Reviews by audioblog18

audioblog18

New Head-Fier
S.M.S.L SU-9 Review
Pros: Excellent resolution
- Holographic and accurate sound stage
- Neutrality
- Supports every Bluetooth codec (+UAT)
- Digital display
- Overall timbre is remarkable
Cons: A bit pricey from its predecessor
- Old school UI
Introduction
smsl.jpg



Foshan ShuangMuSanLin electronics Co., LTD or S.M.S.L audio was established way back 2009 in Shenzhen China , their forte are DACs, stereo headphone amplifier, and power amplifier, and they have their very own R&D, manufacturing and marketing team. They are very famous as they sell a lot of good products with very attractive price tag.

Checking out their website, it is filled with sufficient details about their company and products, they aren’t one of sketchy Chinese companies that doesn’t have their very own website, they even have a detailed timeline as well as page dedicated for their certificates and awards. It may sound irrelevant but having a decent website makes them much more reliable.

The S.M.S.L SU-9
img_20200929_23195128129.jpg

1601469911817-1.jpg

1603624537881.jpg

1603624537878.jpg

1603624537876.jpg

The SU-9 is the updated version of the SU-8 which was quite famous too and has gathered fair amount of positive reviews. The SU-8 comes with ESS ES9038Q2M DAC, with 32-bit HyperStream II architecture, improving sound quality and DoP function. During its time, it is the latest DAC from ESS, same thing with the SU-9. The SU-9 comes with ES9038PRO DAC which is currently the top performing DAC from ESS, it comes with a lot more features and upgrades from its predecessor. Few notable upgrades are the screen which made the navigation way easier (which I will discuss later), it supports MQA now as well and I will show it later as well as it works well with Tidal Master. Lastly it supports Bluetooth playback which is bluetooth 5.0 and it also supports LDAC and even the latest bluetooth audio technology, the UAT (Ultra Audio Transmission) which allows 192 kHz sampling rate and up to 1.2 Mbps bit rate which is a good news. The SU-9 is priced at 22,000 Php (439.99USD) which is almost twice the price of its predecessor, but given the upgrades I’m confident that it is definitely worth it.

Technical Specification:

Hd72939966aa841a48c52221f632545f2v.jpg
Construction and Appearance
1603624537892.jpg

1603624537889.jpg

1603624537873.jpg

1601469911817-1.jpg

1603624537881.jpg

1603624537876.jpg

The S.M.S.L SU-9 comes with CNC milled full aluminum casing just like the SU-8, there’s actually nothing special about that but there’s also a TFT display for navigating the DAC, the remote included might not be perfect for navigating the SU-9 but it is sufficient and is truly ergonomic compared to its predecessor. Looking at the its back, it is overloaded with numerous ports , there’s bluetooth antenna, balanced output (XLR), power cable input, optical input, coaxial input, remote window, RCA output, and USB input. I used it for a while now and ports feels rigid and same thing goes to knob. As far as the packaging goes, there’s nothing special about it, honestly it is just decent considering the price, what’s inside are the SU-9, remote control, power cable and Bluetooth 5.0 antenna.

Interface

  • 1603624537870.jpg
  • 1603624537864.jpg
  • 1603624537861.jpg
  • 1603624537858.jpg
  • 1603624537855.jpg
  • 1603624537852.jpg
  • 1603624537834.jpg
  • 1603624537837.jpg
  • 1603624537840.jpg
  • 1603624885987.jpg
  • 1603624537843.jpg
  • 1603624537846.jpg
  • 160362453784928129.jpg
What we can see in these pictures is that despite using a very simple UI, it is user friendly and easy to grasp without even reading their manuals (cause I didn’t tried to read it all). Home screen tells the connection type, file format and the volume. Using the remote or the volume knob (which is a bit harder to use) you can navigate through other options.

Sound
I love gears with midcentric to flat sound signature as I really love listening to vocals rather than instruments. My genre ranges from heavy rock, alternative rock, pop rock, acoustic, pop, jazz and folk. Majority of my test tracks are in 16 bit – 44 khz and 24 bit – 48 khz FLAC file and here is the list of my commom test tracks.

  1. Reese Lansangan – For the Fickle (Background, female vocals and upper mids)
  2. Billie Eilish – wish you were gay (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Micro details)
  3. Rex Orange County – Untitled (Mid Bass, Mids)
  4. Ed Sheeran – Dive (Mid bass, Lower Mids)
  5. Reese Lansangan– My Sweet Hometown (Upper Mids and Instruments)
  6. Polyphia – Goose (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  7. Utada Hikaru ft. Skrillex – Face My Fears (Imaging Layering, Bass, Mids, Treble, Coherence, Quickness)
  8. Polyphia – 40 oz. (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  9. Polyphia – GOAT (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  10. Ariana Grande – Raindrops (Background, Upper mids)
Bass
This time, I tried to be as meticulous as possible, I tried “GOAT” by Polyphia as soon as I decided to write this review, and man it’s speed complemented my HIFIMAN SUNDARA which is known for its fast bass. Sub bass is truly present here and it is being rendered with excellent transparency and texture, there’s nothing I can complain with this DAC, of course my experience is truly limited with DAC/AMP that I’ve already tried such as the iFi Micro and relatively few dekstop DAC such as the Burson Swing which is much pricier than the SU-9. I can easily rate this guy above every sources that I’ve tried so far. The bass of SU-9 is not too clinical since there’s decent thickness, despite that it is still amazingly detailed and transparent with nice depth and speed too, definitely an impressive bass tuning.

Midrange
img_20200930_121329.jpg

For the lower mid-range I actually used “Sanctuary” by Joji and it is truly a linear DAC, I usually listen with this track with mid-forward sources since I really like Joji’s vocals but with this DAC it is placed in the middle ground with zero hint of emphasis. I can’t hear any coloration on it’s presentation which means that the timbre of mid-range sounded really natural with a perfect balance between lushness and transparency. Upper mid-range seems to share the same fate with the former, I’m truly fond of female vocals and my music library proves it so much, I’m quite surprised with what I heard, the upper midrange never sounded shrill nor sibilant yet it isn’t recessed too, it is perfectly positioned with accurate timbre, nuances from Reese Lansangan’s “For the Fickle” is audible, it is textured rather than detailed but it is not presented in a thin manner which is quite rare. In an audiophile’s perspective, the SU-9’s mid-range is commendable, but for me who loves intimate vocal presentation this is just okay, nonetheless the technical aspect of its mid-range is just note-worthy.

Treble
Despite being reference-ish, the treble of SU-9 is far from being harsh at least based on the tracks and gears that I’ve used along with it. Playing “Asphyxia” by Co Shu Nie, I find the treble to possess just the right amount of sparkle, it is quick and resolving. I would say that they achieved a nice tuning here, it is quite relaxed due to its airiness but at the same time it is detailed too, I can’t really find any major flaw here, my minor gripe would be that it slightly lacks energy due to its uncolored presentation nonetheless with everything it offers such as resolution, speed, airiness and extension I wouldn’t mind if it sound a bit unenergetic.

Sound Stage and Resolution
1603624537828.jpg

The SU-9 excels with both, it is holographic and truly resolving at the same time. I wouldn’t say that it is too clinical or analytical since there is some hint of warmth but it can still pass as flat. Vertical and horizontal magnitude of the sound stage feels awesome, headroom is very sufficient too as I said it feels holographic and it really matches well with open back Headphone along with decent amplifier. Imaging and layering are superb too, it is accurate as I can pin point the positioning of instruments especially in live recordings. I just want to include the noise floor of this DAC, it is really clean and dead silent and this is maybe due to its ridiculously low THD+N. Going to its resolution, as I’ve said several times in this review, the SU-9 delivers sufficient details without sounding boring, from lows to highs, everything is rendered with commendable resolution (especially in the midrange), it is clean and quite transparent too!

Sound Signature and Comparison
The S.M.S.L SU-9 is undoubtedly reference level DAC, with near flat sound signature (slight warmth) and excellent detail retrieval quality. To keep it concise (because my review is too long already), I can say that it is neutral and can pair well with almost any gears out there, it is tuned quite safe and can actually please most if not all audiophiles out there since there is still good amount of body despite its resolving nature.

iFi Micro iDSD
lrm_export_36699613423544_20190512_0125348223901801724069392313.jpeg

Some might say that this comparison is unfair because the SU-9 is DAC only and is purely desktop equipment compared to the portable iFi micro, but considering the price and my experience with DACs, I think it is still good to compare these two great device. The iFi micro is noticeably wamer and it has thicker timbre compared to the more analytical SU-9. Bass feels deeper and more emphasized with the micro, while it is quicker with the SU-9, both have great extension while the SU-9 sounded more textured and refined. The midrange of micro has a more lush presentation with thicker vocals and instruments, again the SU-9 sounded more transparent and detailed compared to the micro. Lastly, treble seems to be a one sided round with SU-9 having the upper hand, it is just more extended, detailed and faster than the micro.

Topping D10s + Cayin C5
1603624537819.jpg

The SU-9 is priced more than four times the price of the D10S and that’s fine cause we’re losing a lot of features and raw specs from the former, but sound-wise (single ended) I wouldn’t say that they are 4x or even 2x away from each other. The bass of D10s is more flat and is thinner in timbre, it lacks extension as well, it isn’t as detailed as the SU-9 too but the difference is minimal. Midrange goes to SU-9, but the D10s is as flat as the SU-9 with less details and I think that is really impressive. Lastly, treble also goes to SU-9 by a notch, the D10s has less extension, details and is just smoother overall.

Pairing
HIFIMAN SUNDARA

img_20200930_121329.jpg

The Hifiman Sundara has been with me for more than a year and honestly, not even one IEM manage to equal the speed and transparency of the Sundara which made it my standard. This pairing has technical prowess but it may sound a bit too thin for some. Bass is deep enough with commendable resolution and speed, mid bass is really tight with great accuracy but it lacks weight and warmth at least for me. Midrange sounded clean and transparent with natural timbre, lower midrange is quite flat and has decent body (I wish it is a bit warmer), upper midrange came out sweet and quite intimate especially the female vocals. Treble has good sparkle, extension and speed though it slightly lacks air, it is extremely resolving and that is due to the excellent technicalities possessed by the SU-9. Sound stage is pretty holographic, very good openness which leads to remarkable imaging and layering.

MOONDROP STARFIELD
img_20200920_220733.jpg

The Starfield is innately warm and has natural vocal timbre with slightly sluggish bass response. Pairing it with the lovely SU-9, the mid bass became slightly quicker without losing the nice sub bass extension and rumble, the lovable weight of its bass was retained, resolution is noticeably better compared with other sources but it still leans toward smoothness. Lower midrange is as natural as ever, male vocals came out really well with good amount of lushness and more than enough amount of details. Upper midrange doesn’t sound that peaky, it is quite forward though and is considerably intimate without sounding thin. Treble didn’t improved that much from other sources, it is still the least dominant among the three but there’s some imorovement in terms of speed and sparkle, it is more detailed too. Sound stage is still IEM level in terms of magnitude but both imaging and layering are simply an uograde from my portable sources.

Kinera Freya
img_20200920_215554.jpg

As I’ve said with my Freya review, I really can’t recommend this IEM for someone who’s thirsty for details and critically listen with their gears on a daily basis, but somehow the SU-9 pushes the Freya to its limits by giving it better resolution and more 3d-ish sound stage. Sub bass still has a moderate extension with better texture, mid bass is slightly cleaner with nice weight and good attack and decay speed, it is still smooth but there’s an improvement with regards to textures and details. Midrange sounds really pleasant, nice balance of warmth ans clarity, the synergy of the two benefitted the overall timbre of the midrange as lower and upper midrange both sounded natural, it never sounded shrill nor peaky. Treble still sounded smooth and quite relaxes, it sounds slightly morr refined and there’s a slight added sparkle up top but the overall signature didn’t changed that much.

Conclusion
img_20200929_23195128129.jpg

Honestly, desktop DAC aren’t my specialty since I’m more fond with portables ever since I started with this hobby, it is less costly and offers mobility. I tried several DAC+AMPs such as the iFi micro iDSD, iFi Nano Black Label, Chord Hugo I, iFi Hip Dac and even some desktop DAC like the Aune X8, and honestly the SU-9 is comparable to the Micros and Hugos in terms of sound quality alone (based on IEMs only since Headphones are far more dependent with amplifier). It is quite expensive at 25,000 Php (450 USD) but I swear, the usability, features and sound quality easily justified its price. Top of the line sound with highly remarkable resolution and sound stage (accuracy and magnitude), definitely hands down.
shenzhenaudio
shenzhenaudio
Thanks for the first SU-9 review on head-fi. :thumbsup:
A
audiophile9000
great review. How does it compare with M400?

audioblog18

New Head-Fier
MOONDROP STARFIELD
Pros: -Natural timbre
-Eye-catching paint job
-Great accessories
-Commendable layering and imaging
-Non-fatiguing tonality
-Nice low-end weight
-More than decent extension on both ends
Cons: -So-so treble resolution
-Loose bass
-Paint chips pretty quick
The Company
fb_img_1596442429368.jpg

MOONDROP has been making audio gears since 2015, they became quite popular in 2019 due to their Kanas line up but i personally liked the Nameless when I bought it in 2018, it is very underrated and it features a very clean tonality. They became even more popular with their KXXS, Starfield and their ultra budget the Spaceship series. MOONDROP's flagship IEMs have good reputation too, both the Blessing and A8 have very good reviews from reviewers and users as well.

The MOONDROP Starfield

img_20200723_233006-1.jpg

img_20200723_224814.jpg

img_20200816_194849_1.jpg

img_20200816_204847.jpg

img_20200816_204933.jpg


The Starfield is indeed one if not the most eye-catching IEM under 5,000 Php(100 USD). It actually adapts the shell of KXXS but it is now painted with a galaxy-like design. I've got problems with paint chipping too and it's kinda disappointing. It is definitely the heaviest IEM that I currently have and it still doesn't put too much strain on my ears though it may with other ears (smaller ears maybe). It uses a single dynamic driver and I can honestly say that it is a well tuned one, it isn't perfect but it is really commendable for the price.


Technical Specification:


Driver: Carbon Nanotube diaphragm-10mm Dual cavity dynamic driver


Detachable cable standard: 24AWG Litz 4N OFC 1.2M


Cable Interface: 0.78 2pin interface


Sensitivity: 122dB/Vrms(@1khz)


Impedance: 32Ω±15% (@1khz)


Frequency response: 10Hz-36000 Hz (free field. 1/4 inch MIC)


Effective frequency response: 20Hz-20000 Hz (IEC60318-4)

Packaging

img_20200816_192841.jpg

img_20200816_193558.jpg

img_20200816_193640.jpg

img_20200816_193837_1.jpg

img_20200816_193751.jpg

img_20200816_193915.jpg

img_20200816_194028.jpg

img_20200816_203033.jpg

img_20200816_200634.jpg


Despite bad comments, I really think that they included pretty much everything that is needed for an IEM at this price tier, there's a good carrying pouch, a set of silicone eartips (6 pairs), a nice cable and even a filter replacement. It may not be as flashy as its predecessors but it is understandable since the price is reduced by almost 1/3. All in all, I honestly find the packaging of Starfield to be pretty great, maybe because I didn't owned a KXXS thus, I don't have high expectations for this IEM.

Fit and Comfort

img_20200816_194730.jpg

img_20200816_194630.jpg


As I've said, the Starfield is not even near being "light-weight" which means comfort and fit can be really tricky for some. Despite its weight, my ears doesn't felt any discomfort, isolation is not the best but it is good enough even in moderately noisy environments. The stock ear tips aren't that great so I used a 3rd party wide bore silicone ear tips which is my favorite, with proper ear tips it fits nicely to my ears. I won't really recommend this IEM for those with really small ears cause I think they'll have fitting issues with this.

Sound

I love gears with midcentric to flat sound signature as I really love listening to vocals rather than instruments. My genre ranges from heavy rock, alternative rock, pop rock, acoustic, pop, jazz and folk. Majority of my test tracks are in 16 bit – 44 khz and 24 bit – 48 khz FLAC file and here is the list of my commom test tracks.



  1. Reese Lansangan – For the Fickle (Background, female vocals and upper mids)
  2. Billie Eilish – wish you were gay (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Micro details)
  3. Rex Orange County – Untitled (Mid Bass, Mids)
  4. Ed Sheeran – Dive (Mid bass, Lower Mids)
  5. Reese Lansangan– My Sweet Hometown (Upper Mids and Instruments)
  6. Polyphia – Goose (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  7. Utada Hikaru ft. Skrillex – Face My Fears (Imaging Layering, Bass, Mids, Treble, Coherence, Quickness)
  8. Polyphia – 40 oz. (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  9. Polyphia – GOAT (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  10. Ariana Grande – Raindrops (Background, Upper mids)
Bass

This is definitely my only gripe (sound-wise) with the Starfield, both attack and decay isn't that quick, it is noticeable with complex passages that has plenty of instruments that mixed with vocals. I tried "bad guy" by Billie Eilish and sub bass is definitely present, rumbles are rendered nicely with moderate resolution and nice depth. Mid bass isn't as tight as other IEM's that I've tried recently, though it is faster than the BL03, it is not as agile as T2 Plus or the SSR which are priced lower than the Starfield, nonetheless there's moderate impact and weight that gives the overall bass of the Starfield a bit fun rather than linear, it's not too upfront though which is a nice move considering the speed and weight of the mid-bass, the positioning helped to kept it under control.

Midrange
img_20200723_233006-1.jpg

For me, midrange is the star of the show, it's not that it is a mid-centric pair of IEM but it is definitely the part I love the most. I'm quite impressed how the kept it to sound clean and still providing good amount of body for both lower and upper mid-range. There's no sign of dryness or hollowness even when playing pretty thin sounding male artists such as Rex Orange County and Passenger. Lower mid-range is neither upfront nor recessed, it is placed quite neutral, there's a very minimal bass bleed but it isn't audible unless you are really nitpicking. There's a minor peak on the upper mid-range which made the overall upper mid-range kinda sweet and a bit intimate. The Starfield isn't sibilant at all and it packs very good timbre with slightly lush approach which actually negates the slight bump, playing some tracks by NIKI feels smooth and enjoyable.

Treble

Treble isn't the forte of Starfield, it is rather smooth than resolving but it is well extended, the sparkle it packs isn't mind-blowing but instead it is just sufficient for the treble not to sound too dull or un-energetic. I can cite IEMs that has better treble response in this price range such as the Toneking T4 or even the BQEYZ Spring 1 but both of them doesn't have a well balanced mid-range like the Starfield. Both attack and decay of its treble is just moderately fast. Playing my treble-centric test tracks with the Starfield proves that the tuning here favors smoothness rather than resolution and it is nice thing for me who doesn't listen treble heavy tracks, therefore I can't really recommend this set for those who loves classical or metal music.

Sound Stage and Resolution

Both sound stage and resolution of the Starfield won't blow your mind, it won't slap you with great amount of details or drown you with extremely spacious sound but rather it will soothe you with its natural sounding timbre and smooth overall tonality. Sound stage isn't bad, it just lacks width but there's enough depth and height, maybe the sluggish bass and the mediocre sparkle on the treble is the reason behind this. Resolution is sufficient, for me I find the mid-range to be the most detailed area here, sub bass is fairly textured as well but the treble which is usually the highlight of highly resolving IEMs isn't that detailed nonetheless I find both layering and imaging to be superb despite the lack of sound stage magnitude.

Sound Signature and Synergy

img_20200816_204847.jpg

img_20200816_204933.jpg


I've used many sources in reviewing the Starfield, iFi Hip Dac, Cayin N5ii, Shanling UP4 and Topping D10s paired with Cayin c5 and Periodic Audio Ni. For me it pairs really well with the N5ii and Topping D10s which slightly boosted its treble response, the hip dac and UP4 on the other hand further highlighted its bass and lower mid-range which may be favorable for some. Nonetheless due to its harman tuning (Warm and Smooth) I'd suggest to use it with a neutral or bright source to balanced out its tonality, nonetheless its natural characteristic won't change even change sources, it still packs natural timbre with very good overall smoothness.

iFi Hip DAC

The hip dac adds body and warmth to the Starfield which is already a pretty full sounding IEM ootb, it may be a really good pairing for those who are searching for bassy pair but also wants a good quality one. The hip dac doesn't only add quantity but also it enhances the quality, despite its innate smoothness, it makes the bass slightly quicker and more refined. Mid-range sounds fuller while treble may sound a bit too smooth. This pairing has really good imaging, layering and sound stage magnitude which may be your cup of tea.

Cayin N5ii

I used the N5ii for the review simply because it is the best pairing while staying portable, the N5ii slightly made the loose bass of Starfield a little bit tighter and faster at the expense of weight. With the N5ii, everything sounded leaner coming from the Hip Dac, upper mid-range became a bit thin but it is still sufficient due to the fact that Starfield is innately warmish. Treble was pushed forward and is more sparkly than before which is nice, sound stage magnitude is slightly less than with the hip dac but I believe that this pair is more resolving.

Shanling UP4

My best portable buddy at the moment, it is a bit warm yet pretty powerful and smooth, this guy is definitely the most inferior one in terms of technicality but it's my favorite as I use it when I roam in my workplace (Industrial Plant). This is a very good pairing for portable use but definitely not the best for serious listening. Noticeable difference from other sources is that the midrange became too thick and treble became more un-energetic.

Topping D10s

The best pairing of them all, the Starfield became revealing and more accurate (layering and imaging) compared to other sources that I've tried. It "CAN" be portable but it will suck your transport's battery like a leech and it is really hard to carry nonetheless when listening on your desktop, this setup is just so good. Dynamics are really nice, bass, midrange and treble has an even body and transparency which I really like. Tho the speed of Starfield didn't improved much with this pairing, everything else sounded better coming from the sources mentioned above.

Comparison
img_20200816_204114.jpg
BFD Unix
img_20200816_204428-1.jpg

The UNIX is a single BA IEM and it is a U shaped IEM, bass weight and magnitude easily goes to the Starfield cause it is sufficient and isn't excessive too, well the UNIX is expectedly faster but it is rolled off compared to the deep sub bass of Starfield. Mid-range goes to Starfield as well, it is smoother and has better and more natural timbre, though I'd say that the UNIX packs a little bit more details but I prefer the tonality of Starfield. Despite the lack of extension of UNIX, it's treble is definitely more sparkly, resolving and faster than the smooth and un-energetic treble of Starfield thus I'll give this one to the UNIX. The Starfield is less resolving but it has better imaging, layering and even sound stage magnitude.

BQEYZ Spring 1
img_20200816_204637_1.jpg

We have a Spring 2 now but I don't have it yet, the Spring 1 is probably one of the best sub 6000 Php (120 USD) IEM last year and it can still go toe to toe with the Starfield. Tonality and Timbre easily goes to the Starfield, Spring 1's bass is tighter and faster but I believe that the Starfield has deeper sub bass, so it's just a matter of preference. Mid-range goes to Starfield, it definitely sounds fuller and more natural from lower to upper mid range. Treble goes to the Spring 1 though, it is faster and has more energy in it, extension are pretty parallel IMO, Spring 1 can squeeze more details on the treble too. Despite the tri-brid driver configuration of the Spring 1, I still find the Starfield to be better in terms of layering and imaging while the Spring 1 to be more resolving.

Kinera Freya
img_20200816_204548.jpg

An unfair match up price-wise, but they are more alike than I expected, I don't know if this Kinera Freya have a quality issue but I don't find it to be the one described by recent reviewers. Bass is much subtler than the Starfield, they almost have the same amount of details here while the starfield having deeper sub bass. Freya's mid-range is lush just like the Starfield but the upper mid-range came out too warm IMO, and despite having the same timbre, I can easily feel that the Starfield sounded more open. Lastly, treble sounded a bit more refined in the Freya, it is a bit more sparkly too but the difference is not really huge. Sound stage magnitude goes to the Starfield while layering, imaging and resolution goes to Freya (very close fight), The accessories of Freya is far far better than the Starfield tho since they even included 2 DAC Dongle (1 Type C and 1 Lightning).

Conclusion
img_20200723_224814.jpg

I've read a lot of praising review towards the Starfield but there are plenty of "meh" reviews as well, despite all of those negative remarks I will stand by my conclusion that the MOONDROP Starfield is a good buy and is pretty easy to recommend. It is probably the easiest to listen IEM in its price tier, bass is a bit loose but it is smooth, deep and has good amount of weight. Mid-range is smooth as well with commendably natural timbre and sweet upper mid-range. Treble is the weakest point due to lack of energy and resolution, nonetheless I can listen for hours when I'm using this IEM due to its relaxed, non-fatiguing and smooth treble. Layering and imaging is excellent while the overall resolution is obviously not the forte of this IEM. I've been using it for a month now and I spent more than half of my overall listening time with the Starfield.



Visit our website:

https://hiphilaudio.wordpress.com/2020/08/18/moondrop-starfield/
  • Like
Reactions: Cat Music
WriterHead
WriterHead
Great review.
audioblog18
audioblog18
Thanks!
L
LikeHolborn
my budget limit is 400$, any higher priced options similiar to this in sound? i really mean similiar. the 262 possibly similiar but "relatively" Old lol

audioblog18

New Head-Fier
TRN VX
Pros: -Fast and tight bass
-Commendable layering & imaging
-Good build quality
-Resolution is top notch
-Sparkly and well extended treble
Cons: -Treble peak
-Poor packaging & accessories
-Not so natural timbre
-Thin bass and lower mid-range
The Company
94436786_151716653022584_6626090091875926016_n.jpg

TRN is an audio company from China that uses almost identical marketing strategy with the Knowledge Zenith (KZ). If my memory serves me right, the first product released by TRN was the V10 then it was quickly followed by the V20 which became much more popular than the former. They unceasingly released products that usually use hybrid driver configuration (BA + DD). Their most successful item was the TRN V90 and I hope that they can be more consistent with their products.

The TRN VX
img_20200809_194149.jpg

img_20200809_191259_1.jpg

img_20200809_190809_1.jpg

img_20200809_200026_1.jpg

img_20200809_193143.jpg

The TRN VX’s housing is made out of metal which is quite heavier than the T2 Plus and SSR but is slightly lighter than the Starfield. The came in 3 colors which are black, green and the newly released navy blue. It uses 6 BA drivers and 1 DD driver that will handle the bass. As far as I know, it is the successor of their big hit – the TRN V90, which means it is their current top of the line IEM.

Technical Specifications:
  • Impedance: 22Ω
  • Sensitivity: 107dB/mW
  • Frequency range: 7 – 40000Hz
  • Connector type: 3.5mm 2 pin
  • Driver unit: 6BA+1DD hybrid driver unit (Super-sized 10mm Diaphragm + Customized BA)
Packaging
img_20200809_193441.jpg
img_20200809_193733.jpg

img_20200809_193953.jpg



Despite tagging the VX as their flagship IEM, it still uses their dusty packaging style, a small white box with the IEM outline printed on the front, their silicone ear-tips that is accented with red color and their braided plastic-y cable. I wish that they revamp their packaging as cheaper IEMs from MOONDROP, KBEAR and TinHifi ships it with better accessories and packaging. Nonetheless it contains the essentials but there’s nothing note worthy here.

