ADV.Sound M4

Average User Rating:
4.15/5,
Tags:
  1. SOULSIK
    5.0/5,
    "M4 - BEST UNDER $40"
    Pros - sound. build
    Cons - may sound too flat for some
    Video review:



    INTRODUCTION

    If you are someone that is on a strict budget but wants to experience high fidelity on the go, what I am about to reveal to you is a product made just for this purpose. It may not have the most detail or emphasis in the lows, mids or highs. It will not sound mind blowing or anything special but what is amazing is that, you can listen to your music without much coloration added. Without compromise….

    DISCLAIMER

    The M4 was sent to me by ADVANCED for review purposes. As usual my review will contain no bias.

    ABOUT ADVANCED

    Whoever wrote this obviously a poet or something because I almost cried. Mainly because it fell under what I am trying to bring to my viewers a lot more. They present themselves as such:

    It was for the love of music. It was the respect for all musicians of the past, present and future. It was for the struggling instrumental buried under the heavy bass line. It was for the audiophiles craving that crystal clear and mind-blowing detail. We wanted to bring the ultimate aural experience in a package that is simply affordable for everyone - because we believe that everyone deserves good sound.

    Our quest for the ultimate sound has just begun. We're working relentlessly with world's renowned audio engineers that have brought some of the best sound to the market as well as local and global musicians in different genres ranging from hard rock, hip-hop, EDM to jazz for that advanced sound.

    We are fully focused in packaging and delivering this superior audio in the most durable and the most comfortable chassis.

    SPECS

    Divers: Titanium coated 8.5mm dynamic drivers

    Driver Unit Custom-tuned Single Dynamic Drivers

    Impedance 16 Ohm+/-15%

    Sensitivity 92dB+/-3dB at 1kHz

    Frequency Response 20Hz – 20kHz

    Rated Power Input 1mW

    Max. Input Power 5mW

    Cord length 1.36M

    Plug 3.5mm Gold Plated

    BUILD QUALITY

    This is where this IEM really shines. If the sound will not blow your mind for $40 then build quality certainly will. Let us look at the accessories first.

    Accessories

    1 pair of Comply Foam tips (TX-400 medium)

    3 pairs of black dual-flange tips (s/m/l)

    3 pairs of black silicone tips (s/m/l)

    3 pairs of white silicone tips (s/m/l)

    1 premium carrying pouch

    1 cord shirt clip

    you can see that they added the comply foams, which is a third-party foam that an individual has get after purchasing an IEM with ****ty tips. Even the Noble x came with ****ty tips and we had to do some tip rolling. Thank you for adding in the comply foams that work on most peoples’ ears out of the box.

    Now, the cable is something you would see in a more expensive pair of IEMs. It is fully braided and THICK. It screams quality and I really hoped that it can be detached because I wanted to use it for other IEMs but…. It is not detachable. Anyhow, the cable is fantastic quality for the price.

    The housing itself it soft and almost feels like metal or aluminum. Not 100% sure but it is almost hard to tell because it is too soft for a metal and it is too robust for it to be plastic. Whatever the case may be, it is going to last you sometime.

    PRACTIALLY

    This IEM would be something I would recommend my university friends that are not audiophiles because of its cheap price point and what you get for it. With the comply foams, there was much more isolation, however even with the normal tips included, the sound isolation was enough to be used in quiet places like the library and loud places like the gym. And of course, the design is very minimalistic.

    SOUND QUALITY

    [​IMG]

    Rather on the neutral side of things with I bit of boost in the vocal presence area. There is not much to talk about in terms of sound. The bass is there and so it the mids and highs but none of them is overly emphasized in audible terms.

    Final Thoughts

    Fantastic for the price. I could have not asked for more in this price range. Perhaps one of the best bang for the buck IEMs out there.
  2. mejoshua
    4.0/5,
    "Advanced Sound M4 - Clean and articulate, fantastic price to performance ratio"
    Pros - Excellent separation, clarity and speed for the price; Great treble articulation and energy; Tuneable sound via eartip rolling;
    Cons - Might not have enough bass for some; Treble might be a tad hot with silicones

    Before I begin the review, I would like to thank Advanced Sound for providing this review set of M4s for free in exchange for my honest opinion and review. As a budding reviewer, I really appreciate the opportunity given, because most of the reviews are done up by more senior members with a lot more reviewing experience. I am in no way affiliated with the company.
     
    For this review I shall not dwell too much on packaging and accessories or design, but the bulk of my review will revolve around the M4’s sound as well as how ear tip rolling changes its sound. 
     
     


     
     
     
     
    Packaging and Accessories:
    For the price that Advanced Sound is asking, the package is superb. It comes in a standard cardboard case, with a carry case for the M4 IEMs, a shirt clip, as well as a whole selection of silicone tips for users to play with. A set of foam tips come default on the M4 IEMs.
     
    Design:
    The M4 housing itself is beautiful to look at, and is very meticulously finished. It is made out of a matte aluminium and feels incredibly lightweight and easy to handle. Advanced says that it is sandblasted and diamond cut - sounds pretty complex for an IEM at its price range, and feels incredibly premium, which belies its price range. It shows that a lot of effort and thought was put into something as simple as the design. It is a solid design choice and is aesthetically appealing, at least to me. The cable feels extremely durable to work with, and very much tangle proof in my day to day use. I had no issues whatsoever in coiling and unravelling the cable during use.
     

     
    DAP used: Sony A15 and Onkyo DP-X1A
     
    *note that the comparisons in sound will be between 1) comply tips, 2) standard silicones, 3) double flanged silicones
     
    Sound:
    (with comply tips)
    Bass hits fast with quick turn of pace, but yet retaining good extension and weight, typical of a dynamic driver bass moving air. Bass lovers who love texture and slam might not fancy the fairly speedy decay but I feel that this is very good bass – not sluggish but tight with impact. Tuning is tasteful and definitely without bloat, yet hits with sufficient impact when the track calls for it. If one is picky, the only downside might perhaps be that the bass notes tend to be slightly rounded off its edges, or what some might call a little soft in character. I personally feel this is necessarily because it fits right in to the general tuning of the M4. It is mildly north of neutral, but very satisfyingly musical in tuning.
     
    Mids have great separation and clarity, but compared to other mid-centric IEMs may sound just a touch cool/thin on low volumes. Synergy with different DAPs may yield varying results here. However, it is somewhat reminiscent of the Etymotic cleanness/clarity (I really enjoyed auditioning the ER4XR, and prefer it over the SR), and there is a good sense of space as well. At softer volumes it may sound the slightest bit hollow, but general listening volumes will have the mids begin to fill out with a little more body. There is none of the typical midrange bass bleed that commonly afflicts IEMs in this price range, thankfully.
     
    Treble is even throughout the FR and extends fairly well, it is just sparkly enough to be musical, and not be sibilant or have grating peaks. This is uncommon for IEMs at this price range, which usually tend toward either extremes of recessed or overly peaky/fatiguing treble or a pronounced V-shaped curve. I feel that the treble evenness and clarity also contributes to good air around instruments and decent resolution. If one were to be picky, the treble perhaps could have improved timbre – decay seems a tad too quick compared to real cymbal crashes.
     
    Staging is decent in all three axes, with better depth and height than width, but coupled with great separation and clarity it is very enjoyable to listen to, and you would be hard pressed to feel like the music is congested. Most of the time there is great detail retrieval and realism, even though staging may feel intimate sometimes, depending on tracks. Imaging is also decent at this price class, with fairly clear positioning cues. Think of a small recording studio and not a concert hall or stadium feel. Performance here in terms of resolution and clarity however is definitely top of its price class at $39.99.
     
    (with standard silicone tips)
    Bass retains its speed and extension, but loses some presence and slam. Mids are still clear, but with the silicones again a little of that weight and presence is traded off for a more spacious presentation and a greater treble tilt. Treble is where there is most difference – there is definitely more sparkle and presence in the top end, and greater articulation. I hear more energy in the attack and more cymbal detail. It is interesting because I am sensitive to treble, but Advanced has managed to tune it in such a way that it doesn’t get sibilant. With the silicones, staging gains in height and a little bit of air. Separation and clarity are still outstanding, and perceptibly even more so than with foams.
     
    (with double flanged silicone tips)
    What might be of interest is that the double flanged silicones seem to sit somewhere in between the foams and the silicones in terms of tuning. Bass is not as heavy as the foams but retains more impact and texture than the silicone. Mids have less weight than the foams but a little more presence than the silicones. Treble is more articulate than with the foams but less aggressive than with the silicones. The double flanges sound the slightest bit more 'open' than the foams.
     
