Category Archives: AMP3 Tech Advice

Tech advice straight from our tech team!

Come and Pay Us a Visit at The Bristol Hi-Fi Show This February

This February, Advanced MP3 Players will be at The Bristol Hi-Fi Show. Now in its 33rd year, the UK’s largest and longest running hi-fi show is the event of the year for audiophiles everywhere. It’s a chance to check out some of the latest product launches and even get yourself a bargain with plenty of exclusive deals and offers from over 170 brands. If you’re like us and you can’t wait to check out some of the latest hi-fi gadgets, you’ll love today’s post. We’ll be showcasing the latest products from Cowon, FiiO and iBasso, and to get you in the mood we’ve put together a little sneak peak of what you can expect next month!

Bristol Hi-Fi Show



Plenue R2 Hi-Res Digital Audio Player 

Ahead of its UK launch, we’ll be showcasing the brand new Cowon Plenue R2. But what features can we expect from this newbie? Well, the high performance DAC is second to none, with built-in high resolution headphone amplifier and impressive battery power. In terms of audio quality itself, this little device aims to give you the very best, with balanced output that brings crisp and clear original sounds. It supports a range of audio formats including the post popular MP3, WMA and WAV, and even lossless and uncompressed formats such as FLAC and ALAC. 

You can also expect high quality Bluetooth with the Plenue R2, as it supports aptX codec, allowing for higher compression and superior sound quality over the traditional SBC codec. But what does it all mean? Well, you can listen to your music, podcasts and more through any speakers, headphones or earbuds that have Bluetooth connectivity, all the while enjoying the richest sound quality.

Our favourite feature of the Plenue R2 has to be its AI functionality, designed for the very best listening experience. Use AI shuffle to change the playback order of your songs, as well as adjust your playlist positions to your preference. AI volume is there to normalise volume levels of each song so that there’s no more having to readjust for different songs, plus Cowon’s “JetEffect” technology ensures that the presets are adjusted to each file, so you can play your favourite songs exactly how you want them. You can even pair the Plenue R2 to your smartphone via Bluetooth too, enabling you to receive incoming call alerts. 

RRP £429.00


Plenue D 2nd Gen with 2.5mm Balanced Output 

In addition to the the Plenue R2, we’ll also be featuring the award winning Cowon Plenue D2 this February. Winner of the best portable music player in its price range in the 2019 What Hi-Fi? Awards, this nifty device is great for achieving HD sound with minimal noise distraction. Also equipped with Cowon’s JetEffect technology, you’ll be able to enjoy optimum sound to suit your preferences. There’s precise volume control with 140 levels enabling you to tailor the sound exactly how you’d like it, plus you can choose your desired playback speed with 11 levels ranging from 50% to 150%.

The Plenue D2 is also highly functional as well as impressive, with easy to use control buttons and a wide angle touch display. Along with its high performance, low battery consumption ensures you can enjoy up to 45 hours of top notch sound, and you can pack your favourite tunes in one place with 64GB of built-in memory plus micro SD card support of up to 128GB. It’s also super user friendly with an easy to operate graphic user interface, which includes high resolution album art and even a choice of player skins.

RRP £259.99



M15 Portable High Resolution Digital Audio Player 

Due for release in the UK at the end of February, we’ll be bringing the new flagship model of the FiiO M15 to Bristol with us next month. This jam packed device has plenty to offer, and we’re excited to give you a sneak peak. It’s packed with top of the line internal components, including the AK4499 third generation DAC, and four channels per chip, allowing for a rather impressive performance. Not only is the M15 powerful, it’s also designed immaculately inside and out to ensure that every last detail of your sound can be heard without compromise.

The M15 also supports FiiO link technology so you can control it with your smartphone, and there’s even extra features including karaoke playlist management, customisable multifunction button, and different music modes for you to enjoy your tunes exactly how you want. Combined with 15 hours of battery life and 1800 hours of standby time, it’s the perfect package.

RRP £1175.99


M11 Pro High Resolution Digital Audio Player

A step up from the fantastic sound quality of the original M11, the M11 Pro goes a step further with two AK4497/EQ DAC chips producing even more improvement on an already top notch sound. It’s equipped with fully balanced THX AA amplifier, which is designed to pack a punch delivering sound to most headphones, along with reduced noise and distortion.

The M11 Pro also features the Samsung Exynos 7872 hexa-core processor, used only by FiiO in digital audio players. It provides performance that’s on a par with the Snapdragon 625 and Kirin 659, meaning you can enjoy a unique, fluid experience listening to your music. Enjoy quality wireless music too with a variety of different Bluetooth formats transmitted and received, along with better signal strength and connection.

There’s plenty of storage for you to bring all of your music and more with you wherever you go, with 3GB RAM and 64GB of built-in storage, plus the compatibility with micro SD cards up to 2TB. You can enjoy up to 9.5 hours of battery life too, along with a fast charging battery which is fully recharged in just 2.5 hours – perfect for those on the go.