Fit and Comfort
img_20200809_195306.jpg

img_20200809_194149.jpg

Despite having a quite heavy shell, it fits nicely to my ears without severe fatigue even when used for hours, it doesn’t fit as flush as the T2 Plus or the SSR but still it doesn’t have a poor fit and comfort, it is average at the very least. Isolation and seal is pretty decent too, it reduces outside noise and I can say that cause it is usable when I’m walking inside the Industrial Plant I’m working with.

Sound
I love gears with midcentric to flat sound signature as I really love listening to vocals rather than instruments. My genre ranges from heavy rock, alternative rock, pop rock, acoustic, pop, jazz and folk. Majority of my test tracks are in 16 bit – 44 khz and 24 bit – 48 khz FLAC file and here is the list of my commom test tracks.

  1. Reese Lansangan – For the Fickle (Background, female vocals and upper mids)
  2. Billie Eilish – bad guy (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Micro details)
  3. Arthur Nery – Higa (Mid Bass, Lower Mids)
  4. Taylor Swift ft. Bon Iver – Exile (Lower Mids, Upper Mids and Instrments)
  5. Reese Lansangan– My Sweet Hometown (Upper Mids and Instruments)
  6. Polyphia – Goose (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  7. Utada Hikaru ft. Skrillex – Face My Fears (Imaging Layering, Bass, Mids, Treble, Coherence, Quickness)
  8. Polyphia – 40 oz. (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  9. Polyphia – GOAT (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  10. Ariana Grande – Raindrops (Background, Upper mids)
Bass
Tight, deep and fast that’s how I would describe the bass of TRN VX, it is probably the second most commendable part of this IEM among the three major frequencies. It is slightly hollow sounding it doesn’t have the best tonality in its price tier (which belongs to the BL03 and T2 Plus). It goes fairly deep matched with commendable resolution, rumbles and texture are presented cleanly. The mid bass is surprisingly fast making the bass presentation coherent, it handles complex tracks with ease. The VX isn’t a bass canon but it has moderate amount of it that can still please some bass heads out there, it is quick and detailed which made the bass of VX respectable for the price, adding a little more body would’ve made its bass quite formidable.

Mid-range
Right off the bat, I noticed the trademark of KZ and TRN products-dry and hollow mid-range, I listened to Arthur Nery’s “Higa” and it does sound hollow especially when paired with Cayin N5 mk2 and with Topping D10s + Periodic Audio Ni, vocals sounded weird but it packs a lot of texture and details, it has a quite commendable separation, no bass bleed or whatsoever. The upper mid-range is more forward compared to the lower mid-range and it is noticeably sibilant as “s” and “ts” are emphasized. Vocals and instruments have the same timbre as with the lower mid-range, it is definitely not one of the most natural sounding pair in the price tier. Details and separation is still top notch here, I think that they intend to retain such timbre based on their market but for me, I honestly prefer a natural timbre than resolution and imaging.

Treble
img_20200809_193143.jpg

The strength of the VX is its airy, resolving and fast treble, yes there’s a noticeable peak but it is very source dependent for example it doesn’t sound harsh with my iFi Hip Dac and Topping D10s + Periodic Audio Ni but it is quite noticeable when paired with my Cayin N5 mk2. Using “40oz” by Polyphia, the amount of details matched with respectable attack and decay speed is just satisfying. I tend to mention a lot of tracks when talking about treble since I’m far from being a treble head thus I’m being really careful when criticizing treble region of anything that I review, I played “Asphyxia” by Co Shu Nie and there’s also sufficient air giving the VX a very good sound stage depth and height. To further support my findings, I finally played “Hard Times” by Paramore, there’s a very good amount of sparkle and it doesn’t linger long due to fast transient response rendering complex tracks without a sweat.

Sound Stage and Resolution
The stage of the VX is slightly deeper and wider than the T2 plus and is on par with the SSR, I think its nicely done treble helped a lot in this manner, imaging and layering is very good as well, I can properly pinpoint instruments when listening properly. Resolution is definitely the strongest part of the VX, nuances and textures are rendered nicely from bass to treble, the mid range is the weakest part IMO not because it is the least detailed part of the spectrum but rather it is the most unnatural sounding among the 3 major frequencies.

Sound Signature and Synergy
The TRN VX has a U to V shaped sound signature (leans toward cold than warm) which is not surprising from TRN since almost all of their releases adapts this kind of signature. I wouldn’t say that it has an elevated and warm bass but it is definitely more forward than the mid-range especially the lower ones. Lower mid-range is kinda recessed while the upper mid-range is slightly more forward than the former. Treble is forward yet detailed and well extended, it doesn’t sound too harsh but it is noticeable with selected tracks. I would love to pair it with warm (in terms of timbre) or mid-centric sources such as the Hip Dac cause it may add more weight to the mid-range which the VX really lacks.

img_20200809_191259_1.jpg

img_20200809_190809_1.jpg

Ifi Hip Dac, Cayin N5ii and Topping D10s + Periodic Audio Ni
Despite being warm, it doesn’t complement the VX as much as my favorite pairing (Topping D10s + Periodic Audio Ni). There’s added body but I can’t say that it sounded more natural compared to when I’m using the VX straight out of my phone. Bass is a bit more present and decays quite longer compared to Cayin N5ii and the Topping D10s. Treble was slightly tamed but it the sparkle and presence was reduced as well which I don’t like. Details aren’t as strong and present as with the N5ii or the D10s.

The Cayin n5ii has the worst synergy among the three due to its lean sounding mid-range that further thin out the mid-range of the VX. Bass became less present too but it is faster. Treble is detailed but it is not as relaxed as when paired with the Hip Dac or the D10s. Detail retrieval is nice, it is very revealing but this combo doesn’t have a pleasing timbre.

Finally my favorite pairing which basically make every IEM that I plug sound better, There’s no added body to the sound of the VX but somehow it sounds more natural with this pair even it is still quite thin. Bass is extremely clean but not as anemic and thin as with tha N5ii. Mid-range sounds more acceptable here, it sounds closer to neutral and lower mid-range especially male vocals sounded cleaner without sounding artificial. Treble still retained excellent details, speed and extension. It is the most detailed and layered pairing among the three as well.


Comparison
img_20200719_235827.jpg

img_20200705_212152-1.jpg

TinHifi T2 Plus
The VX and T2 Plus shares the same price which is around 2500 Php (50 USD), they have sligh similarities in terms of tuning since the former is a V shaped IEM while the other one tends to be a mild U shaped, they definitely differs with other aspects. I’d say that we have a faster bass in the VX but it sounds way thinner than the T2 Plus. In the mid-range department, we can get more details with the VX but we are losing timbre and it is more laid back compared to the T2 Plus. The treble department goes to the VX, there’s a noticeable peak compared to the more relaxed tuning of T2 Plus but it is fast, detailed and well extended. Sound stage size goes is on par while layering and imaging goes to the VX.

BLON BL03
The Blon BL03 is one of the best budget IEMs of 2019 and can still fight its way in 2020. The VX is obviously more detailed and sounds more agile than the BL03, on the other hand the BL03 is miles away in terms of timbre. The bass of the 2 IEMs doesn’t sound alike at all, one is thin and fast while the other one lingers longer and has more weight with better depth as well. Midrange goes to the BL03 it is smoother, more velvet-y which made it sound way more natural than the VX’s artificial sounding mid-range. Treble is a lot smoother in the BL03 too, it inferior in terms of speed, resolution and extension so there’s no doubt, I’m picking the VX here. Details obviously goes to the VX, it resolves more details across the spectrum than the BL03, the BL03 sounded more spacious but it is not as good as the VX in terms of layering and imaging.

MOONDROP SSR
The VX and the SSR has slight peaks, treble for the former and upper mid-range for the latter, despite that they sound really different from each other. SSR has more subtle bass presentation yet it sounds less thin and has better timbre than the VX, both are fast and well resolving. The SSR serves the mid-range in a forward manner, it is very clean and detailed yet still retains natural timbre across the board, well if you hate upper mid-range peak then pick the VX nonetheless the SSR is technically better in this department. SSR offers equally detailed,airy, fast and well extended treble but without the noticeable peak. Both are very detailed and has good layering and imaging capabilities (TRN VX is slightly better though), but if you value timbre then you’ll know which one to get.

Conclusion
img_20200809_190809_1.jpg

TRN has been serving us almost identical tuning with each iteration, treble peak is always present along with their never changing packaging and accessories. Can they still compete in 2020? Yes they are still pretty competitive but unlike in 2018, there are lots of competitive option now which will make you think twice to get a TRN since there are BL05, T2 Plus and SSR that are priced pretty much the same as the VX. Well if you prefer this kind of tuning and is thirsty of monstrous resolution then the VX will definitely quench your thirst with its 7 hybrid driver design that pulls out plenty of details from your tracks – at the expense of timbre.

audioblog18

New Head-Fier
MOONDROP SSR
Pros: -Fast and tight bass
-Transparent and lean mid-range
-Coherence
-Commendable imaging
-Light yet sturdy
-Resolution is top notch
-Price-to-performance ratio
Cons: -Peaky upper mid-range
-Needs little amplification
-Source dependent


Thank you SHENZENAUDIO for letting us give our honest take towards the MOONDROP SSR. Given that the review unit is from them and is free of charge, it doesn’t affect the honesty and integrity of this review.

Shop Link:

https://shenzhenaudio.com/products/moondrop-ssr-super-spaceship-reference-in-ear-earphone

The Company
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is fb_img_1596442429368.jpg



MOONDROP has been making audio gears since 2015, they became quite popular in 2019 due to their Kanas line up but i personally liked the Nameless when I bought it in 2018, it is very underrated and it features a very clean tonality. They became even more popular with their KXXS, STARFIELD and their ultra budget the Spaceship series. MOONDROP's flagship IEMs have good reputation too, both the Blessing and A8 have very good reviews from reviewers and users as well.

The MOONDROP SSR
img_20200723_231713-1.jpg



img_20200725_235644.jpg



img_20200705_211314.jpg



The SSR is the 2nd iteration of fhe Spaceship lineup, the last year's MOONDROP spaceship managed to het considerably good feedback despite being released along with the BLON BL03 which is the spotlight of budget IEMs last year. The SSR intends to give high price to performance ratio without compromising build quality and I believe that the SSR managed to kept their vision. The SSR has a great and unique build quality for the price, it didn't use any of common IEM shell at this price point, the shell isn't as smooth as the BL03 or the T2 Plus, but it feels slightly better than VX's shell.

Frequency Response: 20-40000Hz(% Inch Free field MIc)

Impedance: l6Ω@lkHz

THD: 1%

Housing Material: Liquid Metal Aloy HousIng

Dlaphragm: Beryllium-Coated dome+PU suspension Ring

Coil: 0.035mm - CCAW (Daikoku)

Magnet: N52-High Density Magnetic Circut

Acoustic Fiter: Patented Ant-blocking Filter

Cable: Silver Plated 4N-Litz OFC

Connectors: 0.78 -2pin

Packaging
img_20200705_205424.jpg



img_20200705_210008.jpg



img_20200705_210656-1.jpg


The packaging is quite generous for the price, you'll be greeted by an anime woman which has been a trademark for MOONDROP, it is very rare to see a carrying pouch in this price segment, although the pouch is on the smaller side it is still way better than not having one. The cable feels really nice too, it is coated and unbraided but based on my experience, the Nameless' cable didn't oxidize since the time I purchased it which means that the company really cares with the accessories. They also included 4 pairs of black silicone ear tips which I didn't liked but it feels better in the ears than the stock ear tips of KZ.

Fit and Comfort
img_20200705_211533.jpg



img_20200705_211515.jpg


The IEM shell of the SSR is on the lighter side despite using metal (liquid alloy) as material. I won't consider the shell to be ergonomic, there's a good curve on the shell that fits in my ears but it doesn't provide enough sound isolation, I prefer the shell of the T2 Plus or even the TRN VX since it is large enough to fit in my ears. On the other hand, I didn't felt any discomfort even when using it for hours and this is due to the fact that it is light weight and small. There's a striking industrial feeling to the design but I would've prefer a low profile shell cause it will provide better noise cancellation when listening in noisy areas.

Sound

I love gears with midcentric to flat sound signature as I really love listening to vocals rather than instruments. My genre ranges from heavy rock, alternative rock, pop rock, acoustic, pop, jazz and folk. Majority of my test tracks are in 16 bit – 44 khz and 24 bit – 48 khz FLAC file and here is the list of my commom test tracks.

  1. Reese Lansangan – For the Fickle (Background, female vocals and upper mids)
  2. Billie Eilish – wish you were gay (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Micro details)
  3. Rex Orange County – Untitled (Mid Bass, Mids)
  4. Ed Sheeran – Dive (Mid bass, Lower Mids)
  5. Reese Lansangan– My Sweet Hometown (Upper Mids and Instruments)
  6. Polyphia – Goose (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  7. Utada Hikaru ft. Skrillex – Face My Fears (Imaging Layering, Bass, Mids, Treble, Coherence, Quickness)
  8. Polyphia – 40 oz. (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  9. Polyphia – GOAT (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  10. Ariana Grande – Raindrops (Background, Upper mids)
Bass
Subtle bass and minimal sub bass, rumbles are present but it sounds faint because it isn't rich in quantity luckily there's ample of details making textures sound really nice. Playing through Billie Eilish's "bad guy" rumbles are far from elevated, if you are used to listening with warm sets like the BLON BL03 then you'll definitely miss the quantity but the SSR is much faster making it sound more coherent and controlled. I tried "G.O.A.T" by Polyphia mid bass lacks weight and quantity, thump-y is the best way to describe it, it is fast in both attack and decay and it is quite resolving too, it is placed neutrally. This isn't a warm set and no bass-head should buy this one cause it isn't made for that market, the subtle bass response of the SSR will be suitable for those who wants a detailed set and who are easily getting tired of warm/bassy IEM, nonetheless I'm quite impressed with the details, adding a little more thickness and weight should've made the SSR a quite formidable all-rounder.

Midrange
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_20200725_234617.jpg


I used "Untitled" by Rex Orange County for testing the lower mid-range and its balance between leanness and warmth and the SSR is just a bit biased towards leanness, it isn't as dry as the TRN VX for example but I slightly prefer the note thickness of Tin Audio T2 Plus or the BLON BL03, nonetheless there's zero audible bass bleed in this set which is nice, it is detailed even with instruments. Upper mid range is emphasized but with my source (iFi hip dac) it is far from being overdone, the upper midrange is just right for my ears, I played "Face My Fears by Utada Hikaru" and the timbre sounded accurate to me, it doesn't sound harsh to my ears, it is rather sweet and intimate, it's not sibilant too and it is pretty resolving for both vocals and instruments. Finally I played "My Sweet Hometown" by Reese Lansangan and it's just intoxicating, I usually listen during my one hour break and the sweetness I'm hearing from this sub 2000 Php/40 USD IEM is just insane, the whistle part on this track is just nicely presented, details and transparency is the weapon of the SSR but if you really hate emphasized upper mid-range then this isn't your cup of tea for sure.

Treble
Treble is clean, sparkly and has good extension, it is slightly emphasized but it is quite resolving and airy, the sharpness of treble actually helped it to sound more detailed and give cymbals a nice splash. Playing "Asphyxia" by Co Shu Nie sounded fairly nice, I expect it to be harsh and chaotic but the SSR has quite commendable attack and decay speed for both bass and treble, it sounded quite sharp at times but never congested. I'm not a treble person but the emphasis of SSR is more on the upper midrange than the treble that's why I still find it manageable, the peaks on the T2 pro and T3 are harsher than the SSR, despite the emphasis, the SSR impressively managed to retain a natural timbre and tonality. If you are a treble sensitive and using an analytical source, I won't recommend the SSR because you may find it bright but if you are neither of the two, the treble of SSR sounded great especially for the price.

Sound Stage and Resolution
This is where the SSR amazed me, it packs a lot of details for the asking price without sounding artificial. If we're talking about details and imaging, multiple driver IEMs from KZ and TRN can provide it at the same price but expect a thinny timbre especially on the mid range. The SSR easily render details from mid bass to treble, sub bass isn't the most detailed cause it doesn't go too deep, overall texture is quite commendable. Sound stage feels pretty large, there's enough vertical expansion and somewhat more than average width and depth. Layering and imaging are unexpectedly great too, unlike the Blon Bl03 that slightly suffers due to slow bass, the SSR is damn fast making the sound decay quicker and having better overall coherence.

Sound Signature and Synergy
The SSR took a quite rare tuning especially in this price tier that is saturated by Harman, warm and V shaped signature IEMs. The SSR leans toward being analytical with emphasis on the upper mid-range and treble. Expect good resolution on the mid-range and treble department, mid bass is quite detailed too but it lacks quantity and depth in my opinion which means that a nice warm source like the iFi Hip Dac will complement the SSR nicely. Pairing it with a neutral source may sound good too but expect some shoutiness on the upper mid range.

Ifi Hip Dac (3.5 and 4.4)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_20200705_211314.jpg



The Hip Dac has a warm tonality but I want to clarify that it doesn't sound bloated in any way, bass isn't emphasized but the overall presentation is thick making it sound warm. The SSR pairs perfectly with the Hip Dac, in fact I never suffered with the hotness of its upper mid range and lower treble that a lot of reviewer told in their review, bass has moderate depth, texture and remarkably quick. Mid-range sounded quite lean but never hollow, both vocals and instruments sounded clean and is not fatiguing in any way. Treble has moderate sparkle, nice transient speed and great extension. Turning on the xBass will make the SSR even more balanced with additional oohmp and throttling down the upper mid-range peak.

Using it with Satin Audio Chimera 4x, the SSR sounded cleaner, the cable also add some weight on the overall sound of the SSR. The mid range and treble didn't benefit too much with the cable but due to the termination, the SSR sounded more quiet, layering slightly improved too.

Comparison

  • img_20200705_212152-1.jpg


  • img_20200719_235827.jpg




TinHifi T2 Plus
The SSR is cheaper than the T2 Plus thus, I expected it to have inferior sound compared to the latter and my findings isn’t as straightforward as what I imagined. In terms of resolution, sound stage (size) and transparency, I’d pick the SSR over the T2 Plus but everything else goes to the T2 Plus. The layering and imaging of T2 plus is just nice, the stage isn’t grand but it is well layered and separated despite using a single dynamic driver. Timbre easily goes to the T2 Plus too, given that the SSR doesn’t sound that thin, I still prefer the control of T2 Plus with regards to note thickness, there’s no sign of shrillness too unlike with the SSR that can sound harsh at times. Bass sounds deeper, more textured and punchier on the T2 Plus too which is nice because it never sounded excessive it is just that the bass of SSR is subtle. The two doesn’t sound the same but having one between the two is more than enough, T2 Plus is easier to recommend overall due to its balanced sound.

BLON BL03
The Blon BL03 is one of the best budget IEMs of 2019 and can still fight its way in 2020. The SSR packs way more details and has slightly better imaging and layering capabilities, on the other hand the Bl03 has better tonality/timbre, it is smoother and sounds a bit more natural compared to the SSR. For the bass, it is a matter of preference, the BL03 will offer deeper sub bass and more elevated mid bass that decays quite slow (bass leaking to the mid-range and struggles with complex passages), while the SSR will offer much faster, tighter and more detailed bass at the expense of weight and depth. Midrange sounds more natural in the BL03 but it may be too smooth for some, the SSR sounds a bit dry but it packs good details, it is kinda peaky to especially when used with bright sources. Lastly, the treble of the SSR offers more brilliance, extension, speed and resolution while the BL03 sounded smoother yet airier treble that is much easier to listen. Technicalities easily goes to the SSR but the BL03 is tuned safely to the point that almost anyone can like its sound.

TRN VX
The VX and the SSR are almost parallel in terms of technicalities but I prefer the timbre of the SSR which is quite natural despite the midrange thinness. Bass goes deeper with the VX but they are equally resolving except that the SSR sounds more lean and has less weight into it. Midrange sounds dry on both IEMs but the SSR sounds more natural compared to the cupped midrange of VX. Both have excellent resolution, the SSR has more forward sounding midrange compared to the more laidback VX. The treble sounded more detailed on the VX, both sounds a bit sharp for me but they are both technically comendable.

Conclusion
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_20200725_235644.jpg



The SSR is back on sale now, the unit I received the mk1 yet I'm truly satisfied with how they were able to make a dynamic driver sound as technical as this without the timbre sounding whack. It pairs really well with the Hip Dac but it sounds sharp with the Cayin N5 mk2. The build quality is very good since it is made out of metal yet it is lightweight paired with nicely crafted cable and ear tips. This isn't the easiest to recommend due to its peaky upper mid range but it is probably one of the most technical entry for the price, definitely a good buy for those who prefer technical performance without having unnatural tonality, good job MOONDROP.
audioblog18
audioblog18
Thank you so much!
shenzhenaudio
shenzhenaudio
Love it, thank you. :)
audioblog18
audioblog18
No worries, the SSR won't please anyone for sure but they are really good technical set for less and I love it.

audioblog18

New Head-Fier
Pros: -Smooth and balanced tonality
-Jack of all trades
-Coherence
-Quick attack and decay across frequencies
-Ergonomic shell
-Price-to-performance ratio
Cons: -Not the most resolving pair
-Decent sounds stage size
Thank you SHENZENAUDIO for letting us give our honest take towards the TinHifi T2 Plus. Given that the review unit is from them and is free of charge, it doesn’t affect the honesty and integrity of this review.


Shop Link:


https://shenzhenaudio.com/products/...e-cable-noise-canceling-10mm-balanceearphones
The Company

logo-tin-hifi.png


Tin audio is a chi-fi contender that appeared last Q1 of 2018, their first IEM was Tin Audio T1 and it was followed by the T2, T2 Pro,T3, P1 (their first ever Planar IEM), T4 and finally the third installment of their T2 series, the T2 Plus. Their first few IEMs are known for being bass anemic, since they are tuning their products into a neutral to bright/analytical sound signature despite the use of DD but as they made the P1, they started making their product sound more balanced. “Tin Audio is committed to deliver an uncommonly refined tuning.” this is what they said in their Facebook page and based on what I’ve heard from the T2 pro, T3 and now the T2 Plus, the statement is legit!

The TinHifi T2 Plus

img_20200719_231323-1.jpg

img_20200719_232022.jpg

img_20200719_232623_1-1.jpg

img_20200719_232709_1-1.jpg


Again, this is the third iteration of their T2 product line that was known for its commendable resolution and sparkly treble matched with subtle bass that was hated by bass lovers in the community. In terms of the design language, the T2 Plus now adapt a more low profile design that fits way better than their previous edgy and sharp shell designs. Due to their new shell, with proper ear tips, the T2 Plus is much more ergonomic and has better fit, isolation and comfort. Unlike the T2 and T2 Pro which uses a 2 DD (1 Woofer and 1 Tweeter) and their T3 that utilizes a hybrid single DD and single BA, the T2 plus only uses a single dynamic driver but fret not, the T2 plus is by far the best sounding among T-Series of TinHifi and I'll support this statement as you read this review deeper.


Technical Specifications:


-Sensitivity
:104±3bBdB @1K HzV 0.126V
-Driver Unit:¢10.0mm woofer
-Sensitivity:104±3bBdB @1K HzV 0.126V
-Frequency Response:10Hz-20kHz
-Impedance:32Ω±15%
-Rated Power:3mW
-Max Power:5mW
-Max Distortion:1% @1k Hz 0.126V
-Interface:Gold-plated MMCX connector
-Plug:3.5mm black carbon multi dimensional heavy plug
-Conductor/Cable:1.25m (22/0.06AS Silver-plated Enameled+200D Kevlar)*4, Transparent Super Soft PVC Cable
-Housing Color:Stainless steel color

Packaging

img_20200719_233420.jpg

img_20200719_233602.jpg

img_20200719_233907_1.jpg


TinHifi used the same design language in their packaging, a minimalist white box that contains a leather-ish blue box inside which contains everything, the gorgeous and ergonomic T2 Plus, 6 sets of silicone ear tips, 1 pair of foam ear tips and a 4 core SPC cable that I wish to stay pristine longer than the cable of T3. The T2 Plus retails for around 3000 Php/60 USD and I think they have a better packaging and accessories than similarly prized IEMs from TRN and KZ, but somehow I liked that MOONDROP shipped their SSR along with a small carrying pouch and that's the only thing missing with the T2 Plus.

Fit and Comfort

img_20200719_233138.jpg

img_20200719_233255.jpg

Sleek low-profile IEM shell
As I've said, they changed their shell design (towards a better path), it is now more ergonomic and noise isolating than their previous IEMs but somehow the image of their IEMs vanished with the T2 Plus, it looks a bit more generic now. The ear tips OOTB are decent ones, it is a bit too soft but it fits well in my ears (which doesn't apply to everyone). Despite the material used, it doesn't feel heavy too, I tried using it for 5 hours straight and it didn't caused any discomfort on my ears. With proper ear tips, the T2 Plus can sit nicely in ears providing more than decent noise isolation and seal.

Sound

I love gears with midcentric to flat sound signature as I really love listening to vocals rather than instruments. My genre ranges from heavy rock, alternative rock, pop rock, acoustic, pop, jazz and folk. Majority of my test tracks are in 16 bit – 44 khz and 24 bit – 48 khz FLAC file and here is the list of my commom test tracks.



  1. Reese Lansangan – For the Fickle (Background, female vocals and upper mids)
  2. Billie Eilish – wish you were gay (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Micro details)
  3. Rex Orange County – Untitled (Mid Bass, Mids)
  4. Ed Sheeran – Dive (Mid bass, Lower Mids)
  5. Reese Lansangan– My Sweet Hometown (Upper Mids and Instruments)
  6. Polyphia – Goose (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  7. Utada Hikaru ft. Skrillex – Face My Fears (Imaging Layering, Bass, Mids, Treble, Coherence, Quickness)
  8. Polyphia – 40 oz. (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  9. Polyphia – GOAT (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  10. Ariana Grande – Raindrops (Background, Upper mids)
Bass

Bass line is awesome playing "Bad Guy" by Billie Eilish on MQA, bass on the background sounds awesome, well defined, texture is quite refined, rumbles and buzzes are definitely present but it doesn't go too deep, notes under 80 Hz sounds faint already which is kinda normal IMO. I want to reiterate that notes above 100 Hz sounds really nice in terms of speed, resolution and positioning which is leaning to neutral. Playing "G.O.A.T" by Polyphia, it leads me to a concrete finding that mid bass sounds agile, clean and detailed but It doesn't pack a lot of punch in terms of quantity and it isn't emphasized at all, I'm honestly in awe with the bass of T2 plus which sounds cleaner and faster than the BLON BL03 but less engaging which I honestly prefer (though the bass of BL03 is very enjoyable).

Midrange
img_20200719_234449.jpg


Starting with the Lower Midrange, I used "Falling" by Harry Styles and boy, both piano and his vocals sounded smooth and moderately lush, the lower midrange is still positioned quite neutrally with moderate body and far from being veiled. Most multi-driver IEMs under 50 bucks either sound too thick or too hollow/dry for example the ZS10 Pro and CCA CA4 sounded really dry and thin, on the other hand the BQEYZ BQ3 sounds too warm to the point that some of the bass leaks to the lower midrange and here's the T2 Plus that sounds perfectly balanced. Playing "My Sweet Hometown" by Reese Lansangan, the positioning is still very neutral there's very good amount of body, just enough for the instruments and vocals not to sound shrill or shouty. I don't want to hype this IEM but I'm really really happy with how it sounds, upper midrange sounds sweet yet far from being peaky which is quite a norm from chi-fi budget IEMs.

