Audiofly AF1120 MK2 - Reviews
Pros: + Solid technicalities
+ (Almost) tonally spot-on
+ Neutral tuning as advertised
+ Laidback due to lower treble dip, non-fatiguing
+ Comfortable fit
Cons: - Neutrality may be too sterile for some
- Lower treble dip may be too laidback for some
- Shell design is bare-bones for a premium priced product
Here is the video version of this review:

Price & Specifications
Price: AUD$849.99 / USD$649.99
Audiofly AU
Audiofly Amazon

Driver type: Six Balanced armature drivers with 3-way crossover
Driver arrangement: Dual bass, dual mid, dual high
Frequency range: 15-25kHz
Crossover: Passive 3-way electronic crossover with Butterworth filter
Acoustic tuning: Physical 3-way frequency divider
Impedance: 11Ω
Sensitivity: 109dB at 1kHz
Cable length: 1.2m / 47”
Plug type: 3.5mm gold plated, right angle format

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Introduction
Audiofly has been around since 2012 and they create bluetooth products for the casual listener under the name of Audiofly Headphones, and IEMs for audiophiles, musicians and sound engineers under Audiofly Pro. In their lineup of "Pro" IEMs, the 1120s were tuned to be neutral for audio professionals who require an accurate playback.

I'd like to thank Michelle from Audiofly for arranging to have these IEMs loaned out to me for a full review. I greatly appreciate Audiofly's kindness and generosity.

Accessories
  • Protective hard case
  • 2.5mm balanced cable
  • 3 sets of dome silicone tips
  • 1 set of Comply tips
  • 3 sets of foam Flytips
  • 3 sets of Dekoni Audio Bulletz
  • 3.5mm to 1/4" adaptor
  • Airline adaptor
  • Cleaning tool
  • Cable tidy
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Comments on accessories
Unlike other brands which have been progressively moving toward compact round carrying cases, Audiofly has chosen a pelican-style hard carrying case for the 1120s which tends to be more space consuming. Nevertheless, it will protect the IEMs just the same.

The cable may not seem fancy like what boutique cable manufacturers offer these days but I've grown to like its ergonomics. The fabric makes the cable more pliable and I can see it remaining so, unlike PVC based cables which tend to get stiff over time with exposure to sweat and UV light, which is normal.

It has also been reinforced by CORDURA fabric for better durability. It's not something audiophiles who listen at the desk and on their daily commute will strictly need but rather, this is something that stage musicians might better appreciate. The thin 2-wire braid above the Y-split is light which is also something stage musicians will find reliable to work with when wearing the IEMs from behind. I've read of people who found the stock cable lackluster but I'm alright with it as I prefer thin and ergonomic cables.

If there's anything I would change about the cable, it's that the Y-split is too big for my liking and the plastic used for the Y-split and 3.5mm connector feels relatively cheap for a premium priced product.

It's a nice thought to have the 2.5mm balanced cable included for those who have a balanced output on their source. But it should be noted that the balanced cable feels stiffer and cheaper when compared with the stock cable. The discrepancy in build quality is significant and I would have preferred to see the same implementation of the CORDURA fabric on the balanced cable.

Additionally, the balanced cable may not be necessary unless your source's balanced output has a low noise floor. The 1120s are very efficient and when connected to my ZX300's balanced output, electronic hiss was very much audible. This is why all testing was done with the stock cable on my Sony ZX300.

Sound
Here is the raw graph provided by Audiofly.
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The 1120s have a warm-neutral sound signature. They feature a very broad bass lift by about 2dB which does more to lend the music a sense of warmth than to emphasize either the sub or mid-bass. Despite the bass boost being broad, the boost itself is mild hence the 1120s leave no room for any muddines or boominess, just enough to lend warmth.

The 1120s have minimal content in the sub-bass, which is only mildly audible in hip-hop rumble drops.【1】 Consequently, it's more difficult to track bass guitars when they are adjusted to be heard in the sub-bass.【2】 It can certainly be heard in all its definition because the 1120s are very resolving but it's just softer than what I'm used to. I might not have noticed the growl of the basslines on first listen if I wasn’t looking out for it in my music.

The mid-bass retains the same reserved quality as the sub-bass, which makes kick drums and synthetic bass beats sound tight.【3】

The upper midrange rises at 2kHz and peaks at 3.5kHz at 4dB. I feel that this doesn't balance out the wideband bass boost enough, causing music which prioritises instruments over vocals to sound slightly veiled.【4】 There is more transparency with music where vocals are at the forefront of the mix.【5】 The 1120s will certainly be welcome by lovers of smooth, tube-like presentations out of the box. I have to add that the 1120s top this off nicely with its midrange tone which is almost spot-on.

There is also a pronounced scoop in the lower treble following the 3.5kHz peak which may be a potential dealbreaker for some. The lack of energy past 4kHz reduces presence of vocals and instruments, causing the 1120s to be a very laidback set of monitors. This isn't a problem for me as the midrange is still tonally acceptable and it has the added bonus of being non-fatiguing. It's just that such an aggressive lower treble dip may not provide the energy and aggression that some audiophiles crave.

While cymbals and hi-hats are primarily driven by the mid-treble from 8-9kHz, the dip in the lower treble reduces the intensity of their attack. Cymbal crashes and hi-hat patterns are heard at the volume the audio engineer intended for them to be heard in the mix, nothing more, nothing less.【6】 There is neither any bite nor sparkle, or a feeling haziness - dead neutral.

The 1120s are by no means detail monsters from its laidback treble but it doesn't fall short in terms of note definition. To me, the biggest selling point of the 1120s lie in their technical ability. It has outstanding instrument separation and resolution which sit well above average. For instance, tracking background electric guitars which often get masked by lead vocals is a breeze and busy metalcore mixes never sound congested.【7】 It images well within its modestly sized soundstage.
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Comparison with M7 & M9
I felt that it is only appropriate to compare these with my favourite sets of warm-neutral IEMs which are none other than the Sony IER M7 and M9. I'd like to thank Addicted To Audio for allowing my friend and I to audition and take pictures of the IEMs in their beautiful showroom here in Perth. We appreciate the staff's kindness in assisting us.
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I will speak about the M7 and M9 broadly as a whole as they sound very similar to me, with the exception of the M9 having a superior treble response over the darker M7, due to its magnesium super tweeter.

In terms of tuning, the M7 and M9 have more sub-bass relative to the 1120s, causing them to have much more impact when the mix calls for it. The M7 and M9 have more energy in their upper midrange relative to their low end. To me, this makes the M7 and M9 more transparent than the 1120s.

In the grand scheme of things, both the M7 and M9 are pretty laidback IEMs due to their well-controlled lower treble presence. Similarly, the 1120s are also laidback but to a much greater extent.

In terms of resolution, 1120s = M7 < M9. The 1120s sit on par with the similarly priced M7 and the M9 edges out both these IEMs marginally. It should also be noted that the M9 costs almost twice as much as the other two.

Another possible reason why a potential buyer may choose the M7 or M9 lies in their superior soundstage over the 1120s. This could be because the semi-tubeless design employed in the M7 and M9 gives the impression of expansive width and depth to complement their extremely precise imaging.
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Conclusion
To sum up the differences, I am certain that many consumers will find the tuning of the M7 and M9 more appealing, being musically-inclined whilst retaining the excellent technicalities befitting of a studio monitor. The combination of the spacious staging qualities, high level of transparency and tonal accuracy makes for an organic listen. Their ambience is just a whole lot more immersive which is why I'd pick them for personal enjoyment, especially so for listening to playback of live performances.

In contrast, the 1120s are much more clinical in nature. They adopt a flat neutral approach and a clear focus on precision, which allows the listener to hear exactly what the audio engineer envisioned when adjusting the volumes of different instruments in the song - their excellent dynamic range accomplishes this with ease. It clearly achieves what Audiofly set out to do with the 1120s' neutral tuning direction as it doesn't emphasise any frequency.

All in all, the 1120s are a highly technically competent workhorse. Their warm and flat neutral signature makes them an all-rounder for studio mixing and non-fatiguing stage monitoring. Audiofly also offers CIEMs but the program is on hold for the time being due to COVID-19. I feel that a perfect fit from having a CIEM version of the 1120s may increase perception of its clean sub-bass response. Additionally, its non-fatiguing signature is likely to work well with a CIEM firing past the 2nd bend in the ear canal for long audiophile listening or music mixing sessions in the studio.

This is it for my Audiofly AF1120 MK2 review. All photographs were taken by my good friend @teriyakeith.

Thanks for reading!
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These are some of the notable tracks used to come to my conclusions for those who're interested (not exhaustive).
Sample tracks for reference: Artiste 1Song 1, Song 2. Artiste 2Song 1
1. Falling in Reverse - Popular Monster, Losing My Mind.
2. MY FIRST STORY - With You.
3. Coldrain - REVOLUTION. Josie Dunne - Old School.
4. Coldrain - COEXIST, THE SIDE EFFECTS.
5. The xx - Angels. Machine Gun Kelly - I Think I'm OKAY
6. ONE OK ROCK - Yes I am (mixed louder), Taking Off (mixed softer).
7. Bring Me The Horizon - Antivist. Crystal Lake - Watch Me Burn.

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riverground
riverground
I gotta give you a virtual handshake! lol your music choices are superb!
I actually used a lot of Coldrain and ONE OK ROCK tracks for my upcoming review as well.

Great review man!
dooxtypoox
dooxtypoox
@riverground Thank you! After all, it is truly the music that keeps us going in this hobby :)
I saw your unboxing video, looking forward to the full review!
riverground
riverground
That is very true!
And thanks man!

I'm still waiting for my new CPUs for my computer, so I can finally start recording.
Audio Fly AF1120Mk2 Six Driver IN EAR MONITORS
Pros: Easy listening without fatigue, nice musical design, bass is good enough - but will not blow minds- its more accurate and not bloated- tight as a drum, mids are the highlight here and pleasing, extend and no listener fatigue, comes with balanced and single ended cable, fit is excellent for IEM, nice extended thinner type nozzle makes for ez tip choices for tight fit, fits the cymba conchae like a glove, imaging is good, excellent ear tips included, solid Pelican carry case is excellent, MMCX connectors make cable swaps ez
Cons: white single ended 3.5mm cable is pitiful in this price range but does sound nice- looks very cheap, the snap together shell looks cheap for this price range
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The manufacture says:
"The neutral-focused AF1120 is for audio professionals who thrive on impeccable accuracy and astounding clarity.

Nothing short of perfection. With six finely-tuned balanced armature drivers arranged in a dual low, mid and high configuration in a unique hybrid 3-way electronic/acoustic crossover, the neutral-focused AF1120 is for audio professionals who thrive on impeccable accuracy and astounding clarity."

LETS SEE....OR SHOULD I SAY HEAR....
the price for AF1120Mk2 is $649.99 USD

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VS
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(This Graph is from Audiofly Web site and the other is from another reviewer (fit issue on right? do you see the difference? Who is right and who is wrong? I do not know...)

I think like all IEMs - proper fit is key and deep insertion is a must for best sound. I use Etymotic ER4P/S and am used to getting a perfect fit but Etymotics take some getting used to on how far they go into the canal of the ear- where these Audioflys are much easier to get perfect fit and seal- they are always comfortable and no getting used to is required since they provide so many ear tips to choose from including the Dekoni (the ones I chose as best for me).

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AF1120Mk2 are not clinical and are not a musical masterpiece but a well balanced sound that will please anyone who appreciates good engineering. Engineering? Yes! When it comes to matching multiple drivers- where even more expensive headphones into the $899 and over range can't get right - this $649 USD IEM manages to get the music right. They are toe tapping good- always musical no matter the source- be it MP3 or FLAC or from a CD- the AF1120Mk2 is a friendly headphone that will not offend anyone- it sounds balanced and pleasurable. It will sound fine with a phone, but will sound much better with a portable DAC/AMP and even best with a Class A Amp like my PASS WHAMMY with OPA 627 upgrades, Gilmore Lite Mk2- or the Topping A90- a truly amazing amp worthy of 5 times the price... any how... short answer here- If I needed a pair of good IEMs that are under $700 I would certainly put these on top of my list.

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ON LEFT IN BLACK - PENON ORB FREQ GRAPH vs RIGHT SIDE IN WHITE AF1120Mk2

PENON ORBs ($259) are simply gorgeous in and out - I LOVE MINE! but don't have a balanced sound signature like the AF1120Mk2- but if I didn't have the $649 for the AF1120Mk2- I would settle for the Penon ORBS and not look back they are that good for their price range. My ORBs punch way above $500 IEMs out there- but they can't compete against the AF1120Mk2 for overall texture and layering and over all balance. The ORBS are more bass fun and I like that for certain music. The AF1120Mk2 always seem to do well on any music- so a safe bet; female vocals, male vocals and piano strings etc- they are just musical and satisfy.

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ABOVE: The $29 cable you can buy from just about anywhere vs AF1120Mk2 included 3.5mm wire... plan on trying out other cables if you can't stand the included cables a) looks b) tangles beyond reason c) like to cable roll d) Like more bling with your IEMs

Compared to many other IEMs, I would say the Etymotic ER4p/s are closest to the AF1120Mk2- BUT the Audiofly seem more musical and have a better sound stage. They aren't as perfect as Etymotic in all frequencies which makes them a tad bit more musical and fun to listen to- again very balanced and pleasing.

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I will say the AF1120Mk2 sound best with their included black balanced 2.5mm jack seen in middle lower bottom- but what a terrible cable - so cheap for this price range.
Audiofly- I read many other reviews of your IEMs and everyone says the same thing about your cables- they are no frills cheap feeling cable- oh but maybe its like a under cover agent blending in their environment so not to be noticed- the cable is plain Jane, the shells of the AF1120Mk2 are plain Jane- ah BUT maybe that was intentional.

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Well- maybe some people like to travel unnoticed without fancy bling- I get it... maybe now I get it... but honestly people spending north of $600 want a nice complimentary cable included- and the shells these days seem so SHURE clam shell style like from the early 2000's. BUT they work and work well they do... but these IEMs just won't impress your friends with BLING here- the bragging isn't in the looks but the performance. And they do perform. Anyone giving these a less than stellar review I would argue they are influenced by the cheap cable feel or the shell design as cheap feeling- all true- but IF THEY ARE FITTED PROPERLY IN YOUR EAR- the Audiofly's AF1120Mk2 do what they are suppose to do- sound darn good and demand a try out at they very least. They are solid performers.

These are strongly recommended IEMs for those looking for performance and not frills.

