RHA TrueConnect 2 True Wireless IEM.

RHAs T20 wireless IEMs surprised and impressed me. Will the TrueConnect 2 do the same?

Lorna at RHA has been a very kind and sent these my way for review.
RHA have not paid or sponsored me for this review.
These are my own unbiased views.

The RHA TrueConnect 2 retail at £129.95 at the time of this review.

You can find the TrueConnect 2 here:

Review equipment and software:
RHA TrueConnect 2 IEM.
iPad Pro.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus.
Qobuz Studio Premier.


The Audiophile Cafe readers can now receive 1 month’s free subscription to Studio, which allows you to listen to Qobuz’s entire music library in Hi-Res and CD quality. 
Note: Existing Studio subscribers need to unsubscribe first before activating the gift. 
Please click the following link for more:

What’s in the box:
2x RHA TrueConnect 2 IEMs.
1x RHA TrueConnect 2 charging case
2xS, 3xM, 2xL silicone tips.
1x stainless steel ear tip holder.
1x USB type C charging cable.


Build and finish:
RHA have yet again proven they can make a premium quality product at a great price.
I have the space-grey or “Carbon Black” version which matches my iPad Pro and Galaxy Note perfectly.
The charging case is better built than many of the competition on the market. It is robust and I sense would easily survive a drop on the floor or having something dropped on it. Other cases do not fill me with the same confidence.
USB type C is the connector of choice here and it is welcome. Although as I state in other True Wireless reviews, the lack of wireless charging is disappointing. I hope the next iteration has wireless charging built in.
The old upside down shaky shaky test was carried out and the TrueConnect 2s hold up really well here. They will not fall out of the charging case no matter how hard you try!
There is ample room in the case to accommodate various shapes and sizes of ear tip while not impeding on the charge pins which is a welcome feature where other brands fail.
Pocket compatibility is good, although the case is a little larger than some, it still fits in my inside pocket of my jeans or a shirt pocket with ease. Despite its size it is lightweight and at no time will it try to separate you from your jeans, skirt, shorts or otherwise.
Three subtle white LEDs provide you with battery charge indication triggered with opening of the case for a quick glance.
The IEMs themselves are a clean minimal design with a stem on each. The stem is short, thin and unobtrusive.
And of course the head shake test was also carried out and they show no sign of wanting to go anywhere. So have no fear, the TrueConnect 2 won’t be launching themselves out of your ear canals whilst you’re out on a jog. While we’re mentioning outdoor activities, RHA have built a robust IEM that is good for all weather conditions!
From RHA –
“From endurance running to monsoon season, the TrueConnect performs. IP55-level rain, dust and sweat protection combines with our 3-year warranty for reliable durability.”
Which is a big improvement over the TrueConnects IPX5 rating.
I will note that the TrueConnect 2 look no different from the first version, the TrueConnect.
However, aside from the change in IP rating RHA have made a lot of improvements with the TrueConnect 2.

Pairing the TrueConnect 2s is very straightforward.
Take them out of the case, switch to pairing mode by touching the touch pad on the left or right IEM for five seconds and see them appear in your devices bluetooth list. Click pair and you’re done.
There is no app to be had here, however I feel RHA don’t need to supply one as these do not have active noise cancelling and they don’t require any tweaking. It keeps things simple and uncomplicated.

They are light and very comfortable in the ears. RHA have built touch surfaces into the body of the TrueConnect 2 which is an improvement on the previous versions buttons and a good design decision. I haven’t found a true wireless IEM yet with physical buttons that doesn’t hurt when pressing them. Touch surfaces are the way forward as not only are they far more comfortable, they also give the body a more seamless look. Far better in my opinion.
I was able to wear the TrueConnect 2s for hours with no discomfort or fatigue.
Definitely one of my favourites in the comfort department!

Straight out of the stable the TrueConnect 2 make it apparent that they are extremely good at passive noise cancelling, but without shutting the outside world out entirely.
RHA have created a focused soundstage akin to a studio environment.
Imaging is almost flawless and at a level I would expect from a more expensive true wireless IEM. Instrument separation gets a touch clouded on more exiting passages of tracks, however not by any large margin.
Bass is well extended with both low and mid bass being present and articulate.
The midrange presence is forward but not aggressively so with vocals and wind instruments sounding natural and airy.
Highs are ever so slightly rolled off at the higher frequency range. However they are well paced, detailed and crisp.
All of this working in tandem, creating a well balanced and full bodied sound signature.

