AME Custom Argent

General Information

The Argent, universal fit, hybrid electrostatic IEM integrates four balanced armature drivers and two high frequency electrostatic tweeters for an immersive, well-rounded sound featuring warm lows and sparkling vocals.
  • Dual Low Frequency Balanced Armature Drivers
  • Single Mid Frequency Balanced Armature Driver
  • Single High Frequency Balanced Armature Driver
  • Dual High and Super High Frequency Electrostatic Tweeters
  • Four Way Crossover Network
  • 6N OCC Pure Copper Silver Plated Cables
Frequency Range: 10Hz - 80kHz (Theoretical)
Sensitivity: 100db SPL (@1kHz)
Impedance: 19Ω @ 1kHz (DCR 62Ω - 43Ω)

https://amecustom.com/products/argent

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Pros: Well tuned, well done BA bass, clear and snappy, great imaging and staging
Cons: Lacklustre accessories (especially the cable), odd nozzle angle,
Disclaimer:
Thanks to AME Custom for giving me the opportunity to review the Argent as part of the AME Tour. The unit is a loaner and must be returned.

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Overview:
Argent is the co-flagship IEM from AME Custom featuring a hybrid 4 BA and 2 EST driver configuration.

In the box:
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  • IEMs
  • 1.2m 3.5mm cable
  • 1/4" adapter
  • Cleaning tool
  • Case
  • 3 Pairs of spinfit tips
  • Foam tips
  • Case

Build quality and accessories:
Same as the Radioso, the Argent is really well made, the joint lines are nice and smooth, the quality of materials used is good too. The mother of pearl backplate is beautiful to look at and definitely attracts attention.

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The cable, on the other hand, is quite disappointing, not only it feels generic but it just doesn’t have anything that would make it stand out sonically. It also gets tangled quite easily. I would expect more for this price tag.

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The case is metal, with a nice finish and just right amount of space to fit the IEMs with a cable. The finish is smooth and definitely feels premium.

The other accessories are quite standard. All in all, same as Radioso, I would expect more, especially in terms of the cable.

Fit and comfort:
The fit on those is good, in general, it takes a bit of time to get used to a slightly odd nozzle angle which makes the IEMs sit a bit more forward than I'm used to. With that said, I've used them for multiple hours at a time without issues or wear fatigue. The shell is smaller than their co-flagship Radioso which makes them the more comfortable out of the two.

Sound:
The Argent leans towards a slightly bright V signature maintaining an overall natural sound.

Bass:
The bass is quite well extended, only the very deep subbass can be a touch lacking which is to be expected with BA only design. Unlike most BA only IEMs the bass attack and decay are more like one of a dynamic driver, it has a more natural character to it. Because of that, the texture and the tightness suffers a little bit, on songs like "Trentemøller - Evil Dub" the detail and subbass extension is slightly lacking.

Midrange:
The lower midrange is slightly recessed which renders male vocals a little thinner. The female vocals don't suffer from this as the upper-midrange gets a boost which brings them forward and adds brilliance to them. The lively upper-midrange gives electric guitars a lot of life making rock and metal a pleasure to listen to. It can be a little harsh if pushed to loud volumes but I never found it to be fatiguing myself. The detail is good, it can get a little smeary on very busy recordings.

Treble:
I found the treble of the Argent be just right for me, unlike Radioso it didn't have an overwhelming smoothness, instead cymbals and other instruments had the right amount of bite to them while not being overly bright. There's plenty of air and openness to the sound giving everything space to breathe. The extension is also really good.

Imaging and Soundstage:
Similar to Radioso the Argent is also excellent in terms of staging. The stage is big and airy, with great positioning and separation between the instruments. Even when the midrange was overwhelmed, the stage kept it's integrity very well.