Treble

Smooth, airy and has very good decay speed, playing "40oz" by Polyphia which has decent amount of treble (lower to upper treble), hi-hats sounded clean and has good amount of sparkle yet far from being harsh or aggressive. Treble-heads might find the treble quantity to be insufficient but man the speed of attack and decay plus the cleanliness of its presentation is commendable, I verified my hypothesis with "Asphyxia" by Co Shu Nie and it turned into conclusion. It may sound too smooth and too relaxed for some but there's no shortcoming in terms of texture, airiness and sparkle it may be the weakest link of the T2 Plus but for a treble sensitive guy like me it is tuned just right.

Sound Stage and Resolution

The T2 Plus doesn't sound as spacious as the TinHifi T2 Pro or T3, it has less depth and width and there are factors behind that, maybe it is the source or the ear tips that I'm using or just because the treble here is trimmed down compared to the T2 Pro and T3. Nonetheless, the T2 Plus has good layering and imaging capabilities despite having a single driver, it isn't as precise as the TRN VX but due to its speed instruments and vocals are well separated. Resolution isn't the strength of the T2 Plus too, it has more than okay details but it isn't game changing for the price, maybe it is due to the smooth tuning too but I'd say that I found the T2 Pro more resolving than the T2 Plus.

Sound Signature and Synergy

The sound signature of the TinHifi T2 Plus leans with being balanced, There's a little elevation on the upper midrange but it is FAR from being shouty or shrill. Bass is kinda neutral with good speed and resolution, midrange has very good balance between lushness and clarity, it sounds smooth yet moderately resolving with natural timbre, upper midrange sounds sweet and clean for both instruments and female vocals, lastly Treble doesn't sound harsh, it is smooth and has enough amount of air and sparkle to give cymbals and violin great definition. I would love pairing it with neutral-analytical source because adding more warmth may veil the midrange and bass leak might be noticeable.

Ifi Hip Dac (3.5 and 4.4)
img_20200719_234254.jpg

The Hip Dac is a warm-ish source that can be even warmer with the built in Xbass that I use very seldom. The source brings good amount of body across frequencies and actually making vocals sound more natural and smooth. Bass can be too punchy when turning on the Xbass but without it, it sounds balanced. Again, midrange sounds really nice to me especially the timbre, instruments are well presented too with moderate amount of thickness. Treble is smoothly presented with decent amount of sparkle and good attack and decay speed, resolution is fine too though not the best in its class.


Using it with Satin Audio Kraken 4x, everything sounds cleaner and well layered, bass became even tighter and faster while midrange sounded as good as with the 3.5 mm, there's a slight addition to treble extension and it is cleaner.

Comparison
img_20200719_235827.jpg
Tough chi-fi battle royale MOONDROP SSR

The SSR is cheaper than the T2 Plus thus, I expected it to have inferior sound compared to the latter and my findings isn't as straightforward as what I imagined. In terms of resolution, sound stage (size) and transparency, I'd pick the SSR over the T2 Plus but everything else goes to the T2 Plus. The layering and imaging of T2 plus is just nice, the stage isn't grand but it is well layered and separated despite using a single dynamic driver. Timbre easily goes to the T2 Plus too, given that the SSR doesn't sound that thin, I still prefer the control of T2 Plus with regards to note thickness, there's no sign of shrillness too unlike with the SSR that can sound harsh at times. Bass sounds deeper, more textured and punchier on the T2 Plus too which is nice because it never sounded excessive it is just that the bass of SSR is subtle. The two doesn't sound the same but having one between the two is more than enough, T2 Plus is easier to recommend overall due to its balanced sound.

BLON BL03

The Blon BL03 is one of the best budget IEMs of 2019 and can still fight its way in 2020. They share almost the same timbre but the BL03 sounds more lush, slow and has a bit more recessed midrange. I'd say that the T2 Plus fixed the things I hate from the BL03 which easily a win for the T2 Plus, it has a better attack and decay speed which increases the overall coherency of an IEM, playing complex passages sounded cleaner and layered better with the T2 Plus. There's almost no bass bleeding too in the T2 Plus which is kinda noticeable with the BL03. The T2 Plus is less airy and less smooth than the other when talking about the treble on the other hand the T2 Plus sounds more resolving and has faster attack and decay speed. Resolution and layering goes to the T2 Plus too while the stage is wider and deeper in the BL03.

TRN VX

I'd pick the VX if it's all about layering and resolution, but that isn't the case I prefer timbre and balance which is far better on the T2 Plus. Bass is thin on the VX it sounds a bit artificial too (common caveat with TRN and KZ IEMs), I prefer the balanced and smooth bass of T2 Plus even though it isn't as resolving as the VX. Same story for the mid range, the VX is obviously dry compared to the smooth yet clean presentation of the T2 Plus, again there's more details with the VX but it isn't a huge gap. The treble of VX sounds a bit thin but not peaky, there's good amount of details and it is well extended on the other hand the treble of T2 Plus is smoother, has better tone and is less fatiguing without sounding veiled or rolled off. The VX is slightly better in layering and resolution but the timbre of T2 Plus is much more natural plus it sounds more coherent than the VX.

Conclusion
img_20200719_231323-1.jpg

The T2 Plus is a no brainer recommendation under 3000 Php/60 USD, it sounds like a buffed Blon BL03. Honestly I can't find any major flaw here, it has a good bass with more than decent sub bass depth, fast attack and decay and a pretty good resolution. Mid range sounds clean yet retaining enough body, it isn't the most resolving pair but I can vouch it to be one of the most natural sounding under 5000 Php/100 USD. Treble isn't special, it sounds smooth with decent sparkle and air, details are just fine and there's no noticeable peaks but it has a remarkable attack and decay speed. Resolution isn't note worthy same with the sound stage size, it is pretty coherent with great layering and imaging qualities. T2 Plus proceeded with different path compared to its predecessors, it is much smoother and easier to listen compared to T2 and T2 Pro that has an emphasis with treble, if you loved its previous iterations, you may find the T2 Plus inferior but if you want a more balanced version of those then T2 Plus is definitely worth it!

RATING
9/10 = VERY GOOD

★★★★★★★★★
PROS

  • Smooth and balanced tonality
  • Jack of all trades
  • Coherence
  • Quick attack and decay across frequencies
  • Ergonomic shell
  • Price-to-performance ratio
CONS
  • Not the most resolving pair
  • Decent sounds stage size

Video Review:

Last edited:

audioblog18

New Head-Fier
Pros: -Nicely Made Shell
-Nicely Tuned Upper Mid-range
-Great Extension on Both Ends
-Nice Details Despite Smoothness
-Inclusions/Accessories
Cons: -Coherence
-Sharp Lower Mid-range
-Box is not that Grand for the Price tier
The Company
Buy BQEYZ K2 and KC2 Earphones in India with manufacturer warranty ...

“BQEYZ Spring 1 Earphone Piezoelectric Balanced Armature Hybrid Drivers Hifi In Ear Monitor Running Sports Earbuds

The world premiere of the industry’s first unibody for Piezoeletric and Dynamic drivers. Built with advanced independent sound tuning technology to unleash the maximum potential of each driver unit”

Now, I know that’s quite a mouthful. Especially when the product presentation alludes to audiophilia but has “Running Sports Earbuds” at the end. On the other hand, what I think about the company is not affected by a mere
caption peculiarity. I’ve loved the brand since I heard the KB100, which, in my opinion, remains to be one of the best IEMs under $50. You could check out my review over at our page. It seems to me that BQEYZ was able to create an IEM on another level with the Spring 1 while keeping the house sound (i.e. warm, detailed, and smooth) at least to my ears.
Specifications:
1. Item:Spring 1

2. Dynamic Driver: 13mm

3. Impedance: 43Ω

4. Sensitivity: 108dB

5. Frequency: 7-40KHz

6. Cable Length: 1.2m

7. Pin Type: 0.78mm-2 Pin

8. Plug Type: 3.5mm

9. Driver units: 13mm Coaxial dynamic driver+7 Layers piezo electric+Balanced armature

9. Mic: Without

10. Color: Black / Blue (Optional)

img_20191209_1845261471417544907270959.jpg


Package Contents:

img_20191209_1845376197285278459100417.jpg


img_20191209_184000465766761814010948.jpg


Spring1 earphone x 1

8 Core Upgrade Silver-Plated Cable x 1

Manual x 1

Silicone Ear tips(S/M/L) x 6 Pairs

Foam Ear tips x 1 Pair

Carrying Case x 1

The company was able to procure a package that is both simple and sufficient. It has a medium-sized plastic case with a matte finish, which gives off a faux leather appearance. It has the usual manual in there too. They didn’t cheap out with the eartips as well, despite the fitting not working for me. They had a pair of foams and two sets of silicone ones, which were segregated to the “Atmosphere” and the “Reference” categories. Unfortunately, neither of the tips worked for me.

Effects of the tips

img_20191209_1839366864879482550158161.jpg


Despite not using them for the test because of bad fitting with my ears, I tried my best to keep them in by holding the IEMs with my hands. As it turns out, the company was somehow correct with the description. The atmosphere tips, which have a harder stem and a narrower bore, bring about more body and emphasis on the low frequency. While the reference evens out the lower frequencies more and manages to open up the mids and the highs in comparison.

Build

img_20191209_1850132611215948445535487.jpg


img_20191209_184950897153410310217271.jpg


The IEMs look gorgeous, both on the internet pictures and in person. It’s by no means heavy but has some heft to it. The weight isn’t so bothersome but do note that the IEM itself is sturdy. The nozzle seems to be wide and the length seems to be a bit long. The body is a bit huge in comparison to other chifi counterparts. The matte blue finish is just a thing of beauty, coupled with the gold hints at the nozzle and near the faceplate.

Cable

img_20191209_1844534480447368432652898.jpg


img_20191209_1843046197303391472641075.jpg


img_20191209_1844224545737357663098721.jpg


The company did really well with these cables. It is an SPC 8 core cable. It doesn’t feel cheap. The plugs, Y-split, and the chin slider are all made up of the same material. They are all metal but they are not heavy. The earguides aren’t irritating compared to the things offered in a lot of IEMs. Despite its looks, the cable is pretty light and supple. It makes one question the competition when an IEM at around $130 can be accompanied with a cable this good. To add to that, the strain is sturdy and not loose at all.

Fit

img_20191209_1849087875492873197950335.jpg


This area was a bit challenging for me. Due to the size of the IEMs, finding a secure fit was hard. I couldn’t quite have them sitting flush in my ears. It always seems to protrude out my ears. I tried the small tips. While I did manage a more “flush” fit, small eartips doesn’t give me a good seal. The final audio tips that came with my Heaven IIs actually worked the best. Buyers should be able to have at least the tenacity to go out and tip-roll before judging these IEMs on the comfort department.

Gear and source used:

Phone: OnePlus 3T
DAP: Cayin N5ii
Cable: Stock Cable and Balanced Litz Cable
Music: DSDs, FLACs, and Spotify

Matching and Drivability

The Spring 1 is listed at 43Ω. However, I was able to power it properly with my phone at around 75-80/100. Single-ended (power output: 140mW at 32Ω) on the Cayin N5ii was able drive the Spring 1 with ease on high gain at around 45-50/100. On the balanced output (power output: 250mW at 32Ω), the range of 40/100 was enough to bring out its potential. Sonically, I can hear the Spring 1 scale well. There isn’t much change in tonality going from my phone to the DAP. Sound-wise I can hear better dynamics, a larger soundstage, and better imaging going from my phone to my DAP; that is, however, expected. I don’t think these need a powerful amp but it does need a bit of power coming from DAPs which, usually, a smartphone cannot provide.

Artists and songs used:
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Readymade, Wet Sand, and Warlocks
Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now, Save Me, and Bohemian Rhapsody
The Fray – How to Save a Life
Panic At the Disco – Golden Days
Alicia Keys – No One

General Tonality:

img_20191202_1653275409745277795916468.jpg


I’d say the tonality is overall warm and smooth, but in no way is it lacking in detail. The emphasis is on the mid bass with ocassional bleeding but the mids are relatively clean, especially the upper mids. The treble is detailed and has average quantity. No sibilance whatsover in this area as it is the bass that takes much of your attention. It might just be one of the best pick under $200 if you’re looking for a smooth but detailed sound.

BASS

After listening for an hour or two, I googled the graphs and it really checked out. The bass emphasis can be found in the 60-200Hz interval, so there is a bit of an early sub bass roll off but the mid bass is really weighty. There is a quite noticeable bleed in the lower mids, but that is what they do well. Despite the usual bleed to the mids, the latter is fantastically tuned. Take for example, the strong bass note at the beginning of the chorus on the track “How to Save a Life” by the Fray (0:40-0:59), the lack of bass extension can easily be discerned. On the other hand, the mid bass is blatant and lingering. Despite a bit of a recession on the lower mids and the intrusion of the mid bass, the former can still be appreciated and is not totally drowned out.

MIDS

This is where it gets kind of tricky. Let me start off by saying the upper mids is really excellent for my taste, detailed but controlled in quantity. However, I do not share the same sentiments regarding the lower midrange. It’s not so with the instruments but with the male vocals. Given the fact that there exists a slight bleed to the lower mids, alongside a tad bit of recession, they somehow tuned it to be edgy. This might give a sense of not being drowned out and “textured” but it’s really vocal sibilance. It’s weird to say that it’s a bit recessed but can get sibilant at some point, but it is there. It’s not as controlled and detailed as the upper mids. When your favorite male vocalist belts out that high note, be prepared for a sharpness to it despite being placed back in the “sound space”. This is quite perculiar because the guitars are not overbearing at all. Freddie Mercury’s wonderful vocals at the track “Don’t Stop Me Now” shows the sharpness at the “SSsss”s and “TTttt”s and doesn’t sound as controlled and detailed as Alicia Key’s vocals over at the track “No One”. I wanted to test out this wonderful upper mids so much, that I spent my time going through tracks which reveals any for of sibilance in the said frequency just to find fault, but to no avail. The upper mids are that good. “Readymade” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers is my upper mids tester (especially at the 3:00-3:20 mark), let’s just say the snares were perfectly balanced. It sounded crunchy without the annoying peaks.

Highs

Next to my praising of the upper mids, the treble is also one of its strengths. It’s not bright at all but at the same time the details are there. Some IEMs fail to balance out detail retrieval, extension, and control. Out of all these three categories, the Spring 1 was able to hit two (i.e. detail retrieval and control). Given that, there is indeed a bit a bit of a roll off in quantity. It’s no slouch in the extension department, just not as good as other IEMs in the price range. Trebleheads might find it lacking some quantity or “sparkle” but again, it’s there and presented well. Maybe it’s just a case of taking a back seat to the mid bass emphasis. I observed this via the cymbal crashes on Queen’s track called “Save Me”.

Staging and Imaging

The soundstage is quite huge and imaging is good, not great. Despite that thick mid bass, there is no congestion at all. “Golden Days” by Panic At the Disco is one of the busiest tracks I have heard. IEMs with a small soundstage could sound really congested, the Spring 1 had no problems dealing with the said track. Imaging is average despite the huge sound stage, separation is there but distinct instrument placement could be improved.

Comparison

Tin P1


Both have average sub bass extension, but the Spring 1 reaches down a bit more. The Spring 1 has also more mid bass, but the P1 has better control and is tighter in comparison. The P1 has a more linear midrange, except for that 2kHz peak. The P1 is much cleaner in the lower mids, both are a bit recessed but there is no bass bleed with the P1. To add to that, it has no male vocal sharpness like that of the Spring 1. However, I believe that the Spring 1 has a more linear upper mid range response and a smoother treble than the P1. Staging goes to the Spring 1 while the imaging goes to the P1. It’s tonally different IEMs, the P1 is a planar which focuses on detail retrieval and speed. The Spring 1, despite having good technically, is tilted towards a more smooth listening experience. So, sheer resolution would go to the P1s no questions asked. However, musicality and “fun” would be better adjectives for the Spring 1.

Conclusion

It looks like BQEYZ hit it off the park with this one. It’s a smooth, detailed, and musical IEM. If someone wants there details but not experience ear fatigue, then this would be a good choice. I could listen to these IEMs for 6 hours straight. However, that wouldn’t be the case if I listened to male vocals for 6 hours. This is the only downside, the male vocals can really get edgy and sharp. I hope the company tunes the lower midrange better, just like how they made a wonderful tuning on the upper mids and treble. To add to the sonic qualities, the company delivered well with the packaging. It has a good cable, a lot of tips to choose from, and a handy leather case. It’s a great look that the company has mastered its house sound, a bit more refinement on the upper mids and these can compete with its sub $200 counterparts.

  • Like
Reactions: Cat Music

audioblog18

New Head-Fier
Pros: -Damn Good Mid-range
-Fits Perfectly (to me)
-Good Carrying Case
-Smooth tonality
-1 Year Warranty
Cons: -Lacks details
-Lacks extension on both ends
-Bad stock cable
-Not that competitive in the price tier
Thank you Brainwavz Audio for letting us give our honest take towards the KOEL. Given that the review unit is from Brainwavz Audio and is free of charge, it doesn’t affect the honesty and integrity of this review.

The Company
lrm_export_24783211147772_20190324_114454290352569925579980791.jpeg


Brainwavz provides high-end earphones specifically designed for high-quality sound and tailor-made to provide the user with a solution that can be used across a wide range of audio genres and styles at affordable prices. Brainwavz believes in the idea that sound is a deeply personal experience, and strives to provide users with earphones that match their personal inclinations, to inspire with intensity. The Brainwavz name is known in many countries across the globe, and the company is continually committed to providing the best products at the best value. This is what they stated in their website but hey, Brainwavz has been in the industry for years and they already build a good reputation in terms of build and sound quality in fact the B400 was a hit!

The Brainwavz Audio KOEL

lrm_export_5312240448667_20191005_1526314171207848864037532808.jpeg
lrm_export_4826746001345_20191005_1518259232345384481140932522.jpeg


The KOEL is a single BA entry level IEM from Brainwavz, I think it is their take to rival the exponential growth of Chi-fi IEMs under 5000 Pho (100 USD). It is 3D printed with resin as the main material, the build quality seems to be alike with the Brainwavz B400 which I really liked. I wholeheartedly agree that they tuned the KOEL to be natural and to attain almost no coloration, timbre is kinda nice and it may sound bland for some. It is priced at 2500 Php (50 USD) and I honestly believe that it is pretty competitive, it just that majority of consumers in this price segment wants warm or V shaped sound signature. It comes with 2 colors, first is “stay frosty” which is the transparent one and second which is the one I’ve got, the “cosmic black”.

Technical Specification:

  1. Drivers : Single Balanced Armature
  2. Rated Impedance : 30Ω
  3. Frequency Range : 16 Hz ~ 22 kHz
  4. Sensitivity : 105 dB at 1 mW
  5. Cable : Detachable
  6. Cable Connector : MMCX
  7. Plug : 3.5 mm, Gold plated
Packaging
lrm_export_4526636709724_20191005_1513258136155855443053567074.jpeg

lrm_export_4740125446671_20191005_1516593028967132442228386201.jpeg


Packaging is very minimal, if you don’t check their site you will not expect a high quality carrying case inside. Everything resides in the carrying case, IEM, cable, 1 pair of comply foam tips, 6 pairs of silicone tips, Velcro, shirt clip and paper works. I can honestly say that the packaging looks good despite being contained in a small box. There’s sufficient ear tips, and a commendable carrying case that majority of chi-fi doesn’t have.

Fit and Comfort
lrm_export_5355446886160_20191005_1527146247741292495330326590.jpeg


The fit of KOEL varies with the user, personally I did able to get perfect fit with almost any tips that I use, but for smaller ears I don’t think it will fit nicely with them especially that the nozzle is kinda short. With proper fit, there’s almost no sound leak especially when listening with average volume, isolation is commendable too. It is generally lightweight thus, listening for several hours won’t give any discomfort (at least for me).

Sound
I love IEMs and earbuds with midcentric to flat sound signature as I really love listening to vocals rather than instruments. My genre ranges from heavy rock, alternative rock, pop rock, acoustic, pop, jazz and folk. Majority of my test tracks are in 16 bit – 44 khz and 24 bit – 48 khz FLAC file and here is the list of my commom test tracks.

  1. Reese Lansangan – For the Fickle (background, female vocals and upper mids)
  2. Foo Fighters – Bridge Burning (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  3. KATIE – Remember (Mid Bass, Mids)
  4. Ed Sheeran – Dive (Mid bass, Lower Mids)
  5. Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why (Upper Mids and Instruments)
  6. Paramore – Hard Times (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  7. Led Zepplin – Rock and Roll (Imaging Layering, Bass, Instruments, Lower mids, Treble)
  8. Passenger – Coins in a Fountain (Mid bass, Layering, Imaging, Instruments, Lower mids, Treble)
  9. Aimer – Torches (Background, Upper mids)
  10. Ariana Grande – Raindrops (Background, Upper mids)
Bass
Sub bass feels roll off for me, 100 Hz below doesn’t have enough presence. It is recessed and lacks quantity too, making rumbles and riffs subtle and light, luckily it has good texture and resolves enough details. For the mid bass, it feels smooth and soft for me, it is slightly more forward and has enough attack and decay speed. The bass lacks presence, impact and rumbles but I can fairly say that it is smooth and easy to listen if you’re not looking for impactful and deep bass.

Midrange
lrm_export_5580950292376_20191005_1531001272359819204389594481.jpeg


The star of the show here is the midrange, starting with lower midrange it is velvety with slightly forward positioning, male vocals and piano sounded good, no hints of dryness nor hollowness here. I can say that it is not that resolving but in exchange it is clean and smooth which is commendable. Upper midrange shares the same positioning as the lower midrange which is pretty forward, it is sweet and intimate making Norah Jones sing flawlessly, it is still smooth and still not the most resolving pair in its price bracket but listening to my favorite pop, folk and jazz tracks feels very engaging.

Treble
Just like the bass, there’s a roll off here as well, it is recessed too giving slight boost with depth as it compromise for the midrange being too forward compared to bass and treble. It is very smooth and has good amount of air despite being a single BA IEM, but sparkle takes a toll here, cymbals doesn’t sound energetic. Good thing it isn’t aggressive, no signs of peaks here but this wouldn’t suffice folks who loves treble.

Sound Stage and Resolution
Sound stage is on the intimate side here, I believe this is due to the midrange being a bit too forward, depth is decent while width and height is a bit cramped for my liking. Imaging and layering is above decent for the price, I’m surprised that even it has an intimate staging, it can be this coherent and accurate since base on my experience when there’s not much headroom and width, imaging and layering becomes sub par as well but that’s not the case here.

Sound Signature and Synergy
The KOEL offers an intimate and mid-centric sound signature, it has a forward midrange and recessed bass and treble. It is perfect for some but I believe that there’s a little population of folks who loves mid-centric tuning. I would love pairing it with bright/analytical sources since for me the bass of KOEL is forgivable but I really want more sparkle up top.

Hiby R3
lrm_export_5490850670514_20191005_1529300287702026581312602645.jpeg


Hiby R3 is a warmish source, pairing it with KOEL There’s some slight elevation on the bass but it still less forward than the mid range. Treble still sounded dark for me, it lacks extension and sparkle but it is airy enough and has more than decent attack and decay speed. Midrange sounds very good, it sounds full and has natural timbre on it. Sound stage isn’t special as mentioned above but it is decent enough with this set, I find the projected space to be small in general but it sounds natural and accurate enough for me.

Smartphone (Huawei Mate 10)
Extension on the bass was unchanged, quantity is further reduced while positioning remained the same as well. Midrange became slightly leaner but less resolving, it is still smooth but there’s a bit decrease in terms of lushness. Treble became a bit forward, extension didn’t improve for me but there’s some improvement in terms of sparkle. Sound stage isn’t impressive here, same goes to resolution.

Comparison
BLON BL03
lrm_export_113794074111254_20190906_0151466202942239241905763818.jpeg

I can’t compare them fair and square because the use different driver and the offer different sound signature, it is really rare to have an IEM tuned like the KOEL. Starting with bass, it is pretty obvious that the BL03 will take the win simply because it sounded more neutral, has better depth and impact. Midrange sounded sweeter and more natural in the KOEL, it may be inferior in terms of resolution but it has better timbre and fullness. Treble goes to BL03, it has more air, sparkle and extension as I find the KOEL to be much smoother which is kinda odd for a single BA IEM to have a dark-ish treble. Sound stage goes to the BL03 in terms of size but for accuracy of imaging and layering they are pretty close, the BL03 is a notch better too in terms of resolution since it extends fairly well on both ends.

The KOEL isn’t bad at all but if you want a better all rounder at slightly cheaper price tag then you should go with BL03 but if you want a new flavour, a mid centric IEM then the KOEL is a no brainer, it also have a 1 year warranty versus the BL03 with no warranty.

KZ ZS10 Pro
LRM_EXPORT_39191197325254_20190707_190947077

I can’t compare them fair and square because the use different driver and the offer different sound signature, it is really rare to have an IEM tuned like the KOEL. Starting with bass, the ZS10 Pro has better depth, impact and positioning but I prefer the smoothness of KOEL’s bass, still the win goes to ZS10 Pro. Midrange easily goes to KOEL due to its sweet and velvety presentation compared to the dry and recessed midrange of the ZS10 Pro. I’ll give the treble a tie, while they both doesn’t have the sparkle that I’m looking for but the ZS10 Pro slightly edged out the KOEL in terms of extension while the KOEL in terms of attack and decay speed as well as smoothness. Sound stage is better in ZS10 Pro in terms of Size while they are close in terms of imaging and layering. Resolution seems to be on par as well.

Conclusion
lrm_export_5689916504338_20191005_1538245975985928027077988780.jpeg


While the KOEL might not please everyone due to its forward midrange and average sound stage, it will be a nice gear for someone who wants something fresh as mid-centric IEMs are not that common in this hobby. Bass lacks extension and impact but it offers smooth and speedy attack and decay. Midrange has a commendable timbre, velvety presentation and intimate positioning. Treble lacks sparkle and extension but it is pretty agile and offers a smooth listening without treble spikes. Sound stage is average in terms of size but in terms of layering and imaging it can compete with similarly priced Chi-fi IEMs, resolution is average as well as it leans with smoother tuning. For the price I wouldn’t say that it is a steal like the BL03 but still it is a nice buy, a unique mid-centric tuning with nice carrying case and 12 months of warranty.
Last edited:

audioblog18

New Head-Fier
Pros: -Best Sounding Bluetooth Headphone
-Smooth yet Detailed Midrange
-Fast Transient Response
-Very Open Sounding
-Goes Pretty Loud with every Source that I've tried
-Resolving Treble
-Quality Carrying Case
Cons: -Okay-ish box/packaging
-Long charging time
-So-so Battery life
-Modest Bass (varies with preference)
-DAC & AMP limitations
-No True Analog Option (Type C only)
Thank you Mr. Paul of HIFIMAN Electronics for letting us give our honest take towards the HIFIMAN ANANDA BT. Given that the review unit is from them and is free of charge, it doesn’t affect the honesty and integrity of this review.

