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The Gamble Worked (Frogbeats C4)

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

So, as someone who has a range of equipment: Icon Audio HP8 Mk II, Schiit Bifrost, Ultrasone Edition 8 Limited, Cypher Labs Algorhythm Solo -dB, RX Headphone amp, various other headphones, etc. I had been investigating CIEMs for a while, but you just can't know until you buy them and have them built and hopefully they arrive with a good fit.


I looked at Heir Audios, JH Audio, Etymotics, Shure, Frogbeats, etc.


I wanted the compact size, the sound isolation and the quality people say is there with them, but I tell you, after listening almost exclusively to my Ultrasone's for the last year, I was sceptical I'd get anything that I would be able to enjoy even if I had to accept it was a compromise.


Eventually, I opted for the Frogbeats C4.  I like giving smaller companies a chance and some of the reviews were promising.


Yes, it's true, the company had been suffering from its ability to communicate in a timely fashion, yes, some of the build times were slower than stated, etc.  When I did hear from David at Frogbeats he was open, helpful and did try to make the experience pleasant.  Any problems are teething problems and the bottom line is I got the C4s, the quality of the build is good, I never had any doubt about whether they would turn up, I just had a vague fear they may take a while.  Even this was unfounded.


While I was waiting I also ordered a custom cable from Plus Sound (http://www.plussoundaudio.com/iemcables.html).  The C4s and the custom cable arrived the same day (Yay!).


The Plus Sound cable is amazing.  Brilliant build quality, exactly as I specified.  It just looks the business and will last for years.


In my mind there are loads of great reasons to get custom cables and only one of them relates to any perceived sound quality improvement.  The other reasons: custom length(s) makes specific uses a lot easier, superior and longer lasting build quality, superior and custom looks as sexy looking hifi kit is a factor.  To be honest, these is a definite improvement in clarity to my ears, but it is a relatively small difference and 99.99% of humans could be perfectly content without knowing which cable it was one way or another.


So, basically, I just wanted to say, the C4s are excellent.  The treble and mids are crystal clear and the whole thing sounds dynamic and musical.  The sound isolation is excellent.  Now, as for bass.  Initially, I thought there wasn't any...  Then I realised I didn't have them fitted perfectly.  The fit is critical.


If I twist them in a little more and press them deep the bass is excellent.  If I am sitting down and relaxing somewhere I can enjoy a full sound spectrum consistently.


If I am on the move, the sound quality is still excellent, but from time to time I may have to reseat them in my ears to get the full range, particularly if the cable catches on something or gets a little tugged.


Overall, I am very impressed with the C4s.  While they do not have the sheer dramatic stage presence of the Ultrasone 8s (almost nothing does) and they are a completely different type of listening experience, they rock well.  They sing well, the dynamics are brilliant, the quality is up there and I highly recommend them.

post #2 of 4
I don't really know why but I like this review. It gives a lot of varied info in very few well selected words, though people will probably ask more about specific sound characteristics. Good job.
post #3 of 4

How would you say the stock and custom cable compare?

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

I have been away for a while, but am back.


I ended up sending the C4s back for a remould and it took over 3 months for them to be returned, a problem with the manufacturer.  This was disappointing and I did get to a stage where I feared they would never be returned.  I do not think in any way reflects on David Annez or Frogbeats as a company, but they do seem to have some supplier side issues.  I would advise contacting David Annez prior to ordering with them.  I would tend to trust what he says as he has been honest with me about his issues.


When I eventually got the C4s back the results were spectacular.  The fit is now perfect and the sound isolation is scarily good.  This also means that the music playback is much clearer, especially the bottom end which now has some weight without feeling bogged down.  They still cannot compete with some high quality high end cans in my opinion, but for something that fits into your pocket they well surpass my expectations.


My source is an AK120 with an RSA SR-71a and with the Plussound custom cables there is a little more tautness, crispness and clarity than with the thin stock cables.  The cable is worth the cost for a number of reasons in my opinion, SQ being one of them.

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