AüR Audio Alita

General Information


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Headphoneus Supremus
Discovering A Pearl
Pros: Down-to-earth pricing for TOTL performance
Master of subtlety and tonal nuance – perfect for classical & small ensemble
Spacious centre image
Excellent soundstage width & instrument separation
Great build quality & comfortable ergonomics
Cons: Buyers will likely expect more elaborate packaging for the price
Flatter signature may not be ‘dramatic’ enough for those used to a W/V signature

Source: Cayin RU6, 4.4mm BO, OS, low gain // Shanling M8, 4.4mm BO, low gain. Majority of listening on the Cayin RU6 for tonality/track impressions, with some time spent comparing impact of source on the Alita with the Shanling M8.

Cable: stock (SPC), Tips: small TRN T tips

UAPP and Qobuz

Disclosure: this was purchased at the full retail price of SGD$1393 from http://www.auraudio.store, no incentive was given for a favourable review.


Over the past twelve months or so I have remained very much a spectator of the IEM game, favouring earbuds over IEMs for their superior staging, wider centre image and more authentic timbre and coherence. My listening habits have changed very little over the past years, focusing on string instruments, female vocalists and world music. I enjoy detail, texture and a balanced tonality. I don’t mind a three-frequency emphasis provided it remains in balance and has an open and expressive midrange.

There has been an explosion of growth in the IEM market, with new brands entering, old brands resurfacing and new technology vying for our attention. Unfortunately, for the cash conscious amongst us, entry to the top end of the market comes at an increasing cost. We are seeing a weird and wonderful array of driver configurations, tuning profiles and acoustic tech emerge. Largely driven by fierce competition within the market and the desire to offer something ‘unique’. While tuning is all a matter of taste, I do feel some of these ‘unique’ tunings can stray wildly from what I perceive as natural or flattering to the instrumental music that makes up the majority of my library. There have been sets that grab me by the ‘crown jewels’ on first listen but as their novelty wanes, issues of balance, versatility and realism emerge. They just don’t have the staying power and I can’t be the only person searching for something that doesn’t contort itself for the sake of novelty…something more elegant and timeless. By fortune alone (read as: an unhealthy obsession with the Head-Fi forums), I think I have found that in the AüR Audio Alita. A 12 BA set from a small boutique brand out of Singapore, headed by Nicholas Teo and tuned by the IEM alchemist, Abel Hsu.

Accessories, Build Quality, Fit & Comfort

The accessories & packaging are utilitarian. There’s a small metal ‘puck’ case that contains the IEM, a good quality 2 pin braided SPC cable, a cleaning brush and some silicone ear tips. If you’re looking for your money to be spent on the packaging or accessories, look elsewhere. I suspect the vast majority of costing here has been put into what matters - the IEM itself – with the assumption that the majority of users will have their own storage cases, cables and tips. The stock cable is a nicely resolving silver-plated copper with a paracord sheath. If you’re not a cable-believer please look away now…later on in the review I would touch on cable synergy and the Alita is both tip, source and cable sensitive and really does reveal the qualities of the chain it’s attached to in quite an unaltered fashion. The stock cable demonstrates good synergy in emphasising both the low frequencies and emphasising the high, however for me, the quality of high frequencies wasn’t as refined as I’d have liked and I have had better success with other cables.

Hands on with the Alita, it doesn’t take long to see that it is made with love. It has a superb build quality, with a beautiful resin shell with a steel nozzle and a flat 2pin connector. The steel nozzle features a lip to further increase grip on ear tips and measures about 5.5mm-6mm in diameter at its widest point, with a metal filter to prevent ingress of debris. The resin is a pearl white colour and the faceplate has a semi-transparent web-like effect. It looks very special and it’s not something I’ve seen on other IEMs.

