This is not really a review of GR07, it's more of a declaration of love. If you want a typical review, there are at least five others on head-fi that go into the details and use the audiophillic jargon that we're all accustomed to. I'm relatively new to IEMs and I'm not an audiophile by the technical definition. It's true that I lack the vast experience that many other members do; however, what I do have is an intense love for music. I'm a college student in a major that is taxing on the mind and the wallet, therefore I'm always looking for a way to stretch my dollar. With all that said, I'm declaring the GR07 the best all-around universal available.
With that out of the way let me continue. Like I mentioned earlier, I am a firm believer in the power of music. I know first-hand how it can uplift your spirits, or calm you down. Every single person on this forum looking at earphones/headphones is simply looking for the a medium that will enable them to enjoy their music as much as they can. Whether it is through a certain sound signature, or an IEM that will disappear when you put them into your ears and leave you to your music. There are also those, like myself, who do not yet have access to unlimited moneys and would like to find the best price/performance point for their tastes. In my opinion, Vsonic has taken all those criteria, mixed them in the perfect proportions, and slowly simmered everything together until the GR07 came out.
I listen to music when I'm in my apartment, on my way to classes, when I'm running errands, when I'm doing work, when I'm...you get the idea. I take pride in the fact that I have a music library of 1500 (and growing) handpicked songs, and each one means something to me. The songs vary in genres like hip-hop/rap/r&b/pop, to reggae and dancehall, to techno, classical, and almost any genre you can name. I absolutely love that I can throw my rockboxed clip+ or iPhone 4 on shuffle, and the GR07 will sound fantastic with every single song that I throw at it. I love that it can go from sophisticated and poised while listening to Wagner, then go completely ghetto right afterwards when I'm bumping the latest Kanye West album.
The GR07 has taken the definition of neutral to another level, and completely departed that from the idea that balanced has to mean boring. I'm sure that other IEMs can do certain things better, like the EX1000 and its slightly better detail, or the the CK10's sparklier treble. But, how many of those phones are as versatile as the GR07? How many of them cost less than $200? how is the fit, seal, and isolation of the EX1000?
The GR07 might not be the most sonically advanced member of the IEM world, but as a package there is none better. Their portrayal of cymbals, drums, and vocals are simply unreal (or should I say ultra-realistic).
After 200 hours...
The GR07 amazes me with its ability to keep growing. I'm over 200hrs of use/burn in, and it's sounding better than ever. I highly recommend this IEM to ANYBODY who wants absolute top tier universal performance at a ridiculously low price.
Shure SE530 Comparison:
I have a Shure SE530 on loan. When I had my SE215, I almost spent $400 to upgrade to the SE535 (which I hear is very similar in sound). Of course I had to compare it to the current love of my audio life, the GR07, to see if I missed out on anything by going the route I chose. The answer is...nope. The GR07 is simply a better iem then the SE530. Whenever I switch over from the 530 to the GR07, it's like a breath of fresh air, not just in sound signature, but also in SQ refinement and frequency extension. One funny thing I noticed on the SE530 that shocked me was...sibilance! It didn't come up as often as the GR07, but when it did, I literally felt pain from the harshness. Just a little tidbit there that I wasn't expecting, given all the talk of Shure smoothness and recessed highs. I'm completely happy with the choice I made, and the money I saved.
FX700, IE8, and GR07 Comparison
Please bear in mind that these impressions are the result of what I'm hearing from directly A/B/C'ing these iems.
FX700: I can see why some regard it as the best dynamic universal. Timbre is great, detail is ridiculous, and it has this extremely lively, edgy sound that can be addictive on the right songs. The treble extends to the feet of Zeus, and the bass reaches down to the depth of the river Styx. Sorry, I love Greek mythology. I wouldn't consider the midrange recessed, it's just not that forward. It's there and it's detailed, but you can tell the bass and the treble are the stars of the show. There's a whole lot of bass, but it's so rich and textured that it's never really a problem. The overall sound is just so open, and the imaging is addictive. I feel like I'm listening to a headphone moreso than an iem, a really engaging headphone. The only (personal) con that I have with with it is that there is just so much treble on some songs. I feel like the overall sound is tilted towards the upper regions, with lots of bass to prevent the sound from becoming cold or overly clinical. When I listen to instruments like drums and cymbals, I can hear the treble boost in the overly lively snap of the snare, or the slight splashiness of the cymbals. I also feel like the treble tilt improves the apparent detail presented. Going back and forth with the GR07 on Mumford and Sons' "Little Lion Man," the FX700 presents about 5% more detail in the opening guitar sequence. Would I keep them for my daily use? No. They're a bit too aggressive, even at less than 1/2 of my iphone's volume and the mids are a bit dry for my taste. Otherwise, they're an EDM lover's dream come true, and the ultimate incarnation of the V-/U-shaped signature.