    Considering my listening preferences, I’d probably stick with the foam option for everyday listening, with the double flanges in a tight second place for clarity and because I’m highly sensitive to treble. What I find most beneficial is that with Advanced providing an ample supply of silicone tips in the package, consumers get an opportunity to further ‘tune’ the sound a little with the tips depending on listener preference, which is really great because different users may use it with different kinds of gear to find the best synergy.
     
    Conclusion:
    Prior to my review, reading other users’ impressions left me expecting a heavily treble oriented IEM. To my pleasant surprise, I found the tuning fairly balanced, tilting towards a gentle U shape, and depending on tips, users can have a choice of further fine-tuning the sound to match their preferences. Kudos to Advanced Sound for a fantastic offering in this price range!
     

     

    Tommy C, B9Scrambler and yangian like this.
  3. ostewart
    4.0/5,
    "Very good for the sale price, balanced with detailed mids"
    Pros - Detailed mids, build quality
    Cons - Odd mid-bass hump, unrefined highs.
    Firstly I would like to thank Advanced for getting in touch and sending me this sample for review, as always I will try and write an honest review. These received over 50hrs of burn-in, no real differences were noted.
     
    Gear Used:
    Audio Opus #2 > M4 (S grey silicone tips and Comply tips)
     
    [​IMG]
     
    Tech Specs:
     
    1. ·        Driver Unit-         Custom-tuned Single Dynamic Drivers
    2. ·        Impedance-        16 Ohm+/-15%
    3. ·        Sensitivity-          92dB+/-3dB at 1kHz
    4. ·        Frequency Response-      20Hz – 20kHz
    5. ·        Rated Power Input-          1mW
    6. ·        Max. Input Power-           5mW
    7. ·        Cord length-       1.36M
    8. ·        Plug-      3.5mm Gold Plated
    9. ·        MSRP-      $99 (On sale for $39.99 currently)
     
    Packaging, Build quality and Accessories:
    The packaging is very simple black box, with Advanced across the top, a plastic window through which you can see the IEM’s, underneath is written “Designed for musicians”. On the back you will find a frequency graph and a list of accessories. A smart and attractive box, the IEM’s are held in place by a foam inlay, and the carry case below with the accessories inside.
     
    The build quality feels very good, the cable is twisted with a well relieved y-split and sturdy L jack, the housing is aluminium and well finished. I really like the build quality of these, and can see them standing up to everyday abuse very well.
     
    [​IMG]
     
    Included accessories are very good, you get a clamshell case, a cable clip and a plethora of tips: S,M and L in Grey and White silicone single flange, S,M and L bi-flange tips, and a pair of Comply tips. With all these most people will find at least one type of tips fits them, a good amount of accessories and everything needed, although if they are designed for musicians, a 3.5 to 6.3mm adaptor could come in handy.
     
    Comfort, Isolation, Cable noise and Driver flex:
    These are very comfortable, I always find Comply to be the most comfortable tips, but not necessarily the best sounding. I found the slim housing of these allowed me to get a good fit easily, being comfortable for long periods of time due to the shape and weight of the housing. These do fit better with a slightly deeper than normal insertion depth, which takes some time to get used to but offers a more secure fit and better sound.
     
    Isolation varies depending on the tips used, Comply offering the most and single flange the least, but even using the single flange the isolation is perfectly acceptable for most day to day situations blocking out the majority of outside noises effectively.
     
    [​IMG]
     
    Cable noise is an issue unfortunately, but there are some ways of keeping it to a minimum. You can use the cable clip, or wear these with the cable routed behind your ear (most effective) which helps with cable noise and they fit more securely like this too.
     
    Driver flex is not an issue on these, the housing is vented which I believe helps a lot.
     
    Sound:
    Split in to the usual categories with a conclusion at the end, I will write the below based on using the single flange silicone tips.
     
    Lows: The lows are quite full on these but well placed to not interfere with the mids too much. There is a slight mid bass hump which brings out the bass line in songs, kick drums sound real with the kick being backed up with good punch. They have good speed being able to keep up with faster metalcore, yet they can still be subtle when called for. I do sometimes find that the mid bass hump can slightly overshadow the mids during more complex passages, but for the most part they are articulate, full and well controlled.
     
    Mids: The mids come across with minimal bleed from the lows, you can really hear the texture of the vocals, Chris Cornell’s voice in Audioslave come across with power and and are the focus of the song with excellent detail retrieval. Guitars come crashing in from all sides, again the speed here is very impressive keeping these sounding well controlled and separated. I find that vocals are where these excel, giving a very natural and neutral rendition of both male and female vocals, with no harshness of sibilance.
     
    Highs: The highs are a little splashy but come across with good presence making them sound fairly well balanced. The placement of cymbals is very good within the soundstage, and you never lose track of crashes and taps, it’s just they are lacking in depth and definition. Some people may find these a little on the bright side, for me with the silicone tips it was perfect, and with Comply tips a little dull.
     
    Comply Tips: The comply tips makes these sound a little warmer, the lows become a little more linear but they do take away some of the detail and sparkle from up top. They make them a warmer sounding IEM, whereas with the silicone tips they are more balanced, overall I prefer the sound of the silicone tips, although the Comply tips do get rid of the uneven low end.
     
    Soundstage is limited and fairly intimate, but the separation is good, occasionally they will sound slightly congested during very complex passages but overall they fair very well.
     
    [​IMG]
     
    Conclusion: In my opinion they are very good for the sale price but not quite worth the MSRP (I would choose the SoundMAGIC E80). These have very good build quality and a fairly balanced sound, with very good mids, but the mid bass hump makes some tracks sound a little off, and the highs are lacking definition. If you are looking for a pair of IEM’s you can shove in your pocket and go these would fit the bill perfectly, but if you are looking for pure SQ there are some better options at the price.
     
    Sound Perfection Rating: 7/10 (Crisp sound, but with a mid bass hump, and the cable noise is an issue)
     
     
    [​IMG]
  4. mark2410
    4.5/5,
    "ADVANCED M4 Earphone Quick Review by mark2410"
    Pros - Great balance. Great value price. Love that cable.
    Cons - These are for grownups, bass heads look elsewhere.
    ADVANCED M4 Earphone Quick Review by mark2410
     
    Thanks to ADVANCED for the sample.
     
    Full review here http://www.head-fi.org/t/826131/advanced-m4-earphone-review-by-mark2410
     
    Brief:  Bargain middy monitor.
     
    Price: US$40 which is about £32
     
    Specifications:  Driver Unit Custom Tuned Single Dynamic Drivers, Impedance 16 Ohm+/-15%, Sensitivity 92dB+/-3dB at 1kHz, Frequency Response 20Hz – 20kHz, Rated Power Input 1mW, Max. Input Power 5mW, Cord length 1.36M, Plug 3.5mm Gold Plated.
     
    Accessories:  1 pair of Comply Foam tips (TX-400 medium), 3 pairs of black dual-flange tips (s/m/l), 3 pairs of black silicone tips (s/m/l), 3 pairs of white silicone tips (s/m/l), 1 premium carrying pouch, 1 cord shirt clip.
     
    Build Quality:  The buds are metal and seem great. The cable is an uber braided awesome thing, tré fancy.
     
    Isolation:  For a dynamic rather good.  Fine for out and about, on a bus too.  Tube and flights I’d skip but way more than sufficient with mesic to get run over if you forget what your eyes are for.
     
    Comfort/Fit:  Great.  In and done, comfy to wear them all day for me.
     
    Aesthetics:  The buds look nice, not super pretty but then you hit that cable, that braiding looks pretty awesome if you ask me, I mean just look at it.
     
    Sound:  Ever the heart of the matter and while the M4 may not be the most heart stirring earphone I’ve ever come across, it’s got a lovely balance to it.  A really mature and grown up sound signature.  It claims natural something and I’d go with that, is a very naturalistic balancing.  Not quite neutral, erring to the more natural, a little bit warmed, a little touch softened, a tiny bit enhanced bass.  Most notably though with this balance its mids are rather more prominent than many more consumer orientated products are.  These are perfectly suited to any one that needs to monitor vocals or other instruments found in the key, mid-range band.  Clear, articulate, easy to pay attention to and really focus on.  Great on the ear, nice and pleasantly easy for the most part.  They can get a little harder up top, the treble can on occasion be a touch brittle especially if well amped and with a cooler source.  Still on more mainstream sources, i.e. weaker ones that round off nicely and they become really excellent priced, little bit middy monitor that while being cleanly present has just a smidgen of warmth and smoothening.  Making it something that you can wear and hear all day without any issues.  A really very pleasing first introduction for me to the ADVANCED brand.  A cracking little bargain monitor.
     
