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ADV.Sound M4

Rating:
4.125/5,
Tags:
  1. virgilot
    Advanced M4 - Budget Balanced King
    Written by virgilot
    Published Feb 3, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - balanced tone
    3 year warranty
    comply tips
    well extended highs
    Cons - terrible microphonics
    can lack bass for some
    Check out my website for more: voxsonitusaudioreviews.wordpress.com
    [​IMG]
    Huge thanks to Aurem Fidelitatem for the iem that we’ll be reading about today, the Advanced M4. You can buy them at their facebook page at fb.com/auremfidelitatem or at the Advanced Sound Group official website at https://www.adv-sound.com/.

    A few of you may have noticed that the ADV M4 that I have received came in a different packaging. Advanced confirmed that it was only the packaging they have changed. There is no version 2 of the ADV M4 (yet).

    Disclaimer:

    I am not affiliated with Advanced Sound in any manner. I do not receive any cash incentives, rewards, or anything from them. This review is my non-biased comprehension and appreciation of the said earbud.

    The product we’ll be reading about today is one of the most prominent in the audiophile community, the ADV M4. The M4 is known to deliver amazingly detailed and transparent sound for the itsy bitsy price tag of 40$. Though most consumers will find the sound signature of the M4 as boring or lacking in terms of bass or whatever they are accustomed to listening to, audiophiles and musicians alike enjoy how balanced the tuning of the M4 is, considering its price to performance ratio.

    I, personally, have owned the ADV M4 a year ago. It was sad news that I had to sell them for an upgrade. Thankfully, Aurem Fidelitatem had new ones sent to me late December, and I had a chance to have them back in my sweet arms again. If you ever decide to purchase this gem, do not – I repeat – DO NOT let go of this. The tuning is unique to the iem, though it is very far to be said as a collector’s material.

    I’m getting too carried away here blabbing about. Let’s dive right in to my non-biased take at the ADV M4.

    Personal Preferences:

    • Packaging is important. First impressions can last a long time.
    • I do not have a specific genre that I listen to. The songs I listen to differ greatly from billboard tops to old classics, pop, rock, edm, acoustics, alternatives, metal, and all of its sub-genres. I incline listening to metal music, specifically to power metal, death metal, and the likes.
    • I enjoy variety of sound signatures, ranging from bright analytical, balanced with only a slight dip in mids, neutral warm, and neutral bright. I generally lean to neutral-bright sound signature, with a certain degree of analytical sound. I dislike over powering bass, as it is the least enjoyable, for me, in my experience listening to music.
    • I prefer iems over earbuds, earbuds over headphones.
    Source:

    • Shanling M3s as DAC (PC)
    • Shanling M3s as DAP
    • Zishan Z1 + OPA1692 as DAC (PC and my phone) and dap
    • Zishan Z1 + Muses02 as DAC (PC and my phone) and dap
    • Sony NW-A45
    Specifications:

    • 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
    Packaging:

    [​IMG]
    Advanced ditched their old packaging which came in a much larger, slightly bulky, black box. They instead went for a simple, stout white box. At the front of the package is a picture of the actual iem, with the Advanced logo on the top left. At the bottom left of the picture, it says “M4 Naturally Balanced In-Ear Monitors”, and at the bottom right, “With in-line remote/mic”.

    The M4 is clearly advertised as “naturally balanced”, with the tuning “designed for musicians”, as Advanced said in their packaging. The front of the box also says that it includes Comply tips, rather a generous accessory in the 40$ price range.

    Whoever wrote what is at the right side of the box deserves a pat in the back. The right side of the box reads as follows:

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    At the left side of the box is a picture showing the in-line remote/mic which “control music playback” and can be used to “answer/end phone calls”. The in-line remote is also compatible with both iOS and Android devices, so the buyer is rest assured that there will be no compatibility issues, whatsoever.

    The back side of the box contains hefty information about the product, including a seemingly piece-by-piece dissection of the driver unit of the iem, a frequency response graph, a list of what is inside the package, the unit’s specifications, Advanced Sound’s contact information, all of it in English and Japanese writing.