RRP £599.00


BTR5 Bluetooth Headphone Amplifier

Completing our FiiO line up is the BTR5 Bluetooth headphone amplifier, also due for release at the end of February. This is a must have for any audiophile, and lets you enjoy superb sound wherever you are on any device. Connect to wireless headphones, your computer, our your car’s AUX, or even create your own home concert experience by connecting to your TV’s audio. Plus, with built in NFC, you can connect the BTR5 to compatible devices in just a single tap.

For those who like to keep it simple, you can control the BTR5 with just one multi-function button that really does do it all. The sleek design is also highly impressive, with an aluminium alloy body similar to the latest smartphones, along with an oleophobic layer to prevent pesky fingerprint build up. You’ll also be able to enjoy a crisp and clear display with the help of the OLED screen.

RRP £89.99



AM05 5 Knowles Balanced Armature Driver IEM

We’ll be featuring these amazing iBasso AM05 earpieces in our selection this February too, which bring quality as well as style. With sleek and modern craftsmanship, these neat and stylish earpieces are ergonomically designed for comfort, making them perfect for watching movies or long music sessions, all the while enjoying silky smooth audio that’s packed with incredibly rich details.

RRP £259.99


DX160 Hi-Res Digital Audio Player

The DX160 Digital Audio Player arrived here at Advanced MP3 Players towards the end of last year, and we love it so much that it’s coming with us to the Bristol Hi-Fi Show. This stylish and compact audio player is packed with plenty of features including 5G Wi-Fi and 32GB memory. Supporting a wide range of audio formats, it gives you plenty of flexibility in your music files, while the 5inch 1080p screen is crisp and clear so you can explore your music library with ease. 

The DX160 is a great choice for anyone who likes compact devices, as it weighs just under 180g so will easily fit into your pocket or bag. Combined with Li-Polymer battery that’s quickly recharged, you can enjoy up to 13 hours of your favourite music, making it a great option for travellers, commuters and more. 

RRP £349.99


The full specifications of these products are all available on our site, but why not come and pay us a visit at The Bristol Hi-Fi Show this February? Come and check out these amazing products we have on offer at Advanced MP3 Players. The show is running from Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd February from 10am, and you’ll find us on the third floor in room 310. Come and say hello!


Written by Amy Jackson – Content Writer at Promo Codes For – 22nd January 2020

The Latest USB DAC Products: Our Pick of the Best

With so many new generation smartphones hitting the shelves this year, USB DACs have become increasingly popular, especially with those who love their music and podcasts. Thankfully, we’ve had a whole array of adapters that have arrived here at Advanced MP3s recently, with brand new offerings from iBasso, AudioQuest and Audirect. Today, we’re looking at some of our new products in a little more detail, and we’ve got an option to suit you, whatever your budget! 


iBasso DC01 USB-C DAC Adapter with 2.5mm Output – £49

The iBasso DC01 is first up in our new arrivals, and compared to its previous model it’s made a significant improvement. For starters, the digital-to-analogue conversion chip that features is usually used in the more higher end DACs, and it’s equipped with AKM Velvet Sound technology, meaning that you can enjoy smooth and crystal clear sound. Taking another leaf from higher end audio tech, the DC01 is equipped with a balanced headphone amplifier allowing you to enjoy top quality sound complete with ultra low distortion. Combined, these features make the DC01 the perfect accompaniment for your music wherever you are, whatever you’re doing.

Compatible with most Android smartphones and tablets currently available, the iBasso DC01 is incredibly versatile thanks to its USB-C connector. In addition, it comes with a USB-C to USB-A adapter that will allow you to easily connect it to a Mac OS or Windows computer via Plug & Play. Another feature that’s sure to go down well is the durability of the DC01. Its hybrid cable is made of 8 braided wires making it highly durable, as well as providing top notch connectivity, ensuring that you’re guaranteed to enjoy the best sound. At £49 too, it’s jam packed with features, all for an affordable price. 


iBasso DC02 – USB-C DAC Adapter with 3.5mm Output – £44.99

Next up, we have the iBasso DC02, coming in at a slightly cheaper price of £39, you’ll still be getting plenty of tech for your money. Again integrated with AKM Velvet Sound technology, this is perfect for those who want top quality sound on the go. Unlike other adapters which can be limited to smartphones and tablets, the DC02 is also compatible with computers too. Whether you use Windows, Mac or Linux, you can easily connect it with the help of the USB-C to USB-A adapter and enjoy your favourite music on the device you choose.

You can also enjoy sound tailored to your device too. This clever little adapter is also designed to override the internal hardware of the device it connects to leading to improved sound quality and less distortion. Perfect if you’re constantly chopping and changing between devices! For the finishing touches, the flexible sheath around the quad wire cable ensures durability, making your ideal companion for when you’re on the move. 


AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt USB DAC – £269

For those willing to invest a little more into getting their perfect sound with their devices, a popular option is the new AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt. The AudioQuest DragonFly range will be a name that most audiophiles are familiar with, and the Cobalt promises to be “the most beautiful sounding DragonFly yet!” So what can you expect from Cobalt? Well, the increased power supply is designed to reduce noise coming from device features such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which means you can enjoy supreme high-res audio like never before. Featuring the ESS Sabre 9601 headphone amp and bit-perfect volume control found in the DragonFly Red, Cobalt creates a top notch signal-to-noise ratio, while the 2.1 volt output ensures that it’s compatible with a huge range of headphones, making it wonderfully versatile. 

