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Accutone Pisces Digital In-Ear Headset - Retail Packaging - Black/Chrome

Rating:
2.66667/5,
  1. B9Scrambler
    Accutone Pisces: Stylin'
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Jun 8, 2017
    3.0/5,
    Pros - Design and Build - Presentation
    Cons - Veiled Mid-range - Value
    Greetings Head-fi!

    Today we are continuing our run through the monster lineup of Accutone's consumer earphones looking at the Pisces, their entry level model in the Pisces series of products.

    Since 1969, Accutone has been delivering to both businesses and regular consumers alike some high quality products. Their primary goal is to bring people closer, be that through music or communication. As such, it makes sense they would have divisions which make telecommunications headsets for call centres and professional settings, along with headphones and earphones for general consumption by the public at large. It's clear that they are well-versed in the industry and that the knowledge and experience garnered over numerous decades has been put to good use crafting their latest series of consumer products. From the compact and durable Pegasus C, to the Taurus and it's bass tuning system, to the hybrid Pisces BA, Accutone has done an excellent job of offering both competitive and unique products.

    The Pisces boasts a fashion-forward design and touts a focus on clarity. What do I think? Let's find out together.

    Disclaimer:

    The Pisces was provided by Accutone on a complimentary basis for the purposes of this review. There is no financial incentive for writing this, and all thoughts and opinions within are my own. They do not represent Accutone or any other entity.

    You can order the Pisces for 79.00 USD here: https://www.audio.accutone.com/pisces

    I'm a 30 year old professional working for what is currently the largest luxury hotel chain on the planet. I have a background in Psychology which probably explains my somewhat dry writing style. My entry into the world of portable audio was due primarily to a lack of space for a full-sized stereo system during my university years, and truly began with the venerable JVC HA-FXT90. After reading pretty much the entirety of IjokerI's multi-earphone review thread, reviews from other established reviewers, and thus being greatly inspired, I took a chance and started writing my own.

    Fast forward a couple years and I'm thankful to have had the opportunity to write about products for wonderful companies like RHA, Accutone, ADVANCED, NarMoo, Mixcder, Brainwavz, Meze and many more. I don't do it for money or free stuff, but because this is my hobby and I enjoy it. If my reviews can help guide someone to a product that makes them happy, I'll consider that a job well done and payment enough.

    Gear used for testing was a Shanling M1, HTC One M8, LG G5, Topping NX1 portable amplifier paired with an XDuoo X3 (Rockbox), and my aging Asus G73 gaming laptop paired with a Creative SoundBlaster Recon3D usb amp. I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. While I enjoy a variety of signatures I generally lean towards slightly warm with elevated treble and sub-bass, an even mid-range response, and reduced mid-bass, though lately I've been enjoying more mellow and relaxed products with a bass tilt. My favorite in-ears, the Echobox Finder X1 with grey filters installed and the Fischer Audio Dubliz Enhanced are good examples of my preferred signatures.

    20170607_080621_HDR.jpg 20170607_080925_HDR.jpg 20170607_081821_HDR.jpg

    Packaging and Accessories:

    The Pisces shares the same excellent, robust packaging as the Taurus that I reviewed last year. Wrapped in a blue(?) and black cardboard sheath outlining the product is a large black plastic case with a rubberized matte finish.

    Open the lid and you are greeted by the Pisces' housings tucked nicely into a foam cutout. Comply foam eartips are preinstalled. The cable is neatly wrapped and hidden below under an Accutone branded strip of cardboard.

    Lift out the foam sheet and underneath is another compartment housing the accessories. Included is Accutone's excellent leatherette carry case, two sets of silicone tips, and another set of foam eartips. The second set of foams is the same as those included with the Pavo. I was very happy with their inclusion because they do not have the treble dulling qualities of Comply's tips and feel more durable. Finally, Accutone sought to include a soft rubber cable winder, quite reminiscent of those provided with many JVC and Sony products. A thoughtful inclusion, but it doesn't work with the Pisces' flat cable. Oops.

