Audeze iSine 10

General Information

The iSINE 10 sounds and looks like no others, an innovative design without a care for the same old status quo of balanced armature or dynamic driver designs. The Fluxor Magnets and large 30mm planar magnetic diaphragms deliver precise control and fast response times without distortion so music always sounds alive. Add the included Lightning cable with DSP and there’s no other in-ear headphone that even comes close to its performance.
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Latest reviews

kmmbd

100+ Head-Fier
Duality
Pros: Class leading soundstage and imaging
- Great bass response when used with Cipher cable/when amped
- Can take quite a bit of equalization thanks to low distortion driver
- B-stock pricing ($150 with everything) is too good to ignore
Cons: Questionable fit and comfort
- Large, heavy housings (though lightweight for a planar)
- Zero isolation (open-back nature)
- Honky midrange and uneven treble in analog and Cipher V2 cable
- Equalization doesn't improve Cipher V2 and analog cable sound signature
- Only the Cipher V1 cable has a good DSP/PEQ profile applied that can't be replicated via Reveal plugin/Cipher V2 cable
- Retail prices are over-the-top for the performance you get
IMG_8246_r.JPG

This review originally appeared on my blog.

Note: The rating above is only for the Cipher V2/Analog cable version at retail prices. Cipher V1 rating is much higher and for good reasons.


If you know what a planar magnetic driver is, you definitely know Audeze.

They’ve becomes ubiquitous to this particular driver type and definitely know the ins and outs of how to make the best out of such drivers. Their house sound, while divisive, can get addictive, and thus have garnered them a loyal following.

The iSine 10 has been been out for years now. Heck, it’s older brother, the iSine 20 has already been discontinued and succeeded by the LCD i3. The iSine 10 has somehow made the cut and is still in production even though the retail price is quite inflated for what you get. It’s still the only open-back planar IEM in the price bracket and nothing really offers quite the same feature-list.

Let’s see if the iSine 10 is still relevant or has it already been left in the dust.

Note: the ratings given will be subjective to the price tier. I bought the Audeze iSine 10 with my own funds, still, Disclaimer.

Sources used: Questyle QP1R, YuLong Canary, iPhone SE (Cipher cable)
Price, while reviewed: $300-$400 (B-stocks, when available: $150)


IMG_4989.JPG


Build: The iSine 10 is all black-plastic exterior with the signature metal mesh placed under the housing. This is a fully open-back design so you don’t have to worry about driver-flex. One thing to note is that the first revisions that came with Cipher v1 cable has the silver grille. This was later replaced with black grille on newer models (ones with Cipher v2 cable).

The nozzle is pretty long and stubby and most third-party tips will have a hard time fitting. There is a reason for that bulk though: it’s got an entire mechanism inside to control the phase of the soundwaves generated by the front of the driver. They’re calling it Fazor again, though it’s different from the Fazor they have in the LCD series full-size headphones in terms of implementation. There was a huge Innerfidelity article regarding this that I wanted to link here (since Tyll manages to explain the whole thing better than anyone else can or probably could) but unfortunately that site is no more (RIP) so I’d rather link to the excellent video review where you get all that info.


The 2-pin socket is recessed and has a snug fit once you use the stock cable. The inner-side of the IEM also has some ridges where you can set-in the earguides/hooks for a better fit.

Decent build quality in short though due to the all-plastic build it doesn’t quite match the price-tag.
4/5

IMG_4991.JPG


Accessories: The accessory package is well-fleshed out. You get the two cables (depending on the Cipher V1 vs V2, cable will be either flat for the former, or usual rounded style for the latter), 6 pairs of tips, 2 pair of ear-guides of various sizes, a carrying pouch which is nice, a thumb-drive with… the user guide (why?), a plastic credit-card sized certificate of authenticity, and a cleaning brush. It’s basically got you covered. I can definitely complain about the looks/design of the analogue cable but I think it will be useless anyway (more on this later). The Cipher cable (lightning version) has a bulkier remote in the V1 with more tactile buttons. V2 is slimmer and the button arrangement is different. Both add considerable bulk to the cable, V1 more so.

