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Manufacturer: PIXEL MAGIC SYSTEMS Ltd.
Price (when reviewed): 43 990 PLN

Contact: Pixel Magic Systems Ltd. | Unit 603-605
IC Development Centre | No. 6 Science Park West
Hong Kong Science Park | HONG KONG



Provided for test by: AUDIO ATELIER


Images: Lumïn | Wojciech Pacuła

No 212

January 1, 2022

The idea that later turned into the LUMÏN company was conceived in 2010. The impulse behind it was the hacking of the PS3 console that allowed ripping DSD signal from SACDs. Brand’s main field of interest audio files playback. The brand belongs to the Hong Kong-based company named Pixel Magic Systems Ltd., which specializes in HD video playback and processing. We are testing its latest product - P1, an audio file player integrated with a preamplifier.

WISH, I REALLY WISH to start a test of a device used to play audio files not from trying to organize concepts and names, but from a story about the background of its development, functions or design, maybe even just from what it looks like. However, there is no indication that this little dream of little Wojtek from Nowa Huta (or Bobowa, it all depends on the mood) will come true any time soon.

It is getting worse - instead of bringing order to and standardizing the nomenclature, manufacturers introduce even more confusion. And yet we live in language and we think in language - it is it, and not being, that shapes our consciousness. So let me start with clearing things up.


I HAVE WRITTEN ABOVE THAT THE P1 IS A "audio files player integrated with a preamplifier", which is true. However, in the case of devices based on computer solutions, i.e. prepared by people who do not have much in common with audio industry, it is a temporary and highly contextual term.

Anyway, it’s not only about computer guys ... We ourselves - we journalists - do it too. In the December issue of the "Stereophile" magazine, Herb Reichert, otherwise very reliable and respected by me, in a test of a product called Tambaqui by Mola Mola, wrote about a "D/A converter", and then added that the digital inputs include also an Ethernet input ("Stereophile" Vol. 44 No. 12, December 2021, p. 31).

And yet via the LAN input one does not send a digital signal, but files that must be "unpacked" in the file transport - the converter as such "does not understand" files. This is a simple transfer of the "streaming DAC" term used by some manufacturers which is technically nonsense. It is like talking about active speakers as "amplifiers with speakers", or about CD players with digital inputs as "DAC with a CD transport". Hell, again - some companies do that ...

But to the point. We have known products that are functionally similar, or even identical to P1, for several years. The first one was the Naim NAC-N 272, the device its manufacturer referred to as "streaming preamp" (2015). The idea was to combine a file player (transport + DAC) with an analog preamplifier, adding digital inputs. And now the aforementioned contextuality - in the terminology of this British company "NAC", starting with the NAC 12 model from 1974, meant a preamplifier. From this point of view, the NAC-N 272 would be a preamp to which a file player module was added.

Another device that must be mentioned is MOON BY SIMAUDIO 390, which was introduced in 2018. The Canadian manufacturer called the device "network player / preamplifier ”, which was closer to reality than the name Naim used before. Both devices came from manufacturers specializing in amplification technology and although both Naim and Moon offer excellent Compact Disc players, their DNA is analog, and the CD is not a computer after all. Therefore, the '390' can be treated as an analog preamplifier with a file player module and digital inputs.

And so we come to the P1 model from the Hong Kong-based Lumïn. The manufacturer describes it on his website as an "audio hub", which is an increasingly common tactic that makes sense. But also explicitly refers to it as a "player":

Our most flexible player yet, LUMIN P1, is designed to sit right in the heart of your audio system. Use as a streamer, a DAC, a preamplifier or all three!

www.LUMÏ; accessed: 1.12.2021.

Knowing this, knowing the manufacturer's history, you can agree with it with a clear conscience: the P1 is a file player with inputs to a D/A converter and an integrated preamplifier. As we will see in a moment, the last function was realized in a way that was distant from the classical one; by saying "classic" I mean the mentioned Naim and Moon.


WE ALREADY KNOW THAT P1 IS primarily a file player. It is a large, extremely solid device. Which should not be surprising - from the very beginning Lumïn opted for cases made of thick, aLumïnum (see what I did here? :)) plates, which in the top models were replaced by precisely milled pieces of this material. The P1 measures 350 by 380 by 107 mm and weighs 12 kg, and its chassis, made of bolted plates, is offered in natural aluminum color or anodized black.

