beyer DT990 Pro, Sennheiser HD560S, Sivga Phoenix, Sennheiser HD600

The Sennheiser HD560S is a £170 open-backed reference headphone raved about by the YouTube reviewer DMS as his new reference for flat sound. The Sivga Phoenix is a £250 open-backed (nominally at least) headphone raved about by the YouTube reviewer Zeos on ZReviews as one competing with headphones up to $1000!

Which is best? Well in a nutshell the Sivga Phoenix for me – however just as in an episode of the famous LA detective TV series Columbo read on to find out why and how I came to this conclusion!

Both sound wonderful and have no noteworthy issues with frequency response, clarity, colouration or 3d soundstage/imaging.

Sivga Phoenix

Starting with the Phoenix, the bass is well extended into sub bass and also has good impact or slam. Vocals are clear and natural and the highs are also well extended and detailed without either being too sibilant or masking or smoothing out sibilance where it is there in the source (so they don’t gloss over sibilance in recordings e.g. the line “give ourselves one more chance” in Queen/Bowie’s ‘Under Pressure’ or the high frequency chatter you hear from low fidelity sources like low bit rate DAB stations). The highs are not as highlighted and analytical as on the Beyerdynamic DT990 Pros however the latter are more tools for detecting and studying issues with recordings than for presenting a true to life, natural and musical picture.

The Phoenix is slightly easier to drive (2 notches less on my phone for the same volume) and has more impactful bass and a higher level of detail retrieval and naturalness/realism however the soundstage is narrower and more intimate and in your head than one would expect from an open back headphone (which are typically more speaker-like in that sounds appear to come from a distance). The lack of sound leakage and good level of bass impact makes me wonder whether despite the grille they are in fact closed back or perhaps semi-open. One cant see the drivers or daylight through the grille. Curiously they also smell of circuit board solder when fresh from the box though that is becoming less noticeable!

Practically they are very comfortable and well built, and can be driven from my old Samsung S7 phone to a good listening volume at 60% of maximum. They are not a heavy headphone but noticeably heavier than the HD560S. The cable is a replaceable Y with 2 x 2.5mm jacks at the headphone end, terminated in a 3.5mm jack plug that easily fits into the socket of a phone within a case (unlike that of the Sennheiser). They have good head size adjustment that stays put and an adequate cup size with a good seal however since fairly snug ears get warmer over extended listening than with larger and more ventilated cups. The cable is fine for portable use with a nice braided cloth outer though no inline controls to skip or pause tracks and no microphone. Isolation from external sounds is only fair however sound leaks out into your listening area far less than on the Sennheiser.

The Phoenix involves me and makes me want to continue listening to each of my well known test tracks in full rather than shuffle through them, which is a sign of a good set of headphones. Their lifelike natural and coherent sound reminds me of the Creative Aurvana Live (CAL) with their Fostex biocellulose drivers (also used in the famous Denon Dx000 headphones) however with much better controlled bass resonance/boominess and less treble roll off than on the CAL.

Sennheiser HD560S

Moving on to the HD560S, bass is also well extended into sub bass and has good impact or slam but not as good as that from the Phoenix. Vocals are clear though less warm and rich and natural sounding than those from the Phoenix and the highs are also well extended and detailed without either being too sibilant or masking or smoothing out sibilance where it is there in the source. That said they aren’t giant or even ‘midfi’ killers in that vocals sound more head-turningly realistic and busy passages with lots going on (like Hans Zimmer’s Dark Knight soundtrack) sound less blurred and confused with each instrument and part better resolved on both the Phoenix and my reference Sennheiser HD600 (though the HD600 has less punchy and satisfying bass on some tracks, even with a dedicated transistor or tube amplifier). Non-audiophiles may not notice or only notice the difference in a side-by-side comparison, and even then not consider the difference worth the extra cost. Certainly the lesser realism does not significantly affect the emotional impact of music however those who perceive and appreciate the difference may find the extra realism worth it. The performance of the HD560S may improve with better amplification that can pull and push the drivers into shape more instantaneously however you will still be starting with a lower baseline than that provided by the Phoenix. The HD560S bass did improve somewhat when driven from my FiiO E11 transistor and Bravo Audio Ocean tube headphone amps (the latter has plenty of headroom and the volume knob makes it barely half way) however at medium listening volumes the difference was not night and day and it never approached the slam of the Phoenix.

Practically there are no issues for the form factor in that they are very comfortable and although light feel solid and well built. From my Samsung S7 phone, they need close to the maximum volume and the supplied 3.5mm jack plug cable adapter (which btw struggles to fit into the socket of a phone within a case unlike that of the Phoenix). They have good head size adjustment that stays put though the sheer cup size means that for small heads they will extend into the cheek/neck area and potentially compromise the seal and hence low frequency response. They have an unmanageably long cable for portable use with no inline controls to skip or pause tracks and no microphone however the cable is replaceable with a single 2.5mm jack at the headphone end though what looks to be a proprietary locking mechanism. As an open back, of course they have limited potential for outdoor or quiet area use since sound leaks in and out very noticeably.

In a nutshell, the Phoenix is slightly easier to drive (1-2 notches less on my phone for the same volume) than the HD560S and has more impactful bass and a higher level of detail retrieval and naturalness/realism however the soundstage is narrower and more intimate and in your head than one would expect from an open back headphone.

I prefer the naturalness and vocal warmth of the sound of the Phoenix however those who place higher value on an open sound and wide soundstage, cooler ears over extended listening or the reassurance of an established brand may prefer the 560S. The look of the 560S is also more conventional and while I trust that the Phoenix cups are CNC-machined wood they look like they could be plastic and may have less wide appeal.

Certainly the 560S is a very competent headphone however, even though cheaper than the Phoenix, better value for the same money or less may be found elsewhere. I would recommend listening to something like the Superlux 668B with the tissue paper modification (where tissue paper to personal preference is put behind the removable foam pad covering the drivers to reduce the level of treble) and more comfortable pads and drawing your own conclusions.

While the Phoenix is a superb set of headphones, for a Chinese manufactured headphone from a company without presumably the R&D or marketing costs of the Sennheiser brand, I’d imagine that these might be discounted in the future once the hype has died down.

To hear these headphones for yourself why not check out my brief review and sound test on YouTube.

Hope this helped and for those looking to lose weight feel free to check out my blog for tips on how to lose fat healthily and for free that I learnt when I lost 4 stone 8 years ago.