Overall, I can’t find anything to complain about in terms of quality/quantity of the accessories.
5/5

Comfort and Isolation:
For me, the iSine 10 (and this will likely apply to all the iSine/LCD i stuff) is just not comfortable esp when wearing with the Cipher cable where the added bulk makes things very awkward. The earhooks are stiff and doesn’t have a good weight distribution (due to lack of snug fit). Speaking of weight: each earpiece is 10g or so. Not suitable for people with small ear-canals. Your mileage may vary but definitely try them out before buying. Also, there’s zero isolation so there’s that.
2.5/5

IMG_4982.JPG


Now, onto the sound.

Spoiler alert: without the Cipher cable, I don’t at all recommend the iSine. So if you were not planning to get the Cipher cable, you can just skip the rest of the review as I won’t be recommending the iSine 10 to you or anyone (unless we have some long-standing enmity). If you are planning to get it with the Cipher cable, read on.

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The driver is a 30mm planar with Fluxor magnets on one side of the diaphragm (or so it appears on the images). This makes sense, as the already heavy-ish weight of 10gm (which is actually very light by typical planar standards) would be unmanageable with a double-sided array.

The voice coil is ultra-thin and custom built to have a very-low Total Harmonic Distortion (THD). In general terms, this means that the drivers can take some serious equalization (which is true to some extent).

Nominal impedance is 16ohm and with a 110dB/mW sensitivity the IEMs should be surprisingly easily drivable, though people seem to find miraculous improvements with amping…

As for the general sound signature, I’ll cut to the chase: iSine 10 is a crippled earphone without the Cipher cable. More specifically — the Cipher V1 cable, as Audeze has managed to ruin things in the Cipher V2 by making things more V-shaped and just generally more unrefined. The sound through the analog cable (aka the non-DSP corrected sound, or default signature)is all sorts of wrong and I would find offensive even on a $35 earphone let alone a $350 one.

I find talking about the analog cable just a waste of time. If you are planning to run the iSine 10 like that I would highly recommend against it, unless that’s the signature you prefer which is absolutely fine. The sound impressions below will be out of the Cipher V1 cable, and I will also compare with the Cipher V2 along the way. In terms of tips, the Groove tips with their ribbed surface fared well for me. Also note that with the Cipher cable the Audeze app is highly recommended (look for it on the App Store).

Bass: Lacks quantity in Cipher V1 cable, whereas Cipher V2 is too sub-bass heavy. I prefer the Cipher V1 rendition though you can EQ down the Cipher V2 bass via the app (and it’s stored on the Cipher cable which is neat).

Meanwhile, without the Cipher cable the bass is a bit uncontrolled. The app doesn’t allow proper PEQ but very effective nonetheless. Generally, bass speed is fast, with no noticeable bleeding into the mids. The sub-bass on Audeze iSine 10 lacks rumble and physicality even after EQ, I guess that’s one of the issues with the open-back design. Extension is great however. Fast flowing bass sections were easily handled.
4.5/5 (Cipher V1)
4/5 (Cipher V2)
3.5/5 (Analogue)

Mids:
This is the most contentious part of the Audeze iSine 10 for me. The midrange is honky without the Cipher cable and just sounds very, very wrong. I’ve tried the Reveal plugin on my desktop and no matter what dry/wet ratio I tried the honkiness never went away. It sounds honky even on Cipher V2 cable, no amount of EQ fixes it. Cipher V1, surprisingly, has the best midrange of all these configurations (analog cable/Cipher V1/Cipher V2). The lower-midrange is leaner than I consider “neutral” but it’s not thin at all. The upper-mids are also well-controlled though can get slightly shouty at times. Taking down the 2/4KHz notches mostly takes care of that though. Micro-detail retrieval is above-average. Macrodynamics is very good.
4.5/5 (Cipher V1)
3/5 (Cipher V2)
2/5 (Analogue)

