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  1. Currawong
    A good example of what electret drivers can do
    Written by Currawong
    Published Oct 13, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Spacious mids and trebles of a form that regular BA drivers cannot match.
    Cons - Not much deep bass rumble. 2-pin connector cable may not be everyone's preferred choice.


    Here's my video review of the Argent. In summary, these are very good for vocals and instruments -- acoustic music in general, where the electret drivers overcome the "BA treble" issues in other IEMs. For more details, see the video.
  2. Otto Motor
    AME Argent – Your Love Takes Me Higher
    Written by Otto Motor
    Published Oct 28, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Clean and clear, open sound with excellent definition.
    Cons - Short and unusually angled nozzles may not provide the ideal fit for some; elevated upper midrange provides for a rather bright image; needs more depth.
    IMG_0431.jpeg

    This review was originally posted at https://audioreviews.org


    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


    The AME Custom Argent is a neutral to bright sounding 4+2 earphone with excellent clarity and resolution that may primarily appeal to the Asian ear.


    INTRODUCTION

    AME Custom are a Korean company headed by a rock musician with a background in electrical engineering. The company was established approximately 6 years ago and evolved from a retail store specializing in custom cables, earphone/headphone modifications, and repair. AME Custom have produced various iems from 4-driver hybrids to 12 BA units. They are presently focusing on incorporating EST tweeters into their models.


    SPECIFICATIONS

    • 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
    • Analog Low Frequency Toggle Switch (±4db)
    • 6N OCC Pure Copper Silver Plated Cables
    • Frequency Range: 10Hz – 80kHz (Theoretical)
    • Sensitivity: 100db SPL (@1kHz)
    • Impedance: 19Ω @ 1kHz (DCR 62Ω – 43Ω)
    • Tested at: $1300
    • Product Page: https://amecustom.com


    PHYSICAL THINGS AND USABILITY

    I did not receive the full retail packaging but a metal box that included the earpieces, the cable, and a set of SpinFit CP145 eartips (S/M/L). Shape and build are essentially identical to the handmade Kinboofi MK4 but both differ in their nozzle angle. The Argent feature some uncommonly angled nozzles that many need the swivelling SpinFit silicone tips for correction. The largest tips fit me well. I really had to insert the short nozzles very deeply into my ear canals which pushed the housing against my ears. Fit is therefore only soso but isolation is great. At this price I’d expect a custom fit which is offered locally here in Calgary (similar driver configuration, similar pricing). Competitor Campfire are notorious for producing little monsters such as the hyped Solaris, but what good is the best sound when the shells don’t fit properly.


    Knq30s8.jpg
    Nozzle angles of the AME Custom Argent (right) and the Kinboofi MK4.


    TONALITY AND TECHNICALITIES


    JK’s tonal preference and testing practice

    A $1300 earphone is new territory for me, admittedly. I have no real comparison in this price category and need to be guided by my intuition and rational. For comparison with competitors, please consult other reviews. Fact is that it is the technically best earphone I have heard and that I thoroughly enjoyed it. But would I spend THAT much money on it? OK, everybody is different and some of us want the very best without compromise. As source I used the iPhone SE with or without the Audioquest dragonfly dac/amp (low output impedance), but the Argent are driven easily with any phone or dap.


    IjUahcm.jpg

    The Argent is a neutral sounding earphone with a tendency toward bright — but never sterile or clinical. My measurement underestimates the upper midrange a bit, but that’s where its weak point for the western ear is imo: the upper midrange is boosted above neutral which adds brightness, energy, but also sharpness to the complete midrange. A typical Asian signature. At higher volumes, the image can become therefore shouty so that I used the Argent for relaxed listening at medium to low volumes.

    Bass control is soso (may be the supplied SpinFit eartips) and bass is reasonably well extended and has a good, natural speed but could be a bit more textured. Mileage will vary individually depending on insertion depth/ear shape. But the bass is certainly not too fast, as so often with BA drivers. And it remains well focussed towards the low end. Overall, the low end is never overbearing, it is subtle and therefore pleasant, without missing anything. So far so good.

    The vocals department in the midrange is a tad recessed, voices male and females are well sculptured and articulate, but they could be a bit denser and richer in accordance with the bass. Nevertheless are the vocals reasonably intimate and not buried by the bass. The BA timbre comes through as the vocals also could be a bit warmer. Again, not bad at all, I am picky. We have once again the situation of a warm low end and a neutral midrange.

    At the upper end, the piezos do a good job, too, by NOT being steely but rather smooth, or rather close to smooth. But high notes always remain tasteful and well dosed, so that the upper end harmonizes well with the rest of the frequency spectrum.

    But now to where the money is: the technicalities. The sound is very clean and clear in the midrange, and more so than at the bottom end. Soundstage is good in width (it is actually quite open) and height as expected but could be a bit deeper. It is not quite shallow but I expect more depth at the low end in this class. And the transients are a bit fast for my taste…that independently of price. Cymbals are slightly crisp (this perception is also exacerbated by the boosted upper midrange). In this respect, the Argent and many other BAs cannot compete with dynamic drivers. Nevertheless is the timbre reasonable, just a bit on the bright side relative to “natural”. Adding all too he above up leads to great resolution (above the bass), separation, and layering. That’s where the main difference to cheaper iems must lie. Dynamics is also pleasant and not overbearing. Overall I’d like to see a bit more note weight.

    The $250 Drop JVC HA-FDX01, possibly the best sounding single dynamic driver earphone on the market, lacks in soundstage, clarity, and resolution in comparison, but it has more realistic attack/decay as well as more note weight. Although it also has a slightly emphasized upper midrange, it does not get shouty at higher volumes. And it has a lower harmonic distortion.

    In summary, the Argent are good sounding and enjoyable without major flaws, but they are not perfect.


    CONCLUDING REMARKS


    OK, admittedly reviewing a $1300 earphone was new territory for a leisurely boutique reviewer like me, and I am aware that premium involves diminishing returns. Fact is, this earphone is the technically best I have heard – and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it. Nevertheless, for reasons described above, they certainly won’t serve many as the “lonely island” iem. You’d still continue your search for the endgame iem…but isn’t this pandora’s box the whole purpose of our hobby?

    The two concerns I have is that the earpieces may not fit everybody because of its uncommonly angled and short nozzles and the Asian signature with its boosted upper midrange that may be less appealing to Western ears and therefore cater more to the Asian markets. Ideally, earphones at this price point should all be custom made (especially when a company carries the “Custom” in its name), but, admittedly there are lots of competitors that are not either.

    The main question remains whether the AME Custom Argent is worth it price and – quite frankly – I have to refer you to reviewers who have more experience in this category than me. But I am glad that this was a loaner and that I did not have to feel guilty of pocketing something I would be struggling with buying myself. You may be different!


    DISCLAIMER


    I was solicited by AME Custom to review this loaner and I thank them for that. The unit has ben returned at the time of publication of this review.

    My generic standard disclaimer

    About my measurements


    You find some more photos of it HERE:

    images

    1. HA0SQwe.jpg
      ElectricSeoul likes this.
    1. FastAndClean
      no piezo here, it uses electret drivers
      FastAndClean, Oct 31, 2019