Advanced Sound GT3 Superbass

Rating:
4.5/5,
  1. Cinder
    Advanced Sound GT3 Superbass Review: Bass Heaven
    Written by Cinder
    Published Oct 9, 2018 at 7:54 PM
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Outstanding bass performance, tuning filters, solid construction, great accessories, includes two cables, visually appealing, each tuning filter has a listenable, yet distinct, sound signature.
    Cons - Upper treble could use a 1-2dB boost with the red filter, cymbals are quiet
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    Advanced Sound GT3 Superbass Review: Bass Heaven
    I am no stranger to Advanced Sound’s products. The M4, the Model 3, the Alpha, the 747; there are tons of examples to point to in reference to Advanced Sound’s skill in developing unique and well-executed products. The original GT3 was released not too long ago; its release signaled that Advanced was serious about innovating in the dynamic-driver part of the IEM market. The Superbass, the new variant of the GT3, is the Ying to the original GT3’s Yang. It is billed as a rumble and impact-focused IEM that doesn’t compromise the speed and precision of the standard GT3. To that end, I think Advanced was largely successful.

    You can find the GT3 Superbass available for $200, here, on Advanced Sound’s official website.

    About My Preferences: Heads up, I’m a person! As such, these words are my opinion, and they are tinged by my personal preferences. While I try to mitigate this as much as possible during my review process, I’d be lying if I said my biases are completely erased. So for you, my readers, keep this in mind:

    • My ideal sound signature would be an extended sub-bass with a leveled, but textured, mid-bass.
    • I have a mild treble sensitivity.
    Source: The GT3 Superbass was powered like so:

    HTC U11 -> USB-C adapter -> earphones

    or

    Hidizs AP100 3.5mm out -> FiiO A5 3.5mm out -> earphones

    or

    HiFiMAN SuperMini -> earphones

    or

    PC optical out -> HiFiMe SPDIF 9018 Sabre DAC 3.5mm out -> earphones

    All music was served as MP3 @320Kbps or as FLAC. The Superbass performed at its best when amped through my FiiO A5.

    Tech Specs
    • Driver: Ultra-thin diaphragm (6μm) mass-coil dynamic driver
    • Impedance: 84ohm+/-15%
    • Sensitivity: 95dB+/-3dB at 1kHz
    • Frequency response: Ultra Wideband 10Hz — 40kHz
    • Rated power input: 1mW
    • Input power: 5mW
    • Cable composition: Silver-plated copper
    • Cable length (SPC): 1.5M
    • Cable length (Mobile): 1.2M
    • IEM connector: MMCX
    Sound Signature
    Please note that all impressions, from here and below, will be taken using the silver (neutral) filters unless otherwise stated (such as in the tuning filter section).

    Sonic Overview:
    The GT3 Superbass’ sound signature is fun and L-shaped. Its treble is capable and resolving, its midrange clean, its bass full and sonorous. The Superbass’s treble is “recessed” compared to its lower midrange and bass, but, strangely, it doesn’t feel that way after a brief adjustment period. The Superbass’s midrange has the usual spike for the vocals ~2KHz, then recedes down to the 500Hz mark where it picks back up again, steadily increasing up to the 20Hz region.

    Sonic Breakdown:
    Treble: Songs used: In One Ear, Midnight City, Outlands, Satisfy, Little One, Show Me How To Live (Live at the Quart Festival)

    The Superbass’ treble is an interesting beast; it is quick and resolving, due to the lightweight nature of the Superbass’s diaphragm, but is stepped into the Superbass’s overall L-shaped sound signature. That is to say, some treble-bound details will appear further “inside” the music than they might in a more treble-forward IEM (such as the standard GT3). This effect is distinct from what one might call “blurring”; the details are still very much intact. That’s part of what makes the Superbass such an outstanding IEM: it generates a very large amount of high-quality bass without compromising the integrity of the upper register.

    The Superbass was able to resolve the breathing and mumbling in the intro of In One Ear with no problems at all. I was genuinely surprised to see how well it was able to pick up on many of the micro-details that proved to be elusive to even more detail-oriented IEMs. Small inflections in the vocals, the sliding of a pick across a string; you name it and the Superbass will likely pick up on it.