    As well as containing lots of eye candy through simplistic packaging, Advanced also advertised their product as “ideal for studio monitoring”, meaning that the ADV M4 is implied to produce a relatively flat or linear response, and that it does not give emphasis or de-emphasis to any particular part of the sound spectrum. It is advertised to accurately produce what is being recorded in the studio; surely a tough claim for a 40$ price tag, but nevertheless a successful claim at that (more on sound later).

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    The package is opened by pulling the bottom part of the box. Here, the buyer is presented with a case that contains the iem and all of its accessories. Taking the case out of the way, there are three user guides in English, Japanese, and Korean writing. Advanced also took it to themselves to imprint “balance tuning” in the inside of the box, just to make sure the buyer knows what they’re purchasing in case they haven’t read the packaging yet.

    [​IMG]
    Aside from changing their packaging, Advanced also upgraded the included case in the ADV M4. They ditched the small form factored circular case and went for a larger, rectangular carrying case. Though there is no change in material, the added space makes it so that you can carry the M4 and, presumably, another iem or some set of tips and still have good enough breathing room. Unzipping the case, the buyer is greeted with the iem itself and three set of tips; three sizes of black silicone tips, three sizes of white silicone tips, and three sizes of biflange tips. The ADV M4 comes standard with Comply tips (Isolation T-400). Here’s a little something about the included Comply tips that has been extracted directly from their website:

    “Comply™ Foam’s Isolation 400 foam tips are tailored toward those who seek the solitude of noise isolation. From everyday listener to musician to athlete, these earphone tips are specifically designed to let you hear more of what you want—not what you don’t. Isolation Series foam tips are engineered to create a custom ear canal seal. The flexible core of the earbud allows for the tips to conform even better to your unique ear canal.”

    I, personally, do not prefer using the Comply tips. Don’t get me wrong, they work as advertised; dynamic custom fit and noise isolation that cannot be beaten by silicone tips. It’s just that I prefer using the biflanges as it gives the best experience, for me.

    In total, the buyer receives the following:

    1. ADV M4 Iem with Comply tips
    2. 3 pairs of white silicone tips (s/m/l)
    3. 3 pairs of black silicone tips (s/m/l)
    4. 3 pairs of biflange tips (s/m/l)
    5. Carrying case
    6. Shirt Clip
    The good thing about Advanced is that they do care about the product’s packaging, and know that their buyers deserve a pleasant unboxing experience. The box does not feel cheap and is rather sturdy for its stout size. Also, ADV M4 managed to pinch in a case upgrade while making their packaging more cost efficient in terms of size. Kudos, Advanced.

    Build:

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    The housing of the drivers is made from robust aluminum. It does not feel cheap at all, and it doesn’t leave fingerprint marks when I touch them. The housing has a clear division somewhere in the half of it. On top of the housing, there is also a bass port to relieve pressure off of the drivers in busy tracks.

    The M4 doesn’t feature a detachable cable design, but they compensated with a thick, fully braided cable that screams premium all over. On the down side, there is a lot of microphonics going on when I move around. Thankfully, this issue is resolved by tucking the cables under the shirt, or using the included shirt clip. The in-line mic/remote is located at the left channel, which seems unconventional because I am used to having the mic at the right side. This doesn’t really bother me but I would just like to put it out here for the information of the masses.

    Continuing down the cable, the y-split has strain reliefs in both channels, as well as at the bottom. The thick, uniform braid continues down to a gold-plated l-plug that bears the ADV branding.

    Advanced spared no costs in making and producing the M4. The build quality is top notch, and these iems will probably last the user a long time.

    Comfort:

    These are bullet type iems, so they can be worn down the ear notch or over the ear, whichever is more comfortable. The housing does tend to extend longer than I am used to. The drivers actually barely touch the ear, with the nozzle going way up in the ear canal. The stem doesn’t touch the ear notch, which might be a little bit uncomfortable for some.

    Comfort will mostly rely on the tips. The included Comply tips are very comfortable and block out most sound.

