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  1. ryanjsoo
    Astrotec S80 Review – Perfectly Generic
    Written by ryanjsoo
    Published Jan 9, 2020
    Pros - Well-controlled bass, Natural midrange, Comfortable and well-isolating, Both earpieces support mono mode
    Cons - Abysmal call quality, Cheap build quality, Unreliable touch controls
    Introduction –

    Astrotec is one of the oldest companies putting the HiFi in ChiFi. Their portfolio spans myriad offerings ranging from entry-level single dynamic earphones to a cutting edge electro-static flagship. Somewhere in between lies the S80, a TWS in-ear featuring a single Beryllium dynamic driver with ultra-thin diaphragm enabling a powerful yet controlled sound. It comes well-equipped from factory and offers the latest Bluetooth standard, all at just $70 USD. With specification parity with market leaders and a rich audiophile heritage, the S80 represents one of the cheapest enthusiast models on the market. You can read more about the S80 here and buy one for yourself here.

    Disclaimer –

    I would like to thank Astrotec very much for their quick communication and for providing me with the S80 for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.

    Accessories –

    The S80 is well packaged as with all Astrotec earphones and also very well equipped for a product of such conservative pricing. Inside the hard box, buyers will find the earphones and charging case alongside a zippered hard case to keep everything protected. In addition, the earphones include two sizes of elongated silicone ear tips not dissimilar to Westone star tips that provide a more reassuring fit. They also provided a slightly brighter sound to my ear as compared to the mushroom style tips included on most TWS earphones and Spinfit CP360’s, a good fit to the S80’s smoother sound. In addition, two sizes of more traditionally shaped silicone tips are provided in addition to a pair of memory foam tips that aid isolation. A USB-C charging cable completes a positive unboxing experience.

    Design –

    The S80 is a medium-sized and lightweight earphone with plastic housings. Though they don’t possess a premium aesthetic or feel like more expensive competitors, their non-frills design is very smooth in all aspects and achieves a solid fit and seal. Thoughtful additions such as a matte inner face that resist oils from the ear alongside a rubber ring that runs the perimeter provides tactility when removing the earphone from the case aids stability in the ear. Meanwhile, gloss faceplates conceal large capacitive touch control panels.

    They are uniquely shaped with oblong dimensions, however, tapered nozzles and unique elongated ear tips enable the majority of bulk to sit outside the ear, thereby avoiding hotspots. And during wear, the earphones have a medium depth fit and a strong seal that proved stable during runs and workouts. In addition, isolation is very good, on behalf of their ear-filling design and strong seal, easily adequate for public transport, especially with foam tips. Microphone holes are located on the outer faces but do not impede a respectable IPX5 water resistance rating.

    Contrarily, Astrotec’s included carrying case looks quite stunning with chrome lid and linen base. Four LED indicators shine through the fabric but are otherwise concealed for a clean aesthetic. A USB-C charging port is located on the right side of the case. Meanwhile, the hinge is stiff but serviceable with a subtle lockout at end range. The earphones are secured magnetically and charge via 2-pin terminals. The case is a little chunky but is compact in all dimensions and one of the more pocketable I’ve come across.

    Usage –

    Upon initial removal from the included case, the earphones instantly enter pairing mode with accompanying spoken audio cues that confirm pairing to the source and between each channel. By disabling BT on the paired source, the earphones will be available to pair to more. In addition, both earpieces can be independently paired by holding the touch control for 5s. They support BT5.0 but do not offer APT-X. Still, AAC is available for both Android and Apple sources. Furthermore, connection was rock solid in my testing with no cut-out between sides or from the source device in close proximity. This impression was reinforced in crowded areas such as Sydney CBD where, paired to my Pixel 4, the earphones didn’t stutter or cut-out.

    The S80 also provides very respectable battery life, rated at 5-6hrs with an additional 4 charges from the case totalling 25hrs of playback time. I was able to confidently meet 5hrs of playback time at medium/low volumes. Meanwhile, call quality through the integrated mics is disappointing with callers often reporting that I sounded distant and muffled, in noisy areas, my voice was rendered indiscernible. Astrotec has assured me that this will be an area of focus for their future models, however, those requiring an earphone to handle call and music duties may be disappointed with the S80 in this regard.