⸜ PLAYER The heart of this device is a new microprocessor. It can decode files (LAN) and signal (USB) DSD up to DSD512 and PCM up to 384kHz, with 32-bit word depth; The P1 also fully decodes MQA files and is Roon Ready certified. Among the types of supported files, the manufacturer mentions: 1) DSD Lossless: DSF (DSD), DIFF (DSD), DoP (DSD), 2) PCM Lossless: FLAC, Apple Lossless (ALAC), WAV, AIFF, 3) compressed (lossy): MP3, AAC (in M4A container), MQA . So if should be able to play anything you can throw at it.

It is equipped with two LAN ports, so you can connect it to your home network and at the same time directly to the NAS. The first port will allow you to stream files from a streaming service - Tidal, Qobuz, etc., and the second one from a local drive. However, these ports are not identical. To cut off the noise carried over LAN cables, the P1 can be connected to a router, if possible via a fiber link. As far as I remember, a solution of this type was first proposed fro audio purposes by the Japanese company Melco. Then the second socket, classic RJ45, will be used to transfer files from the NAS drive without the use of a router.

⸜ DAC P1 offers an abundance of digital inputs. The most important one is USB (Audio Class 2 Compatible), which supports DSD128 (DoP) and PCM 44.1-384 kHz, up to 32 bits. There is also an input used by professionals, ie AES/EBU, as well as the classic S/PDIF; the latter, as both, the electric RCA, and optical Toslink. These three inputs will accept DSD64 (DoP64) and PCM audio signal 44.1kHz-192kHz, 16-24 bit.

And there are also have three HDMI inputs so that the player can be integrated in parallel with the video system. They can decode stereo audio from Blu-ray players, file players or TV tuners, and transmit video signals up to 4K to the TV screen. The manufacturer does not provide the exact parameters for audio, with the only indication being: "PCM 2.0".

The digital signal is converted to analog by two ESS Technology ES9028PRO SABER D/A chips in mono mode. Each of these converters contains eight channels - they were conceived for home theater - but all eight can be combined into mono, thus greatly improving dynamics, also reducing noise and distortion.

For the clocking of digital circuits, one of the best oscillators currently available on the market was used, the Femto oscillator cooperating with the FPGA chip programmed in-house, which takes care of the distribution of the signal in the circuit; the latter was introduced in Lumïn for the first time in the top model X1. Let us add that the digital signal can be up-sampled to either DSD128 or the PCM 384. Let me remind you that in my Ayon Audio player I also use this type of upsampling (DSD256).

⸜ PREAMPLIFIER Lumïn is equipped not only with digital but also analog inputs. You can also adjust the output level of the analog outputs so it can be used as a preamplifier. There are two analog inputs - balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA, but the analog circuit is balanced only at the input. Although the manufacturer speaks of a "fully balanced dual-mono output circuit", it is not entirely true - Lundahl balancing transformers are used in front of the XLR output sockets.

After buffering the signal in the analog input circuit it is converted into a digital signal. Yes, the output level is controlled digitally. Usually, when we talk about digital volume control, we are dealing with signal processing in a D/A converter chip. Virtually every modern DAC offers such a possibility. The problem is that we then reduce the resolution of the digital signal - by 1 bit every 3 decibels. Manufacturers save themselves from this by using circuits that change the word length, usually up to 32 bits, thanks to which the change is not particularly severe. But Lumïn took a different path.


THE P1 MANUFACTURER TURNED to the French specialist GILLES MILLOT of Acoustical Beauty, which offers high-end loudspeakers with many interesting patents. Millot developed a special algorithm called LEEDH PROCESSING that regulates the amplitude of a digital signal without changing its shape and resolution. Citing measurements made by SUPSI (University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland), he calls it "lossless".

We are talking about an algorithm, i.e. instructions for a microprocessor system, so it can be applied in both new and already operating devices. Lumïn started to use the latter in mid-2020. It made available in v13 version to the owners of its devices replacing existing algorithm with the Leedh Processing. In P1 it is used by default.