The RHA TrueConnect 2 true wireless IEM are a fantastic pair of “TW” IEMs.
They demonstrate craftsmanship, finish, features and audio quality of higher priced items.
RHA have designed a fantastic all rounder that is suited well to various genres, The TrueConnect 2 aren’t picky and are very forgiving.
You will struggle to find a better true wireless set at this price point.
I have no difficulty in recommending these and give them a solid 5 stars.

Many thanks to my readers for your ongoing support.
Please subscribe, follow, like and share.

I would like to thank Lorna and RHA for sending these out for review and for their patience.
As always, a pleasure to work with!

The Audiophile Cafe is sponsored by Silver Note Tonearms, supporting the blog and helping me to bring better content.

You can find Silver Note on facebook by following the link –

HIFIMAN TWS600 True Wireless IEM.

In the first of many true wireless reviews to come I have a look at the HIFIMAN TWS600.
Said to be the ” Most audiophile true wireless IEM on the market “.
Read on to get my view on the TWS600.

Mark at HIFIMAN has been a good egg and sent these my way for review.
HIFIMAN have not paid or sponsored me for this review.
These are my own unbiased views.

The HIFIMAN TWS600 retail at $199 at the time of this review.

You can find the TWS600 on HIFIMANs website here:

Review equipment and software:
HIFIMAN TWS600 true wireless IEM.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+.
Qobuz Studio Premier.


The Audiophile Cafe readers can now receive 1 month’s free subscription to Studio, which allows you to listen to Qobuz’s entire music library in Hi-Res and CD quality. 
Note: Existing Studio subscribers need to unsubscribe first before activating the gift. 
Please click the following link for more:

What’s in the box:
8x ear-tips.
1x charging and carry case.
1x USB type C charging cable.


Battery life:
The battery life is bang on the money here at 5 and a half hours of play time plus 33 hours of charge in the case.
Charge time is as HIFIMAN state.

Build and finish:
The case is very well made and feels robust. It has a rubber base which I find useful when sitting them down somewhere.
USB type C is a great addition, however yet again wireless charging is not to be found here.
It really surprises me that more True Wireless IEMs, especially in the higher end are still being rolled out without wireless charging.
One of the greatest flaws is the magnetic hold on the IEMs inside the case. I carry out the upside down shaky shaky test as most reviewers do and alas the TWS600s fall out at a mere flick of the wrist. I asked my son to gently nudge my elbow when opening them upside down and they fell out every time. I would not want to accidentally open these upside down on public transport, out and about or in the dark!
You will also find that any ear tip you decide to use apart from the smaller tips will not allow the IEMs to sit in the case properly and as such will not charge.
The charge LEDs are inside the case so you can have a glance at what the battery state is, however there are no indicators on the outside of the case.
The design is ok if you’re a gamer with a “torn” design on the face of the TWS600s through which the LEDs shine.
They have a good profile and don’t stick out of the ears too far and are quite light weight compared to other TWs I have reviewed.
The case is pocketable but it’s not one of the smaller cases on the market.

Bluetooth pairing was straight forward and the connection once paired is stable with no drop offs. They do sport a very good connection range, in fact I would go as far to say it’s the best so far against other True Wireless IEMs that I have tested, by a lot.
App: HIFIMAN have an app that is available on iOS & Android, however I could not get it to see or recognise the TWS600. I tried numerous times on both operating systems with no success.
The app also has a built in player, but it redirects from streaming services you already use which seems rather pointless in my opinion. HIFIMAN really need to get their app developers on to this so the TWS600 is seen by the app and thus enable finer control over the IEMs and if required, any firmware updates.

HIFIMAN have made a lightweight pair of True Wireless IEMs that stay in your ear canals with ease. They withstood the head shake and bump test with flying colours so I would definitely rate them as a go to sports in ear.
All of the ear tips are easy to fit and feel comfortable in the ear.
Unfortunately the TWS600s have physical buttons on each side to control media controls and voice assistant. They work well but do not add up to a nice experience when pushed in. I have sensitive ears as it is and if I use the controls more than the absolute minimum my ears are left sore and uncomfortable. I hope in their next iteration of True Wireless IEMs, HIFIMAN swap this out for touch controls instead.