Conclusion:
I can easily recommend the Argent, while the tuning can be too bright for some, I feel like the liveliness it gives in return is worth it. This combined with great staging and general technical performance makes it something more people should try and a worthy contender in its price range. To me, both Radioso and Argent are quite special and the choice between the two will purely come down to preference.
glassmonkey
glassmonkey
AME Custom tells me that after hearing about the basic cable from customers (I don't think it is any worse than most Japanese IEM cable offerings), they are now selling the Radioso and Argent with a nicer cable. The price has also increased to $1450, which I think is still a very very good price.
skedra
skedra
Would be nice to see the new cable, but that's definitely a good choice in my book. I feel companies should pay more attention to the cables since even cheaper chi-fi IEMs now ship with decent cables.
glassmonkey
glassmonkey
New cable looks like a OCC copper Type 2 Litz with 4 cores in a 24-25AWG wire size. That should beef up the the soundstage some, so long as the cable isn't too warm. I'm trying to get a cable from them to compare. It'll look good with the leather nice leather strap accessory.They also let you choose your termination. https://amecustom.com/products/argent
Pros: Coherent and highly engaging tuning
Smooth full bodied mids with rich textures
Good upper mids bite and lower treble energy
Well extended and refined highs with fast transients
Good resolution
Very good balanced soundstage and imaging
Cons: Shallow fit may be an issue for some
Isolation is only average
2 pin socket too tight (on the demo at least), most third party cables didn’t fit

Product page
: https://amecustom.com/products/argent
Price : 1200$ (universal), 1350$ (custom)



Fit, Build & Isolation


The Argent features an excellent build and the shell are quite compact except for thickness which means they do stick out a bit, fit is good but shallow and I had to do some tip rolling to accommodate my big ears (either double flange or something like large EarFoams from Flare worked for me). The shell material looks like transparent acrylic and show the nice craftsmanship of the inside, and isolation is fair. The demo unit features the abalone pearl faceplate and looks gorgeous.


Like the Radioso (and even more so actually) the sockets are on the tight side on the demo unit and I was unable to use any third party cable except for PlusSound x Series.


Introduction


Âme Custom is a relatively new comer to the IEM market based in South Korea. Their brand is named after the french word for “soul” and their tagline is “le son de l’âme” (the sound of the soul). They started as a small retail shop for local artists and musicians and recently expanded to the audiophiles market with 3 models : the Gravitas (1DD, 3 BA), Argent (4 BA, 2 EST) and Radioso (1DD, 1BA, 4 EST).

They aspire “to create the most dynamic in-ear experience. Our earphones are carefully crafted in-house utilizing only the finest components available and expertly tuned around the principles of the Olive-Welti target profile for the most engaging sound impressions and unparalleled listening experience.

Among the lineup, the Argent is Âme co-flagship a “hybrid electrostatic IEM, integrating four balanced armature drivers and two high frequency electrostatic tweeters for an immersive, well-rounded sound featuring warm lows and sparkling vocals.”

Does the Argent deliver on its promise? Let’s see!


Sound
It’s always exciting to discover a new brand, as it doesn’t start with expectations, especially since there aren’t much impressions out yet. I was curious to say the least to hear the Âme house sound, and already have a baseline with the co-flagship Radioso.

As you know I value first impressions and the first thing that struck me with the Argent is the smooth, rich textures and full signature with a great touch of air keeping the stage quite open and wide. This is one outstanding characteristic of the Argent in this type of signature : a very good upper treble extension that grants the Argent a very good resolution, separation and soundstage.

Bass
Despite the Argent being powered by a dual BA setup versus the dynamic driver of the Radioso, the bass has very good impact and extension. It doesn’t extend as low or feature the same impact as the dynamic driver of the Radioso but it’s a fun and playful bass.


The Argent feature is a smooth IEM, with a softer attack overall and this includes the bass, which has very satisfying presence including a strong bass line but lacks the snappy attack of the Radioso that is part of the slam factor and excitement that can satisfy the inner basshead in me. On the flipside is a “relaxed” fun bass which means it’s non fatiguing over longer sessions. The Argent is consistent with the Âme house sound and features rich textures and layered bass.