    To add fuel to the fire, the touch controls were highly unreliable for me. The single tap to play/pause gesture very rarely functioned while the double tap volume control managed a 30% success rate regardless of tap speed or location. That said, the song skip hold gesture was reliable which is arguably the most convenient. Still, as the earphones lack an aware mode, physical controls or more reliable single-taps would have mitigated much frustration. The earphones lack app integration, however, ultimately provide a simple and, with the exceptions of touch controls, reliable user experience.

    Sound –

    Tonality –

    Though Berrylium drivers tend to provide a more aggressive sound, the S80 is warm and smooth. Its presentation is defined by its powerful bass that feeds into a warm midrange. However, unlike the majority of bass orientated TWS earphones, its high-end is smooth and refined. The result is a sound that can be listened to for extended periods of time or high volumes without fatigue, suitable for listening in noisy environments.

    Bass –

    Lows extend well and roll-off naturally at the very bottom, providing a more diffuse slam but enabling convincing rumble. Mid-bass holds the spotlight and bass notes are full and warm as a result. Some emphasis continues through the upper-bass reinforcing a warmer and smoother presentation. Control is quite good for this price category and surely represents the quicker decay properties and more textured presentation of Beryllium driver earphones. Mid-bass is slightly tubby though notes remain well-defined and, especially as sub-bass isn’t over present, bass isn’t muddy in the slightest. The S80’s low-end is nicely executed with moderate emphasis and warmth that will be sure to please many listeners so long as you aren’t expecting balance and absolute cleanliness.

    Mids –

    To counteract the warmth of their low-end, lower-mids receive are slightly recessed, thereby achieving a cleaner midrange tone. Besides this, the tuning here represents a very natural tonality that is only slightly mired by additional warmth from the bass and a very dark middle-treble. A small centre midrange bump brings vocals forward yet, by comparison to the low-end, vocals are still fairly recessed. The 4KHz region is also slightly recessed, providing a dense and smooth presentation. As mids are already on the warmer and fuller side, the S80 runs the risk of sounding a touch thick at times. Still, this tuning yields enjoyable vocal clarity and presence, vocals are well-distinguished from instruments and distinct layers are apparent. Vocals timbre is also respectable for the most part, and will appeal to those wanting an organic and rich presentation.

    Highs –

    The lower-treble has a well-executed bump centred around 6KHz that provides extra crispness and brings foreground treble details to the fore. The S80 isn’t aggressive, but treble instrumentation has pleasing energy and presence with just slightly enhanced percussion alongside natural shimmer and decay. Meanwhile, the middle-treble is significantly attenuated, providing a pitch-black background upon which foreground elements are easy to localise and differentiate. As such, the S80 comes across as a very clean and composed earphone without a hint of glare or brightness. And, despite its small bump in the lower-treble, the S80 comes across as smooth and very refined. As one would expect, treble extension is very mediocre with no micro-detail or sparkle and background information is just sufficient to remind you that it exists. Still, there is ample detail retrieval here to provide layers and dimension to its presentation.

    Soundstage –

    As upper-treble extension and background detail retrieval are minimal, the S80 has a fairly intimate soundstage contained mostly within the head. It does, however, provide a well-rounded presentation with good depth and vocal projection. Layers are also well-defined, attributed to a well-focused foreground that sits atop a black background. Instruments are pushed to the side while vocals are strongly centred. Directional cues are clear and the S80 achieves solid separation throughout on behalf of its well-controlled bass and a tuning that isn’t overly sculpted in any other regard.

    Comparisons –

    Lypertek TEVI ($89): Slightly pricier but a staple audiophile TWS earphone. The TEVI offers a significantly more balanced sound on behalf of its substantially less present bass. The TEVI has more of a sub-bass focus while its mid and upper-bass are neutral. It has a more controlled and defined low-end but the S80 is surprisingly detailed given its substantially greater emphasis. Through the midrange, both are quite similar though the TEVI has more vocal presence and also less bass, sounding cleaner, clearer and more balanced. It too has a 4KHz dip providing very clean, dense vocals similar to the S80, it also never sounds thin as a result of this tuning. The TEVI actually has a recessed lower-treble making it smoother within the foreground. Meanwhile, it has a more emphasized middle-treble giving a bit more headroom and clarity. The TEVI has a more open presentation and it is more separated while the S80 sounds darker, warmer and more layered.

