THE HELM BOLT - MOBILE STUDIO-QUALITY USB DAC/AMP WITH MQA
- The HELM BOLT - Mobile Studio-Quality USB DAC/AMP with MQA
- Raising the Bar in Your Audio Quality. Now Accessible on Your SmartPhone.
- Plug & Play on Your Favorite Mobile Device for Incredible Studio Quality Audio
- THX Certified - Plays All Music Files: MP3 to MQA and Hi-Res
- MQA Stream Unfolding and HD Support on the Top Hi-Rez Streaming Services
- Industry Acclaimed Design & Technology Delivers the Purist Audio Signal
- Works with Android, iOS, MacOS and Windows 10 *iOS requires a Lightning to USB Camera Adapter
- Ultra-Low Harmonic Crosstalk & Reduced Crossover Distortion
- Exclusive 3 Oscillator Design & Impedance Matching
- USB-C Input and 3.5mm Headphone Output
- LED: Blue SD Audio <= 48kHz - Red HD Audio > 48kHz - Magenta For MQA
STUDIO QUALITY AUDIO
The HELM BOLT DAC/AMP - the High Definition Digital Analog Converter with MQA rendering technology to bring studio quality audio to your phone. Compatible with Android, iOS, MacOS & Windows 10. **iOS requires a Lightning to USB Camera Adapte
THE NEXT STEP IN AUDIO DEFINITION
Remember Standard Definition video? It had a monopoly on bad visual quality. Video evolved, Standard gave way to HD, and 4k video made you hate the way HD looked. Video quality moved forward, but audio quality moved sideways. Lossy data compression kept bandwidths low, but everyone now listens to the audio equivalent to Standard Definition or worse.
MASTER QUALITY AUTHENTICATED
Imagine 4k video for your ears. Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) is an award-winning technology that unlocks every detail of the original master recording with the convenience of streaming audio. MP3 and similar streaming technologies deliver 10% of the original recording quality, but the HELM BOLT can stream and unfold MQA music at over 8 times the sampling rate of CD. Stream MQA content from Tidal, Nugs and Xiami. (For more info on how MQA works, go to mqa.co.uk.)
CRYSTAL CLEAR DETANGLING
How does MQA sound? Vocals have presence and clarity, drums and percussion are sharp and impactful, strings have tactile nuance, and mixes that are muddy with conventional streaming become detangled and multidimensional when heard in MQA.
The HELM BOLT is an amazing sounding High-End Digital Analog Converter for your high-res FLAC or WAV files, and it will improve audio quality while streaming Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, and others. supporting playback of PCM files with sampling rates up to 384 kHz, or DSD files with sampling frequencies up to 5.6MHz.
The HELM BOLT is THX Certified for ultra-low harmonic, crosstalk, and crossover distortion. Unlike other mobile MQA-DAC designs, the HELM BOLT physically isolates the DAC from the USB connector for improved performance, and uses a three oscillator design for superior frequency lock with dramatic improvements over single oscillator DACs.
PLUG & PLAY
For Android*, iOS*, MacOS, and Windows 10. Featuring a USB-C input and a 3.5mm audio output to connect to your wired headphones or speaker system. Headphone output level automatically detects headphone impedance and sets level accordingly: (1V for < 150 ohms, 2V for >= 150 ohms.) A simple LED indicates MQA rendering or sample rate playback, Blue for idle or SD audio <= 48kHz, Red for HD audio > 48kHz, Magenta for MQA content.
Good product but it perfect works with tidal app
I'm glad to hear that the Helm BOLT DAC/AMP - MQA & THX Certified works well with the tidal app!
It serves the purpose of being a portable USB DAC, and work with majority of apps (on android). It does become hot at times, especially if you're driving them at higher volumes. The bit-rate/sampling-rate LED indicator is ornamental, since Android by design, tries to keep a uniform bit-rate and sampling-rate. Very few apps like Neutron, support bit-rate based mode switching, however that is not a smooth experience.
On the physical side, the product image doesn't agree completely with the actual product, with the edge of the product being sharp compared to the rounded corners on the product page. Not sure if that is a different version of the same product.