It is worth adding that other high-end companies use it as well, including the Swiss SOULUTION and French METRONOME.

⸜ REMOTE THIS IS NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT PROPERTY of this device, but extremely helpful. Lumïn has its own stable and fast application, both for devices with the iOS operating system - and this is the preferred one - but also for those with the Android operating system. However, the remote control can be useful just to change the track, like in a CD player, or to adjust the volume, without having to reach for a smartphone or tablet. The remote control looks great, thanks to the acrylic and metal casing. It is produced - attention! - by one of the Austrian companies and it looks as if it were part of the equipment of a luxury car from Audi or BMW. My only minor complaint concerns placement of volume buttons, which is not very convenient.


⸤ HOW WE LISTENED The P1 file player was tested in the HIGH FIDELITY reference system. The player section was compared to the Mytek Brooklyn Bridge player and the Ayon Audio CD-35 HF Edition SACD player. The preamplifier section was compared to the Ayon Audio Spheris III two-box tube preamplifier.

The P1 was connected to the Soulution 710 power amplifier through RCA Crystal Cable Absolute Dream cables. However, because its analog input IS balanced, the signal from the Ayon player was sent via the Acoustic Revive Absolute XLR cable. The Lumïn stood on the top shelf of the Finite Elemente Master Reference Pagode Edition MkII rack on its own feet and was powered by the Harmonix X-DC350M2R Improved-Version cable. I put the Verictum X Block passive filter on top of it and connected the ground clamp to the Nordost QKore artificial ground.

The files were played using the system described in the article on routing in the HIGH FIDELITY reference system (more HERE).

Recordings used for the test | a selection

⸜ ART BLAKEY, Moanin’, Blue Note/Tidal Master, FLAC MQA Studio 24/192 (1958/?).
⸜ CHARLIE HADEN & PAT METHENY, Beyond The Missouri Sky (Short Stories), Verve Records/Tidal, FLAC 16/44,1 (1991/?).
⸜ FINNEAS O’CONNELL, Optymist, Interscope Records/TidalMaster, FLAC MQA 24/88,2 (2021).
⸜ HANIA RANI, Venice – Infinitely Avantgarde, XXIM Records/Tidal Master, FLAC MQA Studio 24/48 (2022).
⸜ JOHN COLTRANE, Blue Train, Blue Note/Classic Records HDAD 2010, rip z DVD-A, WAV 24/192 (1957/2000).
⸜ STING, The Bridge, A&M Records | Cherrytree Records | Interscope Records/Tidal Master, FLAC MQA 24/48 (2021).
⸜ THE BEATLES, Let It Be, Apple Records | Universal Music Catalogue/Tidal Master, 50th Anniversary, Super Deluxe Edition, FLAC MQA 24/96 (1970/2021).

⸜ JOHN COLTRANE, Blue Train, Blue Note/Esoteric ESSB-90123, SACD/CD (1957/2015) w: 6 Great Jazz, „MasterSound Works”, Blue Note/Esoteric ESSB-90122/7, 6 x SACD/CD

⸜ PLAYER I THOUGHT, THAT THE MYTEK BROOKLYN BRIDGE player offers a distinct, clear sound - and I was right. It is an excellent, relatively inexpensive device, which proves its value during subsequent tests. However, the first few sounds from the CHARLI HADEN & PAT METHENY’s Beyond The Missouri Sky (Short Stories) were enough to notice that open sound is one thing, and a clear and resolving sound - is another. Mytek does not lack these qualities, but only when we compare it with devices for, say, PLN 20,000. When more expensive ones come to play something strange happens.

Just like the Aurender N20 once, now the Lumïn P1 has shown me that the true resolution lies in the millions of small details that make up information, and only the information makes up the sounds. The player from Hong Kong is perfect in this respect - in comparison Mytek sounded in a slightly deaf and blunt way. And yet the last thing that could be said about it is "closed" in the treble.

