SOMiC V4: Twin Turbo

A Review On: New arrival!!! Somic V4 Double Moving-coil In-ear Earphones

New arrival!!! Somic V4 Double Moving-coil In-ear Earphones

Rated # 388 in In-Ear
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Recent Pricing:
Amazon.com
Review Details:
Audio Quality
Comfort
Design
Isolation
Value
Purchased on:
Price paid: $17.40
B9Scrambler
Posted · Updated · 1866 Views · 21 Comments

Pros: Wonderful cable - Smooth, balanced sound - Price

Cons: Tall housing with shallow fit = potential for problems getting a good seal

Greetings Head-fi!

 

Today we're going to be checking out a wallet-friendly earphone from SOMiC, an established Chinese brand; the V4.

 

When researching the brand for this review, I was surprised to find that SOMiC has been around the block, first appearing on the scene 18 years ago. Unlike many companies who outsource aspects of their business, SOMiC does it all themselves.

 

Their two production facilities in Shantou and Dongguan, China, handle research and development, engineering, driver and cable production, injection molding, assembly, jet printing, and quality control, able to output around 2 million sets of headphones per month, at least according to their company information. Their dedication and hard work has net them a number of awards over the years, and they're currently selling products in over 200 countries around the world.

 

Their motto "Credibility Centric, Quality First" is readily apparent in the V4. This earphone sports a balanced and detailed sound signature which emanates from twin 6mm biological dynamic drivers, per side. The independent driver cavities reduce interference, and a beautiful 18 core, silver-jacketed braided cable ties everything together. All of this combined adds up to one of the best budget earphone experiences I've had in a while, making their paltry price tag that much more appealing.

 

Let's take a closer look at the V4 to find out what makes this earphone so special.

 

Disclaimer:

 

The SOMiC V4 was purchased by me from Gearbest to the tune of 23.40 CAD. I am not associated with Gearbest or SOMiC. The opinions and thoughts within this review are my own and do not represent them or any other entity. You can purchase the V4 through a number of online retailers, but I chose to go with Gearbest since they are a Head-fi sponsor and I've only had great experiences with them in the past.

 

Here is a link if you want to check them out for yourself; http://www.gearbest.com/earbud-headphones/pp_351816.html?wid=21

 

My Gear and I:

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

I'm a 30 year old professional working for what is currently the largest luxury hotel chain on the planet. I have a background in Psychology which probably explains my somewhat dry writing style. My entry into the world of portable audio was due primarily to a lack of space for a full-sized stereo system during my university years, and truly began with the venerable JVC HA-FXT90. After reading pretty much the entirety of IjokerI's multi-earphone review thread, reviews from other established reviewers, and thus being greatly inspired, I took a chance and started writing my own.

 

Fast forward a couple years and I'm thankful to have had the opportunity to write about products for wonderful companies like RHA, Accutone, ADVANCED, NarMoo, Brainwavz, Meze and many more. I don't do it for money or free stuff, but because this is my hobby and I enjoy it. If my reviews can help guide someone to an earphone that makes them happy, I'll consider that a job well done and payment enough.

 

Gear used for testing was an HTC One M8, an XDuoo X3 (w/ Rockbox update), a Topping NX1 portable amplifier, and my aging Asus G73 gaming laptop paired with a Creative SoundBlaster Recon3D usb amp. A Shanling M1 was recently added to the crew. I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. While I enjoy a variety of signatures, I generally lean towards slightly warm with elevated treble and sub-bass, an even mid-range response, and reduced mid-bass. My favorite in-ear, the Echobox Finder X1[i[ is a fantastic example of this with their grey filters installed.

 


 

          

 


 

Packaging and Accessories:

 

Daniel Kahnman, an Israeli Psychologist, once said;

 

"Your first impression of a thing sets up your subsequent beliefs. If the company looks inept to you, you may assume everything else they do is inept."