NOTE: The AF1120Mk2 were sent to me for review- I receive no benefit from the review and sadly have to return them back to Audiofly... may they find a new home once they refurbish them or do what ever they do- someone somewhere will be very happy with the low key looks and nearly stellar performance in this price range. I DO HOPE AUDIOFLY upgrades the cable still... -JM

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Pros: Imaging, coherency, neutrality, detail retrieval, comfort
Cons: Cable slightly tangle prone, a little bit more bass weight would be nice
As a long-time music lover and regular reviewer of gear here, on my old blog and now on my YouTube channel, I listen to LOTS of gear. The AF1120 Mk2 are one of the first pieces of audio equipment to really grab my heart in a very long time.

I've completed a thorough YouTube review on these, but wanted to share a summary of my thoughts and a few highlights here as well because I believe the AF1120s deserve more attention.

At the time I first listened to these, I had the Noble Audio K10 customs (original version K10), Campfire Audio Andromedas, and FitEar TG!334 in my collection. I've also previously owned the Shure SE846. Of all these earphones, the AF1120 connected me with the music more. After sending back the review pair provided on loan by Audiofly I went out and bought a pair of these and have since sold the FitEar TG!334 and am preparing to sell the Andromedas. That's not to say that the AF1120s are definitively better than these, but to me they are an amazing combination of qualities in a single earphone and at an excellent price.

Highlight 1: Comfort
My first highlight of the AF1120 mk2 (and indeed all of the Audiofly pro range) is their comfort. Just like Shure's outstanding ergonomics, the Audiofly range sit so comfortable within the ear and are both easy to insert and easy to wear for long periods. This has long been my biggest issue with the Andromedas and is a key aspect of my reasoning for parting with them soon.
The AF1120s are tiny compared to many multi-BA IEMs on the market and they really 'disappear' once you're wearing them. I can't sleep with any IEMs in my ears, but the 1120s come closer than anything else I've tried.

Highlight 2: Presentation (incl. Signature & Staging)
The other thing that totally won me over with the 1120s is their ability to provide an engaging and enjoyable, neutral sound. Rather than overwhelming our ears with treble details, the 1120s focus more on details across the whole spectrum with perhaps a slight emphasis on midrange detail. This results in a very realistic soundstage presentation that is large and well focussed. I've only found a couple of IEMs that match the ease with which the 1120s present a soundstage and allow me to mentally walk between all the instruments.

One thing that has surprised me is the very mixed views I've read about the 1120s and I finally discovered why after I bought my pair. The 1120s are quite tip dependent and possibly source dependent to reach their best sound. I tried the 1120s with the included triple flanges, foam tips, stock silicone tips and some Spinfits. The silicone tips were the only ones that gave me the ideal insertion depth and seal to allow the 1120s to really shine. I can only assume that people who've had lesser experiences with the presentation from the 1120s haven't had the benefit of a perfect insertion depth (which can be challenging with any IEM and accounts for the wide varieties of opinions we all see).

Lowlight 1: Tangle Town
The cable is a nice enough cable, but I do find it quite prone to tangling above the Y-split. It often takes me a minutes to untangle it ready for listening and I have definitely considered a new cable as a result (which is disappointing for a company's flagship IEM)

Lowlight 2: Bass Weight (sort of)
I'm a fan of a bit more bass than 'neutral'. To give you an idea, the Meze Empyreans are my go-to headphones and I prefer them with the leather pads for the extra warmth and impact. I also love my Noble K10s. The 1120s sometimes leave me wanting just a little more groove and rhythm from the music because the bass is very neutral. I still prefer the 1120s to the K10s because of the overall presentation I described above, but a touch more bass would make these perfect (for me at least) so long as it didn't come at the cost of everything I described above and I'm not sure if that is possible.

Here's the full review I posted to YouTube if you're interested in hearing more...
AF1120 Mk2 Review
Pros: fast bass articulation, smooth treble with good resolution, extensive accessory selection, relatively comfortable, good isolation
Cons: anemic note weight, muddy midrange, poor vocal intelligibility, not enough presence, small soundstage, poor instrument separation, resists EQ
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INTRODUCTION AND DISCLAIMER:
The Audiofly AF1120 MK2 an in-ear monitor (IEM) sporting six balanced armature (BA) drivers per housing. The AF1120 MK2 retails for AUD 849.99. I received the AF1120 MK2 directly from Audiofly and evaluated them for several weeks before shipping them back. I am not being compensated monetarily or otherwise for writing this review.
This review is also available on my blog: https://medium.com/bedrock-reviews/audiofly-af1120-mk2-review-1fea8221b0ef

SOURCES:
I have used the Audiofly AF1120 MK2 with the following sources:
  • JDS Labs The Element
  • Meizu HiFi Pro dongle
  • Cozoy Takt C dongle
I stream music using Spotify Premium and have a large collection of local music files. Visit my last.fm page to get an idea of what I listen to.

PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES:

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The Audiofly AF1120 MK2 comes in a square black box. An AF1120 MK2 earpiece is pictured on the top lid of the box. On the back of the box are an exploded diagram of the AF1120 MK2, technical specifications, a list of included accessories, and a frequency response graph. Inside the box, the IEMs are held in foam mounting block while the accessories are found inside the Pelican-style hard case. The exterior of the case feels robust but the waterproof rubber O-ring has been loose on both cases I received.

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Included with the AF1120 MK2 are a detachable MMCX cable, 3 pairs of Comply foam eartips (S, M, L) 3 pairs of conventional silicone eartips (S, M, L), and 3 pairs of tri-flange silicone eartips (S, M, L). Also included are user guide, a 3.5mm to 1/4" adapter, an airline adapter, a cleaning tool, and a cable clip.

BUILD QUALITY / DESIGN:

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The Audiofly AF1120 MK2 uses a Shure-style low-profile two-part shell design. The shells are clear plastic through which the internal electronics are visible. “L/R” indicators are emblazoned in silver on the inside face of the housings. The nozzles have a fine filter at their base. The nozzles are very narrow, which limits compatibility with third-party eartips. The nozzles also lack a lip with which to secure eartips, and I did have the included small Comply eartips come loose in my ear canals when removing the AF1120 MK2 on several occasions.

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The lightweight MMCX cable has a Cordura sheath below the Y-split and two-strand wrapped silver wire above it. The cable has pre-formed clear plastic ear guides without memory wire. The cable has a clear piece of vinyl tubing that serves as a chin-adjustment choker. The upper section of the cable tangles easily unless the choker is used. There is ostensible strain relief at each opening of the Y-split and above the right-angle 3.5mm jack housing, but it is made of the same dull white stiff plastic as the actual hardware and not very effective. The 3.5mm jack and the MMCX connectors are gold-plated. The MMCX connector housings have faintly raised markings to indicate left and right. The right MMCX connection was much tighter than the left and required a great deal of force to disconnect.

COMFORT / FIT / ISOLATION:

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The Audiofly AF1120 MK2 is intended to be worn cable-up only. They have a deep-ish insertion depth but I found them to be pretty comfortable. I did develop hot-spots around my conchas with multi-hours use. Security of fit and isolation are very good.

MEASUREMENTS:
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My measurements were conducted with a Dayton iMM-6 microphone using a vinyl tubing coupler and a calibrated USB sound interface. The headphones are driven using my Element, which has an output impedance of no more than 1 ohm. The measurements use a compensation file derived from relating my raw measurements to published measurements from Crinacle and Antdroid. The measurements are presented with 1/24th smoothing. The magnitude of the valley around 7k is a coupler artifact. There is a resonant peak around 8k. Measurements above 10k are not reliable.

SOUND:
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The Audiofly AF1120 MK2 has an L-shaped tuning.

The AF1120 MK2 has a taut, clinical bass response with a slight mid-bass hump. Bass articulation is razor-sharp. Bass is fast on the attack side but decays just as quickly, limiting note weight and impact. Drum hits land with a thud and are unsatisfying. Bass resolution is very good but bass texture is lacking.

The overall midrange tonality is neutral but sounds muddy and congested. Vocals are not forward enough. Male vocals are suffocated by the surrounding instrumentation and have poor intelligibility. Female vocals also sound muffled, though not as badly as male vocals. There is too much body to instruments in the lower midrange and presence is lacking. Distorted electric guitars are lack bite and clarity. Synth leads fare better but still sound thicker than they should. Timbre is fairly realistic, with just a hint of plasticity.

The treble is smooth yet yields excellent detail retrieval. There is a good amount of sparkle and an adequate amount of air. Soundstage size is limited, especially in depth. Transient delivery is crisp but natural-sounding. Instrument separation is poor, especially between harsh male vocals, drums, and electric guitars. Imaging is also lackluster.

EQ:
The Audiofly AF1120 MK2 is strangely resistant to additive EQ and my attempts to boost the region between 1–4k were completely unsuccessful.

AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS, SOURCE PAIRING, AND OPTIMAL LISTENING VOLUME:
The Audiofly AF1120 MK2 can easily be driven to a comfortable listening volume with a competent dongle. I did not notice hiss with the Meizu HiFi Pro dongle or The Element, but I did hear it with the Cozoy Takt C. The AF1120 MK2 sounds best at medium volume levels, at which vocals seem more forward and intelligible than at low or high volume levels.

COMPARISONS:
Audiofly AF1120 MK2 vs Moondrop S8
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The Moondrop S8 is an 8-BA IEM retailing for USD 700. The S8 emphasizes sub-bass over midbass and yields greater bass impact, body, texture, and resolution. The S8 also hews closer to academic reference target curves in its midrange presentation and offers much better vocal clarity and intelligibility. The S8 has much more presence than the muddy-sounding AF1120 MK2. The AF1120 MK2 has a smoother treble presentation but the S8 has better detail retrieval and more air. The S8 has much better imaging and instrument separation as well as a roomier soundstage. The AF1120 MK2 comes with a more durable case and a more generous accessory selection.

CLOSING WORDS:
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The Audiofly AF1120 MK2 is a very tall ask at its list price. While competitive technically in some respects, I cannot recommend it given the compromised nature of its vocal delivery.
Pros: Tonality, timbre, resolution, balance, stage, build, kit
Cons: Cable is not of same quality as IEM, Extension (particularly at low end) is modest at best.
disclaimer: Audiofly is an Australian company that is trying to expand its brand awareness globally. They recently began a review tour on head-fi to help accomplish that goal. The AF1120 Mk2 was provided by Audiofly as part of the review tour on Head-fi. I have received no compensation of any kind for this review and the unit was sent on to another reviewer at the end of my listening. I have no financial interests in Audiofly, For more information on the AF1120 and other models they offer see their website.



Unboxing / Packaging:

The AF1120 come in a lift-top box with a large picture of the earpiece on the front and the details on the rear. Lifting the cover reveals the earpieces with cable attached nestled in foam in the upper portion of the box (with the bulk of the cable hidden in a recess in the foam) and a pelican style hard case in the lower portion. All other goodies are hiding inside the case or under it. The instructions are under the case, while a variety of tips, adapters, a cleaning tool, and shirt clip reside inside it. Provided tips include 3 sets of triple flanged silicones, 4 sets of single flanged silicone tips, and 2 sizes of foam tips. The Case is well thought out as it has enough room for the earphones, cable, and a spare set of tips without feeling cramped or crowded. I usually add a small carabiner to attach the case to a backpack for air travel and the provided case mimics the Pelican as it provides multiple ways to attach it. It would be nice to see some form of balanced cable included at this price point but otherwise the kit is fairly thorough.

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Build/Fit:


The earpieces are a 2 piece shell with the seam between inner and outer shell being visible on inspection, but well mated and difficult to feel. Shape could be best defined as kidney bean with the nozzle coming off the center front of the shell and the mmcx connector the top rear. The Shell is transparent and gives the user a good view of the rather busy internal space with 6 drivers, a crossover, sound bores, filters, and wires running neatly between. Size is moderate and will be workable for most ears. For me, they took a bit of adjusting to get good seal with mid sized tips, but due to the longer than average nozzles, the larger tip I normally use was uncomfortable. Nozzles are smaller in diameter than standard and longer with almost no rake in any direction and are cast into the shell very similar to the Audiosense T180 in both size and shape. A filter is visible in the nozzle and contributes to the tuning of the 1120 in addition to the driver and crossover. There is no lip for tip retention, but the shaft of the nozzle is long enough that surface area provides plenty of grip for tips and I found no tendency to slip once installed. Overall, I found the 1120 comfortable for long listening sessions without any tendency toward physical fatigue.

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Internals:

The AF1120 is an all balanced armature design using 6 per side with a 3-way electronic crossover and butterworth filter handling the break out to each. Audiofly lists drivers as a pair of bass, a pair of mids, and a pair of treble drivers but does not disclose the model number or manufacturer of the drivers that I could find. Nominal impedance is listed as 11Ω with a sensitivity of 109 dB /mW at 1kHz. The numbers suggest the AF1120 should be fairly easy to drive and we found that to be the case as it had adequate power from smartphones, tablets, and low powered devices. It does scale well qualitatively with improvements in source, but doesn't need the added power of many of those higher end options.

AF1120_internals.jpg



Cable:

I have to say it right up front, I'm not a fan of this cable. It is tangle prone, and not of appropriate quality to match the 1120. It starts well enough with a 90º 3.5mm jack but immediately goes to a cloth wrapped single cable that is reminiscent of the monoprice snails and goes up a splitter that is larger than necessary followed by two non-cloth coated twists with a large clear plastic chin slider that gives the cable an odd look due to the wires being widely separated by the splitter and then immediately pulled back together by the chin-slider. The north ends terminate with pre-formed earhooks and mmcx connectors. Housings could be better marked as any L/R indicator is difficult to find as well. The good thing about the Mk2 is the cable is now removable which gives the end user the opportunity to replace it and I think most will. The provided cable is simply not in congress with the quality of the rest of the offering.

Audiofly-1120-jack.jpgAudiofly-1120-splitter.jpgAudiofly-1120-mmcx.jpg


Tips:

The 1120 is blessed with a good selection of tips including comply foams, triple flange (trees) and several sizes of single flange silicone tips. For my testing I stuck with the mid-sized single flange design. I'm not a big fan of the multi-flange tips as I usually find them uncomfortable for extended wear, but they do provide a better seal in this case as the mid/large were either slightly small and needed exact placement to seal well or too large and got uncomfortable quickly. I found I didn't care for what the foam tips did to the sound but others may disagree and look to those for better isolation.