It’s not just the output that makes the Cobalt so versatile. It’s compatible with IOS and Android devices, along with Apple and Windows computers. You can also ensure the longevity of your device too, as AudioQuest’s free Desktop Device Manager. It ensures that you can upgrade the firmware of your device, meaning that you can stay one step ahead as technology continues to evolve! 

It’s clear that the AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt is a hit with music lovers everywhere, as the high demand has meant that it’s currently out of stock! However, if you’re desperate to get your hands on it, it’s still available for you to pre-order. 


Audirect Beam Portable USB DAC – £89.99

So what happens if you want that amazing, high quality sound, but your budget doesn’t quite stretch as far as the DragonFly Cobalt? Allow us to introduce you to a brand new member of the Advanced MP3 Players family – the Audirect Beam! Coming in at a more affordable price point, the Beam brings plenty to the table. Promising supreme quality sound, the Beam uses the well known ES9118 DAC chip for an impressive performance, and is designed to reduce distortion from external components.

Designed to pair with smartphones and mobile devices, this nifty little device comes with multiple cables for a range of different connectivity options making it highly versatile. Pair with iPhones using the Lightning cable, Android phones with the USB-C and micro-USB cables, or your PC with the USB-A cable. As a bonus, the stylish blue colour of the device means that the Beam is sure to impress even the fussiest of tech lovers!

To celebrate the release of the Audirect Beam joining the AMP3 family, you could be up for winning one in this month’s competition! Kick-start your listening experience with this stylish and versatile device, along with all cables included too. If you’d like to be in with a chance, simply fill in the form on our competitions page before the 29th November, and you could be the proud owner of this fantastic bit of kit!

So that’s a little taster of the new products to arrive here at Advanced MP3 Players this week, and there’s a different option for everyone in the world of USB DAC products. As we edge nearer towards the festive season, now is the perfect time to get searching for a fantastic gift for the audiophile in your family! Don’t forget, if you’re loving the Audirect Beam as much as we are, make sure you enter our competition for a chance to win one of your own! 
Written by Amy Jackson – Content writer at My Favourite Voucher Codes - 4th November 2019

Advanced MP3 Players at CanJam London 2018

This year, Advanced MP3 Players will be running a stall at CanJam London 2018. We will be showing exciting DAPs and amps from Cayin and IEMs from Dunu. As well as giving attendees a chance to try these excellent models out for themselves, we will also be running some CanJam exclusive deals during the duration of the expo. Check out some of the models we will be exhibiting below!

Cayin N8 Flagship Hi-Res DAP

Cayin-N8-DAP-01The N8 is the first price-no-objective portable digital audio player from Cayin. This is their attempt to deliver best possible high fidelity audio performance to portable users. The N8 has consolidated their 25 years of extensive experience in high-end audio industry and impeccable digital and analogue audio capabilities. It features two AKM AK4497EQ DAC chipsets and can native decode up to DSD512 and 64 Bit/ 768kHz with stellar dynamic range and channel separation. Come and try the prototype before the official release!

Cayin N5iiS Hi-Res DAP

36846172_436195713458327_5338851374941601792_oSince the display screen of N5ii is no longer available, Cayin will introduce a revised N5iiS as the new mid-tier DAP with the following new features:

1. Stainless steel chassis
2. 2GB RAM + 64GB Internal memory
3. A new display with 3.5” 800×400 LG Panel IPS TFT screen
4. Premium grade Tantalum-Polymer capacitors at analogue power filter
5. Pleather protective case and braided Type-C USB cable as standard accessories
6. CUI 3.5mm single-ended and 2.5mm balanced phone socket

The N5iiS will incurred the outstanding digital decoding capability, excellent analogue audio design, fully balanced headphone amplification, Audio Priority, pre-installed Google Play and comprehensive line out and digital input/output options.

Cayin N3 Hi-Res DAP – Special CanJam Price: ONLY £99!

CAYINN3LARGEThe new Cayin N3 DAP is designed around the AK4490EN DAC chipset from AKM. It will support all common digital music formats up to 24Bits/192kHz or decode DSD up to 11.2Mhz (DSD256) natively.

Cayin HA-1A Headphone Valve Amplifier

HA1AMK2LARGEThe extraordinary part of this new amplifier is not only the facelifted wooden appearance, the EL84 based circuit design offers the most natural, realistic and powerful sound of its class and will definitely blow your mind when it sings. HA-1A MK2 will be one of the milestones of Cayin 22 years of expertise and devotion on tube amplification, by using the best possible material, upholding high standards of craftsmanship and dedicating to perfection, it shall reflect the kind of promises that Cayin has been strived for ever since.

Cayin iDAC-6 Desktop DAC

CAYINIDAC6LARGEiDAC-6 is a dedicated desktop DAC with an interesting dual output stage that offers versatile tonal characteristic for different applications. iHA-6 is a solid-state headphone amplifier with an innovative current adjustment to accommodate different headphone impedance/sensitivity characteristic. When stacked together, iDAC-6 and iHA-6 become a fully balanced headfi system at a less than 10”x10” footprint.

