Sonic Unity collects reviews from all over the world, in print, on-line and in forums to allow you to make an informed decision. Whether you are interested in NuPrime, NuForce Reference, Celsus Sound or ENCORE audio products, we have the reviews from trusted sources around the globe.
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"…I auditioned the Companion One with a pretty wide range of headphones, including the Sennheiser HD-650 (later version), Ultimate Ears UE-10 IEMs, HiFiMAN RE-600S, and the fairly tough load of the HiFiMAN HE-5s. Even with the HE-5s I never felt that the Companion One was about to run out of steam, and the sound remained clear and dynamic. So despite looking a bit limited on paper, in practice the amp could drive real world loads to satisfying volume with ease…
…What immediately struck me was how the basically neutral tonality of the Companion One allowed the true character of the recording and connected headphones to shine through…With record after record, and through all kinds of headphones I soon came to the conclusion that the Companion One was really more like a tool that allowed me to audition recordings and headphones, than a device with a sound of its own. It always remained neutral and simply let me hear the best of whatever it was connected to…"
Michael Trei, Sound & Vision
"...It is the only one right now I can think of that is capable of doing so much and as such the value for money in todays 'do it all' fussy media market is actually rather good at $595. The fact you can run it out of a Mac, PC, iOS or Android wired is already a big advantage but to throw in wireless at a high resolution capability is a definite edge for now... The direct wireless mode sounds superior to any aptX or Kleer device that I have heard to date and is half the price of the admittedly awesome Flow..."
"…the Companion One feels less like a portable audio product and more like an extra-thick iPhone (or some other ergonomically-pleasing Apple-built device). What’s difficult to convey in words is the polished and refined look and feel of the Companion One (it really is so well designed that it seems as if it’s missing an Apple logo), not to mention the reassuring heft of the unit in hand, which provides a constant tactile reminder that this is a serious piece of kit and not…"
Chris Martens, Editor-in-Chief, HiFi Plus
"... Companion One is a damn good portable amp belying it’s modest price. It doesn’t have any point in the music that glaringly stands out. Music through this unit has a nice flow to it and the amp stays out of it’s own way. It works with a wide variety of headphones and, even though it’s touted s a portable unit, it shouldn’t be limited to IEMs, buds or portable cans. I primarily listened with the AKG Q701 along with time with the Hifiman HE560. plugged into the Celsus. Neither of which are exactly easy to amp..."
Ross Feinberg, Senior editor, HEADPHONE.GURU
"...Companion one is not just a WiFi amp. My primary intention was WiFi capability rather than USB function. I first thought the USB function is an extra but actually it is not just an extra to the WiFi capability. Companion one is damn good as an USB DAC/amp. Sounded nice as a companion of Smartphone plus the accessories are great to start-up Smartphone audio setups whichever you are using iPhone or Androids...
...Speaking of sound quality, I have to confess I had not take much care about sound quality. I thought this is the first WiFi amp I had been waiting for, so my focus was only on WiFi usability. But to my good surprise, Companion one sounded remarkably nice. Even if I forget the WiFi capability, Companion one could be one of the best sounding portable DAC/amp to date..."
Sasaki, contributor, Head-Fi.org
"…One micro USB is for power and one is for audio. One output is for headphones and there is an S/PDIF out and a line out. There’s also a cable to connect my iPhone direct and apparently it’s wireless too. It’s designed to do quite a bit in one solid, well-designed little package. It’s also battery powered, so not only can I take it with me, I can use it while moving from place to place…I plug the desktop computer into the Companion One and the Audeze headphones into the other end and turn it on. I wasn’t really prepared for what I heard - the sound was amazing and I was instantly impressed…"
Rick Hopkins, founder, Sonic Unity
"...Companion One plays exactly as you expect from a high performance device. The Sabre 9018K2M - good detail, fast speed delivers fine nuances...the only real noise is heard during the pauses between tracks, listening to music and it does not interfere...the wireless functionality is pretty new and unprecedented, and only very high-end home audio units have thus far provided high-resolution wi-fi streaming…The Companion One is a sure sign of things to come in the future..."
PAVEL DMITRIEV, editor, Hi-News.ru
"…When you want to stream on a serious level, the Companion One is one -if not the best portable USB/DAC/AMP at the moment. It is, taking in account the Wifi and Line out possibilities, a unique product. The Companion can be, using the line-output, applied as a DA converter for a hifi system. The Companion One, is, as far as I'm concerned, a companion here to stay and capable to interest people for quality in music…"
Ernst Neve, editor, Hifi Video Test (Netherlands)
"…I'm usually not a fan of earpieces that rely on the size of your outer ear to stay in place, but these Gramo Ones turned out to be pretty comfortable in everyday use. As for sound, once you get the placement right, the 16mm drivers deliver great, accurate bass and a balanced sound…"
Gary Krakow, tech editor/TheStreet.com
"...Right away there was a healthy amount of bass greeting my ear, and I don't mean the flabby wubwub kind. Slightly boosted but clean, and strong down to about 60Hz before I noticed any significant rolloff. There was still decent response down to 40Hz...The open back gives the bass and good distortion performance. Covering it with your fingertips immediately drops the bass and cranks your distortion up..."
"…I always expect that in-ear headphones will be a shadow of the over-ear version but in this case I’m surprised at what I’m hearing. This is far superior to my iPod and Apple headphones. I guess that should not come as a surprise but I had never tried an in-ear headphone other than what got shipped with my iPod or my iPhone. I must say, it’s really good…The sound is smooth, absolutely full range, it's rich and oh so easy to listen to. This is not my typical Apple musical experience. This is more like being at home. It’s portable luxury!…"
Rick Hopkins, founder, Sonic Unity
"...not just the bass that's accurate, the mids are favored the most, and that's a good thing with the Gramo One. Vocals are front and center right where they belong, so if you are a fan of singer/songwriter music, you will love these..."
Bill Henderson, editor/The Gadgeteer.com
"…Soundstage on the Gramo One is all about width more than depth with good headroom and decent extension. Imaging in that respect is above average with good left right separation that never sounds disjointed or unnatural. I did say I hated earbuds but the big soundstage and openness of the Gramo One combined with a controlled neutral response and coherent presentation was actually quite enjoyable…”
"...Even though Celsus Sound is new and untested, we can vouch for the sound quality of the Gramo One..."
"Overall I am quite impressed with the SP One performance and value-add features as a desktop active set of speakers. The tonal quality is smooth, inviting and very balanced with those carbon fiber 3.5″ woofers punching way above what I expected for their size. They are not bass monsters and have a solid eye for detail and a slightly elevated midrange and vocal performance which is a plus for anyone wanting a near-field configuration. They do go loud enough also to fill a mid-sized room but watch for unintended reflections, i.e. do not corner them as the resulting bass boost is not ideal.
The build quality is excellent, the weight is just right, and their low profile dimensions make them fairly unobtrusive guests on any standard computer table of reasonable size. With the new silicone feet coming out they should also balance better than the initial rubber stick on feet. Value adds such as using BT (wireless) does free them from the desk should you wish to space them further apart than the standard supplied speaker cable will allow but be aware that aptX is the only advisable connection I would recommend to get anywhere near the clarity and dynamics wired can offer."
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