I was using ASUS AI noise cancelling USB adapter, and it had a tendency to roll off the higher frequencies. Compared to that, the sound separation is better with better frequency response.
Excellent sound quality and fidelity when paired with my Marantz PM-35 amplifier and Wharfdales diamond 9.1 bookshelf. Supports high quality audio streaming.
The Helm Bolt has been the best recommendation that has been made as real portability and pairs very well with the USB Audio Pro app. Strongly recommend it for anyone who is looking for quality on the go.
I never thought It's going to deliver fantastic sound and pair with beyerdynamic it's simply superb
Received in a couple of days post ordering- super quick. The DAC itself works flawlessly, I have connected using the iPad, laptop and phones. The sound quality improvement is distinct and substantial. Have tried with stored FLACS, online lossless streaming from Apple music and MQA format from nuggs. Worked brilliantly well all the time (and, the LED indicator changed colour 🙂).
The device will survive some rough handling and comes with a nifty pouch.
PS: if you are planning on using with a Windows based laptop, please do change the default sound output stream in settings to high-res.
Trusted By Over 15K+ Music Enthusiast
A good connector for 2.5mm to 4.4 mm jack . I prefered it due to expensive cable I have purchased for 2.5 mm connection which is useless in 4.4 output now I can use it once again.
The Krila is an excellent IEM. The sound has a mild v-shaped tuning which renders a solid punch to the bass and sparkle to the highs. The bass is tight and goes very deep but is not overwhelming. I find it to have a slight mid bass bleed but not to the extent of drowning the mids. Vocals sound quite lively but is slightly recessed owing to its v-shaped tuning. To my ears, the treble is sparkly with lovely instrument separation. It also gives a good sense of air and space. The soundstage may not be as wide or deep as other more expensive iems but is very much acceptable and even better than some others at this price point. The lower treble has a slight peak which may sound a bit piercing at high volumes, but is otherwise very detailed. The result is a fairly balanced signature with a slight emphasis at the frequency extremes and sounds very lively and enjoyable. Add to this the stellar build quality with beautifully crafted metal shells and I feel we really have a winner here for less than 2k. I am now tempted to collect almost all the other KZs :) The memory foam ear tips included in the package are excellent too. A better quality cable with chin clip and a carrying pouch would have been great.
This was suggested to me for my preference, i was very sceptical to see how it would actually be, the moment i put it on it was very special and a bliss, extremely comfortable, extremely non fatiguing, you can wear it for 8-10 hours straight and forget you are wearing it,
also has bass for bassy songs, clear mids and vocals, amazing treble, i dont think there can be a better IEM as this has no downsides!
Strangely, it works for music play but does not work for call audio. Not satisfied with the product.
7HZ 71 Portable USB DAC is good one for music lovers. With a good pair of iems you can feel the difference.
Sound is good delivery is good earphone new condition thanks audio store
For the cost the cable looks good quality.... had problems with the one who came with the dac. Extremely easily and without a hint of fractures rotting in any direction. The connectors sit tightly.
It came quite fast.
For context, I own the Fiio FH3, Truthear Zero, Simgot EW200 and now this. All the above had slightly offensive upper mids. While I actually like that to an extent, it sometimes got too much that I had to reduce the volume whenever I listened at high volumes. The EM6L while warm at lower volumes, it starts getting brighter at higher volumes, but mind you it's just the right amount of it imo. And it's less offensive than the rest.
While the Fiio FH3 has a much better build and a better punch to it, the EM6L has better technicalities. The Soundstage between the two are similar when connected with a 4.4mm output, the EM6L has better layering and depth perception that it helps if you are gaming.
I primarily game, and am a casual music listener, and in that aspect, I'd rate these above all the other IEMs I mentioned. But the Fiio FH3s come close, and may not be a bad option with its better build and punch. If you're into Hip Hop, the FH3s would be better, but the EM6L is a better all rounder.
