Reviews by crinacle


Member of the Trade: In-Ear Fidelity
Pros: Bass power, clean midrange
Cons: Dulled treble, coherency issues, bass bleed, driver flex


The TOTL man himself, Flinkenick, has graciously arranged for a Zombie demo to be sent to me for review purposes. This unit will be sent to other reviewers thereafter.

This unit has been burned in for 120 hours with white noise prior to a full critical analysis.


Measurements performed on an IEC60318-4-compliant rig.


Very, very emphasised (perceived at about 20dB above the midrange). Sub-bass centric, slow decay, very authorative and articulate. Unfortunately, transients are a tad too slow for proper realism and is not controlled to a particularly high degree, demonstrating bleeding into the midrange in bassy passages.

The Zombie has something I'll call the "classic hybrid" sound. The likes of which the Superfi 5EB and the very first Unique Melody Merlin possessed. The very first time I put the Zombie into my ears, I was greeted with my long lost friend: sub-bass. The rumble, the texture, the power... not many monitors did bass like this these days. The Zombie is fun, fantastic and held nothing back when it came to bass authority.

The Zombie’s bass is also what I would classify as “loose” and also somewhat muddy; its slowness and relative emphasis does give the impression of smearing, making it struggle in busy tracks and overlap bass notes together. It really does give off a real subwoofer feel, moreso than established hybrids like the W900 and the Oriolus MK2, however it’s a classic case of “too much of a good thing”. Slowness, bleeding and lack of detail are, unfortunately, traits that I cannot overlook.


Relatively realistic timbre, rather distanced and recessed. Well balanced between center and upper midrange, minimising harshness. Lower mids are expectedly emphasised but not to the point of giving the mids intense warmth or mud. Good detail retrieval and resolution for its asking price, unfortunately marred by bass bleed issues as mentioned above.

The midrange is where things get a little… jarring. The timbre and texture of the bass and midrange are worlds apart, which both saves and hurts the Zombie’s overall impression. The mids are clean, relatively fast and display good detail, which is far cry from the bass. The complaints of older hybrids hold true here; there seems to be a everpresent, albeit mild, incoherency between what’s obviously the dynamic driver’s bass presentation and the BA’s midrange and treble presentation. The bass lines plod along to their own beat while the vocals speed by without a care, for instance. Almost like listening some speakers with a mismatched, over-volumed subwoofer.


Non-fatiguing and smoothed over. Somewhat veiled and lacking enough sparkle for the proper, realistic presentation of cymbals and hi-hats. Its subdued nature also gives the bass even more presence. Somewhat in line with the midrange, perhaps ever so slightly behind.

One thing I’ll give the Zombie is that its treble isn’t harsh or fatiguing. However, it does leave a lot to be desired. There simply isn’t enough energy in the top end to convey the minute details in percussions or to present a sense of “air”. Surprisingly, it’s not entirely devoid of air, but for 1500USD you could definitely find a lot that could do much better. At the end of the day though, I don’t think I can complain too much; it’s not bad treble, but it certainly isn’t something to sing praises about. In relative terms, it’s probably below average in its price bracket.


Somewhat wide soundstage but extremely two-dimensional. Lacks quite a bit of depth. Positional ability is also poor due to the all encompassing presence of bass.

There is definitely decent width to the Zombie’s staging, despite the powerful, sometimes suffocating bass it manages to stray away from claustrophobia. However, the problem comes in its depth and subsequently its positional ability; instrument placement is predictable and the same with every single track. Bass up in your face, instruments slightly behind, treble and percussions at the same plane or possibly even further back. It’s almost as if you were standing on stage, but instead of the instruments being evenly spread out they’re all cramped in one small spot. Sure, there’s size to the stage, but no depth. Definitely not recommended for classical or live-based genres.


It's never easy to publish a less-than-stellar review of something that you want to succeed. Hybrids have always been a huge fascination of mine and any entries into the TOTL-sphere shall garner my attention without fail. For that reason I've been on a personal search for my personal hybrid, the one perfect IEM.

It brings me great pain to announce that the Zombie shall not make it into the top ranks of my IEM ranking list, not even close. It's technical abilities does not seem to exceed the likes of the Spartan-IV, MD+ or ER4, leaving it down to the B ranks. My own personal comparison, the AAW A3Hv2, shows that while the Zombie does manage to inch it out in terms of staging and detail, its coherency issues are that more obvious.