    Isolation:

    Isolation will primarily depend on tips that are being used. The stock Comply tips offer the best isolation, but all the silicone and biflange tips fit very well too, considering the different sizes they came with.

    Sound:

    Tips of choice: I tried using the Comply tips for a little bit but rolled them for the medium biflanges as they have the best detail retrieval there was in the set of tips. I chose not to use aftermarket tips since the tips that are included are already enough. However, I do suggest using Symbio Wide Bores, Acoustune AET08’s, or JVC Spiral Dots if you feel that you lack bass but do not want to sacrifice detail retrieval.

    The tuning of the ADV M4 is indeed balanced with a slight bias towards the brighter side of the spectrum. It has an airy sound signature, with accurate imaging, even though the soundstage is not that wide. They are indeed very transparent, and much of the mids and highs are more upfront while the bass remains calm and behaved.

    Bass –

    There is nothing outstanding about the bass performance, other than that it is well controlled. Upper bass performance does not dig that deep, but is presented in a high-quality manner with natural tones, rather than being drowned by mid-bass and sub bass. There is a slight bump in the mid-bass, just enough to give the user the innate sounding timbre. Like I have said, the bass is well behaved. Actually, it is too behaved. It wouldn’t hurt if they added more sub-bass impact.

    In terms of the lows, Advanced prioritized quality over quantity. The bass is not aggressive, rather, relaxed and well tamed, which gives the ADV M4 an airy, natural feel.

    Mids –

    The mids are easily the star of the show here. Everything is well done in this part of the spectrum, considering how natural the presentation of both the vocals and instruments are. Vocals are a little more upfront than the instruments. Both male and female vocal presentation is not exaggerated, but they are carefully placed in the right spot in front of the instruments. The vocals do not sound too thin, or too lush to the ear.

    There is no sibilance in the upper mids where most of the instrument dwindle; only smooth and innate presentation awaits the listener. For a sub-50$ iem, layering of everything in the mids section is outstanding, the vocals and instruments sound very distinct from each other.

    Highs –

    The splash of cymbals doesn’t sound overlapped on busy tracks and decays very well. On calm and smooth tracks, the M4 produces distinct hits from stick to cymbal with outstanding accuracy. Electric guitar licks are natural and well placed. Overall, instruments in this region do not peak, yet they are felt just enough. They are humble yet well textured. The iem could also do with a little more detail retrieval because there is a noticeable sharp decline in the upper highs where several details might be left out.

    Soundstage –

    M4 has narrow sound stage, though there is adequate space between the instruments, which gives off an airy and all natural sound. There is medium depth and width. Imaging is fairly accurate with nothing special to note about.

    Comparisons:

    VS Tin Audio T2

    I don’t have that much iems in my collection, and this is the iem that I know can immediately compete with the ADV M4’s tuning along the 50$ price range. Though the T2 has a little more price to it, it does feature removable cables, and a choice of wide bore and normal bore tips. Tin Audio also generously included blue foam tips, though they are not from Comply.

    About the sound, T2 is warmer, with more laidback bass and highs. Both iems are great beaters in the 50$ range, with both being balanced tuned and has amazing, crisp details for the budget friendly audiophile. Its just a matter of compromise for the buyer, whether to choose between leaning to warm or leaning to the bright side.

    Conclusion:

    Advanced marketed the ADV M4 as “designed for musicians”. From build quality, accessories, and sound, Advanced did not fail in delivering an excellent product at the doorsteps of many. The ADV M4 may sound boring and unenthusiastic, but the sound it produces is organic and natural. While it may not appeal to the likes of most consumers, the other purists, musicians, and audiophiles in a very tight budget can always rely on the ADV M4 for their satisfaction.

    The ADV M4 indeed punches way above its bracket. Since its release, it is still well known in the audiophile community. It stands its own ground against the continuing evolution of portable audio.
  2. SOULSIK
    M4 - BEST UNDER $40
    Written by SOULSIK
    Published Jun 8, 2017
    5.0/5,
    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 shitty tips. Even the Noble x came with shitty 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

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    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.
  3. ostewart
    Very good for the sale price, balanced with detailed mids
    Written by ostewart
    Published Feb 5, 2017
    4.0/5,
    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)
     
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    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.
     