    Pro’s:  Great balance.  Great value price.  Love that cable.
     
    Con’s:  These are for grownups, bass heads look elsewhere.
  5. gprs007
    4.5/5,
    "Promising start from Advanced team"
    Pros - Sound, Build Quality, Accessories and 3 year Manufacturer Warranty!!!!!!!
    Cons - Slight Distortion at highs
    Hello Fellow Head-fier's,
     
    Welcome to the review of Adv.Sound M4 from Advanced team.
     
    Disclaimer:
    This headphones were a sample provided by Advanced team for my review. I am not affiliated with M4 in anyway or getting any financial assistance from Advanced team for my review.
     
    About me:
    I am an electronics engineer and a Product analyst (Software Industry) by profession. My undying love for music and hunt for new headphones in market has lead to own below 
    Fiio X1 player
    Fiio A3 Amp
    Shure SE215 in ear
    audio technica ath-m40x
    Harman Kardon IENC in ear
    Harman Kardon AE in ear
    JBL TMG81BL Tim McGraw Artist Series On Ear Headphones
    Knowledge Zenith (KZ) ED9 in ear
    AKG K451 on ear
    Velodyne vleve
    Klipsch R6
    Samson Professional SR950 Closed Back Headphones
    KZ ATE Copper Driver Ear Hook HiFi in Ear Earphone Sport Headphones for Running with Foam Eartips with Microphone
    + Advanced M4
     
    About Adv.sound M4:
    https://www.adv-sound.com/collections/all-collection/products/m4
     
    Lets take a look at M4

     

    Look: Solid braided cable which promises less tangle, Aluminium chasis housing which keep the earbuds light and a pair comply foam tips offering comfort.
     
    Test Setup:

    Fiio X1 for source (with flac files)
    Fiio A3 amp
    Iphone 6s plus (Occasional Music source and testing of Mic during calling)
     
    Accessories:
    Accessories
    1. 1 pair of Comply Foam tips (TX-400 medium)
    2. 3 pairs of black dual-flange tips (s/m/l)
    3. 3 pairs of black silicone tips (s/m/l)
    4. 3 pairs of white silicone tips (s/m/l)
    5. 1 premium carrying pouch
    6. 1 cord shirt clip

    Build Quality:
    I am very impressed with the build quality advanced team has offered here. The braided cables are thick and strong, Wires do not add any noise due to movement or shake while listening music or on calls.Housings are made of Aluminium keeping the earbuds lightweight which make them easy to wear for longer hours.
    It comes with a solidly built carry case which will not take much space in my laptop bag or while travelling and cherry on the top a pair is free Comply memory foam tips.
     
    You get a bang for your buck easily with the above (Right now it is offered at 39$ on Advanced site). 
    Score 5/5.
     
    Sound Quality:
    Here comes the sweet part These headphones are equipped with 6mm Custom Tuned Single Dynamic drivers.
     
    Testing Process:
    I let this burn for close to 35 hours over a week on my laptop with spotiy as the source, in between used it for making calls on my iphone as well as for morning bike rides.
     
    I love all kinda music, that's what keep me going at work as well to lighten up my mood post office. And I have a weakness for good vocals (specially female singers). So My choice of headphones will be the one which reproduce clear sounds at Lows and Mids.
     
    Albums used during testing period
    The doors (My favorite Riders on the storm atleast 6 times, specially to hear the rain drops), and Best audiophile voice collection from 1993 to 2011. And some Indian bollywood music on Spotify.
     
    The Single dynamic drivers reproduces accurate sound and has more emphasis on Lows and Mid range, The detail it offers is impressive. The lows are clear and Mids are soothing, with memory tips offering comfort you can easily keep them going for hours.  I could see some distortion at highs. But overall its a perfect experience. As lows and mids are the key points of this earphones, Vocals are full as well as they reproduce male and female voices accurately. The bass is more than neutral, they could have added more punch to it. Take away for Advanced team.
     
    The only concern is slight distortion at highs. This may be due to the micro drivers. 
     
    Score: 4/5
     
    Mic: Performs perfectly. I made some calls during my bike ride (it was windy) and the opposite person could hear me perfectly well. I used it for couple of meetings which lasted close to 4 hours and these headphone were just perfect. As the housings are light you dont feel a discomfort in longer use. Wires don't add any noise.
     
    Score: 5/5
     
    Noise Isolation:
    The comply memory foam tips offers good isolation for general use. Crowded and noisy areas you might feel some noise.
     
    Score: 4/5
     
    Conclusion:
    The build quality and accessory itself will get your money back. No other headphones at this price range offer such build quality or accessories. No wonder advanced team is offering 3 year warranty on this. They know these babies are built tough and will last longer.
    With good sound and perfect build we have a winner in sub 100 category. 
     
    Score: 4.5/5
     
    Kudos advanced team!!!!
    B9Scrambler likes this.
  6. Zelda
    4.0/5,
    "Nice contender for the sub $50"
    Pros - Well built; compact and comfortable design; very good cable; 3 years warranty
    Cons - Better synergy with a warmer source; small eartips size; some treble unevenness
    REVIEW: ADVANCED SOUND (ADV.SOUND) M4
     

     
     
     
    Website and availability: LINK
     
     
    Specifications:
     
    Driver Unit: 6mm Custom Tuned Single Dynamic
    Impedance: 16 Ohm+/-15%
    Sensitivity: 92dB+/-3dB at 1kHz
    Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
    Rated Power Input: 1mW
    Max. Input Power: 5mW
    Cord length: 1.36m
    Plug: 3.5mm Gold Plated
     
    Price (MSRP):  U$D 40.
     
    Only available in silver color and mic version.
     
    Warranty: 3 years!
     
     
     
    Accessories:
     
    1. 3 pairs of single silicone tips in black color (S/M/L)
    2. 3 pairs of single silicone tips in white color (S/M/L)
    3. 3 pairs of black bi-flange tips (S/M/L)
    4. 1 pair of Comply Foam Tx-400 tips (M size)
    5. Carrying pouch
    6. Shirt clip
     
    The accessory set is quite nice, indeed. Just to note, the black and white silicone tips only differ in color. As for the sizing, the single tips are smaller than usual, being the L size more a M size, so actually it's more like XS, S, M sizes.
     

     
     
    Build & Design:
     
    Build quality is very solid almost everywhere. The small 6mm driver allows the M4 to adopt a more compact design. The thin silver color housings are all metal, aluminum apparently, with a smooth surface on them. Nozzle's width is about standard, so most of eartips should fit well, and well protected by a mesh filter. Strain relief at the housings entry is not too long but it's very flexible and seems well attached.
    The cable is probably the best part of the M4. Starting for the L-shaped plug, it is very sturdy and well relieved. The cable itself is twisted, not braided, and consists of 4 strands twisted in pairs; very tight and rather thick, while the upper half is softer and more flexible. While not completely tangle-free, it is still very well behaved. Y-split looks a bit small, still solid as the rest of the design, but a cable slider is missing.
     

     

     
     
    Fit, Comfort, Isolation:
     
    With its compact and straight design the M4 is a very easy to fit earphone. The eartips size is smaller than usual, so I had to use the L size even though I usually just need the M size. The bi-flange tips size is fine, but they are loose on the nozzle. Comfort is very good; the M4 is light in weight and easy to wear in both down or up cable ways. Microphonics is low thanks to the well done twisted cable, and isolation is a bit above average with the silicone tips.
     

     
     
    Sound:
     
    The ADVANCED M4 has a very slight v-shaped tuning with some extra emphasis towards the treble frequencies. While still not exactly a flat neutral response it is still more balanced option than a traditional v-shaped tuning. The M4 utilizes a smaller dynamic driver and similarly to other small/micro driver based IEMs, also asks for a higher volume.
     
    The low end has good extension and with very little slight boost on the mid-bass part for a more punchy end. For the small driver the M4 lacks in note thickness next to fuller sounding IEMs like Sony MH1, ZA Tenore, Fidue A65 or SM E50, but depth and layering is quite good. The low end quantity is north from neutral, but far never overwhelming. Impact is less than the M6 Pro, but trades it for better control and tightness, as the M6 sounds a bit muffled in comparison.
     