Mids
The Argent mids have a good touch of warmth but not overly so, with a smooth attack and longer decay with notes lingering a bit providing a “romantic” midrange presentation. It’s not overly done either and the Argent has articulate mids with good separation, just less clear than the Radioso and with a slightly warmer tone.


Vocals are sweet but again it’s not overdone, it makes female vocals more sensual and appealing and male vocals a tad deeper, all the more apparent since vocals are slightly forward.

The Argent upper mids bring balance to this euphonic, smooth and rich midrange with good energy : acoustic guitar has good bite, violin and piano notes have great energy and saxophones have satisfying bite all with a smooth delivery.

Treble
With its playful bass presence and its smooth, rich and sweet mids the Argent treble was bound to be key to its signature and indeed it brings a lot of balance.


First, the upper treble has very good extension and although it’s less present than the Radioso’s it’s key to the air and resolution of the Argent as well as its overall refinement. It opens up a very balanced soundstage and contribute to the imaging which is very good. Transients are fast and there is this airy quality to the upper treble that contrast against the fullness of the mids.

Second, the lower treble has very good energy and piano overtones are really a treat. This is an engaging treble, in the spirit of the upper mids delivery is smooth and the treble is never hot. Tone is quite accurate contrary to the warmer tilt in the mid section.


Verdict

In a crowded and competitive market, it’s pretty hard to launch a new brand especially in the upper tier. Âme definitely came up with a worthy competitor at its price point, with their own house sound and tuning signature as we’ve seen in the Radioso review and will see in the Gravitas review.

Since the Argent is a co-flaghsip to the Radioso, it had to have a distinctive tuning so that customers would have different flavors and Âme certainly succeeded here. The Radioso is clearer, more transparent, snappier and punchier while the Argent is the romantic one, with a rich smooth signature that is highly engaging in its own way.

If you’re looking for a smooth IEM with playful bass, rich textured mids with a good touch of warmth while not sacrificing upper mids and treble energy as well as good resolution and air, the Argent certainly deserves your attention!

Listening notes
I spent approximately 40 hours with the Argent, listening on Cayin N6ii (E01) and Lotoo PAW 6000 using the stock cable (unbalanced) and PlusSound x Series (balanced).

Special Thanks
Thanks to Âme Custom giving me the opportunity to review the Radioso as part of the Âme Tour. The unit is a loaner and must be returned. As usual, this review is my honest opinion. No incentive was given for a favorable review.



Accessories
  • Metal carry case
  • 6N OCC Pure Copper Silver Plated Cables
Specifications
  • Frequency Range: 10Hz – 80kHz (Theoretical)
  • Sensitivity: 100db SPL (@1kHz)
  • Impedance: 19Ω @ 1kHz (DCR 62Ω – 43Ω)
Pros: Speed, tonality, balance, detail, extended and clear treble, comfort, build quality (including cable), perceived stage
Cons: Some may consider these slightly bass light (I don't)

INTRODUCTION

I’m luckier than most because the (part-time) reviewing I do often exposes me to something new which I may not have been aware of. Such has been the case with the IEM I’m reviewing today. I received contact from Earl Chon of AME Custom Earphones in Korea asking if I’d like a listen to their Argent – a 6 driver Inner Ear Monitor featuring a combination of 4 BA drivers and 2 Electret (micro electrostatic) drivers. I’d heard about electrostatic drivers before, but never had the chance to try them, so this was to be an interesting encounter. Read on to see how I found the 6 driver Argent Hybrid IEM, and where they would rank amongst the IEMs I’ve tried.

ABOUT AME CUSTOM EARPHONES
Unfortunately, the information on AME is pretty sparse on the internet. Earl – this should be an opportunity to showcase a little about you! I’ll try to update this section later. What I did establish is that AME is located in Seoul South Korea and was originally started to give support to musicians for customer earphone builds. Their popularity grew, leading to the current two releases (Argent and Radioso), and looking to expand to a wider audience.