    Overall the Pisces' unboxing experience is quite pleasant. The large case is also useful beyond providing positive first impressions as it can easily hold the Pisces in it's leatherette case, a DAP, small amp, and a number of other accessories if needed. For someone that travels a lot and needs a place to store their gear, this case will be a godsend.

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    Build, Comfort, Isolation:

    If you've read my earlier review of Accutone's flagship, the Pisces BA, the Pisces will look pretty familiar. It feels familiar as well. The driver housings are crafted from aluminum with the remainder made from the same, dense, durable, scratch resistant plastic. While the prominent use of plastic felt a little underwhelming and out of place on a 400 USD flagship hybrid, it's much more at home and appropriate at the more affordable 79 USD the Pisces commands.

    Build quality and fit and finish of the housings is overall quite nice. The aluminum segments containing the drivers are neatly machined without any blemishes or sharp edges and connect solidly with the plastic back-plate. The curved plastic, while clearly made of multiple pieces, fits together well and doesn't feel flimsy or fragile. As noted above I found it quite resistant to picking up scratches or blemishes which is appreciated given the attractive piano black color Accutone chose to use. The chrome accents where the cable enters the housing adds some more contrast to the design, and to my surprise based on the way they retain and transfer heat, are made of aluminum. While very similar, I'd say the standard Pisces looks and feels more premium than the Pisces BA.

    While I'm not normally a fan of wide, flat cables, Accutone's isn't that bad compared to most. There are a few niggling qualities I'm not a fan of though. First, just above the y-split where the cable branches out to each earpiece it has a tendency to rub against itself, causing an unusual squeak to travel up and into your ear. At first I thought this was an issue with the drivers, but nope, just the cable. Second, combined with the beefy and well-built in-line controller the cable carries some weight on the right side and has a tendency to tug, tug, tug. On the plus side, microphonics are present but not so intrusive as to ruin your musical experience. The cable is also quite flexible and both memory and tangle resistant. It's also well relieved and supported at the slim straight jack. Overall a good cable. Not great, not bad, just solid.

    Comfort on the Pisces is another strong point, though not quite to the same extent as their bigger brother. The extra weight from the flat cable combined with the small driver housings means their weight isn't balanced and supported in your ear as well as it could be. I found they had a tendency to tug their way out of a seal when worn cable down, and resorted to cable up wear which successfully negated that problem.

    Isolation is about what you'd expect from a dynamic driver based earphone with a somewhat shallow fit; merely acceptable. It's enough to dull noise from your surroundings but nothing is fully blocked. If you're looking to isolate yourself from your surroundings, the Pisces isn't the right earphone for the job.

    For a fashion-forward earphone, the Pisces ticks most of the right boxes. They're nicely built and quite comfortable with a durable cable, albeit one that weighs them down a little to much.

    20170607_082845_HDR.jpg 20170607_082926_HDR.jpg 20170607_083001_HDR.jpg

    Specifications:

    Weight: 15 grams

    Rated Input Power: 5mW

    Max Input Power: 10 mW

    Driver: 9.2mm dynamic

    Impedance: 16 ohms

    Sensitivity: 110 +/- 3 dB

    Sound:

    Tips: The included tips work, especially the grey foams, but I ended up settling on KZ's medium 'Starline' tips. They didn't alter the sound signature (for better or worse) while helping to improve comfort and combat cable weight by enabling a slightly deeper seal.

    Amping/Source Matching: Amping is not needed as the Pisces is quite efficient. I recommend pairing them with a naturally brighter source which seem to help mid-range clarity.


    The Pisces is characterized by a warm, non-fatiguing and mid-bassy signature. Given Accutone's marketing speak places such focus on clarity, this is not quite the signature I was expecting heading into this earphone.

    It's treble presentation is quite mellow with a weighty thickness to it. It's not particularly sparkly nor heavily emphasized and avoids any sibilance. Unfortunately, clarity is sorely lacking. Rapid cymbal hits lack definition and they blend into what comes across as one long wavering hit. This was first apparent testing them out on my favorite King Crimson track, 'Starless and Bible Black'.

