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  • Official description:
    The AR E10 features a hybrid acoustic module made up of an 8mm Beryllium dynamic driver and a proprietary balanced armature driver, with the result being a life-like performance.

    The E10 comes packed and ready to go with a wide range of accessories, including a 2-pin, interchangeable cable interface, both a 1.2m unbalanced audio cable (3.5mm 3-pole) and a 1.2m balanced audio cable (4.4mm 5-pole), a Bluetooth AptX neckband, replaceable earphone sleeves, and a carry pouch for easy storage and portability.

Recent Reviews

  1. iems0nly
    Fun Hybrid
    Written by iems0nly
    Published Dec 16, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Fun sounding across genres. Great bass, great details. 2-pin aptx cable
    Cons - Instrument separation/positioning is slightly lacking. Coherence could be better
    Simple Man’s review – Acoustic Research E10 (~150 - 250 USD)
    This is called simple man’s review because they are based on the sound of these earphones directly from my mobile phone (HTC 10), using 320 Kbps mp3 tracks. No expensive gears nor lossless tracks,no EQ, and all that hi-fi stuff.

    Product Specs:
    Driver: 8mm Beryllium driver + Balanced Armature Driver
    Impedance: 25 Ohms; Sensitivity: 95 dB
    Weight: 17.5g (apprx.)
    Cable: 2-pin(0.78mm) detachable 1.2m cable (3.5mm, 3-pole) and 1.2m balanced cable (4.4mm, 5-pole), plus bluetooth 4.0 aptX cable. No mic for cables except the BT cables.
    Shell: Hard Plastic inner shell, with light aluminium face plate.
    Nozzle: ~4.5mm
    Release year: April, 2018

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    Accessories – 5/5

    The unboxing experience is neat, and the goods are nicely presented. We get the following accessories:
    A nice roomy zipper case, perfectly sized.
    Tips. 3 sizes silicon ear tips provided, plus we also get 2 sizes of foam pair, not comply, which rebounds fast. The silicon tips’ bore diameter could have been a couple of millimeters larger to enable easier insertion, it can be managed with some effort, however.
    Cables: The provided cables are not super thick, feels a little fragile and rubbery, but AR says “Cables reinforced with para-aramid ballistic fiber for enhanced durability”. The ear hooks maintain the same small curve and cannot be tailored to you preference, they spring back to the same natural state upon movement, which makes it slightly annoying. I would have much preferred the regular memory loops which can be moulded as we like. This is the only small negative i see in the whole package. Full score.

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    Build – 5/5
    Very pretty to behold per se. The housings are shiny and feels rich in the ear. They are very solid and I see no durability issues. The nozzles pop out at a very obtuse angle, ~150°, which prevents inner ear entry (The Ultrasone IQ in comparison, angled at ~120°, can enter deeper into the canal and provide greater isolation and seal). The nozzle length is neither too much nor less. They have a couple of tiny vents, one in the inside of the shell, and one near the nozzle exit. The cables house a discreet Y-splitter and a nice strong neck cinch as well. 2-pin connectors are solid as well.

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    Fit – 4/5
    Fit is shallow, and easy. These are just going to sit like semi-open IEMs on the very outer crevice of the ear, that is the way they are designed. They do sit flush in the ear, given the housing/wear design, and there is no fear of them popping out or anything like that. In fact, i use these while running. They are very comfortable, being non-intrusive. Also, the part of the housing that rests on the ear concha is nicely angled/shaved that they rest flat and easy on the ear. Very thoughtfully designed.

    Isolation and leakage – 3.5/5
    Isolation – not great, leakage prevention – good. These are not designed to isolate. They let some outside noise in. With the music playing though, they are all good. Leakage is not bad since there is no opening in the housings themselves. They can be safely used at silent work-places if you keep the volume to sensible levels. You can compare them to any of the semi-open styles like JVC woodies, ATH CKR phones.

    Microphonics – 3.5/5
    The shallow fit transfers some wire-bounces in. But, the over-ear wear helps to alleviate this, and good use of neck cinch will keep microphonics to minimal levels.

    Drivability – Quite easy to drive. With my HTC10 i’m mostly at 50%. They can get really loud!

    Before we get to the sound:
    You must know that i don’t listen to trance, or bassy stuff, no metal stuff, so, take my opinion about the extremes of the sound spectrum, and speed,etc., with a grain of salt, as they are just based on the kind of music I listen to- namely Jazz, blues, some progressive rock from the 70s/80s, plus some IDM these days. However, to give a fair review, i include some of my favourite Daft Punk, Justice, Tool, NIN, and some Pop songs among my test tracks.

    Preferred eartips: I’m using the Final E tips. The stock silicons are also as good. I don’t see the tips affecting the signature to any significant level. Just make sure there is a proper seal on the outer ear.