Here is a quote from their website, which really does give an insight into what drives the company:


“For everyone who loves musicians and music, I am introducing an indigenous custom earphone brand”

Well we definitely love music and musicians. AME Custom’s website is linked here.

DISCLAIMER
The AME Argent that I’m reviewing today was provided to me as a review loaner. It will need to be returned, although I’m already thinking about how I can afford one of my own. Carry on with the review and you’ll see why! The retail price at time of review is ~ USD 1200.

PREAMBLE
If you haven’t read any of my reviews, I suggest starting here, as it will give you an insight into my known preferences and bias.

For the purposes of this review – I used the AME Argent straight from the headphone-out socket of many of my portables, but predominantly the X5iii, M9, M11, and R2R2000. I have also experimented with a variety of amplifiers including the FiiO Q1ii, E17K, Q5, xDuoo XP-2, and XRK NHB. IMO they do not benefit greatly from additional amplification, although with the warmer amps, the tonality changes have been interesting (YMMV and it may depend on your source). In the time I have spent with the Argent, I have noticed no change to the overall sonic presentation (break-in).

This is a purely subjective review – my gear, my ears, and my experience. Please take it all with a grain of salt – especially if it does not match your own experience.


THE PACKAGE
The AME Argent arrived in an unassuming 138 x 217 x 500mm box and lid. Inside was the Argent IEMs nestled in a foam insert, an aluminium alloy carry case and a box containing the tips and other accessories.



The full accessory package includes:
  • 1 pair AME Argent Hybrid IEMs
  • 1 x 2 pin stereo cable
  • 1 x aluminium alloy 2-piece case (80mm diameter x 35mm height)
  • 3 pairs of Spinfit silicone ear tips (1 x L/M/S)
  • 3 pair of Comply foam tips T400 (M)
  • 1 3.5mm to 6.3 mm adaptor
  • A cleaning brush
  • A leather cable tidy
  • A card with serial number etc.
This is a good overall accessory package, and in-line with the overall asking price.

THE TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS



MEASUREMENTS
The graphs I use are generated using the Vibro Veritas coupler and ARTA software. Ken Ball (ALO/Campfire) graciously provided me with measurement data which I have used to recalibrate my Veritas so that it mimics an IEC 711 measurement standard (Ken uses two separate BK ear simulators, we measured the same set of IEMs, and I built my calibration curve from shared data). I do not claim that this data is 100% accurate, but it is very consistent, and is as close as I can get to the IEC 711 standard on my budget.

I do not claim that the measurements are in any way more accurate than anyone else’s, but they have been proven to be consistent and I think they should be enough to give a reasonable idea of response – especially if you’ve followed any of my other reviews. When measuring I usually always use crystal foam tips (medium bore opening) – and the reason I use them is for very consistent seal and placement depth in the coupler. I use the same amp (E11K) for all my measurements – and output is under 1 ohm. Measurements above 9-10kHz are generally problematic with any hobbyist set-up, and should be disregarded, but generally my measurements from 20Hz to 9-10kHz have proven to be relatively close to many of the measurements of the manufacturers who support me.



The graphs are provided merely as a point of discussion, and later in the review I’ve included comparisons to other IEMs for similar reference. Channel matching is extremely good over the entire frequency range.


BUILD
External
The AME Argent has the type of shape you normally associate with higher end customs and is a peanut/jelly-bean shape design. It is designed to ergonomically fit snugly inside your outer ear cavity, securely held inside the Concha with the skinny end inside your Intertragical notch. Just like true customs, it has a small rise of resin at the rear of the IEM shell to comfortably accommodate placement over the Crux helix and sit intact on the Cymba.

The outer shell material is a highly transparent resin, and the clarity of the resin is amazing – amongst the best I have seen. It is literally like looking into a window (to view the IEM inner components). The outer face is a face-plate, and my pair is decorated with a polished Paua shell (abalone) design. On the right ear-piece is the word AME and on the left the model name Argent. One small note – and not the manufacturers fault. The outer face resin cover on the right side has chipped/lifted on my pair, and unfortunately taken some of the text away.