GR07: Way more polite than the FX700. I'd say the timbre is on par with the FX700, without that treble tilt, so it sounds more natural (to me at leas). Detailing is less aggressive, and the overall signature is more laidback, allowing me to listen for hours without a hint of fatigue. Dynamics on the GR07 are good, but not on the same level of the monster that is the FX700. So on about 10-15% of my library, I found myself longing for the edginess of the FX700. Keep in mind that the remaining 85-90% of my library was done better to my ears by the GR07. One of the things I love about this iem is that it lets me hear my music as it is. It's ever so slightly warm, without really coloring the music. That is not something I can say about the FX700. Not to say that the GR07 is boring; it's what I call a "lady in the street, but a freak in the bed." It's not a stripper with tattoos all over her body, but a girl with a little butterfly on her pelvis where you alone can see it. What my strange analogy implies is that the Gr07 is not an "always on" iem. It has no midbass hump, yet it can rumble your socks off it it needs to. It's still my favorite iem. The
IE8: The IE8 sounds way better than I expected, listening to the accounts of some. Yes, there is a midbass veil that obscures detail in the mids, but the rest of the spectrum is done pretty well. The highs are well extended, and have plenty of sparkle, and the mids, though veiled, are present and enjoyable. I didn't really find the soundstage to be that massive or distant. Listening to Amy Winehouse's "Valerie," her voice was intimate enough to keep the song together. Overall, the sound is pretty darn good, and I can imagine that the IE80 is even better It wasn't. I have to comment on the beautiful, beautiful cable. It's so supple, and pliable. I think it may even be better than the GR07's. There's a member who keeps dumping on the IE8's jack because it's not gold-plated. To that, I say..."So?" This is one of the best built iems I've ever seen. Also, to the person saying the IE8 has no bass, there is moore than enough bass. It was enough to be slightly overpowering on some songs, and this was on the first knob out of 4 or 5!!
I can definitely see why all these iems are considered top tiers. I have to say that the FX700 is the classiest IEM I've seen in my life. It's simply gorgeous. It makes the GR07 look like the ugly duckling...
.TLDR = FX700>=GR07>IE8
Vsonic GR07 MKII vs Vsonic GR07 Bass Edition
1) Gotham's Reckoning - The Dark Knight Rises OST
The BE simply sounds EPIC on this track. The low end weight is reminiscent of the main villain in the movie. It's strong, yet fast and articulate. The great thing here is that the atmosphere of the song does not suffer at all compared to the MKII. The main difference here is in the starkness of the detail. They both have similar amounts of detail, but the BE's bass quantity tends to soften the immediacy of the presentation. This also lends to a smoother top end.
One important thing here is that the MKII has "enough" bass to carry the song. The BE just has that extra oomph to put it over the top for those who want more.
2) Oakland UFO - The Flashbulb
Again, the BE sounds more euphonic here due to the bigger bass and warmer presentation. Despite the MKII having slightly more clarity, I prefer the BE for the way it adds extra fullness to the snare and synth sounds.
3) Little Lion Man - Mumford and Sons
This particular track isn't the most well mastered track, so the extra bass of the BE sounds a bit out of place here. I also preferred the MKII's slight boost in clarity, as it was useful in making out some of the more hidden details.
Overall winner: Tie.
The Bass Edition is exactly what the name implies, a GR07 with a boosted low end. he side effect of this is a warmer, more euphonic presentation than may or may not be to your liking. In the course of my listening, I found the BE would work better for some tracks, while the MKII would work well for others. It's really up to you to determine the kind of presentation you want.
Edited by eke2k6 - 3/24/13 at 3:58pm