Vsonic GR07 Review
Do I really need a paragraph explaining what these are and who Vsonic are? I do not really think so as I have joined the bandwagon on these pretty late and these since their release have established them selves as probably the most recommended earphones for £100. So on that note I will not boar you and say I have been wanting to try them, of course I have, for quite a while and Head-Fier Nuckin Futz not only loaned me his GR06s (the more budget orientated lil sibling of these) but has now sent me over these on a loan so a massive thank you their!
Also for this review I will be referring to the GR06 so it not necessary to read my review for that first but it could give you an idea about what I am referring to.
The set-up I have used is a bit different to normal, as I have started using a new portable rig, which is the Hippo CriCri amplifier connected through a LOD to an iPod Nano 3G with Apple Lossless and MP3 on it.
I also used my old set-ups of my iPhone 4, Cowon J3 (with FLAC) and my iMac with my Objective 2 amplifier.
Like I used on the GR06s I have used the medium Phonak tips on these as they sound great but you do have to make a compromise as these do like to fall of in your ears. I also found my Sony Hybrid tips to also offer a different but equally good sound.
I said it about the GR06 and I will say it again about these, the GR07 have one of the most peculiar colour schemes on an IEM. You get a lot of the low profile black IEMs or the perhaps more classy white ones and a few other colours now and again but these are unlike any colour I have ever seen or imagined. Now it is not the housing colour of these (which can be had in a few different colours) and in this case is a dark grey or black but is the choice of cable colour. Now my pair are worn, not in a bad condition by any means but definitely worn and the cable on these is now a worn, musty bronze. Now it is really different and I do not know if I like it or think it is a bad choice personally but I know other have not been to keen on the colour. They also look a bit odd with their square housing but I personally love that now I know you do not take any back peddles in comfort. They also have one other nifty little design feature which is very nice and that is that they have articulating nozzles!
As for the build, well it is almost identical to the GR06s but there are a few, easily noticeable differences. To walk you through everything now but if you would rather no quickly it is absolutely fine at the least.
The jack is right angled with a very hard housing and is a tad different to the GR06. It is terminated with a gold plated plug and on the other side does have a strain relief which very short and not flexible. The cable is the same as the one on the GR06 and as I said for that, along with the Phonak cable it is just great. Malleable, strong and does not tangle are some of its best features and it does not really make you wish (as much as I normally do with IEMs) that it had a removable cable (yes, it would still be great). The y-split is very solid plastic and has the same short and not flexible strain relief as the jack. The top half of cables are thinner but not as much as some cables get and still have all the great properties the bottom half did. It also has a cable cinch, which is something that was a bit of a shame on the GR06.
The housing is mainly plastic apart from the nozzles. It does not have a strain relief and the cable goes straight into the earphone housing.
As I have these on loan I got no accessories and therefore can not evaluate the quality of what you get but can say that it is a fair bit with loads of tips and a hard case.
1 Set Foam Ear Tips, 1 Set of Bi Flanges, 3 Sets of Hybrids with Foam, 3 Silicone Ear Tips (S/M/L), 5 Sets of Hybrids, Silicone Ear Hook, Storage Case, Warranty Card
As I already knew that the Phonaks were the way to go tip wise on these their was no big fuss finding the correct tip for me but I am sure that you would still not have any problems with the plethora of stock tips you get.
Well when I first saw pictures of these I did not think the looked comfortable due to the square housing. DO NOT LET THIS PUT YOU OFF. These are actually really comfortable and I am going to say this is largely due to the articulating nozzle you can angle it into your canal and therefore it will not obstruct or hurt any of your ears. It is also lightweight so causes no fatigue in that sense and it also sits nicely in your ear.
Just one little problem I did find though is that the cables without guides do not like to stay over you ears unless the cable cinch is up which is rather annoying.
The isolation with Phonak tips is never anything special and there is no change here with you being able to here snippets of the outside world. However if you chose to switch to the stock triple flange tips I am sure that you would get much higher levels of ambient noise reduction.
