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Astrotec Ultimate AM850 Hi-Res High Fidelity Earphones, Corded HiFi In-Ear Headphones, Micro-Dynamic Driver Noise Cancelling Earbuds, Ergonomic Comfort-Fit Headset (Red)

Rating:
4.25/5,
  1. JASru
    Astrotec AM850 - mellow and comfortable
    Written by JASru
    Published Dec 2, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Shell quality and finish is superb
    Tonality is balanced ( no harsh peaks on tracks I generally listen to)
    Sufficient package
    Cons - Springy and non-detachable cable
    Notes:
    - my unit was bought for full price and I have no obligations to the brand
    - I am an amateur so cut me some slack
    - I hate 7-8khz peaks and am generally treble-sensetive, so warm and bassy iems are my preferrence

    1) Intro
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    Prior to buying this IEM I heard about Astrotec as a manufacturer who was one of the first to start making budget hybrid IEMs (AX30&35, the latter is possibly one of the best bangs for the buck you can get) and made quite a success at it.

    However as their current lineup is seen - there are only pure models available( DD AM lineup and pure BA Delphinius and their new BT earphone).
    Out of two options I picked the safest one =)

    ATM I have these at hand for more than 3 month and use them few times a week. The photos are taken recently so keep that in mind to judge their a bit weary look =)

    2) The Package
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    AM850 come in a decent box with a nice texture and sleeve (all specs info is on it). Inside you may find the iems and the first set oof silicon tips.
    Underneath is a flight adapter. second set of silicon tips, one pair of foamies and ear-hooks + envelope-like faux-leather purse.
    It fits IEM's nicely and given the build quality I don't think that it is soft is a big deal, but don't put it in your back-pocket just in case)
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    3) Build
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    IEMs are made of metal, and it is probably steel. On their back is wooden insert that adds some nice style to them. Not sure if it affects the sound, but it surely looks nice.

    The cable is in silicon insulation, with L-shaped 3.5 mini-jack. It is nice to touch. Somewhat like soft-touch plastic. The splitter looks like a sourcee oh potential trouble as there is no sleeve or something like that.

    During first weeks of use the cable was nice and easy to use, but with first cold days it started to curl and it is not very cool, but given the porice point - something I can live with.

    The housings are quite small, with average length of the nozzle ( has a small lip, so the issue of having an eartip stuck in the canal is slightly less likely to occur =D ) and a vent in the front part of the iem. I haven't noticed any driver flex during usage, but keep in mind that over the period of usage this IEM had undergone tonal changes ( though not radical).

    The fit is quite easy and comfortable and variety of tips you can use is vast. The nozzle's size and form are quite generic, so - no issue here.

    4) Sound
    The sound of this IEM can be described as comfortable, warm and a bit relaxed.
    The lows are emphasized, but not in a manner of a boombox. More like a rumbling in the distance.
    Lower end reachs quite deep and subbass extention is really there. :Lower mids are present too, though they have no bumps and sound naturally.
    Mids are typicall for DD driver - they are not as detailed as BA , but natural and easy to listen to. Nothing exceptional, though nothing bad either.
    Highs have roll-off, which is not terribly early, but clearly is there, when compared too multi-driver BA or fullsize headphones. Again- given the price tag it isn't a big deal, but this marks this IEM as not a great choice for critical listening.

    The imaginary scene is not congested, but the lack of treble peaks makes it not airy or spacious. The fact that is a single-bore single driver design is obvious too.

    I haven't noticed any peaks or bumps in sibilance or brilliance regions during my frequent use, but out of the box the highs were harsher than after initial burn-in in the cupboard and even more after few days of use. Some detalisation was gone with it, but the sound got really mellow and cozy.

    5) Summary
    Overall AM850 are a good choice for everyday listening in the big city: lower end emphasis makes it sound despite the outside noise. Mids are decent and highs are not fatigueing, though clearly present.
    They seem to be not so much of an audiophile offering; rather than that they are an excellent choice for everyday usage.

