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[REVIEW] Aurisonics ASG-1 rev 1.2 : A Custom Lookalike (2/11/12 update: Comply and Jaben Foam Tips!)

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
Hey guys this is my first ever review and I just want to say that I am not an expert audiophile and not a native English speaker. Pardon me if I make mistakes as you read through. Hope you enjoy this review! 

AURISONICS ASG-1 rev 1.2

The first time I heard about the ASG-1, I found it very interesting, having a custom-like shape for a universal IEM. I proceeded to read several reviews, and found mixed impressions. In short the ASG-1 is only good if you manage to EQ them to your liking, and I am not familiar with EQ-ing. It also has a treble peak at some frequencies. Reading those reviews made me feel “meh, there are better options”. 

A few weeks after I knew about the ASG-1, Aurisonics launched a revised version, the ASG-1 rev 1.2. Fingers crossed, I was really hoping for a better sounding IEM that does not require EQ to perform. Reviews were more positive this time, and I really wanted to audition it.

I went down to Soundwaves Studio to audition, and I love this IEM. However, my wallet was on the verge of crying and so I decided not to buy since SGD 349 was a little too expensive and I just bought a pair of headphones few months back. 

The next day, Soundwaves Studio announced a limited time and stock offer, SGD 279 for a pair. This is too good of an offer to be missed. Damn it. I rushed over and bought one. Sorry wallet.

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PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES

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The ASG-1 does not come with a box packaging or whatsoever. It comes inside an Otterbox casing which also serves as the packaging. I’d say this is one of the best cases that are included with an IEM I ever found. The name “Otterbox” says it all. Translucent white, very thick and sturdy plastic. I don’t think even a Hummer H2 can break it. That being said, it is very hard to open and close, which can be annoying at times. There are Aurisonics logo sticker at the front and specifications sticker at the back. 

The IEM only comes with 4 pairs of tips (1 small, 2 medium, 1 large), which is somewhat lacking in this price range. I am quite disappointed with the quality of the tips though. They are very thin, compared to the likes of Sony Hybrids and UE tips. They are so thin that they bend too much when I tried to put them on, making the process difficult. It also comes with a cleaning tool.

BUILD QUALITY AND DESIGN

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This IEM has outstanding build quality. The thick frost white plastic shell is very sturdy and built to last. The ASG-1 will survive a lot of drops and knocks. The amazing workmanship shows as there are no sharp edges or rough surfaces along the mould. 

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The design is what makes me initially interested about this IEM. It certainly looks very cool. Designed for professional musicians, the ASG-1 looks just like a custom IEM. It is not stylish or elegant, but people will stare at you and think you are a stage musician.

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It also has a high quality, removable, braided silver-colored cable with Westone pins. Simply put, this is one of the best built Universal IEMs in the market.

ISOLATION AND COMFORT

The ASG-1 is pretty big in size and it really helps in isolation. Undoubtedly this pair has one of the best isolation for a universal IEM. Better than SM3v2, PFE232, and SE535. Very small amount of background sound leaks in, and there is no sound leaking out at all. In short, a truly top notch isolation.

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When it comes to comfort, this IEM can be a ‘love it or hate it’ kind of thing. The size is massive and so it might not fit everyone’s ear. For those not used to wearing custom IEMs, fit can be very awkward at first. However, I find the ASG-1 very comfortable. It fits my ear perfectly, and I have tried wearing it for 7 hours straight and I felt no discomfort caused by the shell. 

The selection of tips does make a difference in comfort though. The original tips are very thin and kind of sharp at the edges that sometimes I felt poked inside the ear when I move. I will discuss eartips selection later.

SOUND QUALITY

The ASG-1 rev 1.2 is a very unique sounding IEM. It is very dark and warm. Personally I have not listened to any other IEM which share similar signature (although there might be, those that I have not tried). I am using Rockboxed Sansa Clip+, amped with GoVibe Derringer. For the testing I used FLAC songs of different genres, namely Californication (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Wake Up Call (Maroon 5), Are You Gonna Go My Way (Lenny Kravitz), Rolling In The Deep (Adele) and Lost Without You (The Bangerz Remix).

- BASS
ASG-1 rev 1.2 has a slightly boosted mid and sub bass from the old ASG-1. The sub bass reaches deep, and the mid bass is very punchy. The bass is not as phenomenal as the Atrio MG7, but overall the bass is well detailed and textured with massive quantity and punch. The sub-bass extends quite deep and produces sufficient rumble when the track calls for it.