    The midrange is slightly less prominent than the low end and bit recessed. The low end contributes to a slightly warm tonality but on the whole the M4 remains more in the cool and lean side of things. The mids can be a bit thin in body, but still much fuller than some heavier v-shaped sets such as the Xiaomi Piston (2 and 3) and Brainwavz S1. While not totally free from bass bleed, midrange clarity and resolution are very good, with a quite competent level of micro-detail when needed.

    The treble is very energetic, mainly in the upper midrange and lower treble parts, giving a brighter and somehow more splashy sound. While i usually appreciate a bit of bright treble, I can't get to totally like the way of the M4 top-end is presented. Quality is quite decent on its own, not very forgiving and may sound a bit harsh, sharp and prone to sibilance sometimes, which is not something unusual on a sub $50 earphone, but there's certain unevenness and lack of control that can be annoying. While not exactly offending, it won't fall under the smooth category either, but it seems to break the whole balance with many tracks. The presentation of the M4 is not too wide but still airy enough and not congested. With the slightly thinner midrange and lack of bass bloat contribute for a more spacious sound and better separation, despite the extension on both ends isn't much above average.
     
    Next to the old VSD1S, the M4 sounds more spacious and airy, with better instruments separation, whereas the Vsonic wins in richness and vocals texture. In terms of pure midrange quality, the RE-400 and Ostry earphones are all superior to the M4, and even the SM E50 with similar bass quantities sounds more balanced. In a certain way, the M4 is like a small version of the RHA MA750 with its slight V (or U) shaped sound, solid bass, detailed and bit dry mids and sharp treble.
     
     
    Conclusion & Value:
     
    The ADVANCED M4 is quite a competent contender for the sub $50 group. It features a very solid build quality for its price, with a very comfortable design and great cable. Overall sound quality is quite good, offering a slight v-shaped and lively presentation, control and detail. There's still some extra emphasis on upper regions that can take off some of the whole balance and might not suit everyone tastes. Nevertheless, the M4 offers a good value, and the 3 years warranty is a huge plus for just a $40 product.
     

     
     
     
    Thanks to Advanced Sound for the review unit.
    B9Scrambler and Kelzo like this.
  7. Cinder
    4.0/5,
    "A Promising First Product From The Audio Industry’s Newest Scion"
    Pros - Good mids reproduction, excellent treble extension and retrieval, braided cable, aluminum chassis, female vocal presentation
    Cons - Almost no bass, squished eartips. prone to distortion is busy songs

     

    -Introduction-

     
    Ever heard of Advanced Sound? Until this week, me neither. They are a relatively new company, with a fresh lineup of audio products, albeit a small one. Advanced Sound’s roots lie in the soil of crowd funding. Based in New York, the fledgling company chose a distribution model that would bring the best value to its customers, getting their initial funding from sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. This is a review of the only IEM they currently sell, the M4. While not for the treble-shy, the M4 is a compelling offer for $40.
    The M4 is currently for sale for $40. Pick it up at Advanced Sound’s official online store here.
    Disclaimer: This review is based upon a sample unit provided to me by a manufacturer in exchange for my honest opinion and un-edited words. I do not profit in any way from the writing of the review. I would like to thank Peter at Advanced Sound for providing me with this sample unit.
    Preference and Bias: Before reading a review, it is worth mentioning that there is no way for a reviewer to objectively pass judgment on the enjoy-ability of a product: such a thing is inherently subjective. Therefore, I find it necessary for you to read and understand what I take a natural liking to and how that might affect my rating of a product.
    My ideal sound signature would be an extended sub-bass with a leveled, but textured, bass. The mids should be slightly less pronounced than the treble, but still ahead of the bass. I prefer a more bright upper range.
    Source: The M4 was powered off of a Nexus 6P -> Creative Sound Blaster E3. All music was served as FLAC, ALAC, or as 320Kbps Mp3. I found the standard DAC/Amp inside my phone and PC to not be adequate to drive the M4 at near-peak levels of quality.

    -Sound Signature-

    Initial Impressions: These impressions were taken before I’d seen any FR response graphs or measurements.
    I hear a thinned out mid-bass and sub-bass. Treble is pretty present, and is rather forwards. Articulation is good, with a surprising amount of detail retrieval in the upper range. The M4 is definitely bright, but lacks body in the lower-mids. The cold sound signature is reminiscent of a more gentle First Harmonic IEB6.
    Treble: Songs used: White FlagAriseOutlands
    I found the treble to be just right, as I prefer a bright sound signature. I first noticed a little hump around the 1–2kHz range. This boosts a lot of electronic sound effects and lends a helping hand to female vocals. High-hats punch through the din of the background well, and never sound cloudy. High-pitched strumming of acoustic guitars plays nicely in the foreground. Violins sound sweet and melodic, and are articulated well. I hesitate to say great, as it isn’t the implosion of awe you get from when listening to the RHA MA750i, and doesn’t have the kind of air I wished for, such as that of the AAW Q.
    Mids: Songs used: The DriftJarsI Am The Highway
    Mids are pretty good, and toned well. I like how they are placed overall, and enjoy their synergy with the treble. The M4 does recede the guitars a bit. In I Am The Highway, doing so lets little details like the plucking and metallic grinding of the pick against the strings come through in a way I wouldn’t expect from a $40 IEM. Vocals, unlike guitars, are in the front of the mix. I found them to be too soft against the background, but your mileage may vary.
    Furthermore, while I like its articulation, I think the M4 could use more body. Thickening the lower-mids would do well by my ears.
    Bass: Songs used: LightsKyoto99 Problems (Hugo Cover)
    Bass is too thin. I find that otherwise deep and full instrumentation is rendered fairly shallow on the M4, even when EQ’d. While I have no trouble hearing the sub-bass of Kyoto, I rarely feel it. Thankfully, it’s not all bad news. Mid-bass is decent, and provides a lot of detail. Bass guitars exist in the mix without washing together with the lower-mids, and are rather separate from the rest of the song in general.
    99 Problem’s bass is textured and is placed well. It seems to exist parallel to the lower-mids and vocals. I also appreciate how the bass is “connected” to the rest of the sound. Some artificially boosted bass tuning that is oh-so-present in mainstream consumer IEMs causes an unnatural disconnected in the sound. I give Advanced Sound a thumbs up for engineering such an organic mixture, despite my desire for more bass.
    Clarity: Songs used: ThroneMap of The ProblimatiqueI’m Not Alright
    I did not find the M4 to perform too well on Throne. The intro was completely dry, and took on a jagged feel. Almost all detail became washed out. The song devolved into two layers: the bass guitar, and the vocal harmony + lead vocals. The M4 isn’t the only IEM I’ve tested that struggled with Throne, and that’s why I love using it as a test track. If you search through my previous reviews, you’ll notice I’ve only had two or three IEMs play the song back satisfactorily.
    I’m Not Alright did much better. While I found a touch of distortion to come into play when the drum kicks during the intro/pre-chorus, I didn’t find anything blown out. I did notice that the background violins of the chorus were almost inaudible.
    Map of The Problimatique, the simplest and least busy of the three test songs, performed the best. Separation is on point, and not blurry or smudged at all.
    So what do these results mean? Put simply, the M4 punches at its price when playing very busy songs. I mean, there are even some instances where it beats out other budget IEMs, but its marginal.
    Male Vocals: Song used: Hotel CaliforniaAshes of EdenSunday Bloody Sunday
    I find that the aggressive treble and upper-mid scaling of the M4 does indeed help male vocals. That being said, the sweetness I’d become accustomed to from the AAW Q is nowhere to be found. Artificial vocal harmonies can sound a tad metallic. I do, however, find the vocals to be better resolved on the M4 than other similarly priced IEMs such as the First Harmonic IEB6 ($30) and the MEE Audio M6 Pro ($60).
    Female Vocals: Songs used: Stupid GirlSweet EscapeNeed Your Heart,CrushCrushCrush
    Female singers resolve particularly well on the M4. I can’t say for sure, but I assume it has to do with the 1–2kHz bump I mentioned earlier. The vocals press through songs well, and are toned beautifully; they just feel clean. The best words I could use to describe it is that they sound pure and effortless. Even the debbie-downer lyrics of Stupid Girl sounded as if they were sung by an angel, albeit a sadistic one.
    Paramore’s Haley Williams’ voice was also presented well, and had many details exposed that I would have expected to be buried. Another credit I award to the engineers at Advanced Sound is the extreme lack of coloring in the vocals. Even the MA750i, which has generally been my go-to pair of “reference” earphones, sounds altered and unnatural at the hands of the M4.
    Sound Stage
    Up until this point, I’ve been nit-picking pretty hard. However, this is where I have my main complaint for the M4; Where’s the sound staging? Almost every song sounds entirely linear. There are some small exceptions with hard-panned left/right separation, but I feel that any IEM that wants to live up to the giant-killer moniker should be able to provide me with at least some depth and width. That being said, compared to other offerings in the M4’s price bracket, it does perform adequately.
    Comparisons
    Comparisons are done via the following format: I listen to a song on the headphone currently being reviewed. Then, I listen to the same song on the headphone I am comparing it to. If needed, I go back and listen to this review’s headphone again.