 

SOMiC's V4 makes a positive first impression with a subtle, unique looking and cleanly designed package that provides a fuss-free unboxing experience. The silver wireframe image of the earpieces set on a metallic brown background strays from the norm and is especially eye catching when set among more typical packaging. Flip to the rear where you find a list of features in roughly translated English and a list of specifications which you can see here.

 

 

One feature that really caught my eye was this;

 

"Nanoscale biological vibrating diaphragm makes sensitive and dynamic response."

 

That to me sounds like the V4 is sporting bio-cellulose drivers, ala. VSonic GR07. I reached out to SOMiC to see if they could provide any additional information on the tech they're using, but I have yet to receive a response. Should that change, this section will be updated.

 

Flip open the front flap like the cover of the book and you find to the left another wireframe image, this time reflecting the inner workings of the V4's earpieces. To the right is some legal jargon under a casual viewing window.

 

Inside the V4 is held securely in place with a hybrid foam/plastic tray system. Normally it's one or the other, but this combination of the two is smart. The cable isn't held in place at weird angles nor is the V4 difficult to remove. Should you wish to throw out the package once you've got the goods stashed inside, there's not much waste.

 

Accessories are limited only to spare ear tips in small, medium (x2), and large sizes. Oddly, no single flange tips are included. They're all bi-flange.

 

Overall the unboxing experience is quite pleasant. I like the design and simplicity, and the foam/plastic hybrid tray works well to hold/display the V4 safely. A wider variety of tips and a basic carry pouch would have been welcome inclusions.

 

Should you want to watch an unboxing, here's mine. Please keep in mind that I don't make many videos;

 

 


 

          

 


 

Build Quality, Isolation, and Comfort:

 

Quality construction is one of the most important aspects of any earphone to me. It can sound as amazing as anything, but why would I want to drop my hard earned cash on something I know isn't going to last? From the limited impressions of this earphone I could find, they looked to be a well-designed and solidly constructed earphone and I wasn't disappointed. They certainly look more upscale in black, coming across a little cheap in the blue I selected, but they don't feel cheap which is key.

 

The clear plastic construction of the ear pieces comes across thick and cleanly molded, and you can see the quality soldering inside. The silver protrusions out back, to my surprise, are screwed in place. Tilt the housing sideways and the V4 looks like a ship straight out of Star Wars.

 

The cable is frankly amazing for something in this price range. As noted earlier, the V4 utilizes an 18 core, silver-jacketed braided cable. Microphonics are fairly minimal worn cable down and are completely absent worn cable up or when taking advantage of the effective chin cinch. Strain relief could be better, but I've definitely seen much worse (none for example). Memory is mild, and over the last couple weeks of use has been straightening out more and more. This has been my experience with other braided cables in the past so nothing unusual there.

 

Isolation is about what you would expect from a dynamic driver earphone, if not a little worse. The V4 is a very shallow fit earphone so they dull outside noise bleeding in, but do not nullify it completely. For the best isolation you'll want to toss on some foam tips and wear them over-ear.

 

Comfort, well, it's outstanding. The V4 is extremely light and the stubby nozzles mean they perch daintily on the exterior of your ear canal. Wear them cable over-ear and the V4 shows itself to be a VERY low profile earphone, completely opposite of how they sit when worn cable down.

 

Overall the V4 is a solidly built earphone will a killer cable, acceptable isolation, and well above average comfort. I can see the tall housings combined with a stubby nozzle causing some issues with getting a good seal, but that's where some quality, inexpensive KZ "Starline" aftermarket tips come in.

 


 

          

 


 

Sound Quality:

 

Tips: Given the stock tips really didn't work for me, I set about trying a variety of other options to find a suitable replacement. My testing resulted in the selection of Sennheiser-style large Havi dual-flange tips being my preferred option. They provided a very comfortable and secure seal and the exceptionally wide bore balanced out the V4's sound even further by lowering mid-bass presence and enhancing treble clarity. My second choice would be large KZ "Starline" tips. Their length and semi-stiff silicone material help compensate for the V4's shallow fit and they sound nearly identical to the Havi tips. I would recommend someone order the KZ tips along with the V4 given their low cost of less than 2 USD per package (s/m/l).