The tested device, however, had so many sounds in its sound that suddenly everything became clear and distinct with it. The strongly emphasized Haden's double bass sounded strong in both cases and it was clear that this was a deliberate trick, not a mistake, but with the Lumïn this low extension made more sense, it fitted better into the whole. This is because Metheny's guitar was clearer with it, mainly due to better illumination of the upper treble, it was also much more three-dimensional. And it was probably the last feature that was the most important one - the P1 shows a brilliant, saturated, but also brilliantly differentiated soundstage.

Ah, how beautifully it worked with the newest piece by HANIA RANI, coming from the soundtrack of the Venice - Infinitely Avantgarde (dir. Małgorzata Szumowska, 2022) being prepared for release. The pianist plays in her own, proper, very characteristic way on a prepared piano, with a muffled attack and lots of "accompanying" sounds, resembling the creaking of an old house. We immerse ourselves in this world as a whole, as in warm bedding.

The Lumïn showed these relations, i.e. a large space and a specially prepared instrument, perfectly. Mytek played it - in comparison - almost like in one-dimensional way, while P1 showed depth and differentiated the timbre of the left and right hands much better. Although it seems brighter than the device it was compared to, in reality it sounds lower and denser. The thing is that its sounds are spread over the stage and they are better lit up. They are clearer not by the higher center of gravity, but by the fact that they contain more information about the instrument itself, about its surroundings, etc. This is why Rani's instrument was three-dimensional and was shown with P1 in a three-dimensional space.

It seemed to me for a moment that Mytek was showing the foreground closer and that Lumïn was moving it away. It is not so. The Aurender N20 file transport connected to the Ayon player's USB input sounded even closer, in a emphasized way, a bit like a vinyl record. On the other hand, the Lumin sounds "cleaner" in the sense that it doesn't emphasize anything. It saturates the sound with harmonics so naturally that they seem warm. The N20 and the Ayon were much more resolving and more saturated, but that should be the case - this system cost almost four times more than the P1. And yet its harmonic richness was excellent.

The introduction to the track Get Back, from the Let It Be by THE BEATLES, just remixed by Giles Martin, showed it perfectly. It begins with the sounds of the studio and Lennon joking and faking voices. The Lumïn showed it in excellent proportions, i.e. the studio was large and the voice was distant from the microphone. After a while, when John starts singing, the situation turns around - the vocals are closer and the reverb is shorter. The tested device shows these subtleties perfectly, although it does not focus on their technical side. It was interesting that it tried to convey the atmosphere of the recording and the studio, not the "sound" as such.

When necessary, as with FINNEAS O'CONNELL's vocals from his latest album Optimist, the foreground was shown very close and dense. However, this was not about bringing the foreground closer, that was the case with the N20 Aurender, the Korean player had an emphasized lower midrange, which made it sound more like a vinyl record, while the Lumïn sounded clearer. In the sense that it was open and clear, but never aggressive. And it did not intensify timbre. When it was set low, as on all the previously mentioned albums, it was shown in a low and dense way. It’s only that it didn’t make anything denser, it left a lot of room for subtleties between the sounds.

It does not really matter whether we are talking about MQA files or ordinary FLAC files, such as from the 900 single introducing the new album of the Polish band BOKKA under the same title. It is obvious that the denser the file and the denser the recording, the clearer all the advantages of the P1 that I mentioned earlier become. It was like that from ART BLAKEY’s Moanin ', or MILES DAVIS’ Kind of Blue, and I heard the same with JOHN COLTRANE’s Blue Train. But I had no problems with regular 16/44.1 files.

The Lumïn was also an extremely dynamic device. Not as much as the SACD player it was compared to, nor the N20 with the Ayon, but I had no complaints about it. It differentiated the recordings well in this respect, which was evident from the large differences in the volume level on the preamplifier between, say, the mentioned Blakey's album and the new Sting's The Bridge - it's about 10 dB (!). The latter is highly compressed at every level, so it will sound better in a car. But in a good system, this will be a problematic experience.

P1 showed it clearly, but it was not that after turning on the Sting album I covered my ears and ran out of the room foaming from my mouth - no, it wasn't that bad. The Lumïn has something in the sound that allows it to show the differences between the recordings, but without massacring the lesser quality ones. The N20 did it differently, because it deepened everything, showing the stage events more clearly, blending them into the dense background. It was great and the listening session was ultra-comfortable. With the Lumïn the sound will not be as impressive, at least when compared to such expensive devices. In a similar price range P1 will shine.