- MIDS
Personally I am a mids lover so I might be biased in this section. For me the mids is what made me fall in love with the ASG-1 rev 1.2. It is very forward, thick, detailed, lush and natural sounding. (EDIT: after spending 200+ hours with ASG-1 and A/B-ing with other IEMs, I do not find the mids all that forward. The mid is the focus of the presentation, but not forward. There is a clear separation between the vocals and the rest, making it the limelight of the presentation.The bass is in fact slightly more forward). The reproduction of timbre in the vocals is clear. Both female (Ellie Goulding, Adele) and male (James V. Mcmorrow, John Mayer) sounds very intimate and real to my ears. The micro details of the recording, such as the breaths sounds very natural. This IEM is exceptional for vocals.

- TREBLE
I’d say treble is the weakness of this particular IEM. The treble is laidback, and lacks extension and sparkle. The treble sounded as if it hides behind the mids and bass, but it is still detailed. With EQ, however, the treble sparkle can be brought up. For me, EQ-ing up the treble is a must when listening to classical and rock songs. With an amp that can bring up the detail and crispness of the treble (GoVibe Derringer is able to improve this slightly), this IEM will sound really great.

- SOUNDSTAGE/SEPARATION:
The soundstage is downright amazing. It is very wide and deep, which helps to create great instrument separation. Despite being very wide, the ASG-1 rev 1.2 is able to maintain cohesion between the instruments. The IE8 is the only universal IEM I heard that has wider soundstage, but I found the Aurisonics to have better imaging.

EARTIPS SELECTION

1. Original Tips (S): They sound good, but the build is flimsy (does not look durable) and sometimes 'poke' the inside of my ear when I move around. The urge to scratch the inside of my ear due to the 'pokes' can be annoying sometimes. Rating 5/10

 

2. Meelec Single Flange (S): Better built than the original tips, but the silicone is quite stiff. Slightly less isolating than the original tips, but more comfortable. No noticeable difference in SQ though. Rating 7/10

 

3. Creative EP430 Eartips (S): So far the most comfortable eartips I can find for the ASG-1. The silicone are softer and have rounder edges, making them more comfy than the Meelec tips. Isolation is very slightly better than the other 2 tips, adding slightly more bass presence, which is nice. Sadly the grey color looks like a dirty, very old white tips that have not been cleaned. But since those will be inside the ear, color does not really matter. Rating 8/10 

 

4. SGS 3 Stock Earbuds Oval Tips: To my surprise, these are the most comfortable tips I tried so far. Maybe due to the oval design that resemble closer to my ear canal, I am able to get a slightly better fit and isolation. Rating 9/10

 

5. Comply T500: The complys sound very bad for me, making the ASG sounds uber dark and unlistenable. The foam tips dampened the sound very badly, as the upper mids become very veiled and the treble to vanish with my usual listening volume. This is probably due to the length and shape of my ear canal which is short, which cause the foam to almost completely block the canal. Rather expensive as well. Rating 1/10.

 

6. Jaben Foam Tips: A complete opposite to the Complys, the foam tips from Jaben actually performed pretty well. The best isolation from all the tips I have tried. Sound wise, the tips give more bass impact (probably due to better isolation) and the sound is not veiled like the Comply. Overall very similar to the stock with a tad more bass. Very cheap too (10 pair Jaben Foamtips = 3 pair Complys!). My only concern is that the tips tend to get stuck/fall off when I remove the IEM from my ears. Which is why I do not use them anymore. Quite a letdown for an otherwise great pair of tips. Rating: 6/10

 

More suggestions on eartips are very welcome.


VERDICT
 

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The ASG-1 rev 1.2 is a very special IEM. It is very fun to listen to, and very capable across the frequencies especially with good amp pairing. For me, I love the sound signature and also it perfectly fits my ear, so the ASG-1 rev 1.2 is one of my top rated IEM. It looks like a custom, but doesn’t sound like one (high end ones). Still it cost a mere fraction to a high-fi CIEM, and the ASG-1 rev 1.2 does worth every cent.

I do agree, however, that ASG-1 will not suit everybody’s tastes. Treble heads and pure bass heads should look elsewhere. Still, for those who want good looking IEM with great mids + bass, above par clarity, and superb soundstaging, you have a top contender right here. I’d suggest auditioning first, even if reviews praised this IEM, so that you can make sure that it will fit your ears, both physically and sonically.