Treble:
Treble is effortless and smooth on the Cipher V1 cable. It’s not the airiest treble but doesn’t sound blunted or splashy. Cipher V2 has a more peay treble and can exhibit slight grain in the upper registers. Treble resolution is not as good as certain multi-BA stuff in this range but unless you’re a treble-head you probably won’t mind much. The Analogue cable has similar treble to the Cipher V2 cable. Slight EQ is necessary for Cipher V2 to take down the 8KHz region slightly, whereas I personally add some upper-treble air via the 16KHz notch.
4/5 (Cipher V1)
3.5/5 (Cipher V2)
3.5/5 (Analogue)


IMG_4979.JPG


Soundstage: The Audeze iSine 10 is extremely open sounding, thanks to open-acoustic design. Soundstage is remarkable for an in-ear-ish device and frankly you won’t get anything better than this in the price-range, at least not among the stuff I have heard. Effortless soundstage width, remarkable depth and the height is akin to full-size headphones. Class-leading, that’s that.
5/5

Imaging:
The iSine 10 has very precise imaging even for events happening at the back of your head. Instrument separation/layering is excellent as well. Peerless performance, frankly, given the price bracket. A godsend for those who prefer IEMs while gaming in these aspects (though the comfort issues might hamper practicality).
5/5

Source and Amping:
Given the Cipher cables are for iPhones or old iPods with lightning port your choices for source gets shrunk rather quickly (or expanded, if you’ve got loads of Apple devices around). I used my iPhone SE but any iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch with lightning connector is all one will ever need to get the best out of the Audeze iSine 10. I’d not discuss much about analogue sources since it sounded horrible on everything I’ve got (Yulong Canary, Cayin N6ii, Questyle QP1R…).

Bang-for-buck: At the $150 B-stock prices, this is a no-brainer if you want to experience a planar in-ear. At the retail prices with the added cost of Cipher cable: this has horrible value.
5/5 (B-stock $150 prices)
1.5/5 (retail price of $350 + Cipher cable)

Select Comparisons

vs Tin HiFi P1 ($150):
The Tin HiFi P1 is another planar magnetic IEM in the price bracket. It’s got a significantly different design though where it uses a miniaturized 10mm planar magnetic driver which requires quite a bit of amping to get going. When amped, P1 is fairly detailed with a bright-neutral midrange, decent layering of instruments and good amount of upper-treble air. The bass is anemic though and just doesn’t cut it. Audeze iSine 10 eats it for breakfast in terms of bass response, soundstage, imaging, and overall detail retrieval (with the Cipher V1 cable of course). For the price though (almost 1/3rd of the iSine 10 + Cipher V1) the P1 is an interesting option. It just doesn’t belong in the same class.

vs RHA CL2 Planar ($700): RHA CL2 Planar is another miniature full-range planar implementation but has a higher level of performance compared to the Tin P1. When amped, the bass is linear and has good extension/rumble. Soundstage and imaging isn’t as enveloping and precise as the iSine 10 but fairly impressive for a closed-back design. Midrange is bright-neutral on the CL2 but has better micro-detail retrieval than the iSine 10. The treble though is a bit too sharp and gets fatiguing on the RHA CL2. It helps it pull out more details at the expense of shrillness. Equalization is a must to get the best out of CL2 since the driver can take that hit, and with equalization it does outresolve the iSine 10 without fatiguing the listener.

vs iSine 20 (discontinued): The iSine 20 is discontinued now. I’ll do a very brief comparison since the differences are minimal. iSine 20 has a slightly wider stage. Depth/height feels similar. Bass has a bit more slam and punch on the iSine 20. The overall detail retrieval is where the iSine 20 pulls ahead with better exhibition of microdetail and improved macrodynamics. I do believe that the improvements are not worth the price premium, but that’s something you gotta figure out for yourself.

IMG_5086.JPG


Conclusion

Just like the duality displayed on Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, Audeze iSine 10 goes from horrible without the Cipher V1 cable to awesome once the cable is connected.