After burning the TWS600s in for 12 hours re HIFIMANs advise I found they opened up in the soundstage department. The soundstage is one of the widest I’ve experienced so far in a True Wireless. The sound is extremely spacious and is amazing when listening to live recordings or big band music.
I would say that the sound signature of these IEMs is one that is very neutral with emphasis in the upper mid to high frequencies. With the midrange being aggressively forward and the highs having lots of sparkle and speed.
Bass is very recessed making these IEMs not suited to electronic, dance or urban music.
With a lot of eq tweaking you can bring the bass into play, however it sounds processed and lacks accuracy.
To sum up the TWS600, They are fantastic at reproducing vocals and acoustic music. Classic guitar or orchestral suites sound amazing and very clear.
However they are not for bass heads or fans of any form of EDM or urban music.

I believe that HIFIMAN have created an IEM with great potential.
Have the IEMs sit securely in the case with room for larger ear tips, tune them for a fuller bodied sound signature with better bass extension and ease off the mids and highs a touch and you would be onto a winner in my eyes.
Maybe have a look at making a True Wireless with similar drivers to the RE400 with a working app with the ability to create custom EQ presets. And please swap those buttons out for touch controls.
The case itself is a really nice design and the IEMs although sporting that gamer style, do look rather cool. ( Good job I’m a gamer. )
At $199 I find them lacking in a few areas but if you’re looking for a very neutral spacious sounding IEM then these may well be for you.

Spacious soundstage.
Neutral sound signature well suited to classical, opera and classical guitar.
Great delivery of vocals.
Superb battery life.
Stable and far reaching connection.
Stylish case and a cool gamer style design.
USB type C charging.

Uncomfortable due to physical buttons.
Fatiguing due to specific sound signature ( To my hearing anyway. )
Lack of bass.
Aggressive midrange.
No wireless charging.
Case does not hold the IEMs in place securely.
No external charge indicator.

Thanks to my readers for your ongoing support.
Please remember to subscribe to the blog, follow, like and share.

Thank you to the blogs newest sponsor Meze Audio who have been with The Audiophile Cafe from the beginning.

Airpulse A200 Active Speakers and ST200 Stands.

In my first review for Airpulse I get to experience these active speakers designed by the legendary Phil Jones.

This review is sponsored by Airpulse.
This is my unbiased view on the A200 active speaker system.
Audrey, Kay & Airpulse have been very kind and gifted me this set of monitors.
The A200 is originally priced at £878 but it is on discount now for a limited time only at £699
The Airpulse ST200 matching stands were purchased by myself at a discount and normally retail at £109.99.
The stands are filled with Atacama “Atabites” which can be found on Amazon.

You can find the A200s and more on the Airpulse website:

Readers can enjoy 40% off when they use code: A200FORU

Review equipment and software:
Airpulse A200 active speaker system.
Airpulse ST200 matching stands.
Burson Audio Conductor 3X Performance balanced DAC.
iPad Pro 2019 10.5″.
Qobuz Studio Premier.
Technics SL-1200 MK2 turntable.
Ortofon Quintet Red MC & Nagaoka MP10 MM cartridges.
KECES Audio ePhono MM/MC balanced phono stage.
KECES Audio ePhono Power low noise linear power supply.
Van-Damme & EDGE Analogue cables & interconnects.
Not pictured in this review:
iBasso DX80 and Apple TV 4K were used to test the coaxial and optical channels.


The Audiophile Cafe readers can now receive 1 month’s free subscription to Studio, which allows you to listen to Qobuz’s entire music library in Hi-Res and CD quality. 
Note: Existing Studio subscribers need to unsubscribe first before activating the gift. 
Please click the following link for more:

What’s in the box:

1x Active speaker.
1x Passive speaker.
1x IR remote.
1x RCA to RCA audio cable. (1.5M / 5ft)
1x 5-pin din speaker cable by TRANSPARENT cable. (5M / 16ft)
1x Toslink cable (1.5M / 5ft)
1x RCA to 3.5mm jack plug.
1x Instruction manual.

2x Bottom plates.
2x Stands.
2x Top plates.
1x Pack of mounting hardware and tool.
1x Alignment template for rubber feet.
10x Rubber feet.
1x Pair of white cotton gloves.
1x Instruction manual.

Airpulse haven’t skimped here. Each speaker comes in its own cloth sack which in turn is in another bag. The peripherals all come neatly packaged in a separate box.
Everything is neatly and securely enveloped in polystyrene then boxed up. That box then gets packed inside another box.
The ST200 matching stands come in the same style of packaging and include all the required hardware, tools and an alignment template for the rubber feet..
Airpulse have included a pair of white cotton gloves to ensure careful handling of the stands and speakers.

