Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cardas Ear Speakers Have Arrived

I just returned from a week's vacation and look what was waiting for me in the mail--the long-awaited EM5813 "ear speakers" from Cardas Audio. I listened to a prototype of these nearly three years ago and was amazed by the deep bass, warmth and comfort of these in-the-ear monitors--and I loved them. (You can see my original impressions here.) They've been out for a few weeks now, and everyone assumed I already had a pair. I didn't, but George Cardas remedied that immediately.

Unfortunately, we don't have a stellar headphone amp that's up to the challenge right now, although Colleen and I probably have two or three iPods between us if we dug around. Here are the options: Unison Research is working on a couple of headphone amplifiers, but those won't be ready for a while. I can also plug the 5813s into my laptop and listen to some of the FLAC files I've downloaded from HDTracks, which I've already done. The sound is warm and full and musical despite the absence of a quality DAC. Heck, I just listened to some videos on YouTube that didn't sound half bad.

The final option involves this cute little Italian headphone amp/DAC, the Ernestolo, from Carot One. It's affordable, high-quality and it looks great. We've been speaking with the manufacturers of Carot One for a few months now, and I'm trying to get a unit in for evaluation. Once I do, I'll report more thoroughly on the EM5813s.

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