Pros: I lively relatively neutral sounding IEM with a large sound stage.
Cons: The cable is a bit thin and the body feels like it might break easily.
OK I have given my FREE reviewers pair of Beta's about 75hrs or so of burnin and think I am OK with doing their review.
The packaging of these feels very basic with no frills. On one hand I think this is good as it keeps the cost down and reducing unnecessary waste. But I also feel the plane jane nature of the packaging also does a bit of dis-service to the IEM because it gives a sense of cheapness that the sound of the Beta does not deserve.
Following the packaging, the build quality of the IEM is of a very similar vein as the cables are quite thin and very tangle prone and the included silicone tips are also a bit hard and slightly uncomfortable. Fortunately the one pair of comply foam tips does help over come the sense of cheapness. On a positive note I do like the strain relief at the jack and the cable gaurds coming from the IEM. The IEM's themselves definitely also feel like they cold break fairly easily and I have noticed cracking sounds as I have changed tips around.
OK so I have established that these are budget IEM's, the real question then is, do they sound like they are built or packaged? To which the answer is a resounding NO! They don't sound cheap AT ALL!
The bass of these is punchy and relatively deep but slightly less weighty than most of the sub $100 IEM's I have been using or reviewing lately but the bass is better than most of those IEM's in my opinion, as it is not fat or boomy. The only sub $100 IEM I like more for bass is the Shure SE215 as it is deeper and punchy and has good weight but otherwise I think the Beta have better bass than than the Spider Realvoice and Denon 560R. The bass is also at least as detailed as these 3 IEM's.
The midrange is also is very respectable and fairly neutral in comparison to the rest of the sound spectrum. There are some songs I have heard that seem to be missing something in the midrange but what ever that something is it's fleeting and hard to pin down in words and is not severe enough for me to not get sucked into most vocals.
The treble is also nice but slightly rolled off at the end and does have a slight metalic sound to it (this metalic soound does get better with use though so if at first your unsatisfied persevere or burn the IEM in for a few days and they will improve).
I think one of the biggest aspects of this IEM is it's sound stage though. The sound stage on these is actually better than many IEM's I have owned, several which are $100's more expensive. The sound stage is kind of like the DDM or even the IE8, not as large as those IEM's but similar in feeling. Since I am using IEM's with smaller sound stages I do find myself enjoying this aspect of the Beta the most. So how do these get such a nice sound stage? By surrendering isolation of course . So while these have a nice expansive sound they have done so at the COST OF ISOLATION. So for those looking for an all rounder for use in public transit I suggest you keep looking. But for anyone looking for an IEM while walking around or at the office, these may be just the ticket.
Some of the genres and songs I have been listening to are:
Jazz - Patricia Barber - Miss Otis Regrets - The vocals of this song are conveyed quite nicely and manage to have the intimacy and emotion of the song quite nicely. I also like how the guitar in the song is presented along with the cymbals. Overall I think the Beta's does a good job with this song and jazz in general.
Hard Rock - AC/DC - Cold Hearted Man - I picked this song early on to see if edginess of the song would show if the IEM was going to be harsh. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the Beta handled the song. The grittiness of the song was easily conveyed without coming across as harsh or uncomfortable. I also found other fast paces AC/DC songs were handled fairly well by the Beta and never sounded overly congested or blurry.
Classic Rock - Eagles - Hotel California. This song has a bass line than is tricky for many IEM/headphones to get right. Many make the bass sound to heavy and other make it hardly noteable, the Beta's placed a nice weight to the bass guitar. The second challenge in this song is the vocals which can come across as distant. The Beta's were able to mostly convey the vocals but did have a smidge of this sense of distance or recession. The one thing the Beta's did very well though was the cymbals in the song. Overall I found it quite easy to just enjoy the song.
Choral - Eternal Voice album - Discomfort Them O Lord (not sure on the actual choir). I loved how this song sounded especially the spatial relationship of all the singers in the song. It really showed how good the sound stage of this IEM is. It also showed how nice the midrange is.
Celtic - Loreena McKennit - Stolen Child. This song has a strong bass sound throughout the song that is integral to the song. The Beta was not able to convey this bass as well as I like and was one of the few times I found myself really wanting more from the IEM. Having said that, the singing was very beautifully conveyed by the Beta making up for the loss of the bass. Overall I was mostly satisfied but do wonder if these will be good enough for this genre.
Celtic - Loreena McKennit - Lullaby - this song has a thunderstorm in the beginning of the song that is an excellent test for sound stage and the Beta's handled this storm VERY WELL. From there the vocals were as sweet and lovely as Stolen Child in regards to Loreena's singing. I also found the Shakespearian speech also to be very well done.
I won't go on with more individual songs but did try this with orchestral pieces as well as violin other solo pieces as well as piano oriented rock and classical and found pretty much genres sounded good on these.
Bang for the buck when it comes to audio quality I think these easily compete in their price bracket and compete well with most IEM's up to around $100. They will not be for those who want a heavy bass or bass light IEM's with a ton of detail. But anyone wanting a mostly neutral sound that is not boring, and can live with the potential physical short comings of the IEM you will want to have a hard look at the new Beta. These would be great as a second pair of IEM's. But if these are your only IEM or if you need or demand solid construction or good isolation then you will want to spend the added cash and go with something else.