Hey guys... This is after testing for about 1 hour.
To be honest when I tested the Noise Pod + Axiom + Sonique caps rig with my iPod 4G... I was pretty much sold. I want the Noise Pod (party due to further possible upgrades including a bigger HDD etc.
Sound wise, with the Axiom, the set sounds amazingly similar when I was comparing a duet between Bill Evans and Eddie Gomez, two of the jazz greats who did a CD together called Intuition. I used the first piece Invitation, being one of my favourite pieces, to judge for overall clarity and the sound of the double bass, together with the live sound.
Soundstage for the Noise Pod set is slightly smaller, and the Noise Pod set is slightly less warm than the 4G iMod. What you get instead, is clearer and sweeter highs to a slight extent, and more clarity in the mids and highs range. I got to hear Eddie Gomez singing as he did his solo. It became clearer in Noise Pod than it ever did with my 4G iMod. With crystal cable leading up to the Sonique however, you get less warmth, bigger soundstage, and even clearer mids and highs. I believe this is the most balanced out of the three configurations (NoisePod -> Axiom -> Sonique, 4G iMod & NoisePod -> Crystal -> Sonique). Despite being a bassist I'm kind of sold to this double crystal combo. It is really thoroughly enjoyable even though it's through my Triple Fis (bottle neck alert!), so I can't wait for my JHAudio all the more now. =P
When it came to Argerich's Rach Concerto No 3 (Orchestral Piano Concerto), I'd have to say that in terms of soundstage and clarity, double crystal wins hands down. However, warmth and fullness of sound, I would have to say that Axiom set would be highly similar to that of the 4G iMod... With a diminishingly smaller soundstage. With the crystals I can tell the separate violins attacking at different times, less so with the Axiom, then purely with the 4G iMod. I can so imagine how much greater it'll sound with a custom (David poisoned me with ES3X, I poisoned him with iMod)
This is what I have so far. Will be testing with silver bendy cables, and will be covering the portability issues.
Second part of review:
Spent the entire afternoon trying out the different sounds that the Noise Pod can create. After listening to it for 2 hours during lunch and bus ride to Jaben, I fell in love with the dual crystal mix. And really suspect that the sound would be insane with a custom earphone. Put it right next to my 4G iMod, I felt that my 4G iMod is nasal sounding, a bit too bombastic with the bass, and less overtones/trebles to get that truly live sound. This might have been due to the fact that the caps within the 4G iMod had been mainly affected by the music that others have been playing through it as the iMod had changed hands 4 times(!!!!!) before it reached me. And the previous guy before me was listening to modern mainstream rock (ie Fallout Boy etc) which are drastically different from the acoustic sounds of my favourite jazz players and different overall emphasis compared to fusion. Comparatively, the Noise Pod sounds cleaner, brighter, less warm (we'll see after I burn in the caps), and overall flatter, which gives a much truer response of the music. With my Predator, the sound is amazingly clean with comfortable amount of bass (even though I'm only using triple fis).
At Jaben this afternoon, I tried many combinations of cables between Noise Pod, Caps and Predator. My top two favourites are crystal+crystal or silver+crystal, where order does kind of matter, so you would have to try it out for yourself. Analytical people would love these sets with their mustangs or iQube, I believe. Pair it with an ES3X and you're good to go. Axiom + Crystal has a resounding bass, with clean highs (more so after burning in, but I don't have my original burnt in axiom), with a pretty "room size" soundstage to me through my triple fis. Dual silver, dual copper, dual axiom, the soundstage quickly diminishes and I felt that the sounds were coming from the middle of my head. For copper people, do think about copper + crystal. It might cost quite a bit, but it's definitely worth the price.
I did another comparison between the two players using Grados RS1 and UE 11 Pro. The results were very similar, where the highs and clarity of Noise Pod was significantly better than my 4G iMod. Nasal tone was kind of a turn off because it sounded more capped than live. So in terms of that Noise Pod won hands down without even burning in. (Or was burning in the problem?) Though I have to note, Agerich's Rach 3 sounded AMAZING on RS 1 through the rig. Though I'm personally tempted towards the recently shipped-in HD 600 which costs much cheaper, and has the potential to sound amazing as well.