    The mid-range on the Pisces is also hit and miss. It's not that it's recessed, but instead overly thick and lacking detail. On some tracks this works in their favor, but in most cases not. Female vocals in particular come across quite stuffy. This is disappointing because otherwise it's tonally rather pleasing.

    The low end on this earphone is one of it's more prominent aspects. Outside of the fairly large mid-bass hump that intrudes a touch on the lower mids, it's got a good thump to it that with pop and electronic tracks is quite appropriate. Texturing is better here than anywhere else, though tracks with rapid double bass hits really trip them up.

    When it comes to sound stage, the Pisces is about what you'd expect given the mid-bassy signature. While not congested, I don't recommend tracks that are overly busy or complicated as the separation and layering qualities fall short.

    While the Pisces is disappointing on a technical level (clarity especially) it is quite musical in the right circumstances, those being when listening to slower, less complicated and technical tracks. It carries a tune better than you would expect. Once I stopped listening to the earphones and started listening to the music, the larger flaws faded to the background and I found myself tapping my toes and bobbing my head.

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    Final Thoughts:

    I end off this review with mixed feelings of the Pisces. On one hand, I really like the attractive and unique design, solid build quality, and the useful packaging. While sonically it is far from perfect, it can be an enjoyable listen with the right tracks. As a daily driver I wouldn't have any issues taking these with me. They're durable, can be slipped into your ears with ease, and with a decent inline mic and control module they're very convenient.

    On the other hand, those sonic imperfections really stick out when I'm listening to them critically and they end up being just another, fairly average sounding earphone. At almost 80 USD I would expect a lot more, especially considering how competitive the sub-100 USD market is right now. Accutone themselves have a number of other products I would happily recommend in place of the Pisces, those being the Pavo if you want the clarity these tout, the Taurus if you want a fun and impressive bass experience, or the Lyra if you simply want an inexpensive but great sounding product.

    In summary, the Pisces has the potential to be excellent for you if style and convenience are high on your list of important qualities. If sound quality is tops, you may want to consider the suggestions above.

    Thanks for reading!

    - B9Scrambler

    ***** ***** ***** ***** *****​
    Test Tracks:

    Aesop Rock – Crows 1

    Aesop Rock – Maintenance

    BT – The Antikythera Mechanism

    The Crystal Method – Grace (feat. LeAnn Rimes)

    Daft Punk – Touch

    Gramatik – Bluestep (Album Version)

    Godsmack – Hollow

    Godsmack – One Rainy Day

    Incubus – 2nd/3rd/4th Movements of the Odyssey

    Infected Mushroom – Deeply Disturbed

    Infected Mushroom – The Legend of the Black Shawarma

    Jessie J – Bang Bang

    Kiesza – Hideaway

    King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black

    Pink Floyd – Money

    Skindred – Death to all Spies

    Supertramp – Rudy

    The Prodigy – Get Your Fight On

    Witcher 2 Official Soundtrack
      crabdog likes this.
  2. Cinder
    So Close To a Good IEM
    Written by Cinder
    Published Mar 22, 2017
    3.0/5,
    Pros - Unique styling, components well connected, excellent bass signature, very comfortable, included genuine Comply
    Cons - Muffled mids, lack of extension on both ends, all-plastic construction
    1bBQjc1MiIKjd0Tccd3opWQ.jpg

    Accutone Pisces Review: So Close To a Good IEM

    This is another entry into my Accutone IEM marathon. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Accutone, they are a Chinese audio company who has been in the business for over ten years. They started out producing business devices and have since moved into the consumer audio space. The Pisces is the first high-performance IEM to feature Accutone’s unique geometry.
    You can find the Pisces for sale here, on Accutone’s official website, for $80.
    Disclaimer: This unit was provided to me free of charge for review purposes. I am not affiliated with Accutone beyond this review. These words reflect my true, unaltered, opinion about the product.
    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, mid-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 Pisces was powered like so:
    Nexus 6P -> earphones
    or
    Hidizs AP100 3.5mm out -> FiiO A5 3.5mm out -> earphones
    or
    HiFiMAN SuperMini -> earphones
    or
    PC optical out -> HiFiMe SPDIF 9018 Sabre DAC 3.5mm out -> earphones
    All music was served as MP3 @320Kbps or as FLAC. The Pisces did not behave well at all when I used the HiFiME 9018, so I chose to limit my experiences with the Pisces to mainly use with my Nexus 6P and SuperMini.