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      Saimon_Says likes this.
  2. faceestrella
    Astrotec AM 850 - Premium Build, Accessible Sound
    Written by faceestrella
    Published Jun 11, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Deep, full bass, Top notch build quality and materials, Attractive design, Good set of accessories
    Cons - Bass may be too much for some, Quality is marred by rubbery cable, Non detachable cables
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    Overview: Astrotec is an audio company hailing from China that entered the market and started to gain traction with their vast array of affordable and attractive options, though one of their shining jewels, the Lyra series of earbuds stands special mention. The AM 850 on the other hand represents the flagship of their IEM lineup consolidating their ideals of sound, design, materials and build, all in one package. Does the AM 850 live up to the pedestal status it owns in the product line-up? How does it stack in the increasingly crowded entry level market, standing in at $99? These are all questions I hope to help answer below.
    Disclaimer: The AM 850 IEM was provided to me by the good people at Astrotec free of charge in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

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    Specifications:

    Driver: 10 mm
    Resistance (ohms) / 1 kHz: 60 Ω
    Maximum input (mW): 12Mw (IEC *)
    Frequency response (Hz-kHz): 10Hz-40 kHz
    Rated power (mW): 3Mw
    Sensitivity: 110Db / 1mw (S.P.L at 1 KHz)
    Headphone plug : 3.5mm
    Wire length (mm): 1.2 ± 0.3mPU silver plated wire

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    Packaging and Accessories: The AM 850 comes in an attractive textured box with a sleeve containing the model name, serial number, and specifications. The main box is a sideways opening magnetic clasp with the Astrotec logo and a sketch of the earphones printed on it. Opening it reveals 2 cardboard covers with Astrotecs motto. Removing those reveals the earphones as well as an aluminum eartip holder that was surprising in the thickness and quality that the material used. Removing the foam carrier reveals the rest of the accessories, some over ear hooks, some more silicone tips, a pair of foam tips, an airline adapter and an attractive leather looking case are included. Overall the packaging has a higher quality feel, and the included accessories have a premium and fashion forward vibe to it, and while the case may not offer a lot of protection for the earphones they will definitely be something that draws the eye. The offered tips are a set in the style of Sony hybrids, as well as more generic silicon tips. The ear hooks are also nice for those looking to use these during exercise.

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    Build and Design: The AM 850 is an earphone that carries high build quality not only in manufacturing process’ but material quality as well. The quality and finish of the aluminum and wood is quite exceptional, you can feel the slight heft the units, that give yet again a premium impression to whoever holds or wears them. The cable on the other hand is another story, while the Y splitter, cable cinch, and 3.5mm plug all are finished in aluminum its not the same thickness and are cored with plastic in the middle. The actual cable on the other hand is another mixed bag, while the quality of the 4-core cable themselves are quite nice, which are quite flexible, the sheathing they chose to utilize is quite rubbery, resulting in a sticky feel and some microphonics. The aluminum shell utilizes 3 pieces, 2 of which are aluminum forming most of the exterior but the wooden chamber that peeks out from the rear. Seams are nice and tidy; no stray glue marks and machining is all smooth and tidy. Overall the build quality strikes me as above average, hopefully Astrotec utilizes better sheathing in the future especially since the rest of the build has a higher quality feel. The design follows a more conventional design of earphones in the market eschewing the cable up approach that will mean it’s a more accessible design for all, aesthetically it is a simply but classy design making the most of the aluminum design with a contrast of polished and brushed finishes leading to a nice visual contrast, it is followed with a touch of wood to give a peep of the chamber inside, and it shows quite well the grain of the wood that’s had a nice dark red stain.

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    Fit: They fit easily and comfortably and should be pleasing to a wide variety of ear shapes and sizes, due to the fact that is uses the conventional cable down fitting compared with a rounded barrel shape so there isn’t any points or edges to cause any sort of discomfort. Weight wise they shouldn’t be too heavy to cause removal in casual use, but something like running or jogging might dislodge them easier, luckily the provided hooks will let you wear them over ear and keep them more secure. Overall a classic design leading to easy and friendly fitting.