Member of the Trade: In-Ear Fidelity
Pros: Clarity, midrange energy, vocal presentation
Cons: Treble extension, bass authority, note weight

I approached Treoo to loan me a demo unit after auditioning the Atlantis in-store. I don't usually get sent review units; instead I approach the companies that I think deserve acclaim.

NocturnaL Audio is best known for their cables but have recently branched out to custom in-ear monitors with little to no fanfare. I have both the Gorham and Atlantis with me, and the latter has certainly impressed me especially at its asking price of 650USD for a fully custom unit.



Measurements performed on an IEC60318-4-compliant rig.


Quick with the barest hint of presence in the lowest registers. Note weight is rather light and thinned out compared to IEMs performing in the top echelon of bass performance. Bass hits aren’t the most textured nor the most rounded and overall performs below the average in its price range.

The bass is definitely the Atlantis’ achilles’ heel but retains the overall signature of being extremely quick and detailed just like the rest of the Atlantis’ frequency range. If anything, I’d consider them “reference”-styled bass that’s more in line with neutral monitors like the UERM or the ER4.


Clean, clear and detailed. Possesses a significant amount of energy due to a peak in the upper midrange. Vocals are open, airy and have a quality of sharpness to them, which gives them a nice resolving edge to their tone.

I was most impressed with the Atlantis’ presentation of vocals and acoustics. Transients are fast and note speed is blisteringly fast, resulting a very bell-like clarity and cleanness that you’d usually only find in higher end IEMs (Empire Ears Spartan and Jomo Samba comes to mind). An absolute joy to listen to on instrument-centric genres like rock or even vocal jazz.


Flat and well-controlled. Follows the speed of the rest of the frequency range as well the feather-like note weight. Cymbals and hi-hats avoid ringing and sibilance remains at a minimum despite the high energies being put forth.

Looking past the peak in the upper midrange, the Atlantis’ treble continues on to be relatively well controlled, if ever so slightly lacking in extension. It’s thankfully not as boosted as the upper midrange peak and is slightly subdued in comparison, which creates a good balance in the frequencies and prevents the Atlantis from sounding overly fatiguing or sharp.


Above-average width that translates to a spacious and airy presentation, with slight sacrifices in depth but nothing too major. Positional ability is decent, definitely a step above its competitive range.

Comparison with UERM

The UERM has been my reference (replacing the ER4, with itself being replaced by the UE18+ soon). It has also become my benchmark for midrange timbre, with tone accuracy surpassing even my TOTL IEMs.

The bass presentation on both are eerily similar, with the Atlantis being ever-so-slightly north of neutral when compared next to the UERM, though can easily be recognized as neutral on its own. Decay is typical of BA woofers, being fast, detailed and snappy. Nothing really out of the ordinary.

The midrange has wholly definitely signatures and I’d daresay the UERM still edges out in tonal accuracy, note weight and detail. The UERM does sound more “natural” to my ears but the Atlantis has its strengths in sheer clarity, energy and a slightly thinner and faster signature. While I may prefer the UERM for most intents and purposes, I’ll acknowledge that the two’s presentations differ enough to have one’s own sonic preferences tilt the scales to a large degree.

The treble on both is more similar than different, though they still have one or two distinguishing features. For one, the Atlantis has slightly better control while the UERM is peakier but also sparklier. At the same time, the Atlantis tends to side with light, thin hits while the UERM presents a better sense of power, the UERM being more forward with its upper frequencies as as result.


The sub-$1000 market for custom in-ears is rather sparse, with the older players like Ultimate Ears and JH Audio still dominating that part of the scene. In fact, before NocturnaL emerged I wouldn't have any recommendations for the $500~1000 range (apart from the AAW W500, which just barely scrapes by with its $900 MSRP).

With the introduction of the Atlantis, there's finally one addition to my recommendations that doesn't break the bank to the extent of the other great CIEMs. It's no giant-killer for sure, but where its strength lies it can certainly punch well above its price. Stunning clarity and energy that I would daresay rivals even the great Jomo Samba (but of course, can't hold a candle in other aspects).