 

Source/Amping: The V4 doesn't need to be amped given they are very easy to drive, but I did hear improvement moving from the HTC One M8 through the XDuoo X3 to the Shanling M1. The M1's extremely clean and detailed presentation paired magnificently with the V4 further enhancing it's already capable sound. The V4 seems to scale nicely as the quality of the source used increases.

 

The SOMiC V4, despite what it's flamboyant design would suggest, is a reasonably balanced product with a warm tilt and a silky smooth presentation. It's dual drivers are seamlessly integrated and interact with each other to provide listeners with a coherent and engaging sound. Anytime I listen to them I'm reminded of the organic Meze 11 Neo and 12 Classics which are outstanding buys in their respective price ranges. While the V4's overall build and presentation isn't up to the standard of Meze's offerings, the quality of sound it outputs is.

 

Treble extension rolls off a bit at the highest registers but the V4 maintains a sparkly and detailed presentation that somehow avoids any harshness or sibilance. Clarity in the upper registers is also excellent aided by a clean, black background and good separation that avoids congestion. Throwing on treble heavy tracks like Bluestep by Gramatik, or Grace by The Crystal Method which can sound positively horrendous under the wrong circumstances, are handled with impunity.

 

The V4's midrange sits just behind the treble and bass but gives listeners a full and lush experience, especially with female vocals. There is just a touch of thickness and weight that gives emotional tracks the power needed to convey the track's meaning. Guitars have adequate crunch and grit to them as well, belying expectations given the V4's general impression of gliding effortlessly through a track.

 

When it comes to the low end the V4 departs from my preferred balance, placing more emphasis on mid-bass punch and speed where they truly excel. The V4 is unexpectedly nimble and doesn't unseat itself even when you've got a crazy metal-infused double-bass session playing over a raw and powerful guitar riff. It's drivers can dig reasonably deep and provide a satisfying rumble, but nothing that's going to please a seasoned bass head.

 

The V4's soundstage encompasses your head extending out almost to your shoulders on some tracks, giving you a good sense of space and air. Even more impressive is their separation, layering, and imaging which easily outclasses similarly priced products like the Piston 3.0 or FiiO F1. It's presentation is more in line with earphones nearing that 100 USD pricepoint; Brainwavz S5, Meze 12 Classics, thinksound MS02, and other like earphones.

 

While the V4 doesn't immediately blow you away out of the box, through repeated listening you come to appreciate the balance and capabilities of their tuning and the way it's drivers interact with and present your music. It's a mature sound that doesn't really match the physical design. Someone expecting a high energy, v-shaped signature with excessive treble and monstrous bass will be disappointed. Those looking for something more balanced with a mild bass and treble boost and clear, unimpeded midrange will be right as home.

 


 

          

 


 

Select Comparisons:

 

KZ ZST (~10-20 USD): Anyone that's been following my posts over the years will know I'm a KZ fanboy through and through. The ZST is KZ's first earphone using a BA driver. In my opinion it's probably the best product they've released to date, even if it's not one of my favorites.

 

It's got a cool design and uncommon features at this price range, such as a removable two-pin cable. It's w-shaped signature, open soundstage, and above average laying and imaging show it to be an especially capable budget earphone, though it's not without it's faults. The V4 is a notable step up to my ears.

 

The ZST suffers from unnecessarily boosted, slightly unnatural sounding treble that can come across harsh and unpleasant at times. The V4 is cleaner and more natural sounding while offering up just as much, if not more detail. The ZST's midrange is unbalanced with it's lower midrange being most prominent. As a result female vocals suffer, coming across slightly raspy. Not an issue with the V4. While the V4's bass is more punchy and nimble, the ZST is balanced more to my liking with excellent extension and sub-bass prominence with a reduced mid-bass hump. Even though the V4's bass is of higher quality, I like the ZST's low end presentation more.