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    Sound: Listening impressions and comparisons of the AM 850 were taken with the FiiO Q1 mk II DAC/Amp, ifi Audio xDSD DAC/Amp, Hiby R6 DAP, and LG G6 these I found were on the slightly harder end of driveability for a phone in the sense that you might need around 80 to 90% on weaker phones but completely driveable with a phone nonetheless, and it seemed to be agnostic to the amount of power it received . Volume matched for accurate comparison between sources or other gear. Astrotec didn't require or advise any burn in time but I did get to 100 hours with them to please both sides.
    The overall tonality of the Astrotec AM 850 leans on the darker and warmer side of the spectrum, will lots of body in the lower frequencies and a relaxed one at the higher ones, a tuning for bassheads definitely.

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    Bass: The bass on the AM 850 is the star of the show, offering full bodied bass, with decent texture, and slower decay, and LOTS of it. The sub bass extension is good enough, allowing songs like "Way down deep" to really dig in those bass drum hits, while the mid bass takes that up a notch with a thick full slaw like in "Super Bass" the low end on these puppies just keep on giving and giving. The texture is actually nice relative to the amount of bass, with a timbre that you can't get anywhere else but a dynamic driver; coupled with a decay that is on the slower side, both likely caused by the wooden sound chamber, this gives a feeling of reverberation and definitely will please those looking for a true blue basshead experience, now or course this unique bass experience has a cost, and for that we move on.

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    Mids: The mids on the AM 850 is quite an interesting listen, on a quality standpoint, it's not bad, in fact when I dissected them with less bassy songs such as "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac, overall the mids had good texture and with good enough details and sounded smooth while lower mids had a fullness from the lower notes of pianos to some vocals, no doubt thanks to the boosted mid bass, the same can't be said when we go up the scale however, because while the the quality is more or less the same, they can get overpowered by the bass, sounding thinner and drier in comparison, the upper register vocals and instruments are there but when the bass guitars, or lower tones of instruments step in, singers, especially those with higher voices step back, and almost play accompaniment instead. This leads to an odd sound in vocal or mids focused recordings the likes of Adele come to mind especially when she starts going on vocal runs like in "Hometown Glory", while not necessarily a negative, definitely something that one should keep in mind before buying these earphones.

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    Treble: The treble on the AM 850 takes a smooth and relaxed approach, it's not energetic and is also free from harshness or peakyness, and there is no trace of sibilance. It's smooth though it doesn't extend very far, and the air and sparkle is kept to a minimum, aiding the sense of warmth and darkness, however the highs aren't dull, they're presented well enough and are present, however it is again a case of it simply taking a backseat though the treble itself has decent detail, enough to get by. The violins in The Ransom Collective's "Settled" are there but are merely accentuating the drum and bass lines, and round out the musical composition and don't stand out or grab you.

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    Presentation: The AM 850 packs a somewhat wide stage, extending a little past the ears, while height and depth are mostly average. With staging that is fairly accurate, and in no way sounding unnatural. Layering and separation can get a little tight especially with bass heavy arrangements, while within the low end, the layering is fairly good, with nice definition between drums, guitars, and other instruments, once the bass does start taking over the mids and treble start to lose their footing when it comes to the technical aspects.

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    Conclusion: It seems that Astrotec had a certain idea in mind when they made the AM 850, a fashionable and attractive earphone, sporting a quality build with quality materials (cable notwithstanding) with a commercial style sound, that had more refinement than the usual items tuned in that manner. And with that goal I think they have succeeded, and if I were to sum up the AM 850 a word I'd use is accessible, something most consumers might look to pick up, even though maybe those looking for more "audiophilic" tunings might not find these to be what they seek. In the end AM 850 looks good, is packed with accessories, built great, and will have all the bass you might ever want, and the bass is pretty good mind you. So if you're in the basshead camp, and you want something that looks classy and refined then the AM 850 is exactly what you should look for.

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  3. Dobrescu George
    Astrotec AM850 - Vivid Presentation
    Written by Dobrescu George
    Published Feb 27, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Dynamic Sound, Build Quality, Comfort, Price, Vivid Sound, Clarity, Bass and Treble Extension, Price/Performance Ratio
    Cons - Non Detachable Cables, A Lot of Competition in This Price Range
    Astrotec AM850 - Vivid Presentation

    Astrotec is a less known IEM producer from China, who comes to the 100$ IEM market with a full-metal body IEM, with a nice cable, and a few other bells and whistles, standing against some of the titans of this market, like iBasso IT-01, which we just reviewed recently.


