Seeking the grail of micro audiophile quality Hifi...attained?

I don’t know about you, but there’s something in me which is always seeking smaller and smaller gadgetry which can still do the job well enough to avoid too much compromise.

I had my portable hifi rig down to a good 13inch laptop, a single 4tb USB powered HDD, a Chord Mojo DAC, a Fiio X7ii DAP, a good pair of IEMs and on the speaker front, either a pair of Audioengine A2’s or Riva Turbo X single speaker. And of course Roon to run the show :slight_smile:

My weak link has always been the speaker end of things.

The Riva is a great speaker, battery lasts forever and tonality is really full. It’s not really a good stereo option, with side firing 2 inch speakers and one front firing :frowning: Good for parties and casual listening only.

The A2’s are good but they have a coloured upper bass which is enhanced and tends to ruin nearfield listening and can even overpower open space far-field listening. Of course they can be eq’d but I always feel I’m cheating somehow and that the speakers should, well…just sound bettter!

I have lived with this setup for a couple of years now for my on the go use but lately I’ve been hankering for something better so after a bit of shopping around (looking at the Ruarks and some small studio monitors), I stumbled across these crazy things:

I was watching a load of videos on you tube where studio engineers, producers, and musicians were one by one singing the praises of these non descript mini monitors. I knew they’d be mine.

Well I can honestly say I am confused. In a good way.

These things are tiny, but they sound like good 5 inch monitors (I have Kef X300A’s and Adam A5X).

I’m currently listening to them side by side to my Kef X300A’s (which I favour over my A5X’s for sheer musicality) and switching between them and there’s very little in it, I mean… what’s going on here?

The key feature is an uncoloured and detailed sound throughout the frequency range right down to an alleged 55hz and this translates to a really precise and believable micro stereo image. It’s uncanny, for the size and demeanour of these things, I am getting a surreal experience.

They’re so good that they had me listening, at quite low volumes, it must be said, into the early hours of this morning to my old albums. Yes, they’re that kind of audio product.

And they do go loud (enough). I was worried reading some reviews that were mentioning low volumes, but I’m not sure how that coud be the case after testing them yesterday. These certainly go to loud and clean levels which necessitate raised voices. I.e. good for small party use.

So there you go… My micro hifi is now complete. At only 7inches high x 5 inches or so deep and maybe 3.5inches wide per side, and not delicate, I can take these along with other gadgetry on holidays in a small trolley case or even backpack, yay! They are very light too. They weight around 2kg including the cables and power brick. This is the same as my Riva Turbo X, which is amazing.

An outstanding product.


I recently purchased an Astell and Kern Kann. It’s portable, but not so portable for like running or something. Plenty of power to run my Senn HD 700s (or Bose QC25s). Really sweet device. I bought the silver one.

Nice 1. Your “budget” AK is my Fiio flagship, pricewise, lol.

The only AK device I have is an AK XB10 which I got for a snip. Great sounding APTX HD bluetooth receiver.

On first glance they look great. But with no digital inputs they don’t seem to make so much sense in a Roon based system particularly if the analogue input is the converted back to digital for their internal dsp. Signal path is then through both you’re own dac to analogue before going through adc and dsp and the internal dac n the speaker. This is more boxes rather than less and unnecessary signal processing I don’t see this as a sensible solution. Why don’t they provide digital inputs ?

No idea Eric, I just love how they sound, and how ridiculously small and light they are :slight_smile:

I get what you are saying though. Maybe there’ll be a future iteration with digital input.

(ps… that fact alone almost swayed me in the Ruark’s direct)

Astell and Kern great device particularly when travelling- only issue is you cannot listen to Tidal offline nor do they have access to Masters when online - but the playback on my hi res files are fantastic on my my LCD-4

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SD card, and microSD card are full…so plenty of options away from home…



Awesome deal. I picked up an A & K Kann a couple of months ago. Look forward to it becoming Roon Ready, although its native software is not bad.

Yeah agreed
I’m interested to see what some of this means for the UI, Rreadiness included. Would be awesome for the A&K device to be able to have a slice of Roon Remote functionality. Wishful thinking probably

Tidal Masters support - pleased with that since that makes up a lot of my listening was considering the Onkyo dp-x1 instead

Yes agreed the AK 15 deals with third party applications (eg MQA, offline storage for TIDAL etc) which is very handy when travelling frequently, The hardware is pretty well the same as the earlier model AK 70 - so it is pity that this model was not upgradable as my recent purchase AK 15.

From an audio perspective i think my Chord Mojo (with or without Poly) has a much better sound output than the AK for my headphones (Audeze LCD 4) and is roon ready - but the AK15 with my Shure 846e is much more portable and an excellent solution for airline travel.

I just ordered LCD-Xs so it think they work well with the Kann, and my Roon listening stations. LCD-4 is a nice rig.

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Mate I also have the LCD - XC (closed back in wood colour) , have to say one of my favourite headphones in my collection , I would recommend you trying a better chord mojo over the phone kann, you will notice a marked Improvement in SQ and I love traveling these headphones with chord mojo ! Enjoy your new purchase!

Thanks, I have two other tube headphone amps I will use them with. The Kann is mostly for non home use (hate to call it portable since its heavy).

Tube amps - now that takes me back to my vinyl collection days, I will be London and the following week in New York - am in the market for a headphone amp that matches my audeze headphones but I am trying to keep the size at a minimal - for now both the kann and chord (mojopoly) works well as a portable - the Poly is brilliant as it is wifi friendly without any sound degradation - but my guess is that they both will not sound as good as your tube amps - enjoy!!

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The Kenzie Encore is a sweet amp, but a touch light on output power. Using different output tubes helps. I also have a Schiit Mjolnir 2 which does have ample power for most any headphone made.

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My micro audiofool rig…

Pretty happy…

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Nice 1!

Got a Shanling M0 for xmas as a “stocking filler”, only 100dollar DAP, but it’s bloody brilliant. Sounds great (ESS Sabre DAC), slick interface, not laggy, Bluetooth LDAC and APTX xmit and receive, Capable with DSD and FLAC to 384KHZ.

Tiny and light, yet brilliant. Im running that with my trusty Fiio FH5 iems and a 400gb microsd card which am filling with faves. Good stuff!!

I wanted to see how the microplayer market had come on since I had a couple of sansa clips a few years ago. Boy, has it changed!!

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