⸜ PREAMPLIFIER Volume control in the P1 has twofold use.

˻ 1 ˺ First, it allows you to adjust the volume of the player. In this scenario, the digital signal is modified in this form - remains in the digital domain up to the input of the D/A converter. The manufacturer does not say anything about it, but you must know that the native DSD signal cannot be modified. If we use the volume control, it must be converted to PCM. It can then be converted back to DSD, but this means converting it twice between different file types. There is no such problem with the PCM signal./p>

Listened to in this way, the Lumïn showed a very dense and smooth sound. Leedh Processing smoothed the edges, smoothly introduces us to the music world, as if on a silk path. A high-class external preamplifier will be much more dynamic and will better define elements on the sound stage. But - hey, we ultimately get this feature for free, right? Sound will not be as transparent and resolving as with passive preamplifiers, but it will be set better tonally and simply nicer. And it should be enough for us, unless we want to spend more than PLN 15,000 - 20,000 on an active preamplifier.

˻ 2 ˺ The second option is to use the volume control to control an external analog source. In this scenario, the analog signal is converted to digital. The good A/D circuit used in studio devices is used for this purpose, but it is always a big change. What can you clearly hear. The sound is modified towards opening the treble and lighter bass. It is still a good sound, because although open, it is never bright, and it has good clarity. However, it lacked resolution and saturation. Therefore, I would consider this option as something “plus”, and not “must”.


THE LATEST P1 FILE PLAYER is an extremely pleasant-sounding, easy-to-use, solidly built, modern device. It may be the heart of a system, but rather of a digital system - the analog input significantly changes its tonality. It can also be used without an external preamplifier, because Leedh Processing is a high-class solution. However, it does not change the fact that an expensive external preamplifier will do it better.

After all, the P1 is an exceptionally good file player, its sound is on the one hand very smooth, maybe even warm, and on the other hand it is open and very dynamic. Its designers managed to achieve a good balance between these two elements, and the result is a very universal, expressive presentation.


LUMIN STARTING FROM ITS FIRST PRODUCT, a player simply called Lumïn (the name was later changed to A1), relied on a rigid, nicely made housing, which was not only to look nice, but also to provide a mechanical support for electronics and to be a shielding protecting it against external HF distortion The shapes changed over time, but the basic principle remained the same.

The P1 represents the Vader-like aesthetics present in expensive models from this manufacturer - the front baffle is curved and inclined in a characteristic way, reminiscent of a helmet known to all Star Wars fans. It is especially visible in the black color version we had in the test. In the technical description of the device, the manufacturer suggests that the housing is made of a milled aluminum block (solid aluminum chassis). It is not quite so, but still very good as: the housing is made of thick aluminum panels.

⸜ FRONT AND REAR There is a medium-sized display with a blue filter on the front. We will read the description of the track being played - title, artist name and file type. There is also a place for the volume level or a bargraph showing the progress of playback. Only at the back will we see how functionally complex this device is. We have both inputs and outputs - digital and analog. The sockets are quite nice, gold plated. There is also a clamp for grounding. The IEC power socket is connected to a mechanical switch.

⸜ INSIDE The electronic circuit is placed on two printed circuit boards. The main board is the most important, bigger one at the bottom. It has two functional parts: the actual files player with DAC and the other with analog inputs and HDMI. On the left (looking from the front) we have a microcomputer section, that is, a file transport. This circuit is located under the heat sink. Next to it there are two DSP circuits - Altera Cyclone IV and XMOS. The first contains the algorithms of digital filters, upsampling and Leedh volume control. The second is the USB receiver. Next to them we have two great Crystek oscillators.

On the right there is an analog audio circuit, but with D/A converters in the input. This part is a dual-mono design because there are two ESS Technology ES9028PRO SABRE D/A chips, one per channel. Both the I/U (current/voltage) conversion as well as buffering and amplification are performed in integrated circuits, mainly TI OPA1611. The RCA output is driven directly from two such circuits, and in front of the XLR output there are output transformers which - I believe - balance the signal. These are very nice, shielded Lundahl LL7401 transformers.