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    Introduction

    We are intrigued when a new company from China comes to the market with an interesting product, as most of times they have lots of surprises in store for their fans, iBasso having set a clear example of how good a product can be even if it comes from China. Astrotec isn't quite that known yet, but they're slowly gaining momentum as their latest IEMs are more and more spoken about by reviewers and people who already fell in love with their products.


    It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with Astrotec, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. This review is not sponsored nor has been paid for by Astrotec or anyone else. I'd like to thank Astrotec for providing the sample for the review. The sample was provided along with Astrotec's request for an honest and unbiased review. This review will be as objective as it is humanly possible, and it reflects my personal experience with Astrotec AM850. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in Astrotec AM850 find their next music companion.



    About me

    https://audiophile-heaven.blogspot.ro/p/about.html



    Packaging

    First things first, let's get the packaging out of the way:

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    AM850 comes in a slightly different package than we're used to seeing from China, this time with a larger than typical cardboard box, caged by a thinner paper which includes the specifications of AM850.

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    The message Astrotec provides, while maybe a tad funny, is also honest.

    The IEM tips are seated in a fine-cut and well-polished metal holder which has the Astrotec name written on it. There are Ear Hooks provided in the package, and although we never used those, we find them a good addition for users who prefer using them.

    ASTROTEC AM850 earphone
    Aviation audio converter
    6 pairs of silicone eartips
    1 pair of foam eartips
    Carry leather case
    1 pair of earhook


    There is also a leather carry case included with AM850, which seems to resemble a tiny envelope a bit, and there is a flight adapter as well in the package.

    The unboxing experience is satisfying, and although the contents themselves aren't going to appeal every customer, there is a large enough box content to satisfy most people, and most accessories included seem useful and welcome.



    What to look in when purchasing an entry-level IEM

    https://audiophile-heaven.blogspot.ro/p/what-to-lookl.html



    Technical Specifications

    Driver: 10 mm
    Resistance (ohms) / 1 kHz: 60 Ω
    Maximum input (mW): 12Mw (IEC *)
    Frequency response (Hz-kHz): 10Hz-40 kHz
    Rated power (mW): 3Mw
    Sensitivity: 110Db / 1mw (S.P.L at 1 KHz)
    Headphone plug : 3.5mm
    Wire length (mm): 1.2 ± 0.3mPU silver plated wire



    Build Quality/Aesthetics/Fit/Comfort

    Starting with the build quality, Astrotec AM850 is a full metal-body IEM with an excellent build quality all around, being built like a tank and looking like it could stand quite a bit of usage, even the rough type. The metal body is followed by a nice cable, which although is thinner than other IEMs's like iBasso It-01, looks pretty nimble, and inspires us with trust at the same time.

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    The aesthetics are on AM850's side as we find their look to be a perfect equilibrium of style, elegance and professionalism, looking like they could fit with virtually any environment they'd be worn in. The little pin at the back of the IEM seems to give it more style than being a little kitsch. The cable stress relief seems to be doing its job quite well, and while the little red cut where the cable enters the IEM body seems to be more a design choice than it is a construction or a build feature, it also adds to the stylish aspect of AM850.

    The fit is, in one word, angelic. The IEM bodies are extremely small, and this makes them fit all ears of all sizes very well, providing an excellent general feeling to the user. The tips are fairly nice and feel nice while being worn, and the flexible cables make up for an excellent usage in both straight-down and over-the-ear wearing styles.


    The comfort is quite amazing in general, and the IEMs themselves feel really nice, there's nothing bad to mention about them, as we didn't feel any driver flex or any nuisance while using them.



    Sound Quality

    Astrotec AM850 is a IEM from the entry-level class, priced around 100 USD. FiiO X7mkii + AM03A has been used to drive it during the tests, along with other DAPs like iBasso DX200 and others we reviewed in the past.

    We applied a fair amount of burn-in to AM850, although we didn't feel any major changes in the signature with burn-in.

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    The sonic signature can be described as open-sounding with a very vivid and dynamic presentation of music, a smoother musical note definition, with a fairly balanced signature, which is neither dark nor bright, being at the right sweet spot between the two.