The internal face is very smooth, and not utilising a dynamic driver means no requirement for an external vent or port. The housing has an end to end length of 21mm, height of 16mm and depth of 14mm (excluding the nozzle). The nozzle is angled nicely forward and up and is 7mm in length. The nozzle diameter is 6mm, has a generous lip, and has 4 separate sound channels in the tube.

At the top rear of the Argent shell is an almost flush fitting standard 2 pin socket (protrudes by about 0.5mm). The 2 pin plugs are colour coded (blue or red) for right and left. The socket is very firm with the supplied cable and feels very sturdy. The Argent comes with a single ended cable. AME have used a high purity (6N OCC) silver plated copper wire encased in a very flexible transparent TPU sheath. From the 2 pin connectors to the Y-split is a single twisted pair on each side, and then from y-split to jack appears to be a twisted triple. The Argent cable has flexible formable ear-loops. I find these loops comfortable and work well. Both the Y-split and Jack are metal, and there is a cinch above the Y-split which works well for snugging the cable tight. The cable has extremely low microphonics – essentially non-existent when using the cinch.

Internal
Internally the AME Argent uses a hybrid 6 driver system, but not the conventional way we’d normally expect. There are dual low frequency Balanced Armature (BA) drivers for the bass and lower mids, single BA drivers for the mid-range, single BA drivers for the upper mids, and dual Electrostatic drivers for the high and super high frequencies. This is managed by a four-way cross over network. This is the first time I’ve heard an electrostatic tweeter in an IEM, and the results are stunning. Seemingly effortless detail and extension without any signs of abrasiveness or grain.

FIT / COMFORT / ISOLATION
Internal and external isolation is extremely good, as you’d expect for a non-ported IEM. It does ultimately depend on tip choice and seal. I would rate passive isolation as above average and usable on public transport. Although it does not completely block out aircraft drone, by the time you add music, you aren’t hearing cabin sounds.

Fit and comfort thoughts are very subjective and will vary from person to person. My experience has been one of complete satisfaction. The AME Argent has been designed for an ergonomic fit (much like a custom monitor). For me they are a perfect, sit flush with my outer ear, and basically disappear within a few seconds of wearing (I could forget they are in). I have slept with them intact, and woken hours later with them still there and no discomfort. The AME Argent is designed to only be used cable over ear.

The Argent has a good lip on the nozzle. I’ve tried Spiral Dots, Spin-fits, Ostry tuning tips and Sony Isolation tips – all fit easily and are secure. They are a relatively shallow fitting IEM, but the nozzles are long enough for most tips to seal effectively. Saying that, foam still gives me the best combination of seal and comfort, and my preference is for either Comply or stretched Shure tips.

SOUND QUALITY
Most of the testing at this point was done with my FiiO M11, no EQ, and Shure foam tips. I used the M11 simply because paired they gave me a very transparent window to the music with low impedance, and more than enough power.

For the record – on most tracks, the volume level on the M11 was around 40/120 on low gain (depending on the track) which was giving me an average SPL around 65-75 dB. Tracks used were across a variety of genres – and can be viewed in this list https://www.head-fi.org/f/articles/brookos-test-tracks.17556/

While testing I constantly switched with my reference pair (Alclair Curve + E17K with +4 bass) to give me a good reference baseline. The additional bass is to bring the Curve closer to reference.