But the list of caveats is too large. Only in special circumstances can I recommend the Audeze iSine 10, and you gotta be in that particular niche of users who actually prefer an open-back pseudo-IEM with zero isolation over an open-back headphone/typical IEM. Frankly at the retail price of these I’d just get a Hifiman Sundara and call it a day if an open-back planar is what I really want to experience. The B-stock prices are too tempting though and I highly recommend them if you can manage one with the Cipher V1 cable under $150.

I don’t recommend the Audeze iSine 10 with the Cipher V2 cable as strongly however, and without the Cipher cable I don’t recommend these at all.

The strange case of Audeze iSine 10, indeed.

Overall Rating: 4.25/5 (with Cipher V1)
Recommended

Overall Rating: 2.5/5 (with Cipher V2)
I cannot recommend this.

Overall Rating: 2/5 (analogue cable)
Hello darkness my old friend…
Last edited:
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SOULSIK

Member of the Trade: Audio Excellence
Pros: first planar magnetic. great sound if correct fit. large sound stage
Cons: fit may be hard for some

INTRODUCTION


In ear monitors have been popular as of lately with new companies bringing out their new top of the line in ear monitors. In ear monitors usually use dynamic or armature drivers. However, planar magnetic drivers commonly used in higher end audiophile grade headphones is not something you've seen before in an in ear. Audeze being one of the innovators and leaders of this kind of technology decided to make one. As of today, they have three in total. The isine 10, 20 and LCDi4.

DISCLAIMER

This unit was lent to me by bay bloor radio

ABOUT Audeze

from their website:

Audeze’s origins go back to 2008 when founders Sankar Thiagasamudram and Alexander Rosson met engineer Pete Uka who developed specialized flexible circuit materials for NASA. They quickly realized the material might be perfect for headphones. That’s when Dragoslav Colich, who has 30+ years’ experience in designing planar drivers, joined the team as CTO to create the LCD-1 headphone.

Then we created the legendary, award-winning LCD-2 and LCD-3 headphones, and the higher-efficiency LCD-X and XC models. More recently, we made planar magnetic technology accessible to a wider audience with the EL-8 and SINE series headphones. Audeze turned to their strategic partner Designworks, a BMW Group Subsidiary, for the cutting-edge industrial design for the new headphones as well as the Deckard DAC/Amplifier.

Audeze feature proprietary planar magnetic designs with extremely thin-film driver materials and powerful custom magnets. Planars overcome many limitations inherent in typical cone drivers; our lightweight diaphragms are, for example, faster and more responsive than heavier moving-coil or dome drivers. Planar magnetic diaphragm also have a voice-coil circuit spread across the diaphragm surface. The diaphragm’s voice-coil circuit interacts with the magnetic field to produce an electromagnetic force that moves the diaphragm back and forth creating the sound you hear when energized by an audio signal.

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

TECHNICAL DETAILS

  • Style In-ear, universal fit
    Transducer type Planar magnetic, semi-open
    Magnetic structure Fluxor
    Magnet type High-grade neodymium
    Diaphragm type Ultra-thin Uniforce
    Transducer size 30mm
    Maximum power handling 3W
    Maximum SPL >120dB
    Frequency response 10Hz – 50kHz
    THD <0.1% @ 100dB
    Impedance 16 ohms
    Cable type non-microphonic
    Dimension 31mm x 35mm
    Weight 11g (per side)
WHERE DO I BUY IT?

Bay bloor radio in you are in Canada.

Here internationally

BUILD QUALITY

I apologize that pictures are not provided for this review. It was deleted before I could write this review. I will make sure to add in photos in the near future.

First off, I would say the build quality at this price range is excellent.

It is made of high quality plastic. Some of you are not keen to see plastic in a set of highly priced in ears but there is a reason to why highly reputable companies, including sennheiser use it. Especially here, it was a great choice of material to keep things light as possible because it does use planar magnetic drivers that are bigger. Audeze really wanted to punch in the idea that they can create something planar and not always heavy.

For those who found Audeze headphones really good sounding but just way too heavy to wear, this may just be something that may float your boat.

Cabling is simple with 2 pin connectors and this does mean you can use third party cables, if that is your thing.