Sound:

Audiofly1120-FR.jpg


The tuning of the AF1120 is very different than the typical boosted sub-bass and upper-treble we see today. Gone are the artificial boosts of frequencies that aren't commonly found in live performance with a focus instead on tonality and musicality in the ranges most common to ensemble performances. For some, this may be disappointing as the sub-bass won't blow you out of your chair, nor will the top end extension wow you with sparkles. For many others, the AF1120 will reproduce the genres they listen to with stunning accuracy and tonality. Lets break out what to expect.



Bass:

Roll-off starts fairly early on the AF1120 with the bass centered around the 100Hz mark and beginning to fall back fairly quickly below that point with notable roll-off by the time you reach 6oHz. From 100Hz up, bass is in good proportion with the rest of the signature and has good clarity, and character as is typical of BA produced bass. It does sacrifice a little thump for tighter control, but produces a very articulate low end. It is obvious here that a quality over quantity approach was taken as what is presented is quite good, but it won't be enough to please those looking for a bass-first model.



Mids:

Here we have the star of the show as the 1120 is definitely a mid-centric design. That is not to say mids are overly forward as they are not, they are just very well rendered with great detail and tonality. Starting with the lower mids, we have no perceptible mid-bass bleed as is expected considering the driver type, but there is a slight warmth to the lower mids that belies its all BA design. This is the first hint that the crossover and filters are providing something atypical to BA tunings. Lower vocals are well rendered with good texture and sound full and lush without getting thick or syrupy. Guitar is well rendered as well with particularly good tonality on acoustic guitar (I spent quite awhile listening to 40 fingers guitar quartet and thoroughly enjoying it). As you move up, the upper mids do move slightly forward, but it is a gradual push and not a sudden jump. This gives female vocals a touch more forward presentation, but doesn't get shouty or "in your face" as a result. Strings have good tonality and texture as well. This is one of the best sub-$1k models I have heard for string quartet as the tuning really lends itself to that genre.



Treble:

Lower treble continues the push forward that began with upper mids and has a peak in the 3kHz - 4kHz range before dropping back to a level similar to the lower-mids and mid-bass at about 5kHz. Here again, the tuning is on full display as this gives the 1120 enough energy to sound open without getting at all strident or harsh in the process. Another smaller peak at about 9kHz brings some energy to snare rattle and cymbals and again is tastefully done as the tone sounds neither artificially hot nor flat and lifeless. At the very top, the 1120 falls away quickly above that 9Khz peak. While it may lack the extension of flagship models, it does not feel enclosed or in need or more air or sparkle as a result, so I again tip my hat to the tuners as they have done a great job of making a very musical iem without feeling the need for chasing statistics here.



Soundstage / Imaging:

Width is slightly larger than depth of stage on the 1120, but they do have a good sense of height and somehow manages to place the listener in the audience on live recordings. Instrument separation is quite good as well which makes my normal exercise of trying to draw the orchestra seating chart in my head very straight forward. Movement around the stage is easily tracked and fairly precise as well again honestly better than should be expected at the price point. Layering is quite good as well and even as passages get busier, the 1120 shows no signs of thickening, compression, or mud. I will stop short of calling the 1120 a holographic stage, but with binaural recordings that push in that direction anyway, it does amazingly well. Try Cowboy Junkies - I'm so lonesome as an example.



Thoughts / Conclusion:

So, after a couple weeks with the AF1120 Mk2, what do I think of it? I think if offers stunning tonality and detail for a model in this price range. Having said that, I think one should have high expectations of models that cost upward of $500 and while I think it easily justifies its place in the market, I would stop short of saying it is a stellar bargain. Were a better cable included, I would be more inclined to go there, but as it is, most will add another $150-200 to the cost in order to put a better cable on it, and that pushes into direct competition with the Pola, Rai Penta, and a few other heavy hitters in the class. What the AF1120 brings to the table though cannot be denied, as it is more musical than any of those mentioned, has at least as good detail, and offers a signature and tonality that few can match. Those looking for a balanced signature, with good manners, and excellent timbre will really enjoy the 1120Mk2. Those looking for that last little bit of extension on either end may be better served by one of the hybrid electrostat models. For me, the trade of a little extension for the gorgeous mids presented by the AF1120 is well worth it.
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ngoshawk
ngoshawk
Excellent review, Will! Nicely done.
Pros: Very good timbre.
Good fit.
Sound, which will not offend.
An "affordable" flagship.
Very nice overall.
Very nice case.
Cons: Cable is not the best.
Build quality not, TOTL.
Maybe too neutral for some, as in it does not offend?
AF's version of flagship may not be for everyone...
Audiofly AF1120 mk2 ($700usd): A flagship of a different sort.
4.25 stars


Define “flagship.” Kansas-Mt. Sunflower is a “summit,” on a different level, and so should AF1120 be considered a flagship in that same verbiage.



Initial: Upon arrival, I checked to ensure all was well and good. It was and gave a quick listen. Immediately, I realized that this to me was the better offering, and more to my liking than the AF180. With a bit darker signature, and better clarity, the timbre of the AF1120 immediately shown through. Very good bass, with good air between the notes lent itself to a quite pleasing signature, or one that fit my tastes. In conversation with @Wiljen, we noted how many of today’s product indeed sound good, and the gap is getting smaller these days, which makes our job enjoyable but harder. Those of us with good ears can indeed do an admirable job of discerning those decreasingly smaller discrepancies. Then there is me, with my ears. I have to work harder to discern those differences, but as a result, my critical listening skills have moved forward a bit. Enough to make differences known and enjoyable in pursuit of those.

Thanks to Michelle with Audiofly for allowing @Wiljen to send over the AF1120. This earphone was loaned for the purposes of review and will be returned. All thoughts within this review are my own subjective opinions and do not represent Audiofly or any other entity. At the time of writing the AF1120 MK2 retailed for 849.99usd:
https://audiofly.com/shop/AF1120 MK2-mk2/



Specs:

Driver type: Six Balanced armature drivers with 3-way crossover
Driver arrangement: Dual bass, dual mid, dual high
Frequency range: 15-25kHz
Crossover: Passive 3-way electronic crossover with Butterworth filter
Acoustic tuning: Physical 3-way frequency divider
Impedance: 11Ω
Sensitivity: 109dB at 1kHz
Cable length: 1.2m / 47”
Plug type: 3.5mm gold plated, right angle format



Comparisons/Sources:

Meze Rai Penta ($1099)-from review
Shozy x AAW Pola ($850)-from review
Shozy x AAW Pola39 ($1050)-from review
64Audio U8 ($950)
Campfire Audio Jupiter ($700)

Cayin N6ii
Dethonray DTR1
XDuoo X10Tii/iFi Pro iDSD



Songlist:

Los Lobos- Disconnected in New York
Mark Knopfler-Laughs And Jokes And Drinks And Smokes
Santana w/ Mana- Corazon Espinado
twenty one pilots Regional At Best, Trench
Tedeschi Trucks Band
Big Head Todd & The Monsters-Beautiful World
Mark Knopfler-Down The Road Wherever


In the box:

AF1120 w/ AudioflexTM cable and Cordura® fiber wrap
3 sets silicon tips (s/m/l)
3 sets triflange silicon tips (s/m/l)
3 sets Comply tips (s/m/l)
Protective hardcase
Airline adapter
3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter
Cleaning tool
Shirt clip



Unboxing:

Coming a satin black box not unlike what Clear Tune Monitors does, the box looks quite good. With writing on all sides there is a plethora of information to be had. A nice picture of the AF1120 covers the front, while the back has all pertinent information. A too small to see frequency graph along with tiny print adorns the top left, while an exploded drawing covers the right. Specifications and items included cover the bottom 1/4 of the back. Nicely done, but print is too small.

Taking the top off and you reveal thick hard foam cradling the IEM’s and cable. The lower half carries the pelican-like case. Inside are all of the other details such as extra tips, shirt clip, etc. Not a bad presentation overall and one in which you can live knowing the AF1120 is protected well.



Fit-n-finish:

The cable is white with a Cordura covering, which is darn near indestructible. It even has a very good tactile feel to it, and with strain relief fits over the ear well. The Audioflex cable lays well, too. Above the y-splitter though, there is no protection with the Cordura and as such both wires on each side seem a bit thin. But with a tight wrap, you need not worry too much, for the lay of the cable is such that the upper part stays protected.

The IEM itself is made from two halves of kidney-shaped plastic and a long skinny nozzle. The same diameter as the AF180, the nozzle has a “dip” on one side of the end, just like the 180 as well. I am not sure why, but it does help when putting tips on. The plastic is clear so one can see the electronics inside, which are neat and tidy. Each side is also labeled with the model number, serial number and either “L” or “R” for the respective sides. Fit isn’t the best, and less than I would hope for a flagship let alone one that costs $850usd. Will mentioned this in his review with hopes that Audiofly would move to injection molded plastic or something of the sort, which would be more befitting a flagship. I agree. But, once you hear the critter, most of that can be forgotten thankfully.



Sound:

The AF1120mk2 has a very pleasing sound overall to me. Slightly warmer than the AF180mk2, with a fuller sound as well; the 1120 fits my musical tastes more closely. That could be why I like it more as well. Not so long ago, the driver war pushed the number into near astronomical limits. Thankfully, as companies realized this was not a good long-term strategy, they dialed back that number to a more reasonable level. I for one am glad since this allowed those companies to focus on the sound rather than compete for numbers.

With six BA drivers, two each for bass/mid/highs, the 1120 can focus on the crossover network and fine tuning of each set. And the “tri-combo” works well together. Neither forces themselves to the front, except for the mids a bit to me. But this is not a bad thing, no. Vocals tend to be in front, like they would be on stage so giving the listener that sense makes for a good sound. Add in enough bass push to make for a pleasant tie down to hold everything in place and you have the makings of a very solid IEM at the sub-$1000 price point.

Control is the name of the game down low. The bass does not reach especially deep, but this is amongst the better control of an IEM I have had inhouse for a good longish time. Lack of thump is made up for in quality. There are times I love my Legend X for its pure thump, but other times a bit more control is wanted. And here the AF1120mk2 accommodates nicely. Playing well with the other sounds, the bass does not draw attention to itself, it merely provides the support. So far so good.



Moving higher though and we reach the star, the mids. Here the quality detail can be heard easily. And it is very, very good. Clarity lends itself nicely as a result, but not quite as clean as others. The warmer side of life tends to do that. But it is quite good as well, and I do not miss that extra cleanliness. For with that, you often get a feeling of “antiseptic.” Here there is no such thing. None of the shoutiness happens here that could occur from the “too clean” sound. And for that I am thankful. Rosa Lee from Los Lobos could easily descend into a cacophony of unruliness without the slight warmth provided by the tuning here. And as such, the mids are the central focus, the star of this presentation. This is the kind of mid sound one would wish could be transferred to other IEM’s instantly, so that you do not miss the sound. Kind of like a plug-n-play amp on certain DAP’s.

And thankfully, the treble is of sufficient quality to not bother me with too much up top. Good energy without becoming grating, biting or too sparkly makes this reviewer happy. I am able to turn up Chuco’s Cumbia sufficiently to keep my tiring ears happy without too much bite. Ever so slightly dropped at the top, this makes for a very pleasant flagship. This is not about so much detail that you cannot enjoy the sound but more about actually enjoying the sound. Of the ones listed below in the comparison section, this is the most tolerant top end, and the one I enjoyed the most. Good stuff, indeed.



Soundstage/separation/instrumentation:

Thankfully this enjoyable sound carries over into the soundstage, which while as bit wider than some, is not so wide that the separation suffers. Sometimes a headphone can have too wide of a soundstage. One where the instruments do not work in concert together. On the AF1120mk2 though, you need not worry. Wide enough to accommodate everyone but not tall enough to make you think of a high vaulted concert hall. More small venue, and that intimacy is not claustrophobic in the least. When solos on Van Morrison tracks call for it, there is room to be heard. When the whole of Los Lobos gets going, there is indeed room for all to jam.

Individual instruments do not fight for space, nor separate from each other as noted in the previous paragraph. Melding together like sound engineer envisioned I would imagine is an apt description. The pluck of bass cello on March Winds In February can clearly be heard and give that firsthand intimacy of experience. Van Morrison’s voice does become a bit harsh, but that is the nature of this track and a good part of the album. Conversely, Joey Alexander’s piano staccato on Warna sound wonderfully sublime. A bit dark (due to Tidal), but nonetheless quite compelling in presentation. Giving the AF1120mk2 a good mark for cross source and cross platform, this does.



Comparison:

Audiofly AF1120 mk2 ($700) v Meze Rai Penta ($1099)-from review:

After hearing the Empyrean, the Rai Penta would be in a tough place to come close. Ultimately in my mind, Meze did not take the same chance they did with the Empyrean. As a result, I think they missed a tremendous opportunity. Don’t get me wrong, the Rai Penta is quite a good unit, but it is kind of like the jack of all trades. Does many things, but not with anything standing out as its preemptive favorite. I do like how it performed overall, with that sublime middle of the road sound, but I could have used more bass to give it a bit more soul.

The AF on the other hand performs well, especially the mids. These are quite good, and the match for the Rai Penta. If it was on sound signature alone, it would be a tough draw. Fabulous mids, with a slightly warmer tilt and quite competent sound, the AF1120mk2 would be a good choice. If you want a critter who’s build is second to none, with a sound characteristic that does all admirably, without showing off in any direction, then the Rai Penta would be a good choice. I will admit, that both appeal to me and if I had to choose one, I would fret and froth over the decision for a good long time.


Audiofly AF1120 mk2 ($700) v Shozy x AAW Pola ($850)-from review:

This one is easier. To me, the AF1120mk2 is what the Sozy/AAW should have striven for. The older AAW W900 is one of my all-time favorites. It was also one of my first forays into a TOTL. It deserved its place among the top. But here, the Pola falls short, doing nothing above average to me. I was uninspired. For the price, this would be an easy decision. The AF wins across the board (to me).



Audiofly AF1120 mk2 ($700) v Shozy x AAW Pola39 ($1050)-from review:

This is a bit more difficult. The Pola39 is what the Pola should have been, and the Pola39 then should have moved towards the W900. The bass on the Pola39 is among the best controlled and reaching of pretty much any unit at this price. Extraordinary control makes for a foundation upon which the rest builds. And does so well. I really enjoyed the Pola39 and did spend the majority of my time using it over the Pola. That said, the AF1120mk2 can hold its own very well here due to the wonderful sounds of mid and control of bass. Lonely Streets defines all that is good in the AF1120, and I have to pause to raise the volume on the N6ii.


Audiofly AF1120 mk2 ($700) v 64Audio U8 ($950):

An older friend purchased due to @Glassmonkey’s wonderful review, I still pull this one out for comparisons and the quality of bass. A very different signature than pretty much everything else from 64Audio, I love the way the bass is handled. Pure thump and deserving of its pedestal in the basshead hall of fame in my book. What it lacks in overall quality, it makes up for in 64Audio quality of thump and a velvet smoothness of character. This is a fabulous sound. Mids fall well behind the AF, but the U8 is pulled out by me for an old school good time of bass and rock-n-rock. A purchase I do not regret.

If you want an overall excellent signature, the AF1120mk2 is well ahead. But if you pine for a bass unit, which might even make the Legend X blush in jealousy, then the U8 might be the way to go. And from what I hear that sound was tuned into the A8, a cult favorite.


Audiofly AF1120 mk2 ($700) v Campfire Audio Jupiter ($700):

The Jupiter was at one time Campfire Audio’s “flagship.” Then the Andromeda came along and stole the show. Weird of fit, and a sound signature not for everyone, the Jupiter fell by as others moved along. If overall signature is what you want, then it isn’t even fair. The AF wins. But if you want a bit more character with mids (specifically vocals), which may be a bit more round then the Jupiter might work. If I had the two side-by-side, I would most likely bring home the AF every time. But sometimes I still pull the Jupiter out just for a listen.



Sources:

The XDuoo x10tii/iFi Pro iDSD was the unit I used the most, and to me the trio fit extremely well together. Providing a detailed sound from the XDuoo, paired with the tubeness of the iFi made for a complimentary package. One, which worked very well and again received the majority of my listening time.

If portable is what you want, the Cayin N6ii is hard to beat for me. Providing a warm sound, with excellent detail aided the AF in strutting its stuff. The mids came across clean and clear. Not crisp, but airy and detailed. I could listen to this combination all day and not fatigue, even at high volume.

If you want to add pure detail to the sound, then the Dethonray DTR1 is where you should go. This combo gives the AF that extra air, which can be missed between other sources. Call this the complimentary pair that bring different talents to the table and work well together. The Sonny & Cher of the group. This would be a fabulous on the go pairing and one in which I did that several times.



Conclusion:

It is often hard to follow others who have reviewed the product, for you might feel you cannot hear what they did, or you do hear the same things and do not want to plagiarize or grab their verbiage. But here is a case where I walk side by side with the other reviewer in hearing pretty much the same. The mids are fabulous. The overall signature is one, which has few peers at this level with regard to musical detail save maybe the Rai Penta. This is a very good sounding musically detailed IEM with excellent timbre. Of those mentioned above, it probably is the most musical. It isn’t perfect though. At this price, sub-par build and a cable, which mimics a 1970’s Kirby leave a bit to be desired. There is a certain other company, which has build quality such as this. But it has a very devote following. My hope is that Audiofly and especially the AF1120mk2 will garner that same respect when it comes to sound. It would be deserved.

I thank Audiofly for the loaner, it is a wonderful unit, with some flaws, which can be ironed out. I also thank @Wiljen for sending the critter my way in the trade. Please give the AF1120mk2 a listen. It is enjoyable.

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Pros: Neutral, balanced signature with strong technical ability - Comfort and isolation - Receptive to EQ
Cons: Emphasis in upper treble/lower bass somewhat lacking - Build is good but underwhelming for price
Greetings!

Today we’re checking out the AF1120 MK2 from Audiofly.

Based out of Australia, Audiofly has been in the business of portable audio since 2012. They embrace the concepts of technological innovation, musician empowerment, and quality sound on all levels. They have worked to achieve this through products that cover a wider range of prices and purposes, from affordable Bluetooth to high end studio monitoring. Recently Audiofly revamped their lineup, updating many of their more popular models with MK2 variants, one of which we are checking out today.

The AF1120 MK2 is the flagship of Audiofly’s lineup and is packed with technology. Inside are six balanced armatures in a 2x2x2 configuration with a hybrid 3-way electronic/acoustic crossover keeping everything in check. Updated MMCX connectors round things out. The AF1120 MK2 is a product for professionals who require a clear, neutral sound, and that’s exactly what it delivers in my experience.

Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

IMG_2816.JPGIMG_2822.JPGIMG_2826.JPG

What I Hear

The AF1120 MK2 is a very neutral leaning earphone. Treble has a fairly linear presentation without any major peaks in any particular region. The brilliance region is very smooth and somewhat de-emphasized resulting in a mild quantity of shimmer and sparkle. It is non-fatiguing and reasonably low energy, especially compared to your average mainstream hybrid earphone. Despite this dearth of excitement, the upper ranges of the AF1120 MK2 remain relatively airy with plenty of space between notes. The presence region is expertly balanced to give notes stellar transparency and weight without sounding strident or overly aggressive. As a result, clarity is top notch but not pushed to the point of being sharp or overly analytic. It simply sounds realistic.

The AF1120 MK2’s midrange is quite neutral in presence and tone with vocals sounding prominent but not overly forward. Male and female vocals are evenly represented with neither one standing out more than the other. The AF1120 MK2 does a great job with Riya and retaining the natural warmth and intimacy of her presentation, while Calyx’s gruff style is picked up and reproduced perfectly with all texture intact. Notes are weighty and dense yet retain outstanding clarity and coherence. I never found anything blending together or vocals being overshadowed by background instrumentals. Timbre is spot on for the most part with only brighter instruments sounding slightly off and ever so slightly plasticy, likely due to the lack of emphasis in the brilliance region. One instrument that is an absolute standout through the AF1120 MK2 are pianos which feel beefy with perfect attack and decay.

When it comes to the low end the AF1120 MK2 won’t be winning over bassheads anytime soon thanks to a neutral presence. Notes are full and warm, hitting with a hard, snappy decay. I really appreciated this performance with rapid transitions and complicated passages, but it ended up being somewhat underwhelming with deep, sustained notes. The roll off and rapidity of decay being to blame. Another plus is that the presentation is very smooth and refined, but not lacking at all in texture and detail. It’s not in your face, but inserted in a way that feels natural. If you want some more bass out of the AF1120 MK2, you’ll be happy to hear that it takes EQ and bass boost functions very well. Pairing it with the new iFi hip-dac and it’s Xbass function does a killer job of filling out the low end of the AF1120 MK2 improving suitability with bass-driven tracks. All the positive qualities are retained but more voluminous making the AF1120 MK2 even more versatile.

While the AF1120 MK2’s soundstage is fairly average, it’s staging qualities are anything but. Imaging is nuanced with razor sharp and accurate movement from channel-to-channel, with easy to detect, subtle movements. No one is likely to be use this for gaming, but if you do you’ll find them pretty darn amazing. Tracking movement in a game with great sound design (i.e. pretty much anything from Dice) ends up being very natural and organic. Helping this out is how well layered tracks and soundscapes are. The AF1120’s ability to provide a true sense of depth is impressive. Instrument separation is also a highlight thanks to each individual track element being pulled apart and set within it’s own space. As a result vocals are never hindered by bass bleed, cymbals aren’t overpowering and restrictive to other elements, etc. Everything plays together, never fighting for dominance.

Compared To A Peer (Volume matched with Dayton iMM-6)

Fearless S6 Rui (389.00 USD): The S6 Rui has more treble emphasis through the entire range than the AF1120 MK2. This gives it a lighter, airier presentation with additional space between notes, but somewhat artificially bumps it’s relatively impressive detail and clarity as a result. The AF1120 MK2 provides just as much information, but without advertising it. Treble quality is better through the AF1120 MK2 too with cleaner strikes on cymbals and a tighter, more controlled presentation overall. The midrange of the AF1120 MK2 is more linear with a smoother transition from lower to upper regions compared to the S6 Rui which sees a small upper mid bump. As a result, vocals tend to stand out more in the mix through the AF1120 MK2, playing a more even role with the rest of the track. While they’re never hidden on the S6 Rui, they don’t stand out against background instrumentals the same way. Timbre also falls into the AF1120 MK2’s camp which sounds more accurate and natural against the S6 Rui’s brighter, more breathy nature. Bass on the S6 Rui is similarly linear in it’s transition from lower to upper bass, but does a better job bring subbass notes forward. While not as quick, notes out of the S6 Rui are heavier and more impactful. They lack the same texture and clarity, however. Despite the S6 Rui’s extra upper treble emphasis and leaner presentation, the AF1120 MK2 sounds more spacious with the default seating position being just a little further from the ear. Although the S6 Rui is no slouch when it comes to imaging, layering, and instrument separation, the AF1120 MK2 is a notable step up. Sounds transfer from channel-to-channel with greater accuracy and precision, individual instruments feel more defined, and distance is better represented. Sound simple moves in a way that is more dynamic and natural through the AF1120 MK2.

In terms of build, the S6 Rui bats above it’s weight class. The AF1120 MK2 is a quality unit, but the smooth 3D printed acrylic of the Rui looks and feels a step above. No seams, better visibility of the drivers within, and that interesting faceplate all give it an advantage. Comfort is more or less a wash for me as well, despite the bulkier design of the S6 Rui. Isolation is better on the AF1120 MK2 though. The S6 Rui’s 2-pin connectors are a step down from the AF1120 MK2’s MMCX ports given the right earpiece has a tendency to detach unexpectedly. The S6 Rui’s cable is much more impressive looking with it’s thick, 8 strand braid and silver-plated wiring that shines through the clear sheath. The beefy metal hardware looks equally impressive. However impressive Fearless’ cable is visually, the AF1120 MK2’s thinner, lighter, half-cloth offering is straight up more pleasant to actually use. Neither tangles easily, but the Rui’s cable retains some memory of kinks and bends where the AF1120 MK2’s cable recalls none. Summary? I like the S6 Rui’s look and build, they tie on comfort, and as impressive looking as Fearless’ cable is, Audiofly’s is better to use.

As much as I love the S6 Rui, the AF1120 MK2 sonics are a step up. The biggest difference is not the Audiofly’s more balanced tune, or improved technical abilities, but just how much more refined it sounds while pulling off those other improvements. It is that much smoother and better controlled.

Hifiman RE800 Silver (599.00 USD): Where the AF1120 MK2 is a beacon of balance and accuracy, the RE800 is a clarity and detail monster. The RE800 is a fair bit brighter thanks to a notable upper treble peak. This lightens up the note weight compared to the AF1120 MK2 making a/b comparisons between the two quite interesting. Switch from the RE800 to the AF1120 MK2 and the Audiofly sounds thick and slightly muddy in the mids. Acclimatize to the AF1120 MK2 and switch back to the RE800 and the Hifiman sounds lean and tinny with artificial clarity leading the way. They’re more complimentary than not, but I wouldn’t want to own both at the same time because their qualities are so at odds with each other. Trying my best to not be distracted, I find the AF1120 MK2’s midrange more even and natural with a more linear presentation, even though they both seem to have mild bumps somewhere around or at 4k. Bass on the RE800 digs deeper and provides a more visceral experience while managing to output similar texture. It’s certainly a more entertaining, if not less accurate, style of presentation. Sound stage is pretty firmly in the RE800’s hand to my ears. Default positioning moves you further from the ear with sounds easily trailing off into the distance. Imaging accuracy goes to the Audiofly, as does instrument separation, with the RE800’s staging coming across slightly deeper and more multi-layered. Both are fantastic in this category overall.

When it comes to build, I have to give the AF1120 MK2 the edge. Hifiman’s RE800s has tiny metal shells with good fit and finish, but the design is plain and lacks the visual flair of the AF1120 MK2. I want to say the RE800s will have the edge in durability, but it has a fixed cable. While it’s a nice cable with silver-plated strands, the sheath is the bog standard, black rubber that you see at much lower price points. Add to that sub-par strain relief and the AF1120 MK2’s cable is sitting pretty. Comfort is again a bit of a wash. The AF1120 MK2 has better ergonomics and the low profile design gives it a big edge in isolation, but the RE800s’ more traditional barrel-shaped housing allows more wearing flexibility; cable up or cable down, you decide which you prefer. With the AF1120 MK2 it’s cable up only. Summary? The AF1120 MK2 looks and feels like it’s worth much more than the mere 100 USD that separates the two.

This was a weird comparison, and one I’m not planning to revisit. Not just because the AF1120 MK2 is a loaner and by the time you’re reading this I will no longer have it, but because these two earphones are so at odds with each other. If you want a neutral, reference style monitor go for the AF1120 MK2. If you want a detailed, vibrant high energy earphone, the RE800 will do the trick.

Campfire Audio Andromeda (1099.00 USD): The Andromeda is another product I’d consider reference quality, though not necessarily for the same reasons as the AF1120 MK2. Where Audiofly’s tuning is quite neutral and uncoloured, the Andromeda is more energetic and forward in it’s presentation. This is quite noticeable in the midrange where the Andromeda is more dense and aggressive, but falls behind on overall clarity and detail. The AF1120 also sounds slightly more realistic with a warmer, more natural presentation. Treble on the Andromeda is more elevated, particularly in upper treble regions. Cymbals and the like have more shimmer and a stronger attack with detail being pulled forward more. This leaves the AF1120’s upper ranges sounding somewhat dull beside the Andro. Both are equally above average when it comes to control with no splashiness present. Bass on the Andromeda is more forward and powerful with slightly better extension. Texture and detail are similar. Neither are bloated or suffer from midbass bleed. One thing the AF1120 has an advantage in is reception to EQ. If it’s feeling bass light, you can dial more in with great success. With similar adjustments, the AF1120’s armatures can provide a more visceral subbass experience. Sound stage is wider and deeper on the Andromeda, but to my surprise I found the AF1120 did an even better job with other qualities like imaging, layering, and separation. This is an area the Andro excels, yet the AF1120 provides an even more dynamic soundscape. Truly impressive.

The AF1120 MK2 is a good looking, well built earphone with a distinctive design that is pure Audiofly, but it’s hard to compete with the visual force that is Campfire’s iconic shell and impeccable aluminum construction. It’s been copied to death over the last couple years for a reason. The Andromeda fits me just fine and I can wear it for long periods fatigue free, but the AF1120 MK2 with it’s smaller, lighter, and more organic shape fits me even better and has improved isolation to boot. So while the vastly more expensive Andro feels the part, the AF1120 MK2 easily bests it in other ways. They both have great cables but again, the AF1120 MK2’s rubs me the right way just a little bit more, and that comes purely down to handling and memory attributes. The Andro’s braided cable is a bit stiffer, doesn’t react as well to cold weather, and retains a hint of bends and kinks that the AF1120 MK2’s cable shrugs off without a second thought. Summary? The Andromeda’s price tag makes sense, though I still prefer Audiofly’s cable.

This is another case of two earphones being complimentary. If you want a neutral sounding, technical powerhouse the AF1120 does a better job of meeting those needs. If you want a high energy yet equally impressive earphone when it comes to technical ability, the Andromeda is hard to best.

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In The Ear With the AF1120 MK2, Audiofly stuck with one of their tried and true shell designs. While reminiscent of the sort of bean-shaped shell popularized by Shure and others, this design is more pepper-shaped with the shell getting wider as it approaches the nozzle. I find this makes it extra stable since what little weight there is distributes perfectly throughout the outer ear. The slender nozzles, only around 3.5mm in diameter, help with comfort too since your chosen tips have more room to compress. If deep insertions are your thing, the slim nozzle helps with that too. Thanks to the low profile, form fitting, sealed shell design, isolation is well above average, as is common for BA-only earphones. The AF1120 MK2 is a joy to use in noisy areas like the local coffee shop or on transit given how much noise is passively blocked (especially with foam tips in place). That said, given the price of this product, it’s probably best to leave it at home and bring something more affordable and less risky.

When it comes to build quality, the AF1120 MK2 is doesn’t do anything too crazy. The plastic shells are put together neatly with good quality materials. There are no misaligned parts or poorly glued sections. The use of clear plastic allows you to peer inside at the six balanced armatures and 3-way electronic crossover with Butterworth filter. The soldering job and general wiring is neat and tidy, as I would expect from something at this price. The MMCX ports are also neatly integrated allowing the cable to sit flush with the housing, limiting it’s ability to spin since there is some friction to prevent it. One aspect of the build that is slightly disappointing is that all writing and branding is printed on the plastic, not molded into it. As a result, I fully expect it to rub off after a while, as is starting to occur on the right ear piece of this tour sample.

The cable is wonderful in my opinion and a highlight of the overall package. What it lacks in flash like those cables from other brands such as Campfire Audio, BGVP, Astrotec, and Shozy, among others, it makes up for in other ways. First is that it is very light and flexible. It doesn’t weigh down the earphone in use which is quite welcome when you are active. The use of flexible, ergonomically curved preformed ear guides helps too since you don’t have to struggle with shaping memory wire every time you go to use the earphone.

Above the y-split the cable is a slender, uber flexible two-strand twist, quite reminiscent of the cable that comes with the EarNiNE EN2J (one of my favs). Below the y-split it transitions into a cloth sheath. Normally I detest cloth cables because they’re noisy, tangle easily, fray after a short time, and develop kinks that almost always lead to breaks where the inner cable spurts out. This one is much, much better than most any other cloth cable I’ve used, and doesn’t feel like it’ll suffer any of those issues anytime soon. I would make improvements in a few areas though.

Strain relief is pretty much nonexistent. It is too short and stiff at the compact 90 degree angled jack and y-split to offer much protection at all. And while I will never scoff at the inclusion of a chin cinch, the use of a small hunk of clear tubing is underwhelming for a $700 earphone. However, this seems to be a common practice with high end earphones. Sure it works well, but it doesn’t flow with the cable design and if you slide it down too far, puts unnecessary strain on the cable at the wide y-split.

Overall I am quite pleased with the fit and cable of the AF1120. The build quality is good too, though I would like to see slightly more premium materials or techniques applied, like the logo being molded into the shell vs. printed on.

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In The Box The AF1120 MK2 comes in a moderately sized, somewhat understated matte black box. On the front is a reasonably high quality image of the left earpiece showing off the design and internals. In the top left corner is the model info and notice of the six drivers per side. The top right corner notes the AF1120 MK2 is a part of Audiofly’s Pro Series of monitors. Flipping to the right sleeve you see an image of the earphones and accessories neatly laid out, which the left sleeve repeats the model info. On the rear is a short blurb about the AF1120 MK2 and what’s inside, translated into nine languages. You also find a frequency response graph, specifications, a list of what’s included, some feature bullet points, and an exploded image of the construction of the AF1120 MK2.

Opening the package, a large Pelican style hard case dominates the welcoming party, while the AF1120 MK2 sits patiently above nestled within a dense, protective foam insert. Beneath the hard case you find a brief user guide. In all you get:
  • AF1120 MK2 earphones
  • Audioflex MMCX cable
  • Single flange silicone tips (s/m/l)
  • Tri-flange silicone tips (s/m/l)
  • Comply foam tips (s/m/l)
  • Protective hard case
  • Airline adapter
  • 3.5mm to 1/4” adapter
  • Cleaning tool
  • Cable clip
Other brands craft an in-depth, multilayered unboxing experiences for their earphones. That’s cool. It’s visually impressive, engaging for the buyer, and can produce one heck of a first impression. Other brands opt not to do that and let the product speak for itself. With the AF1120 MK2, Audiofly falls into the latter. This is a very simple unboxing experience that enables you to skip the fluff and get to the plethora of included goods nigh immediately. Audiofly is not competing with luxury fashion brands (ignoring some of my chosen comparisons above, lol). This is a professional product with a suitable unboxing.

Final Thoughts It’s not often I get the chance to listen to a reference level earphone, so I’m appreciative that Audiofly agreed to send the AF1120 MK2 my way. Such products really help put the hobby into perspective, from the budget cheapos to other flagship models that aim to be the best of the best. Why is that? It’s because the AF1120 MK2 has a properly neutral, uncompromising tune and as a result can act as a near perfect bassline for which to understand various tuning choices, and to better understand your own personal preferences.

While not necessarily the most exciting listen, the AF1120 MK2 won me over with its balance and technical ability. The midrange is gorgeously lush and realistic, treble detailed and non-fatiguing, and bass technical and flexible. I wish the sound stage was a little larger, subbass dug a little deeper, and their was a bit more life in the upper treble, but I can most definitely live with the existing presentation or make some adjustments with an EQ if I really feel like it. In addition to sounding fantastic, the AF1120 MK2 has a well designed shell that snugs up ergonomically to your ear while also blocking out plenty of exterior noise. At this price I would like to see some nicer materials and molded vs. printed branding on the earpieces. But, as is the build is good enough since it is lightweight, comfortable, and doesn’t present any real red flags. The accessory kit is also outstanding with a beefy, spacious carrying case and many tips of various styles and sizes, among other useful extras.

The AF1120 MK2 is a flagship done right, and while certainly not for the feint of wallet, is more affordable than equivalent products from other makers. So if you’re in the market for a neutral, top-of-the-line earphone, Audiofly has made a strong argument to consider the AF1120 MK2.

Thanks for reading!

– B9

*If you enjoyed this review, visit The Contraptionist for more just like it.*

Disclaimer Thanks to Michelle with Audiofly for reaching out to see if I would be interested in reviewing one of their products, and for sending over the AF1120. This earphone was loaned for the purposes of review and has since been returned. All thoughts within this review are my own subjective opinions and do not represent Audiofly or any other entity. At the time of writing the AF1120 MK2 retailed for 849.99 AUD: https://audiofly.com/shop/AF1120 MK2-mk2/

Specifications
  • Driver: 6 balanced armatures with three-way crossover (dual bass, dual mid, dual high)
  • Crossover: Passive 3-way electronic crossover with Butterworth filter
  • Acoustic Tuning: Physical 3-way frequency divider
  • Impedance: 11Ω
  • Sensitivity: 109dB @ 1kHz
  • Frequency Response: 15Hz-25,000 Hz
  • Cable Length: 1.2m / 47”
Devices Used For Testing LG Q70, iFi hip-dac, Asus FX53V, TEAC HA-501, Shanling M0

Some Test Tunes

Supertramp – Crime of the Century
Slipknot – Vol 3 (The Subliminal Verses)
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid
King Crimson – Lark’s Tongues in Aspic
King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black
Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma
The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy
Steely Dan – The Royal Scam
Porcupine Tree – Stupid Dreams
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Pros: Ergonomics/Size
Details retrieval
Neutral sound signature with an slight bump on the highs
Nice Packaging
Cons: Cable needs to follow the rest of the design signature
May be bright for some
  • Disclaimer
Just to get this out of the way first. These IEMs were provided as a loan, free of charge, by Audiofly in exchange of my honest review/impressions. No request was made by the company in any respect and everything has been completely transparent from both sides.


Before even starting I would like to remember that I’m not a professional reviewer and I do this for fun and love for the music. Sonic impressions are completely subjective and in this case it’s my unique opinion, feel free to have yours, but always remember to respect your forum colleges.


  • Introduction
Ok, let’s go… As myself I think most of you haven’t heard much about Audiofly or if you heard you didn’t give much attention as there are not many reviews around this forum about their line-up. Just remember that we don’t have much people talking about JH audio, UE Pro, Shure and Westone as well. That doesn’t mean they are bad. Audiofly is another really good example of that, they do have really good range of products with a relatively affordable price.

I found out about Audiofly PRO range a few months ago during Melbourne Hi-fi show, where I had the pleasure of auditioning a few of their products and meet some of the staff team, I remember that the AF1120 Mk2 blew my mind and I wanted to spend more time with it. Knowing that they are an Australian company made me even more interested in testing their gear. So here we go.


I will take a different road from most of the reviews around and will divide this based on music that I like and what I love to listen on my daily basis. And, I’m not an “Audiophile music guy”. Later at the end I will make a couple comparisons with other IEM’s I have around at the moment that are full BA. All listening will be made with original cables, Tidal, A&K SE100 and Dragonfly Cobalt (S10e and Computer)


Let’s start where everyone starts when they get a new baby at home…


  • Unboxing and Presentation
Upon grabbing the package on your hands, one will straight away resemble Shure and Westone package’s, with details all over the package, like someone going to a musician gear store and choosing your next IEM from the shelf.

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Opening the box, you will see straight away your new babies and the BEST waterproof case ever. You can see they spent time designing their own carrying case, inspired by Pelican for sure, but that’s when one see a company that actually cares about the customer and their branding (Sorry Nobel Audio and your carrying case straight from a “buy buck order” and not even caring to change the “Pelican 1010” plate). The case is sturdy and with a velvet interior to protect your new IEMS. For some the size is important, so this one can fit the IEMs (Two pairs actually, cables, adapter and my Dragonfly Cobalt or Fiio BTr3/5 easily. I liked so much this case that I am ordering one to be my daily carrying case.

It comes with plenty of tips, air plane adapter (who connects to these?) and a 1/4” adapter. (more pictures of that on the other reviews. :) )

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  • Design and Comfort
Having the IEM on my hand and seeing that they packed 6 drivers on each side with this minimal form-factor is impressive. The shell is transparent, so you can see all drivers perfectly placed inside the shell. I would prefer the AF180 all black colour (Audiofly, please make an All Black special edition of the AF1120). The angle of the cable compared to your ear shape resemble the cousins (Shure and Westone). This is beautifully presented and fits better than the others. These are definitely the most comfortable Universal IEM I've ever used. Better than SD5, Sony M9 and others. I definitely forget them in my ears even after many hours of listening sessions.

The cable… I will say that within the package content this is my Achilles heels. It feels good, sounds good, light, comfortable, no micro-phonics at all. But, why that shape on the “Y” splitter? No need for that, it is bigger than the IEM itself. It’s definitely an over-design. Less is more guys, just make it follow the rest of the design signature (minimalist and efficient).

But you guys should be thinking “stop talking about the extras and jump to what it is important. How does it sound? Let’s go then.


  • Rock, Metal and a few things around this genre
This is the genre I like the most and that’s where the AF1120 will shine for most of us, as a full BA IEM, one won’t have the crazy rumbling and extension on the low end as a DD (like on Z1r), or the super high extensions of the TIA driver or EST driver. But as an IEM made for monitoring, the details, separation, imaging and soundstage are on par of much more expensive models and the soundstage together with the imaging are incredible close and intimate. Feels like you are on one of those small stages or small studios with the singer right in front of you, the drums closely behind and the rest of the band surrounding you really close. When playing songs like “Dream Theater – Forsaken” it’s a good example of this intimacy. If you’re a musician or producer, this should be a really nice tuning for staging and monitoring.

“Roger Waters – Déjà vu” and “Black Sabbath – Planet Caravan”, are one of my best songs to explore soundstage, separation and imaging. With these songs you can just close your eyes and feel you are sitting on a comfortable chair with the band. “Queen – Bohemia Rhapsody” is definitely another really complex rock song that everyone knows and that the AF1220 can bring all the details in a clear way that I would expect from that song. One can easily pinpoint the position of each one in the studio, with the vocals feeling like they are whispering in my ears. “Roger Waters – Picture that” makes me turn my head when the girl starts to talk as more realistic that this is hard to find.

A nice song to test the mids, dynamic range and vocal can be “Led Zeppelin – Rumble on” where a lot of high end IEMs can’t bring Robert vocals to the spot with clarity and still keep the rest of the band balanced, some IEMs tend to be bright as one would pump the volume to bring the vocals closer. Add to that “Opeth – Moon above, Sun Below” and “Ayreon – Day Three: Pain”, where you have ups/downs and slow/fast moments of the song where some IEMs struggle to keep the separation, the AF1220 keep the pace of the song never bright and never faded, just on spot.

Getting into the more actual mainstream era of the Rock, I would like to point “Amity Affliction – Feels like I’m Dying” and “Korn – Can You Hear Me”, for the complexity of the song and the mix of different elements on the same song, like electronic, piano and heavy metal, with guttural voice and normal male voice. Not every IEM can handle this complexity with the details and dynamics that the song asks, it’s nice how AF1220 sound great with just enough highs that is never bright.

A couple more songs to close this Genre, “Epica - Chasing Dragon (acoustic)”, really good example of Female vocal plus full range of classical and metal song, add to that an acoustic live ambient. A12t is my reference here as I know it really well. But the AF1220 shows how a good tuning can bring an amazing soundstage and presentation for ¼ of the price. When the drums jump in you can put it in place on the stage compared to the singer and then the symphony starts to rump up, so you can recognize each instrument and place each one in place. Have I mentioned the drums? So, you can hear every detail of the cymbals, kick drums and plates. When the whole band rumps up one can feel the clear details this IEM can bring.

“Epica - Cry for the moon “(Acoustic)”, on the beginning of this song you can pin point from where the claps are coming, immerse yourself on the chant and when the drums jump in one can, again close your eyes and imagine where each piece of the drum is. The vocals not far from you, then the male vocal a bit more in front of the female. I really appreciate when an IEM give me this kind of soundstage details and feeling that I can almost touch.



*I will leave Hip-hop, R&B and electronic for when I will talk about the AF140 and I can compare back to AF1120.

  • AF1120 vs InEar SD5
Even being about half the price the AF is not really far from the SD5, but the SD5 standard cable is impossible to use, so I changed to a basic 64a just to keep “fair). Both of them are full BA, but SD5 has slightly more extension on the low end. Considering that both has amazing soundstage and imaging for the usage they were intended for. Don’t expect and “audiophile” crazy open soundstage from these IEMS. SD5 is a bit more forgiving on the mids and a smoother treble. Making it a bit less intimate, that can help making it less fatiguing for some. But both has quite an interesting spike on around the 8k area, that I noticed when listening to brighter songs like Led Zeppelin and Blink182 and confirmed later when saw the graphs.


  • AF1120 vs 64 Audio A12t
A12t is considered reference for some as a really well know IEM. It can be a go to for a lot of people on the middle of the high-end range of IEMs. A12t is definitely a warm IEM when put side by side with AF1120, with a better low end and high-end extension. Wider soundstage and not much difference in the imaging. I know the A12t is a really nice detailed IEM, but when put side by side to the AF, the High-end extension can give a feeling the AF is more detailed, bit it is just brighter. The highs on A12t is much smoother with no spikes at all. So, for long sessions it is less fatiguing. But remember that the AF1120 is designed to be neutral, while A12t is more a V shape. So, depending on one’s usage and music library one can be better than the other. For me, both works really well depending on what I am listening to. For example, Sabaton sounds better on AF1120 than A12t as it has a lot of energy on the Mids.


  • Conclusions (for now)
I can put these IEMs on the neutral area of my listening perception and comparison with everything I heard to date. It doesn’t do anything wrong, does a few things better than expected, but also has a lot of potential for improvements. As this kind of music mostly need fast response, BAs do a good job on the low end when implemented well, the AF1120 has a really good and fast low end, but definitely doesn’t have much extension on the sub-base area. This can be a really intimate IEM for some and a bit bright for others, but those characteristics are generally associated to detailed and neutral IEMs. Those can be beneficial if you are using these IEM for mixing or staging (not for a Bass player).

I would definitely recommend these for someone looking for a natural and detailed IEM and is on a budget. I just heard that Audiofly is starting to offer CIEM, so the temptation is hitting me now. But I will be said to let those go.


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Pros: Extremely comfortable and light
Nice cable
Warm bass response
Good resolution
Cons: Disjointed midrange on some music
Spiky treble response
Occasionally harsh
Closed-in sounding
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Audiofly is an Australian company who make in-ear monitors marketed at “musicians and music lovers alike.” The company has a series of IEMs starting at approximately $129 AUD (approximately $85 USD) to the most expensive set in their collection, the AF1120 MK2, at $849 AUD (approximately $500 USD at the time of this writing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic – it was $699 USD when released).

The company recently allowed me to review the AF1120 MK2 IEM and sent it over to me on loan for this review. I will be returning this review sample back.

https://audiofly.com/shop/af1120-mk2/

Design and Accessories
The AF1120 MK2 has 6 balanced armature drivers per side with a 3-way cross-over system. Each of the drivers are a dual arrangement with 1 pair for low, 1 pair for mid-range and the final pair for the upper frequencies. The IEM has a low impedance of 11 ohm and sensitivity of 109 dB at 1kHz.

The transparent shell design reminds me of a Shure-style IEM with a super lightweight plastic material, in a very small droplet-like casing. The housing isn’t as round though, as it has a more corn kernel like shape with a squared off front. The connectors are MMCX and they come with Comply foams pre-installed which I found to be an extremely comfortable combination with this earphone.

The cable is an interesting combination of braided silver wiring with memory hooks from the IEM connector to the Y-Split. From there, the cable is reinforced with a braid cloth material similar to Paracord, which Audiofly calls “Audioflex” which is made of CORDOURA fibre technology. The cable is a little peculiar looking but actually handles really well and doesn’t tangle easily.

The package also comes with a selection of tips, source adapters, and a protective hard case.

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Sound Impressions
The AF1120 Mk2 has a very laid-back tuning, with a warm low-end and gentle mid-range with an interesting treble range which has some interesting dips and peaks which create a mix of a smooth yet occasionally harsh spiked sound. I’ll get to this in a second.

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The resolution of the IEM is actually pretty good, especially at this price range. I found that instrument separation was present and never felt too congested, at least at lower volumes. Depending on the music, though, listening to this at higher volumes did bring out some incoherencies that fell around the lower mid-range that made male vocals sound hazy and sometimes very forward sound.
Bass is presented with a little bit of emphasis, although it’s not boomy nor heavy. Instead, I find it actually nice and warm, with a richer low end, that is pleasing. There is more emphasis on mid-bass than sub-bass with a slight roll-off down in the lowest frequencies.

The mid-range has nice body to it, while remaining clean and succinct throughout the range. The lower-end of the mid-range is a bit more elevated than the rest, particularly emphasizing male vocals with a deeper tone, however, the upper-mid range is gentle and soft, and allows many female vocals to sound pleasing without any harsh tones. Like I mentioned a couple paragraphs back, I found that male vocals sounded a little bit off – in fact, I think the midrange, in certain areas, falls back, presenting some songs with a hazy like sound, that isn’t too problematic, but does ruin some music for me.

For example, it is noticeable in some songs by The Civil Wars, specifically “C’est La Mort.” I am used to hearing John Paul White and Joy William’s vocals to be forward, clean, exacting and full of detail. Instead, with the AF1120 MK2, I find them slightly veiled, with a disjointed presentation that sounds like there’s something obstructing their voices from shining. It makes the song sound like I am listening to a low fidelity version of it that what I’ve grown accustom to on other IEMs, which have more even mid-range and a slightly larger upper mid-range gain.

Moving to the treble region, the AF1120 MK2’s lower treble takes a massive dip in the frequency response, followed by a sharp peak around 7.5 KHz which can make certain instruments like cymbals and sibilant sounds shriek occasionally. There’s not a lot of treble extension past 7.5K, which is fine for the intimate signature that this IEM portrays, but some may find it lacks some air.

I found the treble inconsistencies occurring in songs from Chrvches especially, with Lauren Mayberry’s voice sometimes going a little astray. I think part of the problem is due to such a relaxing overall tonality and signature, but with a large spike that throws off the coherency from time to time.

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Overall
I did point out a lot of negatives in the main body of this review, but I did find that the Audiofly AF1120 MK2 wasn’t awful or terrible by any means. It’s actually rather enjoyable for a lot music, though falls apart on some styles – mainly acoustic rock music or songs that require a more even treble response.

The AF1120 MK2 has a sound that strikes warmth and body, while I still find it to have some issues related to treble coherency and sharpness, as well as channel matching. I also didn’t find the soundstage wide or deep enough for my liking, but I did find comfort to be wonderful and it felt like I wasn’t wearing them at times.
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Reactions: B9Scrambler
Pros: Build quality, comfort, frequency balance, mid-range, speed and clarity
Cons: Cable can be tangly, could benefit from more sub-bass extension, slightly splashy in cymbal presence area

INTRODUCTION
My first real quality IEM was the Shure SE420 (many years ago) and as such I’ve always had a bit of a soft-spot for multi-BA based ear-phones. The SE420 led me to Shures SE315,425, 535, and later to multi-BAs like the Alclair Curve, 64 Audio U6 and U10, Earsonics ES series, and the Fearless S8 (just to name a few). I like their speed, their mid-range tonality, and generally their fit / comfort. Because I travel a lot, isolation is also important to me – and the Shures were master of that. Fast forward to present day and Australian company Audiofly have sent me their AF1120 Mk2 for review. Lets see how it stacks up against others I’ve tried.

ABOUT AUDIOFLY

Audiofly is an Australian audio company, founded in 2012 with the primary aim to design pro audio products for both musicians and also music lovers. Although their first products mainly centred around Inner Ear Monitors (for stage and personal use), they now have a comprehensive range of products including IEMs, wireless earphones, a full sized headphone and a range of replacement cables. Perhaps their website best explains their philosophy in their own words.

BUILT FOR MUSIC
Audiofly is about our love of music and the relationship we have with music through gear.”

Audiofly’s website and Facebook page are each linked for those wanting more information

DISCLAIMER
The Audiofly AF1120 Mk2 that I’m reviewing today was provided to me as a review loaner. It will be returned following the review. The retail price at time of review is ~ USD 699.

PREAMBLE
If you haven't read any of my reviews, I suggest starting here, as it will give you an insight into my known preferences and bias. This may be useful for interpreting my comments and applying them to your own preferences.

For the purposes of this review - I used the Audiofly AF1120 Mk2 straight from the headphone-out socket of many of my portables, but predominantly the M6, M9, M11, and R2R2000. I have also experimented with a variety of amplifiers including the FiiO Q1ii, E17K, Q5, and xDuoo XP-2. IMO they do not benefit greatly from additional amplification. In the time I have spent with the AF1120, I have noticed no change to the overall sonic presentation (break-in).

This is a purely subjective review - my gear, my ears, and my experience. Please take it all with a grain of salt - especially if it does not match your own experience.

THE PACKAGE

The Audiofly AF1120 Mk2 arrived in a 156 x 167 x 58mm box and lid. The lid has a photo of the AF1120 on the front, and lists the specifications and accessories on the rear. Opening the box and lid reveals a pelican case (105x140x50mm) which contains the accessory selection. The AF1120 Mk2 are snugly encased in a custom foam enclosure.
The full accessory package includes:
  • AF1120 MK2 in-ear monitors
  • Dome silicone tips: S, M, L
  • Tri-flange silicone tips: S, M, L
  • Comply® foam tips: S, M, L
  • Pelican type case
  • 3.5mm to 1/4” adaptor
  • Airline adapter
  • Cleaning tool
  • Cable clip
This is a good accessory package, and in-line with the overall asking price.

THE TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS


MEASUREMENTS
The graphs I use are generated using the Vibro Veritas coupler and ARTA software. Ken Ball (ALO/Campfire) graciously provided me with measurement data which I have used to recalibrate my Veritas so that it mimics an IEC 711 measurement standard (Ken uses two separate BK ear simulators, we measured the same set of IEMs, and I built my calibration curve from shared data). I do not claim that this data is 100% accurate, but it is very consistent, and is as close as I can get to the IEC 711 standard on my budget.

I do not claim that the measurements are in any way more accurate than anyone else's, but they have been proven to be consistent and I think they should be enough to give a reasonable idea of response - especially if you've followed any of my other reviews. When measuring I usually always use crystal foam tips (medium bore opening) - and the reason I use them is for very consistent seal and placement depth in the coupler. I use the same amp (E11K) for all my measurements - and output is under 1 ohm. Measurements above 9-10kHz are generally problematic with any hobbyist set-up, and should be disregarded, but generally my measurements from 20Hz to 9-10kHz have proven to be relatively close to many of the measurements of the manufacturers who support me.


The graphs are provided merely as a point of discussion, and later in the review I've included comparisons to other IEMs for similar reference. Channel matching is very good and is consistent over the entire frequency range.

BUILD
External
The AF1120 Mk2 has a peanut/jelly-bean shape design. It is designed to ergonomically fit snugly inside your outer ear cavity, securely held inside the Concha with the front snugly fitting adjacent to your Intertragical notch.
The outer shell material is a 2 piece transparent composite polymer. The internals are easy to see (which I really like). The outer face is clear with the Audiofly logo on both earpieces. The internal face is very smooth, is printed with L and R markers and (not utilising a dynamic driver) has no external vent or port. The housing has an end to end length of 20mm, height of 14mm and depth of 10mm (excluding the nozzle). The nozzle is angled nicely forward and up, and is 9mm in length. The nozzle diameter is 3mm, has no lip, and is a natural fit for Shure Olive foam or Comply T100 tips. It has an in-built wax guard.
At the top rear of the AF1120 Mk2 is a forward pointing standard MMCX socket. The socket is very firm with the supplied cable and feels sturdy. The AF1120 comes with a single ended copper cable with an outer cloth like sheath reinforced with Cordura fibre for added strength. Between the earpiece and Y-split is a very thin twisted pair. Below the Y-Split (the the plug) is the sheathed cable. The cable has preformed ear-loops with a very small and quite hard to read L/R indicator on the plugs (Audiofly – something easier to read would help!). I find these loops quite comfortable and work well. The Y-split is hard plastic polymer with a clear tube neck cinch. The jack is 3.5mm, right angled, and gold plated. The cable is well built, and light and comfortable to wear (virtually no microphonics), but does tend to tangle easily (careful cable management required).
Internal
Internally the AF1120 Mk2 uses an all Balanced Armature driver system. It uses 3 sets of dual BA per earpiece for low, mid-range and upper frequencies and a 3 way passive crossover with Butterworth filter. Internally there is also a custom sound chamber to assist with both holding the BA drivers in place, and also for assisting the desired tuning.

FIT / COMFORT / ISOLATION
Internal and external isolation is extremely good as you’d expect for a non-ported IEM. It does ultimately depend on tip choice and seal. I would rate passive isolation as well above average and usable on public transport. Although it does not completely block out aircraft drone, by the time you add music, you aren’t hearing cabin sounds.

Fit and comfort thoughts are very subjective, and will vary from person to person. My experience has been one of complete satisfaction – the AF1120 are so small and light-weight. It has been designed for an ergonomic fit (much like a custom monitor). For me they are a perfect, sit inside my outer ear, and basically disappear within a few seconds of wearing (I could forget they are in). I have slept with them intact, and woken hours later with them still there and no discomfort. The AF1120 is designed to only be used cable over ear.
The AF1120 has a no lip on the nozzle, but the nozzle itself is quite long. Usually no lip is one of my critiques, but for this sized nozzle – you’re going to be using the supplied tips, or something similar to Westone or Shure tips anyway. And the supplied tip fit really well, as do my preferred Shure Olive foam tips. None of my standard tips fit (too loose), but I didn’t expect them to. They are a relatively shallow fitting IEM, but the nozzles are long enough for most tips to seal effectively. Foam still gives me the best combination of seal and comfort and these also remained very secure on the nozzle.

SOUND QUALITY
Most of the testing at this point was done with my FiiO M11, no EQ, and Shire large Olive foam tips. I used the M11 simply because paired they gave me a very transparent window to the music with low impedance, and more than enough power.

For the record – on most tracks, the volume level on the M11 was around 40/120 on low gain (depending on the track) which was giving me an average SPL around 65-75 dB. Tracks used were across a variety of genres – and can be viewed in this list https://www.head-fi.org/f/articles/brookos-test-tracks.17556/

While testing I constantly switched with my Alclair Curve to give me a good reference base-line.

Relativities
  • Sub-bass – In reasonable balance with mid-range but ultimately sitting below both mid-bass and upper mid-range. Extension is good and the sub-bass rumble is definitely audible (Lorde's “Royals), although a little subdued. The bass is typical of most BAs I’ve heard. It is quick with clean decay and good speed.
  • Mid-bass – above sub-bass and about even with upper mids, and has medium impact. The bass timbre and definition is quite clean and clear, and this is bass quality and that most people should enjoy. Bass lovers may be missing some overall quantity, but I personally find it nicely balanced. With Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” there is sufficient impact whilst still maintaining clarity. Its not thumping – but its definitely there.
  • Lower mid-range – very slightly recessed compared to bass and upper mid-range. Both male and female vocal fundamentals are excellent though. Male vocals still come across with good body, and I’ve really enjoyed the likes of Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), Shaun Morgan (Seether) and Joe Bonamassa.
  • Upper mid-range – There is a slow and shallow rise from the lower mid-range to a peak at 3-4 kHz, then a drop through 5kHz and extended progression to the lower treble. The transition from lower to upper-mids is cohesive, and there is enough presence to provide both detail and presence. There is some euphony with female vocals, but it never over-done. The upper and lower mid-range on the AF1120 Mk2 is definitely it’s strength.
  • Lower treble has a peak at 7-9 kHz, and then drops away a little through 10 kHz. The peak at 7 kHz gives detail and brilliance with cymbals, although the decay on the cymbals “splashes/crashes” just a little more than actually ‘shimmering’. Its still really well done – but after listening to AMEs Argent recently and its electret treble extension, nothing will ever be quite the same for me again.
  • Upper treble appears to extends quite well but is below the rest of the signature. It is difficult to capture properly on my measurement rig, and with my “aged” hearing I no longer notice much over 12 kHz anyway.
Overall this is a reasonably well balanced monitor with a very slight lower treble emphasis. It sounds quite natural and very well balanced.

Resolution / Detail / Clarity
  • Very good cohesion in the mid-range, and the slight progression through upper mid-range provides detail in the presence area with good clarity and texture especially around vocals and guitar.
  • Good upper end detail (hi-hats/cymbals) with reasonable decay.
  • Clean and clear signature with enough bass to compliment without losing any detail.
Sound-stage, Imaging
  • Very clear directional cues, just at the periphery of my head space – so reasonably intimate feeling of width and depth.
  • Imaging is clean and there is good separation of instruments without being clinical. No signs of smearing.
  • Decent sense of immersion (applause section of “Dante's Prayer”) with an impression that the crowd is around you (you are sitting right in it). Nice sense of depth as well – although width seems slightly stronger.
  • Live recording of Lakme's “Flower Duet” (Netrebko and Garanca) had good presentation of space – especially as the singers move from front to rear of stage. Not as good as the likes of 64Audios U10 – but still quite compelling.
  • “Let It Rain” had fantastic sense of 3D (the way it is miked) and sibilance is present - I know it exists in the recording. Not enhanced or over-emphasised which is a good sign that the 7 kHz peak is not over emphasised.
Strengths
  • Speed and texture of both sub and mid-bass.
  • Spherical sense of stage (a little left/right – but not excessive), and intimate rather than overly spacious
  • Excellent mid-range which suits both female and male vocals.
  • Slight euphony with female vocals in the upper mid-range
  • Detailed and clear with no brittleness
Weaknesses
  • Sub-bass, while present, has very slight roll off
  • Very slightly splashy in the cymbal presence area
AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS
The Audiofly AF1120 Mk2 doesn’t need amplification for overall volume – and because its impedance is a relatively low 11 ohms, a source with an output impedance of around 0-1.5 ohms (to meet damping requirements) should make the best match. Most good sources should easily sit in the 0-1 ohm range. I did try the AF1120 with a higher impedance source (3 ohms) and there was a subtle shift in tonality (it became slightly brighter).
With the M11 around 40/120 low gain volume covers my normal 65-75 dB listening level. With M9 the range is 42-45/120 for the same listening volume. The AF1120 is pretty easy to drive, and even the diminutive M6 has no problems driving them and sounding extremely good to boot. Most decent sources (including smart-phones) should;d be able to power them well. The secret of course is to make sure the low impedance is managed.

Next up was amplification, which meant testing with the Q1ii, E17K, Q5, and XP-2. In each case I noted a slightly different tonality (especially with the XP-2) but noticed no real differences in dynamics on any of the additionally amped sources. The XP-2 (via bluetooth) added some extra warmth which was actually quite nice, but IMO the AF1120 can do perfectly well without additional amping.

RESPONSE TO EQ?
Personally I find the AF1120 pretty much aligned to my personal tastes with regard to default signature. To test EQ ability though, I used the M11’s built in EQ to give a slight boost to sub-bass and a small cut at 8kHz. The lower treble cut reduced some of the splashiness of the treble with cymbals, and the sub-bass boost definitely increased the audible rumble. However whilst I’d probably keep the small 8kHz drop – the sub-bass increase does hit the clarity a little, and to be honest I like the bass the way it is. Its nice to see what the drivers can do though, and if you like tinkering, you’ll enjoy fine tuning this IEM to your preferences (it responds well).

COMPARISON WITH OTHER IEMS
These comparisons were all done with the M11, (no EQ) – and volume matched using a calibrated SPL meter and fixed 1kHz test tone first. For this series of tests I’ve tried to look at both value and quality – pitting the AF11230 Mk2 against other similar BA based IEMs (with a hybrid thrown in for good measure). For comparison I’ve used FiiO’s FA7, FH7, Alclair’s Curve, Earsonic’s ES3, Fearless Audio’s S8F and 64Audio’s U10. This is pretty subjective, but the graphs do show relativity against the other IEMs for reference.

Audiofly AF1120 Mk2 ($700) vs Alclair Curve ($250)
Build fit and comfort
The Curve is dual BA vs the AF1120’s six. Both have an extremely ergonomic shape and both fit perfectly. Both are well crafted from a plastic polymer and have well made replaceable cables – my preference would be for the two pin Curve (personal). In this comparison, its a tie on build quality comfort, and ergonomics.

Sound & Value
As you can see from the graphs, these are two very similar sounding monitors. The bass is practically identical, with the main difference in the upper mid-range and lower treble (and this is a different flavour rather than being a different sound). The Curve has slightly more euphony with female vocalists and a little less splash in the lower treble. The AF1120 has slightly better male/female vocal balance, but a little more emphasis in the lower treble. It also may have a slight edge in instrument separation and imaging – but its not a game breaker. Both are incredibly well balanced and a joy to listen to. For me personally, I’ll stick with the Curve but either are a good recommendation.

Audiofly AF1120 Mk2 ($700) vs FiiO FA7 ($300)
Build fit and comfort
The FA7 is quad BA vs the AF1120’s six. Both have an ergonomic shape and both fit perfectly. Both are well crafted (from resin or plastic polymer) and have well made replaceable cables – with the AF1120 Mk2 cable being lighter and more pliable. In this comparison again its a tie on build quality comfort, and ergonomics.

Sound & Value
These are chalk and cheese. FiiO tried to add some warmth to their signature, and elevated the bass – a lot compared to the mid-range. The mid-range (if you cut the bass) is almost perfect, but in its default signature, it is overly warm, lacks definition, and is highly bass emphasised. The added bass bleeds into the mid-range, and it sounds cloyingly dark. The AF1120 Mk2 in comparison has balance and clarity, whilst still keeping a tonality which works well across most genres. A good example of tuning both bad FA7 and good AF1120 Mk2. Here the AF1120 wins by quite a margin and is well worth the additional cost.

Audiofly AF1120 Mk2 ($700) vs FiiO FH7 ($450)
Build, fit and comfort
This pits a 5 driver DD/BA Hybrid vs the 6 driver all BA AF1120 Mk2. Both IEMs have ergonomic shells and are very comfortable for long term listening. Both also have replaceable cables. Comfort and build quality here is shared. Personally for me, fit is slightly better on the AF1120 Mk2 and it wins in terms of isolation. The FH7 has the better cable.

Sound & Value
There is some similarity with these two IEMs, but the differences shown in the frequency response don’t quite show the true story. The perceived bass of the FH7 DD is closer than the graphs show vs the AF1120 Mk2 BA delivery (the AF1120 Mk2 does have more overall mid-bass impact though, and is quicker). Mid-range is somewhat similar, but the main difference comes with the more forward mids of the FH7 vs the more classical slow rise of the AF1120 Mk2 (from lower mids to upper mids). Both are clean and clear though, and both very well balanced. The FH7 is a little leaner whilst the AF1120 Mk2 is a little fuller. My preference here is the AF1120 Mk2.

Audiofly AF1120 mk2 ($700) vs Fearless S8 Freedom ($489)
Build, fit and comfort
The AF1120 mk2 is a 6 driver BA vs the 8 driver Freedom S8. Both IEMs have extremely ergonomic shells and are superbly comfortable. Both also have replaceable cables, although the S8 Freedom’s is arguably better quality. Comfort, isolation and build quality here are shared.

Sound & Value
Somewhat similar overall tonality. The AF1120 has better end to end balance, and although the bass looks lighter, the balance with the rest of the signature doesn’t make it sound bass light to me. Everything in a signature is relative. Both have very quick transients and do detail really well. The S8 Freedom has more emphasis in the lower end and a smoother overall tonality. The AF1120 has the better end to end balance with a slightly brighter top end. I really like both, and the winner here depends on the tonality you’re looking for.

Audiofly AF1120 mk2 ($700) vs Earsonics ES3 ($399)
Build, fit and comfort
The AF1120 mk2 is a 6 driver per side BA vs the 3 driver per side Earsonics ES3. Both IEMs have ergonomic shells and are very comfortable – but the nod would go to the Audiofly AF1120 for a slightly smaller and better fitting body. Both have very good build quality and replaceable cables, and my personal preference is for the 2 pin ES3 cable. Comfort, isolation and build quality here are comparable.

Sound & Value
These two have quite different tonality. The ES3 is very flat through the mid-bass, but has elevated sub-bass. So it is a very clean and clear monitor which sounds somewhat lean, but has some bottom end kick. Personally I find the ES3 can be a bit dry with male vocal fundamentals. The AF1120 may not have the bottom end kick – but it has a fuller mid-range, and ultimately sounds more natural. Both have very quick transients and handle detail really well. For my preferences, I much prefer the AF1120 despite the rather large price differential.

Audiofly AF1120 mk2 ($700) vs 64 Audio U10 ($1300)
Build fit and comfort
The U10 is a 10 driver per side multi-BA IEM vs the 6 driver per side AF1120. Both are extremely well made with ergonomic shells and replaceable cables. The U10 is slightly bulkier, and the AF1120 does ultimately fit a little more comfortably. Both have replaceable cables, although I prefer the U10’s 2 pin model. The U10 has the advantage of changing modules to control tonality, but at the cost of some isolation.

Sound & Value
There is a large price difference here, and the reason for choosing this comparison was because both are incredibly natural sounding monitors – with very similar mid-ranges. The U10 has more bass, but it actually has about the same overall impact because of the Apex modules (they measure bassier than they actually are). The bigger difference is at the other end of the frequency where the U10 has a little less lower treble emphasis and consequently isn’t quite as splashy with cymbals. There is a little more decay. The U10 is also a lot more open sounding (again the Apex modules). What both IEMs have though is a wonderful balance in the mid-range, and excel with both male and female vocals. The fact that I can favourably compare two IEMs with this much difference in price is a testament to the AF1120. Ultimately the U10 is slightly better (IMO), but if you’re on a tighter budget, the AF1120 will give you a similar signature for almost half the price.

VALUE
Always hard to judge, and especially when an IEM starts sitting in the $500 - $1000 bracket. Ultimately the AF1120 Mk2 delivery an excellent overall tonality, and a very special mid-range which (IMO) does sit it above most IEMs in the under $500 bracket. Ultimately is it a screaming bargain? I think it meets its overall value position – good build, good accessories, good comfort and fit, and a really balanced sound. Its not a dead-set “sonic diamond” bargain – but it does justify its price point.

AUDIOFLY AF1120 MK2 – SUMMARY
This was my first experience with Audiofly, and I have to say – they know how to tune a monitor pretty well. The AF1120 Mk2 meets its target as their flagship universal. Add in a very good accessory package, extremely good build quality, overall design, and exceptional comfort and you have a great overall package. If I had one recommendation on build, it would be to rethink the cable. Control those tangles with a change in design and it would cease to be a potential issue.

The tuning is mature and balanced across the spectrum. It has good extension at both ends, although perhaps slightly lean in sub-bass, and slightly emphasised in lower treble. Neither tuning choice is a mistake though – as a whole, the AF1120 Mk2 really works. It has a very natural overall tonality, and sounds great with both male and female vocals. I’ve had the AF1120 mk2 for almost 3 months, and for me its been a slow burner (impressing me more and more as I’ve spent time with them). They aren’t an IEM which immediately grabbed my attention, but one where my appreciation of their strengths has increased as I’ve got to know them better. Ultimately for me, that generally indicates a longer term keeper. If I didn’t have the Curve and U10, I’d be very tempted to get a pair. I will (based on my experience with the AF1120 mk2) unreservedly recommend them. For $700 they are not cheap – but IMO they do represent reasonable value.

My sincere thanks to Michelle and also the team at Audiofly for allowing me to review the AF1120 Mk2. I will miss having them around.

Pros: Perfect ergonomics with tiny, low-profile housings, Universal MMCX, Excellent balance, Outstanding midrange timbre and resolution
Cons: Smooth treble can lack detail presence, Modest end to end extension
Pros –

Perfect ergonomics with tiny, low-profile housings, Universal MMCX, Excellent balance, Outstanding midrange timbre and resolution

Cons –

Smooth treble can lack detail presence, Modest end to end extension

Verdict –

The AF1120 rewards those valuing accuracy, balance and a natural tone with perfect ergonomics and a newly upgradeable cable on top

Introduction –

Forged in the passionate flames of local music lovers, Australian audio company Audiofly seeks to provide sounds that suit both professionals and enthusiasts at flexible price points. In accordance, their product line-up is split between convenient consumer models and high-end monitors only found in specialist stores. The AF1120 is their magnum opus monitor, featuring a whopping 6 balanced armature drivers per side coordinated via 3-way electronic + acoustic crossover with Butterworth filter that keep the sound as flat as possible. Fans of the site might have read my review of their 1st generation flagship that blew me away with its linear, almost perfectly balanced sound and superb ergonomics. However, there were caveats, most notably its thin, tangle-prone cable with keyed MMCX that prevented the use of third party replacements. Audiofly has since updated their entire line-up with new models and 2nd generation refreshes of their hit classics. The 2nd Generation AF1120 features the same gorgeous sound and design now with universal MMCX connectors. You can read more about the AF1120 MK2 and treat yourself to a set here.