    Sound Signature

    Initial Impressions:
    Ironically, the Pisces has a singificantly higher amount of bass rumble and impact, despite being tuned for “Clarity”, than the Pegasus C, which is tuned for “Bass”. Unfortunately however, the Pisces also suffers from the Accutone Muffle. While it isn’t quite as pronounced as on the Pegasus C and Gemini, it is still noticeable and a bit bothersome. The Pisces’s treble is slightly boosted, but is enveloped by the overly-warm mids and loose mid-bass. Sub-bass extends well and is promising for dance and electronic songs.
    Treble: Songs used: In One EarMidnight CityOutlandsSatisfy
    Treble isn’t terrible. In fact, I actually like the way it is tuned. I simply wish it was a little more prominent. High-hats are generally clear and have a good decay to them. You see, Accutone isn’t using bad drivers in their IEMs, they just occasionally miss the mark when tuning them.
    Midnight City’s synths sounded relatively clear during the intro, and had a good decay to them. However, they did become a bit less clear during the chorus and bridge. This essentially parallels my experiences with the Pegasus C, though the negative effects are much less pronounced.
    Thankfully the Pisces isn’t sibilant. That would be a total deal killer for me. Nero’s Satisfy was actually pretty enjoyable, warm mids aside. The good treble extension and decent bass impact were enough to really get my head moving.
    Mids: Songs used: Flagpole SittaJacked UpI Am The HighwayDreams
    The upper mids sound a bit tinny. I’m not sure what causes this, but it’s noticeable on the drums of Flagpole Sitta. However, after a couple listens I found that my ears had adapted and that I didn’t really have too much of an issue with it. Guitars sound decent, and have a nice crunch to them. Acoustic guitars seem to resolve better than electric ones, though both still have decent tonality.
    Vocals are ok, but aren’t anything to write home about, especially at this price. Both male and female vocals are weighted well. Intelligibility is average.
    Overall I found the mids to be cloudy and warm, lacking definition in the lower end. If that was cleared up then I think that this IEM would be a very good performer, as the driver it uses has a lot of latent potential.
    Bass: Songs used: MothGold DustIn For The Kill (Skream Remix)Leave Me
    Bass is pretty good, and for some, will be the redeeming quality of the Pisces. I found that bass guitars had good resolution and depth, with some form of shaping. While not perfect, it was still a good listen.
    Bass impact is good, as is bass wetness. While it could be a little wetter, I found that most songs didn’t really care one way or the other (note that bass wetness is the result of the proportion of sub-bass to mid-bass). 80-100Hz rumble is very good, though hitting 50Hz range seems to be a real struggle for the Pisces. In practice, this means that the bass will be slightly less wet that is optimal, and sub-bass will sound a tad bit truncated. Casual listeners won’t notice the difference.
    Overall, I find the bass to have a really nice signature. This is a subtle matter that not many listeners seem to care about, but for rumble enthusiasts it is an important aspect of how we listen to music. I get a nice sub-woofer-esque feeling from the Pisces when listening to In For The Kill, and frankly, am thoroughly impressed. Again, while extension isn’t perfect, I guess it really doesn’t need to be for the Pisces to play songs nicely.

