Cosmic Ears MA2 Review
Cosmic Ears are a company I have truly come to love. They make customs earphones and first caught many people attentions for there extremely cheap products. Now days they are catching attention for there extremely well performing products and of course, they are still amazingly priced. 2013 is a new year for Cosmic and has brought some a completely new and more sophisticated product line up. You have the armature line up which starts with the BA1 and goes up to BA6 where the number represents the drivers, we do miss out a 5 driver model. You then have the Hybrid models which all have 1 dynamic and the rest of the drivers at armature. You have the HY2, HY3 and HY5. They then will be seeing a come back of the ever so popular and very cheap pure or dynamic model, now called the DD1. We have another line that I will keep quite for now and then finally the Micro line. There is a MA1 and a MA2. These use Cosmic Ears unique micro shells. They are really small and offer something just a bit different to the usual CIEM so it is great innovation.
For the Micro series the prices are as follows:
Due the process that happens to make the earphones, if you want your impressions kept on file it will be £10
I have used a few rigs with this. I took it on holiday with me that meant mainly using my iPod rig of iPod Classic to GoVibe VestAmp+. We then had a lot of use from the arrival of the HiFi ET MA9 which is amazingly honest and transparent and really shone with the MA2. I then got a new device and probably the best audio product I am yet to own, and my favourite for sure, the MyST PortaDAC 1866 which I used with Bluetooth and my Nexus 7 or iPhone 4.
I also used it at home on my desk with one of my USB DACs such as the CriCri+ or Audioengine D1 feeding my Epiphany Acoustic EHP-O2 through a line out.
I also used loads of other sources and amps from my collection.
The design is great. You get benefits of a CIEM, but a few extra as well, obviously with some compromise. It is tiny and looks like a small IEM in your ear and not like a hearing aid, so you design conscious enthusiasts or maybe the younger generation have nothing to worry about in terms of odd looks, personally, I wore full customs to college on a few occasion and did not care for the look as the audio quality was AWESOME! As for colours they look great, really well done and there should be a good few colours to choose from and if you give Phil an email, he has all sorts up his sleeve but I have heard you have to set him a challenge! The official colour list as we speak is purple, translucent red, translucent blue, translucent pink and smoke that is what I have.
Build quality is no worry. The unit I have uses a standard CIEM cable but Cosmic have had a whole new range of cables made for themselves so I think it is little point talking about the cable I have but I am sure the new cable will be better quality! I will report on how I find it anyhow, good or bad.
The cables they plan on using are quad braid and should hopefully be detachable so all is looking very good. The MA2 will also come with a 3-button mic and remote if you want, no charge extra. Will also be compatible with any new coloured or flat cables that Cosmic start to use. So lets have a sneak peak at it!
The cable is fixed into the bottom of the housing and is wrapped with something that looks like tape and is not your typical strain relief, not that I worry about it. The housings are done just great. They took all the feedback I gave them last time in terms of build and have fixed it. I did not like the rough edges next to the bore, they have made beautifully smooth etc. It is an empty acrylic shell and these are not the strongest so it will not survive a hammer or a too vicious drop onto concrete but this something I worry about with all acrylic based products, be it Cosmic CIEMs, Lear LCM-5, Starkey Tunz Trio, Logitech UE900 or Heir Audio 4.Ai.
Fit is done by a slight twist into the ear and they you feel a little vacuam for the seal. It is not fiddly at all and once in, it is in. This is on eth of the better things about a micro, how quick you can get it nice and sealed in. Sometimes they need just a small extra little push and voila, you are in happiness.
These are made for your ears specifically and as you can guess that comes with an amazing and great comfort. These fit perfectly into the contours of your ears and it is a completely painless experience. They perfect comfort. These also do not feel claustrophobic in your ears, as they are very small. Another plus from these being small and cable down is they are great for people who wear glasses and plan on sleeping with these. These are sleeper IEMs for sure.