Relativities

  • Sub-bass – In balance with the other frequencies – perhaps slightly below reference. Extension is good and the sub-bass rumble is audible (Lorde’s “Royals) but sits more in the background. There is no bleed into other frequencies. The bass is typical of most BAs I’ve heard – quick with clean decay, and more speed than impact oriented.
  • Mid-bass – slightly elevated compared to sub-bass and lower mids with light to medium impact. The bass timbre and definition are very clean. The bass is very consistent and for those looking for a balanced signature throughout the signature, the Argent delivers well. For those looking for more bass impact, they may find the Argent a little light.
  • Lower mid-range – recessed compared to bass and upper mid-range. Both male and female vocal fundamentals are still very good. Male vocals may come across a little on the leaner side – but not much, and I’ve really enjoyed the likes of Pearl Jam and Joe Bonamassa. The slight recession also gives a wonderful sense of overall space and separation.
  • Upper mid-range – There is a slow and shallow rise from the lower mid-range to a peak at 4-5 kHz, then a relatively extended progression to the lower treble. The transition from lower to upper-mids is cohesive, and there is enough presence to provide both detail and presence. There is some euphony with female vocals.
  • Lower treble has extremely good extension. It is also quite linear with a small peak at 7 kHz, and a stronger peak at 9-10 kHz (is this the electrostatic driver stretching its legs?). This does provide a lot of air, but surprisingly no resulting brittleness or sharpness. And this is the stunning part that separates the Argent form anything else I’ve heard. The extension and range of the treble brings amazing detail and clarity – yet without the harshness or brittleness a BA would deliver with the same peaks.
  • Upper treble extends quite well with some decent “air” but is difficult to capture properly on my measurement rig, and with my “aged” hearing I no longer notice much over 12 kHz anyway.
Overall this is a balanced monitor with a slight “U” shape which has more to do with the slight recession in mid-range (intended) than any obvious emphasis at either end of the spectrum.

Resolution / Detail / Clarity

  • Clarity overall is (in a single word) amazing. The first time I heard the Argent I was gob smacked. And especially with jazz, or any rock with a lot of cymbals. It was like listening to my HD800S – every brush audible, but shimmering decay rather than etched. Listening to guitar (Nils Lofgren Live) had similar revelation – every movement on the fret board, intakes of air, rapped knuckles on the guitar …. perfect. And the beauty is that you get this sort of detail without the track sounding etched or overly coloured.
Soundstage, Imaging
  • Directional queues are brilliant – extremely clear and concise. Presentation of stage is just outside the periphery of my head space with binaural tracks, so averagely expansive for an IEM. Amber Rubarth’s “Tundra” is excellent for this and it was wonderful how immersive this simple binaural track could be.
  • With the live recording of Loreena McKennitt’s “Dante’s Prayer”, the applause section is a good test for width and depth (the sound of the audience flowing around me).
  • Width of stage is a little wider than overall depth, but still gives a good presentation and feel of sitting in the audience.
  • “Let it Rain” (Amanda Marshall) gave a nice three-dimensional feel (the way the track is miked) with good guitar and vocal presence. There was sibilance with Amanda’s vocals – and it should be easily noticeable because it’s in the recording. But the nice thing about the Argent is that while the sibilance is there – it’s not over-emphasised or further enhanced.
Strengths
  • Speed of both sub and mid-bass.
  • Reasonably expansive sense of stage
  • Good for both female and male vocals.
  • Nicely euphonic upper mid-range
  • Extremely detailed and clear with no brittleness
Weaknesses
  • Quantity of the bass is on the light side, which may leave some wanting (I personally find it good as-is)
AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS
The Argent doesn’t need amplification for overall volume – and because its impedance is a relatively low 21 ohms, a source with an output impedance of around 0-2 ohms (to meet damping requirements) should make the best match.

With the M11 around 35-40/120 low gain volume covers my normal 65-75 dB listening level. With the X5iii this is similar (33-38/120) and the M9 rounds out the FiiOs with 38-43/120. So, the Argent are pretty easy to drive, and even the diminutive M6 has no problems driving them and sounding extremely good to boot. are generally at around 35-40/120 single ended.


Next up was amplification, which meant testing with the Q1ii, E17K, Q5, XP-2, and XRK NHB. In each case I noted a slightly different tonality but noticed no real differences in dynamics on any of the additionally amped sources. The XP-2 (via Bluetooth) and the XRX-NHB both added some extra warmth which was nice, but IMO the Argent can do perfectly well without additional amping. To add warmth or change tonality though – well I guess that depends on preference.