    M&D MW07 GO ($199): At almost 3x the price, this is hardly fair, however, seeing as both possess similar driver types, this comparison felt justified. Instantly, the MW07 is more W-shaped. It has better sub-bass extension and, though lows are just as present throughout, the MW07 is more controlled and detailed by a fair margin. It also has a fair less upper-bass so it sounds a little cleaner. The MW07 has a more recessed lower-midrange and a larger centre midrange bump, providing more vocal presence but also a less natural timbre. Meanwhile, the S80 is warmer, thicker and more recessed but also more natural and coherent. The MW07 has a more energetic high-end with a similarly emphasized lower-treble, sounding crisp but also has more headroom and extension. It has more detail retrieval, a larger soundstage and more separation. Meanwhile, the S80 sounds cleaner and more composed with more defined layers.

    Verdict –

    The advent of TWS was something I was very much excited for at the end of 2018 though a year later, we’re almost seeing saturation with an abundance of models from new and pre-established manufacturers. As such, it’s easy to lose orientation and settle for suboptimal performance. However, as I’ve experimented more with the segment, it seems clear that wireless is not the weakest link in the chain with new TWS earphones hardly resembling the muddy acoustics and generic designs of the first wave. The S80 is no such earphone.

    Though surely generic on the outside and with call capabilities that are little more than specifications on the box, the S80 rewards with a rich and natural sound that has surely received some thoughtful engineering. A solid fit and seal in addition to respectable battery life round off the experience. Of course, those averse to bass will want to pursue an option like the more balanced TEVI while those coming from high-end IEMs fearful of missing technical ability will want to spend more for options like the MW07 earphones. However, at a very conservative price, the S80 provides buyers with reliable connectivity and a natural if bass-focused sound that is clean and impressively controlled.

    The S80 can be purchased from Aliexpress for $70 USD. I am not affiliated with Aliexpress or Astrotec and receive no earnings from purchases through this link.
  2. B9Scrambler
    Astrotec Redspace S80: Beryllium Baller
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Nov 9, 2019
    Pros - Smooth sound - Connection strength and stability - Battery life
    Cons - Finnicky touch controls - Recessed mids - Small stock tips

    Today we're checking out Astrotec's newest entry into the truly wireless market, the S80.

    The truly wireless (TWS) earphone market has exploded with options in recent years, the blame (or credit) for which many would lay at the feet of the Apple Corporation. While die-hard audiophiles scoff at wireless products thanks to their degraded sound quality vs. their wired counterparts, the average consumer values more than just how something sounds. With TWS, they no longer need to worry about an annoying cable getting caught up on their surroundings, or tangled in their pocket. They don't have to worry about the cable breaking, rendering the product useless. Wireless products certainly come with their own pitfalls, like battery degradation over time, interference from nearby electronics, lossy codecs, among others, but for many the sound quality is easily good enough and the user experience convenient enough to overlook any faults.

    Astrotec's previous attempt at TWS, the S60 5.0, was a resounding success in my opinion. They had great battery life despite their compact size, a reliable Bluetooth connection, and a balanced, detailed sound thanks to well-tuned, full-range Knowles balanced armatures. The S80 drops the armatures in favour of a Beryllium-coated dynamic driver with a signature that I feel will appeal to a wider audience, improves battery life, and tosses touch controls into the mix.

    Did it end up impressing me as much as the S60? Let's find out.

    IMG_5884.JPG IMG_5885.JPG IMG_5886.JPG

    What I Hear: The S80 comes rocketing out the gates with a rock solid v-shaped signature courtesy of it's Beryllium drivers. I classify this low end as elevated but not tiringly so. This is exactly the sort of tune I expect from a truly wireless product aiming to please the majority. Bass is big and thumpy without being overbearing and bleeding into the lower mids. It extends well enough into sub-bass regions as heard on Kavinski's “Solli”, with roll off kicking in just before it gives you a particularly visceral rumble. Texture is smooth but detailed with notes hitting quickly and with decent slam. It ends up being suitable for the grimy bass heard on tracks by The Prodigy and Tobacco, but not entirely ideal.

