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Monday, November 30, 2020

5th China Guangzhou International Headphone Expo Report

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Goh Beng Yeow
Goh Beng Yeow, the Founder / Editor at Porta-Fi™, is a recipient of the IT Youth Award in Singapore. Twice nominated for EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, Beng Yeow has previously founded startups such as PDALive.com, Coded Pixels Consultants and was a Tech writer for TODAY, a national daily newspaper under MediaCorp.

Since 2017, he has been writing, editing and producing commentaries, interviews, news and reviews on Porta-Fi™. In 2019, Beng Yeow was appointed Advisor to LHDC™, the industry's latest low latency and high-definition Bluetooth audio codec.

5th China Guangzhou International Headphone Expo

Previously known as Guangzhou HiFi Headphone & Digital Audio Expo, the China Guangzhou International Headphone Expo, now in its 5th year, took place from 1st to 2nd of September in Guangzhou, China.

Apart from a name change, the show this year also sees a change of venue from Dong Fang Hotel, Guangzhou to Guangzhou Baiyun International Convention Center as well as strong exhibitor interest with 50% increase in exhibitors as well as a 66% increase in exhibition space.

Porta-Fi was on-site and here’s what caught our ears and eyes.

Cozoy

Cozoy Prototype IEM

Cozoy was not exhibiting, however, Porta-Fi was offered an audition to the pre-production unit of its upcoming, currently unnamed IEM. What we can say for now is that it is indeed something special… Ok, we will tell you more, it is a single dynamic driver and dual balanced armature driver configuration.

FiiO

Those of you who are waiting for the FiiO FA7 In-Ear Monitors will be pleased to know that FiiO showcased what is likely to be the final pre-production unit of the FA7. We are pleased to share that we have heard 4 pre-production versions of the FA7 and this one is the best sounding yet!

FiiO FA7 In-Ear Monitors

According to FiiO, the FA7 is likely to enter into production soon and we will certainly share its arrival when we hear from FiiO.

FiiO E30 USB DAC Headphone Amplifier

FiiO also showcased the new K3 USB DAC Headphone Amplifier, which is the desktop edition of the Q1 Mark II.

Kinera

Kinera, traditionally a driver manufacturer turned In-Ear Monitors manufacturer showcased Odin, its latest In-Ear Monitors with an 8 balanced armature driver configuration. We had a brief audition and we liked what we heard.

Kinera Odin In-Ear Monitors

Meizu

The smartphone manufacturer showcased two of its IEM offerings at the Expo. The Flow Bass which features a single dynamic driver and dual balanced armature driver configuration as well as,

Meizu Flow Bass

the Meizu Live which features a 4 BA configuration. We were also invited by Meizu to listen to an unreleased pair of In-Ear Monitors which also features a 4 BA configuration but unfortunately, we are not allowed to share any photos. What we can say is, it is positively different from the Meizu Live.

Meizu Flow Bass

Oriolus

Oriolus demoed a prototype of their upcoming In-Ear Monitors featuring 2 electrostatic drivers. We were told that the tuning is not what they hope to achieve and we can only anticipate future versions of the unnamed IEM.

Oriolus Electrostatic In-Ear Monitors

Questyle

Questyle showcased its latest Flagship desktop DAC/Amplifier, the CMA Twelve which is named to commemorate twelve years of current mode amplification.

The new Flagship will feature a panel comprising of a 4.4mm Pentaconn, a 4-pin XLR as well as a 6.35mm single-ended output jack with its output rated at [email protected]Ω and [email protected]Ω (single-ended); [email protected]Ω and [email protected]Ω (balanced).

The DAC which uses the AK4490 from AKM supports up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM and up to DSD256 for native DSD.

Questyle CMA Twelve

S.M.S.L

S.M.S.L showcased its latest IQ USB-DAC featuring ESS’s SABRE9018Q2C, ultra-low phase noise low clock jitter phase-loop circuit as well as 2nd generation XMOS XU208 USB interface.

S.M.S.L IQ USB-DAC

SendyAudio

SendyAudio showcased its Aiva Planar Magnetic Headphones and Aiya Planar Magnetic In-Ear Monitors which was introduced at a press conference on the second day of the Expo which we covered earlier. Read more here.

SendyAudio Aiva Headphones

SendyAudio Aiya In-Ear Monitors

Shanling

Shanling unveiled a number of new products at the Expo. The most anticipated is its new Flagship DAP, the M5s. The DAP features dual AK4493EQ DAC chips, a 3.2-inch touchscreen and weighs in at about 178g.

If the sound quality of the pre-production unit at the Expo is any indication, the M5s which has been in development for 2 years will live up to its billing as Shanling’s new Flagship.

Shanling M5s DAP

Also available for audition at the show is the ME100 In-Ear Monitor, which feature a 10mm dynamic driver with nanocomposite diaphragm. An IEM which the team spent months tuning, we acknowledge the efforts and it is evident there are significant work done.

Shanling ME100 In-Ear Monitors

Shanling also took the opportunity to showcase the packaging and accessories for the Shanling ME100 In-Ear Monitors. Looks sweet!

Shanling ME100 In-Ear Monitors

Lastly, we were able to experience an early pre-production unit of the ME500 which features a single dynamic driver and dual balanced armature driver configuration. It is a work-in-progress and we think it is evident in this pre-production unit.

Shanling ME500 In-Ear Monitors

Simphonio

Kurt Chan of Simphonio has been a supporter of Porta-Fi since we started in 2017, we were delighted to put a face to an acquaintance on Facebook. We were offered an audition of his latest Flagship IEM, the VR-1. We left with a positive impression and await the opportunity to listen more.

Simphonio VR-1 In-Ear Monitors

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