A breathtaking entry by NocturnaL. A no-brainer for a reference-class monitor at an entry level pricing.
Sorry, but where can I find the Atlantis at that price? (custom version ~$650)
I can only find the universal version at +$800 and the custom costs even more. I have to ask this because he difference is too big.
From the NocturnaL website -

Atlantis: Quad Driver

[Universal fit IEM: US$ 679.99]
[Custom fit CIEM: US$ 759.99]


Member of the Trade: In-Ear Fidelity
Pros: Extremely detailed, fast transients, transparency to the highest degree
Cons: Somewhat thinner notes, relative lack of sub-bass rumble
Disclaimer: I approached Jomo Audio myself for a loaner demo of the Flamenco to be returned in two weeks in exchange for my honest opinion. As with my usual review style, I will jump into sonic impressions immediately.
Low scoring for comfort is due to my uniquely large ear structures not being compatible with the universal Flamenco's switch placement, as seen here. Your own experience may vary but Jomo has assured that this design was intentional and should be comfortable for most other ears.
The demo unit I received
Both switches up

Bass switch up

Treble switch up

No switches up

Switch comparisons



The Flamenco's switches allow its bass to swap between neutral to slightly boosted (roughly 5dB across the bass spectrum). Hits are tight, fast and extremely quick, revealing minute nuances in the bass notes that most other IEMs would gloss over. While the bass is very punchy, sub-bass articulation falls short compared to its dynamic and hybrid competitors.
It's important to distinguish between personal preference and technicalities when it comes to reviewing headphones. In the Flamenco's case, while my personal preferences leans towards the wetter, more rounded nature of dynamic bass, it's also hard to not recognize the Flamenco's bass for what it is: a highly precise rapier than delivers hits with lightning-quick accuracy. The name of the Flamenco's game is clarity and detail and this philosophy extends into its bass presentation, with every detail bathed in the white light of its stunningly quick woofers.


Leans towards the colder side of tonality. Very well textured and sharp with a slight emphasis on vocals (especially female). Clear, transparent and detailed, and quite honestly the top in those three metrics out of all the IEMs I've ever heard.
There's that word again: clarity. That really is the first thing that pops in your mind when you hear the Flamenco; everything is right there in your face, begging for your attention. There is absolutely no "veil" to speak of and nothing sounds out of place at first listen.  
Note weight could be a potential weakness in the Flamenco, but that can also be chalked up to personal preference as well. I'd prefer denser hits that give more body and weight to things like male vocals or bassy strings like cello myself.


The switches boost the 2k-8k regions slightly which improves clarity and perceived detail slightly. As with the rest of the frequencies, the Flamenco's treble is of course extremely detailed and clear. It's absolutely bursting with energy and highly articulate, with crashes and zings ringing true to my ears.
I'm sensitive to treble myself so the Flamenco tends to be a little too much for me, even with the switches down. However, the speed and note density is absolutely on point and I'd love to have it on every IEM I have. Apart from the emphasis, I'd say this is the perfect treble right here.


More intimate than spacious. There's less outward diffusal going on but the Flamenco still maintains a decently proportioned stage. Positional ability is outstanding and staging goes pretty deep, making sacrifices in width more than anything.

Choice comparisons

Advanced AcousticWerkes W900​

As expected, Jomo's shining flagship should be up against its own local competitor's, AAW. As with the W900 vs the Samba, both excel in different things and are less rivals than complements.
Bass on the W900 is rounded, rumbly and decays in a way that brings wider staging to the sound, as compared to the Flamenco's speedy, quick notes. I'd liken the W900 to a large, dampened sledgehammer to the Flamenco's ornately decorated rapier, each having their own strengths. I'd prefer the W900's authority and articulation but you might prefer the Flamenco's clarity and punchiness.
In terms of tonality, they sound to be on the far side of either side of the spectrum relative to the average TOTL signatures. The W900 has a warmer, denser tilt to its notes while the Flamenco is brighter, colder and clearer. I prefer the more bodied sound of the W900 myself, but you know it's all down to preferences.
Into the treble, it's all about their showcase of different strengths. Flamenco has the edge on energy, clarity and airiness while the W900 is superior in control and note density. Perfection would be combining the two but as far as this goes, it's all about picking your poison.

Ultimate Ears Reference Monitors​

I received the UERM about the same time as the Flamenco and it has replaced my ER4PT as my go-to reference for neutrality, both in frequency response and tonality.
With the bass switch down, both have similar bass emphasis with the Flamenco slightly edging out on both transient speeds and articulation. With the bass switch on, articulation is improved slightly whilst maintaining clarity.
The Flamenco is definitely slightly colder than the UERM (with the W900 being warmer), but at the same time allowing for greater transparency and clarity. Perceived detail is also much higher on the Flamenco and actually makes for a decent reference monitor with all the switches down, with the colder tonality and all that.
Treble is more uncontrolled on the UERM (with a spike or two here and there) and the Flamenco manages to maintain relative flatness in comparison with similar levels of sparkle and energy.

