I received a message asking if i could review a new Visang IEM named the VS-K1. I received no information on it and still have none other than its specs and what comes in the package as i received it today.
It does not seem to be the same as any Brainwavs products which is nice to see although it does look similar to the M5.
You can discuss it here and i will put my review here when it is done.
As quick listen shows this sounds quite nice with a solid warm sound signature and everything nice and present. A lot better than the Brainwavs M2 i had. However not knowing the price is a problem as this really does change how good it is of course. If any of you know the price then i would be very thankful and here is a picture for those of you who would like to see.
ViSang VS-K1 Review
Visang have always been a company to me that was a great budget IEM distributor. They offered the same OEM designs as Brainwavs that are also much loved but recently I think they went under the radar a bit. They never had as good distribution in Europe as Brainwavs but I saw nothing of them for almost a year. Then I was PMed on head fi requesting if I would be willing to review a new IEM of theirs, the VS-K1. I said yes of course but never got any more information regarding them until they arrived. They seemed to be different from any of Brainwavs latest offerings that are nice to see but the design still looks very similar. These will retail for £35.
The set-up I have used is the 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. I also have paired these with a few other amps such as the MiuAudio MRB.
The design of these is nothing to get excited about but is fairly pleasant with the silver metal housings that have a channel identifying red and blue line around them.
The cable used is one that I have grown to hate, being used on many IEMs that come from China and I have met it on HiSound and Brainwavs IEMs. It is very annoying because of its tendencies to coil up into circles and this even when wearing them; they just do not hang straight. They are also rather microphonics picking up a fair bit of cable noise when every they are touched or knock against your shirt. I do find the feel of this cable horrible but is not actually that weak. The bottom half feels strong although I would ask for a bit more out of the top half there is a lot thinner cables. It is a braided cable that is covered in a heat shrink like material; I think this is the cause of all the evils. The Y-split is chunky and the jack is very nice at a 45 degrees angle. I would have liked to see a cable cinch on it as this may have curved the microphonics a bit.
The housings cannot be faulted with them being completely made of metal and having a nice long strain relief. Everything looks done very well and I cannot see any falling apart looking to happen with these.
Like Brainwavs always do, Visang look to giving you a very healthy package full of goodies for the price. You get a nice tip selection with 4 pairs in total, Sony Hybrid clones in small, medium and large and then you also get a pair of Chinese foam tips. You then get a nice Visang branded clamshell case like what you get with brainwavs IEMs and a shirt clip.
These do have a metal housing that can be fairly heavy and do get a bit fatiguing after a while. They do only sit shallow because of the size of the housing and also because the strain relief blocks the way. You can wear them over the ear to get them a bit deeper and also to get rid of a bit of cable noise but they still are rather shallow which does mean that they are rather comfortable.
These have a vent for their dynamic driver on the back of them and this leads to a less than average isolation. This is also not helped by there extremely shallow insertion depth. These combined leave a lot to be desired in this are but it is not bade enough for you to no be able to wear these out, its just if isolation is one of your biggest needs, these may not be or you.
By what I am about to write I do not want to cause any upsets or arguments as this topic can be seen as a sour subject. These have had roughly 100 hours now of use and burn in combined. As burn in is not scientifically proven this all could be mental and happening in my head but in the case that it does happen I recommend burning them in as in my personal experience I have noted improvements which have a massive impact on my enjoyment factor, so don’t make any irrational decisions after listening to them out the box.
The sound of these is warm and smooth with a rather laid back presentation which is lead out by the bass. The warmth is from a slight mid-bass hump but surprisingly these actually have sweet and slightly forward mids and the treble is not to far behind everything leaving a rather complete frequency spectrum that is great for mainstream music and is overall rather good sounding for its ability to excel still with better recordings but also smooth over problems in bad recordings.
Soundstage and instrument separation:
The soundstage is wide and flat. It does lack height especially with vocals sounding squashed downwards and there is also a lack of depth but width is nice and keeps from leaving to much to desire in the price range.
Instrument separation and overall speed of these was a bit of a surprise to me as from cheap dynamic IEMs it is never anything to get excited about but man everything was clear and apart with these. I am not going to say they were presented fantastically with plenty of space for each one and it seemed to be perfectly accurate or even up to the standards of a balanced armature IEM but it still never sounded muddled even when things got fast and nothing seemed to come from on top of something.
The mid-bass is the dominance here; it is slightly bumped over everything although it is soft and bouncy with loads of warmth. It does not have the biggest impact even though it is not extremely fast. It may not be the fastest but it never really sounds boomy.
The sub-bass extension is nice with a bit of rumble but lacks any sort of power. I think it rolls off just before for 20 hz which is not shabby but it could use with a slightly better texture down low. It is also slightly shadowed by the mid-bass.
The midrange is very nice. Sweet with a very nice presence with the low mids not taking a blow from the mid-bass and still being very prominent with both vocals and timbre. The high mids have a nice balance with the low mids and sound plump and warm as well. Timbre is great in the midrange with good speed and an impressively realistic decay.
The treble is slightly subdued in comparison to the rest of the spectrum but still has a bit of sparkle to it but not a lot of splash. This does mean that it does never show off any sibilance for example. It does seem to slightly distort when the treble really shows up in the song and the extension is lacking and not sounding complete. It also does not pick up the most detail here. Presence is just enough for it to always just be heard but with no brightness.
I am really impressed by this IEM sound wise and it is one of the best I am yet to hear in the price range. I still prefer the overall signature of the growing in expense GR06 but this actually may be clearer and with less forward mids which are still slightly prominent, this is a great alternative and I would take this over a huge list of other I have heard for under £50. I think this is a nice package and that Visang have come back with a BANG!
Edited by Swimsonny - 11/17/12 at 7:47am