As some of you may know, I have heard a good number of custom IEMs ranging from top-tier to entry level. With ever-increasing competition, we are all benefiting from better price/performance ratios. Perfect Seal is a new brand started by Mike Martinez, who has been in the industry since 1996. After some conversations with Mike, I wanted to convey his experience and depth of knowledge, so I asked him to provide me with some of his history, and paraphrased it below.
It all started in a hearing lab in a dental office, and the company he worked for was most likely the 2nd CIEM company after Future Sonics. The lab made monitors for Sensaphonics and Fireside, and everything was a dynamic driver CIEM. He really enjoyed CIEMs, which kept him motivated, and he started playing around with hybrid designs. Unfortunately, no hybrids were ever released and the company he worked for went out of business in 1997 due to mis-management.
In 1999 at age 22 Mike started his own lab but quickly realized he had to work on hearing products to make money. With his passion still being CIEMs, he developed the first small custom ear mold for the new style one size fits all hearing aids and his business exploded as most major manufacturers sent their audiologists to him for the custom molds. Being so busy in the hearing aid market, he missed the CIEM evolution, but wants to pursue the part of the business that drives him.
Perfect Seal has two different series of CIEMs, the Sportbud series and the PS series. The Sportbud series is available in canal only or full shell if desired and made to be used during physical activity. The PS series is his regular CIEMs that are designed for audiophiles and musicians. There are many differentiating factors for his products, with the price/performance ratio being the first. He also offers soft canals and has made full silicone.
I have heard the Sportbud Silver, which I mentioned in my Sonion 1723 AcuPass article, and offers excellent performance for the price of $250 (see the link for a discount in May 2014). Features are as follows:
- Sonion 1723 AcuPass dual-balanced armature driver
- Soft canals
- Canal only or full shell options
- Cable down, over-the-ear, or rotating options
The rotating connector is a permanent cable that allows the cable to rotate 355 degrees so the cable can be worn with the cable down or with the cable over-the-ear. I use the cable down, with the cable under my shirt and experience no microphonics. A detachable cable version is in the works.
The PS series is comprised of 6 models ranging from dual drivers through 8-driver versions. I have heard the PS4 and just received the PS6 for audition. I have spent much more time with the PS4 and think it brings good value at the price of $450. The sound signature is balanced with a bit of a deep bass bump and good imaging. The overall soundstage isn’t huge, but it is well proportioned. There are some interesting faceplates available if you check out the Faceplates section on the website.
If you are looking for a great value in CIEMs, Perfect Seal is worth checking out. Shoot Mike a message for inquires and questions.
Edited by average_joe - 10/4/14 at 1:50am