While I do audio reviews, there might be some people that would disagree or nitpicking me on some aspects and that is fine. But, to prevent some potential attributes that people might look into too much that I feel worthless to explain, I made this list. Before going into my post, you can expect the following:

  • This is an opinion of a guy on the internet: Be wary that I would not try to hide anything if I found it to be bad, even pointing them out in an extreme way if necessary.
  • My reviewing process is as follows: I listen to the product for at least a day or two (Anything that I don't have enough confidence in ear-time will be regarded as First impression). I will also discuss with the people around me to hear their opinion on it, so I can find a good way to express the sound characteristics. This method might be prone to potential bias or influence, but I find it the best way for me to practice writing at this time. Such conversations will happen before I write a review anyway, so why not join them?
  • Use this as a reference: My ear is different than yours, my taste on music and preference is different from yours. If you have a better chance of accessing the demos, it is better to hear it rather than blind buying.
  • Yes, I am a weeb: Just say this so people would stop bringing this out. I am fine with people calling me like that. I do know Japanese had some records of having bad mastered tracks but I don't usually care. I do have other genre in the Western side of the world that I interested in.
  • English is not my first language and my writing is amateur at best: Self explanatory, just tell me what is wrong grammatically and I will gladly fix it.

Source:

  • iBasso DX160
  • Apple USB-C to 3.5mm adapter
  • Any DAC/AMP set that I can try at the store, though this is mostly for self-check.

Ideology:

  • Burn-ins: Not really into it as there are a lot of element that both the objective and subjective side haven't proof. Personally I consider this is more of the brain getting used to the sound. Though I do take burn-ins if there are enough request for me doing it.
  • Power/Source matching: Does exists, but the earphone has more significance than source/cable in my opinion.
  • Cables: A heat debate in the community, but as far as my experience goes it affect the least in the chain. Review will be based on stock cable.
  • General belief: Every earphone does have its own target audience, but a good earphone can handle every genre well while still having it's own quirks towards those genres.

Music:

I heard a lot of music throughout the years, though due to the nature of this blog, Japanese music is what I am usually listens.
Do note that the category that I usually chime in with Japanese music is Doujin Music (as evident in the list below - most of what I listed are artists who works in the Doujin industry), so the genre itself does varies. But nonetheless, I usually use some of my favorite artist's track as the benchmark first since I have been listened to some of them for years, I know how their style, weakness goes.
While I do have some test track at hand (Which does include some of the iconic track like Hotel California), my use for them are limited to testing earphones. Hence, I would rather giving out what I usually listen to since it influenced a lot in how I listens to music.

I recommend checking out these artists as well, just to get a grip of what I listen, it's hard to go for specific tracks as these artists tend to do everything they want.

List of artists/circles/track that I mainly listens:

  • 凋叶棕/Feuille-Morte/RD-Sounds (Circle/Circle/Artist): Genre varies, mainly focus on Instrumental/Pop, doesn't smooth the high in some songs (mainly vocals). Main influence of my music taste as I have been listening to him non-stop for 7 - 8 years. I listen to the entire discography of RD-Sounds's work but my favorite would be popping all of his Intrsumental work and listens in one go.
  • Camellia (Artist): Electronic music, genre varies. Tracks are usually compressed, still though.
  • Kobaryo (Artist): Mainly Speedcore. Track are compressed, again. Recommending checking out: MIXPEED ACTION
  • Feryquitous (Artist): Known mostly for his Artcore track, though struggles when it comes to some vocal collab with 藍月なくる - vocals are harsh, song sounds compressed. (Quite evident in album like IdenTism for instance), recommend checking out his work under Diverse System label.
  • Sakuzyo (Artist): Talented composer, recommend checking out: Last Dance, Food and Music (1 + 2)...
  • ミツキヨ/ユメガタリ (Artist/Circle): Known for his relaxing music, Korean, the circle is a collaboration between him and Shinoba.
  • AD : PIANO (Album series): Electronic music, songs can be varies but Piano is the main focus. Albums are released under Diverse System label (Hence "AD")
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild/The Wind Waker/Spirit tracks (OST): Fan of the series when I was 5, though until now I am most impressed by the OST of these 3 games, note that Spirit Tracks doesn't have a release and the osts are taken out from the game.
  • VA-11 HALL-A - Second round (Album): Cyperpunk/Synthpop, nice game backed by nice OST.
  • nayuta/藍月なくる (Vocalists): Mostly known for their airiness quality.
  • Meramipop (Vocalists): An experienced singer in the doujin scene, vocal covers a wide range though leaning into the high pitched side, note that I am more into her work in 凋叶棕 rather than Foreground Eclipse.
  • 中恵光城/ABSOLUTE CASTAWAY (Vocalist/Circle): I can describe her vocal as controlled, though is not as high pitched comparing to Meramipop for example. Has a lot of work her circles.
  • And many more...

Recommendation rating:

This is a "scoring system" that serves the purpose of summarizing my verdict, where I would factor based on sonic performance, pricing, quality control, competitiveness... Scoring details are below

Recommended: Would be what I usually recommend if you ask me

Recommended/Niches: Bottom of list among the Recommended, in consideration for being Niches

Niches: Not bad, has some qualities that one could like, but not to the point I am confident in recommending

Niches/Not recommended: Bottom of list among the Niches, in consideration for being Not recommended

Not recommended: Will hardly be recommended by me