Isolation at first I was unsure with. It did not seem as good as my other full sized CIEMs for sure and the Etymotic of course beat it. So I thought I would give it the ultimate challenge and took it for a plane journey with me – I gave them the job as my holiday to India IEMs, not an accolade to be taken lightly as I would be living with only these for two weeks. The background was dead silent, no rumble of the engine, just bliss when watching the on plane movie and listening to my music on my iPod Classic > GoVibe VestAmp+. So on further inspection, although they do let in a tiny bit more than ambient noise than the Etymotic HF5 and my full sized CIEMs, these still do a truly stellar job here.
Microphonics (Cable Noise):
These are worn cable down and this in some people mind instantly equals cable noise. They would be write hear, with this cable over the are you get nothing but now we do have some introduced and that is a compromise. It is not unbearable but is present, something you will have to learn to deal with
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.
We have here what I would describe as inviting warm signature. The mid-bass is above and boosted over the mids and highs that are still nicely pleasant but just a bit polite. The sound is smooth yet has ample detail and overall it does little wrong and makes for a pleasurable and easy listening experience.
Soundstage and instrument separation:
The soundstage of these clearly gives more thought to imaging and be nice and full than being huge and this is not a bad thing. It is nicely there dimensional with good height and depth and a slightly lousy width but does have great centre image. As far as accuracy is concerned it does challenge the TDK BA200, a giant in this area, but I still feel that the Heir 4.Ai and Lear LCM-5 are a bit ahead of the game. That all being said I would place this top 10, perhaps, in all of the 70 odd IEMs that I have currently heard because the positioning really is accurate.
Instrument separation is typical armature in fashion, in English that means great. Clear and airy is how I would describe everything that is happening and you never feel like this is a muddy or jumbled earphone.
We have a twin armature in this, so not even a dedicated low driver and many of you instantly will just presume there is nothing to expect here in terms of bass. How wrong are you because we have a mature and confident bass here, reminding me of a less refined ACS T2. The mid-bass is very warm bouncy and just a tad long on decay. It is still fast and delivers strong well bodied impact that is a good size but certainly not to big. The mid-bass is boosted, a good few decibels at least as well but it does no intruding into the rest and is far from stealing the show, just what everyone can enjoy with a bass performance. This should suit everyone.
Another huge surprise is that these get nice and low, with great texturing up to 20hz where the roll of finally becomes easily noticeable. It is not a stellar performance in terms of all earphones including dynamics but when we get to armatures, then this is right at the top with the ACS T2 and the Phonak Audeo PFE232.
The midrange is its own being. Yes it is behind the bass but only the real odd time would I wish it to show just a bit more oomph. It is a rather balanced midrange but not as balanced as the HiFiMAN RE-400, with it having a slight emphasis on the higher mids with them showing just a bit more sweeteness. They have a very nice warm rich and full sound to them and does not lack in energy. Detail retrieval and transparency do not quite hit the likes of a Etymotic or a the popular twin armature the TWFK which have a lot clearer and detailed mids.
The treble continues nicely from the mids and is well balanced with them. They are very smooth without any peakiness and just a nice hint of sparkle, far from overbearing but just gives them a nice bit of zing. It has a nice edge of clarity in the lower highs that makes guitar strings and over instruments sound realistic and airy. We do have a slightly early roll off but the highs are smooth and polite with good detail and will not offend the most sensitive of ears.
These sound great, these isolate great, they are super comfy and they are also relatively cheap, even more so for a custom molded earphone. Along with the great service of Phil. I think that a pair of these is a no brainer, or another model in his range if the sound of this does not match what your after or maybe you just want the BA2, the full or medium sized version of this. If you fancy a CIEM and are not sure if they will be for you then I think Cosmic is a great place to start and their massive portfolio of items to purchase just makes everything a lot better. This is a company who really are going to be making headlines in 2013.
This was pasted from my website: