Audio Genetic AG2

Rating:
4.5/5,
  1. audio123
    Audio Genetic AG2 - Dual Delight
    Written by audio123
    Published Sep 17, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Premium feel to the overall package, Outstanding midrange, Well extended treble
    Cons - Slightly lacking in bass quantity
    Introduction
    Audio Genetic is a Hong Kong brand founded in 2016. They started out by making handcrafted cables for audiophiles to upgrade the stock cables of their iems. Towards the end of 2016, they debuted with their own iem in the Audio Genetic 2 or in short, AG2. I would like to thank Audio Genetic for this review unit and I will provide my analysis on the AG2.
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    Specifications
    • Product Name: AG2
    • Type: Universal-fit In-ear
    • Impedance (1kHz): 30 ohms
    • Sensitivity (1kHz): 109Db
    • Frequency Range: 20 Hz – 20000Hz
    • Connector: 3.5mm Jack
    • Detachable Cable Type: 2 Pin (0.78mm)
    Unboxing
    The AG2 comes in a smooth matte black package that allows one to flip open to reveal the contents. On the front of the package, it sports the Audio Genetic logo and the full name of the brand. There is a white sticker at the side of the box that indicates the model of the iem. After opening the package, you will be greeted with a metal warranty card in a plastic protector. On the front of the warranty card, there are the printed words “AG2 One Year Non-Man-Caused Damage Warranty”. On the back, there is a slogan “behold the truth” printed at the centre while the logo and brand name are printed at the bottom right corner. The metal warranty card gives the overall package a premium feel. Next up, there is a matte black circular storage case sitting in the top compartment surrounded by soft sponge. The case is made up of aluminium and sports the AG logo on the lid. There is a strip of rubber wrapping the case at the centre to provide grip and there are 2 spaces in the rubber strip to remove the lid. The interior of the case is made up of a smooth soft fleeced like material. Inside the case contains the iem and stock cable. Pulling out the bottom compartment are all the accessories which I will discuss more about in the next section.
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    Accessories
    The accessories consist a cleaning tool, 6.3mm to 3.5mm golden plated adapter, airplane adapter, 1 pack of silicone eartips and 1 pack of Acoustune AET07 eartips. I feel the accessories provided are quite sufficient. The highlight is the Acoustune AET07 eartips which is an upgrade to your stock eartips.
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    IEM Build & Design
    The AG2 shell is made up of acrylic with a smooth surface to it. There is a red AG logo on each of the faceplate. On the inside of each iem side, there are the words “AG2-L” and “AG2-R” in white colour to indicate left and right respectively. The nozzle is straight without any mesh. The fit is outstanding. It is as good as a custom in ears but this is subjective since we have different ears. Coupled with the light weight of the housing, I can use the iem for several hours without feeling fatigue.
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    Cable Build & Design
    The cable is a detachable 4 core cable with 2 pin 0.78mm connectors. On the connectors, there are blue and red dot on the left and right side respectively so users can differentiate. The y-splitter is made is made up of a soft rubber and the jack is 3.5mm gold plated right angled. It is your standard stock cable and is quite flexible. There is little microphonics on the cable.
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    Sound Analysis

    Lows

    The AG2 has a good sub-bass extension with a quick rumble but does not extend very deep. The quantity is slightly lacking. However, the presentation is very tight and controlled as each bass note is delivered with crisp and articulation. The bass has a fairly quick decay and there is good attack to it. There is an appropriate amount of mid-bass and it does not drown out other frequencies. There is slam but certainly not a hard-hitting one. Due to the reduced emphasis in the bass department, it is not fatiguing to listen to it. Bass texture is rendered smoothly and the overall bass is soothing and polite.

    Mids
    The midrange on the AG2 is quite clean. The lower mids has a good amount of quantity and it is able to tackle male vocals without sounding hollow. There is no nasal feeling in this particular section. Next, the upper mids is the star of the show. It is very forward and crystal clear. The definition of it adds intimacy to the presentation of female vocals. It is very impactful as it is being expressed with a confidence and it exerts wave after wave of vocals bliss. The resolution is very good for a dual drivers iem and the midrange is tight.

    Highs
    The treble is extended well. The extension helps to enhance the sonic performance of the AG2. There is a good level of clarity and definition to the treble. It is impactful without sounding sibilant or harsh. There is a good amount of air and it helps to give more space. The brightness is there without sounding aggressive due to the air lightening the treble. I feel there is a good crunch and sparkle to it. There is no grain to the treble. I can listen to it for hours without feeling fatigue. Overall, the treble is controlled nicely with a great extension and good amount of air but with a more sparkle, it will be more complete.

    Soundstage
    The AG2 has a good width of soundstage and I find it rather open. The expansion in the soundstage gives a really realistic feel. Although it is not very wide, it sounds very natural in the development of it. The depth of the stage is quite near and it makes the vocals sound very intimate and emotional. The positioning of both vocals and instruments are accurate and helps to enhance the imaging. The layering and separation provides a good space to prevent the overall congestion of the sound.
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    Comparisons

    Audio Genetic AG2 vs InEar StageDiver 2
    The SD2 has similar sub-bass extension as the AG2 but it has slightly more quantity. Both the sub-bass performance on both are clean and tight. There is certainly no muddiness on it. I find the AG2 presents the bass more tightly and the decay is quicker. On the AG2, rumble picks up speed more and helps to provide a good punch. The bass note on the SD2 has more weight and may well explain in it being less slower than the AG2 in decay. The mid-bass on both is impactful and the quantity on the SD2 is slightly more. The lower mids on the SD2 has more body than the AG2 and it helps in the sound to be more organic. The upper mids on the AG2 is definitely more forward than the SD2 with a control that allows the delivery of female vocals in the most intimate way. The midrange of the AG2 is less congested than the SD2. Moving on to the treble section, there is no sibilance and harshness to it. I find the air of AG2 to be slightly more than the SD2. Treble on the AG2 is extended more with definition and the articulation is more precise. Clarity is definitely better on the AG2 but both has similar sparkle. In terms of soundstage, the width is very similar but the depth on the AG2 is more close which allows better vocals intimacy. The SD2 is slightly more natural in the expansion of soundstage. Resolution on both are around the same.

    Audio Genetic AG2 vs Campfire Audio Nova
    The sub-bass on both is extended with similar magnitude. The sub-bass performance is slightly more refined in the AG2 but the Nova has more quantity. The Nova is considered to be slow in comparison to the AG2 which has more decay and speed. The rumble on the AG2 is quicker and it helps to produce more impact. The mid-bass on the Nova has more slam and quantity than the AG2. The overall bass is thicker than the AG2 and helps to ease the transition into the midrange. The lower mids on the Nova has more quantity to it and the thickness of it does male vocals justice. The upper mids on the AG2 is more forward than the Nova. In this area, the Nova seems to be inferior to the AG2. I feel the AG2 is less congested in the mids department and vocals are being presented effortlessly. Moving on to the treble, the AG2 has the upper hand in extension and details. There is more air and sparkle in the AG2. The definition of the AG2 is more clear. In terms of soundstage, they have rather similar width with a good expansion in soundstage. The depth of AG2 is slightly more close than the Nova. The overall resolution of both is operating at the same level.

    Audio Genetic AG2 vs Noble Sage
    The Sage has more sub-bass quantity and extension than the AG2. The Sage has more authority than the AG2 and the impact is greater. The sub-bass performance of the Sage is engaging. The AG2 is slightly tighter in its presentation with more decay. Rumble on the AG2 is quicker and the pace of it shows the technicality. The mid-bass on both has similar slam but Sage has more quantity. The lower mids on the Sage has more body to prevent hollowness. The upper mids on the AG2 is much more forward and the intimacy presented is better. In the treble section, the AG2 has slightly more extension and details. There is no sibilance and harshness on both. The air on the AG2 is more and gives more space. Treble on the AG2 is articulated with ease. I feel there is more clarity and definition on the AG2. The AG2 has a wider soundstage while Sage has the better depth. Resolution of the AG2 is slightly better.

    Conclusion
    The AG2 is a brilliant sounding iem with its main strength in the upper mids section. The upper mids is incredibly forward and provides the most intimate listen for female vocals. The overall package is quite premium and it comes with the Acoustune AET07 upgrade tips and a metal warranty card which is rare to see in a package. There are many dual BA drivers iems in the market and the AG2 differentiates itself with a sweet midrange that is able to deliver a female vocals masterclass. The Audio Genetic AG2 marks Audio Genetic’s first foray into the production of iems and it is nothing short of impressive.
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    For more reviews, visit https://audio123blog.wordpress.com/ .
      ryanjsoo, B9Scrambler and ValSilva like this.
  2. Cinder
    Subtlety is Key
    Written by Cinder
    Published Nov 4, 2017
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Outstanding shell design, very ergonomic, light, solid construction, very good reference+fun sound, great extension, great included ear-tips
    Cons - No anti-debris mesh in the nozzle, no foam ear-tips included
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    Audio Genetic AG2 Review: Subtlety is Key

    Audio Genetic started out as an aftermarket cable maker centered out of Hong Kong. They specialize in making cables out of precious metals, arranged in rather complex geometries. They’ve recently branched out from the cable market and have taken the plunge into the chaotic marketplace of IEMs. Debuting Audio Genetic’s IEM lineup is a dual balanced-armature earphone, the AG2. Featuring detachable 2-pin cables, a smokey black shell, and advanced ergonomics, it has the potential to compete well. But does it?

    The AG2 is currently for sale for 3200 HKD, and roughly 459 USD. You buy them from Audio Genetic on Facebook. Find them here.


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    Disclaimer: This unit was provided to me free of charge for review purposes. I am not affiliated with Audio Genetic beyond this review. These words reflect my true, unaltered, opinion about the product.

    Preference and Bias: Before reading a review, it is worth mentioning that there is no way for a reviewer to objectively pass judgment on the enjoyability of a product: such a thing is inherently subjective. Therefore, I find it necessary for you to read and understand what I take a natural liking to and how that might affect my rating of a product.

    My ideal sound signature would be an extended sub-bass with a leveled, but textured, mid-bass. The mids should be slightly less pronounced than the treble, but still ahead of the bass. I prefer a more bright upper range.

    Source: The AG2 was powered like so:

    HTC U11 -> USB-C adapter -> earphones

    or

    Hidizs AP100 3.5mm out -> FiiO A5 3.5mm out -> earphones

    or

    HiFiMAN SuperMini -> earphones

    or

    PC optical out -> HiFiMe SPDIF 9018 Sabre DAC 3.5mm out -> earphones

    All music was served as MP3 @320Kbps or as FLAC. The AG2 did not audibly benefit from any amping I gave it, though it did prefer warmer sources.

    Sound Signature
    Initial Impressions:

    At first, the AG2 sounded flat. My ears are used to my (very V-shaped) speaker setup and my daily-driver IEMs, the Rose Cappuccino Mk. II (which is a bass cannon). So to this, I am not surprised. However, after a small grace-period, it became clear that the AG2’s is one of subtlety and refinement. The treble is very well extended and pleasing to the ear. It is matched nearly evenly with the mids, edging them out by just a small amount. The mid-bass is less pronounced than the mids, with the sub-bass trailing a little behind it. In summary one could describe the AG2’s sound signature as gently-sloping U-shape, tending towards neutrality.

    Treble: Songs used: In One Ear, Midnight City, Outlands, Satisfy

    The first thing I noticed about the AG2’s treble was how much it assisted instrumental placement in the soundstage. In One Ear’s snares and cymbals sounded fantastic, precise, and well bodied. Each hit was distinct and clear without sounding harsh. Sometimes the price an IEM pays for its precision is artificially-sounding attack and decay speeds. The AG2 makes no such devil’s-deal. It pulls off attack and decay well, a testament to the skilled engineers at Audio Genetic.

    Extension is top-notch. I’d wager it is on-par with the quad-driver Heir Audio 4Ai S. Even-sounding and consistent upper-treble lends almost every track a good sense of air, making songs like Outlands an absolute pleasure to listen to.

    The AG2 even manages to pull of M83’s Midnight City effortlessly. The synths are incredibly well placed and blended into the rest of cacophony of electronic samples. Each instrument remains clear and distinct while somehow managing to not break overall cohesion.

    Audio Genetic seems to have avoided every major pitfall of treble-tuning with the AG2, sibilance included. Not a hint of it could be found in the poorly-mastered track, Satisfy by Nero. I never felt that the treble became uncomfortably pronounced or shrill.

    Mids: Songs used: Flagpole Sitta, Jacked Up, I Am The Highway, Dreams

    What impresses me consistently with the AG2 is its coherence. The mids are almost entirely seamless in presentation, with no unseemly dips or spikes when transitioning from the lower part to the upper part of the spectrum. This sets a great foundation for the AG2’s even and respectful timbre, allowing it to get out of the way of the music and let you re-connect with all your favorite songs. Guitars, drums, pianos, it doesn’t matter. Whatever you throw at the AG2 it will render well.

    Bass: Songs used: Moth, Gold Dust, In For The Kill (Skream Remix), War Pigs (Celldweller Remix)

    Bass is one of the most subjective and contested parts of an IEM’s sound signature, making it hard to levy a universal judgment against any particular style of tuning. The AG2 opted for a more reference-esque level of emphasis, only bringing the bass forward enough to lend instruments in the lower register some weight.

    Listening to electronic music posed no problems, though the bass-heads in my audience will likely be disappointed with the AG2. That aside, I found the AG2 to have a really good bass response. It’s tight, punchy, and responsibly-emphasized. Never once did I detect sloppy or loose sound, and the mids remained entirely untouched by even the most aggressive of bass drops.

    Extension, as is the case with most BA IEMs, could use some work. I’m not hearing much sub 100Hz range, which is a little disappointing rumble-wise. It’s not a deal-breaker for me, but something that I do think about from time to time while listening to the AG2.

    Packaging / Unboxing

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    Build
    Construction Quality


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    The AG2 has some pretty top-notch construction. Especially considering this is the first IEM that Audio Genetic has released, I consider the AG2 to be worth praising. The shells are made of smokey-finished plastic. There is no seam between the shells themselves and the almost indiscernible face-plate. The entire construction is devoid of sharp edges. Underneath the face-plate lies a light-catching blood-red Audio Genetic logo. It’s classy and attractive, and I’ve already had several people ask me about them in the first week I’ve worn them out and about.


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    If you look closely you can see the dampers in the driver tubes!
    My only concern about the AG2 is its lack of a mesh in the nozzles. It would be a shame if anything got wedged in there! Thankfully there is an included cleaning tool, but there are some things like sand that I wouldn’t like to have to gouge out of there to begin with.

    The AG2 features detachable 2-pin cables of the 0.78mm variety. The connection is tight, but not impossibly tight (aherm, Heir Audio). I have no worries about the cables coming loose either like I do with some 0.75mm cables on other IEMs.


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    The included cable is nice, if not a tad thin. It has almost no body to it, making it quite pliable, and microphonics are essentially non-existent. Audio Genetic terminates their included cables with 3.5mm jacks, though you might be able to arrange something different if you ask nicely. There is a decent amount of stress relief on the cable, and the Y-splitter and jack-housing are made of an ABS plastic. It’s durable, though not precisely premium-feeling. My favorite part of the cable, without a doubt, is the memory wire. In recent years memory-wire has become much more common, and implementations have gotten much better. Audio Genetic’s implementation is great, and I’ve never had any discomfort when using it.

    Comfort

    As always, comfort is highly dependant on your ears’ unique anatomy. So take the following with a grain of salt, as your mileage may vary.

    The AG2 is quite ergonomic. It molds well to my ear and tends to “disappear” once I put it on. I’ve fallen asleep wearing it, and only awoken to an extremely mild level of discomfort. Given the shell’s size and my strange ear anatomy, I’d say that’s a difficult thing to achieve.

    Accessories
    Audio Genetic bestowed onto the AG2 a competent collection of accessories. Inside the box you’ll find:


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    • 1x round hard carrying case
    • 1x metal warranty card
    • 1x 1/4in adapter
    • 1x cleaning tool
    • 6x silicone eartips
    This is a pretty robust set of offerings. The case is adequately protective and feels premium. The eartips are pretty darn good and create excellent seals inside my ears.

    Summary
    The AG2 is quite a compelling buy. It effortlessly pulls off a reference-style frequency response without being boring or overly sharp. Top-shelf ergonomics combined with quality construction make it something you can count on, and detachable cables eliminate much of the concerns involving wear-and-tear. If you can spare the cash, definitely hit up Audio Genetic for the AG2.
  3. ryanjsoo
    Audio Genetic AG2 Review – Voice of Reason
    Written by ryanjsoo
    Published Feb 22, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - - Natural, resolving midrange
    - Excellent fit & comfort
    - Great treble extension
    Cons - - Mediocre bass extension
    Introduction –

    Audio Genetic are a new manufacturer from Hong Kong with big ambitions. Like some of the most formidable manufactures from the West, their origins lie in custom cables, though they’ve since produced two IEMs. The AG2 represents their first effort, employing 2 balanced armature drivers in a low/mid + high configuration. In addition, the earphones implement litz copper wire to the low-frequency driver and litz silver to the high-frequency driver to maximise sonic performance. This isn’t unheard of, Plussound does the same with their IEMs, but at ~$450 USD, it’s an interesting proposition.

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    Now, that’s not to say that the AG2 is a cheap earphone; through some marketing madness, $450 doesn’t sound like a lot of money in a world where “midrange” IEMs stretch into the thousands. However, just a few years ago, $400 bought you a flagship TOTL in-ear. So it goes without saying that I have large expectations for a several hundred dollar earphone (and so should buyers), even if it’s only considered to be midrange in the present market. Thankfully, Audio Genetic lower no standards with their dual driver in-ear. You can purchase and read more about the AG2 on Audio Genetic’s Facebook page here.



    Disclaimer –

    I would like to thank Audio Genetic very much for their quick communication and for providing me with the AG2 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 –

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    Though packaging doesn’t amount to much in the grand scheme of things, a nice unboxing can help legitimise a product. Despite being their first in-ear, the AG2 has a really interesting unboxing. The earphones come within a hard box that magnetically latches open.

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    Inside are the earphones and a practical aluminium carrying case. A drawer slides out from underneath housing the other accessories. The AG2 ships with a ¼” adapter, aeroplane adapter, cleaning tool.

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    In addition, Audio Genetic provide some really nice silicone ear tips, 3 pairs of generic tips and 3 pairs of authentic Accoustune tips. Both are nicely constructed with dense silicone and no moulding errors. I found the Accoustune tips to be a slightly more comfortable and slightly more detailed but those preferring a smoother sound may find better synergy with the standard tips.



    Design –

    Though not a unique design, the AG2 assumes one the best shell designs I’ve tested. They’re very well-formed with a sculpted inner face slotting perfectly into the outer ear. Their slim, protruding nozzles also provide a strong seal but a lack of filters does raise concerns regarding longevity. Though entirely plastic and mostly hollow, the earphones feel well-built due to their thick walls and a lack of any joining seems. They have a very smooth finish and no edges that wear on the ear during extended listening.

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    As such, I was very impressed with the comfort afforded by the AG2’s sculpted design; producing no hotspots even after hours of listening. Furthermore, as the AG is fully-sealed, the earphones produce high levels of noise isolation. Considering their long-term comfort and higher noise attenuation, the earphones are perfectly suited for commute on public transport and even air travel with a pair of foam tips.

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    Due to the earphone’s excellent housing design and over-ear fit, they’re also very stable in the ear. Their plastic construction makes them very lightweight so the earphones don’t budge during active use. They are a little larger in dimension, protruding a fair amount from the ear. As such, they aren’t especially well-suited for use while sleeping though wind-noise is a non-issue due to their smooth design.

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    The AG2 utilises a 0.78mm non-recessed 2-pin cable. The plugs were tight and reliable during my testing, with no intermittency. The included cable is a fairly typical custom IEM style unit. It has a tightly twisted braid throughout and excellent strain relief on all terminations. The cable has a pocket-friendly right-angle 3.5mm plug though with no protrusion for cases. Up top, it’s using memory wire ear guides that held their position well. Still, I personally prefer pre-moulded guides.



    Sound –

    Tonality –

    The AG2 is a very mature example of a mid-forward sound signature; well balancing intimate vocals with more engaging instruments. Its sound is slightly bright, stemming from a modest lower-treble peak in addition to a slightly brighter midrange tilt. As such, the AG2 reminds of earphones like the Rose BR5 MKII and Meeaudio Pinnacle P1, though it is more balanced and linear than both of these earphones. Of course, it does fall into some of the same pitfalls as other mid-forward IEMs by nature of its tuning. However, as price creeps higher, it’s all about refinement, the extent of its downfalls. In this regard, the AG2 excels, delivering a revealing sound without coming across as overly articulated.



    Bass –

    The AG2 delivers quite a natural bass presentation, and it does so despite being relatively neutral in quantity. Sub-bass extension is just average, lacking the physicality down low of higher-end models and dynamic driver IEMs. As such, it lends the impression of greater speed though the AG2 actually has more natural decay than most BA earphones. This produces more detailed, richly textured notes and the AG2 sounds quite dynamic without compromising separation. In addition, to achieve greater fullness and punch, mid-bass has a touch of additional emphasis.

    This introduces a hint of warmth and body into their low-end, though no bloat is apparent. Upper-bass is also fairly linear, producing an accurately bodied midrange; where some brighter earphones tend to sound quite thin. What most impresses about the AG2’s bass response is its tightness, with terrific control throughout. This is most clearly highlighted by tracks with double bass drums where the AG2 remained composed and focussed. So, though not explicitly warm or engaging down-low, the AG2 lays the foundation for a transparent and well-controlled sound while maintaining pleasing dynamics.



    Mids –

    The midrange tends to draw attention on the AG2 through a combination of excellent clarity and a vocal forward presentation. Its brighter signature puts greater focus on female vocals though male vocals are also a little forward in the mix. In addition, the AG2’s lower-treble aggression prevents vocals from dominating instruments; so though the earphones aren’t neutral, they achieve a comfortable balance. I grew to love the AG2’s transparency in particular, which really aids background detailing and separation. They can sound a little raspy due to that aforementioned treble aggression, though both vocals and instruments remain well-bodied and devoid of excessive sibilance or stridence.

    Upper-mids are the star of the show, both through their forward stage position and enhanced clarity. What separates the AG2 from most mid-forward earphones is their linear bass/lower-midrange transition that creates natural, even slightly full-bodied vocals. Resultantly, female vocals are flattered with natural body in addition to pleasing extension. The AG2 does appear to have a small dip between its upper-midrange and treble, aiding separation and granting vocals with a slightly smoother texture. Resolution is also a standout, contributing to the AG2’s resolving nature without resorting to excessive signature colouration. As such, though the AG2 is clear and revealing, it also doesn’t fatigue.



    Highs –

    The AG2’s top-end forms a continuation of its emphasized upper-midrange. As such, though certainly aggressive and a little peaky within its lower-treble, notes don’t sound overly thin. In addition, the AG2 retrieves a high amount of detail and its more aggressive nature brings those finer nuances to the fore. This emphasis sustains into the AG2’s middle-treble before gently falling off, serving to enhance air and shimmer. The AG2 doesn’t have the cleanest background as a result, but I found instruments to sound fairly accurate if pushed forward. This was conveyed most notably through realistic decay to cymbals and tastefully enhanced attack that contributes to their high-end clarity.

    These comments extend to strings and high-hats that can sound slightly over-forward at times, but refrain from harshness or tizziness. Another aspect of the AG2 that thoroughly impresses is its top-end extension. Their excellent extension delivers very pleasing resolution which complements the earphone’s layering and background detail retrieval. So while the AG2 isn’t especially linear up top, it also isn’t excessively bright or peaky to the extent that instruments sound artificial or vocals raspy. As such, I find the AG2 to find a harmonious balance between revealing and precise.



    Soundstage –

    The AG2 delivers larger stage dimensions than most in-ears, stretching beyond the head, but they do lack the expansion of vented models and some earphones with a more laid-back presentation. Its stage is fairly well-rounded, with a slight focus on width over depth. Still, the AG2’s sound has defined layers with nice intermediate density and detail, producing accurate instrument placement and precise directional cues. Separation is very nice, especially within the AG2’s tight, controlled bass and layered, neutrally toned midrange. Highs can get a little messier due to that lower-treble peak that occasionally overshadows the finer details lying higher up.



    Driveability –

    The AG2 requires a little more voltage than most high-end IEMs but it isn’t overly source sensitive overall. Though Audio Genetic don’t provide any precise specifications, I measured a modest 32ohm impedance. Through a lower gain source like the iPod Nano 7G, the AG2 still sounded nicely balanced but it didn’t possess the end to end extension or resolution provided by something like the Fiio X7 MKII.

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    Fiio X7 MKII (AM3A): Relatively neutral signature, tight low-end combined with clear vocals and a slightly crunchy high-end. Slightly more forward upper midrange. Extended top-end, great resolution. Nice soundstage, lacking a little space compared to the DX200 and R6. Slightly too bright overall but a transparent pairing nonetheless. No audible hiss on low-gain.

    Hiby R6: Nice synergy, slightly darker with more robust bass producing a more balanced sound. Great resolution with more defined midrange layering. Female vocals are slightly pushed back, lacking some intimacy but subjectively more balanced. Wider stage with enhanced separation. Highs are smoother yet extended, producing more natural instrument timbre. No audible hiss, higher output impedance didn’t overly affect the AG2.

    iBasso DX200 (AMP5): Well-balanced, very controlled low-end combined with slightly fuller, smoother vocals. Sounds a little more natural but also very resolving. The DX200 provided the most detailed pairing by a fair margin. It produced a more linear high-end with excellent resolution and large stage dimensions. No hiss audible on low gain.



    Comparisons –

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    Oriveti New Primacy ($300): The New Primacy is an aggressively priced earphone, providing a very comprehensive overall package. Though it may not be as resolving as the AG2, it is appreciably more affordable and has far more robust aluminium shells. Moreover, the New Primacy, at least for my ears, features class-leading ergonomics, they fit exceptionally well and isolate just as much as the sealed AG2. Both sport removable cables, MMCX on the Oriveti and 2-pin on the Audio Genetic.

    The New Primacy is also a very balanced earphone, but has it’s gently u-shaped as opposed to the more mid-forward AG2. Sub-bass is immediately more extended on the New Primacy with greater emphasis on both deep and mid-bass. It has a more neutral upper-bass/lower-midrange transition that permits more transparent vocals. Though slightly warmed, mids are more neutrally positioned on the New Primacy and its midrange is a little more even-weighted than the brighter AG2. It lacks the same sense of clarity and articulation but is far smoother due to the New Primacy’s more laid-back high-end. That said, the New Primacy still layers incredibly well and its full-bodied midrange retains nice separation.

    The AG2 has a noticeably more aggressive lower-treble tuning which also contributes to its more articulate midrange. On the contrary, the New Primacy is neutral to smooth. Still, the Oriveti manages great detail-retrieval, both background and foreground, due to its linear midrange and high-end. It doesn’t extend as well as the AG2, with a slightly distant middle-treble and a general lack of air. However, the New Primacy still has fairly high levels of resolution. Regardless, the AG2 is appreciably more open and resolving. This aids the AG2’s stage dimensions, delivering an appreciably larger presentation than the New Primacy. I also feel the AG2 images better, more notably as a result of its more precise high-end.

    Rose BR5 MKII ($300): The BR5 MKII provides much of the same experience offered by high-end IEMs despite carrying a lower-midrange price. Its fit is very solid and isolating, slightly more so than the AG2, though it may also cause discomfort due to its fit depth. Both IEMs have removable cables, MMCX on the BR5 and 2-pin on the AG2. The Rose has a nice silver-plated cable, but it has a tacky texture. That said, I am a fan of Rose’s choice of pre-moulded ear guides over memory wire.