Portability issues, almost none to me. I own a new hippocase, where the caps and my predator can be put side by side. Lob-sided, severely obvious, but all I have to do is just hold it in my hands and voila, portable home theatre system. No it can never fit into my pocket. If you want to do that you might want to consider getting smallER amp (like the shadow) + Noise Pod + piccolino iMod IC, as it has the caps within, which sound darn good too. I have a feeling that this is actually comparable to RWA iMod, but I'm more curious about 5.5G RWA iMod. Have yet to do a direct comparison through the same caps. Anyone wants to lend me?
The set comes with an axiom, which is very much to my liking when I listen to old school recordings where the bass is nearly non-existent. It fits perfectly with my crystal cable to get a perfect kind of sound. I REALLY highly recommend at least getting ONE crystal cable if you're going for this. Bundle it! I'm pretty sure it'll be cheaper than buying it alone. I'm already preparing to sell my 4G iMod as we speak. =X
Want more covered? Feel free to ask me. =) I would love to answer, other than those questions that I really can't (ie open it up because I haven't, price and all, because I'm holding on to the demo set...)
Battery life is fantastic to me, since my 4G iMod died after 2+ hours of use with extensive flac and high complexity music. But Noise Pod lasted through it as if it's nothing! No wonder people go for 5G iMods... Hehez. I'm very pleased with this one right now. The bass is starting to sound more obvious through silver + crystal through the caps. =) Sounding better and better to me... Just waiting for the right moment to buy it...
For photos... I will put up some... Pardon for the bad resolution... Camera phone since I don't really care much for photos nowadays.. Hehez.
My way of holding this monstrous thing around. =) At least it's all compacted together. Not the most compact because of limitations by short cables...
NOISE POD LOGO! Sorry can't see very well. But hehe. =)
Note: These tests are all done with Piccolino Crystal Cable -> RSA Predator -> Triple Fi 10 Pro. And portability will be put in the perspective with the new Hippocase.
I have to say that the caps are pretty burnt in today. Took a couple of long rides today with the set. Tried to burn in the axiom + crystal, but the sound was nowhere near as vibrant and punchy as silver + crystal. Marked improvements were - Tighter bass response, better sound staging while the sound comes closer, crystal highs, closer to flat response, and incredible isolation between the instruments. Anyone who's into analysing music, THIS IS THE WAY TO GO.
Haha then when I went down to Jaben to try it with the iMod Piccolino cables... I was feeling crappy because it sounded richer and clearer, tighter bass, a bit less highs, but more importantly without the extra cables and the extra caps! It was less flat as the caps in the iMod Piccolino cables were still unburnt, but I could immediately see the potential. It was quite shocking and remember, this gives me a more compact rig than the one up above! I tried with the ALO crystal/copper and the ALO copper/silver mixes. Crystal/copper gives a boomy bass and still gives a pretty decent soundstaging (comparing to crystal + crystal) and still has clear highs from the crystal sound. No veil, mids sounded good but weren't exceptional with the highs and bass coming out like they were. Silver/copper was neither here nor there for me, I expected super bass sound or something, since it was copper, but ironically it had even less bass than crystal/copper. Perhaps the caps were less burnt in in the demo unit. But it wasn't my kind of sound anyway, sound stage was significantly smaller.