Shop Links:

HIFIMAN:

https://store.hifiman.com/index.php/ananda-bt.html



eBay:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/HIFIMAN-AN...=d7c9d59a-8511-4929-9cf4-7cc5f9bdcffb15145598



Amazon:


The Company

Logo


HIFIMAN has been one if not the best headphone maker out there, they specialized in producing headphones with unconventional drivers, they used Planar Magnetic drivers as the owner, Dr. Fang actually has researches regarding the technology behind Planar Magnetic drivers. Up until now they are very popular in the audiophile realm with several awards and positive feedback. HIFIMAN ANANDA and SUNDARA are few of their new lineups and it is quite popular in audiophile groups. HIFIMAN continues to be one of the top brands in headphone class and it is my personal favorite.

The HIFIMAN ANANDA BT

img_20200511_1150572.jpg
img_20200511_115354.jpg
img_20200511_115413.jpg
20200502_132149_hdr-1.jpg


The HIFIMAN ANANDA BT, is obviously the Bluetooth version of their hit HIFIMAN ANANDA, it’s quite odd but you can get both of the device at 50, 000 Php (1000 USD) which means they didn’t charge anything for the innovation the did which is quite generous in my opinion. At first I doubt the idea when Mr. Paul of hifiman told me about this but once you used it there’s no going back, well unless you’re a full pledged audiophile who already invested huge amount of money in DACs and Amplifiers.

The specification of the ANANDA BT is quite promising, it uses the same DAC filter design of their flagship Digital Audio Player (DAP), the R2R2000 which is sonically praised by users and reviewers and priced at 120,000 Php (2500 USD). They also used a custom made amplifier since it is a planar magnetic driver that is known to be fond of power despite having a low impedance. Well, based on my user experience, the amplification inside of the ANANDA BT is definitely great as advertised (50 percent of the volume is more than enough, thickness accross the frequency is quite nice as well).

Technical Specifications:

  • Frequency Response: 8 Hz to 55 kHz
  • Weight: 460 g (includes the cable and microphone)
  • Impedance: 35 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 103 dB
  • Playback time: 10 hours
  • Charging time: 2.7 hours
Packaging

img_20200511_1131472.jpg
img_20200511_113709.jpg
img_20200511_1140502.jpg

The box of Ananda isn’t that “premium” for a 50,000 Php (1000 USD) audio device, maybe I’m expecting more but when you’re spending that amount of money, it is normal to expect a nice and luxurious device. Luckily they included a high quality carrying case which feels and looks tough and premium at the same time. You’ll also get a microphone, a type C to type C cable which is the only way to use it conventionally (wired) and a USB to type C for charging.
Fit, Comfort and Build

IMG_20200511_115236.jpg


The build of this device is a mix of plastic and metal which is better than the ARYA but slightly inferior than the all metal SUNDARA nonetheless it feels slightly lighter than the latter. The grills and the body is made out of plastic material while the hanger and the headband is made out of metal (which is a crucial part because it acts as a hinge and there’s a good amount of force on it when being used). Just like the SUNDARA, there’s a leather headband that is being supported by a metal one. There’s a type C female input, charging button, a power button that also acts as pairing button and lastly a 3.5mm jack for microphone in.

The earpads used here is the same with the SUNDARA which is very comfortable for as long as you’re in a well conditioned place cause if it’s hot and humid, you’ll get sweaty in just 30 mins.

Connectivity

Screenshot_20200511-131956


The Hifiman Ananda supports the two best Bluetooth codec at the moment which are Sony’s LDAC and Qualcomm’s aptX HD. My LG G7 THINQ automatically chooses LDAC and I’ve got no problem playing DSD and MQA tracks (of course it is limited to 990 Kbps at 24 bits/96 KHz). It also supports bluetooth 5.1 which is the most common version now. I have no problem at all in terms of pairing, I can walk freely when my source is placed at 2nd floor of our house without any problem in connection. You’ll have to double click the power button to pair it, but you’ll only do this once per Bluetooth source, after that it will be a breeze to connect it with paired devices.

Sound
I love gears with midcentric to flat sound signature as I really love listening to vocals rather than instruments. My genre ranges from heavy rock, alternative rock, pop rock, acoustic, pop, jazz and folk. Majority of my test tracks are in 16 bit – 44 khz and 24 bit – 48 khz FLAC file and here is the list of my commom test tracks.

  1. Reese Lansangan – For the Fickle (Background, female vocals and upper mids)
  2. Billie Eilish – wish you were gay (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Micro details)
  3. Rex Orange County – Untitled (Mid Bass, Mids)
  4. Ed Sheeran – Dive (Mid bass, Lower Mids)
  5. Reese Lansangan– My Sweet Hometown (Upper Mids and Instruments)
  6. Polyphia – Goose (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  7. Utada Hikaru ft. Skrillex – Face My Fears (Imaging Layering, Bass, Mids, Treble, Coherence, Quickness)
  8. Polyphia – 40 oz. (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  9. Polyphia – GOAT (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  10. Ariana Grande – Raindrops (Background, Upper mids)
Bass
Sub bass feels there but not prominent at all, it sounds neutral and it packs great amount of texture and details. Playing “Goose” by Polyphia which is my new go to track to test from sub bass to treble, rumbles and faint drum rolls sounded really good since it decays quite fast as expected from a planar magnetic headphone. Mid bass sounded quick, yet packs enough punch of course I won’t recommend it to bass-head folks out there cause it is far from being bassy, what it offer is a refined and quick bass. Solo bass from “GOAT” by Polyphia is positioned neither forward nor recessed and it decays quickly with plenty of details and texture. The bass of Ananda has good body, texture and quite agile but it isn’t forward and boomy, just enough to tackle any genre that I played.

Midrange
IMG_20200511_114835~2.jpg


Lower mid range, is placed neutrally just like the bass, there’s no bias or whatsoever. Playing “Yesterday” by The Beatles, there’s a decent body on the lower midrange but it’s not that full sounding and I’d say that it may even sound a bit too thin for some. I tried playing “Conversations in the dark” by John Legend, the trend seems to be consistent, it is clean and detailed but some would say that it lacks fullness. Upper mids is quite forward, female vocals sounded sweet, clean and detailed. Playing the new song of Reese Lansangan “My Sweet Hometown”, her vocals never sounded this clean, tonality feels natural and there’s just enough body as I also played some of my favorite Norah Jones tracks. I know some will say that Planar Magnetic Headphones sounds odd (tonality) but I beg to disagree, vocals may slightly lack in terms of thickness/fullness but I always loved how they present mid range in a clean and refined.

Treble
Treble is not that prominent compared to upper mid range, peaks aren’t that noticeable. I also used “GOAT” and “40 oz.” by Polyphia and treble sounded airy enough though it isn’t as airy as AKG K712 pro for example buy I can surely say that the Ananda BT sounded cleaner and has more extension up there. Decay is quite fast as well which makes the Ananda a nice pair with pacey and complex tracks, no signs of congestion at all. I’m not a treble person but I’m quite impressed with this from cymbals to electric guitar, it never sounded too harsh which is one of the most important thing to me since I’m a bit sensitive with peaky treble.

Soundstage and imaging.
IMG_20200511_115210.jpg


Starting with the width, it is pretty wide especially when I play live tracks of Sara Bareilles and Jason Mraz which usually sound too intimate. It has more depth than width thus, listening to tracks that has much instruments in it will sound nice because the depth helped the layering to be more accurate and natural. Talking about the headroom, Ananda BT doesn’t offer much of that there’s just enough headroom but definitely not its strongest point. Due to its open back design and good depth and width, layering and imaging sounded nice, separation is definitely top notch and it’s a good upgrade from the Sundaras (yes, even when plugged with Ifi micro iDSD).

Pairing
I don’t have much source as of now since I left my DAP at my office due to ECQ, luckily I have my LG G7 with me which supports LDAC and APTX HD, it is Bluetooth 5.0 which is more than enough to be used as a source for a Bluetooth Headphone. There’s not much to talk about sources, what I can say is that when paired with either my Huawei P20 or LG G7, I usually place the volume at 50 or 60 and it’s enough even when the surrounding is quite noisy, both my smartphone chooses LDAC and I played DSD and MQA files without a problem. Pairing it is quite easy too, hold the power button then double click it for it to pair with new device, once it paired it’s a breeze to connect it with any of your Bluetooth source.

Conclusion
20200502_132005_HDR.jpg




I was able to hear the Sony WH-1000XM3 and I think there are some advantages for both device. But frankly speaking, if we’re talking about sound quality alone I highly doubt that even Audeze Mobius can take the Ananda BT head on, there’s no contest with the WH-1000XM3. Battery life is more than decent, tho I wish it can charge a bit faster. Build is nice and my unit doesn’t have any issues. I highly recommend this Ananda for audiophiles out there, because is will definitely save you money from buying DACs and AMPs as well as cables, the absence of hassle is just a bonus for me.

audioblog18

New Head-Fier
For BFD UNIX in In-Ear
Pros: -Great Build Quality
-Exquisite Accessories
-Clean Tonality
-Deep Bass for a Single BA
-Very Good Fit
Cons: -Lacks Treble
-Dry Bass and Lower Mid-range
-Average Sound Stage
-Recessed lower mid-range
Thank you Mr. Chad Wu of BFD Audio for letting us give our honest take towards the UNIX Given that the review unit is from them and is free of charge, it doesn’t affect the honesty and integrity of this review.

The Company

lrm_export_178317400986286_20190907_1929464543219068756458996519.jpeg

BFD Audio has been in the audiophile scene for 6 long years, Chad Wu is the owner and he is currently doing IEMs alone, I won’t call it a DIY simply because he’s using advanced equipments for molding and tuning his works. Currently he has 11 products, and I got the most basic amongst his lineup which is the single BA UNIX. His current top of the line is the NYX which has 1 DD, 2 BA, and 4 EST drivers which has a bass boost switch, another one is GAIA which has 14 BAs per side and has low and high switches.

BFD Audio UNIX

lrm_export_178964484598687_20190907_1940335377563144445296079878.jpeg
lrm_export_179593146640258_20190907_1951021996579303583588470181.jpeg

lrm_export_180134219659967_20190907_2000032711892745656954297022.jpeg


The BFD Audio UNIX is the entry level IEM of BFD audio and it contains 1 BA driver per side. Mr. Chad said that it should sound slightly V or U shaped. The packaging is outstanding to be honest, the box is made out of solid card board, opening the box, there’s a hard case containing everything and under the solid case there is a black carrying pouch containg stickers and cleaning tool. The included eartips looks good and it has a slightly wide bore design, in my experience it fits really well it it feels more neutral than the Final Audio type E eartips, it might not as flexible as the spinfits but it is a good generic eartips. There are 3 pairs of foam tips which is very soft for me, it is very easy to mold.

The cable is said to be made out of SPC as per Mr. Chad Wu, it feels premium and he used the same materials for the wiring inside the shell this is to ensure better response from cable rolling. The shell design looks good and very delicate, it shows that it is crafted with precision since I didn’t saw any differences between the right and left earpiece, good job. Overall I can say that the BFD Audio Unix is built very well and can compete with other brands in the same price range.

Specification:


  • Driver: Single Knowles BA
  • Shell: 3D printed
  • Cable: 8 core SPC cable
  • Impedance: 21Ω
  • Sound pressure level: 93db/1 kHz
Packaging

lrm_export_178370985335757_20190907_1930400387148179444491225216.jpeg
lrm_export_178397848289399_20190907_1931069015787598983747954805.jpeg
lrm_export_179678092090245_20190907_1952271455848596709377434814.jpeg

As I said the packaging feels very good, from box to inclusion it is very impressive, there’s two cases one solid and feels like a pelican case and the other one is a smooth black pouch that feels premium for me, there’s two BFD audio stickers which is made out of a gold and silver sticker paper, there’s a cleaning tool and 6 pairs of ear tips. I’m very impressed with the packaging I don’t have any problems with it since the size isn’t too big nor too small, just enough for it to look elegant.

Fit and Comfort

lrm_export_179116071000226_20190907_1943051244178321462787053240.jpeg

lrm_export_179053078982528_20190907_1942021325715991071340922938.jpeg
lrm_export_178865443164327_20190907_1938544962568133455023522338.jpeg


With the stock silicone tips, I can get a very good fit and isolation, there’s very minimal outside noise coming in even when I’m using it while commuting. With foam tips, the penetration isn’t that deep maybe this is due to the shorter nozzles or the UNIX but I don’t really use foam tips often because I prefer the confort and seal of silicone ones. The comfort is nice too, it isn’t too big and it has good curves to fit my ears properly, in terms of weight it is very light thus I can wear it for 2 hours without feeling any discomfort. The downside is I cannot use it while listening on lying on my bed sideways, the UNIX is too large to be used that way.

Sound
I love IEMs and earbuds with midcentric to flat sound signature as I really love listening to vocals rather than instruments. My genre ranges from heavy rock, alternative rock, pop rock, acoustic, pop, jazz and folk. Majority of my test tracks are in 16 bit – 44 khz and 24 bit – 48 khz FLAC file and here is the list of my commom test tracks.


  • Reese Lansangan – For the Fickle (background, female vocals and upper mids)
  • Foo Fighters – Bridge Burning (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  • Jensen and the Flips – Come Closer (Mid Bass, Mids)
  • Ed Sheeran – Dive (Mid bass, Lower Mids)
  • Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why (Upper Mids and Instruments)
  • Paramore – Hard Times (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  • Utada Hikaru ft. Skrillex – Face My Fears (Imaging Layering, Bass, Mids, Treble, Coherence, Quickness)
  • Passenger – Coins in a Fountain (Mid bass, Layering, Imaging, Instruments, Lower mids, Treble)
  • Tori Kelly – Hollow (Background, Upper mids)
  • Ariana Grande – Raindrops (Background, Upper mids)
Bass
Sub bass is very deep for a Single BA IEM, listening to some Billie Eilish tracks rumbles are very enjoyable and I think it’s far from being rolled off. In terms of body, it doesnt sound thin at all in fact it has very good texture and it doesn’t sound too smooth. It has moderate speed and is placed a bit forward. Mid bass is slightly less emphasized compared to the sub bass, it sounds tight and fast, for me it lacks a bit of body and weight and is a bit thinner compared to the sub bass. For a single BA, the bass is commendable and I think it will pass for bass heads folks out there.

Midrange

lrm_export_178670568564878_20190907_1935396212863436553377872334.jpeg



Lower midrange is a bit recessed but definitely not too much, listening to my favorite band, “The Passenger” I can say that the tuning prioritised clarity and transparency over lushness and body. I wouldn’t say that it sounds hollow but it slightly lacks body on the lower midrange portion. Going to upper midrange, I listened to Adele’s Sweetest devotion and I was in awe due to the fact that it sounds transparent and slightly forward. The upper midrange sounds clean but never shouty nor shrill, it is quite intimate and sweet due to slight bump but not too much to sound congested, I love female vocals thus, I really liked the tuning of the UNIX. Though there’s a dip at 3k-4k, it’s a bit audible especially for an artist with very wide vocal range, but this dip helped preventing the UNIX to be too bright. The timbre is natural for me despite not being too warm and full.

Treble
Treble feels rolled off to me, From 10k Hz onwards it sounds smooth. I’m not a treble guy but it is very vital especially when listening to rock-metal tracks. It is airy but for me it lacks extension. Attack and decay speed is definitely fast. It has good clarity, lower treble sounds a bit forward but anything more than that doesn’t sound forward, luckily it has good amount of sparkle. The treble of UNIX might be tuned for long listening, listening to treble dominated tracks never sounded fatiguing when I’m using this Set. Also, it might be due to the limitation of the BA driver used.

Sound stage and Resolution
The sound stage sounds medium-ish room to me, for my ears it sounds wider than deeper, it has decent height too. I’d say that the size of the stage being projected by the UNIX is medium sized room, it doesnt sound too open as expected from a single BA IEM. Luckily, it is pretty coherent and accurate with good enough layering and imaging capabilities. Resolution is very good on bass to upper midrange but slightly lacks at treble region.

Sound Signature and Synergy
The Sound Signature of the UNIX is U shaped and is considerably balanced to my ears. Pushing the treble a bit more forward should make the UNIX a formidable sub 200 USD IEM, nonetheless it still amazed me. Hearing several single BAs like Comet, Neptune and KOEL, this easily stacks up to them or even better.

Shanling M3s

lrm_export_178591906943536_20190907_1934209606429670819521590441.jpeg

The warmish midrange of the Shanling M3s really helped the UNIX, the synergy is good except for the treble, I would love pairing the UNIX with touch brighter sources like Cayin n5iis or Questyle QP1R. Sub bass is very deep and is agile enough for complex tracks. Midrange sounds transparent but never shouty. Treble sounds smooth and airy. There are better DAPs to pair with the UNIX but the M3s is definitely a good pairing with the UNIX especially for someone who doesn’t love treble that much.

Hiby R3
I used the UNIX on balanced with the R3 and used my smartphone via bluetooth, I listened to some Aimer and Melanie Martinez and I can say that the upper midrange sounds really good except that there are some dips but it isn’t severe. Bass feels sufficient considering that this is a single BA IEM. Treble seems to be more present here and impedance curve of UNIX might play a huge role since it sounds less emphasized on the micro and M3s.

iFi micro iDSD LE (IEMatch ultra sensitive)

lrm_export_178750873585178_20190907_1936599266064905777595973655.jpeg

The UNIX sounded fuller with this source, midbass gained body but still retaining it’s neutralish positioning. There’s more headroom and it sounded more spacious and general, allowing more details to come out specially on the midrange and bass. Treble sounds fine, still smooth but a bit more extended. I love this pairing because it adss more weight to slightly thin bass of UNIX and it gives more space on the overall sound.

Comparison
Brainwavz KOEL

The KOEL is roughly half the price of the UNIX at around 3000 Php (60 USD) vs 7500 Php (150 USD). Both have a single BA driver that’s why I compared the two. Sub bass easily goes to the UNIX, it is deeper, more texture and has better body compared to the rolled off sub bass of KOEL. Mid bass goes to the UNIX again due to better speed and resolution. Lower Midrange goes to KOEL, it sounds more natural and warmer in comparison to the UNIX, but the UNIX wins when it comes to resolution. Upper midrange goes to UNIX, it is sweeter and has better resolution, it is also sibilant free despite being transparent. Treble goes to the UNIX, the UNIX may sound a bit rolled off but the KOEL has less treble extension and clarity. Sound stage still goes to the UNIX, the midrange of KOEL is too forward making it less spacious, resolution obviously goes to the UNIX.

Ibasso IT01
I find the two to be similar sounding with the IT01 being more V shaped, warmer and less treble presence. Sub bass of UNIX has better control and more texture without being too forward so it’s a win to UNIX. Mid bass still goes to UNIX in my opinion, the IT01 might possess more weight and is more forward but it lacks texture and speed. For lower midrange, I’ll give it a tie, the IT01 is more recessed but has better body compared to the UNIX. Upper midrange goes to UNIX with better resolution, timbre, and positioning. Treble goes to UNIX, again the IT01 sounds smoother and slower compared to the UNIX. sound stage goes to the IT01, it’s airier making it sound more specious it has better depth as well. Resolution goes to the UNIX since the IT01 sounds smoother overall.

QDC Neptune
The Neptune is a more neutral IEM but that doesn’t mean it’s better. Sub bass goes deeper and has more texture with the UNIX, the Neptune has an earlier roll off and has a more faint delivery than the UNIX. The bass also goes to the UNIX because it is faster and has slightly more details, but the Neptune has slightly more body. Lower midrange goes to Neptune, it is warmer and more natural, it is less recessed as well, upper midrange goes to UNIX because it is more transparent and sweeter compared to a little bit warmer and muddier Neptune. Treble seems to be on par, the neptune sounds more sparkly but doesn’t extend that much too while the UNIX has more air in it. For sound stage, they almost have the same size but in terms of layering and imaging, the UNIX has a slight edge, maybe because it is faster that’s why it never sound congested even it is a single BA IEM. Resolution goes to the UNIX especially on the bass and midrange department.

Campfire Audio Comet
Right of the bat, the Comet sounds warmer and thicker overall. Sub bass has same depth and they are both impressive for a single BA IEM, but the Comet sounds smoother and less detailed so the UNIX has a slight edge here. Bass goes to comet, it is fast and have enough body to give life to any bassy track you throw. Lower midrange goes to comet as well, the UNIX has more transparency but it sounds too anemic for lower midrange that requires body, and Comet has it. Upper midrange and treble goes to UNIX because it is cleaner, more transparent has better extension and packs more details, the treble of Comet is too smooth for my liking, it lacks definition as compared to the UNIX. Sound stage goes too UNIX especially in terms of depth, imaging and layering goes to UNIX as well. Resolution still goes to UNIX with better ability in recovering micro details from bass to treble.

Conclusion

lrm_export_178820703290376_20190907_1938097566873073644102291439.jpeg

BFD Audio has been in the underrated market for quite some time, it’s just that he lacks advertisement in fact he’s been making triple hybrid driver configuration with switches even before Fearless Audio and BGVP Audio done it. Craftmanship wise, the shell is done nicely, it has very good finish, the packaging looks nice and he even included 1 solid pelican-ish case and 1 high quality pouch, lastly I noticed that it uses silver cable inside the shell instead of conventional copper. The quality of cable is worth mentioning as well, it is a 8 core SPC cable and has an impressive splitter, jack and ear guides. As for the sound, it is a detailed IEM with mild U shaped signature. Sub bass goes really deep for a single BA IEM and it has great texture, mid bass is slightly thin but again it is quite detailed and has enough impact. Lower midrange lacks body and is slightly behind in terms of positioning but it is also detailed. Upper midrange sounds sweet and quite forward even there’s a dip around the upper midrange around 3 kHz to 4 kHz. Treble sounds more than decent even though it doesn’t extend too much, luckily it is airy and quite detailed. Layering and imaging is good, not spectacular but it outperforms almost all single BAs under 12,000 Php (240 USD). This is an easy buy if you want good fit, good design, good sound quality, good packaging at less than 10,000 Php, it is a very balanced IEM for me.
Last edited:

audioblog18

New Head-Fier
Pros: High price to performance ratio
- Deep and textured sub bass
- Punchy Mid bass
- Smooth and full sounding Midrange
- Airy Treble
- Spacious sound stage
- Solid Build
- Has carrying pouch
- Good fit and isolation
Cons: So-so cable and ear tips
- Short Nozzle
- A bit loose bass
- Slightly lacks treble sparkle
- Weird Packaging
This review unit was provided free of charge, it doesn’t affect the honesty and integrity of this review.

The Company

img_20190916_1600554555035216468089745.jpg


There’s really few information about BLON but they are making audio gears for 5 years already, as far as I know they started out with a headphone named BossHifi B8 then this year they suddenly became much more aggressive releasing their first IEM as well as a Planar Headphone. The box they are shipping out is still unripe with very confusing words imprinted on it but the inclusion feels good enough.

The BLON BL03



lrm_export_98823579456768_20190915_1311206012308535742831613700.jpeg


lrm_export_98924661333836_20190915_1313016834562287280252191537.jpeg

The BL03 is a single Dynamic Driver and has a metal shell (stainless steel) which feels kinda heavy yet rigid. I can easilt say that the material used and the level of durability should be on par or even better with the likes of BQEYZ BQ3 and Tin Audio T3. The 2 pin female which I think is a 0.78 mm is level with the surface of the IEM and there’s a space around to insert the 2 pin male which is recessed, the connection feels a lot better than KZs since it is recessed and feels secured. There’s no information about the material used for cable but it is coated with black plastic, it is quite decent for me but the ear guides/hooks feels too aggressive nonetheless it is manageable.

Technical specifications:

  • Impedance: 32Ω
  • Earphone sensitivity: 102dB/mW
  • Frequency response range: 20-20KHz
  • Plug Type: 3.5mm Gold Plated L Type
  • Earphone interface: 2 pin connector
  • Driver unit: 10mm Carbon Diaphragm Dynamic Driver
Packaging, Comfort and Isolation










The packaging resembles the TFZ Series 2, the rectangular body is made out of card board while the cover is a printed transparent acetate/plastic. The problem for me is the message above, it feels sketchy for me but at least there’s a lot inside and the IEM sounded spectacular (considering the price of course). There’s a manual, 3 pairs of useless ear tips, cable and a nice pouch. To be honest the stock tips are next to useless, they are very thin and doesn’t give any resistance when inserted to the ears resulting to a poor comfort and isolation. Luckily, when tried with other trusted ear tips, it has a very good isolation (very minimal outside noise when on commute) and fits very well. I can compare the fit with an advanced Model 3, the weight doesn’t bother me in any way so I can say that it is comfortable indeed. Overall, the packaging is more than decent for a sub 2000 Php (40USD) IEM, in fact it is a notch better than the packaging of KZs.

Sound
I love IEMs and earbuds with midcentric to flat sound signature as I really love listening to vocals rather than instruments. My genre ranges from heavy rock, alternative rock, pop rock, acoustic, pop, jazz and folk. Majority of my test tracks are in 16 bit – 44 khz and 24 bit – 48 khz FLAC file and here is the list of my commom test tracks.

  1. Reese Lansangan – For the Fickle (background, female vocals and upper mids)
  2. Foo Fighters – Bridge Burning (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  3. Jensen and the Flips – Come Closer (Mid Bass, Mids)
  4. Ed Sheeran – Dive (Mid bass, Lower Mids)
  5. Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why (Upper Mids and Instruments)
  6. Paramore – Hard Times (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  7. Utada Hikaru ft. Skrillex – Face My Fears (Imaging Layering, Bass, Mids, Treble, Coherence, Quickness)
  8. Passenger – Coins in a Fountain (Mid bass, Layering, Imaging, Instruments, Lower mids, Treble)
  9. Tori Kelly – Hollow (Background, Upper mids)
  10. Ariana Grande – Raindrops (Background, Upper mids)
Bass

Sub bass goes deep and has excellent texture for the price it is far from being too smooth. It decays pretty quick and easily picks more than enough amount of details, rumbles and riffs feels very present. Mid bass has moderate tightness it isn’t the most rounded and tight bass out there, but it is speedy especially it is a single DD IEM, it is quite smooth but the body of mid bass is very engaging and enjoyable, it is slightly coloured but heck playing Bad Guy by Billie Eilish is just euphoric, I can confidently say that the bass of this guy can beat even the likes of ZS10 Pros and BQEYZ BQ3 which is double the price.

Midrange

lrm_export_150722417838942_20190916_1554313112259508823685278128.jpeg

Lower midrange sits a little bit behind the bass, it has moderate warmth to keep male vocals and guitar strums realistic and far from being dry or hollow. Playing Spies by Coldplay, the strings sounded natural and has enough body, same goes to vocals, it has more than decent details and it still sounds full and quite smooth. Listening to Birdy’s Beautiful Lies, it sounds quite dull since her vocals isn’t that thin and pitchy compared to other Pop singers but it sounds natural and far from being sibilant, the upper midrange has more forward positioning than the lower midrange, I love the right amount of warmth here, I’d say that it has moderate amount of transparency and body for it to sound versatile with various artist and instruments, the details feels sufficient but not overflowing.

Treble

Playing Asphyxia by Co Shu Nie, despite complex presentation, the treble sounded airy and smooth I’d say that it is placed quite neutrally, the treble never sounded aggressive with my tracks. Decay speed is good enough, it lacks sparkle and definition at times but that makes the BL03 easy to listen and can be listen with for number of hours. Details is just decent since the tuning seems to focus with smoothness and air, nonetheless it extends quite well.

Sound Stage and Resolution

Sound Stage feels spacious, there’s more than enough depth, width and height seriously I didn’t expect this to sound this good. There’s a slight peak between 5k and 10k and that must helped the stage to sound more open. Imaging and layering is pretty impressive for the price, in fact I never expected a sub 2000 Php (40 USD) IEM to sound this good especially from BLON since this is their very first venture in IEMs. Resolution isn’t spectacular but from sub bass to upper midrange it is above decent, it is quite smooth but there’s still enough resolution.

Sound Signature and Synergy

The Sound Signature of the BLON BL03 leans on warm to slightly U shaped, there’s ample of warmth and that helped in making the IEM sound energetic and natural in timbre. Sub bass and midbass is slightly prominent because of the extra fullness but it doesn’t sound too warm in my preference. I’d love pairing it with neutral sources or a slightly analytical one to slightly give more sparkle at the treble.

Hiby R3

Hiby R3 is slightly warm, I’d say it is one of the best DAPs that I’ve tried under 20,000 Php (400 USD) in terms of fullness. This pairing isn’t too warm at all I expected it to sound dark but it didn’t, in fact there’s just ample amount of mid bass emphasis and midrange still sounded clear enough for it not to sound muddy. The treble sounded less sparkly but still it is airy and quite smooth. Sound stage still sounds spacious, not as huge as when using the Micro but still it sounds expansive especially once I used the Satin Audio Kraken 4x. Details doesn’t feel overpowering but it is there especially on the lower end of the spectrum. Vocals sounds stellar with this pairing, I never expected something like this under 2000 Php.

iFi iDSD micro LE

lrm_export_150650101423849_20190916_1553189943761087103234473859.jpeg

With great power comes better staging, more natural timbre and better resolution. Playing it with micro (Ultra sensitive on) it sounded cleaner and leaner in comparison with Hiby R3, bass is still punchy and has good amount of body but it is more controlled and is tighter. Midrange sounds as meaty as with the R3 but it is cleaner here, it is more transparent and natural. Treble still sounded smooth ans airy but now with better extension and better presence. Again, the stage feels more spacious, layering and imaging feels more accurate as well. There’s a slight improvement in resolution especially on the treble but it isn’t humongous compared to Hiby R3 balanced.

Smartphone (Huawei Mate 10)

As what you’ll expect from a smartphone, there’s a reduction in terms of dynamics, resolution, coherence, transparency and staging but that’s given. The phone made the BLON BL03 slightly thinner and sweeter especially on the upper mids, there’s less bass emphasis and the treble sounded slightly more forward as what I’ve expected from a bright sounding source. Nonetheless the BL03 can be easily used with smartphones and that’s a plus.

Comparison

Final Audio E1000

lrm_export_36430084227766_20190407_1248273141745609394606880763.jpeg

They sounded similar for me except that the E1000 sounded more linear and has more treble presence. Sub bass feels smoother and less extended on the E1000, the BL03 on the other hand sounds more textured and has better depth and decay speed. The Midbass of the two sounds almost identical with almost same level of emphasis but the BL03 has slightly better control and speed over the E1000. Lower mids sounds a bit more forward on the E1000, they are both warmish I’ll give the win to E1000 since it is less recessed. Upper mids goes to BL03 due to sweeter presentation, the E1000s is too warm resulting to bland upper midrange. The treble sounds better on the BL03, slightly more sparkly and well extended as compared to the E1000, there’s some peak above 8k on tbe BL03 which actually helped for the sound stage. Sound stage seems to go with the BL03, though it is a very close match, the BL03 snatched the win due to its deeper stage and slightly better imaging and layering. Resolution goes to the BL03 as well but the difference isn’t tremendous.


KZ ZS10 Pro

lrm_export_39263938192430_20190707_191059818.jpeg

Sub bass depth and texture easily goes to BL03, no question it goes deeper and has better texture in it. Mid bass goes to BL03 too again though the ZS10 Pro sounds tighter, the punch and body of the BL03 is just superior over the ZS10 Pro. Lower midrange still snatched by the BL03 it sounds fuller, less hallow and has more natural timbre compared to the ZS10 Pro, clarity and resolution is on par as well. Upper mid range of the ZS10 Pro sounds cleaner and more intimate but it sounds unnatural when pitted against the BL03, so I’ll give it a draw. Treble goes to ZS10 Pro since it has better sparkle and extension, it packs more details as well. Sound stage goes to the Bl03, the treble actually helped as well as the airy presentation. Resolution may go either way since for the upper midrange to treble I hear more details with ZS10 Pro while for the bass and lower midrange, the BL03 sounded more detailed.

Hill Audio Altair Lite

img_20190913_1654558690653644395522480.jpg
The Altair Lite sounds darker for me, it has more sub bass and mid bass punch maybe because of how it is designed, I’ll give the bass to the Altair Lite. Lower midrange and upper midrange both sounds way more natural and less recessed with the BL03, it packs more details and clarity too so it’s an obvious win for the Bl03. The treble goes to the BL03 too with airier presentation and better sparkle, extension is greater with the BL03 too. Sound stage still snatched by the BL03, the Altair Lite sounded intimate due to the design I think (lack of vent). As for the resolution, the BL03 has more details from midrange to treble while they are almost on par on the bass, therefore it is a close win for the BL03.

Conclusion

lrm_export_113794074111254_20190906_0151466202942239241905763818.jpeg

I was very amazed with the BL03, I never expected to have the same feeling as when I tried the lovely HS1551 CU as I first tried the BLON BL03, don’t misunderstand me, the BL03 obviously isn’t as detailed, wide, coherent and clear as the former but what I’m trying to say is that they have the same “wow factor” the moment you try it. It has very good bass with deep and textured presentation. Midrange sounds natural with commendable timbre. Treble has good amount of air and sparkle without slowing it down. Sound stage sounds more open as compared to the KZ counterpart and it is a very good start from a company that’s still on its first few steps. I can easily recommend this one even under the 5000 Php (100 USD) range since picking the likes of ZS10 Pro or Tin Audio T3 won’t really be a major leap from the BLON BL03. I never thought budget IEMs to sound this good, honestly.

audioblog18

New Head-Fier
Pros: - Not dark tonality
- Long battery life
- Roughly an hour of charging
- Lots of ear tips
- Sleek case
- Fits really well
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Water resistance
- Range (50 m)
Cons: - Very Rare disconnection
- No aptX or LDAC for the price
- The midrange may be too forward for some
Thank you Mr. Paul of HIFIMAN Electronics for letting us give our honest take towards the HIFIMAN TWS600. Given that the review unit is from them and is free of charge, it doesn’t affect the honesty and integrity of this review.

Shop Links:

Hifiman Shop:

https://store.hifiman.com/index.php/tws600.html

ebay:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/HIFIMAN-TWS600-True-Wireless-Hi-Fi-Sweatproof-Noise-Isolated-Sports-Earphones/254278524165?pageci=a8e039d8-f608-4188-bfc8-4df8afb6e7ca

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TR4C9L2?ref=myi_title_dp

The Company

hifiman.jpeg

HIFIMAN has been one if not the best headphone maker out there, they specialized in producing headphones with unconventional drivers, they used Planar Magnetic drivers as the owner, Dr. Fang actually has researches regarding the technology behind Planar Magnetic drivers. Up until now they are very popular in the audiophile realm with several awards and positive feedback. HIFIMAN ANANDA and SUNDARA are few of their new lineups and it is quite popular in audiophile groups. HIFIMAN continues to be one of the top brands in headphone class and it is my personal favorite.

The Hifiman TWS600

lrm_export_165996158462096_20190803_1356339637581526371436262510.jpeg


lrm_export_166190110787587_20190803_1359479154229644236960498390.jpeg


lrm_export_166138514344366_20190803_1358563182540460858787494661.jpeg


lrm_export_166402286176617_20190803_1403200901751872343413494465.jpeg


lrm_export_166447783646402_20190803_140405588458627462025272736.jpeg


lrm_export_167108301040572_20190803_1415061058457781861004565425.jpeg


lrm_export_166578527041695_20190803_1406163318330896966606397693.jpeg

The Hifiman TWS600 came with a medium sized red box, company, product name and the product itself are all printed above the box. Turning it and looking the bottom of the box, the features are listed some of those are IPX4 and Bluetooth 5.0 capabilites. To be honest for a device at this price range, I’m expecting a larger box with more premium feeling, I mean the Sabbat E12 has a good looking packaging. Diving inside the box, there’s 8 various pairs of eartips which feels premium to me especially the transparent silicone tip which gave me the best sound and fit. There’s also a type C cable and some paperworks. For me the packaging experience should’ve been better, I mean for a price like this I’m expecting more like a carrying pouch for longevity of the charging case, well maybe the small box is for it to be less space consuming when it is shipped to other countries but for 7,500 Php (149 USD) TWS IEM and for me it’s forgivable given that they are relatively one of the biggest name in Audiophile world. The battery life is good though, the IEM can go up to 5 hours on my usage and the charging case can charge it up to 6 times which is note worthy.

Technical Specifications:

20190628035852_477685529689959378421290.jpg


Connectivity
lrm_export_166825324772907_20190803_14102312916280522309156045.jpeg


I’ve tested it with devices which only has Bluetooth 4.2 but all of them supports aptX and LDAC which the Hifiman TWS600 lacks. It is easy to connect, the moment I turn on the Bluetooth and pair it, it took less than a minute before the TWS600 connected to my sources. The connection is pretty stable as well, both earpiece doesn’t have latency issues, even when watching videos there’s no lag or delay which is commendable. Distance wise, I tried leaving it at our second floor and I went down to cook some breakfast and it didn’t disconnect therefore the connection of the TWS600 is great.

Sound
I love gears with midcentric to flat sound signature as I really love listening to vocals rather than instruments. My genre ranges from heavy rock, alternative rock, pop rock, acoustic, pop, jazz and folk. Majority of my test tracks are in 16 bit – 44 khz and 24 bit – 48 khz FLAC file and here is the list of my commom test tracks.

  1. Reese Lansangan – For the Fickle (background, female vocals and upper mids)
  2. Foo Fighters – Bridge Burning (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  3. Jensen and the Flips – Come Closer (Mid Bass, Mids)
  4. Ed Sheeran – Dive (Mid bass, Lower Mids)
  5. Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why (Upper Mids and Instruments)
  6. Paramore – Hard Times (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  7. Utada Hikaru ft. Skrillex – Face My Fears (Imaging Layering, Bass, Mids, Treble, Coherence, Quickness)
  8. Passenger – Coins in a Fountain (Mid bass, Layering, Imaging, Instruments, Lower mids, Treble)
  9. Tori Kelly – Hollow (Background, Upper mids)
  10. Ariana Grande – Raindrops (Background, Upper mids)
Bass

Unlike all of the TWS devices that I’ve tried, this is something different, something unique in a good way. It doesn’t have that monstrous bass, it has decent extension everything below 100 Hz sounds faint, texture is above average and it is placed quite linear. Mid bass sounds modest as well, it doesnt punch hard and has subtle weight on it. Luckily it is tight enough and well controlled, texture is decent as it leans toward smooth sounding pair. Bass speed is definitely note worthy, most TWS that I’ve tried lacks attack and decay speed resulting to congested staging when subjected to complex tracks.

Midrange

lrm_export_166715823781778_20190803_1408336281218612037520323610.jpeg

Another interesting part is the midrange, it’s forward and is presented in a lush manner. Lower mids sounds full and has moderate body, male vocals sounds satisfying and far from being thin nor hollow. Upper midrange has a bit too much thickness resulting to lack of sweetness and high pitch emphasis especially on female vocals. It has moderate amount of details and is really smooth, very good tuning for a TWS because it is made to be used casually and not for analytical usage.

Treble

Again, the treble is quite smooth just like the bass and midrange. The amount of air just enough, sparkle somewhat lacking but that’s a good point for someone who will use the device for four straight hours listening to metal and rock music full of splashes. Decay speed is quite snappy and it doesn’t congest the staging, the positioning is almost the same with the bass making the sound signature slightly inverted U shaped. Extension isn’t something stellar but definitely forgivable, there’s no signs of sibilance nor harshness due to peaks, a very smooth and relaxing companion for long hours of casual listening.

Sound stage and Resolution

As expected, it won’t excel that much in this area, due to the forwardness of the midrange there’s slight congestion especially with complex tracks. It has enough height and width but it lacks depth. Layering and imaging is good enough, I can easily pin point the placement for as long as the track isn’t complex by nature. Resolution is decent, it is quite smooth and soft in comparison to wired IEMs at this price but of course they’re like apples and oranges, for a TWS device and for casual listening it is detailed enough maybe close to resolution of sub 5000-6000 Php wired IEMs.

Sound Signature and Synergy

Sound signature of the TWS600 is leaning to mid-centric with velvety smooth presentation. I liked this one because mid-centric gears are not so popular and quite rare in this hobby thus, listening to the TWS600 with my female dominated library has been very enjoyable. Pairing this one with warm source is much recommended because for me it slightly lacks bass impact and weight, so adding a bit of warmth would be really great.

Huawei P20 and Mate 10

lrm_export_166677115534388_20190803_1407549201311204273657014931.jpeg

I wasn’t able to turn on the aptX of both these phone because it is locked with the current EMUI version but as per comments in some forums it will automatically choose aptX when the device used is aptX compatible, sadly the TWS600 doesn’t have it.

Both smartphone lacks Bluetooth 5.0 so I’m stucked with Bluetooth 4.2 which still performs nicely. I can literally use it when I’m cooking while my phone is charging at our second floor, there’s no latency issue too, I expected some kind of delay when watching movies but there’s none.

Sound wise, both phones almost share the same sound signature on bluetooth, they’re a bit warm compared to my Shanling M3s (high quality enabled) and has less treble presence. The TWS600 sounded nice with these two, slightly boosting the bass and retaining the midrange that I love. Detail wise it’s far from exceptional but again, it is more than decent for your casual listening. Sound stage isn’t that spacious and accurate but definitely forgivable because it performs better than any TWS that I’ve tried so far.

Shanling M3s

lrm_export_166910074071332_20190803_1411478787813877441104340373.jpeg

It sounds a lot cleaner and more detailed with the M3s. The M3s also have a Bluetooth 4.0 and I can use it within 10 m range and that’s more than enough, afterall you’ll not go somewhere further than that without bringing your source. Bass sounds lighter but more detailed, midrange sounds less thick and has better transparency, treble has better extension and sparkle. Sound stage sounds more spacious than Smartphones that I’ve used but the depth is still lacking. Layering and imaging is on point especially with less complicated tracks while overall resolution is above decent.

Comparison

Advanced Model X

Advanced model X sounds different it has more sub bass and mid bass but it sounds smoother in comparison. Lower midrange to upper midrange sounds recessed on the model X which is the exact opposite of the TWS600, the TWS600 sounds more natural and has better resolution too. Lastly the treble of model X is more prominent and forward compared to the TWS600, both has good enough sparkle and extension with TWS600 being slightly airer. Soundstage seems to be slightly more spacious with the model X but it feels less accurate in terms of imaging and layering. Resolution goes to the TWS600 though the difference isn’t that far.

Feature-wise, they almost have the same functions but the TWS600 is click-operated while the model X is touch operated. Both TWS is rated at 4-5 hours per charge but the TWS600 has slightly more juice in the case (around 3 to 5 hours more). The TWS600 has the better fit, it has very strong suction making it almost impossible to fall from your ears, it has also a type C port which is an edge over the model X. Lastly both doesnt have LDAC or aptX support since it isn’t listed on their site, despite having bluetooth 5.0, its max operating range is just 10m in comparison to the TWS600 that is 50m.

Conclusion

lrm_export_166328712219337_20190803_1402065165124533731917117416.jpeg

The tuning of TWS600 is something that isn’t common, most of TWS that I’ve tried has big bass and slightly recessed midrange. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it is very good for jazz and acoustic genre, but it may not please someone who listen with classical and EDM because they aren’t bass or treble cannon. It has a very good battery life, nice fit, sleek housing and excellent connection, I never had any latency issues even when watching videos at any quality. Overall the sound signature is lovable (for me), it has a forward midrange and both ends has decent extension and quantity, it is ergonomic and has nifty control features if you want a premium TWS device that has excellent connection and fit then the TWS600 is one to consider the only downside is the lack of aptX or LDAC which is present with cheaper product but if I have to choose between this and Advanced Model X which is just 50 USD cheaper, I’d take the TWS600 in a heartbeat.

audioblog18

New Head-Fier
Pros: Speed is stellar
-Natural tonality
-Transparency and clarity of midrange
-Ample and brilliant treble, not harsh at all
-Quite resolving for the price
-Build quality
Cons: Requires great power
-Bass weight seems to be lacking
-Stock cable
-Medium sound stage for an open back design
Thank you Mr. Paul of HIFIMAN Electronics for letting us give our honest take towards the HIFIMAN SUNDARA. Given that the review unit is from them and is free of charge, it doesn’t affect the honesty and integrity of this review.

Shop Links:

HIFIMAN:

http://store.hifiman.com/index.php/sundara.html

eBay:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/HIFIMAN-SUNDARA-Over-Ear-Planar-Magnetic-Audiophile-Headphone-Home-and-Studio-/254143269726?oid=263415145598

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/HIFIMAN-SUNDARA-Over-ear-Full-size-Headphones/dp/B077XDWT7X/ref=sr_1_14?m=A1GH37DDIGH3L6&s=merchant-items&ie=UTF8&qid=1515383085&sr=1-14

The Company






HIFIMAN has been one if not the best headphone maker out there, they specialized in producing headphones with unconventional drivers, they used Planar Magnetic drivers as the owner, Dr. Fang actually has researches regarding the technology behind Planar Magnetic drivers. Up until now they are very popular in the audiophile realm with several awards and positive feedback. HIFIMAN ANANDA and SUNDARA are few of their new lineups and it is quite popular in audiophile groups. HIFIMAN continues to be one of the top brands in headphone class and it is my personal favorite.

The HIFIMAN SUNDARA











lrm_export_124220802348675_20190505_1423326875079901050697415380.jpeg









“Easy-to-drive Full-size Planar Magnetic Headphone” this is the claim of HIFIMAN with regards to the HE 400 series and other models above them. The SUNDARA is a lot more efficient than the 400i in real time usage, it can be driven by smartphones to listenable level without reaching 100 volume and it can be observed when using it with DAPs.

Fit, Comfort and Build









The HIFIMAN SUNDARA, looks and feels a lot better compared to the 400i the clamping force seems to be more modest and comfortable. The overall build quality is also a step up, the pads is less warm and is more suitable for warm countries like the PH. I think the grills looks less enticing than the one with the 400i but still I love the looks of grills more than anything, it looks cool IMO. Headbands became more rigid and this is due to the fact that the drivers isn’t rotatable like with the 400i, I don’t find it useful anyway

Despite turning the cups rom plastic (400i) to metal, they did maintain the lightweight feeling for the SUNDARA, I can attest that the difference in weight between the two isn’t huge. I tried using it for hours and I didn’t felt fatigue on my neck which simply means that the weight is comfortable enough. My only gripe is that it is kinda hard to adjust and it leaves some serious wear after doing that, the cups feels slightly shakey too.

Technical Specification:

1. Frequency Response: : 6Hz-65KHz
2. Sensitivity : 94dB
3. Impedance : 37 Ohms
4. Weight : 372g
5. Cable Length : 1.5m
6. Plug : 3.5mm/6.35mm
Packaging
















The box of the SUNDARA isn’t as premium as with the 400i, it feels lighter too. Luckily i find the cable to be better since the sleeved ones that came with my 400i is very tangly in comparison. The manual looks better, and the 6.3mm adaptor still looks the same. I still wish that they included a pouch to carry the 400i, nonetheless the packaging is average at least for me.

Sound

I love gears with midcentric to flat sound signature as I really love listening to vocals rather than instruments. My genre ranges from heavy rock, alternative rock, pop rock, acoustic, pop, jazz and folk. Majority of my test tracks are in 16 bit – 44 khz and 24 bit – 48 khz FLAC file and here is the list of my commom test tracks.

  1. Reese Lansangan – For the Fickle (background, female vocals and upper mids)
  2. Foo Fighters – Bridge Burning (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  3. Jensen and the Flips – Come Closer (Mid Bass, Mids)
  4. Ed Sheeran – Dive (Mid bass, Lower Mids)
  5. Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why (Upper Mids and Instruments)
  6. Paramore – Hard Times (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  7. Utada Hikaru ft. Skrillex – Face My Fears (Imaging Layering, Bass, Mids, Treble, Coherence, Quickness)
  8. Passenger – Coins in a Fountain (Mid bass, Layering, Imaging, Instruments, Lower mids, Treble)
  9. Tori Kelly – Hollow (Background, Upper mids)
  10. Ariana Grande – Raindrops (Background, Upper mids)
Summary

For the Quality, higher is better as this includes resolution and dynamics while the quantity and positioning are subjective, it actually tells how close and how much the frequencies are.

received_22577402175979738957845228158352749.png


Bass


Tight, punchy and quick, it is by far the most agile bass that I’ve heard in any gear, playing some Billie Eilish tracks I can easily notice both the sub bass and mid bass having good amount of details and tightness, it is very coherent. Rumbles and riffs are rendered in a textured manner, both attack and decay are fast enough to easily tackle some fast paced tracks. Mid bass is slightly forward, quantity is just enough to have a weight but never bleeds or overshadow the lower mids. Just like the sub bass, the mid bass is very quick as well, the quantity is just enough to be there when needed, it is generally tight and rounded, it has good fullness and it doesn’t cause the lower mids to sound muddy or veiled. Overall the bass is smooth yet resolving with excellent speed but lacks depth, air and weight (for bass heads).

Midrange

lrm_export_124779142273589_20190505_1432510273025220904365784646.jpeg

Neither too lush nor thin, just enough to feel enough body and transparency at the same time. Both the instruments and vocals aren’t far from you and not too close as well, I’d say that it is almost positioned neutrally or at the middle ground. Just like the 400i, I love how natural the timbre is, it doesn’t sound too thick, unnatural or colored, I mean it isn’t perfectly clinical but the coloration here is very little about just 10%. Resolution is great, not the most revealing pair out there but it has nice smoothness without smudging details and I really love that. Upper midrange is kinda sweet and has just enough body for it not to sound shrill or shouty, I find the timbre of upper mids natural as well, very life like maybe because it isn’t placed to recessed or the staging is just enough for it not to sound too spacious nor confined. Both instruments and vocals are rendered very well, when properly driven I can’t hear any signs of being sibilant.

Treble


The attack and decay of sundara’s treble is very quick, that’s the first thing I noticed after playing some Paramore tracks. It has airier treble than the 400i but still isn’t as airy as dynamic driver headphones like AKG K712 or Beyerdynamic DT 1770 pro. The treble despite its speed has very good resolution and extension, it is placed neutrally or just a step behind, since it is airier than the 400i, it gives a better sense of width, depth and height. Even though it has nice sparkle in it, it never sounded harsh nor piercing even when I tried it on my smartphone (which is technically underpowered). I’m not a treble head and I believe the quantity and sparkle of sundara’s treble is just enough for me but I think it may sound dull for treble head folks out there, I can’t notice major peaks and that’s commendable.

Sound stage and Resolution

Imaging and layering is above average, I can easily pinpoint the instruments in the projected stage by the SUNDARA, it isn’t the best but definitely not bad for the asking price. The depth and height are great while it is slightly narrow compared to other open back HPs like AKG K712 but the SUNDARA sounds more real and less veiled in comparison. The stage naturally expands depending on the tracks played, I tried playing some live tracks and it is simply good, the stage isn’t as huge as other open back but it made me feel that I’m listening to an actual concert because of the layering and imaging. Resolution is very good as well, I can easily pick the micro details in “visit to hida” by Radwimps and “Everything’s not lost” by Coldplay. I’d say that the midrange is the most detailed part amongst the three frequency bracket. I’d say that the SUNDARA isn’t the most resolving pair out there but hey, it is pretty detailed despite being smooth at the same time, no harshness or whatsoever yet it managed to reveal details with ease.

Synergy and Sound Signature

The SUNDARA seems to adapt the same sound signature of the HE-400i which I truly loved after listening for the first time. The signature of the Sundara ranges from warm and smooth to neutral instead of dark (like other planar magnetic headphones). Bass is a bit forward and is very quick, tight and resolving despite being smooth at the same time, the midrange is smooth and a bit forward in comparison to treble it has very natural timbre and sweet upper midrange that makes it a good gear for vocal focused tracks, lastly treble lacks air but offers good sparkle, resolution and speed to compensate. I suggest to use a neutral sounding DAP/DAC/AMP when using the the SUNDARA since the signature it has is flexible enough to tackle every genre you have in your music library.

Shanling M3s (High Gain, volume @ 80)


lrm_export_124838010381914_20190505_1433498958402754142541796551.jpeg

Unlike the 400i, this is much more efficient as it is pretty loud at 80 steps of volume, it is also a lot better in terms of SQ when directly plugged to DAP compared to the 400i. Obviously it lost transparency and body but not that much, it still sounds fantastic even when directly plugged to DAP. Upper midrange became slightly forward but drier. The staging is also affected, the depth and width is reduced but again, it isn’t as humongous when comparing to the 400i and shanling M3s pairing. Dynamics also took some damage but overall it is a huge step up from the 400i if you want it to be used un-amped.

lrm_export_124779142273589_20190505_1432510273025220904365784646.jpeg

Adding iFi iCAN 2 SE with its bundled IC, it sounds fuller and with the 3D switch and XBass switch, I can easily control the sound of SUNDARA. Turning on the 3D switch and 4000mW output (XBass off) the SUNDARA sounds smoother, richer and more transparent. The upper mids doesn’t sound dry at all and the bass became punchier and more weighty. The soundstage became wider and deeper in comparison to M3s alone. It became more dynamic and slightly more lush. I definitely prefer this pairing, more detailed and smoother but still neutral and open sounding, if you can spend bucks for AMP you should consider buying one because planars really love power and they sound a lot better when properly powered. Turning the XBass on, the midrange is being pushed few steps back while the bass remains the same making the overall signature U shaped to slightly V shaped.

lrm_export_124858278519932_20190505_1434101636353865253934968807.jpeg

Adding Periodic Audio Ni (double amping) as amplifier and using copper IC, the body is slightly reduced compared to the iFi iCAN 2 SE and Jazz R7.0 but it sounds more transparent than the R7.0, details are there but not as prominent as when I’m pairing it with iCAN 2 SE. Noise floor is suprisingly low despite using it on PO and not on LO (the Ni doesn’t have volume control, same goes to the M3s when it is on LO so I have no choice but to use PO to be able to control the volume). Despite being small, the Ni was still able to power the SUNDARA decently (55 steps on the M3s) with good enough details, transparency and dynamics and being pocketable at the same time. I’d say that it became thinner and drier compared to the jazz and iCAN SE but not as dry when I plugged it straight to the M3s.

lrm_export_124874729220971_20190505_1434266145108942275858453919.jpeg

Adding Jazz R7.0 as amplifier and using copper IC, during my HE-400i review, this is my favorite amplifier to pair with it, but after getting the iFi iCAN 2 SE, everything changed though this is still a good budget amp to power demanding planars. The same changes can be observed with this pairing, fuller but less detailed, sound stage is pretty good but not as accurate and spacious as with the iCAN. Smoothness is at peak when using the Jazz, no peaks or harshness at all, very good if you intend to use the SUNDARA for easy listening.