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    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.
     
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    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.
     
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    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)
     
     
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  4. mark2410
    ADVANCED M4 Earphone Quick Review by mark2410
    Written by mark2410
    Published Nov 17, 2016
    4.5/5,
    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. nimano45
    Budget goodiness, albeit with some issues
    Written by nimano45
    Published Jul 31, 2016
    3.5/5,
    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.
     
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    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.
     
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    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.
     
    m41.jpg
    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
  6. iems0nly
    Audiophile signature for the masses
    Written by iems0nly
    Published Jun 9, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Great build and comfort; “naturally balanced” sound, detailed; no-nonsense tuning; in-line mic
    Cons - Could do with a little more sub-bass impact, and slightly better micro-definition.
    (Old rating 4.5 - New 4.0 : considering current competition in price bracket)
    Simple Man’s review – Advanced M4 (39.99 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: Custom tuned 6mm Single Dynamic drivers
    Impedance: 16 Ohms; Sensitivity: 92dB at 1Khz
    Cable: Non-detachable, 1.36 m, with one button in-line remote/microphone

    Build – 4.5/5
    These earphones are built to last, clearly. It sports an extremely tough cord, twisted to avoid tangle, connected to strong and tiny aluminium housings. It also has a nice one button mic to attend calls, and these aren’t flimsy either. As a side effect these tough wires aren’t very flexible, but that’s no negative in my book. The wires are very, very similar to the massdrop Pinnacle PX cable with the same Y splitter and all. Only the M4 cables and remote are slightly thinner in comparison, sans the neck cinch and MMCX connectors. Great attention is given to the build. Deducting 0.5 for lack of detachable cable. Not that I expect these wires to break, but detachable cable would have given me the choice to go wireless.

    M4 solo.jpg

    Accessories – 5/5
    Advanced has given us all we need, and then some.
    We get one pair of Comply Foam tips,
    dual flange silicon tips (3 sizes),
    black single flange silicon (3 sizes),
    and black single flange silicon (3 sizes).
    Plus, a shirt clip.

    That’s a lot of tips for rolling. It is very thoughtful of them to throw in white and black tips. I love it. And the silicon tips are of good quality with a tight stem and a decently broad bore (this is somewhere in between the Sony hybrids and the JVC spirals). These are compatible with 90 percent of the earphones.

    Plus, we also get a premium spacious carrying case, the same as what they provide with the upper model Advanced Model 3. This pouch can accommodate any IEM in the market.

    M4 tips and case.jpg

    We don’t get any extra adapters for airlines or amps, but I have never found any use for them. And the Simple Man just doesn’t need it. Excellent value for money.

    Isolation & Sound leakage – 4.5/5
    Isolation and fit is very good. Sound leakage is almost nil.

    Fit – 4.5/5
    This can satisfy both of us: Those that prefer around-the-ears, and those that go for a straight-down conventional approach. And the earphones fit good, and stay there. The light weight housings of the earphones are also very commendable and adds to the comfort.

    Microphonics – 4/5
    When I wear them around-the-ear, touch noise never bothers me with the music on. Straight down, it is present when you are mobile.

    Before we get to the sound:
    You must know that i don’t listen to trance, EDM, 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. However, to give a fair review, i include some of my favourite Daft Punk, Tool, NIN, and some Pop songs among my test tracks.

    Box front.jpg

    Box back.jpg
    Sound –
    I would call them exactly what Advanced calls them: Naturally balanced sound signature. It tends towards neutral – the mids and the “presence region”, 2-4 Khz, are brought to the front, with a very well behaved bass that is on the lighter side in quantity, with a very slight mid-bass hump to add to the natural quality and timbre. They are very transparent sounding. They are nice and easy to drive with my HTC10.

    Tips: The eartips I choose for the M4 are the Audio technica silicon earbuds. These eartips, with short tight stems, usually enhance the bass a bit, which is why I rarely ever use them, and which is why it is very apt for the M4s slightly bass shy signature. This adds more body to the music. These M4s (and Ocharaku Chonmage 3) are the only IEMs where I use my ATH eartips, and I thank them immensely for making these eartips useful.