    M4 v.s Alfa Genus V2, neutral filter ($60)
    The most noticeable difference between the M4 and the Alfa Genus V2 is the bass response. Both mid-bass and sub-bass have more presence. The upper-mids and lower treble are far less aggressive on the Alfa Genus V2 than on the M4. Furthermore, I found that upper-treble extension and articulation is nearly identical. Higher-pitched string-based instruments are resolved more smoothly and with better tonality and timbre on the M4, barring the bass-guitar. I would recommend the M4 for acoustic songs, and the Alfa Genus V2 for electric ones. Due to the tonality differences, I find it difficult to declare a solid winner here.
    M4 v.s Accutone Pavo ($50)
    The Pavo’s bass response is similar in tonality and timbre to the M4, just more intense and more forwards. Resolution and retrieval are close on both IEMs, with the M4 leading in most cases. Little instrumental details such as the rattling of the strings of an acoustic guitar resolve much better on the M4 than the Pavo, owing to its very aggressive treble and upper mids boost. The M4’s sound signature is significantly more lean and brighter than that of the Pavo, but still has a charm to it. I prefer the Pavo for my alternative, classical, and electronic music, while I lean towards the M4 for my rock, metal, and classic rock.
    M4 v.s First Harmonic IEB6 ($30)
    The M4 certainly is bright, but it isn’t sharp. The IEB6 is sharp. It’s a little difficult to describe, since the IEB6 isn’t sibilant. The bass response on the IEB6 is shallower than on the M4, and the treble doesn’t extend as high. The IEB6 does lead a little in the mids, creating more convincing guitars and violins. However, I would not trade that for the much better overall presentation offered the M4. In my books, the M4 has a solid lead over the IEB6.

    Packaging / Unboxing

    The unboxing experience was relatively basic, and reminiscent of the Ghostek Turbine (another $40 IEM). The driver housings came nestled tightly in foam cut-outs, with the cable being pre-coiled inside the M4’s circular carrying case (another similarity the M4 shares with the Turbine).

     

     

     

    Build

    Construction Quality
    I have almost no qualms with the construction of the M4. Its chassis is built from what looks like aluminum. The texture is semi-matte, so it’s rather hard to tell from touch alone. The cable is connected via a fairly competent strain relief system to the driver housing. I’m not too worried though, as the cable is insane for a pair of $40 IEMs. It’s a twin-braid, and is coated in some fairly basic plastic.

     
    However, it looks pretty stellar. It doesn’t really tangle, regardless of how long I’ve had it in my pocket. Unfortunately, as someone who wears the cable of their IEMs under their shirt, I find the cable uncomfortable as its uneven surface tends to chaff my skin when walking. The 3.5mm jack is right-angled, and case-friendly. It’s coated with some thick plastic, so don’t worry about longevity on this thing. For $40, you will be hard pressed to find something as well put-together as the M4.
     

    Comfort
    The M4 comes with a plethora of eartips. However, I’m sticking with my trusty old Comply. It really helps for people like me who have two differently shaped ear canals.
    The M4 is so light it disappears almost entirely once you get a good seal. However, it does protrude rather far out of the ear. This means that you are going to have a hard time sleeping with these in your ears, even when laying flat. Furthermore, it makes the M4 very susceptible to being pulled out of your ears when downward force is applied to the cable.
    Controls
    Advanced Sound equipped the M4 with a mono-button universal control unit. Your standard pause/play/fast-forward functionality is present on both Android and iOS systems. However, volume control is not.

    Accessories

    One thing to note is that the earbuds I received came disfigured and misshapen. Either I got a bad unit, or the guy who packages the eartips wasn’t having a good day. If you are dead-set on not using Comply, your experience may vary.

     

     

     
    Summary
    Simply put, the M4 is my new favorite IEM under $50. It’s a crowded price-segment, so competition is fierce. While there are certain situations that can cause the M4 to struggle to resolve everything without distortion, I find that the detailed and colorless sound signature continues to make the M4 my IEM of choice when I’m going on an adventure or when I’m worried about taking my more expensive IEMs out and about. Good job Advanced Sound. I look forward to seeing what you’ve got in store for us in the future!
    mgunin and B9Scrambler like this.
  8. B9Scrambler
    4.0/5,
    "Advanced M4: I have the energy"
    Pros - - great build quality, cable especially - clean, highly detailed signature
    Cons - - reliance on foam tips for best sound - mic module is potential weak spot
    Greetings Head-fi!
     
    Today we are going to be taking a look at the ADVANCED M4. Yes, they feature dynamic 6mm micro-drivers. Yes, I am excited. Some of you may realize by now that I have an unhealthy affinity towards micro-drivers.
     
    The M4 originally came to be as part of a successful Kickstarter crowd funding project. On their product page, ADVANCED claims the M4 to be "one of the most accurate in-ear monitors in the market" and is crafted from premium materials. They've got custom acoustic filters, a sand-blasted and diamond-cut aluminum chassis, and one heck of an awesome cable that is completely overkill. At first glance I'd say we're off to a good start.
     
    Disclaimer:
     
    I would like to thanks Peter and ADVANCED for providing the M4 in exchange for a fair and impartial review. I am not receiving any financial compensation for this review and all comments and views within are my honest opinions. They are not representative of ADVANCED or any other entity.
     
    The M4 currently retails for 39.99 USD. You can pick up your copy here (link to https://adv-sound.com/collections/all-collection/products/m4).
     
    Please note that ADVANCED was previously known as ADV.SOUND. Earlier this year they changed their brand name. The packaging of the unit I was sent reflects the original branding, likely planned for an update with the next batch set for release in August.
     
    A Little About Me:
     
    Over the last couple years I decided to dive head first into the world of portable audio. After reading pretty much the entirety of IjokerI's multi-earphone review thread and being greatly inspired, I took a chance and started writing my own reviews. Fast forward a couple years and I've had the opportunity to write about some great products for wonderful companies like RHA, Havi, FiiO, NarMoo, Brainwavz, and Meze. I don't do it for money or free stuff, but because I enjoy it. If my reviews can help guide someone to an earphone that makes them happy, I'll consider that a job well done.
     
    The gear I use for testing is pretty basic composing of an HTC One M8 cellphone, Topping NX1 portable amplifier, and my aging Asus G73 gaming laptop paired with a Plantronics Rig USB amp. An XDuoo X3 (shout out to my cousin Rob!) has recently been added to the crew, and was used for the majority of my testing. I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. When it comes to signature preference I tend to lean towards aggressive and energetic, but I try not to limit myself to one signature only. I also tend to listen at lower than average volumes.
     
    Enough preamble. Let us dive into the good stuff shall we?
     

     
               
     

     
    Packaging and Accessories:
     
    At $40 I don't really expect much when it comes to packaging and accessories, but sometimes a company will go the extra mile to make their product stand out. In the very crowded and increasingly competitive under $100 market, and especially for a newcomer like ADVANCED, it pays to put in that extra effort to give your buyers a greater sense of value upon choosing a potential unknown. I feel they succeeded with aplomb when it comes to the M4.
     
    Unboxing the M4 didn't wow me to the extent of something like the Havi B3 Pro 1, but it still impressed. ADVANCED makes it evident whom the M4's target market is; musicians and those who are looking for something that isn't a bass-heavy bleed-cannon.
     
    "It was for the love of music. It was the respect for all musicians of the past, present and future. It was for the struggling instrumental buried under the heavy bassline. It was for the audiophiles craving that crystal clear and mid-blowing detail."
     