Smartphone (Huawei Mate 10)


Huawei Mate 10 has a sound signature of neutral-bright, sound quality is below the M3s to be honest the midrange became recessed and slightly veiled as compared to any other source that I’ve tried. Luckily bass, dynamics and treble doesn’t suffer that much, sound stage became narrower and less spacious while the resolution isn’t that great too. Although it is loud enough at 90 steps, it isn’t even comparable when using the Ni or the iCAN 2 SE, nonetheless it is decent for watching videos via youtube or using it for games.

Comparison

AKG K712


An open back that falls in the same price tier as the SUNDARA, after listening to the K712 paired with M3s and iCAN 2 SE, it sounds a lot thicker and slightly veiled in comparison to a more natural and transparent SUNDARA. The K712 has a slower yet airier bass in comparison to quick and tight bass of SUNDARA, resolution seems to be on par so I call it a tie. The midrange of K712 is a bit veiled and too lush compared to the SUNDARA which is sweeter, cleaner and more transparent I think that the SUNDARA wins the midtange. Lastly for the treble, the K 712 sounds brighter in comparison to the SUNDARA but it also packs more air, sparkle and has better extension, on the other hand the SUNDARA sounds smoother and faster, it never sounded harsh at all so I’ll call it another tie. The sound stage of the K712 is much wider but I prefer the imaging and layering of the SUNDARA so to be fair, it’s another tie. Lastly, resolution since there is some muddiness and sense of being veiled I’d easily give this segment to the SUNDARA.

Beyerdynamic DT1770 Pro


This is a dynamic driver headphone so obviously it has better staging and airiness, but lacks coherency, speed and transparency in comparison to planars surch as SUNDARA. Desptite being closed back headphone, the DT 1770 Pro sounds wide and airy, but for me the SUNDARA seems to be more 3D-ish. Sub bass depth and weight easily goes to the DT 1770 pro while the tightness and speed of mid bass goes to the SUNDARA, resolution seems to be fair so I’ll give it a tie. The midrange of the SUNDARA and DT 1770 pro seems to be linear while the latter leans to be slightly recessed, transparency, timbre and resolution easily goes to the SUNDARA while the 1770 pro sounds lush, some might prefer the latter but I’ll give the win to the SUNDARA. Lastly the treble of the DT 1770 pro wins in terms of airiness, resolution, and sparkle while the SUNDARA snatched the speed and extension, still I’ll give the win to the 1770 pro. Overall they are pretty close depending on usage, I can’t use the SUNDARA outside of my workplace or house since it is an open back design and lacks isolation and sound seal.

Conclusion

lrm_export_124138439195041_20190505_1422103246648349174763348923.jpeg

The HIFIMAN SUNDARA is a nice upgrade from HE-400i and also a nice set of entry level planar magnetic headphone. They are far more efficient than the 400i but I can attest that smartphones isn’t enough to power it to decent level. The sound signature is almost identical to the HE-400i except that the treble is a bit more relaxed and smooth. In terms of sound quality, the SUNDARA is above in any ways, it has better dynamics, resolution, layering and imaging. The HIFIMAN SUNDARA is definitely a good buy especially when pairing it to a good amplifier as it scalea nicely with various amplifiers that I’ve tried, with great power comes great sonic perfomance.
  • Like
Reactions: Cat Music

audioblog18

New Head-Fier
Pros: -Neutral
-Outstanding Transparency
-Natural Timbre
-Spacious Staging
-Very Resolving
-Good end to end extension
Cons: -Bass is just sufficient
-Lacks sparkle
The Company
fb_img_1549196355393.jpg


“Personal made earbuds made by Moon. Each model offers unique and remarkable sound that will suit your taste.”. This are the description that will welcome you as you visit the moonbuds Facebook page. Moonbuds has been a fast growing DIY buds creator last 2018, his work catches the eye (aesthetically pleasing) and will surely please your ears (at least for every moonbuds that I’ve tried).

The Moonbuds Kingslayer




















The Kingslayer is the first budget earbuds of Moonbuds to follow the tuning of Bunting and Nightingale which are their TOTL earbuds. Unlike the Crescent, it is tuned to be more neutral and to be as versatile as possible with various genres. Unlike the first unit, Moon included a premium leather case that can actually fit 3 moon buds inside, a cable strap with “MOON” written on it and the Kingslayer itself. It has identical braiding with the Bunting, they also have the same number of cores but unlike the Bunting which is 4 core SPC, the Kingslayer is a SPC and copper hybrid. I don’t know what kind or cable Moonbuds is using but even after a year the Bunting never showed oxidation which is very commendable. The Kingslayer comes with MX500 shell which is a bit larger and bulkier than the PK yuin shell, the splitter and slider both improved as well, it looks more elegant and lighter. The 3.5 mm jack has an imprinted Moonbuds logo with a crown, it represents the name of the product which is Kingslayer, Moonbuds Phoenix have this kind of printing too. The jack is smaller than the Crescent and has a strain relief cover to improve durability.

Specification:

  • Driver: 15.38 MM (Made in JAPAN)
  • Shell: MX500
  • Impedance: 32Ω
  • Frequency Response: 19 Hz to 21 kHz
  • Sound pressure level: 98.5db 0.18v 1 kHz
  • Cable: 4 Core SPC and Copper Hybrid
Sound

I love IEMs and earbuds with midcentric to flat sound signature as I really love listening to vocals rather than instruments. My genre ranges from heavy rock, alternative rock, pop rock, acoustic, pop, jazz and folk. Majority of my test tracks are in 16 bit – 44 khz and 24 bit – 48 khz FLAC file and here is the list of my commom test tracks.
  1. Reese Lansangan – For the Fickle (background, female vocals and upper mids)
  2. Foo Fighters – Bridge Burning (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  3. LANY – Thick And Thin (Mid Bass, Mids)
  4. Ed Sheeran – Dive (Mid bass, Lower Mids)
  5. Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why (Upper Mids and Instruments)
  6. Paramore – Hard Times (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  7. Radiohead – Life in a Glasshouse (Imaging Layering, Bass, Instruments, Lower mids, Treble)
  8. Passenger – Coins in a Fountain (Mid bass, Layering, Imaging, Instruments, Lower mids, Treble)
  9. Tori Kelly – Hollow (Background, Upper mids)
  10. Ariana Grande – Raindrops (Background, Upper mids)
Bass

Sub bass depth is just adequate, it isn’t bass head level and that’s perfect for me who doesn’t want too much sub bass and mid bass. Quality and texture is definitely good as well as the attack and decay speed, and it is placed neutrally. Mid bass is very accurate, rounded and thumpy, bass notes doesn’t prolong too much making it a versatile pair when handling rock and EDM tracks. The bass has enough weight but still bass heads might find it lacking, bass control is note worthy too because I never heard it bleeding to the lower midrange.

Midrange

lrm_export_94892384468299_20190722_2155264542787607810702598013.jpeg

Damn vocals, upper midrange is the center of the show. Lower midrange isn’t as thin as the upper midrange, there’s a good sense of warmth here giving enough body for male vocals and guitar strums. Listening to Radwimps, Kingslayer’s lower midrange is one of the best balanced of warmth and transparency, there’s no dryness here and that’s commendable. “Language” of Tori Kelly sounded super sweet and relaxing, it is a bit forward specially compared to lower midrange but it’s not too much. There’s a very little sibilance but it actually varies with sources and tracks, with Shanling M3s + Periodic Audio Ni there’s zero sibilance but with Huawei Mate 10 + Periodic Audio Ni there’s a bit.

Treble

This one is airier than the bunting but it packs less sparkle and extension. Playing “Rose-Colored Boy” cymbals are rendered very well with right amount of sparkle and air, compared to the Bunting this one is kinda smoother but still resolving. The extension is just moderate, it doesn’t sound rolled off at all. Attack and decay speed are commendable, fast enough to not have any congestion even with complex tracks. Details are there but unlike bunting, it will not slap you with tons of it just enough to enjoy your tracks.

Sound Stage and Resolution

lrm_export_95284488539073_20190722_220158558837319735821181193.jpeg

The staging is above average, very good width, height and depth it expands well with various tracks that I’ve tested. Testing it with Chlara’s rendition of “The Nights” which sounded very intimate, the Kingslayer did a great job giving sufficient space and headroom to the recording. Layering and imaging is superb, I like how accurate this set, it’s better than the Penon BS1 and Blur 150 Ohms (first gen), playing “Asphyxia” by Co Shu Nie, I can properly locate instruments on the projected stage. Resolution is fine as well, it’s not the most detailed pair that I’ve tried but it’s not far behind the likes of Moonbuds Nightingale V1 and Rose Mojito.

Sound Signature and Synergy

The sound signature of the Kingslayer is close to being Neutral with slight bump on the upper midrange. Pairing it with neutral or analytical source would be great especially if you’re musical taste matches mine. Using warm source would be fine too adding some body and weight on the lower end would make the Kingslayer a more versatile pair especially for pop, rap and EDM genres which is very famous today.

Shanling M3s (High Gain, 50 Steps Volume)

lrm_export_94973624965162_20190722_2156476946643660949609357216.jpeg

Nice pairing, the M3s added some flavour on the upper bass to lower mids which the Kingslayer slightly lacks (especially on the point of view of bass heads). Upper midrange sounds slightly warm but still quite forward and intimate. Treble is kinda smooth, good amount of air and extension, and there’s just right amount of sparkle. The sound stage is above average, it expands very well and has good layering and imaging. Lastly resolution is not overwhelming, it’s there but it’s not as detailed and technical as the bunting.

Shanling M3s + Periodic Audio Ni

lrm_export_95235913710434_20190722_2201099833675545863800693850.jpeg

The Ni improved control of Kinslayer with bass and treble in particular, bass became tighter and more detailed. Midrange almost sound the same with upper midrange becoming slightly thinner and sweeter. Treble became less airy and more defined, it has more sparkle. Stage became slightly wider but less airy, imaging and layering remained the same. Resolution only noticeably upscaled on the treble part.

Shanling M3s + iFi iCAN SE

There’s an added heft on the bass, sub bass became deeper too but it doesn’t pushed forward. Lower midrange slightly gained more body as well but retaining transparency and details. Upper midrange sounded as sweet as ever, still a bit forward but this time more details are retrieved compared to the previous sources. Treble almost sound the same with the M3s high gain, maybe because the Ni is kinda bright, it is airy and has moderate sparkle. Sound stage became more spacious, same goes to layering and imaging though it is subtle. Resolution improved especially on the lows and midrange.

iPad 2 and Huawei Mate 10

On mate 10, they still sounds good, the volume is loud enough at 60-70 steps but details are definitely softer and less evident on this pairing. There’s added sparkle on the treble but extension and control decreased. There’s less depth and texture on the sub bass while the midrange sounds less resolving and a bit veiled.

As expected, the iPad 2 was able to drive the Kingslayer with flying colors. It almost have the same tonality with M3s except that this pairing sounds less full. There’s almost no added heft on the bass, midrange sounds clean and treble sounds brighter compared to M3s. Soundstage seems to be identical with the M3s too but I’d say that the M3s is more accurate in terms of layering and imaging. Resolution is almost at the same level with the M3s.

Comparison

Penon BS1

The Penon BS1 sounds warmer and fuller compared to the Kingslayer, it has less transparency especially on the midrange as well. Sub bass is deeper and more forward on the BS1 while there’s more texture on the Kingslayer, for the mid bass the BS1 sounds a bit more forward with fuller sound, while the Kingslayer sounds faster, tighter and more resolving. Midrange sounds more transparent with the Kingslayer but it has less body and smoothness, upper midrange has more sweetness and transparency on the Kingslayer. Treble seems to have the same presentation with the BS1 being tad bit brighter, it is a bit airer ad well while the level of resolution is on par. Sound stage is equally spacious but Kingslayer sounds more accurate in terms of layering and imaging. Resolution goes to the Kingslayer becsuse the BS1 has smoother sub bass and mid bass despite having that heft.

Moonbuds Bunting

Bunting is my favorite buds to date, it easily beats Blur 150 Ohms (Ver. 1) in terms of tonality, details and transparency though the Blur 150 sounds smoother and thicker. Bunting has less sub bass depth but has better texture and control, same goes to mid bass, the Kingslayer has more weight while they have same speed the bunting has a bit more details. Midrange sounds almost identical, lower midrange of Kingslayer is a bit warmer but the upper midrange goes to Kingslayer because it’s a bit more forward making it more intimate. Treble goes to the Bunting, it is more refined, has better sparkle without compromising speed and airiness. The bunting has better treble extension as well. Sound stage sounds a bit more spacious on the kingslayer but the Bunting sounds more accurate, it has better imaging and layering lastly, resolution goes to bunting it has better detail retrieval and has more extension on the treble.

Conclusion

lrm_export_94101109963212_20190722_2142149391060841885261147083.jpeg

Kingslayer – a no brainer earbuds for 5000 Php (100 USD). It doesn’t have any drastic weak points while it has lots of good points. The sub bass depth is definitely sufficient, despite not having bass head level of sub bass quantity, it has very good amount of details. Mid bass has good amount of weight while maintaining above average details, speed and control. Lower mids sounds less engaging compared to the upper midrange but still, it sounds very clean and has natural tonality. Upper midrange is a show stopper, after burn in it sounds intimate, sweet and transparent without sounding sibilant or shrill. Treble lacks sparkle especially coming from Bunting, but it has good amount of air, more than decent extension and quick enough decay speed. Sound stage sounds accurate and spacious, and lastly it is a very resolving pair for the price. I never knew that Moon will release something that’s almost on the same level of bunting under 5000 Php, a King slayer indeed.

audioblog18

New Head-Fier
For aune X8 in DACs
Pros: Great sound, attractive design, well-built, interchangeable op-amps
Cons: If you use taller op-amps, the back panel cannot be closed.
About the Company

556f59bd-a95a-42c5-b974-5d4be30e467d.jpeg


1. About aune

aune, as Wuhan Ao Lai Er Technology Co, Ltd.’s Hi-Fi brand, has been devoted to developing desktop and portable audio products such as DACs, digital transports, music players, headphone amplifiers, etc.

Founded in 2004, Wuhan Ao Lai Er Technology Co, Ltd. has amassed a wealth of experience from extensive research and development, all of which has resulted in products that have been well received globally.

The six co-founders, in addition to being diehard audio fans, are also experts in various audio related fields, such as hardware design, electro-acoustics design, programming, speaker design and tuning.

With our pursuit of superb sound and great user experience, we are striving to make aune a world-class brand.

2. Appearance & Hardware Design

Wuhan Ao Lai Er Technology CO., LTD. is a technology-focused company with a strong commitment to innovation and quality. It is with that vision that we have invested in a domestic first-class laboratory, as well as a great number of professional audio instruments.

We hold ourselves to a very high standard when designing each and every product and it is driven by an absolutely scientific and rigorous attitude.

We have our own industrial design team and have established our own design style. The appearance is designed with a focus on technical aesthetics and the user experience; the hardware design is performance & specs-oriented.

3. Mass Production Consistency

To maintain a high level of consistency in mass production, after finalizing the hardware design with a strong focus on sound quality and tuning, we conduct the trial production and then determine and finalize each component (such as PCB, solder paste, etc.) Therefore, each product leaving the factory is certain to meet our rigorous requirements of specifications and tuning. We want to make our users feel our devotion and truly enjoy our products.

4. Logo Design Concept

The logo of aune was inspired by the concept of Yin-Yang – the Chinese philosophy of balance. The rounded design of the letters conveys a message of peace and gentleness. The openings on four sides indicate inclusiveness.

Prelude

I would like to thank aune audio for sending us the X8 for review. Rest assured that this review is written as honestly and objectively as possible.

Equipments Used

aune X8

Sennheiser HD 800S

Etymotic ER3Xr

IFI Ican SE

JDS Labs Atom

Recordings

Nobuo Uematsu – Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds

Dave Matthews Band – Under the Table and Dreaming (Expanded Version)

The Beatles – Love

Maroon 5 – 1.22.03 Acoustic

Reese Lansangan – Arigato Internet

Hale – This is Hale

Apartel – Full Flood

Packaging

99ACE825-0EBC-4A12-A1A6-53BC546997E7.jpeg


The aune X8 is enclosed in a box that feels and looks premium. Definitely a good start. Inside we have the X8 itself, covered by a white sheath of plastic. Alongside it is a cardboard box containing the power adaptor, the USB cable, manuals, allen wrench, a small plastic case which contains the op amps (NJM5532, OPA2604, LME49720, MUSES01) and an op-amp extractor.

Specification

Input

Maximum bit depth

USB: 32bit

COAX: 24bit

OPT: 24bit

Line Output

RCA

Output level: 2.0 Vrms

Frequency response (20Hz-20kHz): ±0.2 dB

SNR: 117 dB

THD+N: 0.0006 %

Design and Build Quality

447CE0CC-D8FA-4FBE-B8B1-9AA046FA9F64.jpeg


The X8 is a marvel to look at. A far cry from the pedestrian and industrial design of DACs we’ve been accustomed to. It is housed in a metal chassis, which is gently arched, with flawless curves on the sides. It measures 171mm x 45mm x 141mm and weights approximately at 3 kilograms. It is coated in matte silver (a black variant is also available) with a subtle gloss around the edges, that adds to a more distinctive look. The craftsmanship is excellent, it feels solid and sturdy, exuding a feeling that the product is thoroughly planned and is not rushed into the market.

Connectivity


At front we have the selection button, the indicator lights and the volume knob which rolls out smoothly. Going to the back, we have the pre-amp output and line output RCAs, Coaxial and Optical input, USB input, power input and the power switch. At the bottom we have the op-amp slot, in case you want to flavor up the sound into your liking. It is secured by two allen screws; which can be accessed by the allen wrench provided.

DAC

B4ED0D96-B825-4DAF-AAA5-1C3E1CF23DDE.jpeg
921FDF21-0F71-4896-8EA5-B2DE89FCCC4C.jpeg
1340570C-DC0E-40B2-9B5B-31096413A550.jpeg

The X8 uses aune’s own self developed FPGA, which is a rather different DAC technology, as only a handful of manufacturers utilize FPGA. (for reference, FPGA is also the same tech that is utilized by Chord from the Mojo up to the DAVE). This is an interesting approach compared to the usual AK and ESS DACs, which aren’t bad by any means. But this is a breath of fresh air. The X8 also has a good range of support (32/768k) it plays up to DSD512 and PCM 768k.

Sound

76A62D7D-DC55-47C0-8058-C378A415287E.jpeg
Aside from the FPGA tech which gives the X8 a unique sound, it’s also op-amp interchangeable, a feature which allows the user to spice up the sound into his/her preference. One more thing that I would like to point out, is how convenient it is to change the op-amp; it is easily accessible unlike the DACs and amplifiers that I’ve tried before, in which I need to open up the whole thing. With the X8, I just need to unscrew a small portion of the back panel, and bingo! I find aune’s design to be simple and less cumbersome. Lastly, the X8 is compatible with all kinds of dual op-amps.

Testing is done primarily with the HD 800 S, the infamously flat Etymotic ER3XR and JDS Labs Atom, which are all known to be transparent and revealing, so definitely these are good equipments for dissecting how the X8 really sounds like.

So how does it sound?
BA2D5746-1BDB-45C4-BB68-1331B4B47B38.jpeg


Simply put, the X8 is musical. It is a little mellower and laidback compared with the usual ESS DACs at this price range, which sounds more aggressive. It pairs well with the analytical tone of my HD 800 S, delivering a balanced and less fatiguing experience. Using the ER3XR, there is a little bit of color and warmth added with a good sense of space. But it doesn’t sway too far from the neutrality of the Etys, and I find it quite pleasing.

Turning up the pre-amp into very loud levels, there is no major distortion or noise. So I can attest that this DAC is indeed very clean. The x8 uses the OPA2134 by default, which provides a smooth and laid-back sound which is easy on the ears. It delivers a good amount of detail without being fatiguing, and I also liked how precise the imaging is. Resolution overall is great.

Op-amp rolling

12FC5C97-1B23-43F2-87B9-A7E7E5493E8D.jpeg


(The op-amps below are not included in the standard package, it is provided for the purposes of this review)

Muses 01: The sound has wider sense of space and there is more detail. Midrange is slightly more forward.

NJM5532: This has a more V-shaped sound. Treble is noticeably more extended, bass has slightly more impact. Staging is just about average.

OPA2604: Bass is smooth and well extended, and the mids is slightly forward. It’s also a touch more airy than the OPA2134, thought they are quite similar because both exhibit an analog tone.

LME49720: It sounded more digital and aggressive than the OPAs, albeit it is slightly cleaner. Though I prefer the more analog sound coming from the OPAs.

Comparison
48739348-2660-4E70-94E6-AA643A6C0312.jpeg


(Testing is done with the JDS Labs Atom and the HD 800 S)

Burson Swing (Basic configuration)

The X8 has a more musical tone in contrast with the Swing, which has a more neutral approach. Bass is tighter and faster on the Swing, while it is softer and more organic on the X8. The midrange is linear on the Swing, but on the X8 it has slightly more warmth, which I personally find engaging on the 800 S. The difference on the treble is subtle, though I would say that it is a bit more pronounced on the Swing compared to the more laidback treble of the X8. Staging and separation is similar between the two.

Chord Mojo

The two DACs share a similar tonality. But I find the X8 to be an improvement in staging and resolution. It is simply cleaner and more expansive than the Mojo, it also has better imaging. Though hands down, the Mojo wins in versatility and portability for it can be used as it is. If you are, however, looking for a dedicated desktop DAC, the X8 is the better choice in terms of overall sound quality.

Conclusion

IMG_1284.jpg


If you are looking for a DAC that not only sounds good, but is pleasing to the eye as well, look no further than the aune X8. It has a pleasing tonality, user-customizable sound, and amazing craftsmanship that will give you a run for your money.

You can purchase the X8 here: https://mall.auneaudio.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=64
H
hieple193
These help alot. Thanks

audioblog18

New Head-Fier
Pros: Lightweight and very comfortable, full bass, smooth and lush non-fatiguing sound, wide soundstage
Cons: Decay is a bit slow, cables are quite thin, might lack sparkle for some
About the company

7BA5E100-AF9B-4D6B-A20C-923D19EF25E6.png


S’NEXT is a company that sells high-end audio earphones and headphones under its own brand final as well as conducting component technology development, product planning, design, planning, manufacturing and sales of other companies’ brands. The company was established in 2007. It began as a subsidiary of the major American connector manufacturer Molex; in 2014, it went independent through an MBO by the current management team. Now is what you would call its second formation. Since beginning sales of our own final brand earphones in 2009, our way of thinking regarding good sound quality and designs that differ to those of other major electronics manufacturers has garnered attention, and we have built our own unique place both in Japan and abroad.

Prelude

I would like to thank Final Audio for sending us the E1000, E2000, E3000 for review. Rest assured that this review is written as honestly and objectively as possible. Our review of the E1000 can be found here.

Sources

Chord Hugo

Burson Swing with V6 Vivid + JDS Labs O2

Samsung Galaxy S9

Recording

Nobuo Uematsu – Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds

Dave Matthews Band – Under the Table and Dreaming (Expanded Version)

The Beatles – Love

Maroon 5 – 1.22.03 Acoustic

Reese Lansangan – Arigato Internet

Hale – This is Hale

Apartel – Full Flood

Packaging

0EDD1D8A-FC86-4296-8E4E-CD9B6897360E.jpeg


6CBFC852-0DB0-4D10-8A09-81BF9D15C68A.jpeg


The Final Audio E2000 and E3000 is neatly packed in a minimalist, no-frills packaging. Included is a soft faux leather bag, manuals, and tips with various sizes, that’s it.. I’d like to note that Final tips are actually well-regarded for its comfort and pleasing tonal effect. I used it with my other IEMs and it worked well.

Specification

E2000

Housing: Aluminum black alumite finish(MATT BLACK) / Aluminum silver alumite finish(MATT SILVER)

Driver: 6.4mmΦ dynamic driver

Cable: OFC Cable

Impedance: 102 dB/mW

Sensitivity: 16Ω

Weight: 12g

Cord Length: 1.2m

E3000

Housing: Stainless steel mirror-finished

Driver: 6.4mmΦ dynamic driver

Cable: OFC Cable

Impedance: 100 dB/mW

Sensitivity: 16Ω

Weight: 15g

Cord Length: 1.2m

Build Quality and Design

2144346B-31CC-4889-8DDD-A08088331E22.jpeg


One word to describe this aspect is “essentialist”. It doesn’t offer the flashiest and the catchiest design out there. But the philosophy here I believe, is to give consumer what “works”. The E2000 and E3000 are housed in an aluminum and stainless steel body, respectively. Design is very identical apart from the housing.
3C87F1C6-C6E4-49EA-9D50-CDEB81188486.jpeg


The bullet shell is light but still inspires durability. Both of the cables are non-removable, with very minimal microphonics, and it resists tangling unless you purposely try to. Though the cables are quite thin. But I think what Final is aiming for is a light and comfortable design. Hence the tradeoff, and a fair one at that. It certainly isn’t “built like a tank”, but it does not feel fragile and should last long when properly cared for.

Comfort and Isolation

5D7CD4E2-2D5D-46ED-9072-7832C864BEC5.jpeg


These are easily one the most comfortable that I’ve tried. I can wear it for extended periods of time without any pain or discomfort, and this is where the design makes sense. The bullet shell is delightfully light. In fact, you can almost forget that you are wearing it. Tips are soft and supple, plus fitting is a breeze; it sits securely in my ears with the appropriate tips, and it never slipped off while I’m walking. A caveat is that passive noise isolation is not its strongest point, ambient noise can still be heard, particularly when out and about on the street. But it can be an advantage for those who want more awareness of what’s going around.

Sound

29B362CD-E036-45CA-9A7C-F68412074F09.jpeg



The character of the E2000 and the E3000 share the same philosophy: starting from the design, up to the sound. The signature is polite and inoffensive. I can see that it will be pleasing for most listeners.

Both of the IEMs has a smooth and laidback tonality, the E2000 is going for neutrality while there is an added warmth on the E3000. The E2000 and E3000 are one the smoothest and most refined sound signature that I’ve heard in it’s price range. Now let’s get into detail on how these two sounds.

Bass

The bass on the E2000 has a soft, organic decay. It is well textured and mid bass has ample body. It is neutral and complimentary in manner. Albeit sub bass doesn’t extend deep but it’s not really that bothering. What is, however, is that the bass can get a touch loose and it could use a little more tightness. The E3000 addresses this, offering fuller and tighter bass.

Mids

The vocals on the E2000 is a touch forward with added shine in the upper midrange, in comparison with the E3000, which is warmer, laidback, and smoother. Both exhibit a natural timbre but I prefer the E2000’s forwardness and luster. It renders vocals and instruments with a sweet and natural tone. The E3000 is a bit of a double-edged sword, the warmer tonality helps with male vocals, presenting it with very suave smoothness. But female vocals and instruments could sound too laid back for my taste. The E2000 just has more energy than the relaxed E3000.