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    BT Module - Adding a word on the bluetooth module here, they work great with my Inear Stagedivers. I'm happy to report that there is no annoying noise, which is present in many of these mmcx/2-pin BT cables from china. We get clean noiseless transmission using aptx.

    Sound –
    The general signature is tending towards V-shaped without going overboard. The vocal band does not appear recessed, and possibly has a little bump to save this from drowning. They have an exciting sound and deliver Big impactful bass, with added clarity and details in the mids and upper ranges. We can safely say that these are masterfully tuned to satisfy a casual user with an ear for details.

    Soundstage:
    Soundstage displays good width and decent height. I can also perceive some depth in some good recordings. Overall, they are good and i have no complaints on this front.

    Bass:
    Beryllium bass! This is my first taste of Beryllium drivers, and guess what? I am floored, and the bass impact that these drivers shove in keeps me there. The bass is meaty and so tasteful that one might drool. Taming the bass quantity any more here would be a sin because the Berylliums really got it, so let them flaunt it! There is good mid-bass impact and also sub-bass rumble. The bass delivered is also of decent definition and quality. Those coming from neutral earphones may frown in the beginning, but believe me, these are done well, and deliver the fun-factor. These definitely reach 20Hz, easily. While these dynamic drivers are very authoritative they don’t mess up the mids. Please note that this is not a bassy earphone. I wouldn’t call these basshead material. The nether regions are bumped up to fun levels, but not to crazy levels (like ZA Duoza). The rise in bass falls to decent levels as we reach the upper-bass or the danger zone where overlapping with mids becomes a concern. So, they steer clear from the mids, and also colour them with the soul that is needed to save them from sterility. With some interesting comparisons below, we will exactly see where they stand in bass quantity and quality.

    Mids:
    Though it’s not stated anywhere i believe the BA drivers take over from here on. The mids are really detailed and sound correct. The have the right amount of warmth in vocals and also come across with great clarity. The female vocals sound really great with these. That shrill quality of the female larynx comes across delightfully with the E10s. I think there is a nicely placed emphasis in the upper mids which helps with the clarity and presence here. No sibilance can be detected in the voices as well. i’m a little tolerant anyway, so take that as you may. If you’re very sensitive, maybe you would hear very slight sibilance in the S’s and SH’s depending on the recording. In a word, superb mids.

    Treble:
    Highs, again, are delivered with excellent clarity and resolution by the same BA driver. The lower treble band is slightly emphasized relative to mids. One wouldn’t call these smooth sounding. So, this adds a nice zing, rather a ting, to the treble. There is decent splash and presence without ever crossing the line. This makes the overall sound exciting and not lacking in any particular area. There is a safe dip around the 6-9 mark, i dare to guess, and just a little comeback around 10k for more details and information- not overly so to avoid sounding metallic or harsh, something which the MEE Pinnacle P1 suffers from IMO. That’s how i hear it. Overall, they are really nicely done and i don't see myself wanting any more.

    Coherence
    The E10s call for an extra word on coherence. Using the Beryllium driver in the hybrid combination was a very balls-y move, i think, considering the dominating nature of the Beryllium bass. I couldn’t help but clearly hear the two drivers playing music for me. The juicy impactful bass juxtaposed with the great clarity and sharply resolving mids and highs. Also, this clarity is possible only with a certain thinness to the notes, which is quite contrasting to the thick lows churned out by the Beryllium dynamic. This was very apparent for me in the beginning during my brain-burn phase. I would actually say it was a fun experience and this, sort of, also got me excited for some weird reason. Anyway, one gets used to such things fairly quickly. These are not my first hybrids, i also own the Ultrasone IQ and IQ Pro, and never got this feeling from them.

    Instrument positioning/separation
    The E10s are not super detailed or clinical. They aren’t going for a monitersque presentation, and as a result instrument separation doesn’t really pop out in its presentation. They are very musical earphones and everything appears in its place to make sure you enjoy your music. This is not their forte. This is not their weakness.

    Comparisons
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    Round 1 – AR E10 vs FAD Heaven IV (~150)
    Only doing challenging comparisons here. Let’s get to it right away.

    Final's Heaven IV sounds amazing. I just have to say this every time i pick these up for comparisons. The FAD is a very balanced IEM that has the “heaven” warmth in its mids. It’s bass delivery lands midway between a typical BA and a typical dynamic bass quality and speed. Vocals are amazing, highs a perfect with the right balance of smoothness and edge. Highly detailed as well. Let’s see how the E10 sounds after this.

    Switching to E10, i can immediately say that they have a very similar signature, and both of them sound very enjoyable. Of course, the gearter bass impact and air delivered by the E10’s are obvious. E10s have more quantity, especially in the sub-bass, and they don’t shy away from showing their presence, whereas in Heaven IV they are little more wary of coming up front. Heaven IV however display more definition and details in the mid-bass. The E10’s have a slightly more pronounced upper-mids, which throws more details in the mids and highs. As a result it does tread closer to the sibilance region, where the Heaven IV plays it smooth. There is more warmth in the Heaven vocals, but more details and excitement in the E10 vocals. Female voice soars higher with the E10.