The analog input board is filled with Wima polypropylene capacitors and beautiful Nichicon capacitors from the Muse BP series. Since the volume control in P1 is done digitally, the analog signal has to be converted to digital - this is done by the 24-bit Burr-Brown PCM9211 chip with a sampling frequency of 192kHz. The Burr-Brown OPA1632 and JRC 5532 integrated circuits handle the amplification and buffering of the input signal.

Lumïn's choice of power supply deserves praise. In their cheaper products, the power supplies are of the switched mode type. Nothing wrong with them, as long as they are made in the way that Chord Electronics or Linn do it. In the P1, however, we have a classic linear power supply, with two toroidal transformers, separately for the digital and analog sections. It is closed inside a screen away from the output section, which is - as I assume - to reduce the interference between them. There is a complete power supply section under the screen, with rectifiers and capacitors. The voltage is additionally filtered for specific systems.

Technical specifications (according to the manufacturer)

Support for: DSD512 & PCM up to 384kHz, 16–32bits | MQA
Supported file formats:
• PCM: FLAC, Apple Lossless (ALAC), WAV, AIFF
• Lossy: MP3, AAC (M4A)
Upsampling: to DSD128 or to PCM 384kHz
Digital inputs: USB:
• USB: DoP 128 | PCM 44.1–384kHz, 16–32bits
• AES/EBU, optical, RCA: PCM 44.1kHz–192kHz, 16–24bits | DSD64 (DoP64)
• HDMI x3: PCM 2.0 Audio, 4K Video Pass-through
Digital outputs
• USB: Native DSD512 | PCM 44.1–384kHz, 16–32bits
• BNC S/PDIF: PCM 44.1kHz–192kHz, 16–24bits | DSD64 (DoP64)
• HDMI x1 (HDMI Pass-through & ARC): PCM 2.0 Audio, 4K Video Pass-through
LAN inputs: SFP | 1000Base-T Gigabit Ethernet
Dimensions (W x H x D): 350 x 380 x 107 mm
Weight: 12 kg


Reference system 2021

1) Loudspeakers: HARBETH M40.1 |REVIEW|
2) Line preamplifier: AYON AUDIO Spheris III Linestage |REVIEW|
3) Super Audio CD Player: AYON AUDIO CD-35 HF Edition No. 01/50 |REVIEW|
4) Stands (loudspeakers): ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom) |ABOUT|
5) Power amplifier: SOULUTION 710
6) Loudspeaker filter: SPEC REAL-SOUND PROCESSOR RSP-AZ9EX (prototype) |REVIEW|
7) Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|


Analog interconnect SACD Player - Line preamplifier: SILTECH Triple Crown (1 m) |ABOUT|
Analog interconnect Line preamplifier - Power amplifier: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RCA-1.0 Absolute-FM (1 m) |REVIEW|
Speaker cable: SILTECH Triple Crown (2.5 m) |ABOUT|

AC Power

Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - SACD Player: SILTECH Triple Crown
Power (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Line preamplifier - ACOUSTIC REVIVE
Power Reference Triple-C (2 m) |REVIEW|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Power amplifier - ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Power Receptacle - Mains Power Distribution Block: ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power Receptacle: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE |REVIEW|
Anti-vibration platform under Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE: Asura QUALITY RECOVERY SYSTEM Level 1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RPC-1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RAS-14 Triple-C |REVIEW|
Passive filter EMI/RFI: VERICTUM Block |REVIEW|


Speaker stands: ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom)
Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|
Anti-vibration platforms: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RAF-48H |ARTICLE|

  • HARMONIX TU-666M "BeauTone" MILLION MAESTRO 20th Anniversary Edition |REVIEW|


Phono preamplifier: Phono cartridges: Tonearm (12"): Reed 3P |REVIEW|

Clamp: PATHE WINGS Titanium PW-Ti 770 | Limited Edition

Record mats:


Headphone amplifier: AYON AUDIO HA-3 |REVIEW|

Headphones: Headphone Cables: Forza AudioWorks NOIR HYBRID HPC