    Admittedly, I'm no musician. I was inspired by my sister to try clarinet and saxophone in high school, have messed around with pianos and keyboards for ages, and there was a failed attempt at guitar at some point during university. I realized that I prefer to listen to musicians work their magic as opposed to struggle to create my own. Still, that statement printed on the side of the box held my interest. I'm totally down for crystal clear, mind-blowing detail.
     
    Moving to the rear things are kept interesting with a frequency chart and a list of what's included. Unlike on most packages I've come across, the list is accompanied by a glossy photo with everything on display. The M4 with pre-installed Complys, the shirt clip, the compact clam-shell carrying case, and all three sets of eartips.
     
    Yes, the M4 comes with three complete set of eartips, though two of them seem to be the same tips in different colours. The tips are of decent quality, especially the dual flange which are made of a softer, more comfortable material than those provided with the B3 Pro 1. Both the shirt clip and case are imprinted with the ADVANCED logo (or in my case, the ADV.SOUND logo).
     
    Slide out the insert to find the clam shell case and M4 chassis safely secured and neatly displayed in a dense foam sheet. Pretty standard, but still pleasing to the eye and with just enough of a premium air to make it feel good. Underneath the case is a simple user guide that outlines the functions of the inline control module, tip selection, how to use the included Comply foam eartips, and information on the generous 3-year warranty which covers material and worksmanship defects. That warranty sure puts most to shame *cough* Sony AS800AP *cough*.
     
    Overall the unboxing experience for the M4 is an attractive, if uneventful, affair with just enough spice to get you excited to try out what's inside.
     

     
               
     

     
    Build, Design, and Comfort:
     
    As was mentioned earlier, the M4 uses a sand-blasted and diamond-cut aluminum chassis. They are finished with a matte, pebbled look. While I personally am not a huge fan of the textured effect it does serve to give the housing a unique look and also makes them easier to grip, always welcome on such a small, light housing.
     
    The cable starts off with a quad-braid, moving up to dual-braids on either side past the y-split. The winding is tight and consistent throughout, except for the left side where the control module is. The twist is notably looser there, lacking the consistency found everywhere else. The cable feels thick, durable, but also a bit too heavy-duty for this application (not that I'm complaining). If wearing the M4 cable-down I found it to tug uncomfortably at the housings, but not enough to break a good seal. Wearing the cable over-ear completely negates this issue and what little microphonics there are. This is an excellent cable for a budget earphone, one that I was not expecting to see in this price range.
     
    One area of potential concern is with the inline control module. It fails to inspire the confidence in longevity that the rest of the earphone presents. Compared to the quality materials used elsewhere, it seems to be made from pretty cheap plastic, though it feels solid and the button depresses with a satisfying click. It would be nice to see ADVANCED release the M4 with a mic-less version, and update the existing model with something that better matches the rest of the earphone.
     
    Comfort is quite good, though they fall slightly short of my personal expectations of a micro-driver. The heavy cable makes cable-down wear slightly less than ideal since the housings are quite long and there isn't much support for them. As expected, wearing them with the cable wrapped around your ear pretty much solves the problem outright. Using the included Comply foam eartips also helps out a lot. While they're certainly not uncomfortable to wear, they never quite disappear.
     
    Overall they are made from quality materials, the design is simple but attractive, and they're comfortable when worn cable-up, with the one question mark being the in-line control module
     

     
               
     

     
    Isolation:
     
    Normally I group this in with build, design, and comfort, but isolation on the M4 ranges from sub-par to outstanding depending on the tips used. The dual flange tips provided the least isolation, letting me hear a good bit of what was going on around me. The single flange tips were ever so slightly better, rolling in about average for a dynamic. The included Comply Isolation 400s boosted isolation to above average levels. With KZ foam tips which are made of a very dense, almost rubber-like foam, isolation was intense and way beyond what I was expecting.
     
    Sound:
     
    And now for the fun part. One of the reasons I love micro-drivers so much is that I find they share qualities with balanced armature (BA) earphones while maintaining the benefits of dynamic driver (DD) earphones. While there are exceptions to everything, what I've come to expect from BA drivers is speed, detail, and excellent treble performance. I think this is a fair expectation given the majority of hybrid earphones use BA(s) for treble and mids, and a DD to give you a robust and well-sorted low end.
     
    The micro-driver that best encapsulates everything I love about this design is the JVC HA-FXH30. It's easily holds it own against my BA and hybrid earphones by providing extremely detailed and accurate treble response, while bringing to the table a very lush and natural mid-range with a full low end that leaves no want for more bass. How does the M4 fare? Quite well.
     
    *Tips: I have spent a significant amount of time tip rolling this earphone, coming to the conclusion that they have Comply Isolation 400s preinstalled for a reason. With the standard single-flange silicone tips they come across mildly harsh and grainy, more so with the dual-flange, and their extension into sub-bass regions falls off rather quickly. With foam tips, they smooth right out and early sub-bass drop-off is no longer an issue. As a result the majority of my testing was done with the included foams and those that came with the KZ ATE.
     
    As a special mention, the tips that come with the Syllable D900S pair exceptionally well with the M4. Everything I said about their use with foam tips applies, but you also get an enhanced soundstage thrown in for good measure. If ADVANCED could include a version of those tips but using a more comfortable material, it would be awesome. The two paired together sound outstanding but comfort is compromised somewhat due to the tip material used.
     
    *Amping: The M4 is a typical micro-driver in that it is a power hungry little guy, begging for some juice so they can reach their full potential. I found amping to tighten up their overall response and give them some extra punch. Recommended.
     
    I found the M4 to be dominated by bright, highly detailed treble. This is followed by a prominent if somewhat thin sounding midrange with a fairly neutral bass presence pulling up the rear. If you want to "shape" their signature, it could probably be described as a light v or u, with the treble end showing the greatest emphasis. To my ears they lean towards being cold and analytical, with a touch of warmth in the low mids and mid-bass.
     
    As noted above, treble on the M4 leads the charge. It's bold, crisp, in your face, and quite aggressive. Despite this, it is not as fatiguing as something similarly aggressive like the JVC HA-FRD80 or RHA S500i, but of which are quite treble-happy earphones. The M4's presentation gives their high end a very open and airy quality despite the soundstage being about average in size and depth. My only real qualm here is they can sound somewhat unnatural and metallic at times, most noticeable with cymbals.
     
    ADVANCED noted that they put an emphasis on the M4's midrange "for abundant details". I can't argue with this. Mids on the M4 are forward, clear, and rather detailed. They're also mildly thin and on the cold side, especially with female vocals. I find this takes away from their fun-factor a bit, but it's no deal killer. These mids are very nice enabling you to clearly hear artists licking their lips, minute intakes of breath, fingers sliding along guitar strings, etc. It's pretty impressive for a $40 product.
     
    I was initially underwhelmed with bass on the M4, feeling it was lacking impact, depth, punch; everything that makes a dynamic driver so much fun. The problem was the tips. Once I swapped over to foam tips I got what I wanted. Bass on the M4 is boosted slightly above what I consider neutral (my neutral bassline is the Havi B3 Pro 1). It's snappy, well-textured, and while it falls short of digging into my favorite sub-bass regions, is still pretty satisfying.
     
    The M4 has a nice airy and open soundstage, even if it isn't huge. What impressed me most was their imaging and separation. They make it pretty easy to pick out individual instruments or effects and their locations, though they do get overwhelmed with thrash/speed metal.
     

     
               
     

     
    Some Select Comparisons:
    To even the playing field, I used KZ's foam tips. This worked out better than expected as all sounded at their best this way.
     
    RHA S500i (49.95 USD): The S500i has been one of my favorite earphones for a while now. They offer an attractive design, great build quality, and a fun, energetic sound. While the two are similar in many ways, RHA's take on a microdriver is warmer and less balanced.
     
    The M4 is ever brighter, more detailed, has a more forward midrange, and less bass presence though they dig deeper into sub-bass regions than the S500i (even with the same foam tips). If you liked the S500i's sound but felt it was too bassy and the midrange too recessed, the M4 would be an excellent alternative. You also won't have to deal with the S500i's horrible microphonics.
     
    JVC HA-FRD80 (original MSRP ~80.00 USD): I like my earphones bright, but the FRD80 takes things a step to far. Their sound is grating and way too sharp, but I do welcome the extra sparkle they have that the M4 doesn't. That said M4 is significantly more comfortable to listen to for long periods. The M4 falls between the FRD80 and S500i in the brightness category which I think is a safe place to be.
     