Power Output: L/R Ribbon Tweeter: 10W+10W
L/R Mid-Range: 55W + 55W
Signal-Noise Ratio dB(A): ≥90dB(A)
Input Interface: AUX, Balance Input, Optical, Coaxial, Bluetooth
Input Sensitivity:-
Balance Input: 1300±50mV
Aux Input: 550±50mV
Bluetooth Input: 500±50mFFs
Optical Input: 350±50mFFs
Coaxial Input: 350±50mFFs
Noise Level: ≤25dB(A)
Frequency Response: 46Hz~20KHz
Tweeter: Phase Correction Horn Loaded Ribbon Tweeter
Mid-Woofer: 5.5″ Aluminium Cone Neo Power Mid-Woofer
Cabinet Size (WxHxD): 203 x 355 x 295 (mm)
Net Weight: 19 Kg (42 Pounds ) / Set

Build Quality:
Airpulse have pulled out all the stops.
From the inside out these speakers exude cutting edge technology, fine tuning, robust build quality and a premium fit & finish to round it all off.
The same can be said for the matching stands.
The finish of the A200 is a high gloss cherry wood veneer over a 25mm rigid MDF housing with a satin black finish on the front bezels, which contrasts the cherry veneer really well.
The stands are equally refined and match the speakers perfectly.
When the speakers are either on their provided feet or *secured to the stands they are a hefty pair weighing in at 19kg. Include the stands without being filled and they aren’t going anywhere. Fill the stands if you buy them, with Atabites or sand and you will not be disappointed. I loaded mine with Atabites and it has well and truly anchored them to my floor.
*The stands and speakers are securely attached with included bolts which thread up into where the A200 feet were attached using the existing threads. There are small gaskets that sit between where the feet were and the top plates of the ST200 stands.
TRANSPARENT Audio provide the A200s with their internal wiring and the included 5 pin DIN cable that connects both speakers. These are audiophile grade cables which are robustly made with the speaker cable being a decent copper/coffee finish and sporting 5 meters of length allowing for optimal positioning.
The remote is a plastic and simple device but it works well and up to this point seems sturdy enough.

I initially thought setup may be a little complicated but it was soon apparent that this would not be so.
Although you can use the input/volume knob at the rear of the powered unit, I have barely touched it due to the remote working really well and doing everything that the selector knob does. Next to the volume/selector you will find the bass and treble controls. I found these to not make a vast change in sound, rather a subtle tweak in the low and high frequencies.
The A200s have 5 inputs altogether. Bluetooth, balanced, AUX ( single ended ), coax and optical.
At the time of this review I had the Burson DAC connected via the balanced input, The phono stage on the single ended channel, Apple TV 4K via optical and I tried the iBasso DX80 player with the coaxial input.
An iPad Pro was paired to the A200s over the bluetooth connection.
Pairing over bluetooth is very easy. You only need to select the bluetooth input and your source device will pick it up straight way.
The handshake is fast and once paired the connection is stable.
I would like to add here that I noticed no difference between the bluetooth signal when compared with either the coaxial or optical.

I’ve heard and read some reviewers label these as dark sounding or that there isn’t a lot of sub bass.
I would call them neither dark nor lacking in the low frequency department.
In the first few days the low end sounded restricted and my first impression was I may not enjoy these as much as I had hoped, luckily after just a week of breaking them in the bass has evolved into something far more pleasing to my ears.
If there was an option to buy a sub to compliment these speakers, I wouldn’t want it.
The bass they produce now is one that is extended and accurate with a lot of punch and low end grunt. They hit the lowest tones really well, even when punishing them with the hardest of techno tracks. Sub bass is present and they sweep sublimely low. I have experienced zero distortion across the board on any of the sources. In my opinion a sub would be an overkill addition to a pair of monitors that fill my living room with tight, at times jaw dropping bass that lends itself to most genres.
The mids that the A200 produce have officially broken me. I’m well known for not enjoying a lot of midrange and if I use EQ I tend to use a V shape. Heavy on the bass and highs, easy on the mids.
When I say these have broken me I mean it in the most complimentary sense. What I hear is a smooth rich tapestry of vocals, strings and woodwind that resolves my music collection in a manner with which I am not accustomed. Paired with a soundstage that fills my listening space I have found a new fondness for midrange, realising if it’s done right, it can sound sublime. Airpulse have got this dialled in just right.
The high frequencies produced by the horn loaded ribbon tweeters are simply beautiful.
They are resolute in their delivery. Razor sharp precision complements an airy full bodied high end that does not miss a note.