    Bass:
    With the stock tips, the bass, especially the sub bass, doesn’t show itself very easily. Although you can hear it playing down low with soft impact. However, this is remedied to a significant extent when using ATH tips. These enhance the bass and bring more sub-bass impact to the fore – meaning to a neutral level. The mid bass is ever so slightly above neutral with a little bump. This adds more body and musicality to the music without which the IEM would sound downright analytical and flat.

    The bass is more about quality than quantity, and in short very well behaved. The drums sound great, with natural timbre. The detailing is not very aggressive, but very decent nonetheless.

    Mids:
    The mids are the main players here. They are up front. They display impressive details in the music and are very transparent. The vocals are perfectly done. Both male and female vocals stand out and capture the listener’s attention. In my experience, Advanced always does vocals well. You can perceive all the breaths the singers take, the sighs they make and what-not. You can easily perceive all the different instruments used in the song. They also show impressive instrument separation for a sub 40 dollar IEM.

    Treble:
    The lower treble is accented. The presence region throws a lot of details to your face. There is no sibilance whatsoever. The flute floats up high, the cymbals soar in the soundstage, and they splash about to satisfaction. Above 10 Khz they start dropping gradually. Nothing alarming. Although the micro details are there to a good level, they aren’t mindblowing like etymotic or some high-end stuff. It’s all very decent and very very nicely done, and it’s really awesome when you think they are less than 40 dollars.

    Now, let’s do some interesting comparisons with Japan’s sub-50 super-stars.
    M4 comparisons.jpg

    Advanced M4 (~$39) vs Final E2000 (~$36)
    Why? Final E2000 is the latest rage in amazing value for money. Let’s see how the M4 stands against the even cheaper E2000.

    M4 isolates better because of its closed back design vs the open back of E2000. Both have light aluminium housings. M4 has better build and more durable wires. M4 needs a little more juice to feel the bass.

    Switching from M4 to E2000, I can’t help notice the different approach they took in tuning their earpieces. The M4 is much flatter than the E2000. E2000 is warmer and bassier in comparison, but it manages to be bassy and still avoids bleeding into the midrange. The M4 doesn’t sugar coat the output and tries to present exactly what is produced.

    Switching from M4 to E2000, it feels like a bunch of noise and sounds were eliminated in the E2000. It appears so because the background of the E2000 is black. This black backdrop is typical of Final earphones which makes their earphones so musical, IMO. With E2000, the sounds are so localised and the decay is so tastefully done that they have their own little space and time in the stage. They appear and disappear into the blackness that they spawned from. This gives a certain magical aspect to the E2000 making them immensely enjoyable. The musical nuances in the treble region are presented very subtly and delicately, which upon noticing fills the listener with awe and enjoyment. The highs have more shimmer as well. The timbre of E2000 is also spot on. Nevertheless, it must be noted that the E2000 chooses to sacrifice certain micro-details to achieve this presentation. The M4 is a more transparent phone in comparison, while the E2000 is a smooth operator.

    The M4, as marketed, is tuned like a monitor. It presents as much sounds as it can reproduce, faithfully, to the listener so he can have a look at them. The soundstage of the M4 is similar to other monitoreque earphones, like Etymotic, where the music is presented in a two dimensional space. The soundstage of the E2000 is very dynamic and has more depth.

    If you want musical enjoyment, with extra bass and subtle high frequencies, you must go for E2000. If you want use earphones for monitoring and mixing, go for the M4s. It doesn’t differentiate between different frequencies, you can’t go wrong with this.

    Advanced M4 (~$39) vs Donguri Shizuku (~$39)
    Why? Same price
    Drivability is the same. Build quality is also pretty much the same. Advanced provides more accessories.

    These 2 earphones sound much similar than different. Both are super transparent, have a similar overall signature. Donguri has more bass impact, it has a slightly bigger mid bass hump, very nicely done. And, the Donguri unit also has a more accented presence-region, throwing a lot of shimmer on the highs. This gives the Shizuku a taller stage, and a more fun experience. You can’t help falling in love with the bell-like quality of the highs. The Shizuku model also sounds clearer compared the M4.