    The bass is deep and reaches quite deep, having a nice rumble when the songs asks for it, providing a nice clear definition for each note and having a nice impact for songs that need it. This being said, the amount of bass relative to the amount of midrange and treble are fairly balanced, AM850 not being a basshead IEM, but rather a IEM that can be enjoyed by both a basshead and someone who favors a more balanced signature.

    The midrange is vivid and clear, with a clear tendency to sound crisp and clear, with excellent musical note detailing and definition, voices having a nice presentation and texturization. Textures and micro-textures are clean and have a nice definition to them, while the most important aspect I'd like to mention is that they don't have dips or peaks, being really well-balanced throughout the sonic spectrum, or at least sounding very balanced to my ears. This doesn't mean that they are linear or flat, but natural sounding, being very easy to listen to AM850, then take them off, then put them back in, without needing time to adjust to their signature. Detailing and dynamics are top notch, and all in all, the midrange is lovely and a pleasure to hear.

    The treble is quite well-extended, with an incredibly good extension for the price, and they are a tad on the smoother side, cymbal crashes being silky more than they are grainy, the whole listening experience being fairly fun and enjoyable even for those who are sensitive to treble. Those who seek out the ultimate treble won't find the brightest sound in AM850, but AM850 is still quite enjoyable either way as they provide an excellent amount of details and enough extension to be fun to listen to.



    Soundstage

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    The soundstage of Astrotec AM850 is another fun surprise as they present the music with a lot of width and a fair amount of depth, being fun to listen to, electronic music sounding wide, and metal music having the right amount of width and depth to be natural without feeling distant. The instrument separation is insanely good for the price, and although more expensive options do instrument separation better, AM850 is still quite amazing.



    Portable Usage

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    Astrotec AM850 is extremely portable, being fairly lightweight, quite comfortable and sporting a nimble yet pretty sturdy-looking cable that should stand a good beating while being taken on a walk or on a jog. The isolation is also fairly good, AM850 being isolating enough to provide freedom from the noisy streets of Bucharest on a typical business day, but if you're looking for the ultimate isolation, there might be other options that might isolate better.

    The only other part we feel we should mention is the carrying case, which doesn't really provide any protection for AM850, and we actually feel it might endanger them if transported in it, as although it is extremely elegant and good-looking, it is flexible, made out of leather and might place a strain on the part where the cable connects to the IEM body. This being said, this is extremely easy to fix, and we can understand why Astrotec chose to include such a stylish carrying solution with AM850, but we still felt it would be good to keep this in mind for transporting them.

    We also noticed that the cables are a bit prone to tangling, but nothing too serious.

    All in all, AM850 is quite portable and it is a fun IEM to take on a trip, being resilient enough along with comfortable enough to make the whole experience fun.



    Comparisons

    Astrotec AM850 vs FiiO F9Pro - F9Pro tends to have a deeper fit, along with more isolation from the outside noise, but they aren't more or less comfortable, both AM850 and F9Pro being golden in their comfort. FiiO F9 Pro comes with a much larger amount of accessories that might be useful than AM850, and F9Pro also has a better carrying case solution. The fit is over-the-ear only for F9Pro, thing which should be kept in mind, and the cables on F9Pro are not as nimble as AM850. The sound is quite similar between the two, the biggest difference being in the treble, where F9Pro is a bit peakier with a stronger treble than AM850, which is quite smooth. Extension both ways is excellent on both, and both have a vivid, vibrant, clear, clean and dynamic sound.

    Astrotec AM850 vs Westone UM1 - AM850 has a fairly brighter sound that can come through as more balanced, less laid back, less dark and closer to a natural sound. The details are better with AM850, as well as the general naturalness. The bass, on the other hand, is thicker and more satisfying on Westone UM1, being both harder with each hit, and providing a more visceral presence. The treble is smooth on both, but the amount of treble is much better on AM850, which also extends much higher than Westone UM1. The fit and comfort is at golden levels on both, along with their portability, both sporting not-exactly-the-best carrying case solutions. The build quality seems excellent on both, but AM850 has a full metal body, while UM1 is entirely made of plastic. The number of accessories included in the package is considerably higher with UM1, especially when it comes to the number of tips included.