SUM-UP

Pros:
- Superb soundstage and separation
- Top notch build quality and isolation
- Very durable case
- Well textured, punchy bass
- Lush and detailed mids

Cons:
- Flimsy eartips
- Treble rolloff

Love it or hate it:
- Comfort, due to the size of the IEM
- Very mid forward

 

 

Edited by 7nationarmy - 11/1/12 at 9:10am

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #2 of 32

Nice review.

post #3 of 32

Thanks for writing the review. I feel like you could have tried to sample more tips, because changing them tends to affect the sound quite a lot. For example, using them with Complys tended to improve the bass yet make the presentation darker. Compared to the top BA customs, I agree with your review that the ASG1.2 technically isn't as proficient especially at detail retreival, but it makes up for this with its unique mids, bass and depth. I have a feeling that with proper EQ and maybe custom tips, it'd be comparable to high end (but not top tier) customs.

post #4 of 32

what kind of amp is that connected to the clip+?

post #5 of 32

govibe derringer

post #6 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by applehead View Post

Thanks for writing the review. I feel like you could have tried to sample more tips, because changing them tends to affect the sound quite a lot. For example, using them with Complys tended to improve the bass yet make the presentation darker. Compared to the top BA customs, I agree with your review that the ASG1.2 technically isn't as proficient especially at detail retreival, but it makes up for this with its unique mids, bass and depth. I have a feeling that with proper EQ and maybe custom tips, it'd be comparable to high end (but not top tier) customs.

Yeah I found the original tips kind of suck. That is why I did put up the 'eartips selection' section, which is to be updated. I heard that the UE tips and Meelec tips do fit the ASG-1, it's just that there are currently no stock here in Singapore for the UE tips (already went to 4 main audio shops, all negative), and I can't  find Meelec tips anywhere as well. I will try to find more though, because I want to feel perfectly satisfied with the item I bought. Do you know which comply series fit the ASG-1 (I can't find any sample) ? Please suggest me more types of tips that can fit the ASG-1 and I will find some time to try those and write on this review.

 

Many people suggested EQ-ing the source, in which it is not quite practical for me. I never listen music from a desktop setup, and my Sansa Clip+ does not have a good EQ like in PCs.

 

I have just tried pairing this IEM with the RSA Shadow this afternoon, and they sound really great. Much more detailed and smooth, with major improvement in the treble. The Shadow costs twice that of the IEM itself though, and I don't think it is worth the money. I'd rather get a CIEM, like the Heir 4.A, with roughly the same price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blur510 View Post

what kind of amp is that connected to the clip+?

It is the GoVibe Derringer, which is apparently discontinued :(


Edited by 7nationarmy - 6/20/12 at 9:49am
post #7 of 32

These tips are near perfect:

 

http://www.meelec.com/MEElectronics_Original_Eartips_for_M11_Earphones_p/tipset10-m11-bk-mee.htm

 

The extra long single flange tips works wonders.

post #8 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by 7nationarmy View Post

Yeah I found the original tips kind of suck. That is why I did put up the 'eartips selection' section, which is to be updated. I heard that the UE tips and Meelec tips do fit the ASG-1, it's just that there are currently no stock here in Singapore for the UE tips (already went to 4 main audio shops, all negative), and I can't  find Meelec tips anywhere as well. I will try to find more though, because I want to feel perfectly satisfied with the item I bought. Do you know which comply series fit the ASG-1 (I can't find any sample) ? Please suggest me more types of tips that can fit the ASG-1 and I will find some time to try those and write on this review.

 

Many people suggested EQ-ing the source, in which it is not quite practical for me. I never listen music from a desktop setup, and my Sansa Clip+ does not have a good EQ like in PCs.

 

I have just tried pairing this IEM with the RSA Shadow this afternoon, and they sound really great. Much more detailed and smooth, with major improvement in the treble. The Shadow costs twice that of the IEM itself though, and I don't think it is worth the money. I'd rather get a CIEM, like the Heir 4.A, with roughly the same price.