    The FRD80 takes the texture crown, showing the M4 that things can be better, but falls behind in mid presence. The M4's more forward mids are quite welcome on vocal-focused tracks. The JVC undeniably comes across as the quicker and more nimble earphone, handling complicated metal tracks with ease. This is one area JVC's microdrivers always seem to excel, and despite being very competent, the M4 misses the mark in direct comparison. I would still take the M4 though because the FRD80 is just way to intense and tiring.
     
    Ultimate Ears UE600: Despite it's age, the UE600 is still a pretty great sounding single BA earphone. To my surprise, it was the warmer sounding of the two. The M4 was much more vibrant and lively with even cleaner, more emphasized treble. Mids on the two were quite similar with the UE600 taking the edge through a more robust texture that suited female vocals quite nicely. Bass presence is similar, with the UE600 being more mid-bass heavy, lacking the texture and depth the M4 could provide. The UE600 came across sounding a little dull, but was more forgiving for long listening periods.
     
    Overall:
     
    With the M4, ADVANCED jumped into a very competitive segment guns a'blazing. They offer a solid accessories kit with a variety of eartip options, quality materials, and a very energetic and unique sound in a field dominated by bassy earphones. They may come across as too treble heavy for some and too light on bass for others, but if you want something that breaks from the norm, the M4 is certainly worth considering.
     
    Thanks again to Peter and ADVANCED for the chance to review the M4. I am very excited to see what you have on store for us next.
     
    Thanks for reading!
     
     
    - B9Scrambler
     
     
     
    ***** ***** ***** ***** *****​
     
    Test Albums
     
    BT - This Binary Universe
    Gramatik - The Age of Reason
    Incubus - Movement of the Odyssey Parts 2/3/4
    Infected Mushroom - The Legend of the Black Shawarma
    Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
    Skindred - Roots Rock Riot
    Massive Attack - Mezzanine
    wThe Crystal Method - Tweekend
    Aesop Rock - None Shall Pass
    The Prodigy - The Day is My Enemy
    Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
     
  9. nimano45
    3.5/5,
    "Budget goodiness, albeit with some issues"
    Pros - Good lows and mids, excellent lightweight build, wonderful cable, cheap, carrying case
    Cons - Tricky and potentially "comfort and sound"-ruining fit, harsh highs.
    Disclaimer: the kind folks of ADV.SOUND/ADVANCE provided me a copy of the M4 in exchange for my honest opinion, expressed through a detailed review, provided a copy of the M4. I am in no way affiliated with the company. Photos from: https://www.adv-sound.com/collections/all-collection/products/m4
     
    About me:

    I am a young music-lover and former music producer from a little place called Bergen, Norway. My belief is that good sound should be accessible for everyone and anyone, which is why this review is not written from an audiophile perspective. As for my sound preferences, I tend to go back and forth between a v-shaped sound and a somewhat bassy one, with a slight roll-off in the highs, depending on source material. Warm, lively, exciting, powerful and impactful are all appropriate buzzwords. Also, to make my reviews more accessible, I use nothing but a cell phone and a desktop audio interface while testing. But enough about me, let us get to it…

     
     
    Packaging and accessories:
     
    Rather standard stuff here, but then it is not something I give great importance. It Is miles ahead of the packaging you get with your average $10 earbud, but again, nothing special in this department. The accessories, however, were a pleasant surprise. You get a small and compact carrying case, similar to the one accompanying the Philips Fidelio S2. There is plenty of space to store spare ear tips and other small accessories, which is always nice. While we’re on the subject of ear tips, you should be more than covered there as well, as you get a total of 9 pairs included, 10 if you include the ones “pre-installed”. They come in the flavors of Comply foam, dual flange and silicon. I found the best fit to be amongst the dual flange ones.
     

    Carrying case and the included ear tips.
     
     
    Design, build quality and cable:
     
    Design-wise, the M4 is in many ways a very interesting earphone. It features a very streamlined design, and thus qualifies as a “skinny” headphone. This makes it easier to insert it deep in your ear canals, for those interested in that. The design of the earphone itself is not the most flashy nor forward-thinking, but it does get the job done, seemingly focusing more on practicality than stylistic appeal .However, it is by no means an ugly product, just not something out of the ordinary. It is built out of premium materials, with some kind of metal used. I am not sure exactly which material is being used here, but it definitely has a premium feel to it. It is also very light-weight, which more often than not is a pro. Then there is the cable, which throws everything I mentioned earlier about a conservative design out of the water. This is something special. It is a braided cable made out of solid plastic, and it feels very durable. It is also, like ADV.SOUND proudly proclaim, essentially tangle-proof, which I can confirm. This is something I would like to see more frequently done by other manufacturers, and is one of the strongest points of this product.
     

     
    An exceptionally durable cable.
     
    Comfort and fit:
     
    Here I must admit I struggled quite a bit. Coming from my newly obtained V-Moda Zn, a much more expensive pair of IEMs, I could not seem to get these to fit properly. I kept getting that “suction-cup” feeling in my ear canals, which was both uncomfortable and provided a lackluster sound. This was the case with the majority of the ear tips included. The comply foam ones and one of the dual flange ones were the only ones who worked for me and provided a decent fit. If/when you get a good fit, they are very comfortable. Little stress on the ears, especially due to them being lightweight. Just about as comfortable as most IEMs. Nothing horrible, nothing extraordinary, like Klipsch’s ear tips. You get the idea. Still, I had a much trickier time to get these to fit than the other IEMs I own, have owned or tried out, which made the experience reviewing these much less enjoyable than it could have been.
     

    The earphones in all their glory.
     
    Sound:
     
    In this department, I mostly agree with what has already been said. First off, they are a rather balanced pair, in contrast to the vast majority of lower-end earphones, which either feature ear wrecking amounts of bass or none at all. No part of the sound is especially accentuated in a way that makes me notice it right away, which in my book is enough to be called “balanced”. Then a bit about the various sonic areas:
     
    Lows: relatively solid. They do not dominate the entire picture, which of course is a good thing. From my experience they mostly delivered in the mid-bass and upper bass, with the sub bass levels depending strongly on fit. But there is potential for some serious sub bass rumble as well, as some forum users have already mentioned. Still, they are solid overall and more than approved.
    Mids: nothing special here. Detailed enough, would not call them warm nor cold, from my own listening experience. These earphones are not mid-heavy by any means, but nor are they recessed. Again, very balanced. Nothing of note to complain about. Probably my favorite part of the M4s overall sound.
     
    Highs: now these are not as good. They are a bit harsh and shrill. Fairly detailed, yes, but also unpleasant to listen, especially over time. I got a good amount of listening fatigue due to this. If you are not treble-sensitive at all, this may not be a deal breaker, but for me they were. The music I listen to is already packed with treble, so noticeable harshness can be borderline painful, as I am somewhat treble sensitive. Good detailing, but I wish they made them smoother, especially concerning long-term listening session. Not approved.
     
    Soundstage: not bad, not extraordinary. It is fairly good, without being mind-blowingly good and jaw-dropping. About as good as you can get for the price. Not bad at all.
     
    Tonal balance and dynamics: I did not notice anything weird or off-putting here, which I guess translates to “good performance” in both of these areas. Nothing of note.
     
    Overall sound: good detail for the price. If not for the harshness in the highs, these would be sonically excellent given the $40 price tag. The lows, mids and highs are all filled with plenty of detail, which should satisfy most people looking for a cheap and durable pair of IEMs to use on the move. Sounding about as good as you get for $40 definitely makes these a pair to consider.
     
     
    Verdict: 3,5/5
  10. HiFiChris
    4.0/5,
    "A decent Newcomer for a very fair price."
    Pros - excellent cable, small size, precise soundstage, very fair price, adequate resolution
    Cons - bass could be slightly more arid, not for treble-shy people, no chin-slider
     

     

    Preamble:

    Before I start with my review, I would like to thank ADV.SOUND for providing me with a sample of their M4 in-ears (http://www.adv-sound.com/product/m4/) in exchange for my honest opinion.

    ADV.SOUND is a new company in the audio market and based in New York. With the M4 in-ears, they have introduced their first commercial product, which was funded on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter with the help of the community.
    The in-ears are advertised as with an “emphasis on midrange” and a “naturally balanced tuning”, on what I wouldn’t completely agree, as their sound signature is more of a mild v-shape which however delivers fun on a definitely not exaggerated level.
    To find out more, just read my review on these in-ears.


