This was a debut of sorts for a new company under the Music Sanctuary umbrella from the ex-CEO of 64 Audio and owner of FIR, Bogdan Belonozhko. Bogdan is a stand-up guy man and I swore he was wearing some sort of cravat which oozes fashion confidence. Mind you it is kind of hot and humid in Singapore so its bravery on a whole new standard.
The Wax Vac
Debuting at the FIR stand we had 3-4 new products, one of which I bought right on the spot. Yup, the wallet did not stand a chance when faced with a rustic anodized brown Wax Vac with a cute bunny on top. These things sell for $99 on their website and I owning something like 300 monitors I had no hesitation in getting one of these.
So what is it? It is basically a cleaning system for your IEMs and monitors. It uses a vacuum motor and a set of cleaning tubes to suck out all that accumulated ear wax, dust or dirt from inside the nozzles or tubes of your IEM and leave it as clean as the day you got it.
There are alternatives on the market that tend to “cook” the monitors for 2-3 hours to loosen the dirt to get it out but I suspect a vacuum system is much more effective. Will I review them? Possibly will as an interesting feature once I get the hang of them and can hear the results. Either way, if you are rocking a fair few monitors this could well be a cheap but essential maintenance tool. It also looks funky!
I also managed to grab the M5 for some brief listening at what was a very busy booth. This is FIR Audio’s flagship electrostatic hybrid IEM that also uses FIR’s new ATOM (Air Transferring Open Module) filter technology. (Note, we didn’t grab a pic but the model on show was not the final finish.)
The ATOM is a pressure-relieving system a bit like ADEL and APEX designed to reduce listening fatigue and protect your hearing in some small measure. The ATOM system is also compatible with 64 Audio APEX and even the older ADEL system using their larger ATOM-XL removable filters.
The M5 is also a tubeless design and 3D printed shells making it one heck of a feature-packed stats hybrid monitor. The driver configuration is a single dynamic driver for the lows, 3 BA for the mids and highs, and a single electrostatic super tweeter for the very top-end.
M5 Sound Impressions
This is a relaxed but impressively detailed presentation and an especially good midrange/vocal presence. The low-end is quite controlled, nothing overly colored or bottom heavy. In fact, I would say it has maybe a slight tinge of warmth but overall quite balanced.
The treble has plenty of detail but its not on the sharp end of things, slightly wetter, and delivering a nice harmonic balance to the mids timbre. The stats tuning is not as aggressive as the Khan or even the more neutral Pola, perhaps closer to the Jomo Audio Trinity.
I left the booth with the impression that FIR tuned the M5 with the long session listener in mind and vocal lovers especially. It seems a very flexible signature and yup, we are going to be reviewing it in its custom format real soon.
Emil and his team rolled into town rocking some new gear, one of which we have already reviewed, the Model X universal Edition. You can read more on that in our review here.
He also pulled a new Aether out of the bag, the Aether R. This particular one is a custom version and he did it ahead of the show so all I had to do was slot it in and check that it fits and oh boy, it is a beautiful fit.
Lime Ears always have an eye for unique color schemes though, of course, shades of green are their favorite. This time we went with a glittery blue color with, yes, a shade of green mixed in there. Honestly, the boy can’t help himself! Well done.
The Aether R is a 6BA config with a 4-way crossover, switchable sub-woofer double driver for extended bass performance, and their latest Varibore and TruSub technology.
The original Aether was widely acclaimed but yours truly never reviewed it by the time we got going with Lime Ears reviews so this is the first time I have heard an Aether. The R, I am told, refines the mids a bit more than the original with a little more space and texture in the notes to bring out more ‘character’ in the vocal and instrumental timbre.
My brief show impressions? Beautiful sounding to be honest. This is a full-sounding slightly euphonic timbre with excellent vocal presence. I love the richness in its presentation and lack of sibilance without any perceived loss of treble detail.
The bass switch works in much the same way as the Model X with enhanced sub-bass presence and low-end power but again, its not the kind of low-end that dominates the excellent mids and vocals. This is an excellent musical top-tapping sound indeed.
beyerdynamic always attends CanJam Singapore and more times than most have something new and interesting to showcase. This year was no exception with the new Xelento Wireless which is the BT edition of their original Xelento monitor set.
The wireless edition comes with both a BT cable dongle and a fully wired alternative so basically, you are getting both the original and wireless edition one box. The packaging is beautiful also, very refined with a nice range of those ‘mushroom’ silicone soft tips and foams, a personal carry case, 2 cables (1 with dongle), a spare set of nozzle grills, and a micro-USB charging cable.
Much like the full-sized Amiron Wireless headphones, the Xelento Wireless only goes up to aptX-HD and does not use LDAC. However, combined with their MIY Android app they sound fantastic with the FiiO and HiBy Music apps we tested it with.
Brief Sound Impressions
In the end, the quality of the Tesla miniaturized driver and receiver in the cable will determine the final presentation and the Xelento BT system is excellent. My brief impression is of a clean, spacious sound with an excellent low-end extension and moderate but punchy bass quantity, nothing bloomy or overblown. Mids and highs are a little more on the neutral side offering a smooth sound but not a hugely forward presentation.
I actually think the harmonic balance on these is excellent, at least for the BT option using the foam tips. I can’t see anyone suffering from listening fatigue on the Xelento Wireless nor will you be grasping for detail or feel it is too soft sounding.
That wraps up our first part of the CanJam Singapore 2019 experience. The focus was on pure portable covering both days and we do wish we could have got around a lot more booths but honestly, 2 days is not enough to cover everything we would have liked to have heard.
Our Part 2 will be coming shortly and will cover headphones and desktop audio with names such as Headamp, RAAL-Requisite, Rosson Audio Design, Kennerton, oBravo, Chord, Yulong, SMSL, and Auris Audio. Some of the most spectacular stuff I heard at the weekend will be in that report coming soon.