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Spiral Ear SE 5-Way Reference


Pros: Extreme extension both ways; supreme detail; perfect bass quality

Cons: Highly dependent on proper amplifier/source; darkish sound; long time from order to arrival; large

SE-5 is a true marvel of engineering, one of a few headphones/IEMs I can say brought a new level of detail and presentation to music and is truly high-fidelity, that is directly comparable to live performance given a high quality recording.


Important caveat: many amplifiers and sources (even many dedicated headphone amps) cannot drive SE-5 correctly - very low output impedance is required.

As a workaround, an impedance adapter can be used to reduce the impact of this on sound.


When improperly driven, they sound dull and dark due to exaggerated cut around 5-8kHz, unevenness above and lowpass. They're relatively dark in the highest registers anyway, which is the reason for 0.5 mark off the sound; but they're no darker than most dynamic driver IEMs.


(No, you don't really need a Benchmark DAC1 for them - FiiO E7 will do.)


Also, I had to wait about 4 months for them to be made, then had to get a refit, taking another month.

Of course the price is very high even for custom IEM standards, however you do get unparralelled quality for it, especially in lower registers.

Spiral Ear SE 5-Way Reference

Flagship product. 5-way design in medical grade silicone, incorporating five, entirely independent, Hi-Fidelity Balanced Armature transducers dedicated for ultra crystal clear highs, rich, lush and organic mids as well as even more powerful and deep, yet extremely controlled low end. Super extended resolution, frequency response, instrument separation and multi-dimensional soundstage will make you realize all the subtleties you have missed and never heard before in your well known recordings. And we mean all recordings…The bass can reach down to unimaginable levels with punch and “meatiness” controlled to the highest standards of highest levels thinkable. You can hear and feel the earthquake-like bass when it’s there in the recording. You can feel it in your body as the lowest notes can reach bone-conducting levels. The mids are extended to the point we have never heard before and their quality, clarity and liquidity should leave you breathless. The icing on the cake is provided by a super tweeter, capable of reproducing the very highest notes your source, amplification and your brain/ears allow you to. It’s there in the sparkle! All these factors contribute to 5-way Reference being extra musical and analytical at the same time! 5-way Reference incorporate: the main woofer, a delayed “ignition” woofer, the low-mids transducer, the high-mids transducer and a super tweeter. Drivers for high, middle and low tones are connected through a custom, unique and first ever in the world, passive 5-way crossover system design. The world's first penta-bore acoustic configuration in silicone! The sound you have never heard before! The sound which can become your addiction. It has become ours. 5-way Reference redefine the meaning of audio reproduction! Price: 999 €

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