Pros: Outstanding clarity, very detailed, sparkling highs, accurate articulate lows, wide soundstage...
Cons: cable could be a little sturdier, might be too bright for some, bassheads need not apply..
(This is my first review ever so, if you see something you don't agree with, it's a free country. Voice your opinions. But this is only one person's thoughts. Take it with a grain of salt.)
I've been hearing about this IEM for the past year now. I was most intrigued by the reviews. It was hard to see a review about the Xcited (and its older brother, the Xcape IE, which our brother Spica, from Headphiles.org, has in his arsenal) without HiFiMan's RE-ZERO and RE0 being mentioned and compared alongside it. That intrigued me the most considering the HiFiMans are critically acclaimed for their sound (and notoriously infamous for their flimsy build quality, but maybe the RE400 can change all that, but that's for another thread and time). But my curiosity died down with time, buying other IEMs that snagged my attention, plus the fact that the Sunrise Audios were not readily available locally... But that was before Spica's announcement that he had some Xciteds, Xcapes and other Sunrise gears in stock. At the special price of 1,500php, it was a pretty far cry from the $80 price tag the Xciteds go for as listed in different sites and forums. Now, before you judge me, I am not the kind of person who reads reviews and take them as fact, but whether some of you would admit it or not, reviews pique your interests and sometimes lead you to make purchases out of sheer intrigue and curiosity. Needless to say, I snagged myself a pair of these bad boys at the July 30 meet and I can say, having used these exclusively for the past 4 days, A-B'ing them occasionally with my other 2 IEMs, that these are nice.
Packaging: I was intrigued that it came in a cube. Ingenius packaging, very unique.
Accesories: The box came with a nice clamshell case. In the case, there was a small packet containing 3 sets of eartips - large, small and double-flange. The mediums were already on the Xciteds. Also comes with a shirt clip.
Build: Sturdy. I like the metal housing. Strain reliefs on the housings seem to be ok. I wish tho that it came with an angled plug. Cable looks ordinary but it feels pretty sturdy, not rubbery and isn't hard to remove from tangling.
Comfort: Shallow fit so it's not very intrusive.
Isolation: Pretty good for a vented dynamic driver IEM.
Microphonics: None when worn over the ear. Worn down, pretty bad but reduced when used with the shirt clip.
Specs: (according to the packaging)
Driver: 9mm Neodymium
Impedance: 32 ohm
Frequency Range: 16-24000Hz
Review Gears: Rockboxed Sansa Clip Zip, HP netbook with Foobar2000
Overall, to me, it's pretty neutral. I don't know about the slightly U sound of the Xciteds. All frequencies seem to be well represented. It's kinda bright sounding, can be sibilant at times for some people more used to darker sounding IEMs.
Lows: I love the impact on these. Bass here is all about articulate and punchy. Pretty punchy, actually. It is also detailed and accurate. But, these are no bass monsters. Even if the lows hit pretty well here, sometimes one is left wishing the sub bass could reach lower especially on bassy tracks. I'm not one of them. I'm pretty ok with this amount.
Mids: Not forward, but not recessed either. Just enough to give the presentation some sense of space. It isn't thick. Not very thin sounding either. Maybe this "spacey" mids gives the impression of a U shaped sound signature. Well composed, accurate. Articulate. Detailed. Vocals sound great with these. Instruments are rendered in a pretty realistic fashion. Listening to Whitney Houston's "Run To You" was an awesome experience. I have no gripes about the mids.
Highs: Well, wow. My favorite part of the Xciteds. Sparkly, detailed... Pretty forward yet crystal clear, clean and crisp. Impressive treble clarity. Might be a little too forward for some people, but for me? I love it. It could be sibilant at times, but not to an annoying extent. Still, treble clarity at this price range just doesn't belong here. It needs to go at least a tier higher to be justified. Yes, IMHO, that good.
Soundstage: Impressive. Pretty wide. Airy. Instrument separation is fantastic. Listening to "So Long, Farewell" from the Sound of Music, I could almost sense the positioning of each Von Trapp kid. Even when the nuns were singing "Maria".. . You get a sense of how far the nuns were from each other while conversing (Sound of Music soundtrack in FLAC). And listening to the scores from the movie The Dark Knight Rises, its like sitting in the midst of the orchestra. The impact of each note, string, percussion, cymbal, cello can be felt. Beautiful.
Conclusion: Reading back to what I have written, I had to wonder, Are they really that good? Right now I'm A-B'ing the Xciteds with my VC02s and EP720s, and the Xciteds are wowing me more. Is it my lack of experience with higher tier IEMs? Is it because my inventory is stashed with neutral sounding IEMs that I am only now beginning to really appreciate the soundstage of a slightly U-shaped IEM? I don't think so. Soundstage isn't what wowed me with these, but I think mainly its detail retrieval that is fantastic at this price. It could be the crystal clean, crisp and sparkling highs. Or the punchy articulate bass. Or the accurate "middle" mids. But what I can say is that the Xciteds make the VC02 and EP720 sound congested. Enveloping. Intimate. I still totally adore my other two IEMs. They will always hold a special place in my heart.
But these Xciteds? It's an experience.