RESPONSE TO EQ?
Personally, I find the Argent pretty much spot on regarding signature balance. But I had noticed a couple of people talking about wanting a little more bass, so decided to test this. I used two methods – first my iPhone XR to E17K, and applying +4 bass via the inbuilt EQ. This immediately elevated the sub and mid-bass to an above average level, although it did introduce some real boom. The sound was really quite boomy, so I tried for a more clinical approach using the M11 and it’s built in EQ. This netted a cleaner overall bass response, and still elevated the thump and sub-bass rumble without compromising the rest of the signature. So, for anyone looking for additional bass over the default signature, and doesn’t mine EQing, the Argent can definitely deliver.

COMPARISON WITH OTHER IEMS
These comparisons were all done with the M11, (no EQ) – and volume matched using a calibrated SPL meter and fixed 1kHz test tone first. For this series of tests, I’ve tried to look at both value (comparison to higher value IEMs) and quality. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot in this price bracket – but comparisons to the HiFiMan RE2000, 64 Ears U10 and Dunu DK-4001 should be both current and relevant. For comparison with bang for buck IEMs, I’ve used the FiiO’s new FH7, Audiofly’s AF1120 mk2 and Fearless Audio’s S8 Freedom.

This is pretty subjective, but the graphs do show relativity against the other IEMs for reference.

AME Argent ($1200) vs HifiMan RE2000 Gold ($1500)

Build fit and comfort
The RE2000 is a single DD vs the AME Argent 6 driver hybrid. Both have an ergonomic shape, but the RE2000 has some hard edges, and I’ve always had comfort issues with it. Both are made of durable materials and have well-made replaceable cables – with the Argent cable being more pliable and less prone to tangling. In this comparison, Argent takes the points for cable, comfort, and ergonomics.

Sound & Value
Both have some similarity in their signatures, with both being a little V shaped (the RE2000 is more pronounced). Where they differ is in the bass and lower treble. The RE2000 has more pronounced bass with more natural texture (typical of a DD) whilst the Argent has more speed. In the treble, the Argent has more clarity and extension. They both have great overall balance but could be called a little on the coloured side. In terms of overall value, I’ve always considered the HifiMans a little over-priced, while with the Argent I can see more overall value. My pick – the Argent.

AME Argent ($1200) vs 64 Audio U10 ($1300)

Build, fit and comfort
The U10 is a 10 BA driver (per side) vs the Argent’s 6 driver hybrid. Both IEMs have ergonomic shells and are very comfortable for long term listening. Both also have replaceable 2 pin cables (the cable on the Argent is better quality and fits firmer). The body on the Argent feels better built and does fit me better.

Sound & Value
These are very different sounding IEMs. On the graph I could have matched the mid-range – which would have shown a lot more bass or matched the bass – which shows a lot less mid-range and treble. Both have very good balance, and the U10 has less colouration overall. BA Bass doesn’t tend to be as strong as dynamic driver, so the U10 doesn’t sound out of balance. My main issue with the U10 has always been that I felt they needed more treble extension (I often EQ them) – although I do admit that is preference. The U10 appears comparatively warm and a little bassy, whilst the Argent is cleaner, more detailed, and cooler overall. My personal preference here is for the Argent – but that is personal. Both IEMs value is (to me anyway) reasonable.

AME Argent ($1200) vs Dunu DK-4001 ($89)

Build fit and comfort
The DK-4001 is a 5-driver traditional hybrid vs the 6 driver BA/Electrostatic hybrid Argent. Both are extremely well made with ergonomic shells and replaceable cables. The DK4001 is a multi-jack modular cable which is extremely well designed, but I still prefer the overall ergonomics of the Argent cable. The Argent is a little more comfortable overall.

Sound & Value
These two are quite close in overall signature. Both are relatively flat in the bass (remembering the DUNU has a DD for bass response). Both have slightly coloured upper mid-ranges. Both are clean, clear and slightly on the cool side. Overall, I prefer the greater detail in the Argent, but both are extremely well tuned IEMs. The DK-4001 is considerably cheaper and has the modular cable – but I do believe the Argent’s higher price converts to value through the performance of the electrostatic tweeters.