    The mid-range is slightly recessed. Female vocals tend to fall on the quiet side leaving male vocals better represented. I really noticed this on Warlock's “Triumph and Agony” album where Doro never stood out the way I was used to. There is little susceptibility towards sibilance, even on tracks like Crystal Method's “Grace (feat. LeAnn Rimes)” or Aesop Rock's “Blood Sandwich”, both of which can be aggressively sibilant. Vocals and instruments through the S80 are naturally weighted without sounding overly thin nor dense. Timbre is a positive aspect of the presentation with drums especially having a snappy attack to them that really stands out.

    Treble is inoffensively elevated without any significant spikes. Lower treble gets the emphasis with upper treble rolling off politely. This leaves the presentation slightly dry but it retains good detail with well controlled notes. Cymbals aren't splashy and notes are subject to distorting, even at higher volumes than I'm comfortable with. This presentation means that the S80 easily handles the endless smattering of shimmery effects, hi-hats, and other effects that are prominent in EXTE's banger “Endless”.

    True wireless gear isn't usually all that great when it comes to sound stage. I'm happy to say the S80 somewhat bucks that trend. While not massive by wired standards, the sound stage on offer here is actually pretty decent. I find it extends just a touch past each side of my head with plenty of depth to keep things feeling more spacious than it otherwise would. Imaging it fine, though nothing spectacular. I certainly wouldn't be using these for gaming, but I have no issues following sounds in bin aural tracks with reasonable accuracy. Thanks to the stage depth, layering is quite good while instrument separation is solid too. The S80 does a good job keeping track elements from melding together.

    Overall the S80 provides a quality listening experience. Bass is tight and punchy with decent depth and texture. Mids are smooth and clear with male vocals shining best. Treble is tight and inoffensive with solid detail retrieval. The S80's sound stage is above average for this style of product and with good layering and separation qualities ensures music doesn't come across congested.

    Compared to a Peer: For this section the S80 is being pitted against it's older, more affordable counterpart as well as a more feature rich TWS from Sennheiser. It might seem unfair, but the S80 has much in common from both design and sound perspectives and isn't outclassed as much as you would expect given the price difference.

    Astrotec S60 5.0 (79.90 USD): The S60 and S80 use very different driver tech and as a result provide quite varied experiences. The S60 has a more balanced signature with notably more prominent mids, though upper and lower end roll off is more prominent. I found the S60 to be more detailed and textured but not as smooth and refined as the S80. The presentation is also smaller and more constrained out of the S60 leaving the S80 more suitable for congested tracks. The S80's general presentation is also thicker and more weighty with epic tracks having more gravitas to them. From a technical standpoint the S60 is superior, but from a straight up listening perspective the S80 is simply more well-rounded and enjoyable. As long as you don't mind the less prominent mids, the S80 is a solid upgrade in most ways from the S60 5.0.

    Looking at other aspects, the two products are quite comparable with similarly reliable and strong wireless connections. The S80 gets better battery life at the expense of size and comfort, though that's somewhat personal so others might find the S80 ergonomically superior. Where the S60 clearly gets the nod from me is in the single button interface. I don;t really have to worry about accidental presses and the various functions are more in line with the rest of the industry (ex. Double press to skip a track, long press to change volume).

    Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless (MTW) (299.95 USD): The MTW is basically an S80 on steroids from both a design and sound perspective. They both have a similarly tuned, v-shaped sound with the MTW's mid-range being more forward. It's a little more detailed everywhere, it's bass digs a little deeper, treble extends further, sound stage a bit wider and deeper, etc. Everything that sounds great through the S80 sounds just that much better through the MTW. Don't take that as a knock against the S80. That it sounds as good as it does against a product costing over 200 USD more, and from a reputable mainstream brand no less, is very impressive.