Flat braided cables as typical of their cables and you can opt in for their EQ functionality lightning cable or just the 3.5mm cable.



I did feel like the tips included were all too big for secure fit and nozzle were too big for and typical spin fits or comply foams.

Also, it takes a bit of getting used to securing a good fit with the hooks provided.

PRACTIALLY

THE FIT: Fit is everything with the Isine10, you will love it if you can or you will hate it if you cannot. It is a big hit or a miss type of scenario. I would imagine Audeze will improve this in their future line ups.

SOUND ISOLATION: These are semi open back and does leak, despite what others say about these not leaking... which I found odd unless you listen to your music really quietly. These do leak and it was proved in my tests. You can do this easily... you can just turn your music off and talk to other without taking the isine10s off your ears, you will be able to hear everything perfectly fine. Try asking at least 10 individuals if they can hear your music.

PAIRING: These are not the hardest to drive but they are still planar magnetic and need some good sources and amps to really shine

SUGGESTED USE: Probably around the house or in the office where it doesn't matter if a little bit of music leaks out. If you are the type of person that is not keen to share your music taste, this may not be the right choice.

SOUND QUALITY

review without EQ

LOWS – Very solid presentation but not the best or punchiest. Quite simple and this region relies heavily on how well you get it to fit. Get the right fit and you will feel some great thumping and sub bass.

MIDS – I found these to be a little too mid-centric with vocal a little recessed. it is either that this region is too forward or everything else is recessed. All in all this mid region seems to be the most unreliable in its presentation as imaging did not seem to be on par with other in ear monitors I've reviewed.

HIGHS – Well extended but lacks sparkle and a little recessed.

I was not aware of being able to EQ with 3.5mm cables from your DAP or what have you. Audeze do have put out their recommended EQ setting on headfi forums for those that are not keen on lightning cables. I would love to see the EQ settings come back and hit hard for those of us that would not like to see the 3.5mm terminations taken over entirely.

SOUNDSTAGE/IMAGING/SEPARATION:

  • Sound stage is larger than most in ear monitors in this price range but I do have to disagree with it being an in ear headphone. I would say this falls closer to an in ear still. I will be reviewing the LCDI4 soon, as I hope that will be a different story.
  • Imaging was not the best, with center imaging being the most lacking in presentation
  • Separation was descent but again, not the best I have seen in this price range.
FINAL THOUGHTS

This is their first in ear monitor and world's first planar one. I would say this is a great start and I would love to see them improve with community feedback.
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neilmanalo

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Arguably the best sound stage in an IEM, Clarity, Planar Speed/Response, Open Design
Cons: Fit/Comfort is a little bit awkward at first, Sound leakage, Isolation, Design is not for everyone.
A little bit about me:
Hey fellow headfiers! The name is Neil, a normal music loving lad who works here in Japan. I commute everyday and I am always searching for the best value for my music needs.
I currently use the IE800 and P1 as my daily commute drivers, and I use the HD800 and 650/6XX for my home listening.
 
(I apologize in advance for bad grammar, this was originally posted in the Audeze Isine thread and I just decided to also post it as a review.)
 
 
REVIEW/UNBOXING:
 
Immediately unboxed the iSine 10 after receiving it from amazon japan.
Here are some photos of the product. 
 
BOX
 

 
INSIDE THE BOX
 

 
 
OPENED WITH ALL ACCESSORIES OUT
 

 
THE EARPHONES ITSELF
 

 
QUICK REVIEW/IMPRESSIONS/ANALYSIS
 
This review was based upon listening in different situations and using different cables and sources.
(I apologize in advance if I have a lot of grammatical errors, English is not my first language.)