 

Overall the V4 comes across as a more refined and even experience. The ZST is an awesome budget hybrid and a wonderful first attempt at that style of earphone from KZ, but it really can't compete with the V4.

 

Meze 11 Neo (59.99 USD) and 12 Classics (79.99 USD): Here we have a more apt comparison. I absolutely adore these two earphones from Meze and think they are outstanding offerings at their respective price points. If you feel inclined to do so you are welcome to check out my reviews of them here; 11 Neo / 12 Classics.

 

Build and material quality between these earphones is excellent, but I'd give the edge to the Meze twins. The beautifully formed housings and high quality materials and fit and finish (more so on the 11 Neo than 12 Classics) are top notch. I think the cables on all three are great, but microphonics on the 11 Neo and 12 Classics ruin the experience unless worn over-ear. SOMiC's cable is more comfortable and compliant and noise is not a problem.

 

The V4 and the Meze twins are tuned in the same vein though the V4 comes across slightly thicker and more meaty with a less prominent midrange. While the V4 is extremely refined compared to peers in the same price range, the Meze twins feel just a touch sharper and more accurate, though they give up some ground in soundstage with a more intimate presentation. The V4 sounds larger, more open, more bombastic.

 

Overall the Meze twins are worth stepping up to as they offer a more complete package, but the V4 shows you can still get amazingly competitive sound on a tight budget.

 

VSonic AN16 (limited release): For those who aren't aware, the AN16 is a GR06 housing with the GR07 driver. It was released in conjunction with the VSD2 as part of a pre-order bonus through LendMeUrEars. I think it's safe to say they were released in limited quantities.

 

To my ears the AN16 is a warm, somewhat mid-focused earphone with rolled off treble that lacks sparkle. As a result, they can occasionally come across a bit muted or blunt. They still offer up acceptable levels of detail and are very non-fatiguing. The V4 is notably thinner, brighter, and more energetic. Their greater treble emphasis makes them come across more detailed and accurate up top.

 

The AN16's midrange is it's sweet spot. Listening to classic rock is an absolute treat with guitars and vocals take up front and taking centre stage. You're treated to equal presence from upper to lower mids. The step up in detail is noticeable moving from the V4 to the AN16.

 

The AN16 places greater focuses on providing a clean, tight, mid-bass punch than the V4 with extension into sub-bass regions seeming about equal. I find the V4's twin micro-drivers better able to handle quick, complicated passages though. The AN16 can get a bit muddy under those circumstances.

 

Soundstage size clearly goes to the V4. It's much more airy. AN16 provides you with a much more focused listen. Imaging and separation are still a touch more accurate on the AN16.

 

The V4 comes across more balanced. The AN16 lacks the versatility of the V4's signature, hindered most by their recessed treble. While the V4 can work well with pretty much anything, the AN16 is at it's best with vocal-focused tracks where it shines.

 

VSonic VSD3 w/ removable cable (replaced by an updated model): The V4 and VSD3 were much more alike than I was expecting and sound fairly similar, albeit with a few key differences. The VSD3 is brighter and a bit sibilant in mids lack the precision on Ts and Ss of the V4. The VSD3 bass digs deeper and is more prominent, though it lacks the tight, clean punch of the V4. The V4 lacks the upper end sparkle and extension, especially noticeable with cymbals, which I really missed going back and forth between the two. Some find that fatiguing though.

 

Choosing between the two would really come down to signature preference I think. If you want a more fun, exaggerated listen with big bass and prominent treble, go for the VSD3. If you want something more balanced that isn't sterile and can still entertain, the V4 would be a good fit. If you want something that sits between these options, that's where the Meze twins come in.

 


 

          

Earphone stand provided courtesy of AuralLife

 


 

Final Thoughts:

 

The world of entry level portable audio is a crazy place. There are tons of really, really good products vying for your cash, each with their own purchasing pros and cons. Every day you read about a new company with a new product that stomps last week's next big thing.