Disclaimer –

I would like to thank Audio Fly very much for their quick communication and for providing me with the AF1120 MK2 for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.



Accessories –


The new AF1120 has a beefed-up accessory set that showcases its professional application. From a pelican style hard-case with non-scratch velvet interior to the 1/4″ adapter and assortment of silicone, foam and tri-flange ear tips, the AF1120 includes anything an audiophile could want. The addition of genuine Comply foams that offer greater noise isolation is a great addition for frequent travellers too in addition to a gold-plated aeroplane adapter.



Design –

Similar to the 1st generation model, and the rest of Audiofly’s universal monitors on that note, the AF1120 MK2 has perfect ergonomics for my medium-sized ears. The housings are transparent acrylic, showcasing the technology inside, and they are exceptionally compact especially when considering the driver count. Furthermore, the housings are very slim, forming a low-profile fit that is flat enough to sleep on, and wind-noise is also mitigated as a result.


The housings are fully-sealed with thin, well-angled nozzles that contribute towards a deep fit and a strong seal, providing excellent passive noise isolation. The earphones fit T100 size tips and my preferred Westone Star tips provided excellent comfort alongside a desirable sound. With foams, noise isolation is further increased, silencing commute and suiting air travel, though I personally found them to attenuate the highs too much for my ears. The light, compact housings also stay put during active use and disappear in the ear, forming no hotspots extended listening sessions.


A hallmark feature of the MK2 is the new universal MMCX connectors. The stock cable is thin with a twisted braid above the y-split and Cordura fabric sheath below leading to a rubberized right angle plug. It’s smooth, sturdy and supple, however, the tight braid does result in slightly higher microphonic noise that is only somewhat mitigated by an over-ear fit. The pre-moulded ear guides are soft and comfortable, and the ability to swap in a 3rd party replacement cable is surely appealing; especially for those wanting to use Bluetooth cables or modules in addition to audiophiles looking to upgrade and professionals who may want to replace the cable more frequently due to wear and tear.



Sound –

Tonality –

I visited the AF1120 a few years ago where it stunned me with its excellent balance and tone. Sonically, I have been informed that nothing has changed, and to me, that’s a positive as I didn’t see many issues with the original – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. So, the same can be said here with the MK2, which offers great balance from bottom to top and trades the sparkle and range of most flagships for a presentation that is rather exceptionally clean and composed. There are notable bumps lying in the upper-midrange and middle-treble to redeem clarity and some headroom. However, this is counterbalanced by a smooth lower-treble and light mid to upper-bass warmth that results in a coherent and natural sound overall.



Bass –

It’s clear upon comparison to other modern IEMs in this class that sub-bass extension is not a prime strength of the AF1120 MK2. Though it does possess some slam and rumble, sub-bass rolls of smoothly where others provide a bit more thump. This is redeemed by a punchy, lightly emphasized mid-bass that injects additional bass note body and size, resulting in a pleasantly full low-end presentation. Emphasis continues into the upper-bass which may spark more contention as this does make the AF1120 sound just a touch tubby. Nonetheless, it is not congested, bloated or overdone in any manifestation, this is a tastefully warm low-end with good depth and great coherence.

Part of the AF1120’s appeal surely stems from its bass qualities. Though contemporary offerings from Custom Art, to name an example, offer curated decay properties, the AF1120 employs old-fashioned carburettor tuning to achieve its presentation. It is clearly a quick, agile and BA-timbre low-end with surgical driver control on top, and these qualities ensure its warmth never becomes a deficit. Detail retrieval is excellent as a result, and there isn’t an iota of flab or bloom with surprisingly good separation on top. The AF1120 has excellent pace and definition, though not perfectly transparent, it has natural quantity and its organic tone is a pleasure to the ear.



Mids –

Easily a prime strength of this earphone is its vocal presentation that is accurate, natural and resolving. As a result of bass emphasis, especially its upper-bass, the midrange is a touch full-bodied. In turn, a small dip in the lower-midrange can be observed followed by a gradual climb to a natural 3KHz emphasis. As a result, the AF1120 MK2 isn’t overly warm as the additional body derived from its low-end is effectively counterbalanced by its lifted clarity. The result is well-resolved midrange notes and vocals that lie in perfect balance with its bass. Though not perfectly linear, vocal timbre is excellent on the vast majority of tracks.


As there is some emphasis here, the earphones are a touch more track dependent than earphones with less bass warmth. However, Audiofly’s colourations are very well-measured and listeners are rewarded with a sound that retains impressive vocal clarity and extension while maintaining lush body and a slightly warm tone. Furthermore, as the lower-treble is smooth, sibilance is non-existent and the AF1120’s vocals are smooth yet without a hint of veil. What we observe here is a masterful balance between body, tone and clarity with strong technical qualities.



Highs –

The AF1120’s high-end is quite a curiosity, with a sizeable dip in the lower-treble at 5KHz that takes some edge off percussion and strings, a rise to a small middle-treble peak and subsequent fall-off. As the 6KHz region is also a touch attenuated, the foreground of the earphone is smooth, flattering the midrange, but perhaps lacking some attack and aggression for some listeners and genres such as rock. Meanwhile, that small middle-treble bump adds a touch of clarity, so strings are still crisp and cymbal hits have ample attack with just slightly faster shimmer and decay. This contributes to a very clean foreground but can make high-hats sound slightly truncated. Notes also aren’t brittle or thin, a trait that lower-treble emphasized earphones can suffer from. Furthermore, as the emphasis is just above the lower-treble, the background remains dark, further contributing towards immaculate cleanliness.

This enables the listener to focus on foreground details despite their smoothness. Compared to the pricier EE Phantom that bears a similar treble presentation, the same micro-detail retrieval and resolving power in the upper registers cannot be observed. The earphones still possess solid headroom and extension though they do trade sparkle and some resolution for cleanliness. Still, they are resolving of fine details in the foreground and their background, though dark, does possess ample information to provide contrast and distinction between layers, providing the multi-faceted high-end IEM presentation that one would expect for the price.



Soundstage –

It’s clear from analysis of its treble that the AF1120 prioritizes composition, coherence and cleanliness over extension and sparkle. The result is a more intimate soundstage with expansion just beyond the head in all axis. The stage is redeemed by its excellent positioning and imaging, a by-product of the earphone’s superb balance. Chiefly, the stage is well-rounded and vocals have a strong centre image while instruments are clearly located to the sides. Layers are defined on behalf of its darker background though there isn’t huge background/foreground distinction as vocals haven’t received notable push through the centre midrange. Meanwhile, that small middle-treble emphasis translates to crisp and sharp directional cues if not a sparkly and holographic presentation. The sound is well separated despite its warmth due to rapid decay and strong separation between the three core frequency bands. Details are easy to discern and the presentation impresses especially with its coherence, remaining well-resolved throughout.



Driveability –

With a low 11-ohm impedance and 109dB sensitivity, the AF1120 MK2 is very efficient and easily driven to high volumes from portable sources. With a higher driver count and sophisticated crossover, the AF1120 MK2 sounds most faithful through a low-impedance source. The 10-ohm Hiby R6, for instance, resulted in a markedly brighter and more aggressive sound. Its bass rolls off sooner and is more neutral, meanwhile, the midrange is brighter and more upper-midrange dominated. Highs are considerably more forward and aggressive. Those searching for a more typical BA sound heavier on details may want to experiment with impedance adapters while those wanting the most coherent sound will surely benefit from a low-impedance DAP or IEMatch.



Comparisons –

Custom Art Fibae Black ($495): The Fibae Black pursues a similar tuning, however, with a smoother upper-midrange and without the middle-treble bump. The Black has a more sub-bass quantity and possesses slightly more extension than the AF1120, delivering slightly more rumble and slam. It has noticeably more mid-bass, producing a fuller, warmer low-end. This extends to the upper-bass so although bass is elevated, it doesn’t sound humped or especially off-timbre, and a sharper dip into the lower-midrange aids the retention of clean vocals. The AF1120 is cleaner yet and has faster decay. It is slightly more controlled where the Black has slower decay but also sounds more dynamic. Both are well-defined, the Black has a slightly smoother texture while the AF1120 is more separated and defined. The midrange presentation is intriguing on the Black, taking smoothness and cleanliness to new heights. With its full fundamental, modest centre midrange emphasis climbing to a 3K hump and subsequent drop off through the upper-midrange and lower-treble, it is dense, velvety and vocal forward, delivering ample clarity on top. As the lower-midrange is slightly recessed, the tone is only slightly warm and there isn’t a hint of raspiness, thinness or sibilance, vocals are defined and clear yet delightfully lush.

The AF1120 has a more transparent midrange, boasting a more progressive climb through the centre midrange and greater lower-midrange linearity. Its timbre is slightly more accurate and its upper-midrange extension is substantially better. As the Audiofly derives its smoothness and cleanliness from the treble instead, it sounds clearer and more open but also lacks the same sense of lushness and density, pursuing a more accurate timbre and tone. The Black actually has a bit more bite in the lower-treble with a small 6K peak that redeems crispness and detail presence. Meanwhile, the AF1120 has higher emphasis, its treble sounds a bit thinner but also clearer with substantially more air and headroom. The Black rolls off gradually through the middle-treble and it has little information in the highest-registers. What it achieves with just a single driver is extraordinary, yet with regards to top-end extension and headroom, the AF1120 handily outperforms it. This is reinforced by the presentation where the AF1120 is more spacious and separated, where the warmer, fuller and darker black is highly coherent and more organised but within a smaller space.



Oriveti OH500 ($499): The OH500 is a W-shaped IEM, clearly less linear than the AF1120 MK2 but also more engaging and with greater range. Its dynamic woofer permits immediately greater bass extension that is reinforced by modest emphasis that grants it greater fullness. The OH500 has a touch more mid-bass as well, but falls off significantly faster through the upper-bass, providing a cleaner bass tone. The Oriveti is without warmth where the AF1120 MK2 is slightly warmer despite not being as full. In terms of control, the Oriveti has longer decay, where the AF1120 is more defined and controlled. Into the midrange, the OH500 has a more clearly recessed lower-midrange and has a more aggressive centre-midrange emphasis that brings its vocals to the fore to match its bass. The AF1120 meanwhile, is more linear, sounding fuller and more natural but also with less clarity and vocal focus. The OH500’s vocal timbre isn’t as accurate, however, it does provide more immediacy and it has slightly better separation. The AF1120 can sound a bit congested by direct comparison. However, once acclimatized, it is the more accurate performer and more consistent in presentation between tracks on behalf of its greater linearity and more even bass/midrange transition.

Interestingly, both earphones employ similar upper-midrange emphasis to derive clarity followed by a drop in the lower-treble to retain smoothness and avoid over-articulation. They are also very similar troughs in terms of range and intensity and both earphones implement middle-treble bumps to redeem crispness, clarity and detail presence in addition to aiding headroom. The OH500 is the crisper earphone, it is more engaging with its W-shaped tuning. Meanwhile, the AF1120 is smoother and a bit darker, it sounds slightly more organised and composed where the OH500 is crisper but also thinner and slightly more brittle. The OH500 provides a little more sparkle and extension, however, both are well-resolving earphones with strong detail retrieval in the foreground and background. The OH500 has the larger soundstage as a result, both have very clean backgrounds, the AF1120 images better and is more coherent due to its tuning where the OH500 has better tri-frequency separation.

Campfire Audio Andromeda ($1099): Not the most fair comparison in terms of price, however, the Andro is undoubtedly a reference standard in the high-end IEM world. It too, is more W-shaped and engaging, however, it also commands convincing body and warmth, an appealing combo. The AF1120 is flatter, it is less dynamic but also more coherent and what is there is more focussed where the Andromeda has more scale and fine nuance to its sound. The Andro has superior sub-bass extension, it also has more sub-bass quantity delivering more solid slam and rumble. Its mid-bass is very similar, providing a slightly fuller, punchier low-end with more body overall. Both earphones have similar upper-bass tuning too, and both are lightly warm in their low-end presentations. The Andro has faster decay and greater control, however, as the AF1120 is a little cleaner, it delivers slightly more definition through the mid-bass. As the Andro extends further, it ends up sounding a more dynamic. Meanwhile, the AF1120 is smoother and less aggressive in its presentation while upholding almost as much detail retrieval. Through the midrange, the Andromeda sees and earlier centre midrange rise that brings its vocals to the fore, after which, it sustains emphasis until a modest lower-treble peak. The AF1120 rather builds gradually through the centre midrange to a more emphasized upper-midrange and significantly less emphasized lower-treble.

The result is a clearer but also slightly warmer vocal on the Andromeda in addition to greater vocal extension. Meanwhile, the AF1120’s vocals are more in line with its bass, the Andromeda pushing vocals slightly behind instruments. The AF1120 trades definition for greater note resolution, sounding a touch more coherent and filled-in compared to the Andromeda. Treble is sharper and clearer on the Andromeda, a by-product of its more present lower-treble and upper-treble. The Andro is crisper and more aggressively detailed, especially noticeable with its more concise percussion and bitier strings. Meanwhile, the AF1120 sounds considerably smoother and darker in this region. It lacks the sparkle, energy and headroom of the Andromeda, servicing the midrange with its smooth foreground treble tuning as opposed to focussing on the shine of its treble in isolation. The Andro is more detailed and has more background and micro-detail, it also extends further and has a larger stage. Meanwhile, the AF1120 has more coherent imaging and sounds cleaner which enables the listener to focus on smaller details more easily.



Verdict –


Audiofly’s design basks in the re-emergence of vinyl records, vintage speakers and appreciation of traditional acoustic design. Much like the original AF1120, the MK2 strike me as a well-balanced earphone, a sound perhaps from a bygone era, with superb tone and midrange timbre. Audiofly’s premium offering also now lies within a newer and more sophisticated market; and where other companies have implemented technological innovations to achieve great end to end extension and resolving power from small driver counts, the AF1120’s unaltered internals begin to show their age. Contrarily, its signature remains a highlight and a very natural tuning that modern earphones have, in trend, tended to steer away from. So though lacking sheer resolving power and headroom, the AF1120 rewards those valuing accuracy, balance and a natural tone with perfect ergonomics and a newly upgradeable cable on top. In so doing, it serves as a reminder that refined tuning is timeless in the face of innovation, though that statement does come with the biggest disclaimer yet.

The AF1120 MK2 can be purchased from Audiofly for $850 AUD. I am not affiliated with Audiofly and receive no earnings from purchases through this link.

This review was taken from my website Everyday Listening. If you enjoyed my review, please visit my site for more articles just like it!
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