Construction is solid, Connectivity is easy, easy to operate, there is no audio delay, it gives output to all the ports so if you have two set of speakers you can run them parallely. The only con of this device is it decodes only upto PCM 16Bit/48kHz over USB.
The DAP I use for my evening walk has a bright signature, meaning the highs and mids are bright. The impedance adapter, though each adapter behaves differently, lowers this and gives a pleasant hearing experience. This also increases the input to the earphones and so makes it less sensitive. The build quality is very good and prompt delivery by theaudiostore.
First of all many thanks to Pritam for recommending these to me. I actually gave him a lot of option to choose from like the Aful performer 5 and 8, Blessing 3, Kiwi Orchestra Lite and the Timeless. He asked a lot of questions about my preference and the gear I use before settling on these.
You can read his review on the Quintet as its on point.
Now we audiophiles come in all shapes and sizes, we have the bassheads, trebleheads, vocal enthusiasts, details and resolution freak and some like to have a very big soundstage. And then there's me who would like to have a bit of everything and that has been difficult till now as we would always have to sacrifice one thing or the other even in IEMS surpassing the 1 lakh price, well not anymore.
Let me describe the sound to you, well atleast I will try
Bass- The bass is detailed and plentiful and digs very very deep, like I am able to hear frequencies that were unknown till now. though its nowhere basshead levels of bass but I was never left wanting more. The bass is very punchy and slams decently hard, theres a good physicality to the bass though it decays a bit slower than a pure planar set like the S12 pro which in my books makes it a bit more natural sounding.
Vocals/mids - Both male and female vocals sounds excellent and correct. It doesn't force the vocals to be upfront in the music rather it depicts where they are supposed to be. In some tracks the vocalist will be upfront in your face and in some they will be a bit far away and in some tracks you would be able to visualize them moving closer and far away with the music. The vocals doesn't sound lean or thin or emotionless as some have reported though I guess its obviously not upfront like some vocal forward IEMs could be. Again I was not left wanting more.
Treble- The treble response is very very smooth, it rarely gets sibilant and only on poorly mastered tracks or something that has sibilance baked into it, otherwise I found it pretty forgiving. It is very airy and that lends to a very big soundstage.
Resolution and Details- The resolution and details that is offered here can only be rivaled by the TOTLs, I am not saying its better than something like the Elysian Annhilator or the ThieAudio Monarch Mark 2 or 3 or maybe it is, but I think that this is at the level of B3 or the Variations atleast. Its transparent and throws so much details at your face that I often feel overwhelmed on complex tracks.
Soundstage, Imaging and Instrument Separation- The soundstage is huge, its very wide and the sound is presented in such a way that you will feel like you are on the stage with the musicians, which is unique to say the least. Instruments are well separated and you can pinpoint where each instrument is. It feels like each instrument/notes are presented in their own bubble and they are all interacting with each other to produce music. I find the experience divine.
Tonality/Timbre - Its natural and correct, thats all I can say, I didn't find it metallic and neither artificial, its like the truthear hexa with a bit more energy which makes it more engaging and fun to listen to it.
Since this is a mishmash four different drivers and the more controversial PZT driver many are worried if the IEM is coherent or not and let me tell you that you won't be able to detect the individual drivers.... like at all.
Coming to some of the nit picks and tips that I have.
1) Burn in is a thing on this IEM. I personally don't believe in burn in but it did sound better after 12 hours that I left it playing random music.
2) Tip rolling is required. This IEM is very ear tip sensitive. The eartip that worked out for me were the KZ star tip. My review is based on those only. Without proper ear tip and a proper seal the bass will feel hollow and insufficient and yes you will feel the infamous piezo zing in all its glory.
3) Deep insertion is a must. The nozzle on this IEM is long that means you have to insert them deep not deep like the etymotics but still a bit deep for the optimal sonic performance.
4) The packaging is a bit too spartan for the 20K that I spent. Anyways won't complain too much I guess.