CABLES USED:
 
Audeze Cipher Lightning cable
Audeze Standard 3.5mm Analog Cable
3rd Party Silver 2-pin cable
3rd Party Standard 2-pin cable
 
SOURCES (FLAC/TIDAL/LOSSLESS/320MP3's were used)
 
iPhone 6
iPhone 6s+
Oppo HA-2 SE
Woo Audio WA7
Little DOT MKII
Schiit Magni 2
 
IEMS/HEADPHONES COMPARED WITH:
 
IE800 (Own it)
Mee Audio Pinnacle P1 (Own it)
SE 846 (Currently don't have it with me anymore but I owned it before for about half a year and used it as a comparison)
JVC FX1100 (Auditioned it for about 2-3hours)
NOBLE Audio Kasier K10U (Bought it, used it for a couple of weeks then decided to return it)
JH AUDIO LAYLA Version 1 (Auditioned it for 15-20minutes)
Oriolus MKII (Auditioned it for about 2-3hours)
AKG K712pros (Own it)
HD800 SD MOD (Own it)
HD6XX/650 (Own it)
FOSTEX T50RP MKIII with alcantara pads (Own it)
 
 
BUILD
 
The iSine 10 is the first ever planar magnetic IEM to be released. It also has an open design which makes it very unique in the world of IEM's.
The iSine 10 is built with sturdy plastic that feels very light when held, it might somehow feel flimsy due to its very light weight.
Because of the materials used for the purpose of making the IEM light, the iSine 10 might not be that sturdy and the build might be underwhelming for some especially at this price point.
You definitely should be careful when handling these IEM's, be careful not to drop it or sit on it. 
(Unlike the Mee audio Pinnacle P1 which is built like a 1000$ IEM or better just for a 100$)
 
DESIGN:
 
The design on the iSine 10 and iSine 20 is not for everyone. Some might find the design good looking, and some might find it hideous. 
Personally I think they are okay, they somehow look badass and sleek when you are wearing them. Definitely a head turner IEM, everyone will surely be looking at you when they see you wearing this outside (Although you probably wont, I'll get on that later) . To each his own, everybody will probably have an opinion about the design of the iSine's, but in the end, 
most of the hardcore audiophiles wouldn't care about what a product looks anyway.
 
FIT/COMFORT:
 
Fit
The fit on the iSine's are a little weird, especially the first time you try it. You might need to take time to find the right accessories to get a good fit. I think the earhooks that they come with are good enough to fit most people though. The feeling when you wear them is really awkward, it feels like they are somehow loose and might just fall off. But despite the awkward feeling to the fit, they are actually very secure, you can even run 
with it (Ran and biked with it myself), just probably not with the cipher cable because the dac/module part of the cable is a bit heavy. 
 
Comfot
These IEM's are okay when it comes to comfort, the comfort is decent enough for you to be able to wear them for long periods of time. They are not the most comfortable because of the awkward fit and feeling while wearing them, but you won't get fatigue or anything while wearing them because of the reason that they are very light. They are even lighter compared to some much smaller IEM's which is very impressive to say the least. 
 
ISOLATION/LEAKAGE:
 
Probably my biggest gripe when it comes to the iSine's are the isolation and leakage. The isolation is so-so, this is all because of the open design. The open design makes the IEM sound really good and really gives you great sound stage and air. The downside to that is the isolation and leakage, they are pretty much like open back headphones in an IEM form. The isolation is okay when you are listening at medium levels, but you should still expect to hear some noises especially when you are using it on the go. Like I said, it's very similar to an open back headphone, it doesn't really block out external noises but its very good when you listen to it a quiet area. You can get decent isolation when you are listening to medium to high volume, the downside to that is the leakage that it will produce. The leakage is similar to an earphone/earbud or probably a tad louder because of its openness. If you turn up the volume to normal listening levels, you can expect that people 2-3 feet away from you can probably already hear the leakage that they produce. These somehow beats the purpose of an IEM, because most of us use IEM's on the go and to isolate external noises. Especially in my case, I don't want to be disrespectful to the people beside me in the train while I'm on my way to work. That's why I only listen to it at low volumes when I am on the train which really is a bummer. So if you're planning to use these outside or on the go, it might not be the best choice. 
 
