Pros: Great balance, wide and deep soundstage, excellent imaging, good fit for uIEM
Cons: Price, shallow U shape less appealing to vocal lovers
Long time no see guys. It's been a while since I hung around here. I'd like to apologize to Gavin as he has shown only generosity to me but I haven't shown any in return. I also owe you guys an apology because I have failed to do my part in helping you guys have a better understanding of the IEM without listening first.
I would like to at least post my review very late in efforts to make it up to you guys. I'm truly sorry; I was so caught up at work in construction then Assistant Manager at a hotel that I just couldn't find the peace of mind to gather my thoughts and express it in words. Then I decided to wait til my JH16FP + JH3A arrive to really finish the review, but I had a hard time with the JH3A part... Also was waiting for the TH900 to arrive.
First, I'd like to let you guys know that I am not as romantic of a writer as those guys at Sixmoons. It also doesn't help that I've managed to lose my pictures that I've taken of the product.
Also, please note that some of the comparisons were made from memory and notes of the past gear so do take them with a bag of salt. My purpose of this review is to give some insight as to how the IEM sounds by drawing comparisons to other generally known gear. This may help draw a reference point for the reader which may be the ultimate aid in realizing just what kind of sound the 1Plus2 retains.
Also, since the 1Plus2 is a universal IEM, isolation will be as with any quality uIEM. Comfort is a subjective thing that depends on each person so this I won't comment on this.
For simplicity's sake, I will not elaborate on different IEM cables I have listened to. Instead I will say this:
The sonic difference between 6N+ OCC silver and copper is so minimal that it just doesn't matter to the average Head-Fier. If there is a difference I will say that copper adds body to the sound while silver gives a bit more treble sparkle and slight more detail. This however is extreme hyperbole and would be like trying to discern the taste of VOSS water and Vitamin Water.
However, the introduction of gold into silver changes things. It alters the wire's conductivity negatively, but without worsening the sound. It smoothes some treble glare and makes the overall sound very sweet and full bodied. This is also hyperbole but is quite noticeable. Yes I have heard Tralucent's S/G and yes I have heard the Piccolino, albeit it was with the LCD2 rev2. I still have the same findings between the two instances.
In conclusion, it's up to you to decide if the price is worth it to you. For those who have the resources and can afford it, by all means get the best that will satisfy you, because that's all that matters in the end.
Now to the meat of the course!
Transport: rMBP, iPhone 5, Audiophilleo 1, HiFace Two, iBasso DX50
DAC: Schiit Gungnir, ODAC, JH Audio JH3A
Amp: Triad L3, LLP, O2, Tralucent T1, JH Audio JH3A
Cables: Tralucent silver stranded, Tralucent silver/gold, DHC Symbiote Copper
Headphones: Westone ES5, JH Audio JH16 FreqPhase, Audeze LCD2, Audeze LCD3, Sennheiser HD800, Fostex TH900
- The Eagles - Hotel California 24/192 flac
- Diana Krall - Live in Paris album 24/192 flac
- Norah Jones - Come Away With Me album 24/192 flac
- Claudio Abbado/Berliner Philharmoniker - Beethoven Symphonie No. 9 24/96 flac
- Artur Pizarro - Chopin Sonata No 2 & 3 24/96 flac
- Leonard Slatkin/BBC Symphony Orchestra - Bach The Conductors' Transcriptions 24/88 flac
- James Horner - Becoming One With Neytiri (Avatar) 24/96 flac
- BoA - Only One, Mayday 16/48 mp3
- Hans Zimmer - Time (Inception) 24/96 flac
- Back Street Boys - Show Me The Meaning 24/96 flac
- Adele - Chasing Pavements 24/96 flac
Bass: As expected with dynamic drivers, the bass was very impactful with a pleasant balance of mid to sub bass while maintaining texture and detail. It did not bleed into the mids though it felt slightly overwhelming on poorly recorded tracks, but this wasn't the case with good recordings. Overall, well balanced with good slam and sub bass. It's probably the best bass I've heard from an IEM.
Mids: I personally listen to a lot of female vocals, jazz, and piano concertos. Because I enjoy sweet mids, I place a lot of emphasis and criticism on the mids more so than the other regions of the FR. In the 1Plus2's case, I had some mixed feelings. Because the 1p2's sound is U shaped, the vocals were less upfront than I would've liked. This however didn't mean it sounded that distant. It was adequate enough in that I was satisfied. You may find your own experience different than mine if you use a Silver/Gold cable. I used the silver stranded, and a full copper cable and had the same findings. There was no fuzziness or muffledness going on with the mids, it was clear and pleasant.
Treble: I have very sensitive hearing, tested higher than standard at an audiologist, so I'm very sensitive to treble spikes. I'm also equally as sensitive to shelved treble. That said, the 1p2's treble was not peaky, nor shelved. It had the right amount of sparkle to it. It did reveal a lot of detail, more detail than your average cans. It didn't feel fake or weird like the AKG K3003i.
Soundstage: Hands down the best intrinsic soundstage I've ever heard from an IEM. Seriously, this is what impressed me the most. I love a large spacious 3D soundstage, but not to the point where it feels unnatural like the HD800. The 1Plus2 was spot on with the soundstaging. It still wasn't full sized open cans, but it was actually satisfying where usually I dislike IEMs for the congested feeling.