It is the GoVibe Derringer, which is apparently discontinued :(

 

If you want to try Comply: Both the T400 and T500 can be used with the ASG-1. Where would you buy yours? I know there's a store in the ground floor of MBS mall that carries them but it's a bit far. You can also try Audio Technica tips, the ones used for the CKM series. They're not recommended often but I like them because they come in clear color, and they're made for earbuds with large bores unlike Sony Hybrids. You can find them at the HMV in 313. Personally I use the small tips that came with the FXT90, they're a bit longer than usual. I don't know where they can be found. If you use Rockbox with your Clip+, people have found that the basic treble setting set to +4 and up to make the sound signature more preferable.

post #9 of 32

Comply tips that fit the ASG-1:

  • S400
  • T400
  • Ts400
  • T400+Wax Guard

 

I've used the S400 on them, they do have great comfort, but kills the midrange energy for me.

post #10 of 32

Good review.  I hear these exactly the way that you do. Unfortunately, I think I fall into the category of "not everyone's taste".

The bass and soundstage are very special though.  And they do indeed look great!

post #11 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post

These tips are near perfect:

 

http://www.meelec.com/MEElectronics_Original_Eartips_for_M11_Earphones_p/tipset10-m11-bk-mee.htm

 

The extra long single flange tips works wonders.

Okay thanks for the suggestion. For these tips I must buy online though. I do not think there are local sellers for Meelec spare parts, but thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by applehead View Post

 

If you want to try Comply: Both the T400 and T500 can be used with the ASG-1. Where would you buy yours? I know there's a store in the ground floor of MBS mall that carries them but it's a bit far. You can also try Audio Technica tips, the ones used for the CKM series. They're not recommended often but I like them because they come in clear color, and they're made for earbuds with large bores unlike Sony Hybrids. You can find them at the HMV in 313. Personally I use the small tips that came with the FXT90, they're a bit longer than usual. I don't know where they can be found. If you use Rockbox with your Clip+, people have found that the basic treble setting set to +4 and up to make the sound signature more preferable.

Hmm which one of the 400 or 500 that will fit better? Since sometimes the eartips get stuck in my ear when I took off the IEM off my ears.

 

Oh and thanks for the info on the Clip+, will try that soon:)

Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyman392 View Post

Comply tips that fit the ASG-1:

  • S400
  • T400
  • Ts400
  • T400+Wax Guard

 

I've used the S400 on them, they do have great comfort, but kills the midrange energy for me.

Uhh, your comment makes me want to scrap Complys off my to-try list. I am a midrange-bass lover, so I want something that could improve them, not kills them. The VSonic double-flange, also more comfortable for me than the original tips, but they absorb the bass. Thanks for the info though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RapidPulse View Post

Good review.  I hear these exactly the way that you do. Unfortunately, I think I fall into the category of "not everyone's taste".

The bass and soundstage are very special though.  And they do indeed look great!

Haha thanks. Glad to know that I can translate what I hear to words properly that this is my first ever review. Some people said this IEM is weird, but I prefer to call them 'unique' or 'special'. And yeah, the look! When I walk past my friends they were like "yo what is that man? You look like the Hollywood artists, wearing some kind of big ass earphone!". And when I went to Audio shops they think I am really wearing a Custom lol.

post #12 of 32

Hey there, great review. Welcome to the Aurisonics SG club! :p

 

I've got the complete opposite opinion on the stock tips though - they are flimsy, yes, but they work pretty well for me. at first I had a lot of difficulty with the fit, but once I figured that they were supposed to sit very shallowly in the ear, I managed to get a perfect fit with the large tips. Super secure, and they never move out of place or break seal, even when I take them running. 

 

You can get comply tips from HMV @ 313 Somerset. They may also have meelecs. can't quite recall - might pop by HMV after work to double check.

post #13 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kangcore View Post

Hey there, great review. Welcome to the Aurisonics SG club! :p

 

I've got the complete opposite opinion on the stock tips though - they are flimsy, yes, but they work pretty well for me. at first I had a lot of difficulty with the fit, but once I figured that they were supposed to sit very shallowly in the ear, I managed to get a perfect fit with the large tips. Super secure, and they never move out of place or break seal, even when I take them running. 

 

You can get comply tips from HMV @ 313 Somerset. They may also have meelecs. can't quite recall - might pop by HMV after work to double check.

Haha thanks! For the original tips, the M and L are too big for my ears. The IEM will sometimes 'pop out' from my ears lol. I knew several Meelec sellers in SG, but as far as I know they do not sell the tips separately.

post #14 of 32
Thread Starter 

UPDATED WITH EARTIPS SELECTION!

post #15 of 32
Thread Starter 

REVISED (slightly) after further listening and A/B-ing. Added SGS3 oval tips.

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › [REVIEW] Aurisonics ASG-1 rev 1.2 : A Custom Lookalike (2/11/12 update: Comply and Jaben Foam Tips!)