Cayin iHA-6 Desktop Headphone Amplifier

CAYINIHA6LARGEiHA-6 is a solid-state headphone amplifier with an innovative current adjustment to accommodate different headphone impedance/sensitivity characteristic. When stacked together the iDAC-6 and iHA-6 become a fully balanced headfi system at a less than 10”x10” footprint.

Dunu Falcon C IEMs – Special CanJam Price: ONLY £165!

FALCONCLARGEThe Falcon-C is the new flagship IEM from Dunu, featuring a modern design that sets them apart from other models in their range. The Falcon-C features a carbon nanotube diaphragm, which provides a strong balance between rigidity and flexibility. This results in a full bodied and atmospheric sound, with the expected warmth of a superior quality dynamic driver and the sweet high-end frequencies associated with balanced armature drivers. Despite only featuring dynamic drivers, these earphones sound far closer to a pair with hybrid drivers inside. This makes for an incredibly unique listening experience that we can’t wait for you all to try.

Dunu DN-2002 4 Driver Hybrid IEMs

DN2002LARGEThe DN-2002 utilizes the dual dynamic & dual balance armature configuration. The soundstage is natural, specious and three dimensional. The bass range is enhanced and deepened by the ‘Double Bass’ dual dynamic drivers. The mid-range is full and energetic. The treble is crisp, detailed and well extended. All frequencies work in perfect sync.

Dunu DN-2000J 3 Driver Hybrid IEMs

DN2000JLARGEFeaturing a triple driver design, the 2000Js feature an outstanding frequency response range that gives clarity across all genres. The mid-range is well textured and layered, the lower range is snappy and powerful and the treble response is crystal clear with extended range and superb density, offering unparalleled micro detail reproduction that is sure to bring out the soul of your music.

We will also have new deals both online and on the trade show floor as the exhibition is underway, so be sure to check back then for even more excellent deals!

Dynamic and Balanced Armature Drivers

When purchasing earphones, a lot of factors come into play… do I need in-line controls? Do I want replaceable or balanced cables? What accessories come with them?

One line of questioning we hear a lot is often people wondering what are dynamic drivers, what are balanced armature drivers, and why do some earphones have both? This article should hopefully clear this up a bit, and hopefully make future purchases a little more informed.

Dynamic Drivers

Also known as moving coil drivers, dynamic drivers are like the drivers you’d find in a loudspeaker, such as your Hi-Fi or TV’s soundbar. These drivers use diaphragms, similar to the cones in a Hi-Fi speaker, with a voice coil attached directly to them, a charge is applied to the voice coil and the diaphragm moves, moving air and in turn, creating sound.

Dynamic driver schematic

Dynamic driver schematic


-        More natural sounding

-        More powerful bass response

-        More durable and cost effective

Balanced Armature Drivers

Often seen in hearing aids, the driver consists of a miniature arm (armature) inside a coil of wire surrounded by two magnets. The top and bottom magnets determine the movement of the armature. When current flows through the coil, it magnetizes the armature, causing it to pivot towards either magnet. This pivoting movement will move the diaphragm and produce sound as a result. This movement can occur thousands of times a second.

Balanced Armature Driver Schematic

Balanced Armature Driver Schematic


-        Drivers can be tuned to specific frequency ranges

-        Much smaller than dynamic drivers

-        Better treble performance

-        Faster response and a more detailed sound, though not as “powerful” as a dynamic driver

Looking at the above information, it is easy to see that there are good reasons to choose either, and often earphones combine both. Due to the expense involved in using balanced armature drivers, this is often seen in more luxury earphones rather than cheaper models. However, the additional investment to get yourself a pair of earphones that use a combination of both types of drivers (known as a hybrid model) means that you will get the best of both worlds, resulting in a warm, natural sound with good bass response and a great deal of detail in the high end of the frequency spectrum. Additionally, the small size and tunability of balanced armature drivers means that brands often put multiple drivers in one pair of earphones to enrich the listening experience even further.

Hopefully this information will help clear up some of the questions you may have when looking to invest in a new pair of IEMs. If you feel like you need more information, we at Advanced MP3 Players are only a message or phone call away!


Getting to Know… The Cowon Plenue Series

With their Plenue series of players, Cowon have been going from strength to strength, demonstrating a rich and powerful signature sound across a wide range of budgets to suit casual listeners and audiophiles alike. This article is intended to act as a guide to this excellent series of players, showing the differences between each model as we move up the range.

Plenue D – £199

COWONPDLARGECowon wanted more people to experience the beautiful sound of the PLENUE series. So they set out on a mission to share the pleasure of listening to music in perfect high resolution sound on mid-range PLENUE device while retaining all the benefits of portable Hi-Fi audio. The PLENUE D is small and light, yet its powerful performance is capable of faithfully reproducing original studio sound anytime anywhere.

