I received my GR07 MK2 a few weeks back, and they have gone through the hundreds of hours supposedly required for burning in their bio-cellulase drivers. Having gotten over my new toy effect, I still enjoy them immensely, so I figured it’s time for my first review. This is modeled after the reviews of legends like |Joker| and Swimsonny. I hope this helps you as much as they have helped me. Enjoy!
Packaging and Accessories
As you may have heard, Vsonic has dropped the heavy packing that arrived with the GR04’s and early first-gen GR07’s. The new case is slim and minimalistic, and distinctly classy. I got mines used from a fellow head-fier Stevenlongs, so it had been opened already.
The headphones themselves come plugged into a pretty faux velour holder. Vsonic was also kind enough to include an attractive pleather pouch, a pair of earguides, and plenty of eartips stuffed into small zip bags. I have found that the pouch, while pretty, is difficult to use, and does not actually protect the GR07 very well. As a result, I tend to use another case I received from Steven.
The tips, the tips! It really is like a double rainbow. You get two of most colors, three of some, and one of others. I’m not really sure what happened here, but there are enough that the discrepancies don’t really matter. Two pairs of foamies and a pair of double flanges are included as well. While bursting in quantity, the tips themselves are not super soft, and are obviously not of the finest quality. Though you probably will have no problem finding one that fits, you may want to try the GR07 Tips thread for suggestions on improving the sound you get from these. I’m still using the red stock tips, as they fit perfectly and are comfortable enough.
I have not used the ear guides at all, as I’ve found that they are unnecessary. More on that later.
For some reason, there is a strange rumor floating around that the GR07 are fragile and liable to break easily. Must have been someone’s lemon. They are not fragile at all in my experience. Many owners have been using them for over a year without complaints of breakage. The GR07 MK2 are no different. The cable is properly strain-relieved in all locations, and the housing of the drivers are a solid black plastic rock. I don’t see myself breaking this anytime soon from regular use, unless I step on it or something. The nozzle swivels smoothly, and feels plenty durable.
That brings me to the cable. Vsonic has updated it over the original version, claiming to have added extra silver. Regardless of what actually happened, this new cable is drop-dead gorgeous. There is a subtle braided pattern that shimmers in the light like droplets off a waterfall. It is one of the reasons I waited to buy the MK2 instead of going for the MKI. Even discounting looks, the cable is one of the finest I have ever used. It is tangle-resistant, yet still very flexible. It has a silky feel, and feels very durable. Hopefully it does not have the same problem of oxidation as the MK1 does. As I mentioned above, I have yet found a need to use the cable guides because the cable stays put by itself.
Fit and Usability
With such a myriad of tips included, it is unlikely that you will find one that does not fit. That being said, there have been a few cases where the shapes of the housings have been uncomfortable in the ears of some. Those cases are far and few though, and I can confidently say most will have no problem finding the right tip and achieving a comfortable fit.
The GR07 are of about medium weight, and stay put in your ear even with moderate movement. This is helped by the over-ear cable routing. By sliding a cable cinch up, you can keep the cable behind your ears extremely securely. Isolation is slightly above average, but nothing amazing. The cable is terminated in a right-angle 3.5mm gold-plated plug, which makes it convenient for portable use. With a narrow barrel, it should fit through most iPhone cases.
Now here comes the most important part. For any IEM to be worth its salt, it must sound good. And good the GR07 does sound. The first word that comes to mind is realistic. With a beautifully balanced frequency response, the GR07 portray everything extremely accurately.
I’ll break the sound down into parts below.
This is where a dynamic driver tends to outperform BA drivers. The bass on the GR07 goes low and rumbles a bit. However, at the lowest frequencies, it appears to lose a touch of control. Luckily, this is completely resolved as you go higher. There is a slight mid-bass hump, but the GR07 hits fast and hard, and you never get the feeling of muddiness. The bass is also exquisitely textured, and helps the lows shine in a whole new light.
My view on mids is a bit skewed, since I came from the YH-3 orthodynamic. What I can say is that the GR07 is very smooth in the midrange. It is neither excessively forward, nor terribly recessed. Vocals are clear, and balanced with the instruments around them. I did not hear any peaks or valleys.
The highs of the GR07 are extremely well done. Smooth and non-fatiguing, they extend endlessly upwards. The GR07 also has a slight treble peak, which allows it to do cymbal crashes like no other. However, this is a double-edged sword, as there is a bit of sibilance too. This issue is fine for most songs, but there will be some problems with already treble-happy songs, especially if they are poorly recorded or too compressed.
The GR07 is very quick for a dynamic. However, it doesn’t stand a chance in terms of speed compared to similarly-priced balanced armatures. The soundstage is wide and expansive, but lacks depth. As with most IEM’s, don’t expect the soundstage from a full-sized headphone. However, among its peers, the GR07 performs quite well. My personal favorite trait however, is its sheer realism. This is especially noticeable in orchestral pieces such as instrumentals, where you feel like you are actually in a concert hall. With piano pieces, each key is crisp and well defined, and you feel like you are sitting right next to the pianist. They have a very natural timbre.
The GR07 has become my go-to headphone in and outside the house. With a remarkably balanced sound signature well suited for many different genres, it is hard not to like this IEM. The build quality is stellar, and comfort is great as well. Perhaps due to their bio-cellulase drivers, they play music much more naturally than any headphone I have ever heard before. I highly recommend the GR07 MK2 to anyone looking to hear music just as it was recorded.
Footnote: My impressions are mainly conducted with an iPod Touch 1g, and headphone out on a computer. I apologize for the lack of objective measurements, as I lack the gear to take high quality measurements. I have not heard too many IEM’s of similar quality, so I skipped the comparison.
Edited by tzjin - 8/2/12 at 8:21pm