    The MTW's case is covered in grey cloth, though in it's entirety unlike the S80's case which has a chrome lid. I find the S80's two-tone look more stylish, which is aided but a small, more pocketable size. Also in the S80's favour is its more clear battery life indication via the four blue LEDs that shine through the cloth. The MTW's case has a single, tiny multicoloured LED recessed in the IO panel on the back. In terms of features, the MTW has the S80 handily beat thanks to items like Transparent Hearing which introduces your surroundings into the mix and a companion app that handles EQ and firmware updates. While still not ideal, the MTW's touch-based controls were also more reliable and used inputs that were more intuitive and traditional. I'd still rather have a single physical button like on the S60 either way. Again, it is expected that the MTW would provide a better experience given its premium position in the market and in most areas it does. The S80 didn't give up anything to the MTW when it came to connection strength and reliability which is awesome for a more budget oriented product. The MTW's battery is also somewhat sub-par compared to the S80, but in general use and in extended up via the case. While the S80 doesn't sound as good and is less feature rich, it is plenty competitive or even one-ups the MTW in other areas.

    IMG_5888 (2).jpg IMG_5887.JPG DSCN0101.JPG

    In the Ear: The S80's shells are tidily constructed from light weight plastics. Against your ear is a matte texture which provides some resistance to slippage. A rubber strip that surrounds the edge of the shell also aids in a secure fit and is embossed with left and right markings so you know which ear piece goes where. The exterior half of the shell is a glossy piano black with a silver lining that surrounds the touch pad.

    The overall shape is very smooth and ergonomic slotting naturally into the ear, though a longer nozzle would be nice. I'm lucky to have pretty average sized ear canals meaning the stock medium tips that come pre-installed on most earphones work just fine. With the S80 I had to move up to the large angled single flange tips, and even they still required the occasional adjustment to maintain a good seal. Those with large ears are most likely going to need to dip into third party tip alternatives. Even when you do get a good seal, isolation is below average for what I expect from an in-ear monitor. Even with music playing at my typically low volumes, plenty of outside noise finds its way into the mix. If planning to use the S80 in noisy areas, be prepared to raise the volume.

    I can't imagine these being considered uncomfortable for the vast majority of buyers thanks to the low weight and curvaceous, form-fitting design. However, if buying these to use while exercising and you typically use large sized tips, be aware that you might need to adjust them fairly routinely to ensure they don't fall out, or look into third party tips to ensure a more secure fit.

    Tech Inside: The S80 utilizes touch controls via a pad on the face of each ear piece, a feature that I have a love/hate relationship with. On the plus side, touch controls make it easier to achieve usable dust and water resistance. They also improve comfort since you're not pressing awkwardly on the earphone to activate a multi-function button. Less moving parts also means fewer failure points. On the down side, touch sensitive controls are more prone to accidental presses, such as when inserting or removing the earpiece. These particular controls are also not what I would call intuitive.

    Double pressing the right ear piece increase volume, while double pressing the left to decrease is a clumsy implementation of this feature. It's finicky and slow, half the time resulting in pausing the track instead of the intended volume change. Skipping back and forth through tracks requires a double press and hold, a gesture that is usually reserved for volume control. These two functions, volume control and track skipping, really need to have their gestures swapped. Because of this, I more often than not found myself pulling out my phone or dap to change tracks and volume, defeating the purpose of the S80's on-board controls.

    While the touch controls could use some fine tuning, the rest of the product is spot on. The segment standard 10m of range is easily achievable in an obstacle free area, only dropping when you bring multiple walls and corners into the equation. I can use them anywhere in my apartment no problem, having to go to extremes to force disconnects since they don't happen in regular use. The S80 holds a strong connection to your source device with only the occasional stutter that plagues nearly every Bluetooth earphone, though it happens less here than on most. Connection quality between each earpiece was, well, perfect. Can't think of a single instance where they “forgot” or disconnected from each other. Overall I find the signal strength excellent while range is as average as it gets.

    Battery life is a positive too. I found myself pretty easily exceeding the lowest rated 5 hours, consistently nipping 6 hours when using them indoors in the comfort of my home. The 2 hour charge time and around 25 extra hours of extra play time afforded by the charging case seem accurate, though admittedly I did not officially record those aspects.

    DSCN0100.JPG P1020055.JPG P1050055.JPG

    In the Box: Astrotec has been doing a great job of maturing and evolving their packaging over the years with, in my humble opinion, the S80's culminating as the best of the bunch in terms of design. The soft whites and crisp images of the S80's black and grey design contrast nicely and look pleasing to the eye. Branding and model details are subtle and placed around the edges letting the clean look of the S80 and its case draw your attention. This is a professionally designed package that would look right at home in a retail space.