The Alita will fit the majority of users without issue owed to comparatively universal contouring of the concha that is anything but aggressive (see pictures). I have smaller than average ears and with the right tips manage to achieve a flush fit. There’s no visible venting on the shell. With enclosed BA sets in the past I have encountered some pressure build up, but that’s not the case here and I can comfortably listen to these for longer sessions that might last 4-5 hours. What’s probably most impressive about the build is how Abel has managed to fit 12 BA drivers into this rather small shell. The faceplate reveals the positioning of the drivers within and they are tightly grouped to make the most of the available space.



Please see the frequency chart provided by AüR Audio below:

Alita FR.png

AüR Audio Alita Sound Signature Chart

This plot should be interpreted on all axes simultaneously. The primary signature is shown with secondary and tertiary sound signatures. I have included the primary tonality plot for the other two AuR Audio releases - the Neon Pro (10BA switch on and off) and Aure (1DD+6BA, now discontinued) for those interested.

AuR Tonality Plot.png

Primary = Mid-centric – warm

Secondary (Strong) = Detailed

Secondary (Strong) = Mid forward

Secondary (Weak) = Smooth

Sound Signature Breakdown

I have to start this section with a disclaimer: I have heard surprisingly elastic changes to Alita with changes in source, tips and cable (in that order) but by on large, the above plot is accurate across those variables. My preferred source is the Cayin RU6, a mid-centric source that reveals organic textures really well and enhances layering, something that by all accounts can be attributed to the R2R sound – if you have an R2R source I imagine it will play well with the Alita. The Shanling M8 opens up staging and adds midbass heft, loses some layering and depth and sounds less organic with more ‘digital’ treble presentation. This digital sound is something I’ve not appreciated from the Velvet Sound AKM4499EQ of the Shanling M8 before and I put this down to the wonderfully detailed and open sound of the Alita.

Regardless of the source, cable and tips, I always hear the Alita remaining ‘mid-centric-warm' in primary signature owing to an open lower midrange, tasteful controlled pinna gain and largely neutral presence and brilliance. The focus always remains in the midrange and it leans 'warm' in temperature thanks to a naturally weighted and gliding bass shelf and subdued (but not absent) air. Despite this warmth it does not come across as veiled or muffled. A strong secondary characteristic that emerges from that warmth is of detail. The upper midrange presence holds your attention and exposes detail in a very natural and effortless way. It does not shout and it displays no sibilance in vocal replay. There is a balance of note definition and transparency that is perfect for instrumentals and this leads me onto the strong secondary sound characteristic of being mid-forward. The bass is controlled and the lower treble and air fall slightly behind the more forward midrange. Notes are not boxy or blunted despite this midrange emphasis. The final, weaker, secondary sound characteristic is the Alita’s ‘smooth’ presentation. This is mostly a product of the aforementioned tonal balance. There is nothing jarring or unexpected about this tonality and even though notes are well defined and textured, they are not sharp, grainy or overexposed.


As an all-BA set, the Alita, not surprisingly has excellent speed and agility. I will cover this more in my listening observations but suffice to say, it doesn’t struggle to keep up with complex, layered tracks and it never feels strained or lacking in transient depth. Having said that, this is far from the most clinical BA set I have heard in terms of speed and transients. Abel has chosen these BAs wisely for a very natural attack and decay that fits nicely with its mid-centric, organic tuning.

The soundstage is wide with good depth and with a very coherent and spacious centre image when sounds pan through or occupy that space. The mid-centric tuning and warmer approach to the bass and treble gives the stage an intimacy but it doesn’t sound claustrophobic or choked. This is one of the reasons I prefer the Alita for jazz and smaller performances, the tonality is more intimate than grand but that is not at the exclusion of performing well with orchestral or large ensemble music thanks to the stage width and good layering.

The Alita is a highly resolving sound, note texture is abundant and enjoyable. The spacious soundstage feels as though it opens up each note. There’s adequate depth to appreciate the textures (this is hard to verbalise), plenty of resolving power and nothing feels compressed or flat. For this reason, instrument timbre is easily discerned and when taken in the context of its ‘natural’ tuning you have a very realistic instrument replay.