Anyway back to the topic, I could tell the reverbs of Stacey Kent's voice on the iMod Piccolino Cables so it was insane for me, then came David, who let me try HIS ES3X. I poisoned him, he poisoned me. Usual thing. Hehez. Tried a copper + silver combo (not for me but he likes it... so if you have same tastes as him feel free), but the best part was having DOUBLE CAPS. Getting iMod Piccolino Cable and running through the caps into another crystal cable into the predator. That was it for me. Insanely huge 3D soundstage, but Avishai Cohen (double bass) was buzzing at the back of my throat with clarity beyond belief. I think I have found my rig. =D
And for everyone else, just to share with you, the crystal + crystal set poisoned a usual customer of Jaben, who was coming for the GS Solo. He was using his headphones to test my rig and was pleasantly surprised by the sound quality. Oh and David tried it through his Mustang... And he loved it too. So it's really down to the rig and it's really worth the money. =)
Review Part 5:
I just came back from a long session at Jaben trying out different headphones and mixes with the rig. LSS agrees that the sound is by far cleaner and the instrumental isolation is insanely good with the Noise Pod, that's compared to a stock 5.5 iPod with line out into the same system. Oh and to note... The whole pack would cost similar to an iMod, while the Noise Pod alone is a killer price. =) Sorry if I had misguided anyone. Can always be bundled. =) Anyway different people have different tastes for caps so it's really down to your taste. =)
From HD 650, which is VERY hot and VERY punchy, I heard the power of my rig with the silver + crystal configuration. The punch and sound-stage is incredible! Every note, every nuance is screamed out. But if you're looking more for relaxing sound, really go for the axiom + copper sound. I tried it out today too... Very relaxed kind of sound, laid back, not so aggressive. Pair it with a HeadAmp AC 2 (if I'm not wrong) and you got a fantastic chill music rig. Clarity and enjoyment rolled into one. Oh and for those who love silver sound all the way, double silver might be an overkill, but if you use crystal + silver, you would definitely find yourself having a very good time, for the clarity is similar while the punch increases. The soundstage becomes smaller, but is more intimate. As for axiom + silver, it's very close too, not as clear as crystal + silver but you get a slightly more laidback feeling as well.
Oh and the rig burnt in even more today, more bass, with more body coming out. The highs and mids are still amazingly clear with a very fast response from my amp, and the separation got stronger. It only feels better, the more I listen to it. I would like to try out other caps like Valgrind (which I'm going to get to try), and some DIY ICs that I haven't tried to really test the power of this rig. Overall I have to say that I am very pleased with this rig and wouldn't hesitate to buy it at all. In fact I pretty much "sold" my 4G iMod because I'm so happy with this rig.
Another point to note... Please do call Jaben for the prices, I believe it's out already so just call and ask and it'll help you clarify a lot of things. As for the details of modding the Noise Pod by BigOnNoise, feel free to ask Uncle Wilson, because you would get a faster and more accurate reply by going from one contact. I'm about to inquire about the upgrades I want, so if you want the same things, feel free to ask me after I get the answer. I'm looking simply for a HDD upgrade or an SSD upgrade, or even CF upgrade. So yup.
Hey guys... I tried today to compare to Facade's Valgrind Sonicaps. It's quite safe to say that the Caps that comes from BigOnNoise is better in my opinion. They're similar, other than the fact that my caps are not really fully burnt in, and thus there is a bit of an attenuation of the bass region and a slight more accent in the high mids, I would have to say that the sound staging for the BigOnNoise is really very good. 3D. I could feel the bass at the back of my throat, Rhodes on my left upper region, Saxophone hanging somewhere around my forehead, guitar on my upper right, drums transverse across the whole of centre middle... Whereas for Valgrind, spaces become a BIT smaller, more intimate, a bit less punch, and things become more 2 dimensional, only having more up-down and left-right feel, and less of up-down than anything. Left-right was the main plane of focus for Valgrind. It's really up to taste but I really love having the 3D feel with the instrumental isolation... So I would easily say that the BigOnNoise might prove worthy in a set. Plus what's more, it's more possible to fit into the Hippocase for me... Less THICK, though slightly wider. =)
Hope this helps for those who are planning to get it...