    Midrange: Songs used: Flagpole Sitta, Jacked Up, I Am The Highway, Dreams, Too Close, Little Black Submarines

    The GT3 Superbass’ midrange is warm but still clear. It’s still a mystery to me how it achieves this effect, but hey, I’m not complaining. This added warmth does wonders to songs with dryer mastering such as Flagpole Sitta. The somewhat flat under-layers of the instrumentation are given some much-needed body and weight that contrast beautifully with the shimmering high-hats seated in the background.

    Vocal performance is still superb on the Superbass. The GT3’s L-shaped sound signature certainly favors male vocals but hardly shys away from articulating and staging female ones. I am consistently impressed with the GT3 Superbass’ capacity to reveal the nuance in vocals played through it.

    Bass: Songs used: Moth, Gold Dust, In For The Kill (Skream Remix), War Pigs (Celldweller Remix)

    Ah, bass, the crème de la crème of the Superbass’ sound profile. The Superbass is, after all, a reformulated GT3 designed specifically to produce incredible lower-register performance. And you know what? The GT3 Superbass certainly delivers. From staging a powerful and competent display of bass guitars in songs such as Moth to dropping the bass in songs like Gold Dust, the Superbass consistently hits home runs. Its lower register extends deep into the sub-bass region of the sound spectrum, strongly performing all the way down to 20Hz. The sonorous bass line of In For The Kill was expertly displayed, catching much of the detail and oomf I’d expect from a real subwoofer.

    What's more impressive is the fast attack and decay of the bass. While it isn’t quite as nimble as the standard GT3’s is, it's clear to see that the GT3 Superbass has a commanding lead on its peers in terms of bass performance. This, combined with its ability to not bleed over into the midrange makes it a top performer in my books.

    Tuning Filters
    Treble:

    The GT3 Superbass’ filters are designed to manipulate primarily the 3KHz region, though they do affect other parts of the frequency response. The red filter, the treble filter, peaks the 3KHz region the strongest, and as such, produces the most V-shaped sound signature of the bunch. That is to say, the red filter produces the largest amount of treble, though it still doesn’t sound as V-shaped as a more traditionally-tuned IEM might.

    It’s worth noting that these filters do not change the core characteristics of the Superbass’s sound; it always has a warm sound midrange, a fast attack and decay, and a well-extended bass and treble.

    Reference:

    The silver filters, which are the “reference” ones, are semi-L-shaped. In this way, they provide an excellent middle-ground between going full-on bass-cannon and maintaining some degree of “balance”, as loaded a term that seems to be. I find this to be my second favorite filter, lead only by the bassier black filter.

    Bass:

    The black filter, the bass filter, is my favorite one. I am a massive basshead at heart, so whatever extra rumble and impact I can eek out of my IEMs I tend to take, barring that it affects the integrity of their midranges. The black filter doesn’t induce a massive change in the Superbass’ frequency response, but it does flatten out the upper register, committing fully to an L-shaped sound signature. I find myself enjoying its relaxed, yet still powerful take on music. On first listen, the midrange does seem a bit hushed though. This, of course, comes as a natural result of depressing the 3KHz spike. I don’t mind this change, but if you do, the silver filter will most certainly fit your preference.

    Packaging / Unboxing
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    The GT3 Superbass’ packaging is identical to the packaging of the original GT3, structurally. Sturdy, premium, and protective. Can’t ask for much more than that.

    Build
    Construction Quality
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    The Superbass’ chassis is identical to that of the original GT3: stainless steel, three-piece, construction. You gotta love that PVD (physical vapor deposition) paint job. It is understated but absolutely gorgeous.

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    The Superbass’ tuning filters are similarly well-built. The silver and red ones, in particular, have a striking contrast to the chassis. The filters have a very well-machined lip. Adjacent to the lip is the debris filter which, I would imagine, also plays a role in the “tuning” part of the tuning filters.

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    The GT3 Superbass has a feature that sets it apart from many of the IEMs on the market: removable cables. This offers numerous advantages over having fixed cables ranging from increased product lifespan to enabling more customization of the product. The GT3 happens to use the MMCX standard for removable cables.

    The only part of the GT3’ chassis that isn’t metal is the MMCX stem. This component of the GT3 is made out of a hard plastic. It secures the MMCX connectors in place with no wiggle. Snapping the cables in feels sturdy and precise.

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    The GT3 comes with two cables: one silver-braided TRS cable and one nylon-sleeved TRRS cable.