A side note here, soundstage, imaging and layering appears source-dependent. I have stuck with the RU6 with a tighter stage than the Shanling M8 but on which tonality, layering and separation improve, to my ears. And yet, with this tighter stage, it still does not feel closed in. I would encourage listeners to experiment. I have not been disappointed with the scaling and adaptability of the Alita.


From left to right: Alita (12BA), Aure (1DD+6BA), Neon Pro (10BA)

Listening Observations

Source: Cayin RU6, stock SPC cable, Qobuz via UAPP

Ballake Sissoko & Vincent Segal – Chamber Music – Chamber Music

A all-round beautiful example (maybe, only example?) of kora & cello duet. The taught, brittle strings on the kora and the softer, woody resonance of the cello is masterfully captured. The flourish and force of kora plucking can often get quite sharp on some transducers. Not the Alita, just natural through and through. The fingering of the strings is heard and ‘felt’ in all its brilliance and zing. The cello is weighted well thanks to the naturally boosted bass and lower midrange. String texture is present, notes aren’t overly smooth, dry or wet…they’re just ‘correct’.

Ballake Sissoko & Vincent Segal – Musique de Nuit – Balazando

A large part of this album was recorded open-air on a rooftop in Bamako, Mali. You can hear the nearby sound of sheep and distant pickup trucks passing. As you would expect it’s a very ‘open’ recording with the buzz of a close air always palpable. The Alita, despite having a subtle air past 12k still manages to reveal the higher frequency atmosphere in the recording and places the instruments with superb separation and clarity. How the musicians handle the instruments can be discerned from the informative lateral depth and spacious centre image.

Gabi Hartmann – Gabi Hartmann – Baby

A wonderful smooth jazz album. Gabi’s multilingual vocal performance pops from the track, lush with warmth and detail. This type of warm, female jazz vocal is’ Alita’s ’bread and butter’ – it will never let you down if this is your gig. The various instruments are placed around the head with good separation and dimension. The timbre of both the bass and guitar are informative despite heavy processing. Listeners after bright and heady vocals for Asian pop music may be better served elsewhere.

Hadouk Trio – Air Hadouk – Dididi

Gobs of resolution and texture. The main woodwind is masterfully presented, with maximum clarity but a natural weight and warmth. Perfect percussive tone, texture and decay from the accompanying hand drums. Faultless presentation of a brilliant recording.

Lucas van Merwijk and Aly N’Diaye Rose – Drumix – Meta ‘Tony’ Meta

Another test for percussion. This can be a pretty exciting track and while the Alita gives me every tonal and timbral nuance my heart desire, I find myself wishing for slightly more midbass impact, slightly more lower treble sparkle and better macrodynamics to do this roaring drum performance justice. It comes across as just slightly less vital as a performance because of the Alitas flatter signature. If you’re someone more sensitive lower treble sparkle and want to run far from splashy cymbals, I can see a real appeal to how Alita presents drums.

Rolf Lislevand – Kapsberger: Libro Quatro D’intavolatura Di Chitarone – No.6, Canario

I generally use this to assess imaging and staging (along with some Yosi Horikawa). The wooden percussion and bells give some great placement cues and there’s a lovely dark background for these sounds to hang in. It’s also a great track to catch lute timbre. First off, the stage is wide, beyond the ear and deep, with enough dimension to make out the wooden percussion front right and the bell centre right. The wooden percussion can sound dull on some IEMs with no clarity or texture if the upper midrange is not emphasised appropriately. The Alita has an expert balance of clarity and warmth, enough to pull the subtleties of these accompanying instruments into the soundspace. The lute sounds beautiful through the Alita, it’s sweet, organic and textured and isn’t missing the Baroque romance and allure.

Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita – Echo – Jula Kuta

This is a wonderful collaboration from a harpist and a kora player. The recording and mixing is superb too. With the Cayin RU6 and Alita, I’m pretty much in heaven. The kora is not sharp but its detailed and accurate, the harp is beautifully resonant in all its harmonic glory. Note definition and tactility is spot on. The harp has a weighty reach down low that’s very atmospheric thanks to the bass lift. This is another example of what the Alita was built for. Clear but organic with natural string timbre. If you get the tuning at 6-10kHz wrong, this track will highlight that.

Listen to Chaminuka on the same album for some wonderful Malian vocals. They are perfectly placed on Alita. Not forward and invasive, but weighted appropriately and complimenting the instrumental performance. The Alita isn’t what I would consider a vocal specialist or vocal orientated, it’s more about the performance as a whole but feed it vocal work and it doesn’t disappoint. (See next)

Vox Clamantis – Arvo Part: The Deer’s Cry – Summa

*Available on Qobuz and other platforms*

This choral track written by Part really tests the natural balance of female and male vocals. The Alita doesn’t really favour either gender. Placement of singers isn’t as wide laterally as some other sets I have heard like Mentor but it competes in separation and depth.

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble – The Essential – Little Wing

No shrill replay of SRVs guitar, realistic textures and great separation. While the guitar work is exciting and expressive, I would want more weight and sparkle in the drums here. This track sits on the outskirts of Alita’s musicality for me for that reason.

Kendrick Lamar – Mr Morale & The Big Steppers – Rich Spirit

Just as a test of bass presence, there’s definitely subbass without roll off and good midbass presence on the Alita. It’s very tasteful and balanced but the focus remains the midrange. The Alita bass is a few dB shy of what would get my foot tapping with this track. Kendricks vocals are clear and textured and neutral in placement. As an aside, the lack of subbass roll off makes the Alita a great choice for OSTs (especially scores from Zimmer).

Nenad Vasilic – Bass Room – Gavrilo’s Prinzip

*Available on Qobuz and other streaming platforms*

I can’t review an transducer without putting it through this album. I love it. There’s a need for textured bass and natural decay. The bass needs to be emphasised naturally and glide from sub to midbass to low mid. Midbass tucks totally sap the joy here. The midrange needs to be clean and open for string texture and resonance to be done justice otherwise things can sound to blunted and soft. The tuning here just works and despite being all BA, the sound has a lovely tactility to the strings movement.

Vox Luminis – Bach: Actus Tragicus – I. Sonatina

A flawless presentation of Bach and vocal ensemble and just bloody beautiful on the Alita. Quite lost for words here (which isn’t great when you’re trying to review something). I don’t listen to a lot of classical but can see the Alita being at the end of the IEM journey for those that do. The tonal balance, large staging, clear layering and resolution means it can handle the complexity of larger performances and everything just sounds ‘correct’.

Closing Remarks

I have been critical of the direction of the high end IEM market as of late, with its diminishing returns and the hype and novelty that some brands appear to play into. Alita has managed to restore my faith and obliterate some latent cynicism. There has been some real thought and attention put into this product. It has a beautifully mature tuning philosophy implemented into a technically adept 12BA set up. For my library and with my preferred source (RU6), the Alita is a sublime match. It wouldn’t be right to close without mentioning the tuner – Abel Hsu. I called him an alchemist in the introduction because he seems to have the Midas touch. The other AüR Audio sets that I have heard are excellent in their own right and are shaped by tuning choices fit for different purposes. Importantly, for those who love detail, they all share an upper midrange that produces a well-balanced clarity while avoiding the majority of fatiguing frequencies in the process (YMMV, but this alone has been a game changer for me).

The beauty here is how graciously Alita presents music. In the age of 22 carat gold, diamond encrusted IEMs this sort of maturity certainly has its appeal.

Last edited:
Thanks - great job

Currently I am using Convolution filters (WAV files) with some other IEM's.

Are the necessary data available some where to produce Convolution filters (WAV files) for Alita?

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Epic review 😎🤪🤘
Que cable tiene


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