    Astrotec AM850 vs Kinera H3 - The sound is more balanced on Astrotec AM850, with a fairly stronger balance throughout the whole spectrum. AM850 provides the listener with a larger soundstage, while H3 has a slightly deeper soundstage and a stronger instrument separation than AM850. The comfort is better with AM850, as H3 had driver flex for us, and the general package is similar for the two. H3 is very well built, and it has a hard carrying case, which might come in handy, along with what looks like a better cable than AM850, but H3's cable is a bit tangle prone, so it is a close score.

    Astrotec AM850 vs Simgot EN700Bass - EN700Bass is an interesting IEM to look at now, that we are looking at AM850. Starting with the build quality, both are made of metal IEM bodies, but AM850 is much smaller which leads to a much better comfort. The cable is much more tangle prone on EN700Bass, leading to a rather unpleasant experience with them compared to AM850. The carrying case is better on EN700BASS, but the overall package content is similar between the two. Since both have non-detachable cables, that part is a tie. The sonics are similar in tonality, but AM850 is cleaner, has better detail retrieval, better instrument separation and better musical note definition, while EN700Bass has a thicker general sound, with a darker background, while AM850 is much more energetic in the long run.

    Astrotec AM850 vs iBasso IT01 - iBasso IT01 makes an interesting competitor for AM850, as they provide a very very good IEM at 100$. Starting with the build quality, AM850 is a very tiny metallic body IEM, while IT01 is a plastic IEM with a larger shell. The cable is much thicker and seems to have a higher quality on IT01, and it is detachable as well, while AM850 has a more nimble cable, if this is important for portability. The sonics are quite a bit different, as IT01 has a considerably stronger bass, with more sparkle in the treble, and maybe a tad more definition, but besides AM850 having a different tuning, they both have an excellent level of details and dynamics, both being excellent IEMs sound-wise. The comfort is great on both, but because IT-01 has a larger IEM shell, AM850 might be a bit more comfortable in the long run. This doesn't stop both reaching golden levels of comfort though.



    Recommended Pairings

    It should be noted that AM850 is a single Dynamic Driver IEM and it has less pairing issues than multiple-driver IEMs, which can have impedance issues, and such.

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    Astrotec AM850 + HIFIMAN MEGAMINI - Megamini makes an excellent example of a device to drive AM850, as it provides a very vivid and clear sound for them, with a wide soundstage, and a great level of details. The sound is balanced and has a nice impact and dynamics to it, making Megamini an excellent pairing with AM850.

    Astrotec AM850 + Cayin N5ii - Cayin N5ii makes a great job with AM850, providing them with a very nice definition to their bass, a very rounded overall sound, and a very good instrument separation. Listening to Tidal from it is a real pleasure and the overall device combination is quite nice to use.

    Astrotec AM850 + Opus #1s - #1s is able to power AM850 with excellent strength and a bit more impact and dynamics, the overall feeling being that AM850 presents music very lively and with a good amount of emotion.



    Value and Conclusion

    Astrotec managed to leave quite a good impression after our first meeting with them and AM850 leaves a very good overall impression, providing an excellent overall device for its price, with a very good comfort, build quality and sonic abilities.

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    Priced at 100$, AM850 is a very nice IEM in the entry-level area, with a lot going on for it, with the only real downside being that it has quite a few competitors which make great competition to it, like iBasso IT-01 and FiiO F9Pro, both of which come with detachable cables and very interesting abilities. This doesn't mean that AM850 is obsolete by any means, as it has a different sound from IT-01 and it is priced more pocket friendly than FiiO F9Pro, but I'd like to remind everyone out there that there is a lot of fire going on within the 100$ price market.

    The accessories included with AM850 are quite good, and although the carrying case isn't quite that useful at first sight, it looks stylish and will surely be great for some people. The cables included aren't quite that thick, and are not detachable, but they are of good quality and we trust them to take a beating without giving up.

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    I find the sonics of AM850 amazingly good, with a very vivid and balanced representation, the treble being smoother and non-grainy, and the level of detail and textures is quite amazing. The fit and comfort makes another great plus for them, placing them in the golden comfort territory.

    If you're looking for a great inexpensive IEM with a lively and balanced sound, with a clear and vivid signature, fatigue-free yet detailed presentation, you should check out AM850 from Astrotec, as they provide a pretty good bang for the buck!