    Inside continues to impress with a frosty plastic insert providing basic instructions for pairing and wearing. Beneath the insert was an unexpected surprise. Of the at least eight different truly wireless earphones I've tested over the years that include a charge case, that case has been the only one provided leaving accessories with a lack of storage options beyond the box they came in, or a third party alternative. Astrotec has finally bucked that trend with the S80. Not only do you get an attractive and compact cloth-coated charge case, but also a matching semi-hard clam shell case in which you can store all the included accessories, or whatever else you want to carry along with you. For example, say you want to bring along a spare pair of wired earphones or need a place to store the compact DAP you're connected to while you listen. Now you don't need to buy a separate case. It's certainly not a necessary addition to the S80's accessory kit, but it is a welcome one.

    Along with the two cases you also get a USB-C cable for charging and a slew of tips, of which the angled single flange sets will be familiar to S60 owners. Also included is one set of fairly small, shallow foam tips as well as some more traditionally shaped single flange silicone tips. Overall a nice selection of gear; a well constructed charge case with a matching clam-shell care, tips of above average quality, and the USB cable needed for charging. An extra set of even larger tips would be welcome though since what's included is smaller than average.

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    Final Thoughts: When Astrotec first dipped their toes into the true wireless game with the S60, I was pleasantly surprised to see them go a different route than most in terms of driver tech. Instead of a dynamic driver, they recruited a single balanced armature from Knowles. While I think this led to one of the better true wireless products I've heard, the resulting tune was something that wouldn't really please your average, bass-loving consumer. The S80 rectifies this with it's use of a beryllium-coated dynamic driver. It has a bigger, bouncier low end and more treble energy lending itself well to modern pop and rock. Add to that a stylish, comfortable design, great battery life, and a strong wireless connection and it makes a strong case for your hard earned dollar. Keeping it from greatness is the touch-based control pad which is appreciably more finnicky than a simple single button setup, as well as a control scheme that could stand to be more intuitive.

    If you're in the market for a great sounding true wireless earphone that is imbued with a stylish design, good battery life, and that won't break the bank, the Astrotec S80 might be just the ticket.

    Thanks for reading!


    The S80 was provided free of charge by Astrotec for the purposes of review. The thoughts within this review are my own subjective opinions and do not represent Astrotec or any other entity. At the time of writing the S80 retailed for 89.00 USD; https://www.astrotecglobal.com/product-page/s80-beryllium-dynamic-driver-true-wireless-earphone

    • Driver: 6mm Beryllium Dynamic
    • Impedance: 16Ω
    • Sensitivity: 98±3 db
    • Frequency Response: 5Hz -25KHz
    • Bluetooth Version: 5.0
    • Range: 10m
    • Earphone Playback Time: 5-6hrs
    • Case Charge Time: 2hrs
    • Earphone Charge Time: 1.5hrs
    • Addition Play Time Via Case: ~20hrs
    • Total Play Time: ~25hrs
    • USB Support: Type-C
    • Earphone Battery Size Per Side: 55mAh
    • Charge Case Battery Size: 500mAh
    • Weight: Single Earphone – 5g / Charge case – 45g
    • Water Resistance: IPX5
    Devices used for testing: Shanling M0, LG G6, LG G5, Asus FX53V laptop

    Some Test Tunes: Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid (Album)
    Hail Mary Mallon – Are You Going to Eat That? (Album)
    King Crimson – Lark’s Tongues in Aspic (Album)
    King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black (Track)
    Supertramp – Crime of the Century (Album)
    Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma (Album)
    Gorillaz – Plastic Beach (Album)
    Massive Attack – Mezzanine (Album)
    Fleetwood Mac – Rumors (Album)
    Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels (Album)
    The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy (Album)
    Tobacco – F****d Up Friends (Album)
    Felt – Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bonet) (Album)
    Michael Jackson – Thriller (Album)
    The Crystal Method – Grace (feat. LeAnn Rimes) (Track)
    Jidenna – Long Live the Chief (Track)
    Skrillex – Ragga Bomb (Track)
    Big Grams – Run for Your Life (Track)
    Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (Track)
    Aesop Rock – Fishtales (Track)
      solblack, Rob E. and NymPHONOmaniac like this.
  3. yong_shun
    Astrotec S80 - Freedom Redefined
    Written by yong_shun
    Published Oct 2, 2019
    Pros - Classy and glossy shell
    Good sonic performance
    Relatively affordable price compared to other models with similar specifications
    Cons - Insufficient impact from the lows
    The shell is relatively big and this could be an issue for those with small ears
    The launch of the S80 shows Astrotec’s desire to provide a high-quality listening experience for audiophiles who value freedom.