Plenue R – £499

COWONPRLARGEThe Plenue R is described as Cowon’s ‘all-round’ player, which best exemplifies the versatility of the Plenue range, with features such as aptX high-quality Bluetooth, a 2.5mm balanced output and up to 17 hours of continuous music playback. There is also a USB DAC mode, expandable memory and a colour changing LED that changes according to the sound source.


-        128GB Internal Memory

-        USB DAC Mode

-        Balanced output

-        Convenient multi-button and intuitive control buttons

-        A colour changing LED that changes according to the sound source (normal, HD and DSD/DXD)

Plenue M2 – £590

COWONPM2-SILVERLARGEAs a successor to the PLENUE M, the sound has been precisely tuned for a more advanced HD sound. The PLENUE M2 includes the Burr-Brown PCM1795 (24bit/192kHz) stereo DAC used in the finest Hi-Fi audio systems as well as superior SNR, THD+N, and crosstalk specifications for a more evolved sound when playing high definition sources. Continuing in the prestige of the PLENUE series of DAPs, the PLENUE M2 delivers the impressions infused in music intact to listeners.


-        Burr-Brown’s high-performance DAC PCM1795

-        Improved signal to noise ratio

-        Improved crosstalk levels

Plenue 1 – £740

COWONP1LARGEThe Cowon Plenue P1 features the exceptional Burr-Brown PCM1792A Audio DAC for superb sound quality. Cowon have packed an impressive set of audio specifications into the P1, with a Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) of 120dB, Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) of 0.0006% and Stereo Crosstalk of -134dB. The sampling rate of a player can fluctuate due to environmental factors such as temperature and humidity. To reduce this effect the P1 is fitted with an adapted TCXO (Temperature Compensated Crystal Oscillator) which has an exceptional phase jitter of just 1.0ps allowing the P1 to perform flawlessly in any situation.


-        Temperature Compensated Crystal Oscillator (TCXO) to improve phase jitter

-        Impoved signal to noise ratio

-        Improved crosstalk levels

Plenue 2 – £1,100

COWONP2-SVBKLARGEThe PLENUE 2 offers an unprecedented level of audio that delivers an unforgettable listening experience. The latest premium DAC AK4497EQ for optimized audio quality, SoundPlus amplifier integrated with newly improved technologies, Dual Control Wheels re-designed for the ultimate user experience, ultra-precise Dual TCXO for accurate and detailed sound reproduction, balanced output for clear, high-quality sound, and upgraded design to match its powerful performance. Sweeping changes using innovative technologies. Experiencing the performance of PLENUE 2 leaves audiophiles and casual listeners alike in awe.


-        Dual TCXO for even more detailed sound reproduction

-        SoundPlus amplifier

-        Dual Control Wheels for more tactile control over player functions

-        Improved signal to noise ratio

-        Improved total harmonic distortion

-        Improved crosstalk levels

Plenue S – £1299

COWONPS-TITANIUMLARGEThe Cowon Plenue Supremacy offers Cowon’s greatest sound to date. A new world-class flagship player, the Plenue S is one of the best Hi Res Music Players available, featuring the exceptional Burr-Brown PCM1792A Audio DAC for superb sound quality. No-conversion Native DSD 256, high fidelity Burr-Brown PCM1792A DAC, high quality balanced output, high precision dual TCXO clock, and the powerful 3Vrms driving performance for perfect sound reproduction. The PLENUE S delivers indescribably perfect sound fidelity. PLENUE S has taken a giant step towards true sound reproduction. Check out the PLENUE S for the latest in sound reproduction technology. Get a PLENUE S for a totally new audio experience.


-        Faster Cortex A9 1.2GHz dual core CPU, maximizing speed and performance

-        Pogo Pin socket terminal provides a high resolution balance line out output that can be scaled up with multiple devices using the micro USB terminal.

-        Cowon’s best sounding player to date.

We hope this guide will help clear up the main differences between these six excellent players. Need more advice? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Burn In Times: Yes or No?

What is Burn In?

Burning in audio equipment is a practice in which audio equipment is turned on for extended periods of time to get the components involved to achieve optimal performance. The practice is often talked about when audiophiles discuss headphones, speakers and even digital audio players. Some DAPs, such as iBasso products, come with a “burn in cable” to aid the burn in process, and possibly help encourage the practice. However, not everybody in the audiophile community is in full agreement about the merits of burning in new equipment. Some believe the true character of the equipment is not revealed until after the burn in period (which can take several hours, days, even weeks), whereas others find it to be superstitious and an unnecessary strain on the equipment.

The Case For

Indian Audio Brand Tekfusion believes burning in audio equipment to be a key part of the process of buying new equipment. They argue that a fresh pair of earphones are tested for performance and output at the factory, but the speaker diaphragm is still tight and requires loosening over time. Tekfusion state that speaker drivers should be stressed over a period of at least 40 hours.

JLAB Audio also sing the praises of burning in audio equipment, claiming most audiophiles agree that the sound quality of the equipment will be noticeable improved after the burn in period. They even provide a burn in audio file to be used, which features numerous sounds that encapsulate the audible frequency range so no pocket of harmonics is left behind. They use sounds such as white and pink noise, as well as frequency sweeps. You can find it on their website, but it isn’t exactly the most enjoyable (or quiet) listen.