    Stay safe and remember to always have fun while listening to music!





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  4. Jupit3r
    At $89.9, the AM850 is worth every penny.
    Written by Jupit3r
    Published Mar 2, 2017
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Easy to drive, asthetics, great build quality, deep bass, well-balanced sound.
    Cons - Microphonics, the laid-back sound profile doesn't work well with energetic songs

     
    Astrotec is well-known for their affordable quality headphones. They do have high-end offerings such as the AM1000 and the AX60, but it was their cheaper in ear monitors such as the AM700 and AM90 that really made the impact on the headphone industry.
     
    The AM850 is Astrotec’s latest flagship in-ear headphone. Looking at the name, initially I thought it was just a regular upgrade of the AM800, which were released last year to replace the popular multi-awards-winning AM700. Well, I was so wrong. The Astrotec AM850 was greatly improved in almost every aspect, and should even be considered as a completely different product. However, those upgrades come with a cost. The AM850 is priced at RMB666 ($95.8), which is more than twice the price of the AM800 (RMB248/$35.7).
     
     
    Specifications
     
    Type: Closed, dynamic
    Rated input: 3mW
    Driver unit: 10mm dynamic driver
    Frequency response: 10-40,000 Hz
    Sensitivity: 110 dB/mW
    Impedance: 16 Ω
    Cord type: 1.2 ± 0.3m, silver-plated OFC
    Plug: Gold-plated straight stereo mini plug (3.5mm)
    Supplied accessories: silicone rubber eartips (5 pairs), foam eartips (1 pair), silicon ear hooks (1 pair), a leather carrying case, an aviation plug adapter.
     
     
    Retail package
     

     

     

     
    First impressions are important, and Astrotec knows that very well. The Chinese brand took a sophisticated but straightforward approach with the AM850’s packaging. It isn’t excessively extravagant, but still feels beautiful and elegant.
     

     

     
    Inside the box you will find the headphones and all the accessories, including five pairs of silicone rubber eartips, one pair of foam eartips, two silicon ear hooks, an aviation plug adapter and a leather carrying bag.
     
     
    Design
     

     
    The AM850 has a design which is quite different from its predecessors. Although the housing of the in-ears is still a combination of metal and wood, the arrangement of these elements is not the same, and the material has also been upgraded. The metal used for the AM850 is Aluminum alloy 7075, which has very good fatigue strength and is mainly used for aircrafts. The surface of the in-ears has hairline finish, and has been treated with anodic oxidation, so you don’t have to worry that they will pick up scratches easily. The back of the in-ears is made of Rosewood imported from Cote d'Ivoire, Astrotec claims that this kind of wood have extremely ideal density and can minimize the secondary reflection of the treble.
     

     
     
    The cord of the AM850 is also nice. According to Astrotec, the silver-plated OFC used here can minimize the loss in the audio transmission. Coated in reinforced Kevlar fiber, the cable also has very high tensile strength. Unfortunately, I did notice an annoying amount of microphonics when the cord was brushing against my clothes.
     

     
    The Y-split also looks modern and exquisite.
     

     
    The headphone has a beautiful sturdy L-shape 3.5mm plug, which is compatible with 99% of the sources. Astrotec announced that they would soon release a version of the AM850 with lightning plug, but right now if you want to use these headphones with an iPhone 7 (Plus), you will need an adapter.
     

     
    The AM850 isn't really breath-takingly beautiful, it won't make you go wow when you lay your eyes on it for the first time. But it is easy on the eyes and has a lingering charm. The headphone is also extremely polished. Unlike other entry-level headphones, there are no ugly mold lines on the in-ears or the Y-slit. With a metallic build, the headphone also feels extremely sturdy, and looks like it could survive some occasional drops.
       
     
    Comfort and isolation
     

     
    Then AM850 is lightweight, the right-sized nozzles and soft ear tips fit into my ears comfortably, I can wear them for hours and won’t feel any amount of burden. Once you insert the eartips into your ears, the headphone won't fall out easily, you can even wear it in gyms or during jogging.
     
    The isolation of the AM850 is good, but not great. It could passively block most of of the noise from the outside world. But compared to the Monster Turbine, I do feel that the AM850 needs higher volume to drown out the crowd on a morning bus.
     