5) Get a decent DAC to power them, I would suggest something that will also give you the option for a balanced terminal like the Moondrop Dawn Pro or the FiiO KA1
In the end remember that the audiophile hobby is a very subjective one and what I may love you may not. For me this is truly an endgame IEM, but for you it maybe not but all I can say is that this an exceptionally affordable quad-brid and if you own TOTLs you can also consider adding this to your arsenal. If you are someone new in this hobby and you like a balanced tuning and haven't spent too much money in anything else I will suggest saving up and getting these.
Thanks to the audio store team and Pritam for bringing such exceptional IEMs in our life.
The Tiandirenhe 4.4mm terminated balanced cable + FiiO KA3 from Headphone Zone has levelled up the experience of my HD560S. Super happy with this product and combination.
Similar to the salnotes, although with a different sound signature these iems are very good for music as well as gaming purposes.
For two years, Thieaudio's Monarch Mk2 reigned as my favorite IEM. Despite owning pricier options, I always returned to the Mk2 due to its balanced tuning. So, when the Mk3 was released, I eagerly grabbed it. After three weeks and 50 hours of listening, I'm ready to share my thoughts, primarily comparing it to the Mk2.
My setup includes a MacBook connected via USB to an RME ADI DAC or ifi Zen Dac V2. I source music from Apple Music and local FLAC files, spanning English pop, rock, Bollywood, Coke Studio, and early 2000s Hindi albums.
The Mk3 unboxing mirrors Thieaudio's standard. The package includes three sets of silicone and foam ear tips, a cleaning cloth, and a cable tie. I prefer my AZLA SednaEarfit Light ear tips for comfort. The carrying case matches the Mk2's design and size, accommodating the IEMs, my USB DAC, and interconnect cable.
The included silver-plated copper cable is soft, supple, and high-quality. While not braided like the Mk2, it feels lighter and better. The modular termination allows easy switching between 3.5mm and 4.4/2.5mm plugs, improving on the Mk2's tight and slippery cable termination.
Build Quality/Wearing Comfort:
The Mk3's classy, seamless resin body lacks sharp edges. Though slightly larger, it fits better in the ear than the Mk2, with a snug fit and minimal bulge. It's comfortable for 60-70 minutes, thanks to "MS" size AZLA SednaEarfit Light ear tips.
The Mk3 presents a new sound style rather than evolving from the Mk2.
Mk3 excels in bass, balancing sub-bass and mid-bass for richness and rumble without overpowering lower mids. It's excellent for pop, Punjabi, Bollywood, and EDM. Bass texture surpasses the Mk2 without smothering the mids.
The Mk3's mid-range is slightly recessed compared to the Mk2 but maintains critical details. This enhances soundstage depth, especially for male vocals, which are fuller. Female vocals gain clarity, though on high-energy tracks, the Mk3 approaches fatigue for some.
Treble is a toss-up between Mk2 and Mk3. Mk3 extends treble impressively but adds energy, especially in the lower treble, which can be fatiguing on less-mastered tracks. Mk2's tuning maintains better balance but offers less air and detail.
Another interesting note, on my Mk2 I tried to simulate the FR of Mk3 by compensating a few db here and there on the parametric EQ of my Roon DSP but I failed to get a Mk3-like result. The bass region of Mk3 is very difficult to simulate on Mk2 by equalization.
Mk3 edges ahead technically, with better resolution, layering, and holographic soundstage. Note attack and decay are more precise, lending a dynamic edge. Mk3's timbre feels more accurate.
The Mk2 remains incredibly close to my preferred tuning, making it challenging to declare a clear winner between the Mk2 and Mk3. The Mk3, as a standalone IEM, shines brilliantly. Considering the price point at which the Mk2 is offered, it faces minimal competition, primarily from its own sibling, the Mk3.
Contrary to common expectations that a newer version of a product should surpass its predecessor, the Mk3 follows a different path. If the Mk2 aligns with your preferred sound signature and has served you well for three years, it remains an exceptional choice. However, for those with the means and a desire to explore a spicier and more vibrant sound signature, the Mk3 beckons. It possesses a distinctive character, style, and boldness that may resonate with discerning audiophiles.
Using it from many years... good service