SOUND:
 
First Impressions:
 
So when I first tried it, it didn't really blow me away, they were decent and acceptable at its price range. The only thing I was impressed with was the soundstage, its probably the largest I've heard in an IEM. Even larger than the Layla and IE800.(Probably because they're open)
If you've heard the T50RP MKIII with alcantara pads, its like an IEM version of it with better sub bass and wider soundstage. Slightly warm, detailed, the mids were slightly forward in a good musical way, and the bass was good.
One thing to take note though is that I was only using the normal analog cable and it was plugged in into my iPhone. So I tried it with different sources.
 
With different amps  Magni/WA7/OPPO HA2SE + 3rd Party Cables
 
My iPhone + OPPO HA2SE made it sound better with the analog cable, the soundstage and details were brought up a little more. at this moment I can see why these IEM's were so hyped, even here in Japan.
It just sounded so sparkly, planar fast, and so wide. its still a little warm, but is so buttery warm that it just feels so good. I'm not really good with words and such so I can't really use complicated terminologies to describe how they sound. But to me they just sound good, they sound like an openback headphone in an IEM form with planar goodness. You need to hear these for yourself.
 
I tried it with solid state amps like the magni (I'm sorry if I don't have any other Solidstate portables) it made them a bit more detailed and the bass is now more pronounced, I'd imagine this is what other solid state portable would also do.
But I still like it better with the OPPO. So I also decided to pair them with tube amps, like the WA7 and my little dot MKII, and yes, tubes pair with these great. It becomes a lot warmer, and will probably go very well jazz, acoustic genres.
Some might find it too warm using the normal analog cable when paired with a tube, but I think that that will all come down to preference.
 
So I tried different cables, I used my silver 2-pin cable. the sound is still good, but the difference is very minimal, I'd say that the details are much more pronounced now with the silver cable, but that could just be in my head.
Nonetheless, it still sounded really good. And at this point I was already happy with the purchase. I never though it could be better than this, but I was wronged.
 
 
Cipher Cable:
 
So I know that not a lot of people are into apple products, especially the audiophile community. But I am an iPhone user myself. I just got so used to it because the iPhone 4 was my first smart phone when I was like 16-17 or something.
I thought these cable was made just so that you can use it with the iPhone 7 coz it had no jack. Boy I was wronged. These cables is what made these IEMS great to F***in exceptional.
I paired the cipher cable with my iPhone and the first thing I noticed is that they are now a lot louder, like 100% louder, I was at like 25-35% volume and I was already on par with my normal listening levels compared with the analog cable at 70-80%.
So these just blew my mind away, The soundstage is now much more expanded, the instrument separation and imaging is now much more pronounced (Probably because the cipher made the sound signature brighter and livelier.)
I don't know if its in the firmware EQ or the cables, but the cipher cable just changed it so much.
The mids are still slightly forward but there is much more emotion and weight to it, as well as the treble and highs. It became much more detailed and much more airy in a sense.
The warmth was reduced a little bit with the Cipher cable, this is probably because the cipher cable makes it sound brighter and more solid state-ish.
The bass is now also better, what surprised me the most is the change in sub bass, don't get me wrong, there are still other better IEM's there that are probably better than these when it comes to bass. But the bass on these with the cipher cable is just so good. The cipher cable added more extension and weight to the sub bass, its still punchy and planar fast but with more OOMPH.
It is now better than the IE800 and SE846 bass IMO, For me the IE800's subbass was the best, even better than the K10U, the subbass extension of the IE800 was the best to my preference. I haven't heard other TOTL IEM's but compared to everything I heard, the IE800's beats SE846 and K10U's subbass.(I even heard the JVCFX1100 which is known for their gorgeous bass, but I find them too warm and too bass heavy, this somehow veiled the other frequencies IMO, that's why I still chose the IE800 over it.)
But the subbass of the ISINE10 is now just awfully good, probably the same decay and extension as the IE800 but with more life to it. 
 
