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[REVIEW] SonoCore “COA-803” 2-ways CoAxial Canalphones

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 

First, I must admit I am a sucker for dynamic dual drivers, and I have quite a few in my headphone collection. Naturally when I saw the eBay listing for a relatively cheap (~$60), never heard of dual dynamic IEM from Korea, I just have to grab one. I really do not hope for much simply by looking at the packaging, but look can be deceiving. In the case of SonoCore COA-803, money isn’t all wasted.

 

CoX-01.jpg

 

CoX-02.jpg

 

SPEC

Drivers: 6mm + 10mm dual dynamic transducers

Frequency Response: 16Hz – 20kHz

Impedance: 8 ohm (10m) + 16ohm (6mm) @ 1kHz

Sensitivity: 115+/-3dB @ 1kHz, 126mVrms

Rated Input Power: 3mW

Max. Ibput Power: 10mW

Cable: 1.2m, 3.5mm stereo plug

 

CoX-03.jpg

 

Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality

What I have received is part of what I believe to be a ‘bulk package’, meaning it is not retail package and not supposed to be pretty looking. Inside, the IEM is coiled in a fairly good looking aluminum case. There are also three pairs of average quality eartips and an oddly long (~3m), pretty good quality extension cable. At first look, the IEM itself seems decently build. However, the lack of strain relief, nozzle mesh and an easily open back end on the housing (just a little force on the finger will do) rise concern. The fact that my first pair died less than 3 hour in first use wasn’t really helping too (though it was replaced and works fine since then). Though I wasn’t really expecting much from an unknown brand, I do hope SonoCore can improve its build quality and adapts a more solid housing design as I think there is good potential in their dual drivers.

 

CoX-04.jpg

 

Sound Quality

As usually, the IEM received at least 50 hours of burn-in before the review. The sound improved slightly at the first few hours of burn-in as detail becomes a little clearer but overall there is no significant change.

 

The overall sound signature is bass driven, warm to slightly thick with smooth upper end.  Bass is really big and a little boomy, though still maintains a decent level of texture to it. Slight slow at speed but overall decent in quality. Mid is warm and slightly veil due to a slight drop on the 1kHz to 2kHz region.  Treble extends decently but smooth and sparkle-less, lacks enough detail to offset the overly dominating bass. For the same reason, soundstage is below average. At first, COA-803 can sound a little underwhelming because of it bass heavy sound. However, if you don’t mind playing with a little EQ, say a slight bass reduction on the 150Hk region, a rise on 1.5kHz plus some treble boost, the IEM can still be a lot of fun to listen to. It might not be a particularly accurate sounding IEM, but the potential is there for user to explore via EQing.

 

CoX-05.jpg

 

Verdict

The COA-803 was originally intended as more of a fun purchase than it was a serious one, but at the end I don’t feel regretted. As the SonoCore’s first dual driver, it shows good potential but also has its own downfalls. The model has since been discontinued and replaced by upgraded models (COA-803+ and COA-805) that promise better treble and detail presentation. If SonoCore can tune the dual drivers just right and improve the build quality, I would imagine we might see a killer sub-$100 dual drivers in the future.

 

Check out the Concise Multi-IEM Comparison for a numeric ranking.

post #2 of 45

The sound sig described here make it sound as if its a little bit like the MR2 pro.

Got me curious now, wanna try this little guy out o.O

post #3 of 45
Thread Starter 

MR2 pro actually has a cleaner, more detail sound and a lot less bass - that say a lot since MR2 Pro actually does have quite a good amount of bass.


Edited by ClieOS - 5/5/11 at 11:15pm
post #4 of 45

thanks for the review

from the pics , the housing look a quite cheap, though

post #5 of 45

Another new brand introduced to head-fi by clieOS :)

 

COA-805 is available for $85. But, an "Engineering Field Test" version of COA-805 is available for $50 (COA-803 retail box, worldwide free shipping) from here - http://www.sonocore.com/apps/webstore/products/show/2263703. I am not sure about the ordering process though. It just says "Leave the Phone number with shipping address".

 

But, I found the eBay listing

 

CA-803 for $45 (free worldwide shipping) - http://cgi.ebay.com/SonoCore-2Way-4Speakers-Earphones-/300546264802

 

CA-805 for $55 (Field Test version?) - http://cgi.ebay.com/SonoCore-COA-805-2Way-Earphones-/300550341267

 

Been IEM-free for a month now. These are a bit tempting, not sure if I want to take a plunge with 'Field Test' models.


Edited by esanthosh - 5/6/11 at 1:31am
post #6 of 45
Thread Starter 

As much as I love to have more dual driver dynamic, I'll pass on the COA-805 for now and save my money for the JVC.HA-FXT90. Hopefully we will see better IEM from SonoCore in the future.

post #7 of 45

Well - I guess I'm a sucker for a dual dynamic driver iem.  I'd also bit on the "engineering field test" 805 using the website posted above.  I found no need to leave my number.  You just place your order through paypal and you'll get a receipt in your e-mail a short while later.  They actually just arrived at the post office - I need to pick them up this morning.

 

These were totally an impulse buy and I hope I don't regret my purchase, because I'm more of an analytical listener and I've already got great IEM's.

 

If it's ok with ClieOS - I might leave my impressions of the 805 on this thread.

post #8 of 45

Interesting.  Wonder if we'll ever see any triple driver dynamics in the future?  Or maybe dynamic/BA hybrid universals?  Would be quite interesting to have the technology only in customs right now trickle down.

post #9 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PolloLoco View Post

If it's ok with ClieOS - I might leave my impressions of the 805 on this thread.

Great. I will like to know more about 805 too.
 

 

post #10 of 45

Probably not the sound I prefer, but I really like the styling -- the green looks nice!

post #11 of 45

 

 

Quote:
bit on the "engineering field test" 805 using the website posted above

 

Also bought on impulse, bit of a gamble, but lots of potential.

post #12 of 45

I am receiving a pair soon as well.  I will be doing a mini-review here and a full review later on.  However, mine is coming in after the retail packaging is finalized. 

post #13 of 45

It's called a SF5EB
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaBomb77766 View Post

Or maybe dynamic/BA hybrid universals?  Would be quite interesting to have the technology only in customs right now trickle down.



 

post #14 of 45

Well - I did get my 805's this morning, and while I don't have too many comments since they're not burned in, I can comment on the build quality/packaging.

 

My "engineering field test" 805's came with just the earphones, 3 sets of tips, the blue earphone holder that you see above in ClieOS's pictures - but no case.  Which makes the foam earphone holder seem next to useless.  One thing I noticed is that the 805 DOES have a very sheer wire mesh covering the nozzle.  ClieOS commented that his 803 didn't have this - so it sounds like an improvement.

 

Other than that, the cables are pretty weak - there's no strain reliefs, and the build quality looks and feels cheap.

 

However - I've been pleasantly surprised by the sound so far.  They sound better than what I expected after reading ClieOS's 803 review.  At first I thought these were mid-centric, but it depends on the song.  I won't comment further until they get burned in, but right now I'm thinking these might not have been a waste of money.

post #15 of 45
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the impression. Just received an email from SonoCore and maybe I'll have a chance to try out the engineering field test sample in near future as well.

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