Airpulse have created an active speaker with a super quiet background, a soundstage that is spacious, full of depth and headroom that commands respect.
Separation is phenomenal and makes live concerts especially enjoyable to listen to.

Hugh Masekela’s “The Coal Train” on Qobuz in Redbook quality hits like a freight train and I can almost imagine him on stage meters away from me .
Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here both on vinyl were both newly discovered for me with sounds being heard that I realise I had missed in the past. It would be remiss of me to not listen to some form of electronic music in this review.
Juan Atkins “Track Ten” from the Back To Basics Ep hits hard and with the heft and fast pace that Techno truly deserves. Orbital, Aphex Twin, LFO and Kevin Saunderson have all been played hard and loud and the A200s just keep giving.
I don’t know where this idea of being too dark sounding comes from. The A200s in my experience are dynamic and full bodied with a good balance across the frequency range.

Summary and recommendation:
Airpulse have created a weapon. The A200 hits like a freight train with pin point accuracy and depth that will fill your listening space with great ease.
I am using these in a “Hifi” environment, yet as a DJ I am very tempted to eventually get another pair, maybe their bigger brother the A300 as I feel they would be ideal as a near field monitor in a DJ studio/system.
They’re not the cheapest pair of active speakers especially if bought with the stands and adding filling material into the over all cost. Do I think they are worth the £878 price tag?
Yes. I’ve used lot of monitors over the years, in the studio, in the clubs and at home and I can’t think of one pair I would swap out for these.
The power delivery, build and sound quality are justification alone, The premium finish that make them a pleasure to have in the living room just emphasis this. The ST200 stands are a steal coming in below £200.
The A200 are a great all rounder and would fit right in whether in your listening room or studio. With the added bonus of not requiring a sub to fill in the gaps, bluetooth connectivity and the convenience of a remote control they really are a worthwhile investment.

Thank you to all of my readers for your continued support.
Please remember to follow, like, subscribe and share.
And a huge thank you to Audrey and Kay for arranging this for me and the blog.

All my very best. Hoping you are all safe and well. Paul.

The Audiophile Cafe is sponsored by Airpulse. Enabling the blog to improve content for you the readers.

Burson Audio Conductor 3X Performance Headphone amp, pre amp and DAC.

On the box Burson Audio exclaim “A LAVISH MUSICAL EXPERIENCE,” will the Conductor 3X Performance live up to expectations? Read on to find out.

This is my unbiased view of the Burson Audio Conductor 3X Performance.
Charles and the team at Burson have kindly send this out for review.
Retail price at the time of this review is $1,344.

You can find the Conductor 3X Performance and other Burson Audio products here:-

Review equipment and software:
iPad Pro. ( Bluetooth )
Macbook Air. ( USB )
Qobuz Studio Premier.
Burson Audio Conductor 3X Performance Headphone amp, pre amp and DAC.
Airpulse A200 Active speaker system.
Sennheiser HD600. ( Balanced & Single ended. )
Sony MDR SA5000. ( Balanced & Single ended. )
Custom Cans balanced cable for the HD600s.
Bespoke balanced re-cable on the SA5Ks with matching pigtail.
Tacima 6 way mains conditioner.

A collection of high res & Redbook tracks that I use for demo purposes.
You can find the playlist here:-

What’s in the box:
Burson Audio use no frills solid packaging. The DAC and accessories are all safely and securely shipped to you.
The accessories come in a separate box inside the main package.

Included accessories:
1x Premium RCA to RCA line cable.
1x Spare fuse.
4x Op-amps for Op-amp rolling.
1x Hex key to open the unit.
1x USB C to USB A cable.
1x Gaming headset adaptor.
1x Bluetooth antenna.
1x Extremely well made remote.