Tyll Herstens over at Inner Fidelity attempted to find evidence of headphone break in by testing a pair of headphones at different times over a 90 hour period of use. The results showed there was in fact a difference in frequency response at each of the times tested. However, he did conclude that there was too many variables to suggest that the burn in period is a sure thing.


The concept of burning in system components is not restricted to audio equipment. It could therefore be argued that burning in time is advantageous because it will force certain failures to occur under supervised conditions so a better understanding of the system can be established, as well as finding out any faults with your new product.

The Case Against

The lack of evidence and industry standards in headphone testing means that conclusively showing the value of burning in periods is not currently possible.

The smaller size of parts such as balanced armature drivers in earphones means that there is not much room for deviation in the first place. Shure, one of the biggest names in the audio equipment market, tested a pair of their E1 earphones that had been used since their first launch in 1997. They measured the performance against a set fresh off the manufacturing line and found performance to be exactly the same. They believe that unless something is wrong with the equipment, there shouldn’t be an audible difference.

Others believe that though this difference of opinion may seem harmless, it adds an additional layer of confusion to new time buyers and may cause them to waste valuable time they could have spent actually enjoying their new gear.

Additionally, psychology may also play into the perception of a change in sound quality over time. It could be a placebo effect, where you believe you are hearing something else because you have been told you should. Alternatively, it could just be your ears adjusting to the signature sound of the equipment you are using.

So does burning in work?

Unfortunately, there is no consensus on the value burning in audio equipment has, which can be frustrating for consumers looking to do the best by their investments. The best someone with some new equipment could do would be to look at the arguments on both sides of the debate and decide based on what seems right to them. As mentioned on Tested, the win-win situation would simply be to burn your new gear in by listening to the music you love.

Closed and Open Backed Headphones

Despite the wide range of different headphones that are available across the market today, they will all fall under one of two core categories; closed back headphones or open back headphones. But which is best suited to what listening environment?

What are closed back headphones?

Closed back headphones feature ear cups that fully encapsulate your ear and have an insulated shell exterior. This makes closed back headphones much more efficient at blocking out external sounds, making for a much more isolated listening experience. The sounds themselves sound a lot ‘closer’ to the listener because of this enclosed listening space. Closed back headphones are best for those who are using their headphones in loud environments, like on public transport, or for critical listening, such as an audio engineer completing a mix.

What about open back headphones?

As you can probably guess, open back headphones do not feature the same level of isolation offered by closed back headphones. Many open back headphones feature perforations in the physical design to accommodate the easy flow of sound in and out of the headphones. This means that your music will sound much more ‘in the world’ than the close, isolated sound of closed back headphones. Listeners will have a much more increased space and sense of realism whilst using open back headphones, but they do suffer from more bleed than closed back headphones, both for external sounds getting in to your ears, and your music getting out to those around you. Probably not the best choice for the bus!

Do you have some good examples of each type?

At Advanced MP3 Players, we have a wide range of both closed and open back headphones to choose from. Here are a few of our favourites:

Sony MDR-1000X – £369.00

MDR1000XLARGEA powerful pair of Hi Res closed back headphones that work with either a cable or via Bluetooth. The isolated listening space created by these headphones is compounded by the addition of active noise cancelling technology for a truly intimate listening experience.

HiFiMan HE-400i – £359.00

HE400iLARGEWe’ve discussed planar magnetic design methodology before, and these open back headphones take full advantage of this technology to create a lifelike soundstage and spatial imaging. They are also very efficient and are compatible with smartphones and portable audio players.

Audio-Technica MSR7BK – £199.00

ATHMSR7BKLARGEThe MSR7BK’s housing is designed to mirror the full shape of the ear using a layered aluminium/magnesium mix. This means that despite being closed back, they are very lightweight, and have some small vents within these layers to help control air flow and dynamic range.

HiFiMan Edition S – £209.00

HE-EDITIONSLARGENot a brand to stick to traditional headphone design, HiFiMan have created a pair of headphones with a removable logo cap on the ear cup, meaning that these headphones can be either closed or open back headphones. The best of both worlds!

All of these models are available now at Advanced MP3 Players. Be sure to drop us a line if you need any further advice choosing your next audio product!

A Quick Start Guide to Headphone Amps

Many avid music listeners wonder if they need a headphone amp to get the best from their setup. Many more than that wonder what headphone amps even are!

In the simplest terms, a headphone amp sits between your music source and your headphones, and then amplifies that signal. All players have some sort of amp already built in, but many simply cannot be powerful enough to drive some excellent quality headphones whilst being compact enough to fit inside your device.

Factors that affect whether you require a headphone amp or not include the type of headphones you have and their output impedance. The larger your headphones, the more amplification is required. You will find that larger, more high-end headphones are less efficient than others. You’ll be disappointed with the volume of your brand new planar headphones if you aren’t using an amp. However, smaller and more portable options such as in ear monitors will be less likely to require an amp, and noise cancelling earphones shouldn’t need one at all thanks to the built in amp they already have. The same thing applies to output impedance (measured in ohms); the higher the impedance, the more power required. Factors that affect the quality of the headphone amp itself include the amp’s signal to noise ratio (SNR), impedance range, power output, and total harmonic distortion (THD).