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    The silver braided cable uses a metal 3.5mm jack housing and Y-splitter with generous plastic stress relief. The nylon-sleeved cable, which actually turns into a standard plastic cable above the Y-splitter, uses a hybrid 3.5mm jack housing that features both metal and a tough rubberized plastic. Its Y-splitter is the same, using both metal and that plastic. Both cables feature earguides, though neither are moldable.

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    The nylon-sleeved TRRS cable has an inline-control/mic combo on it. The entire housing is made from plastic, as are its buttons, though the assembly feels tough and unlikely to break. The mic and controls are posited to work on both Android and iOS, though I was only able to confirm compatibility with my HTC U11 as I don’t have an iOS device.

    Comfort
    The GT3 Superbass is very comfortable. I am able to wear it for extended periods of time with no issues. I’ve gone four or five hours without removing them, experiencing only a very subtle discomfort towards the last half of my final hour of listening.

    Accessories
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    Comparisons
    1: Rose Cappuccino Mk. II ($355)

    This is a match-up that I’ve been excited to write about since I first heard that the Superbass was in production. I demoed the Rose Cappuccino Mk. II to Peter at Canjam SoCal 2018 hoping to convince him to build an L-shaped sound signature. And finally, the day has come.

    Now, obviously, from a pricing and technological point of view, this comparison is a bit dubious. After all, the Cappuccino Mk. II has two dynamic drivers and two balanced-armature drivers and costs over $150 more. That said, I can say that the Superbass compares favorably to the Cappuccino, taking the price-gap into account. The Superbass most closely aligns to the Cappuccino Mk. II most closely when using the red filters. Even still, the Cappuccino has a more treble-friendly signature that highlights high-hats and cymbals more vividly. That said, the Superbass does have a more cohesive and smoother treble, something that I took for granted during the time I spent with it. The Cappuccino, unfortunately, lacks these traits.

    In terms of bass performance, the Superbass and Cappuccino are quite close. The Cappuccino has a more forward and wetter midbass while the Cappuccino takes the lead in producing more sub-bass.

    2: Periodic Audio Ti ($200)

    The Ti is a V-shaped IEM that tries to target the ideal V-shaped sound signature. The Superbass, on the other hand, does not. It is focused on generating the best possible low-end without compromising clarity and the integrity of the midrange. As such, they don’t align very well for direct “which one is better” comparisons. With that said, I can very clearly say that these two IEMs both have a spot on my shelf. The Ti excellently nails its target frequency response, giving the listener a robust mid-bass, extended sub-bass, and sparkly treble, all with a recessed midrange. The Superbass, on the other hand, targets a more bass-heavy sound signature. It still has a “recessed” midrange, but its treble is less prominent than the Ti’s. The Superbass’s lower register is far more prominent than the Ti’s is, relative to their distinctive trebles, and it shows. The Ti doesn’t produce nearly as much sub-bass as the Superbass does, nor does it do so with as much precision as the Superbass.

    Summary
    When I asked Peter of Advanced Sound what made him want to build the Superbass, the answer was surprisingly simple: “we happened to find a driver configuration, out of the 10+ configs that we individually developed, that would work well for it while developing the original GT3”. I am thoroughly satisfied with the GT3 Superbass’s performance. It excels in the lower register, maintains a musical and expressive midrange, and is capable of capturing wonderful treble-bound details. In conjunction with its outstanding build quality, the GT3 Superbass’s sonic performance makes it a hard IEM to beat at its price-point, so long as you’re looking for an IEM on the bassier side. So if you are like me, and like some grunt to your frequency response, definitely check out the GT3 Superbass.

    As always, happy listening!
    1. View previous replies...
    2. earplug
      Thanks for the review. How is the noise isolation on these?
      earplug, Oct 10, 2018 at 12:40 AM
      Cinder likes this.
    3. Cinder
      @hqssui You are welcome! I figured the Cappuccino fans on Head-Fi would appreciate it!

      @earplug The Superbass's isolation, for me at least, is pretty darn good. The included foam eartips get the job done with aplomb.
      Cinder, Oct 10, 2018 at 12:23 PM
      drbluenewmexico and earplug like this.
    4. drbluenewmexico
      The GT3 superbass really shines when Amped. I have an HTC 10 which is a very good source but out of the Mojo the sound especially the bass made me dance in my seat with EDM that combo surprisingly also made blues and even acoustic music gorgeous this review is right on i agree with it fully this IEM has spectacular potential when Amped. Bravo to Advanced Sound!!
      drbluenewmexico, Oct 12, 2018 at 5:27 AM
      Cinder likes this.