 

What makes the V4 worth your time? Well, over a month of consistent use has shown them to be a very versatile earphone with good build quality, outstanding comfort, and most importantly, a wonderfully cohesive sound that belies their very affordable price tag. Definitely worth a look if you're in the market for an new earphone that doesn't empty your wallet.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

- B9Scrambler

 

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

 

Test Songs:

 

Aesop Rock - Saturn Missles

BT - The Antikythera Mechanism

The Crystal Method - Grace (feat. LeAnn Rimes)

Daft Punk - Touch

Gramatik - Bluestep (Album Version)

Incubus - 2nd/3rd/4th Movements of the Odyssey

Infected Mushroom - Deeply Disturbed

Infected Mushroom - The Legend of the Black Shawarma

Jessie J - Bang Bang

Kiesza - Hideaway

King Crimson - Starless and Bible Black

Pink Floyd - Money

Run The Jewels - Oh My Darling (Don't Cry)

Skindred - Death to all Spies

Supertramp - Rudy

The Prodigy - Get Your Fight On

Witcher 2 Official Soundtrack

21 Comments:

Nice review B9!   thanks for all the incisive listening observations!
btw, when you can, upgrade that HTC 8 to the HTC 10.  They totally
nailed the sound system on the 10, which has way way better DAC
performance and amp, and is quite listenable on low impedance headphones or 
most IEMs for many genres of music.  sometimes i don't even use
my MOJO with it, for sound is fine right out of the phone most of the time.
I liked my 8 but the i adore the 10.  
NICE review B9! enjoyed your great listening observations! 
btw, when you can, upgrade your HTC 8 to the 10. It does
everything better, streams much better, and has killer sound.
i forget to use my MOJO a lot of time when listening to music'
out it cause its so good for many genres with upgraded dac
and amp in it.
Thanks Dr. Blue :D Glad you enjoyed the review! I'm with Koodo and they don't have the 10 on their network yet. Hoping they get it by the time I'm ready to upgrade. Want to stay with HTC. My One M8 has been getting a lot less use as of late since the Shanling M1 came into my possession. Ended up buying the tour unit because I like it so much. Should have my review of that up pretty soon.
Thanks, can you compare these to the VSONIC GR07, the VSD 3s, or the Vivo XE800?
@GuywhoLikesHIFI The closest I have are the AN16 and VSD3 (nonS). Would that work for you?
Yes, that would be good. Thanks for the review, and making my IEM purchase decision making harder. 
I do what I can :D I'll try to update this with a comparo for you tomorrow. For now, sleep time.
 
*Review updated with comparisons of VSonic's VSD3 and AN16*
I have this earphones and I think that they are very bad earphones,their sound quality is not good .I recommend to buy SAIJIANPU-SJP800 earphones over it .The SAIJIANPU-SJP800 has excellent sound quality, one of the best earphones that I heard and it cost only 19.90 dollars . 
@Or Avraham The SAIJIANPU-SJP800 looks nice. I can definitely see someone having fit issues with the V4 due to the shape and stubby nozzle. As with most any earphone that's going affect sound quality in a negative way. What about the V4 don't you like? You sure you're not just getting a bad seal?
Nice review! I bought these too, but gave them away after a few weeks. A lot to admire about these really cheap phones, but... I loved the sweet sound, the mids, the highs... They were great with certain types of music. I´m listening to a lot of different genres, from folk music to extreme metal, jazz, blues, rock. electronic... Basically everything. And these phones were shining on acoustic jazz for instance, were quite good for even electronic stuff, any rock sounded horrible. Sharp, sibilant, fatigueing, annoying. So, as you can expect, for such a cheap price you won´t get a perfect, all-rounder product. But if you like acoustic music, jazz, Pat Metheny, Brian Bromberg, folk stuff, etc... Just buy yourself a pair, you won´t be disappointed. By the way, I used Fiio X3II, Nintaus X10, and an iPod Touch to test it, with high quality lossless records, DSD, FLAC, APE.
Hey there, I have these earphones now and they sound superb, used to own the FXT90 before selling it off. I am getting the Brainwavz B100. I know I am expecting a lower amount of bass but I am more than fine with it, what else can I expect from the B100?
@Tomtattoo Thanks for the comments :) 
 
@SaaRVRash I've still got two FXT90s (one unused as a backup pair). Love em. The B100 is absolutely awesome though.Great decision. You should expect a slightly thinner, sharper, more detailed sound. Increase in detail is most notable in the mid-range. Vocals sound cleaner, though they lack some weight the V4 carries. Worthy tradeoff imo.