To make the buying process a little easier, here are a few of our top headphone amp choices to suit different budgets and requirements.

Portable Headphone Amplifiers

Cayin C6 – £129.00

cayinc6The C6 is designed specifically for Apple products, and even comes with a lightning to micro USB cable, so those with iPhone 7s needn’t worry! The brushed aluminium casing provides elecro-magnetic shielding and is robust enough to ensure the C6 is protected in the face of everyday use.

FiiO A1 – £25.99

FIIOA1LARGEBy far the smallest and most budget friendly amp on this list, the A1 provides a higher power and more hi-fidelity output than smartphones, making it great on the go. It has a removable back clip, four EQ modes, and 13 hours of battery life.

FiiO A5 – £109.00

FIIOA5-BLACKLARGEThe A1’s big brother! The A5 contains a highly efficient, low-resistance power management system that reduces distortion and increases dynamic range. Smart charging means that the battery can be charged in 2.5 hours for 12 hours of useage. There is Hi-Res compatibility and even comes in two different colours.

iBasso D14 Bushmaster – £175.00

IBASSOD14LARGEA model that can work either as a portable amplifier or as a DAC on Android devices, the superior iBasso components means that the Bushmaster will provide you some of the best sound on the go that is currently available.

Desktop Headphone Amplifiers

Questyle CMA400i – £799.99

CMA400iE3LWe’ve already talked about this amazing model on the AMP3 Blog recently, but it is worth talking about this lovingly crafted and extensively tested product that exceeds all expectation again! With many different outputs and switchable voltages as well as balanced support, this model works effectively both as a powerful headphone amp and a brilliant sounding DAC.

Sony TAZH1ES – £1600.00

TAZH1ESCELLARGEA new arena of musical expression – Unleash the full potential of your headphones and experience the emotional impact of every song as the artist intended. Combining the best of digital and analog sound technology, this one’s for the serious listeners.

All of these models are available to order from Advanced MP3 Players, and if you need any further advice, be sure to get in touch!

AMP3 Quick Start Guide to Planar Magnetic Headphones

With the release of the new Audeze LCD-i4 in ear headphones now upon us, this feels like an appropriate time to discuss one of the key selling points of these incredibly detailed earphones; planar magnetic technology.

What is Planar Magnetic Technology?

Sometimes referred to as orthodynamic headphones, planar magnetic headphones differ to the more traditional dynamic headphone. Dynamic headphones generate sound by using a coil of wire (often called a voice coil) attached to a diaphragm, and a suspension is created to allow the coil and diaphragm to move back and forth like a piston, moving enough air to produce sound. However, depending on the quality of the dynamic headphone speaker cone, there will be inconsistencies across the frequency spectrum meaning that though many dynamic headphones have a very nice sound signature, they are not necessarily 100% accurate when they reproduce an audio signal. Dynamic headphones also deteriorate quicker over time.

In contrast, planar magnetic headphones use an incredibly thin, lightweight and resilient film diaphragm (around 1/10th the thickness of a human hair), stretched over a sturdy frame, and placed between magnetic arrays. In these headphones, the coil is unwound and spread across this film diaphragm. As the current flows, the magnetic field is created within the headphone that causes the diaphragm to move.planarblog

What are the benefits?

The film diaphragm in planar magnetic headphones is often lighter than the air it is moving, meaning that they can be driven with an incredible accuracy. The sound they produce feature faster transients, more responsive bass, more detailed highs and a wider dynamic range than other headphones.

As the voice coil is spread over a larger area than in traditional headphones, planar magnetic headphones are also much better at dissipating heat, and can handle a huge amount of power without distorting.

Overall, this type of headphone features higher sensitivity, can play louder with tighter control and reduced colouration, and more controlled directivity. However, their design means they will suffer from more leakage than traditional dynamic headphones.

Who are these headphones best suited for?

Planar magnetic headphones are best suited to those who want to want to have a very analytical, accurate sound that is more immersive overall than what a dynamic headphone could offer. However, those looking to invest in such a pair of headphones or earphones must be aware that they are much larger than traditional headphones, though not necessarily heavier and more fatiguing to wear over a prolonged period of time. It should also be noted that planar magnetic headphones come with a much more premium price tag than most dynamic headphones.

Dynamic headphones are still an excellent alternative, and still dominate the headphone market thanks to the wide range of prices and variety of sound signatures and audio fidelities that different pairs can achieve. Dynamic headphones are much better suited to casual listeners, and those who do not want to spend more on planar magnetic technology will still be able to find a pair of dynamic headphones that still sound fantastic.

Which planar producing brands do you stock?