Build quality:
There are times when you can tell how well something is made within the first few moments.
This is one of those times.
The craftsmanship and finish is flawless with an exceptionally clean and modern design.
Almost every little detail I look for in a product at this price range is here.
Buttons have a solid sharp click with a short throw, the volume and selection knob is finely crafted with the knurling being a really nice touch. It’s an incremental volume knob, however the movement is smooth and the increments feel more akin to a tactile bump than a click.
The display is sharp and bright with info being displayed clearly.
RCA, quarter inch, 3.5mm and balanced terminals are all a good fit and the same applies to the USB C, coaxial and toslink inputs.
The body has a premium finish and the front IO is laid out well.
The rear panel is again, well laid out. However I think markers on the connections wouldn’t have been difficult to include so consumers know which terminal is which.
Burson Audio have made a high quality remote to go with the Conductor and it follows the main units style and simplicity.
All of the accessories have a premium feel and finish.
The Conductor 3X Performance is one of the more exquisite looking and feeling review samples I have had the pleasure of spending time with.

Setting the Conductor up is relatively simple.
The bluetooth pairing is stable and the initial handshake is quick & easy, switch the Conductor over to the BT channel, select “BURSON BT” in your sources bluetooth menu and pair it.
Connecting to a Mac or Windows PC/Laptop is made through a USB type C cable which Burson supply, it’s straight forward and there is no need to install drivers or third party software on a Mac.
I have read up on the process of connecting a windows PC or laptop and apart from installing drivers it is again a straight forward activity.
Aside from this you will find toslink and coaxial inputs on the back panel for your choice of digital source.
The pairing of Macbook & Conductor over USB type C is flawlessly clean with zero noise or latency and the same can be said for toslink.
The Conductor can be used as a DAC*, Pre amplifier or headphone amp and at a touch of a button you can select which you would like to use using the volume knob then click on your choice.
Please note: *DAC selection disables the volume control providing a stable line out signal through the balanced or single ended outputs on the back panel.
On the back panel you will find the two 3 pole XLR balanced outputs and the unbalanced RCA output jacks.
Around the front you will see three outputs. One 4 pole XLR balanced headphone jack, one quarter inch stereo jack and a 3.5mm jack which is the gaming headset out/mic in.
I haven’t used this function yet as I am waiting on a few gaming headsets to review. Once they’re in I will update this review with my conclusions.
For those who like to tweak their electronics further Burson have made the Conductor 3X Performance Op amp rollable and supply 4 Op amps in the box. You can also purchase other Op amps on Burson Audios website.
There is also a selection of FIR filters in the menu which will make either a large or small difference, this is subjective as everyones hearing is different and one significant change to one person can be a mild difference to another.
Personally I found the FIR filters made a subtle change in what I could hear in the higher frequency range.
The best DAC/Pre/Headphone amp I’ve heard to date is Schiit Audios powerhouse, The Jotunheim. Paired with an Audioengine B1 Bluetooth/AptX receiver this has been my daily driver for the past few years.
The bluetooth connection from Audioengines B1 is good, however it is not comparable in any sense to the Conductor 3X Performance. The contrast between the two is stark. The B1 has a tendency to drop its signal now and again and I’ve never been overly excited by its sound quality. I’ve always felt it was letting the Jotunheim down. The Conductor will maintain its connection for 12 hours straight, probably far longer. And the sound… Well we’ll get to that soon.


MeasurementPackage Content
Input impedance:39 KOhmsConductor 3X Ref.
Model # M180X
USB Cable
Frequency response:± 1 dB 0 – 58KhzRemote ControlOTG Adoptor
THD:<0.0015%Power Cable24V Power Unit
Output impedance (Headphone Amp):0.5 Ohm
Output impedance (Pre Out / DAC Out):1 Ohm / 25 Ohm
Inputs:USB, Optical Toslink, BlueTooth 5.0, microphoneWeight:app. 3 kg
Outputs:1 x XLR Preamp/DAC
1 x RCA Preamp/DAC
1 x 6.3mm Headphone
1 x XLR Headphone
Dimensions:200 X 250 X 60mm
Impedance (Headphone Jack)Power XLR / SESignal to Noise RatioSeparation
16 Ohm6 / 3W96db99%
32 Ohm3 / 1.5W98db99%
100 Ohm1 / 0.5W95db99%
150 Ohm660/330mW96db99%
300 Ohm330/115mW96db99.5%
DAC SpecAsynchronous Isochronous USB Spec
Channel Separation:142 dB @ 1KHz, 135 dB @ 20KHzDesktop OS:Windows XP, 7, 8, 10 Mac OSX
THD+N:0.0005% @ 1KHz, 0dBFSDesktop OS:iOS* , Android (OTG support)
COAX & Toslink / SPDIF :up to 24bit 192KPCM Support:PCM ? 768kHz @ 16, 24 or 32bits
Native DSD:Native DSD 64 / 128 / 256 / 512
Bluetooth InputBluetooth 5.0 aptX HD (Qualcomm CSR8675)DSD over PCM:DoP64 / DoP128 / DoP256/Dop512

Menu options:
USB – PCM 32bit 786K / DSD512.
Toslink – PCM 24bit 192K.
Coaxial – PCM 24bit 192K.
Bluetooth – PCM 24bit 96K.