Fairly different signatures due to the V4's additional warmth and extra low end grunt, but I'd still consider the B100 an upgrade, just not a direct one. Someone that wants a DD based earphone that's a more direct upgrade should consider one of the Meze twins.
Thanks man for your comments. My B100 is coming in a week. Cant wait hahaha. 
Cheers! Enjoy it :)
Thank you for another wonderful review! I recently got a Cayin N3 & looking to expand my cheap IEM collection as my current IEMs do not seem to be doing justice to the N3. I currently have KZ ED10, ZS3, ZST. I also ordered MEMT X5s & will be receiving them this week. But now after reading your X5 review, it seems that they are not going to be much better either. Even though I like ZS3s and do not like ZSTs (especially for long listening sessions as I am treble sensitive), I seem to be using the ZSTs more with the N3 as ZS3's sound seems dull and lifeless with N3. However, ZST is only marginally better than ZS3 when paired with the N3.
 
So, do you think the Somic V4s are going to be an upgrade for me? I usually listen to chillout trance, liquid DNB, etc & I like fast, deep bass; warm & detailed mids & precise, crisp & non-fatiguing highs. I've been also looking at urbanfuns, Tennmak Pros, kinera bd005s, etc. 
@rad7: If you are looking for something with deep bass´, then these ones are absolutely NOT for you. These cheap little things are absolutely shining in mids and highs, but have a pretty limited bass response. In fact, this was the reason why i gave them away.
@Tomtattoo Thank you very much! I am not a bass head by any means, but yes, I do like good, punchy bass. I will probably try my X5s for some time since they are already on the way, and will keep looking for decent IEMs that will fit my needs.
@rad7 The V4 has excellent bass but you must absolutely get a good seal to get at the depth it can provide. Liquid DnB is my favorite genre and the V4 more than does it justice. It's got the speed and fluidity necessary. For a budget earphone it's fantastic. I also like a clear, present mid-range for EDM. Everyone thinks v-shaped is all you need for electronic, but you lose out on so much information..

The X5 on the other hand is a bass cannon. Much bassier than the V4. While I enjoyed it, I thought the V4 was miles better in pretty much every regard. The X5 had lots of initial "wow factor" (that BASS!!) but once I started listening critically it's flaws really stuck out. There is a reason I didn't compare the two in the X5 review. It would have come across as X5 bashing. I like the X5 and think it's good, but there are better earphones out there.
@B9Scrambler I got my X5s yesterday. I did not spend a lot of time with them, but my initial impressions were just like yours. They have good bass but recessed mid range and their soundstage is also poor. The pros are their tiny size (I've been looking for IEMs to use while sleeping for sometime now) and their non-fatiguing sound signature (I can use them in the background while studying or working). The microphonics are really bad, which is disappointing as they are twice as expensive as something like the KZ Zs3 & so they should have used a better cable. I also could not find tips that provide a good seal yet. I'm burning them now & hoping that their midrange and soundstage improve a little bit.
 
I should have read your review before buying the X5s. Both musicmaker TW1 & Somic V4s seem better than the X5. Thanks once again for all your reviews!
@rad7 Give the X5 some more time. They're a solid earphone. Try wearing them with the cable around your ear and make a chin cinch out of a twist tie. That should help with the cable noise. In regards to tips, if you haven't already tried them KZ's orange bored ones should fit and give a decent seal. The smaller than normal nozzle size on the X5 makes tip rolling a bit of a pain.