The two main brands that we at Advanced MP3 Players range which feature planar magnetic technology are Audeze and HiFiMAN. Here are a few of our favourites:

Audeze LCD-i4 In-Ear Planar Headphones featuring Fluxor Magnetic Technology – £2399.00

LCDI4LARGEAudeze’s goal when designing the LCD-i4 was to make the absolute best sounding in-ear experience. They took their award winning LCD-4 design and scaled it down to create an end-game in-ear headphone that is far more portable. Designed to give the user a truly wide and accurate soundstage, superior transient response, bass response flat from 900Hz down to 5Hz, the LCDi4s with a single driver deliver a coherency of sound lacking in multi-driver designs. With an impedance of about 35 ohms, it should be used with a high-quality headphone amplifier.

iSINE 20 In-Ear Planar Headphones Lightning – £599.00

ADZ110IE101001LARGEDesigned for Apple products, the iSINE 20 is one step up from the iSINE 10 featuring an even longer Uniforce voice-coil that covers the ultra-thin diaphragm to a greater extent, enabling better control and responsiveness for better bass, clarity, and improved imaging. Zero distortion sound means you’ll feel closer to the recorded to your music. Add the included Lightning cable with DSP and there’s no other in-ear headphone that even comes close to its performance. To ensure all-day comfort, a pair of Ear Hooks and EarLocks® are provided along with silicon and foam tips.

Audeze Sine – World’s First On-Ear Planar Magnetic Headphone with Standard Audio Cable – £399.00

ADZ200SINE72115LARGEIdeal for those who want to try planar magnetic technology on a budget! These beautifully designed headphones can fold flat for ultimate portability, and have near zero distortion, giving them the premium Audeze sound at a fraction of the price.

HiFiMAN HE-1000 v2 Planar Headphones – £2599.00HE1000SMALLNot content to rest on their laurels, HiFiMan now present the HE-1000 V2 Planar Headphones, their most luxurious headphone yet. With the original HE-1000 headphones as a starting point, Dr. Fang Bian and his team at HiFiMan have redesigned and updated their award-winning flagship to produce something even greater in the HE-1000 v2.

The HE1000 V2 remains a cutting-edge, full-size headphone intended for reference use in the home or studio. At much less than 0.001 mm, its Nanotech planar magnetic driver is so thin it is not visible from the side with the naked eye. New features include an improved headband design that is lighter and stiffer yet will accommodate a wider range of head sizes. The ear cups are also slimmer further reducing weight and increasing comfort.

HiFiMAN HE-400i Open Back Full-Size Planar Magnetic 93 db Sensitivity Headphones – £359.00400i Another great value set of orthodynamic headphones. The HiFiMan HE-400i is a full-size planar magnetic headphone intended for high performance listening in the home or studio. Using single-ended drivers, HE-400i delivers a lifelike soundstage and spatial imaging. Its increased efficiency of 93dB allows it to be driven with a modest size amplifier or can even be used with a portable audio player or smartphone.

These models and many others are now available to order from Advanced MP3 Players. Be sure to check in frequently for new models and great offers as they arrive, and if you need further advice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Balanced and Unbalanced Headphones: What’s The Difference?

When looking for new headphones, there are so many options and factors to consider than making the right decision seems like an arduous and almost impossible task. One of these decisions that many may find themselves having to make is whether to choose headphones with a balanced cable or an unbalanced one.

So what’s the difference between the two?

The makeup of a cable can have a significant effect on how the overall audio system will sound. Your set up is only as strong as the weakest link in the chain, so finding the best cable for your needs is a crucial factor. An unbalanced cable uses two electrical conductors in their design; one for the audio signal, and one for the ground. This results in a connection that is much more subject to hum and interference. A balanced cable uses three conductors; one for the positive and one for the negative phase of the signal, and one for the ground. This ensures maximum protection against hum and interference. Using a balanced connection will also increase the headroom, stereo image and soundstage of the music you are listening to.


Does my gear support a balanced connection?

Generally, a balanced connector will be 2.5mm in size rather than the standard 3.5mm connector most frequently used by unbalanced headphones. Players that support balanced headphones will also have a 2.5mm port.

Some headphones come with the option to swap between a 3.5mm unbalanced cable or a 2.5mm balanced one. Some headphones may have removable unbalanced cables, which can then be swapped for a balanced cable bought separately, so long as the connection between the headphone and the cable is compatible.

Do you have any gear you could recommend?

Two brands that are making some excellently designed yet reasonably priced balanced connection compatiable products are FiiO and Pioneer.

For earphones, the new FiiO F5 earphones provide a rich and detailed sound, and if you would rather use them with unbalanced equipment, the cables are interchangable, and the 3.5mm unbalanced cable is Made For iPhone (MFi) certified, and comes with in line controls! Alternatively, the Pioneer SE-CH5BL cover a huge frequency range (up to 45kHz!), resulting in a realistic sound with pin point accuracy. Both of these sets are Hi-Res certified too!

If you love your current interchangable cable earphones and don’t want to swap them, you can still balance them using FiiO’s range of balanced RC cables! They come in three different variations, with each compatible with a different type of earphone connector, depending on what brand your current earphones are.


A good example of a player with a balanced output would be the new Pioneer XDP-30R. A small but powerful player that provides an immersive sound experience for satisfying the audiophile and casual listener alike.


All of these suggestions and many more balanced connector products are now available at AMP3. If you need any further advice, be sure to give us a call or a message and we’ll be happy to help you find the perfect product to suit your needs!