Treble

Treble is smooth, mellow, and inoffensive. There is slightly more shine on the E2000 but it is still polite overall. In contrast, the E3000 is even smoother. Both IEMs doesn’t sound fatiguing and even with the mellowed treble, it doesn’t feel like I’m missing much. It’s simply enjoyable and it works well, it sounds complimentary with the whole signature. The treble sounds organic and it is radically different compared to the competition – which are often tuned brightly and excessively, so this is a breath of fresh air.

Soundstage and Imaging

B39A5982-C1A9-4A1C-9CF6-C6B3982EC37E.jpeg


Now, this is what I found to be exceptional for these IEMs. The wideness of the soundstage is mind-boggling for the price. These two are the one of the best that I’ve heard on this price category and it would be tough to beat in this aspect. The E3000 has more depth, is more diffused and it is a touch wider than the E2000, which is still amazingly wide. The imaging is presented well and every instrument is well-defined with a lot of room to it. The height however, doesn’t extend much, though it’s not bothering considering that the width has greatly compensated for it.

Comparison

KZ AS10

Right off the bat, the treble is brighter compared to the two Final IEMs. Treble has a tendency to be edgy and sibilant. Soundstage is also noticeably smaller. The bass of the AS10 extends deeper, but the mids has less body and texture. Overall, the sound is less balanced and refined compared to the E2000 and E3000.

KZ BA10

The bass is tight and the mids has slightly less body, but a touch cleaner. It is brighter but more controlled over the AS10. Soundstage is also less wider than the two Final IEMs, thought it takes the edge for soundstage height. Imaging is also slightly better, albeit it is not as smooth as the Final IEMs. Though, the BA10 has equally good merits so I’ll leave this as a matter of preference.

TFZ Galaxy T2

The midrange is scooped compared to E2000/3000. Treble is brighter and less smoother. Soundstage width is condensed, but there is slightly more height. Bass is tighter and deeper, but the Final IEMs has a more coherent signature overall.

Final Audio E1000

The little sibling of the family. The bass and the mids sounds thin compared to the more refined e2000/e3000. But it’s no slouch in quality. Mids are a slightly forward and it’s very clean. It still has the wide soundstage of the higher priced model, and I find it to have a touch more air than the other two, although timbre is a bit thin. It is also lighter probably because of the plastic build.

Comfort (Greatest to least)

Final Audio E1000/E2000/E3000

TFZ Galaxy T2

KS AS10

KZ BA10

Conclusion

48E03D55-12D9-4B76-AC7B-0AFECA7C9D64.jpeg

Final Audio has hit a home run with the E2000 and E3000, featuring a signature that is hard not to like. Despite the entry market being saturated by “chi-fi”, the Japanese company has set itself apart by offering products that are radically different: it places sound and comfort above all else, there are no gimmicks, it simply gets the job done in a graceful manner. Don’t let the understated looks deceive you, these IEMs are rockers in the most straightforward way.
  • Like
Reactions: trellus and X1787X
JordiMB
JordiMB
First of all, thank you for the review.
How does the E series compare to the Heaven series? I can get a FAD Heaven II on offer for less than the price of an E3000. Is it worth?

audioblog18

New Head-Fier
Pros: Lightweight and very comfortable, relatively balanced and non-fatiguing, wide soundstage, natural timbre
Cons: Non-detachable cables which are quite thin, bass could use a bit more tightness
About the company

1421B910-C044-42A4-B44E-B73F173B0DF8.png
S’NEXT is a company that sells high-end audio earphones and headphones under its own brand final as well as conducting component technology development, product planning, design, planning, manufacturing and sales of other companies’ brands. The company was established in 2007. It began as a subsidiary of the major American connector manufacturer Molex; in 2014, it went independent through an MBO by the current management team. Now is what you would call its second formation. Since beginning sales of our own final brand earphones in 2009, our way of thinking regarding good sound quality and designs that differ to those of other major electronics manufacturers has garnered attention, and we have built our own unique place both in Japan and abroad.

Prelude

I would like to thank Final Audio for sending us the E1000, E2000, E3000 for review. Rest assured that this review is written as honestly and objectively as possible. Our review of the E1000 can be found here.

Sources

Chord Hugo

Burson Swing with V6 Vivid + JDS Labs O2

Samsung Galaxy S9

Recording

Nobuo Uematsu – Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds

Dave Matthews Band – Under the Table and Dreaming (Expanded Version)

The Beatles – Love

Maroon 5 – 1.22.03 Acoustic

Reese Lansangan – Arigato Internet

Hale – This is Hale

Apartel – Full Flood

Packaging

372F827C-C65B-4748-85E7-4D79C86BB1D5.jpeg


738D1605-57F5-4596-A80C-968FD5C87E07.jpeg


The Final Audio E2000 and E3000 is neatly packed in a minimalist, no-frills packaging. Included is a soft faux leather bag, manuals, and tips with various sizes, that’s it.. I’d like to note that Final tips are actually well-regarded for its comfort and pleasing tonal effect. I used it with my other IEMs and it worked well.

Specification

E2000

Housing: Aluminum black alumite finish(MATT BLACK) / Aluminum silver alumite finish(MATT SILVER)

Driver: 6.4mmΦ dynamic driver

Cable: OFC Cable

Impedance: 102 dB/mW

Sensitivity: 16Ω

Weight: 12g

Cord Length: 1.2m

E3000

Housing: Stainless steel mirror-finished

Driver: 6.4mmΦ dynamic driver

Cable: OFC Cable

Impedance: 100 dB/mW

Sensitivity: 16Ω

Weight: 15g

Cord Length: 1.2m

Build Quality and Design


DD4806C3-E53E-4C97-B03F-4B6E79CD836E.jpeg


One word to describe this aspect is “essentialist”. It doesn’t offer the flashiest and the catchiest design out there. But the philosophy here I believe, is to give consumer what “works”. The E2000 and E3000 are housed in an aluminum and stainless steel body, respectively. Design is very identical apart from the housing.

4DA8F3E2-C304-4BC2-B8FA-6E0429224898.jpeg


The bullet shell is light but still inspires durability. Both of the cables are non-removable, with very minimal microphonics, and it resists tangling unless you purposely try to. Though the cables are quite thin. But I think what Final is aiming for is a light and comfortable design. Hence the tradeoff, and a fair one at that. It certainly isn’t “built like a tank”, but it does not feel fragile and should last long when properly cared for.

Comfort and Isolation

A49CAC17-42E4-4567-B8A9-FADA2B566E26.jpeg

These are easily one the most comfortable that I’ve tried. I can wear it for extended periods of time without any pain or discomfort, and this is where the design makes sense. The bullet shell is delightfully light. In fact, you can almost forget that you are wearing it. Tips are soft and supple, plus fitting is a breeze; it sits securely in my ears with the appropriate tips, and it never slipped off while I’m walking. A caveat is that passive noise isolation is not its strongest point, ambient noise can still be heard, particularly when out and about on the street. But it can be an advantage for those who want more awareness of what’s going around.

Sound

BAF74FF2-127E-4C00-9973-98EDE3E4AD1E.jpeg

The character of the E2000 and the E3000 share the same philosophy: starting from the design, up to the sound. The signature is polite and inoffensive. I can see that it will be pleasing for most listeners.

Both of the IEMs has a smooth and laidback tonality, the E2000 is going for neutrality while there is an added warmth on the E3000. The E2000 and E3000 are one the smoothest and most refined sound signature that I’ve heard in it’s price range. Now let’s get into detail on how these two sounds.

Bass

The bass on the E2000 has a soft, organic decay. It is well textured and mid bass has ample body. It is neutral and complimentary in manner. Albeit sub bass doesn’t extend deep but it’s not really that bothering. What is, however, is that the bass can get a touch loose and it could use a little more tightness. The E3000 addresses this, offering fuller and tighter bass.

Mids

The vocals on the E2000 is a touch forward with added shine in the upper midrange, in comparison with the E3000, which is warmer, laidback, and smoother. Both exhibit a natural timbre but I prefer the E2000’s forwardness and luster. It renders vocals and instruments with a sweet and natural tone. The E3000 is a bit of a double-edged sword, the warmer tonality helps with male vocals, presenting it with very suave smoothness. But female vocals and instruments could sound too laid back for my taste. The E2000 just has more energy than the relaxed E3000.

Treble

Treble is smooth, mellow, and inoffensive. There is slightly more shine on the E2000 but it is still polite overall. In contrast, the E3000 is even smoother. Both IEMs doesn’t sound fatiguing and even with the mellowed treble, it doesn’t feel like I’m missing much. It’s simply enjoyable and it works well, it sounds complimentary with the whole signature. The treble sounds organic and it is radically different compared to the competition – which are often tuned brightly and excessively, so this is a breath of fresh air.

Soundstage and Imaging


9D5D7C0B-883E-4D70-AB55-4AA3D90455EC.jpeg

Now, this is what I found to be exceptional for these IEMs. The wideness of the soundstage is mind-boggling for the price. These two are the one of the best that I’ve heard on this price category and it would be tough to beat in this aspect. The E3000 has more depth, is more diffused and it is a touch wider than the E2000, which is still amazingly wide. The imaging is presented well and every instrument is well-defined with a lot of room to it. The height however, doesn’t extend much, though it’s not bothering considering that the width has greatly compensated for it.

Comparison

KZ AS10

Right off the bat, the treble is brighter compared to the two Final IEMs. Treble has a tendency to be edgy and sibilant. Soundstage is also noticeably smaller. The bass of the AS10 extends deeper, but the mids has less body and texture. Overall, the sound is less balanced and refined compared to the E2000 and E3000.

KZ BA10

The bass is tight and the mids has slightly less body, but a touch cleaner. It is brighter but more controlled over the AS10. Soundstage is also less wider than the two Final IEMs, thought it takes the edge for soundstage height. Imaging is also slightly better, albeit it is not as smooth as the Final IEMs. Though, the BA10 has equally good merits so I’ll leave this as a matter of preference.

TFZ Galaxy T2

The midrange is scooped compared to E2000/3000. Treble is brighter and less smoother. Soundstage width is condensed, but there is slightly more height. Bass is tighter and deeper, but the Final IEMs has a more coherent signature overall.

Final Audio E1000

The little sibling of the family. The bass and the mids sounds thin compared to the more refined e2000/e3000. But it’s no slouch in quality. Mids are a slightly forward and it’s very clean. It still has the wide soundstage of the higher priced model, and I find it to have a touch more air than the other two, although timbre is a bit thin. It is also lighter probably because of the plastic build.

Comfort (Greatest to least)

Final Audio E1000/E2000/E3000

TFZ Galaxy T2

KS AS10

KZ BA10

Conclusion

C248FBDE-EA27-4725-9FFE-AD2A71902361.jpeg

Final Audio has hit a home run with the E2000 and E3000, featuring a signature that is hard not to like. Despite the entry market being saturated by “chi-fi”, the Japanese company has set itself apart by offering products that are radically different: it places sound and comfort above all else, there are no gimmicks, it simply gets the job done in a graceful manner. Don’t let the understated looks deceive you, these IEMs are rockers in the most straightforward way.

audioblog18

New Head-Fier
Pros: Wide and deep soundstage, excellent separation, rich and engaging mids, highly customizable sound, attractive and well-built design, value
Cons: Highs can get metallic
About the Company

BCDD4305-D923-4B69-B38F-4DD7865BE431.png
IMR Acoustics is a boutique audio company based in the UK. It is founded by Bob James who is also responsible for designing the IEMs. IMR Acoustics is known for its highly user-customizable products which have won accolades.

Prelude

I would like to thank Bob of IMR Acoustics for sending me the IMR R1 Zenith for review. Rest assured that this review is written in all honesty and integrity.

Sources

Chord Hugo

Burson Swing with V6 Vivid + JDS Labs O2

Samsung Galaxy S9

Recordings

Nobuo Uematsu – Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds

Dave Matthews Band – Under the Table and Dreaming (Expanded Version)

The Beatles – Love

Maroon 5 – 1.22.03 Acoustic

Reese Lansangan – Arigato Internet

Hale – This is Hale

Apartel – Full Flood

Packaging

75493519-0011-4CEF-9986-ACE00223E8F2.jpeg


In unboxing the R1 Zenith you get a well designed package that is loaded with accessories. You get two 2-pin cables; a 2.5mm TRRS and a 3.5mm TRS, which is thick, supple, durable and free from microphonics. A storage case, manuals and guides, a 6.5mm adapter. Tips that comes in good variety, foam and double flange are also included, with huge selection of sizes. To top if off, it comes with 5 interchangeable filters for customizing the sound that are nicely enshrined in a slab of metal. Reassuring you that you are getting what you paid for.

CABD6FBE-015D-4C34-A211-FF355B6C0D7F.jpeg


81F59A31-EDCD-4B54-9DC6-359BD01C2F00.jpeg


60AE4DF7-7FDD-4B82-B4A0-653255D43FA5.jpeg


Specification and features


Gen II 14mm driver featuring uprated Neodymium motors with beryllium diaphragm + Piezo Ceramic driver

Gen II IMR adjustable porting system

5 Audio filters

2 Pin detachable cable (3.5mm and 2.5mm balanced)

Impedance: 32 Ohm

Sensitivity: 108 +/- 3DB

Frequency response: 14 – 40000Hz

24ct Gold plated 3.5mm Jack

1.4M length OFC cable

Hard Case

6.5mm Adapter

Huge selection of ear tips for the perfect fit

Build Quality and Design

ED742001-D6D5-4AEF-9FCC-241B6798BCBD.jpeg


The R1 Zenith is built like a tank, yet it has the finesse of a jewelry. It has a metallic body with a ceramic-like shine. The blue-ish silver gray finish coupled with the gold porting system and the silver plugs on the cables is really sleek and fancy. It’s a very refreshing design to look at. Though, I wish that the gold port could be a bit flatter as it protrudes a bit too much especially when it is unloosened.

486138B5-F008-460F-B375-4834D4B4F98E.jpeg


Comfort

The problem that I have with metal designs is that it tends to have rough edges that brushes uncomfortably with the ear. Thankfully, there isn’t any with the R1 Zenith. Everything is smooth and polished, and once inserted it doesn’t fall off from my ears. Fitting is very easy too. The IEM themselves are not particularly heavy despite the metallic construction. I also didn’t feel any discomfort after long hours of using it. However, the cable can be springy and it takes a little bit of time to tame.

Sound

0C72BB08-DE84-4206-8D0F-2FD4C4127BFA.jpeg


The R1 Zenith is one of the trickiest IEM that I have reviewed. Since you could easily “retune” the sound when it goes off from your preference, and it really does work. The whole tuning system is very effective and you could legitimately “tune” a bunch of IEM out of it that would cater to various tastes.

And there is an added fun along the process; since you will be discovering a new sound signature for the R1 Zenith. I’ve been experimenting with the filters, the porting system, and tips for awhile, trying to bring out a sound profile that I’m craving for at a moment, I thought that the inherent tuning of the drivers would be restrictive but I’m surprised at how adaptable it was.

The 5 Filters and corresponding effects

  • Black – Powerful impactful bass, rich mids and powerful highs
  • Pink – Slightly decreased bass from the black filter with the same mids and highs, very neutral sound
  • Copper – Maximum bass, lush mids and slightly recessed highs
  • Orange – Balanced bass and mids with rolled off highs compared to black
  • Blue – Flat across the range. Light and airy sound
Lastly, the R1 Zenith features IMR’s Gen II custom 14mm Ceramic hybrid driver unit combined with a beryllium 14mm dynamic driver with neodymium motors. Now, let’s see how all of this works.

Bass

Bass is clean and accurate using the black and blue filters, with slightly more quantity on the former. It is complementary, not distracting, and well controlled. It never gets in the way of the presentation. Decay is snappy and precise. Bassheads however might find the low end to be a bit too cautious, as the tuning is aimed for “accuracy” over “fun”. Switching to the copper filter addresses this, adding more impact to the bass. Sub bass extends deeper and the mid bass has more body without being boomy.

Mids

The midrange is rich and well-textured. It doesn’t have any hint of grain, listening to orchestral tracks can make you feel the grit and the body of the stringed arrangements. Vocal are upfront, complimented by the upper midrange which has a shine to it that effectively extracts the intricate details from the midrange. Females vocals has a nice luster to them with added heft, while male vocals comes out powerful. The blue filter gives it more air, while the copper filter provides a lusher midrange, executing it with more warmth and body.

Treble and Microdetails

Treble has good extension, it is bright and energetic. Switching from black to the blue filter pushes it to an even airier signature. Both filters has a metallic shine, but it is still well-controlled with hardly any sibilance. The copper and the orange filters smoothens the highs for longer listening, and is suitable for those looking for a more laid back sound.

Detail-wise, the R1 Zenith is a very detailed IEM. Using the black filter, it easily picks up subtleties from every track, and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration for me to say that in terms of details presented, it isn’t far from my detail-retrieval, par-excellence which is the Sennheiser HD 800 S and that is quite a feat.

Soundstage and Imaging

The R1 Zenith has a unique porting system which is carried over from its predecessor, opening or closing the vent has a significant impact on the sound, which can be customized based on the user’s preference.

Port Closed- The soundstage is a bit condensed, but imaging is very precise, instruments are well defined and cleanly separated, the bass also becomes tighter.

Port Open – The sound is airy and well extended, opening the port expands the soundstage and makes it more immersive, but imaging is very slightly less precise.

I find the tradeoffs of the Open design to be forgivable, because the benefit outweighs the consequences. Overall, soundstage has good width, providing each instruments with ample space while height is just about decent for an IEM.

What’s noteworthy here is the depth and imaging. Depth has a lot of room to it, while the imaging is well defined, coupled with it’s competitive detail-retrieval the R1 Zenith delivers a picturesque presentation.

10CE898E-C369-4471-9A51-A9E0A35B1855.jpeg


Comparison

Campfire Audio Polaris

Both delivers fast and accurate bass, though I find the R1 Zenith with the black filter to be a little bit faster. Midrange-wise, the R1 Zenith wins it for me, it has better texture and body than the Polaris’ mids which can sound dry and scooped. Treble is well extended and airy on both IEMs, but I’d give detail retrieval to the R1 Zenith. In terms of staging, the R1 Zenith has more room. Imaging between the two is quite similar.

Earsonics ES3

Right off the bat, the R1 Zenith delivers noticeably tighter bass with better sub bass extension, while ES3 has faster decay, mids is forward and more bodied than the ES3’s which is laidback and smoother in comparison, the upper mids on R1 Zenith has more shine and liveliness in contrast to the ES3 which sounds relaxed. Treble is airier and clearer on the R1 Zenith while the ES3 sounded mellower. Detail-retrieval is better on the R1 Zenith, it also wins in soundstage height and depth, while the ES3 takes the edge for separation.

Conclusion

7B2353CE-17FD-4C21-8CB6-4270CD88DE6E.jpeg


The R1 Zenith offers an insane value; it is built extremely well, it sounds spacious, detailed and rich. IMR Acoustics offers a unique system of customization to ensure that you are satisfied with the R1 Zenith while keeping the process fun and rewarding.

Get the R1 Zenith here:https://imracoustics.com/products/5c079fb65b9de11300ecf85c
drbluenewmexico
drbluenewmexico
great review, thank you! my Zv2 really upgraded with an effect audio ares 11 cable,

audioblog18

New Head-Fier
Pros: -Natural timbre
-Lush and smooth yet detailed
-Quick bass
-Close to neutral for planar
-Smooth and sparkly treble
-Transparent mids
-Lightweight
Cons: -Build quality, ear pads and cable
-Lacks sub bass extension
-Average sound stage
-Sound seal
Review by Mhark Jhoshua Q. Torres

The Company







HIFIMAN has been one if not the best headphone maker out there, they specialized in producing headphones with unconventional drivers, they used Planar Magnetic drivers as the owner, Dr. Fang actually has researches regarding the technology behind Planar Magnetic drivers. Up until now they are very popular in the audiophile realm with several awards and positive feedback. HIFIMAN ANANDA and SUNDARA are few of their new lineups and it is quite popular in audiophile groups. HIFIMAN continues to be one of the top brands in headphone class and it is my personal favorite.

The HIFIMAN HE400i


lrm_export_14855687063356_20190406_1946002418245978117531807831.jpeg


lrm_export_15416524080979_20190406_1955243893859750699512247086.jpeg

“Easy-to-drive Full-size Planar Magnetic Headphone” this is the claim of HIFIMAN with regards of the HE400i, it is the newer version of the HE400 which is also a hit and was one of the first planar magnetic headphone that is designed efficiently. In my experience the HE400i can be driven by phones to audible volume at max, but it sounds thin and lacks resolution.

Fit, Comfort and Build Quality

lrm_export_197641139432265_20190414_0915389814199031568219284621.jpeg

The HIFIMAN HE400i, despite being outdated still looks good, the construction of the grills is nice as you can see the drivers when there is enough light to reveal it. The build quality is a mix of plastic and metal, in my honest opinion it feels flimsy and the left and right cups aren’t aligned and it looks off when resting at headphone hanger/stand. I got my 400i as a 2nd hand unit so there are some marks of usage but overall it is definitely presentable. I don’t like the ear pads especially when I compare it with the SUNDARA, it feels itchy and warm to the skin surrounding my ears so the area under the pads becomes more sweaty.

The weight of the 400i is generally light and it doesn’t cause much pain on my neck, it feels comfortable for long hours of listening given the listening area is well ventilated and is at least 3 or 5 degree Celcius below the standard room temperature, because as I said, the coating of the pads feels warm/hot. The cable included is a sleeved type cable, it doesn’t feel premium at all, it gets tangled easily and I find it worse than the cable of SUNDARA. Overall, the build of HE400i is just mediocre, it doesn’t feel premium and the alignment of the cups aren’t great, luckily it feels light and the clamping of the headphone is pretty good too, neither tight nor loose.

Technical Specification:
1. Frequency Response: : 20Hz-35KHz
2. Sensitivity : 93dB
3. Impedance : 35 Ohms
4. Weight : 370g
5. Cable Length : 1.5m
6. Plug : 3.5mm/6.35mm

Packaging

lrm_export_15326267442451_20190406_1953541338538155406290626874.jpeg

The box of the HE400i looks premium and sophisticated, it beats the packaging of SUNDARA by a notch or two, the box is very solid and is made out of premium materials. Inside the box are the sleeved 3.5mm cable, 3.5 to 6.35 adapter, paperwork and the headphone itself. The package is just okay, I just hope that there’s a carrying cloth bag at the very least just in case you don’t have any headphone hard case and you want to carry it around from home and your workplace. The included cable is just average too I hate it because it gets tangled every time they have contact, I like it because it feels robust and sturdy enough.

Sound

I love gears with midcentric to flat sound signature as I really love listening to vocals rather than instruments. My genre ranges from heavy rock, alternative rock, pop rock, acoustic, pop, jazz and folk. Majority of my test tracks are in 16 bit – 44 khz and 24 bit – 48 khz FLAC file and here is the list of my commom test tracks.

  1. Reese Lansangan – For the Fickle (background, female vocals and upper mids)
  2. Foo Fighters – Bridge Burning (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  3. Jensen and the Flips – Come Closer (Mid Bass, Mids)
  4. Ed Sheeran – Dive (Mid bass, Lower Mids)
  5. Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why (Upper Mids and Instruments)
  6. Paramore – Hard Times (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  7. Utada Hikaru ft. Skrillex – Face My Fears (Imaging Layering, Bass, Mids, Treble, Coherence, Quickness)
  8. Passenger – Coins in a Fountain (Mid bass, Layering, Imaging, Instruments, Lower mids, Treble)
  9. Tori Kelly – Hollow (Background, Upper mids)
  10. Ariana Grande – Raindrops (Background, Upper mids)
Summary

For the Quality, higher is better as this includes resolution and dynamics while the quantity and positioning are subjective, it actually tells how close and how much the frequencies are.

hifiman-he400i.png

Source: Shanling M3s + Jazz R7.0
Bass

Starting with the sub bass, it is well extended and has very good texture, planars are known for their bass and the 400i is not an exemption. The rumbles and riffs are deep and is resolving without being too forward, quantity despite of being a planar is not excessive at all, the sub bass are produced with enough body, great details, and in quick and agile manner. Mid bass, just like the sub bass is being rendered in quick, tight and accurate manner. Both attack and decay are just flawlessly rendered with enough body and weight. Just like the sub bass, the mid bass is placed linearly to slightly forward (maybe due to my warm source and op-amp that I equipped with my amplifier), the quantity might not be enough for bass-heads but the quality is definitely top notch. Despite the known lush sound of planars, the bass of the 400i is rendered in detailed manner, every bass notes are greatly textured and accurate.

Midrange

lrm_export_16380154051665_20190406_2011454997125496330384942120.jpeg

Lower midrange really depends on the source used and if the right power is supplied, this is the most noticeable part when plugged unamped and amped, it sounds thin and dry when unamped whilst it sounds lush and has good body when amped. It’s hard to find a good synergy too, pairing it with Shanling M3s + JDS labs O2 amp + Burson V6 vivid the details is literally smashing into my face but in return it sounds dry and thin for my liking, on the other hand when pairing it with Shanling M3s + Jazz R7.0 + Thai op-amp, it sounds lusher, smoother, and fuller without losing much details. The positioning of lower midrange is almost the same as the bass, it is just a bit forward, the timbre is natural (amped) and it sounds as natural as it can be. Upper midrange has moderate body, just enough for the female vocals not to sound shrill, it is transparent resulting to calming vocals and string instruments. As far as my journey goes, the midrange and timbre of the HE400i is definitely one of the best, it sounds natural and sweet while the fullness is just enough for it to stay away from being veiled or muddy. Positioning still the same with the lower midrange while the resolution is still great.

Treble

I made the review mainly using the Shanling M3s+Jazz R7.0 setup simply because among the setups I tried, this suits my preference well and it feels that it has better synergy with 400i than the other setups that I tried. The treble of the 400i in this pairing is smooth yet detailed and well extended, the treble isn’t airy but has good sparkle and definition, it doesn’t sound sibilant or harsh at all (except it is not well driven). Both attack and decay is quick making very agile even when playing complex tracks. Since it lacks airiness, the sense of depth, width and height isn’t that great the staging despite sounding realistic isn’t one of the most spacious cans out there, I find the closed back Beyerdynamic Dt1770 pro to be deeper and wider.

Sound Stage and Resolution

The sound stage of 400i is far from the best out there (Planars are not known for humongous stage) but I would say it sounds very real, imaging and layering is great and satisfying especially when playing tracks by Led Zeppelin, I can easily pin point the location of instruments in my mind. It sounds 3D-ish too when properly driven but still not as wide as D1770 pro maybe because the midrange of 400i is slightly forward and the treble lacks air too (Planars, duuuh). Resolution is nice too, I acquired the 400i for 7500 Php (150 USD) and it is one of the best buy that I’ve ever done in this hobby, bass region despite its quickness is very resolving, midrange is quite smooth but still resolves micro details, lastly the treble which has good sparkle packs a lot of details for the price.

Synergy and Sound Signature

Unlike other Planar Headphones, the 400i’s sound sinature ranges from warm and smooth to neutral instead of dark. Bass is a bit forward and is very quick, tight and resolving despite being smooth at the same time, the midrange is smooth and a bit forward in comparison to treble it has very natural timbre and sweet upper midrange that makes it a good gear for vocal focused tracks, lastly treble lacks air but offers good sparkle, resolution and speed to compensate. I suggest to use a neutral sounding DAP/DAC/AMP when using the 400i since the signature it has is flexible enough to tackle every genre you have in your music library.

