Fit, Build & Isolation
The Gravitas 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 exquisite custom artwork.
Like the Argent the sockets of the Gravitas are on the tight side on the demo unit and I was unable to use any third party cable except for PlusSound x Series.
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 Gravitas is the entry level offer and actually is not yet up on their website so neither product page or price are available.
How does the Gravitas sounds and fares in the current landscape of mid tier hybrids?
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 Radioso and the Argent, but the Gravitas is a bit different with no eStats driver.
As you know I value first impressions and the first thing that struck me with the Gravitas is the overall fun signature : deep, powerful bass with smooth mids and well extended and energetic treble with an energetic delivery. Ironically given its name, the Gravitas is rather playful all rounder and I found myself attracted to more Pop and Rock than my usual Jazz, Blues and Indie Rock/Folk preferences.
The Gravitas is not as resolved and clear sounding as the Argent or the Radioso but I didn’t expect it to. The same is true of soundstage which is above average and very coherent or imaging which is decent and consistent. But this is an unfair comparison to the upper tier, in the general mid tier market it’s quite good.
The Gravitas has a strong bass line, with a strong mid bass presence and a well extended sub bass which plays a strong part in defining the overall signature.
It’s a bass with great presence but a smoother attack and longer decay, contrary to the tight, controlled and fast bass of the Radioso so the dynamic driver is not tuned similarly. This means the Gravitas will not be suited to faster tracks nor be a basshead IEM as the smoother attack means less impact and slam factor. The Gravitas relies more on its bass quantity than the snappy nature of its bass. On the flipside this is non fatiguing and the more laid back presentation also has its advantages. This is all the more true that the bass textures are rich and nicely detailed.
The Gravitas mids are clearly distinctive of the Argent and Radioso, as there is much less upper mids presence and bite. The Gravitas midrange is characterized by smoothness and and overall balanced presentation that is neither forward nor recessed.
Vocals are sweet but not the star of the show and don’t convey as much nuance as the Argent or the Radioso. It’s more apparent on female vocals and it probably explain why I naturally listened less vocal Jazz and Folk and skipped over to other genres.
The Gravitas midrange doesn’t do anything wrong but doesn’t do anything exceptional either, contrary to the bass and treble.
The Gravitas treble is the second part of what makes it fun : it’s an energetic lower treble and despite not featuring eStats driver like it’s bigger brothers Radioso and Argent upper treble are very well extended and with good presence. It’s quite key to the signature of the Gravitas as it would have been on the darker otherwise. It bring excellent resolution and a touch of air that was key to open the soundstage and provide clear overtones.
The lower treble energy contrast with the bass and mids smooth nature, treble has a snappier attack and faster decay so much so that the raw energy of the treble might be an issue for some depending on how sensitive you are. On some tracks, I found myself using the Lotoo ATE settings to sweet when I was done writing this review and just enjoying the Gravitas a bit more on that setting that tames the treble energy a bit. Note that it’s also source and cable dependent so switching to a copper cable (stock is silver plated copper) could help a bit as well.
In a crowded and competitive market, it’s pretty hard to launch a new brand. The mid tier is just as competitive as the upper tier and Âme definitely came up with a worthy competitor at its price point, with their own house sound and tuning signature.
In the current Âme family the Radioso is clear, transparent, snappy and punchy while the Argent is the romantic one, with a rich smooth signature as we saw in both earlier reviews. In that lineup the Gravitas has a place of its own and a different character.
If you’re looking for a smooth all rounder with a strong bass presence, a contrasting treble energy which makes it a fun listen especially on Pop and Rock then you should look into the Gravitas as it’s a very serious proposition in the segment. The Gravitas stands out by it’s treble extension granting it excellent resolution and a touch of refinement that is distinctive
I spent approximately 20hours with the Gravitas , listening on Lotoo PAW 6000 and AAW Capri ligthing cable for the iPhone.
Thanks to Âme Custom giving me the opportunity to review the Gravitas 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.
- Metal carry case
- 6N silver plated copper cable
- Frequency Range: 10Hz – 20kHz (Theoretical)
- Sensitivity: 98db SPL (@1kHz)
- Impedance: 3Ω @ 1kHz (DCR 18Ω)