AME Argent ($1200) vs FiiO FH7 ($450)

Build, fit and comfort
This pits another 5 driver DD/BA Hybrid vs the 6 driver Argent. Both IEMs have ergonomic shells and are very comfortable for long term listening. Both also have replaceable cables. Comfort and build quality here are shared.

Sound & Value
Again, there is some similarity with these two IEMs, but the differences shown in the frequency response don’t quite show the true story. The perceived bass of the FH7 DD is very similar to the Argent’s BA delivery. Mid-range is quite similar, but the main difference comes with the added detail and crispness from the Argent vs the slightly mellower FH7. Both are clean and clear though, and both well balanced. The FH7 has a better bang for buck appeal, but once you hear the Argent’s clarity and detail, it’s kind of hard to go back to a lot of other IEMs. FH7 on value. Argent on performance.

AME Argent ($1200) vs Audiofly AF1120 mk2 ($700)

Build, fit and comfort
The AF1120 mk2 is a 6 driver BA vs the 6 driver Argent hybrid. Both IEMs have extremely ergonomic shells and are superbly comfortable. Both also have replaceable cables, although the Argent’s is arguably better quality. Comfort and build quality once again here are shared.

Sound & Value
Again, similar overall tonality. The AF1120 has better end to end balance, and although the bass looks lighter, the balance with the rest of the signature doesn’t make it sound bass light at all. Everything in a signature is relative. Both have very quick transients and do detail well, although the Argent once again has that effortless detail and extension which is quite special. This is a tough one – and taking both value and overall sound quality into account, they are evenly matched. On SQ alone, the Argent would remain ahead – but at a price.

AME Argent ($1200) vs Fearless Audio S8 Freedom ($550)

Build, fit and comfort
This pits an 8 driver BA vs the 6 driver Argent hybrid. Both IEMs have ergonomic shells and are very comfortable for long term listening. Both also have replaceable cables. Comfort and build quality here are once again shared.

Sound & Value
This was quite a tough one. Both essentially sound similar, but because of the Argent’s comparatively higher upper mid-range and treble response and comparatively lower bass response, it sounds cleaner, leaner and clearer than the S8. The S8 has good balance and is on the warmer and smoother side of things. Both sound great. I’m a detail junkie, so for me the Argent wins (for my preferences) in a straight shoot out. Saying that, I also love the S8 and it represents really great value at this price point.


VALUE
This is a hard one. The Argent is not a cheap IEM. But if you consider the overall package, and especially the effortless performance of the electrostatic drivers, then it becomes a question of where diminishing value sits. The main question I use to evaluate value is “would I buy them”, and knowing I have to return these eventually, I would say a definite yes. I’m already figuring what I’ll have to sell in order to get a pair. And that should speak volumes. To me – the perception of value is there. Are they great value (diamonds in the rough)? – probably not. Are they fair value? – to me yes, emphatically.

AME CUSTOM AUDIO ARGENT – SUMMARY
When you get to review an audio item over the $1000 mark, it’s easy to be wowed by the price tag and expectation. But there are times when the overall package really delivers, and this is one of those times. The Argent is a 6-driver hybrid – 4 BAs and 2 electrostatic tweeters. The tuning is superb, and what has blown me away from the first listen has been the detail and extension without the grain or harshness. They could be described as on the slightly lean or cool side – but it’s a signature I draw towards anyway, and a little EQ’s bass warmth can aid those who need it. If I had to liken the Argent to anything, it sounds like a slightly leaner (and less open) version of my HD800S. And that is high praise.

Add to that the quality cable and overall build, plus the comfort, and you have quite a package. For $1200 they are not cheap – but IMO they do represent value. I want a pair.

My sincere thanks to Earl and the team at AME for allowing me to review the Argent. I love them!

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