Imaging: Along with the soundstage, the imaging was extremely precise and accurate. It was layered and reached far and wide. Very impressive. Sometimes, I felt it even beat the LCD2 amped in this part.
Detail: Maybe it's because of the imaging and sparkly treble, but the details shone through. It wasn't HD800 level, but it was better than the LCD2r2.
General peculiarities: The sound was overall very organic and nautral. There was nothing forced-sounding, nor was anything lacking. Clarity, transparency, and decay was very good. There was nothing I couldn't really pick out that bothered me. Everything was done right. It's just a very well engineered and tuned piece of work.
Build quality: As far as the build quality went, there was nothing particularly done wrong. It was a well built piece, but I'm unsure what material was used to build the housing itself. It didn't feel like acrylic. It didn't feel fragile but at the same time, it didn't have much weight to it either. The cable's plug was not exactly glued on properly so the solder broke loose and so I could not use the Silver/Gold cable much, unfortunately. This cable was an early production run so I'm sure the current ones are built well due to my experience's feedback.
Design: For a universal IEM, the fit was pretty great. The design of the shell itself worked for me, and I'm sure it will work for the majority out there. Unless your ears are disproportionate, or extremely small, you shouldn't have any problems with the fit. The canals have a latch that locks the tips on so it doesn't fall off, but as with any universal IEM, if you yank or get the tip caught on something, you will most likely lose it.
Accessories: The IEMs came with a small pelican case with padding and 3 pairs of silicone ear tips in small, medium, and large. Very standard, but not really missing anything. That said, I don't think I had the "production run" so it may not have come with other small stuff anyways.
ES5: ES5 sounded more lush, with vocals very forward. Things sounded fuller. That said, it lacked the transparency, clarity, and speed of the 1Plus2. The bass was punchy on the ES5, but it had no where near as much slam as the 1Plus2. Sub bass reached much deeper on the 1Plus2. ES5 sounded muffled in comparison, and lacked soundstage width and depth. However, if one likes "intimacy" then the ES5 would be better on that part. While the ES5 sounded like the singer was there with you, the 1Plus2 sounded as if the singer was on stage infront of you.
JH16 FreqPhase: Take a bag of salt on this one since I got my JH16 much later after I passed on the 1Plus2. This is all based off of notes and memory. The JH16 FP has a more "present" bass. Although it's not omnipresent, the 1Plus2 sounded more dynamic. The slam was better on the 1Plus2. However, the JH16's mids and vocals are more forward. They have the same amount of treble. However, the JH16 couldn't touch the 1Plus2 on soundstage and imaging. The 1Plus2 would be definitely more natural sounding. However, adding the JH3A into the mix, things change. The JH3A makes the JH16 sound like full sized headphones. The soundstage is very 3D, very wide and deep. The imaging is very accurate, and layered so well. The FR tilts to a more neutral sound with some vocal warmth. I couldn't tell you which was better on these fronts, but one thing I can say is the dynamic driver is a dynamic driver for a reason. The bass slam and depth still doesn't match the JH16 with the JH3A.
LCD2/LCD3: I know it's unfair comparing full sized cans to the 1Plus2, but it gives a nice reference point for many people. I felt that the Audezes sounded more smooth, organic, and natural as it's an ortho. However, the 1Plus2 did have better imaging than the LCD2. The LCD3 has great imaging however but I'm not able to tell you which is better. The 1Plus2 had more treble than the LCD2r2 but I did not hear any sibilance. Those who favor buttery mids wouldn't really prefer the shallow U shape of the 1Plus2.
HD800: The HD800s being detail and soundstage freak, it's obvious that the 1Plus2 wouldn't be able to match these in these aspects. However, the HD800 with Anax Mod 2.0 had much more sibilance and peaky treble that was uncomfortable to listen to for an extended period of time. It also lacked sub bass in comparison to the 1Plus2. Although the mids are organic sounding on the HD800, they both still don't really match the mids and vocals of the Audezes. If you were to ask me which one I would buy with the money, I would take the 1Plus2 since it's more versatile than the HD800, and the latter takes a lot more money to get right than the 1Plus2.
TH900: Funny because I just got the TH900 but by memory and notes, it sounds almost the same as the 1Plus2: shallow U shape, with slightly pushed back vocals and mids, but not distant. Organic and smooth, with more treble sparkle than Audezes, but not sibilant nor lacking in detail. Imaging and soundstage is very 3D and open, with lots of depth and layering. Bass has lots of slam and sub bass but never bleeds. Doesn't overpower with well recorded tracks at all. Freaky how similar they sound. I couldn't tell you which I prefer nor which was better.
If you like a can with a balanced presentation, sounds natural, and is very versatile with any genre, you will like the 1Plus2. The bass, soundstage, and imaging are really to die for. I have yet to come across an IEM that is intrinsically so good at these aspects. I also happen to suck at writing conclusions so I'll leave it here. A huge shoutout to Gavin and the rest of the members on tour who had to wait for me. Sorry for the trouble and thank you for the opportunity!
I will be back to add on to this review. Might get JH Siren Roxannes soon, or a JH13.