Pre Out Pre Amp output with volume control.
DAC Out 2V RMS line-level no volume control.
Gain Level High* / Low High / Low.
FIR Filter Brickwall, CMFR, Reserved, AP Fast, MP Slow, MP Fast, LP Slow, LP Fast DPLL (DSD) DPLL Off / Low / Mid / High.
DPLL (PCM) DPLL Off / Low / Mid / High*.
DE-EMPHASIS On / Off* Only turn on if your source is a cassette tape player.
Restore Settings – YES / NO.

*Default settings marked with an *.

FIR Filters are part of the digital process built in the DAC chip. These filter settings only affect
high-frequency roll-offs.
For details on the various filter settings please refer to the official data sheet of the ESS9038.

The soundstage is big. It is generously spacious with plenty of headroom and depth.
Live recordings weave a rich deep tapestry with superb definition & separation.
Studio recordings are focused and ultra accurate with surgical detail and clarity.
I am going back to albums I have heard many times before and I’m hearing sounds that haven’t been there before, a hand moving up a guitar neck, a musician in an orchestra shifting in their seat or an instrument playing a soft note in the background. The Conductor brings it all into play. Coupled with a very low noise floor Burson Audio have the final performance perfectly balanced.
As a DAC I have the Conductor paired with my Airpulse Audio A200 active monitors over a balanced connection. I have the tonal controls on the monitors zero’d in for a flat and neutral sound that will allow the Conductor to be heard to its fullest.

One detail that stands out with the Conductor is the bluetooth.
I cannot differentiate between a wired connection or bluetooth.
Burson have taken what is sometimes a subjectively ok signal and made it a phenomenal one.

Switching to Pre out mode does nothing to change the sound but now gives you control over volume output. As my monitors are active I found using the volume control on both a touch confusing, however I did notice how smooth the volume control was from the Conductor and how the volume doesn’t jump a mile on each bump of the volume wheel. In my case however I prefer to have the DAC mode enabled. At some point if I get hold of a power amp or some mono blocks I can then use the Pre out.

When switching to headphone output mode, the soundstage remains much the same.
Sonys MDR SA5000 headphones have always been well renowned for being a very unforgiving pair of headphones with a slightly rolled off bass and a tendency to “Name and shame” any or all poor recordings, yet there is a community of owners in the world who cherish these headphones like no other. I happen to be one of the lucky few to own a pair in mint condition and I love them in every way.
When paired with the Conductor 3X Performance they sing and are still my one pair of headphones that defy challenge. The two together are enough to induce tears of joy.
Over the years I have been looking for the “Perfect” DAC/Amp for the SA5Ks and I think I may have just found it in the Conductor 3X Performance.
Out of fairness I also tried my Sennheiser HD600s out on the Conductor and the experience was one of sonic depth and a hard hitting delivery. Unlike the SA5Ks the HD600s have a fatter bass and an all together warmer sound. The Conductor recognises these qualities and emphasises them.
Bass, mids and highs all come together in a perfect balance of a fast paced, exciting delivery that carries heft and accuracy in its low end. Middle frequencies that are airy and full of presence and definition. And a high frequency range that is super crisp, with a sense of immediacy and detail that hits you like fresh water in the face in the morning.

The Conductor 3X Performance then, in my conclusion is a DAC, a Pre amp and a headphone amplifier that awakens recordings and brings vitality and resolution to whatever you decide to listen to and in whatever way you chose to use it.

Its going to be hard letting go of this one!

Summary and recommendation:
The Conductor is a thing of beauty, It is energetic in its delivery and resolving with pinpoint accuracy.
Looks are modern yet subtle with a high premium finish.
There is no app for the Conductor 3X Performance and I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. I haven’t felt like something is missing when I’m listening to it, however I think a properly developed app could make the experience that much better with deeper control within the settings, remotely.
Would I recommend buying at this price? Absolutely. I actually thought it was worth more until I saw the catalogue.
The Conductor 3X Performance is worth every pound, euro, dollar or whatever your currency is. And more!