    This review is originally posted on Headphonesty. Thank you, Nappoler Hu from HiFiGo for sending me the Astrotec S80. The products were provided to me free of charge in exchange for my honest review and opinion.

    Astrotec is an in-ear monitors (IEMs) and earbuds manufacturer from China. It was founded in 2002 by several experienced members of the audio industry. Astrotec believes in continuous exploration. Driven by this belief, they produce quality products with cutting-edge technology that ultimately deliver a premium listening experience to users.

    The S80 IEM is the second true wireless model from Astrotec. With the experience gained from the first generation (S60), Astrotec aims to deliver well-extended high frequencies, clear, layered mids and rich, articulate bass with Dupont’s 4μm ultra soft Beryllium dynamic drivers. Without further delay, I will introduce you to the new Astrotec S80.


    The packaging of Astrotec S80 is simple yet modern. The white outer sleeve is printed with an Astrotec logo and an image of the S80 with its charging case.


    Removing the sleeve, there is a silver Astrotec logo printed on the grey box. The box is opened from the side. Upon opening the box, you find a matte plastic cover with a basic user manual printed on it that protects the S80.

    Users are advised to read and understand the user manual before using S80.



    Removing the plastic user manual, S80 makes her first appearance, shining brightly like a diamond. The S80 is sitting comfortably in the charging case and the package includes an additional case to store accessories like ear tips and the charging cable.

    Users find these accessories in the accessory case:
    • Charging cable (Type-C USB)
    • Two pairs of “angled” ear tips (one pre-installed)
    • Three pairs of silicone ear tips
    • A pair of foam ear tips


    Technical Specifications
    • Driver Unit: Beryllium Dynamic Driver
    • Impedance: 16Ω
    • Sensitivity: 98±3 dB
    • Frequency Response: 5Hz -25kHz
    • MIC Type: MEMS
    • Bluetooth Version: Bluetooth 5.0
    • Transmission Distance: 10m
    • Audio Coding: AAC, CVSD, mSBC, SBC
    • Supported Profile: HFP, HSP, A2DP, AVRCP, SPP, PBAP
    • Earphone Continuous Playback Time: About 5-6hrs
    • Charging Capability Supported By Charging Case: About 4-5 times
    • Earphone Charging Time: About 1.5 hrs
    • Charging Case Charging Time: About 2 hours
    • Charging Case Charging Method: Type-C USB
    The S80 has a glossy and shiny faceplate that doubles as a control panel. This is a full touch control panel (explained in full later on). The glossy surface looks attractive; however, the surface tends to “collect” fingerprints and this makes the surface oily after usage.


    The nozzle is relatively short compared to conventional in-ear monitor nozzles. With wireless earbuds increasing in popularity, there are now more choices for ear tips, but you still won’t have as many rolling options as a traditional IEM. That said, most of the true wireless ear tips such as SpinFit CP100z and CP360 fit pretty well on S80.


    The charging case is pocket friendly. I keep it in my pocket when I am commuting and I do not find it uncomfortable. The surface of the lid is shiny - literally like a mirror. Unfortunately, this creates the same issue as the glossy faceplate: it’s a fingerprint-magnet.

    The bottom part is covered by a grey cloth-like texture. This lends it a classy and modern appearance. Users can find the USB Type-C charging port at the side of the charging case.


    Fit and Isolation
    The size of S80 is considerably bigger compared to some other recent releases such as Aviot TE-D01G, Mavin Air-X and Advanced Sound Model X. This could be an issue for those with small ears. I have a big ears, so I do not have any issues inserting the S80 and wearing it for hours.