    Packaging / Unboxing

    Accutone, confusingly, has four different packaging styles. One is the “lots of clear plastic” one, which the Pegasus C has, there is the “cardboard only” one, which the Lyra, Vega, and Pavo use, the “this could be a fancy watch-box” one that the Pisces BA and Gemini HD use, and then this one, the “soft but also matte rubber/plastic round rectangle” packaging type that the Gemini, Pisces, and a few others use. To be honest, I find this packaging style to be the best of the four as it is compact, stylish, and protective. I can’t tell any particular trend that controls which products use what packaging aside from price (expensive ones get the watch-box treatment) and age (all of Accutones new products use the cardboard-only style).
    Accutone, please consolidate your packaging styles. I would much rather see all your products come in this style of packaging than any of the others, watch-box version excluded.
    IMG_2201.jpg IMG_2202.jpg

     

    Build

    Construction Quality
    The main body of the Pisces is build out of plastic. The plastic is light and firm, and doesn’t creak at all. While there is a slight give to it when force is applied, this is likely intended behavior to prevent any cracking. I wish that the chrome accents were actually polished metal rather than just painted plastic.
    1CoSNMvXUo3BD9nWmhOaVbA.jpg

    The cable is of the flat and tangle-free variety. It is secured nicely into the body of the Pisces and feels substantial in the hand.
    14S_55dMURoK3u3mX6QyW1g.jpg
    The inline controls are designed to work with the iPhone, but have basic pause/play/skip functionality on a good number of Android phones. The controls are thick and made entirely from plastic. The housing is substantial and feels much better than the ones that come on Accutone’s removable MMCX cables.
    1tXwaYbIZXvpJqE0ReIClhA.jpg
    The cable terminates in a nicely housed 3.5mm jack. This jack appears to be encased in metal and has ample stress-relief.
    Comfort
    The Pisces is very comfortable. The included foams do a wonderful job as they are Genuine Comply. Since the Pisces is very light, I never had any issues with it falling out of my ears or pulling down during long listening sessions.

    Accessories

    The Pisces comes decently well stocked (as it should for the price). Inside the box you will find:
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    1. 1x semi-hard carrying case
    2. 2x extra sets of silicone eartips
    3. 1x cable winder
    4. 1x set of extra foam eartips
    A complaint I’ve lodged before is that the case Accutone supplies isn’t large enough to conveniently stow a lot of their products in. This stands true with the Pisces. Getting it in there is a total pain, and I always struggle to actually get the whole thing in.

    Summary

    The Pisces is a weird product. It claims to be tuned for clarity, but sounds nearly identical to other bass-tuned products from Accutone. For the price, I’d like to see a better construction and a higher sonic fidelity. After all, at this price, there’s a ton of competitive options, many of which take no prisoners. So if you are someone looking for the best bang for your buck, try and look at other IEMs before considering this one.
  3. mark2410
    Accutone Pisces Earphone Quick Review by mark2410
    Written by mark2410
    Published Dec 5, 2016
    2.0/5,
    Pros - Visually attention grabbing. Huge bass.
    Cons - Clarity? Yeah not so much.
    Accutone Pisces Earphone Quick Review by mark2410
     
    Thanks to Accutone for the sample.
     
    Full review here http://www.head-fi.org/t/828002/accutone-pisces-earphone-review-by-mark2410
     
    Brief:  Hipster cool.
     
    Price US$80
     
    Specifications: See the manual. 
     
    Accessories:  I think 5 pairs of tips, including some foam ones and a pair of Comply’s, a cable tie thing and a case.  They don’t fit in the case.
     
    Isolation: So so at best.  They didn’t isolate enough for me to even use walking about near traffic.  However when you have music playing it would be very easy to not notice traffic so do remember you must use your eyes if you want to stay safe.
     
    Comfort/Fit:  Great for both, they have an unusual shape but I could wear them up or down with no issues at all.
     
    Sound:  Their website goes on about their clarity and their micro detail retrieval which I don’t understand why.  They are not, they are bassy, big bass heavy, weighty, potent thumbing beasts.  Which is great if you want some big bass monsters and want it in a hipster fashionable look.  They look super visually eye-catching.  Plus bass heavy is popular mainstream appealing sound so why so the opposite on the website description of them?  It’s confusing, what’s also confusing is the number of products they all call Pisces.  I think someone put the wrong description on them.  These things were made to go on a shelf in an Apple store and I think they both visually and acoustic are the perfect match for each other.
     
    Value:  Stunning looks and massive bass, great if those are what you want.
     
    Pro’s:  Visually attention grabbing.  Huge bass.
     
    Con’s:  Clarity?  Yeah not so much.