    Technical Specifications:

    Warranty: 3 years
    Price: $39.99
    Drivers: dynamic
    Impedance: 16 Ohms
    Sensitivity: 92 dB @ 1 kHz
    Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
    Rated Power Input: 1 mW
    Max. Power Input: 5 mW
    Cable Length: 1.36 m


    Delivery Content:

    The in-ears arrive in a nice looking black package which has got a large white ADV.SOUND logo as well as a plastic screen on the front’s upper half. Below is a picture of a mixer console as well as “designed for musicians” and “naturally balanced in-ear monitors” taglines.
    The back shows a picture of the uncompensated frequency response next to a description of the sound as well as a picture of the in-ears, placed on a guitar amplifier. Another picture that shows the whole delivery content is present, too.
    The left side shows the in-line cable remote, the right describes ADV.SOUND’s company philosophy.

    Sliding the cardboard box out, one will find the quite opulent delivery content which contains of the in-ears, a carrying case, a cable clip, three pairs of white silicone tips, three pairs of black silicone tips, three pairs of black double-flange silicone tips and last but not least one pair of Comply Foam Tips which are already pre-mounted.
     

     
     
     



    Looks, Feels, Build Quality:

    The in-ears’ bodies are extremely small and made of matte silver aluminium.
    Next to the strain relief that contains the side markers, there are two small “ADV.” logos on the bodies, along with a small vent.
    The angled 3.5 mm connector is made of soft plastic, has got a decent strain relief as well as a decorative ring which is made of black metal.
    A really positively outstanding highlight is the cable which can usually only be found on custom-moulded and much more expensive in-ears, as it is made of twisted braids and has even got four braids below the y-split. The only thing I miss is a chin-slider.

    These in-ears’ build quality is really good and except for the MEE A151, I’ve never seen such a premium cable in the price range around $50.
     

     
     
     
     
     



    Comfort, Isolation:

    As the in-ears are really small, the huge majority of users should be able to get a decent fit and seal.

    Both the “classical” wearing style with the cables straight down as well as the “professional” with the cables around the ears are easily possible and the latter massively reduces microphonics. Nonetheless, a chin-slider would be helpful to entirely eliminate cable noise, though alternatively the included cable clip can be used.

    Noise isolation is slightly lower than average in my ears.
     

     
     



    Remote Control, Microphone:

    The remote control is located on the left side and is in a good position both when wearing the in-ears with the cable straight down or over the ears.
    The single button for playback and phone controls is easily tactile and has got a nice pressure point.

    The microphone’s speech quality is above average; voices sound clear, natural and tonally correct. Solely sensitivity could be a bit higher.


    Sound:

    For listening, I used the largest white silicone tips, inserting the in-ears quite deep in my ear canals.
    My main source devices were the iBasso DX80 as well as HiFime 9018d, however I also sporadically used my BlackBerry Q10 (especially for testing the microphone).
    Before critical listening took place, I burnt the M4 in (just in case), although I am not much of a burn-in guy with in-ears and headphones.

    Tonality:

    Beforehand: the various included ear tips (excluding the Comply Foam Tips which I did not use) sound identical in my ears, except for the black double-flange tips which brighten up the sound a little more.
    Since earlier prototypes, the sound signature has been changed – the model I have is the most recent tuning.

    Shortly summarised, I would describe M4s’ sound as a rather gentle, more natural sounding v-shape with a focus on the treble.

    With about 5 dB, lows are surprisingly moderately raised. Main focus in the lows lays especially on mid-bass, upper bass as well as the lower and lower middle ground-tone, giving the lows a rather smooth, warmer character.
    Sub-bass is somewhat rolled off; the emphasis starts in the mid-bass and stops at 450 Hz where a neutral level is being reached again.
    The mids are just moderately in the background and sound a bit brighter than neutral, with a slightly hollow character.
    Presence area isn’t really recessed; from 2.5 to 3 kHz is a rather broad-banded peak located which gives the mids the just described tonality and appearance. At 5 kHz, I can hear a dip, but level starts increasing from 6 kHz on, forming another rather broad-banded peak between 8.5 and 9.5 kHz. Extension above 10 kHz is good.
    Generally, the treble is somewhat more prominent than the bass.

    On a personal side-note: right from the start, these IEMs gave me a lot of fun and positive smiles. Surely the M4 are rather cultivated “fun” in-ears than balanced reference monitors, however their sound signature clearly stays away from being exaggerated and bassheads will likely not be satisfied, though there is a really good compromise between fun and balance, with a tendency to the first.
    After longer listening sessions, treble can become somewhat obtrusive, as it is definitely bright and emphasised, however not really piercing, which is due to the rather broad-banded peaks. Although high frequencies don’t sound completely natural, they are nowhere near as metallic, piercing and cutting like for example the Sennheiser CX 200 Street II’s.


    Subsequently is a picture of M4s’ frequency response with the white silicone tips (which are identical to the black ones):


     

    The plot was made with my Vibro Veritas setup which I calibrated to more or less mimic a real IEC 711 coupler, and in many cases results are very useable. The calibration also contains an applied diffuse-field compensation target.
    The results should more be seen as a rough visualisation than laboratory-grade exact values and are obviously not a precise as with professional measurement equipment (especially at 3, 6 and 9 kHz are stronger variations). Thus treble should be regarded with a grain of salt, because with deep insertion the peak at 9 kHz is at least 5 dB less present than on the graph.

    Resolution:

    I perceive detail retrieval as appropriate to good for the price – the M4 is no real insider’s tip but also miles away from being overpriced and among the better in-ears in its price range.
    Despite the rather strong treble emphasis, high frequencies are still quite pleasant, which speaks for a quite good resolution in this area. Though, they sound a bit more artificial and put-on than natural (which is a side-effect of the tonal tuning).
    Mids’ resolution is averagely good, though voices sound a tiny bit hollow, caused by the emphasis at 3 kHz, which makes especially female vocals somewhat more prone to (however rather soft sounding) sibilance.
    Bass is quite detailed and neither blunt nor artificial, nonetheless it clearly belongs to the softer side and isn’t super fast either. I’d describe impact and decay as rather full-flavoured and corporeal; with faster bass-lines the drivers give in a bit and start sounding somewhat muddy in the lows. Nonetheless, control is relatively decent and as long as the tracks aren’t overly fast, single bass notes and lines are quite sophisticated and cleanly rendered – still, I’d prefer slightly faster, more solid lows.

    Soundstage:

    M4s’ soundstage is rather averagely wide and deep, with a bit more lateral expansion than depth. Really positively striking regarding the price is the good instrument separation which doesn’t make musicians or tonal instruments appear blurry at all, but separates them quite precisely from each other. Emptiness between instruments or airiness however aren’t much present, but that is no con, as there are only very few IEMs in this price range that halfway manage to do so.
    With fast music material, separation collapses a little because of the bass which is more on the soft side.

    ---------

    Short Comparison with other In-Ears:

    TTPod T1 (non-E):
    Both share a quite identical bass emphasis, however T1’s is about 1.5 dB more prominent and extends slightly deeper. Bass impact is rather on the soft side as well, however decay is faster and therefore T1’s lows sound slightly more arid and controlled.
    T1’s treble is less emphasised, more even and therefore more natural.
    Resolution is about identical, which is a very good thing as I consider the T1 as one of the better in-ears in its price range.
    T1 has the larger soundstage with more spatial depth, however M4’s stage is better controlled and has the better instrument separation.

    Brainwavz M3:
    M3’s sound is more balanced, however with a midrange emphasis. M4 is stronger sounded, M3 sounds more natural, however it has also got a (though narrower) peak in the upper treble, making its highs sound slightly artificial as well, but more natural than M4’s due to the “relaxed” middle treble. M3’s vocal presentation is a bit darker, but also more up-front.
    Bass speed is slightly better on the M4.
    In terms of resolution, M3 is the winner.
    M4 has the wider soundstage; M3’s is (much) deeper and has the somewhat better separation and layering.


    Conclusion:

    ADV.SOUND’s M4 is a successful entry to the world of in-ears and headphones plus has got a really fair selling price.
    The in-ears offer quite good build quality with a formidable cable. Tonal tuning is a gentle v-shape with a tendency to a bright, emphasised treble which could probably be less prominent for better long-term listening qualities.
    For their price, the M4 in-ears do many things right and offer a very solid value for the money, with decent resolution and a soundstage with good instrument separation, plus they managed to put a distinct smile on my face.
    Solely a bit more bass speed and aridness as well as a chin-slider are things I’d like to see.

    Well done – 79% or rounded 4 out of 5 stars.
    mgunin, twister6 and B9Scrambler like this.