Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › REVIEW: Sleek Audio CT7 Custom Ear Monitors
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

REVIEW: Sleek Audio CT7 Custom Ear Monitors

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

 

As a person that loves technology, especially the latest and greatest gadgets, I’m always on the hunt to find things that peak my interest. I had always wanted to take the plunge on some custom in ear monitors. I had been looking for over a year at all different types of custom IEMs; from Ultimate Ears, Shure to Westone. I hadn’t heard of Sleek Audio until one of my customers introduced them to me. His excitement in their products intrigued me enough to do research of my own. This ensued a 48 hour Google search to find as many reviews as I could about the products Sleek Audio offers. My finding showed that the company, even though they have only been in business for a short period of time compared to other IEM manufacturers, has started to revolutionize the industry in their own way by offering low priced IEMs that can be tuned basically on the fly (SA product line). This peaked my interested and my journey into the CT7s began.

After getting in contact with Sleek Audio they pointed me to an audiologist within my area for my ear impressions. My first attempt at the ear impressions was by an audiologist that Sleek Audio didn’t mention. I chose them due to price. The audiologist doing the impressions disregarded the instructions that Sleek Audio had provided. The end result was an impression that was not usable. I then decided to spend the few extra bucks and go see someone that Sleek Audio had initially referred me to. The skilled and knowledgeable people were able to get my impressions done flawlessly. I should have gone to them the first time. This set me back $50.

1st Impressions

2nd Impressions

I packaged the ear impressions up and sent the off to Sleek Audio on March 2nd.

After Sleek Audio received my impressions, I spoke to one of the techs that asked what colors I’d like and the type of music I listen to. After speaking with him for a few minutes I decided on my colors. The left ear is smoke on the inside with a clear red cap along with a black logo. The right ear is red on the inside with a black cap and a red logo. I chose to go with plus tuning for the top end for better highs. After speaking with the Sleek Audio tech my excitement grew and I couldn’t wait to get my new CT7s.

Only 10 day after I had sent my ear impressions off, Sleek Audio had my CT7s at my door.

Everything came very well packaged.

CT7s come in a custom Pelican Case that fits them perfectly. This case is watertight and dust proof to keep your investment completely safe from the elements. It also contains a pressure release valve for altitude changes. This is the same case that is issued in military environments.

Inside the beast of a case you will find your custom monitors, coax audio cable and cleaning tool.

Now on to the part that matters, the sound. My first listening experience was jaw dropping. I had previously been listening to Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5. Ultimate Ears were a huge improvement over low-end earphones such as Skull Candy. The CT7 is an all around even bigger step up from the SuperFi 5. The highs are crisp and contain no screech or top out fuzz. Lows are simply amazing with a super clear real like flow. The bass sounds genuine, not forced or overwhelming like other earphones. All of the sounds levels, lows, mids and highs, perfectly coexist with each other in near perfect harmony for just about every genre. Each monitor has a duel driver setup with an internal crossover.

The coaxial cable plugs into the monitor and rotates freely for an even more custom fit. They use the same cable as the lower end universal earphones. Unfortunately the cable is the only thing that I dislike on this setup as it can be improved upon. I love the coaxial connecter but find that it needs a 2-inch flex section on the end. This would allow an ultimate custom & comfort fit around your ear. The cable that was initially included had some of the rubber insulation pull down from one of the end connectors and was showing bare wire. I called Sleek and informed them and they immediately sent out another. Many other IEMs have 3rd party cables, which are usually a better build over the manufactures cable. This is something I hope we can look forward to.

The coax end plug slides into the connecter.

The KLEER wireless W-1 accessory is a fantastic addition to the CT7. CD quality lossless sound over wireless. I was a bit skeptical about how it would perform. After using it I became a huge fan. It is an almost perfect wireless solution. There is a slight hiss while music is not playing but not enough to bother. The receiver hangs comfortably behind the back of your head and opens possibilities of use that a cable can hinder. The sound quality is exceptional for a wireless setup. I had stopped using audio over Bluetooth because of the massive degrade in quality. The W-1 has won me back to wireless.

The module plugs into the audio source and the receiver plugs into the monitors, both of which have their own battery. They are charged by a micro USB (Cable is included). Full charge will last up to 10 hours. The module will provide up to 4 receivers with audio, all by a press of a button. My only gripe on the W-1 is the power switch is VERY small and not quickly accessible. In order to turn them on and off you will need something with a very small tip, something I usually don’t carry with me.

W-1 & Receiver on an iPhone

USB charge plug

Power switch on receiver

Carrying case for wireless accessory

 

All and all, the CT7 is amazing and hands down the best IEM that has been in my ears. The KLEER Wireless is a keeper. I find myself using it even when I am just sitting around the house. I am excited to see what Sleek Audio brings in the years to come. You might read this review and say, “Where can I buy? I want them now!” If you are a true audiophile then your ears need these, but they come with a price. The CT7 runs $699.99 without the KLEER wireless or $799.99 with. The KLEER wireless accessory is also sold separate for $120. So, with impressions, shipping, CT7 and wireless you will come really close to $900. If you don’t have that in your budget Sleek Audio has some lower priced options that are universal. I will be reviewing some of them in the future so check back!