    The AG2 is more balanced and natural whereas the BR5 MKII is a little more mid-focussed. The AG2 has slightly greater bass presence, especially deep-bass where the BR5 MKII rolls off a bit sooner. The AG2 sounds a lot more natural as its low-end is more linear, where the BR5 MKII has little sub-bass, relatively neutral mid-bass and a dip in its upper bass. This creates greater bass/midrange separation though it also saps body from midrange elements. Combined with its brighter midrange, the BR5 MKII has greater clarity. It is also more separated as its notes are thinner though instrument timbre and background detailing suffer. The AG2 is more realistic, and its midrange lies in better coordination with the rest of its sound.

    It is also the more linear earphone, benefitting both layering and background detail retrieval without sacrificing too much separation. Highs are interesting, the BR5 MKII is incredibly detailed considering its asking price, almost on par with the AG2. However, the Rose is quite lower-treble forward, sounding very aggressive as a result. Though the AG2 has a lower-treble peak, it is more restrained, delivering more realistic instruments. The BR5 MKII has a bit more air up top while the AG2 sounds cleaner. Both are very well extended, the AG2 slightly more so. Resultantly, the AG2 has higher resolution and it is just as nuanced as the BR5 MKII despite being smoother. The BR5 MKII has a larger stage with greater separation. However, the AG2 is far more layered and coherent with superior imaging on account of its more extended, balanced sound.

    Fidue A85 ($400): The A85 easily has the superior construction with a striking aluminium shell that is both durable and ergonomic. Due to its very open nature, the Fidue doesn’t isolate nearly as much so it’s better suited for home listening over commute and travel. Both have removable cables, though I much preferred the ergonomics of the AG2’s cable over the stiff, rubbery unit on the A85.

    When perusing the spec sheets, the AG2’s 2 BA setup may not sound as sophisticated as the A85’s proprietary triple hybrid driver internals, but in listening, both are impressive in their own regards. Both have similar tuning, with a mid-centric signature, but the A85 sounds considerably different. The hybrid A85 has significantly better bass extension, delivering greater rumble and impact, despite not being particularly bass-forward. It also has more mid-bass quantity, delivering larger notes. The AG2 is a little faster, but both are similarly well defined. The A85 has a recessed lower-midrange that produces a thinner midrange with fairly laid-back vocal positioning. Despite this, it has a bump in its centre and upper-midrange, granting larger midrange presence.

    As a result, the A85 sounds pretty unique, it is incredibly spacious but not nearly as natural or coherent as the AG2. The A85 also lacks a little density and its layers are a little sparse due to its diffuse sound. Highs are also quite unique on the Fidue. Of note, they have a smoother lower-treble which contributes to its laid-back vocals, but also a notable middle treble lift that grants substantially heightened air. The AG2 is more balanced unsurprisingly, it sounds a lot cleaner and also more obviously detailed. The AG2 extends further and produces greater resolution. The A85 has a larger stage with greater separation but it doesn’t image nearly as well as the AG2.



    Verdict –

    The AG2 represents a very tastefully executed mid-forward earphones in the, now quite modest, $400 price class. In particular, it retains impressive overall balance and pleasing timbre despite its tuning due to a linear low-end. Moreover, the AG2’s excellent extension and resolution deliver great clarity and detail without over-articulation, and the AG2 sounds fairly natural as a result. This is garnished with a well-layered and spacious presentation that provides some dimension to what could easily be quite a congested and intimate sound.

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    I’m also a big fan of Audio Genetic’s choice of housing. Their plastic construction doesn’t inspire confidence quite like the aluminium clad competition, but what the AG2 loses in premium feel, it gains in ergonomics. They also produce high levels of noise isolation which, in conjunction with their comfortable and stable fit, makes them perfect for travel and activity. Not everyone will love their bright mid-forward signature, but those seeking alluring female vocals and a detailed high-end without sacrificing too much overall balance will find much to love within the AG2’s sound.
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