    So, if we take the heaven IV, add a little beryllium oomph, and sculpt the mids and high to add some excitement, we have the E10. The heaven IV beats the E10 in coherence and timbre, but gives in to resolution, bass delivery and details. I would say the E10 just edges out the Heaven IV in terms of technicality and overall excitement.

    Round 2 – AR E10 vs Acoustune HS1004 (~200 USD)
    Stepping up, let’s see how the Beryllium driver stands against the famous Myrinx Reverb driver of the HS1004.

    Acoustune HS1004 is a very dynamic earphone. The bass impact is visceral in the sense that it speaks with sheer impact and the details come in through the reverb it generates. As a result the Acoustunes have more warmth coloured in their mids. The treble is also very exciting and full of details. The vocals also manage to hold their ground and come through with intelligibility.

    Switching to the AR E10s, we notice everything is a little clearer and have more resolution. The mid bass is more behaved and has a relatively lesser bump in the E10s. The BA driver has a certain clarity that is very apparent when we switch to the E10s. There is also lesser warmth in the E10s signature and mids are relatively forward.

    Although the HS1004 scores more points with excitement and fun, the E10 proves it superiority with greater balance and resolution while being no slouch in the fun department as well. They really have used the hybrid to its full potential. It is worth mentioning that the Acoustune Single driver is more coherent than the E10s hybrid unit.

    Round 3 – AR E10 vs ATH CKR100iS (~400 USD)
    Wow! The E10s are really rocking these comparisons, i didn’t expect this. I’m a little worried as a fan for my CKR100s. Nevertheless, i swear to not let my bias taint this comparison. Alright, lets get to it.

    After sifting through multiple trackings with these 2 earphones, i can report the following differences.
    AR E10 has a bigger bass quantity and impact. The beats just land with much more authority on the E10s albeit with lesser definition when compared to the CKR100s bass delivery. The Audio Technica unit has a very linear bass that is not as enhanced down low as in the E10s. So, E10s give you a more fun bass as opposed to the CKR100s more balanced and precise bass. The details and micro-definition in CKR100s are clearly superior to the E10s BA driver. The CKR100s are a little brighter compared to the warmer mids of the E10s. The CKR100s extract considerably more micro details in the mids and upper mids, aided by this relative lack of warmth, at the expenses of slightly thinner note delivery. Instrument separation is slightly better and overall resolution also goes to the more expensive CKR100. AR E10s also deliver gobs of details but going for the extra bass and more fun tuning has its price. CKR100 also has slightly better timbre and they sound very wholesome altogether.

    We must also note that the E10s can be had for 50% of the CKR100s asking price.

    Anyway, in terms of sheer sound AR E10s have to make way for the more expensive CKR100s and admit that they play in the next level.

    Round 4 – AR E10 vs Ultrasone IQ Pro (~400 USD)
    Only because they are of the same hybrid configuration. Dynamic plus BA. I’ll keep this short because it’s not really fair for the fairly priced AR E10s.

    Wow, the IQ Pros just walk all over the E10s. They are way ahead in every way, except of course the bass quantity and impact. The IQ Pro presentation is much more roomier with lots of space between everything. The timbre is really supreme and the resolution and details as well are on the next level. IQ Pros also get you a little closer to sibilance than the E10s. That’s something to think about.

    The CKR100s would put up a good fight with the IQ Pros. The CKR100 will concede to the IQ Pros in terms of technicalities and resolution while scoring some points in overall timbre and musicality.

    Overall Sound rating of AR E10: 8.9/10
    Vocals 4.1/5
    Soundstage 4/5
    Instrument Separation 4/5
    Positioning/localisation 4/5
    Details 4.2/5
    Timbre 4/5

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    Conclusion –
    AR E10 is a fun sounding earphone that takes music seriously. They deliver great clarity and detailed music accompanied by juicy, impactful bass. It’s a pleasure to listen to, and as a bonus you also get the 2-pin aptX cable plus a balanced-4.4mm cable. These earphones are definitely tuned for the masses who place importance on clarity and resolution. These would also be good choice for an audiophile to unwind to from his critical disposition without sacrificing too much of what he believes in. I, for one, use these for running and the extra bass it has perfectly stands up to the occasion. The entire package is well worth the asking price, IMHO. If you find an offer less than 200 just jump on it already.
      silverak, Fox2twenty, Broquen and 4 others like this.
    1. iems0nly
      review edit: dropped rating to 4.0 (a consequence of more experience and awareness)
      iems0nly, May 17, 2019
      Fox2twenty likes this.

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