Shanling M3s (High Gain, volume @ 90)

This is how I tried the 400i initially and it was my first headphone purchase, it sounds thin and the treble sounds metallic but still it is far better than any IEMs that I’ve tried under 30,000 Php (600 USD). Obviously it is not driven properly, the bass is still quick, mids sounds too dry but has natural timbre, the treble in this pairing is prominent and sometimes it is aggressive. Despite being efficient, planars are known to be power hungry but in comparison to SUNDARA the 400i requires a lot more power.

lrm_export_16329489981360_20190406_2010548353576946044042052938.jpeg

Adding Jazz R7.0 as amplifier and using copper IC, it sounded like a new gear. The bass extension became deeper, better texture and details and the mid bass became tighter and more controlled. Midrange gained a lot of body, it became balanced (enough lushness and transparency) the timbre became more natural due to added body, smoother yet resolving. Lastly the treble became smoother and less aggressive, sparkle and extension still remains the same.

Adding JDS Labs O2 (with burson v6 vivid) as amplifier and using copper IC, it sounded very detailed in comparison to jazz R7.0 and Shanling M3s (high gain), details on midrange and treble almost slapped me in the face but the overall tonality became thin and dry, it lacks body and I didn’t love the synergy.

lrm_export_15846503336121_20190406_200249529461734555852141944.jpeg

Adding Periodic Audio Ni (double amping) as amplifier and using copper IC, It sits between the tonality of Jazz R7.0 and JDS Labs O2, the body is slightly reduced but it sounds more transparent than the R7.0, details are there but not as prominent as when I’m pairing it with O2. Noise floor is suprisingly low despite using it on PO and not on LO (the Ni doesn’t have volume control, same goes to the M3s when it is on LO so I have no choice but to use PO to be able to control the volume). Despite being small, the Ni was still able to power the 400i decently but among the three amplifiers, I’d pick the Jazz R7.0 because it was able to properly balance the lushness and transparency of the 400i.

Smartphone (Huawei Mate 10)

The Huawei Mate 10 has a sound signature of neutral-bright, sound quality far below the M3s, cranking the volume to 80-100 the sound of 400i is just decent compared to the SUNDARA, it sounds dry and thin to the point that male vocals doesn’t have sufficient body. I don’t recommend using it with smartphone alone cause you’ll get around 30 percent of its full capacity (soundwise).

Comparison

HIFIMAN SUNDARA


The SUNDARA is actutally the upgraded version of the HE-400 series, in terms of build quality I’d definitely pick the SUNDARA, the body is made out of metal and still maintaining it as lightweight as the HE-400i, the cable is better too it is less tangly than the 400i’s stock cable. The sound signatures of the SUNDARA and HE-400i are nearly identical except that the treble of SUNDARA is more relaxed. In terms of sound quality, the SUNDARA is definitely and upgrade, the timbre is even more natural, better tightness on the bass, wider and deeper sound stage, more transparent mids and smoother treble. Resolution is not night and day but still, SUNDARA picks more details and textures than the 400i, nonetheless for the 2nd hand price of the 400i it is still a good buy if you love the SUNDARA but can’t afford it.

Beyerdynamic DT1770 Pro

This is a dynamic driver headphone so obviously it has better staging and airyness, but lacks coherency, speed and transparency in comparison to planars surch as HE400i. Desptite being closed back headphone, the DT 1770 Pro sounds wide and airy, but for me the 400i seems to be more 3D-ish. Sub bass depth and weight easily goes to the DT 1770 pro while the tightness and speed of mid bass goes to the 400i. The midrange of the 400i and DT 1770 pro seems to be linear while the latter leans to be slightly recessed, transparency, timbre and resolution easily goes to the 400i. Lastly the treble of the DT 1770 pro wins in terms of airiness, resolution, and sparkle while the 400i snatched the speed and extension. Overall they are pretty close depending on usage, I can’t use the 400i outside of my workplace or house since it is an open back design and lacks isolation and sound seal.

Conclusion

lrm_export_16380154051665_20190406_2011454997125496330384942120.jpeg

This guy is my first love, I tried several Headphones before such as Sennheiser HD700 and AKG K712 but they never caught my attention the same way the HE-400i did. I love the timbre and how it scales very well with various amplifiers. Despite having pretty intimate sound stage for an open back headphone, it still sounds realistic since imaging and layering are top notch. Transparency is great as well while the resolution is just above average compared to other headphones that shares the price tag of the 400i. Despite being advertised as efficient planar headphone, it is not really meant to be used straight to your phone, adding some cheapo amplifier will make it sing a lot better than before. There are design flaws, bass isn’t the punchiest too, and the sound seal is far from being great but if you use it with proper source and place it is definitely a good buy.
misteral201103
misteral201103
As I've written elsewhere, I LOVED my 400i's when I got them. Then I got the InEars Prophile 8s and I couldn't go back to the 400i's - I was too aware of what I was missing. Now I have the Fiio M11 and am using the balanced output with my Hifimans and they just SING. Sometime in the future I'll upgrade to the Ananda, but I'm loving these again. Glad to see you also enjoy them so much. They are ridiculous value for money at current pricing!
S
SMOTOJO
If you want to really hear them sing give them a shot, if given the chance, with the Schiit Asgard 3 amp!!! Just my two sense thought.

audioblog18

New Head-Fier
Pros: - Neutral (Slight hint of warmth)
- Lightweight
- Good imaging, layering and resolution
- Smooth tonality and no harshness
- Premium ear tips
- Price
Cons: - Non removable cable
- No carrying pouch
- Lacks sub bass extension
Review by Mhark Jhoshua Q. Torres
Thank you Final Audio and Project Perfection for letting us give our honest take towards the E1000. Given that the review unit is from them and is free of charge, it doesn’t affect the honesty and integrity of this review.

The Company

images-2.png



S’NEXT is a company that sells high-end audio earphones and headphones under its own brand final as well as conducting component technology development, product planning, design, planning, manufacturing and sales of other companies’ brands. The company was established in 2007. It began as a subsidiary of the major American connector manufacturer Molex; in 2014, it went independent through an MBO by the current management team. Now is what you would call its second formation. Since beginning sales of our own final brand earphones in 2009, our way of thinking regarding good sound quality and designs that differ to those of other major electronics manufacturers has garnered attention, and we have built our own unique place both in Japan and abroad.

The statement above is from their website under “about us” tab, Final Audio is actually under S’NEXT which majority of us don’t know. I do believe with what their statement, the products they produce are actually top notch in terms of sonic performance.

The Final Audio E1000



lrm_export_36620502762632_20190407_1251377539102638659053760737.jpeg


lrm_export_36508930829838_20190407_1249461603650262689398056975.jpeg


lrm_export_36586776276179_20190407_1251040275045579333300138058.jpeg

The E1000 is entirely made out of plastic but unlike the Zeta, it feels more premium as the plastic used isn’t flimsy at all, it also has glossy finish making it shine whenever light strikes its surface. The final audio is relatively smaller than the Zeta and it is lighter too, the cable seems to be more durable than Zeta’s and Periodic Audio BE as it uses thicker cable though it is still non-removable. The filter used here is extremely fine, and that might be the reason why the treble here is smooth and relaxing without losing much resolution. The right and left marking can be seen right next to the “E1000” mark while on the opposite side you can find a “Final” marking, they are embossed and not just painted meaning it will be visible throughout its shelf life unless you intentionally remove it. Lastly, Final Audio logo can be found at the face plate of the E1000, the build quality of the E1000 is definitely not the best but for bullet type IEMs they aren’t bad at all.

Technical Specifications:

  1. Housing – ABS
  2. Driver -6.4mmΦ dynamic driver
  3. Cable – Black OFC
  4. Sensitivity – 102dB/mW
  5. Impedance – 16Ω
Packaging
















The packaging of E1000 is simple, I expected this for the price. Under the white box is a plastic mold that contains the IEM itself with a pair of ear tips pre-installed, Velcro strap, user manual and 4 pairs of extra ear tips. Take note that the ear tips itself sells for almost half the price of E1000, the type E ear tip is well known in this hobby and many enthusiasts equips it to their sub 50,000 – 100,000 PHP (1000-2000 USD) IEMs.

Fit and Comfort







As I said with my reviews that involves bullet type IEMs, the fit, comfort and isolation is dependent to the tips used luckily, Final Audio is known to produce one if not the best tips in audiophile world. If my research is correct, the one that came with the E1000 are actually their Type-E tips, in my honest opinion the tips included alone is a good deal already. Testing it with the best fitting size, the fit, comfort and isolation is great, I never felt ear fatigue, maybe because it is very light-weight and the tips is also high quality the nozzle is perfectly sized too, neither short nor long. The isolation is not as good as CIEM-like IEMs but it is far more comfortable than them.

Sound
I love IEMs and earbuds with midcentric to flat sound signature as I really love listening to vocals rather than instruments. My genre ranges from heavy rock, alternative rock, pop rock, acoustic, pop, jazz and folk. Majority of my test tracks are in 16 bit – 44 khz and 24 bit – 48 khz FLAC file and here is the list of my commom test tracks.

  1. Reese Lansangan – For the Fickle (background, female vocals and upper mids)
  2. Foo Fighters – Bridge Burning (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  3. Jensen and the Flips – Come Closer (Mid Bass, Mids)
  4. Ed Sheeran – Dive (Mid bass, Lower Mids)
  5. Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why (Upper Mids and Instruments)
  6. Paramore – Hard Times (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  7. Utada Hikaru ft. Skrillex – Face My Fears (Imaging Layering, Bass, Mids, Treble, Coherence, Quickness)
  8. Passenger – Coins in a Fountain (Mid bass, Layering, Imaging, Instruments, Lower mids, Treble)
  9. Tori Kelly – Hollow (Background, Upper mids)
  10. Ariana Grande – Raindrops (Background, Upper mids)
Summary
For the Quality, higher is better as this includes resolution and dynamics while the quantity and positioning are subjective, it actually tells how close and how much the frequencies are.

final-audio-1.png

Source: Shanling M3s + Jazz R7.0 Amp
Bass
The sub bass doesn’t go super deep, just enough to give rumbles presence, quantity is moderate and doesn’t sound overwhelming at all. The positioning of the sub bass is close to neutral, the quality is great too it is textured despite the lack of depth, the smoothness is just enough it’s neither revealing nor lack of details it is just enough to enjoy guitar riffs and subtle drum rolls. Mid bass has good weight and punch, the speed of attack and decay is shockingly fast for a single Dynamic IEM. The placement of the bass is still close to being neutral. Despite the punch it has, coherence is still nicely maintained here, playing some pop-rock and EDM tracks I would say that the bass is just sufficient, neither bassy nor bass anemic, it is perfect for my preference.

Mids
lrm_export_37005474440176_20190407_1258025233713884072442318998.jpeg

Lush but not muddy, the lower mids has great amount of body to deliver male vocals with ease and for it not to sound dry or hollow. The positioning is still quite linear, quantity is moderate while in terms of quality is is smooth yet detailed to reveal some of micro details and huskiness of some singers. Upper mids is sweet, it isn’t as thick as the lower mids making it sound more transparent and cleaner which is suitable for female vocals and string instruments. The positioning is close to the lower mids, while the quality is still good it isn’t revealing at all as bad recordings still sounds good with this set, details are just above decent due to its smoothness, lastly the upper mids isn’t sibilant at all.

Treble
The treble is airy, quick and smooth, it isn’t too sparkly or shiny but it s clear enough to enjoy tambourine and cymbals. Both attack and decay are pretty fast resulting to a congestion-free presentation. In terms of positioning it is placed few steps behind the mids and the bass resulting to a better sense of depth and height. Treble extension and resolution is moderate, it is not as good as the mids but still good enough especially for those who aren’t treble-heads.

Sound Stage and Resolution

lrm_export_37116068241201_20190407_1259531172653463058170831059.jpeg

The sound stage of E1000 is average, width is decent while depth and height are great, it is coherent enough as the layering and imaging is on point, I can easily locate the positions of instruments around the stage. For resolution, bass has good resolution and is pretty detailed even that it sounds smooth and thick, same goes to the mids but is slightly more detailed than the bass, treble is the weak point here with average resolution but for me that’s fine as I usually listen to acoustic and indie songs that is seldom to emphasize treble.

Synergy and Sound Signature
The E1000’s sound sinature ranges from warm and smooth to neutral, bass isn’t that forward but has a good amount of weight and punch, it’s not bassy but for me it’s kinda warm, the mids is smooth and a bit forward in comparison to treble, lastly treble is airy and is linearly placed while having moderate resolution and extension. I suggest to use a bright sounding DAP/DAC/AMP when using the E1000s to slightly lift the treble and give it better details and extension.

Shanling M3s

lrm_export_36957280313101_20190407_1257143298541020678156239021.jpeg

The M3s is known to be an intimate sounding DAP with balanced sound signature and stellar mids, with this the E1000 sounded lush and smooth. The sub bass has moderate depth and quantity, with great texture and quality despite the smoothness it has. Mids sounds euphoric and a bit forward, both male and female vocals are presented with good resolution, body and smoothness. Treble is airy, a bit rolled off, lacks crispiness but is smooth and good for long hours of listening, the resolution is still above decent. The Shanling M3s and E1000s is a very good pairing for those who really loves vocal jazz, acoustic and pop songs but it won’t be that great if you’ll listen with classical music and orchestras because it lacks sparkle and crispness at the treble.

Adding Jazz R7.0 to the link and copper IC, the bass became quicker and more controlled without adding further quantity sub bass became deeper and more detailed. Mids became cleaner and smoother while the treble doesn’t change much except that it became slightly cleaner and controlled.

lrm_export_37178233226088_20190407_1300552829183500520068662678.jpeg

Adding Periodic Audio Ni (double amping) to the link and copper IC, the bass became lighter but quicker and more controlled, mids became less thick and became more transparent without being forward. Lastly the treble became slightly emphasized, less airy but with better clarity and sparkle.

lrm_export_37078521109957_20190407_1259155704335803054375768304.jpeg

Smartphone (Huawei Mate 10).
The Huawei Mate 10 has a sound signature of neutral-bright, sound quality far below the M3s, coherence, layering and imaging isn’t even close. Bass extension became even more shallow, and the quantity, weight and punch was reduced. Mids remains full sounding and smooth while the treble gain more definition and sparkle. This pairing is good for those who doesn’t want excessive warmth.

Comparison
Brainwavz Zeta

The Zeta is warmer and smoother in comparison to the E1000. The bass goes to the Zeta in terms of depth and quantity but for the placement, texture and speed I’d pick the E1000 because it is more detailed, coherent and isn’t as excessive as the Zeta. For the mids, there’s no competition the E1000 wins in every category, it is cleaner, more transparent, smoother and more detailed, it also has a sweeter timbre on the upper mids. For the treble, despite being similarly smooth and slightly recessed, Zeta’s treble is less detailed, quick and fast but it is airier, therefore it’s another win for the E1000s. Sound stage, layering and imaging easily goes to the E1000 and it also response very well with amping compared to the Zeta.

KZ ZSN
The E1000 is smoother and more natural than the ZSN. The bass of the ZSN is quicker and lighter than the E1000, while the E1000 is punchier, smoother and has more body than the ZSN extension is pretty much the same so it’s a tie. The mids of ZSN is less natural and has sibilance on the upper mids though it is cleaner, the E1000 sounds more realistic and smoother it’s not dry and hollow too, I’ll give the win to the E1000 here. The treble of these two is far from each other to be honest, the ZSN is crispier, more detailed and extended but it sounds a bit harsh for me while the E1000 is smoother and airier in comparison, objectively I’ll give it to the ZSN but personally I like the E1000 better. Sound stage goes to the E1000 while the layering and imaging is slightly better with the ZSN, when amped the E1000 is definitely cleaner and less harsh.

TFZ Galaxy T2
Both are smooth sounding IEM but the T2 is slighly V shaped compared to a more neutral sounding E1000. The bass of the T2 Galaxy sounds bloated and uncontrolled at times but it is punchier and has better extension while the E1000s sounds smoother and quicker, details seems to be equal so for me it’s a tie. Again, no competition for the mids, the mids of T2 is recessed, a bit thin and slightly veiled in comparison to the E1000 which is smoother, more natural and more detailed, the E1000 gets the win here. The treble of T2 is very inconsistent, sometimes it is harsh sometimes it is smooth, it has better sparkle though while they almost have the same extension, so for me it’s another tie. Sound stage easily goes to the T2 with the help of the recession in the mids, but I’ll give the layering and imaging to the E1000.

Conclusion
lrm_export_36430084227766_20190407_1248273141745609394606880763.jpeg

The E1000 packs a lot of bang for your buck, for a 1700 PHP (35 USD) IEM this sounds extremely natural, neutral-ish and very smooth. Bass is smooth, fast and punchy despite the lack of depth. Mids sounds smooth, detailed, natural and has a tinge of sweetness on the upper mids. Treble is a bit rolled off and lacks sparkle but is quick, airy and non fatiguing. It is very resolving for the price too, has decent sound stage, imaging and layering. It is lightweight and very comfortable plus it contains 5 pairs of HIGH QUALITY ear tips. I’ll definitely buy this than any KZ stuff within the price range even if the cable isn’t removable. A great product for both casual users and audiophiles out there!
U
utir
how does e1000's sound compare to tfz balace 1 ?

audioblog18

New Head-Fier
Pros: - Transparent sound
- Close to Neutral tonality
- Solid build, cable and tips
- Clear treble
- Resolution and Sound stage
Cons: - Slightly sibilant (track dependent)
- Rolled off sub bass
Review by Mhark Jhoshua Q. Torres
Thank you Linsoul Audio for letting us give our honest take towards the Tin Audio T3 pro. Given that the review unit is from Linsoul audio and is free of charge, it doesn’t affect the honesty and integrity of this review.

Linsoul Audio Online Stores:

Amazon : https://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&me=A267P2DT104U3C&page=1

Direct store: https://www.linsoul.com

The Company

lrm_export_9779710978185_20190227_114638073.jpeg

Tin audio is a chi-fi contender that appeared last Q1 of 2018, their first IEM was Tin Audio T1 (based on what I’ve read) and it was followed by the T2 and T2 Pro which became a lot more popular in comparison to the T1. Their IEMs are known for being bass anemic, since they are tuning their products into a neutral sound signature despite the use of all DD. “Tin Audio is committed to deliver an uncommonly refined tuning.” this is what they said in their Facebook page and based on what I’ve heard from the T2 pro and now the T3, the statement is legit!

The Tin Audio T3

lrm_export_96294116939421_20190226_214011650.jpeg


lrm_export_4516633461808_20190227_075318189.jpeg


lrm_export_10248134637488_20190227_115523639.jpeg


lrm_export_10419687690587_20190227_115815192.jpeg


lrm_export_10466768158288_20190227_115902273.jpeg

The T3 is made out of metal just like the T2 and T2 Pro that makes the overall feel to be premium and reliable, it’s still astonishing for me to have this well built IEM under the 70 USD price tag. Just like the T2 Pro, the nozzle is still a bit short, the filter is fine, and there are two vents per side one facing the ears and one at the face plate. The T3 pro has slight changes at the face plate whereas there is more styling on the T3 as compared to the flat and simple T2 Pro, the cable is far superior too in terms of aesthetics.
  • Driver unit: 10mm dynamic + Knowles BA
  • Frequency response: 10–40,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 95 dB +/- 3dB
  • Impedance: 16 ohms
  • Plug: ⅛ in (3.5 mm) carbon
  • Cable: 4.1 ft (1.25 m) 5N 8-core OFC-plated silver
  • Interface: MMCX
Packaging

lrm_export_9779710978185_20190227_114638073.jpeg


lrm_export_96294116939421_20190226_214011650.jpeg


lrm_export_10011868848462_20190227_115127374.jpeg


lrm_export_10141308348442_20190227_115336812.jpeg


lrm_export_10304609864042_20190227_115620115.jpeg

The packaging of the T3 is now bigger, The styling of the box is better too with transparent part to show off the IEM itself. The blue box contains everything from manual to tips, there is still no carrying case just like with the T2 Pro, I hope that they include even a small pouch in their future IEMs. The gray foam tips is the one you’ll get OOTB but it is huge for my ears to fit, good thing that Tin audio included 8 pairs of extra tips for tip rolling. Lastly I was really amazed, I can confidently say that the cable included must be one if not the best under 150 USD.

Fit and Comfort

lrm_export_4516633461808_20190227_075318189.jpeg

The T3 is made out of metal and there are few sharp edges unlike other IEMs that has CIEM-ish build therefore the fit of the T3 is sub par in comparison to other IEMs in this price tier (eg. TFZ lineup and Shozy Hibiki). The isolation of T3 is very dependent with the tips used with proper tips, the isolation is pretty good, the nozzle is short too hence the insertion is shallow.

Sound
I love IEMs and earbuds with midcentric to flat sound signature as I really love listening to vocals rather than instruments. My genre ranges from heavy rock, alternative rock, pop rock, acoustic, pop, jazz and folk. Majority of my test tracks are in 16 bit – 44 khz and 24 bit – 48 khz FLAC file and here is the list of my commom test tracks.

  1. Reese Lansangan – For the Fickle (background, female vocals and upper mids)
  2. Foo Fighters – Bridge Burning (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  3. LANY – Thick And Thin (Mid Bass, Mids)
  4. Ed Sheeran – Dive (Mid bass, Lower Mids)
  5. Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why (Upper Mids and Instruments)
  6. Paramore – Hard Times (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  7. Radiohead – Life in a Glasshouse (Imaging Layering, Bass, Instruments, Lower mids, Treble)
  8. Passenger – Coins in a Fountain (Mid bass, Layering, Imaging, Instruments, Lower mids, Treble)
  9. Tori Kelly – Hollow (Background, Upper mids)
  10. Ariana Grande – Raindrops (Background, Upper mids)
Bass
Slight roll off on the sub bass region but still enjoyable (at least for someone like me who isn’t a basshead) since the quality, texture and speed is properly done to fill the lack of extension. The sub bass is presented linearly, neither forward nor recessed. The intro of Bridge Burning by Foo Fighters is very audible. Mid bass is still tight, rounded and agile just like the T2 Pros but this time it has a bit more quantity resulting to better punch on bass notes, I’d say that the bass of the T3 is not bass anemic anymore, quality and texture remains excellent but take note that the bass quantity and positioning is still not for bass-heads, it is still linear and no elevation to be called warm or bassy.

Mids

lrm_export_10524303119738_20190227_115959808.jpeg

Tin Audio is molding its house sound, transparent, lean and clean mids that packs a lot of details. The lower mids of the T3 is very resolving though the body is just sufficient for the male vocals not to sound hollow or dry, stringed instruments are really nice sounding with the T3, but for those who love their velvety mids you won’t enjoy the transparency of the T3. Upper mids is definitely sweet, despite its neutral positioning the female timbre sounds stellar for the price. I tried Reese Lansangan, Clara Benin, Sara Bareilles and UDD and it is simply one of the best sounding upper mids under 150 USD, though I’d say that it is unforgiving since playing bad recorded tracks will result to slight sibilant. Playing every tracks of the album Capacities by UDD, there is no emphasis on “S” like what I’ve observed with other indie OPM singles. Details and texture is great and the timbre is close to natural, hands down to T3.

Treble

Not the peaky and aggressive treble you’ve hated with the T2 and the T2 Pro, the treble of T3 is definitely more controlled and relaxed without losing the great definition and extension of the T2 and T2 Pro. The decay is pretty fast delivering pacey tracks such as Asphyxia by Cö shu Nie excellently as it doesn’t sound congested at all. The positioning is still more or less at the middle ground as it never overpowers the mids and bass. Extension is better as compared to the sub bass, lastly the treble is still airy enough to give a natural sense of height and depth though it is not as airy as the T2 Pro anymore maybe due to the single BA instead of a DD (tweeter).

Sound Stage and Resolution

The sound stage of the T3 is still commendable for the price range it belongs, listening to live tracks is very enjoyable since the height, depth and width are all above decent. The sound stage isn’t something “monstrous” but it expands naturally whenever it is needed, also transitioning from my Moonbuds Bunting to the T3 is not as painful as with other IEMs, the boxy feeling is not as bad as compared to the KZ AS06 or TFZ Galaxy T2. None of the three major frequencies sounded smooth nor muddy in the T3, from sub bass to treble the texture and details are nicely rendered and is very audible. Separation is definitely better than the T2 Pro, and layering also improved but still not groundbreaking.

Synergy and Sound Signature

T3’s sound signature is more neutral than the T2 Pro, the bass is linear and clinical and just enough to give a taste of thump in your tracks. The mids and treble is placed close to neutral as well. The upper mids is a bit sibilant with some tracks but most of the times I don’t hear the emphasis on ‘S.

Shanling M3s

lrm_export_10524303119738_20190227_115959808.jpeg

The M3s is known to be intimate sounding DAP with balanced sound signature and stellar mids, despite the characteristics of M3s, the T3 doesn’t sound too intimate at all in fact it is wider than TFZ Galaxy T2 and KZ AS06 even when I’m using them with Cayin N5iis. Bass is nicely delivered with no noticeable bumps, good details retrieval and enough body to give life to EDM tracks. Mids of this set is simply stellar, each of my favorite artists shined very well with the T3 and M3s. Lastly the Treble is defined and packs a lot of details, the extension is not the best but still enjoyable. I’d say that this pair is definitely great for those who loves quiet and neutral-mid centric sounding set.

Smartphone (Huawei Mate 10)

The Huawei Mate 10 has a sound signature of neutral-bright, sound quality is not on par with the N5iis, noise floor is a bit high. The bass lost its extension and texture, the mid bass became smoother and less impactful. The lower mids became thinner and smooth reducing the texture of the mids, the upper mids still sounds sweet. Lastly the treble is well extended while the presentation is less airy and detailed. The T3 can be easily powered by smartphones but the potential will not be maximized, the bass quantity will be reduced but the overall sound quality is still great.

Comparison
TFZ Galaxy T2 and KZ AS06

If we are talking about the quality and texture, the sub bass and mid bass goes to the T3, but the quantity and placement is more of basshead level for the AS06 and Galaxy T2, both are kinda smooth and warm with better extension compared to the T3. The mids simply goes to the T3, better quality, transparency and details it is also has the most neutral positioning among the three, both AS06 and T2 Galaxy sounds recessed, veiled and smooth in comparison to the T3. Lastly, the treble though the AS06 is smoother I’d say that the treble of T3 has better sparkle, definition and extension on the other hand the T2 Galaxy’s treble is quite splashy. Sound stage goes to the T3 and same goes to layering, imaging and resolution. The only con of the T3 is the bass quantity. it is not really for the bass-heads.

Conclusion

lrm_export_8991646568410_20190227_112507161.jpeg


The bug fixes from T2 pro are well executed, I want to commend tin audio for listening and following the feedback from consumers and reviewers. Sub bass is textured and decays quick but falls short with extension, mid bass is punchy, resolving and agile with linear positioning. Mids is just stellar with lean, sweet and transparent presentation, tho it sounds sibilant with badly recorded tracks. Treble has good sparkle, definition and extension and is definitely controlled compared to their previous models. Technical performance is superb too as it renders nice details from bass to treble, sound stage is above average and lastly, imaging and layering is improved too. PS: the build quality (especially the cable) is definitely worth acknowledging.
Back
Top