Oh yes forgot to add some points. I stopped using crystal + crystal. Because the soundstage really gets too big and I don't want to double cap it anymore, kind off loses the point after a while. The details disappear. Which is amazingly disappointing. So yup... I'm sticking to silver + crystal. Punchy, with good sound stage, but not as harsh as usual silver. AND for those who don't know, even crystal + crystal I had prominent amount of bass coming out of the rig. I'm a bassist, I can't stand lack of bass. So if you're wondering, there is bass, and I can't stand "analytical" sets which are laid back. So just to let you know what kind of sound I'm listening to. Hehez. AND another good point. Silver + crystal after burning, more and more bass. And it is TIGHT. So yup. =)
Okay... Now it's just purely getting longer. Hahahz the rig can really up the game of Quattros, to my surprise. But more importantly, AKG K701 sounds AMAZING with the rig. Yup. Soundstage, punchiness and all. Got advised to go try out Darth Beyer. Met Aaron today, and it's likely there's a new Noise Pod coming out. I'll be the first to give you guys dips on this one. Apparently not much difference, but will talk more about it when I get hold of it and load stuff into it. =) I'm quite proud of meeting another passionate individual, whose partner seems to be ever-so-supportive. =)
Anyway back to the review... Will be testing out the rig with BigOnNoise Flow cables. HIGHLY LIMITED ITEMS. Feel ultra honoured to have an opportunity to try them out. Will give a full review of them later. By the way, I tried UM2s with the rig. Some people say that it's "clearer" and I see why, because it has more trebles and all... Quite an interesting take on it. UM2s do sound very good on this rig. Though I still love my punchy, slightly warm TF10. =)
Another review of something rather irrelevant to Noise Pod... But it's a good opportunity to show the strength of the Big On Noise.
I dunno if you guys have heard of a cable called Flow before I mentioned it here. Flow is basically a cable which was meant to be used as a substitute to fight the Crystal Cables at a more affordable rate. I have to say that while it definitely more than succeeded in that in terms of insane clarity, there was major difference between the cables that can tell you easily which one is what you prefer. Talk about intimate, resonance points, etc, vs feeling like you're in a concert listening to someone else. Well, Flow would make you feel as if everything's within you, the soundstage is significantly smaller, while still retaining the clarity that Crystal Cables have as well. Everything in Chick Corea's Akoustic Band was buried deep within my head, whereas with Crystal Cables, they're spread out all across my head, outside. This would really go down to how you like your music.
The basic flow is a BLUE wire and is marked at the jacks with BLUE colour. It is the one with the smaller soundstage without losing an inch of clarity. Instrumental separation is quite distinct, only with location being limited to a few areas. There is still the ultra 3D feel, right up front was the ride cymbals, piano was in my frontal cortex, while the bass was somewhere in my nasopharynx. Much smaller soundstage, much more intimate, and more importantly - RELAXED. No wonder it's called flow... It's really for you to feel part of the music, and that -really- feels good. It has similar sound signature with the crystals, with more emphasis on the highs and a bit less on the bass.
Then comes the GREEN version, which is basically the BLUE wire mixed with gold to give you a completely different sound. Personally my favourite of the two, though it does sacrifice a bit of the highs. It has a sizeable soundstage compared to the BLUE version, as the right floor tom of Dave Weckl was actually OUTSIDE of my head, as were a couple of his ride cymbals. Chick Corea's piano spanned across my head more in this instance as well. While John Patitucci's bass was resonating a bit stronger behind and above my nasopharynx. Overall a good feeling, still intimate at the very least. Clarity was definitely there, everything could be heard in a big band setting from Bob Mintzer's Big Band through my rig. A bit more warmth for more relaxing sound.
To be honest if not for my absolute love over silver's punchiness I would switch the GREEN version over my cryo silver, but I need the punch of the cryo silver plus the fact that it decreases the size of soundstage a bit for my comfort level. The GREEN version would fit in nicely, and improve the clarity of the rig, but punchiness is my preference in this circumstance, perhaps I'll change my opinion when my JHAudio 13 PRO comes.
Overall, I have to say Flow had succeeded in its aims. And speaking to Aaron, the maker of Big On Noise was definitely a pleasure and honour for me. Glad to meet another great geek. =) For those who want more information, sorry I don't have much more. Flow is REALLY difficult to make due to the fact that it's NOT SOLDERABLE. It is in limited stock, I'm pretty sure there's very few of it. So if you desperately want to try it out, I would be at Jaben today for you guys to try. I'll be holding on to it for a while, so feel free to audition. But this cables are fragile AND belong to Aaron. So please show some respect.
Ninth Part of review on Page 5!!!
Any other questions? Hopefully will be able to pit it against some others' rigs... And find how the sound signature differs...