    Isolation wise, none of the ear tips provided in the box gave sufficient isolation for my weird ear canals. I explored other aftermarket ear tips and eventually found that the Sony EP-EX10A ear tips fit me the best. I can happily listen to my music when I am commuting, without getting disturbed by the hustle and bustle of the noisy city.

    Before writing this review, I owned Sony WF-SP700N and used it mostly for sports purposes. I totally understand the potential frustration of intermittent signals due to interference. I frequently experience signal cut-off with my Sony when running near traffic lights and railway tracks.

    By using Bluetooth version 5.0, the S80 provides a more stable connection than my Sony. This is something I need from a wireless earbud and I believe this is a good selling point for S80. With the AAC codec and paired with my iPhone, I can happily walk around the city without getting interference from the environment. Well done, Astrotec!


    The S80 carries an Ingress Protection (IP) rating of IPX5. With IPX5, users can safely use the S80 for sports purposes because it is tested to withstand sweat and light splashes of water.

    IP (or "Ingress Protection") ratings are defined in international standard EN 60529 (British BS EN 60529:1992, European IEC 60509:1989). They are used to define levels of sealing effectiveness of electrical enclosures against intrusion from foreign bodies (tools, dirt etc) and moisture.


    As mentioned earlier in this review, there are touch sensor control panels embedded in the S80. Users can use the following gestures to trigger actions:
    • Play / Pause: Single tap on either side
    • Increase / decrease volume: Double tap on left to decrease and right to increase
    • Changing track: Touch and hold on the left panel to go back to the previous track or right panel to go to the next track
    These functions are useful especially when users are working out. However, I find the touch sensor to be slightly too sensitive. I frequently pause or play the song by accident when I am adjusting the fit.


    During the three weeks review period, I paired Astrotec S80 with my iPhone XR through AAC codec. I used Sony EP-EX10A ear tips, so I cannot comment on the provided ear tips.

    After looking closely at the physical attributes of S80, now let’s look into what the S80 delivers in terms of sound performance. In general, the S80 has a slightly warm sound signature that is comfortable for long listening. The soundstage is moderately wide and deep.

    The amplifiers embedded in the earbuds are sufficiently powerful to generate a good audible level without pushing the volume to the max. On my iPhone XR, I need around 50% of the volume to get a good audible level.


    The S80 has good body in the lows. The sub-bass kicks in accurately when called upon. After thumping the eardrums, the sub-bass excuses itself slowly. This slow decay injects some warmth into the sound signature.

    "As a Sony user, I find the sub-bass extension to be shy on the S80."

    I would appreciate deeper extension more than the S80’s tuning, which emphasizes the mid-bass. The slightly slow decay speed in the mid-bass bleeds subtly into the mids. However, the decay speed also helps smooth the transition from lows to the mids, so it’s a subjective trade-off.


    "The mids are where I love S80 the most, making it my first choice in a true wireless earbud in the USD $100 price range."

    The mids are meaty and juicy like a medium-cooked sirloin steak. I am a Mandopop fan and the mids could be the most important frequency region for Mandopop. The S80’s warmth from the lows is carried forward to the mids due to the slight bleeding in the mid-bass. This warmth injects good emotions into male vocals.

    Moving forward to the upper-mids, the warmth recedes and the overall turning is airy and spacious. This results in sweet sounding female vocals. Everything about the mids hits the sweet spot and they perform flawlessly to serve my needs.


    Similar to most of the true wireless earbuds I have auditioned in the market, the highs of S80 rolled off slightly early. This is another reason for the overall warm sound signature. As a Campfire Audio Nova user for many years, early roll-off in the highs is an issue I am used to. That said, while not an issue for me, other users should not expect sparkling highs from the S80.

    Although there is roll-off in the highs, the overall space and air created by the highs is still sufficient to yield a good fidelity and resolution. The details are delivered in an accurate manner without distortion. I would rather choose highs that roll off earlier than an uncontrolled treble.


    The S80 retails for USD $89.00. It can be purchased through HiFiGo.

    The Astrotec S80 is a great choice for audiophiles who are looking for affordable true wireless earbuds. This could be one of the most affordable true wireless earbuds on the market that features both Bluetooth version 5.0 and a touch sensor enabled control panel. Despite the freedom given, the S80 is able to preserve good sonic performance and fulfill your high-quality audio cravings.
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