     
    Performance
     

     
    Tested tracks:
    Beyoncé – Daddy Lessons
    Alicia keys – Unthinkable
    Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Let’s Eat
    Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – White Privilege
    Justin Timberlake – Mirrors
    Maroon 5 – Harder to Breathe
    Gavin DeGraw – Fire
    DNCE – Cake by the Ocean
    Demi Lovato – Cool for the Summer
    Snow Patrol – Run
    Emeli Sande – River
    Drake – Controlla
    DNCE – Body Moves
    Little Mix feat. Charlie Puth – Oops!
     
    Source: Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, vivo X9, Meizu Pro 6 Plus, Shanling M5, iriver U100
     
    Comparisons: Monster Turbine, B&O Beoplay H3, 1more E1001
     
    The AM850 has a sensitivity rating of 110dB/mw and an impedance of only 16om, so it is extremely easy to drive, and should work fine with most smartphones and portable players. I have tried the AM850 with many different sources, and none of them had any problem driving the headphone to an earsplitting level when given enough volume. When it comes to sound quality, the A850 has a very sound profile that is more musical than Hi-Fi. Songs across a variety of genres sound neutral and clean and the sound engineer didn't tune them to emphasize certain frequencies. The sound is natural, realistic and balanced. The harsh bass and treble boosting prevalent with many other headphones priced below $100 are non-existent here.
     

     
    Most of headphones sound a lot better with a dedicated audio player or with an amplifier, but I didn't really notice any significant improvement in sound quality when pluging it into my Shanling M5 than using it with my vivo X9.
     
    Bass
     
    There was a decent amount of bass and, in terms of sub-bass extension, these headphones could reach very deep. The sub-bass contained texture and lots of detail, and on certain tracks this became very evident. The mid-bass had nice punch and presence, as well. Both the Monster Turbine and the Beoplay H3 had a more prominent bass presence, and they might bring out more energy in a hip-hop track, but the boosting sound and dilution of details could be problematic for other genres of recordings.
     
    Midrange
     
    There was a lot of warmth and clarity in the midrange, which is always a strong suite of Astrotec headphones. Vocals sounded rich, smooth, relaxed and fairly forward. Listening to Emeli Snade's "River", I could clearly hear her breathing in between notes. Compared to the Beoplay H3, the AM850 definitely has a much more natural and acurate presentation of her voice.
     
    Treble
     
    The treble of the AM850 was full, crisp and clear. Not overly bright, but it is very smooth, sweet and easy on the ears, and has ideal density for most of the tracks. The treble extension is decent as well.
     
    Soundstage
     
    One of the AM850’s most prominent sonic attributes is its remarkable soundstage. The headphone's spaciousness is easy-going, roomily and effortless. There are no real perceptible borders to the sides and that the soundstage varies in expansion, depending on the track being played. While listening to a song, I could close my eyes and imagine where instruments were placed while the track was being recorded. The layering is also very homogeneous, without any gaps in between.
     
    Also, The AM850 had a tendency to magnify detail. As a result, some buried treasures we’ve missed in familiar recordings were exposed, like guitar clicks, inadvertent chair movements, and accentuated tape hiss, bringing a heightened degree of vibrancy and authenticity to the music.
     
    The overall sound signature of the AM850 is pretty laid back, and more suited for listening to musical recordings. Fast and Hi-Fi tracks such as EDM may sound too lazy for you to enjoy them. For instance, I missed the enthusiasm while listening to DNCE's "Body Moves", which was supposed to be an energetic song.
     
     
     
    Conclusion
     

     
     
    The Astrotec AM850 has a lot going for it, but at the same time, it does cost much more than its predecessors. Still, if you're after a premium-looking headphone with musical, neutral and balanced sound, the AM850 could be an appealing choice. But if EDM or Hi-Fi centric tracks are what you are mainly listening to, you should consider other options.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Jupit3r
      @chaturanga , These headphones are much easier to drive and more open-sounding than the E1001. The E1001 has better treble extension.
      Jupit3r, Mar 6, 2017
    3. Jupit3r
      Jupit3r, Mar 6, 2017
    4. Jupit3r
      The AM850 also has deeper bass than the E1001.
      Jupit3r, Mar 6, 2017