The soundstage is really good but it still won't beat a good overear HP soundstage like the HD800/K712/Fidelio. I'd say the soundstage compared to a headphone would be like a 650/6XX or even wider because the imaging and separation is just so good on these, especially with the Cipher cable.
At this price point these IEM's are now a steal with the cipher cable IMO. Would they still be a steal and a good price to performance ratio without the cipher cable? I'd say yes, some would argue but I think they're are still really good especially when you pair it with a good DAP/AMP.
I only have the OPPO HA-2SE as a portable amp, and I was already astounded with how they sounded with it using different cables. What more if you pair it with a high end DAP, and use a better cable.
 
I know that I might be all saying this just to justify my own purchase, but trust me, I'm not exaggerating about how good they are, with or without the cipher cable. I'm really actually critical when it comes to IEM's.
I liked the K10U's but I ditched em (Really good but too expensive, price to performance not justifiable IMO), heard the Oriolus MKII I liked them a lot, but the price didn't do it justice when you compare it something like the IE800, sure it's better than the IE800 in a lot of ways but I got my Ie800 for 350$ and the oriolus was like 950$. I was gonna buy them already but a couple of Japanese audiophiles warned me that the shells tend to crack easily which made me decide not to buy them. Owned the SE846 for a couple of months and I really liked them, this was my IEM before the IE800, ended up selling them when I heard the IE800. (They're probably equally good, but the sound signature and the wider soundstage of the IE800 was a better pair to my preference.)
I all ditched them because I still think that the IE800's was the best value wise and preference wise (Classical/acoustic/EDM)  the price of the other IEM's were not as justifiable, like I said, I want the best value for my audio gear. (I bought my IE800 second hand for like 350$)
Bought the P1, because it sounded similar and is actually better than the SE846 when amped properly, and at only for 120$. I still use it up today when I want a different sound signature.
Heard the Layla for about 10-15 minutes but I'd say I was more surprised and wowed by the iSIne10 especially because of their price! That's why I'm saying these are a steal at its price point. 
 
Can't really add more about the sound with cipher cable, but all I have to say is you gotta hear for yourself. They are still good without it but I'd say these are made to listen with the cipher cables, thats why I hope they make one soon that would be compatible with other devices.
IMO they are 30-40% better with the cipher cable and thats what make these babies all worth it. 
 
CONCLUSION:

After 2 weeks of use, I decided to return my iSine's because of the reason that I won't have any use for them. I can't really use them outside and while on commute because of its open design/leakage and lack of isolation. 
I can use them at home but I have tons of headphones that would be better for home listening.
I would really love to have them in my collection because of their great sound, but I'd rather pay my bills first than to buy something that I wouldn't even use.
The iSine sits in my top 3 of all the the IEM's I've heard so far, beating some competitors over 2-3x its price range. I would love to hear the isine 20's for comparison though (Although I hear that the upgrade to isine 20 is not that worth it)
If you're planning to buy these for portability, I'd rather test them first if I were you. Yes they are very portable and easy to drive, but the isolation and leakage might throw you off especially if you are planning to use these outdoors while commuting.
 
If you have any questions feel free to ask me! Hope this quick review helps some of you guys who are still thinking about buying it.
(Trust me its worth it
smily_headphones1.gif

 
(EDIT: Review is being edited overtime )
ezekiel77
ezekiel77
Would you say the soundstage is as big as the Layla?
neilmanalo
neilmanalo
@ezekiel77 I would say so, or even better. I can't say for sure though because I only listened to the Layla for about 15-20minutes in a moderately noisy area. (Audio shop) But from what I recall, its pretty much on par or even better. It's probably because of the open design, you get a sense of airiness which comes naturally with very good imaging and instrument separation. 

The Layla has better isolation though, but the iSine has actually the better fit and comfort. The Layla is too heavy and might fall of your ears without the right tip, unlike the iSine which may feel awkward and loose, but its actually secure.
neilmanalo
neilmanalo
@Onny Izwan Yeah the Sony XBA-Z5 are really good! Now we have so many to choose from which could be a good or bad thing lol.
We now have dynamics, hybrids, electrostats, BA's and planars in the IEM world. 
The BA's definitely give you a better expression especially when it comes to critical listening in different frequency ranges. That's where the BA really shines.

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