Despite the lack of an app or a power toggle on the remote ( Burson! )
I am awarding Burson Audios Conductor 3X Performance The Audiophile Cafes 5 star Award.
It ticks all the boxes that matter most and has left me wanting more. MUCH MORE.

Thank you Charles and team at Burson Audio for allowing me to review this.

And thanks as always to you, my readers for your ongoing support.
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HIFIMAN RE400 Waterline IEM review.


HIFIMAN have not paid or sponsored me for this review.
The views and opinions in this publication are unbiased and my own.

Mark & the team at HIFIMAN have been very kind and sent out two of their IEM’s to review. The RE400 Waterlines are the first of those two reviews.

The RE400 Waterline are priced at $79 at the time of this publication.

You can find them on HIFIMANs website by following this link –

Review equipment and software used:

iBasso DX80.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+.
Qobuz Studio Premier.
Spotify Premium.
Audioquest Dragonfly Black V1.5.
Audioquest Dragontail.

Music used:

Gregory Porter – “All Rise” ( 24-bit Hi-Res / up to 192 kHz )
Norah Jones – “Pick Me Up Off The Floor” ( 24-bit Hi-Res / up to 192 kHz )
Von Meyer – “Once Upon A Dime” ( Hi-Res 48.0 kHz )
Brendon Moeller – “Dub Caravan” ( 16-bits / 44,1 kHz )
Marantz Hi-Res demo playlist on the DX80 ( FLAC )

Packaging & accessories:

The packaging these come in is basic but generous with a good quality zip up pouch with plenty of room for the IEMs, spare tips and a 1/4″ adaptor.

7 silicone ear tips.
10 spare filters. ( helps protect the earphone’s inner components from dust )
1 shirt clip.
1 carry pouch.

Quality of build and ease of use:

The HIFIMAN RE400 Waterline are one of three models in the RE400 range.
In addition to the RE400 Waterline there is also an RE400i and an RE400a, both offering an inline solution for iDevices & Android respectively.
The RE400 Waterline that I am reviewing today sports a regular cable with no inline mic.

For a sub $100 IEM I am impressed with the quality of materials and finish.
The body is a matte silver metal which has a very high grade finish, is pleasant to look at and lightweight.
The cable is something I noticed straight away as being very well made with a premium feel.
It’s non detachable with a nylon sleeve, robust silicone y-splitter, metal cable cinch & a solid and beefy right angled 3.5mm jack HIFIMAN are off to a very good start. I wish that other brands with similarly priced IEMs with non detachable cables would take note and make a more robust cable like HIFIMAN have done with the RE400.



Diaphragm: Titanium Diaphragm.
Magnet: Neodymium magnet.
Frequency Response: 15~22 kHz.
Sensitivity: 102dB.
Impedance: 32 Ohms.
Cable Type: OFC copper cable.
Cable Length: 1.33m.
Plug: 3.5mm.



The RE400s are, once you find the best fitting ear tip very comfortable.
Due to their compact and lightweight design they sit in your ear canal without feeling intrusive. I could listen up to a few hours with no discomfort or fatigue.
I noticed no microphonics from the cable.



The soundstage I get from the RE400 is not wide but focused with depth.
It is a forward sounding IEM with immediacy and detail.
The RE400 has a sharp extended midrange which compliments vocals and brings them to the fore with a sense of clarity and precision.
Highs are crisp and clear. They are an organic sounding in-ear yet with exceptional precision at this price range.
The bass is hefty in the mid bass range packing a decent punch. Bottom end sweeps low and fast, especially when listening to electronic music.
I would conclude that the HIFIMAN RE400 is a lively, punchy sounding IEM with emphasis in the midrange and mid-highs that works well with electronica and EDM. They also sound excellent with jazz, acoustic and classical music.

Summary & recommendation.

A high quality, lively IEM that is a great all-rounder.
The RE400 is very good at reproducing a respectable level of accuracy and weight when considering it is in the sub $100 price range.
I noticed that these perform especially well when listening to any digital music. From techno, through drum & bass to synth pop and electonica the RE400 is relentless in it’s hefty mid bass, lows and crisp highs.

If you’re looking for an affordable pair of IEMs to suit most genres that are both comfortable and robust then the RE400 is for you.
Whether it’s the RE400 Waterline, RE400i or RE400a, give them a look and follow the link at the beginning of this review.

Thanks for reading and your continuing support of The Audiophile Cafe.
All my best, Paul.

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