Microphonics (Cable Noise)
As these are worn over the ear, there is absolutely no microphonics at all.
In terms of burn in these are fine, not done by me personally but they have some hours on the clock.
Soundstage and instrument separation
The soundstage on these is first noticeably wide and easily out of the head which of course is nice but then you notice how empty it is and that is because a complete lack of depth and layering to the earphones and they just feel thin. This is not even something you have to compare with other earphones to notice and when comparing to an earphone that does layering really well like the Sony EX1000 it just makes it even more obvious and annoying. So that being said the soundstage of these is completely two-dimensional.
Instrument separation and the speed of these is surprisingly good for a dynamic driver earphone and although not competing with the Sony EX1000 and most BA drivers (most because I found the TDK BA100 to be slow) it does make easy work of most passages and airily keeping instruments apart and distinguished from one and other.
Now signature (not technical ability) wise I found these to be fairly similar to the EX1000 but the main difference I did find in their signatures was the bass. The GR07 has more mid-bass slam, quantity and impact while the EX1000 mid-bass is fairly controlled and tight with beautiful detail, and the GR07s extension and rumble is not all that special at all while the EX1000s are again beautiful in extension and rumble. If anything the EX1000 is tight and controlled everywhere while the GR07 gets a bit carried away in the mid-bass.
So the mid-bass on these is not all that fast and it plods along with boomy coming to mind at times. That being said there is no emphasis or spike in the mid-bass and the quantity is still not anything mind blowing or even near bass-head quantities. What it does do oh so well is SLAM. I am saying slam while I normally say punch and that is because it really does make an impact with great body. Overall it is even with what I have said, an enjoyable bass and really not over the top in quantity just not as tight or refined as I think it could be.
Now the sub-bass regions are not at all that special and while the extension is there at times you hardly ever really appreciate what you can feel.
Now I fell in love with the Vsonic GR06 because of it beautifully forward mids, which reminded me, so much of the Shure SE530 mids minus the detail which is not a bad for the £40 price tag and on arrival of these I could not help but hope the signature would be the same just more detailed and refined. Well the mids heavily disappointed me and were the main reason I never got a huge WOW from these like I was hoping. Now the mids on these are not bad at all but they are not forward and sadly lack energy. Now take this with a huge pinch of salt as I could be described as a mid-head and I will still say these have some really special mids they just were not what I was hoping for. What the mids do is instruments better than vocals and the drums on these perhaps out do everything I have ever heard bar my EX1000 and strings are also extremely appealing. Its just the vocals seems so soft and dry and like they are not ‘trying”.
Now what I have failed to mention until now is that the high mids are were these do shine and do not disappoint at all. Now the reason I took some time to realize this is the first few songs I listened to be with male vocals but once the female vocals come they were slightly more forward than the lower mids and extremely lush and detailed with a great decay time that just oozes beauty.
The treble on these is just great in my opinion. It is great in presence as well as extension with a good natural sparkle that will not sound metallic or fatiguing which is very nice and could be a turn of for IEMs like the Fischer Audio DBA-02. However there is a slight `peak, which causes a bit of sibilance and for the treble to be a bit harsh at times or ever be described as hot which, can be a real problem for people.
What we have here is for £115 a great IEM and a real contender in the price range. It offers a great neutral dynamic signature with mid-bass no BA IEM will be able to replicate but that being said BA IEMs do things that the GR07 can not. If you want neutral with good mid-bass slam then for £115 this would be the obvious choice in my opinion but if that is not your priority then do not right out the Rock-IT R-50 and the Brainwavs B2 from the scram and I am sure there others that would join the scram.
I have enjoyed my time with these dearly and would like to think my review of these is a bit more controlled compared to some peoples rambles of love about them being a review so I hope you enjoyed this and thanks again to Nuckin Futz for loaning me these!
Edited by Swimsonny - 7/5/12 at 7:24am