    Moving from M4 to Shizuku, it sounds like every instrument and sound has better definition. Not by a big margin, but you can perceive the extra clarity. Separation is slightly better in Shizuku as well. M4 has slightly thicker notes in comparison and has a more earthy feel to it. The male vocals are more authentic in M4, whereas in Shizuku (like all donguri models) they appear to have a higher pitch. Donguri is better suited for female vocals.

    M4 is the more balanced and more linear phone, but Shizuku has its own advantages. M4 is better suited to monitoring as the highs aren’t exaggerated. Shizuku, if you’re predominantly listening to female vocals and if you you love some treble.

    Advanced M4 (~$39) vs ATH LS50 (~$50)
    Why? Let’s see how it stacks against ATH’s 50 dollar IEM.

    Drivability is easier with LS50 compared to M4. Build is slightly better in the M4, but you got the detachable cable on the LS50.

    These two are more different than similar. Switching from M4 to LS50, you perceive more bass in the LS50, and highs are also brought forward. LS50 is evidently a more towards a V shaped or W shaped tuning with vocals brought to the front. Some instruments pop up better than others in the ATH tuning. The sound is a little coloured. The highs in LS50 drops earlier than M4. Sound definition and clarity is slightly better with the M4. It also brings out more micro-details compared to the ATH unit.

    Mids of the LS50 are a little muddled in comparison. M4 comes across as the cleaner phone.
    Overall, I would say the M4 is a better model (for my preferences)

    Overall Sound rating of Advanced M4:
    Vocals 4/5
    Soundstage 4/5
    Instrument Separation 4/5
    Details 4/5
    Timbre 4/5

    Conclusion –

    A great stepping stone to neutral signature. You cannot get better balanced sounding earphones for this money. Without much damage to your wallet you can check and confirm if your taste lies is towards neutral signature or not. I don’t know of any other IEM that ticks so many boxes at this price range. A very, very decent analytical phone that sounds natural. These have great build quality and comfort. I have a number of more expensive neutral earphones, but these still get a good amount of ear time because they are comfy, can take a beating, and they sound good enough. I truly appreciate Advanced for going for such a mature tuning in its first model. I can’t wait to get my hands on their next offering.
      legion1capone likes this.
  7. gprs007
    Promising start from Advanced team
    Written by gprs007
    Published Sep 6, 2016
    4.5/5,
    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
    M41.jpg
     
    M4.jpg
    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:
    M42.jpg
    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.
  8. Zelda
    Nice contender for the sub $50
    Written by Zelda
    Published Aug 20, 2016
    4.0/5,
    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

    m45.jpg



    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.

    m44.jpg


    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.

    m46.jpg

    m49.jpg


    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.

    m48.jpg


    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.

    m47.jpg



    Thanks to Advanced Sound for the review unit.
      B9Scrambler and Kelzo like this.
  9. Cinder
    A Promising First Product From The Audio Industry’s Newest Scion
    Written by Cinder
    Published Aug 8, 2016
    4.0/5,
    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

    IMG_0676.jpg

     

    -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).
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    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.
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    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.
     
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    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.
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    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.
  10. HiFiChris
    A decent Newcomer for a very fair price.
    Written by HiFiChris
    Published Jan 21, 2016
    4.0/5,
    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
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    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.
     

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    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.
     

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    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.
     

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    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):

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    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.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. HiFiChris
      @airomjosh 
       
      Yes, I'd consider the M4 as an upgrade from the HDS1, however a rather small one. That both have quite different tonalities should be taken into consideration as well, as the M4 is quite a lot brighter than the HDS1.
      HiFiChris, Feb 8, 2016
    3. airomjosh
      another quick question, are they sidegrade or upgrade from from re400?
      airomjosh, Feb 9, 2016
    4. HiFiChris
      @airomjosh 
       
      No idea, haven't heard the RE-400 myself yet.
      HiFiChris, Feb 10, 2016