 

 

 

I write reviews for Big Shiny Robot you can checkout my original review and lots of other nerd news & reviews Here: http://www.bigshinyrobot.com/reviews/archives/25288


Edited by Jameason - 4/7/11 at 8:49pm

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #2 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hey guys! 

 Any input on the review would be much appreciated. Sleek has also informed me that they are in talks with several companies about improving the cable with a braided upgrade.

post #3 of 13

Nice pictures but in spite of saying that the sound is the most important part you only spend one paragraph describing it. I would definitely recommend a more in depth discussion of the sound including specific songs to back up impressions.

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the comment! This is my first IEM review. I will take that into consideration on my future reviews.

post #5 of 13

I like the pictures, and nice review, but what's the Triple.fi 5?

As bcg27 said, you should write a bit more about the sound - lows, mids, highs, soundstage, imaging - and you should tell us what source you were using with them.


Edited by 12345142 - 4/7/11 at 8:19pm
post #6 of 13

#1 tasman 2011-04-18 19:15

i have been looking at the westone es7, the ue, and the jh in ear monitors. i know they are all different... but if you were only going to get one set of iem's, would you get the ct7's... ?
are you still happy with the wireless system for the ct7 ?
most of these sets are within a few hundred dollars in price. are the ct7's still your best bang for the buck ?
thank you very much .... tim ....
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

I really do like them. After reading other head to head reviews about other custom IEM's I feel that they are the best all around customs available. The only others that I find get as high reviews are the Capitol Records Ultimate Ears. I personally have not had the chance to use them. I am extremely happy with the CT7 and the wireless system & would be happy with using only them. 

post #8 of 13

Good review but I think you may want to mention which setting yours came with, neutral or plus. It's funny how Sleek's site implies that plus (treble) is the audiophile setting and neutral the warmer bass setting. Probably both just different flavors of close to right. I think your last post regarding other customs is a bit over the top if you haven't actually heard them.

 

The remote system is also 16 bit lossless which is fine for most listening but for a phone in this price range, I suspect owners may be using better sources. There's only so much you can do with that amount of processing and amplification in a transmit and receive setup for $100. Apparently, it works well but I'm sure that even Sleek would admit that it has some limitations for their top model.

 

Your only gripe is the cable as it comes from the earpiece. Personally, I like it. I don't care for heavier cables like the new shure setup or for memory wire for personal use so these would be welcome to me.


Edited by goodvibes - 4/19/11 at 6:20am
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

I did mention in the 3rd paragraph that had got plus tuning. When I spoke with their rep he said the bass was all around good even with plus tuning. I agree it is all about who likes what, a great example is your reference to liking the cable. I feel that the UE braided memory cable is far better, just my opinion. I simply write about how I feel about the product. I was not implying that I personally know what the best headphone is. I am in works with UE to review the UE 18 pro and Capitol Studios monitors. I will be able to 100% point to the best of the 3 after using those. I do FEEL from the reviews that I have read about other customs that these are the best all around customs.  I wont absolutely know which is the best until I do reviews on others and know which is the best is. All and all everything I write is just my opinion as others can have 180 degree outlook an the same products. I absolutely love music! This is why I started getting into reviews. I am very new in audio reviews as this review was my first headphone or earphone review. I thank everyone for there input. Most definitely thank everyone for there criticisms. I will grow as a reviewer and be sure to take all of what is said into account for future reviews.

post #10 of 13

Many think the jh13, Westone 5 or Miracle are best. Your reviews are very welcome but I wouldn't assume anything from reading other reviews. The 18 has a lot of extra bass yet you think they may better than something more linear like the 13 or W5 based on reviews? I don't understand that logic. Again, I like your review and will also read your others as all info is good but why bother if you're going to draw conclusions from other reviews. We could just read those instead of getting an opinion of an opinion. Are you getting a break on these as it seems you're somewhat biased to the items you will be reviewing without ever having heard them. I'm not saying anything's intentional. I've got no bone here on your choices for review as I think the capital studios may ring my bell as well but I certainly wouldn't assume so and even once I heard and like them, not assume that there wasn't something else that I'd prefer without hearing the competition. I just think it's extremely unfair to rank things not heard. I don't think any of the manufacturer's which products that you review would disagree with that.


Edited by goodvibes - 4/19/11 at 12:43pm
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 

I completely understand, & that is a great point. I should not use others opinions to influence my own. As a first time earphone review I wanted to start with a IEM that is in the top contenders. I'm not biased on them at all. I simply have not heard the others and would love for them to be as good or even better than the CT7. I got the CT7 first after a lot of reading and the overall positive comments about them.  I don't know if they are the best and am only open to giving completely unbiased reviews. Another reason I got into writing for big shiny robot. The entire staff of BSR states the truth on reviews. There have been a handful of companies that try to influence the outcome of a review and we will have none of it. If I don't like something I will say so. I am eager to review some other custom IEM from other companies. I will have come great compair and contrasts on all of them. I really appreciate your input! 

post #12 of 13

Sounds great and sorry about missing the part about getting the plus version. I bit more info about that option would also be helpful to those unfamiliar. Does it use bass venting like the rest of their products?

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

No bass vents..

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Gear mentioned in this thread:

Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › REVIEW: Sleek Audio CT7 Custom Ear Monitors