Custom Art Harmony 8.2​

The 8.2 has been with me for a while and is my go-to "lounging" IEM. Relaxing signature that doesn't have a hint of fatigue to it. The two are definitely different in terms of sound signature and fulfill entirely different needs, even moreso than versus the W900.
The bass on the 8.2 is denser and has more rumble, but also has a certain "muffle" and veil to it compared to the Flamenco. At the same time, the Flamenco's quick and punchy notes can be a little intense and fatiguing compared to the 8.2's soft and pillowy ones. In terms of technicalities though, I don't think anyone would deny the Flamenco is superior.
The 8.2 and smooth and warm, a stark contrast to the Flamenco. Vocals are smoother and much more relaxing, albeit with a slightly lower levels of relative detail. The Flamenco throws every last detail and texture in your face, which is enjoyable for some but can be quite taxing to listen to for longer periods of time. Detail vs non-fatigue, pick your poison.
Flamenco is energetic, and that extends to the treble as well. The 8.2 is quite a bit darker and more veiled, but (as I've repeated many times before) is a lot less fatiguing to less to as a result.

Final words

The Flamenco is easily one of (if not the) most detailed IEM I've had the pleasure of listening to, and its colder, to-the-point personality is one that complements the smooth-warm nature of my collection ever so nicely. Jomo outdid themselves even with the high standards set by the Samba, allowing for a myriad of listening styles with the implementation of its switch system
A proud addition to the realms of summit-fi, it sets itself as number 2 on my top 10 list. I wait eagerly for Joseph's next venture, the Flamenco only increasing my hunger.
@twister6 Aye, Jomo provided the Ares II with the Flamenco.
The "black background" measurements are compensated, which mean they reflect flat as a horizontal line. That software doesn't support A/B comparisons however, so for easier reading for the differences between switches I used a different software without any compensation (which will reflect flat as a slight downslope instead).
Basically, the measurements with multiple lines in one graph are for comparative purposes only; the black background ones can be taken at face value.
In terms of just sheer imaging, how does it compare to the W900?
Shekelz Bergstein
Hi crin, between this Flamenco 2017 version and the Anole VX, which one in your opinion has better detail retrieval capability? Thank you.


Member of the Trade: In-Ear Fidelity
Pros: Neutral with non-compromised bass, highly detailed, wide soundstage, precise positioning, realistic imaging
Cons: Treble not as fast as I would've liked, pricing is on the tip-end of diminishing returns
My personal measurements vs advertised


Neutral yet powerful, placed equidistant with mids and treble. Rounded and 3-dimensional hits that decays naturally, lingering slightly past than the rest of the frequencies for a broad sense of space. Highly articulate notes that carry a sense of authority that cannot be reproduced with balanced armature woofers.
[size=11pt]While not the fastest bass in the realm of summit-fi, AAW’s powerful dynamic driver pushes air like nothing else, relaying information that is easily lost in the zippy, tappy nature of BA drivers. It isn’t the best bass I’ve heard (that award goes to the W500, the added 2-3dB boost to the low end really helps in sub-bass articulation) but the W900 definitely has the best “neutral bass” by a longshot, with bass and mids separated by a clear boundary yet possessing the typical low end punch of a hybrid setup. Amongst all the reference-class monitors out there, nothing does bass better than the W900.[/size]


Leans ever-so-slightly toward the warm side of tonality. Extremely smooth and pleasant overall with a slight sharpness to vocals and instruments that give texture and energy to the midrange. Paired with a high level of microdetail that puts the W900 comfortably in the top three for technicalities.
[size=11pt]It’s rare to find neutral/reference monitors with a warm tilt to their sound. It was a little jarring at first listen; I was expecting something a little colder for its neutral tuning, a tonality that could push details even more forward than it already was. However, upon further listening, I could say that it’s a rare breed of “musical monitor”, a neutral IEM that’s works better for enjoyment listening than reference analysis. While its tonality was not as balanced as the Jomo Samba which was both reference and musical to a high degree, I much preferred the W900 as something I could lounge and relax with.[/size]


Extremely flat and devoid of spikes and dips. Objectively measured extension of 20,000Hz, easily the best in any IEM today. Softer touches and heavier note weight convey a sense of depth and body at the cost of sheer speed and sparkle.
[size=11pt]In terms of control and extension, the W900 has easily the best treble in any IEM. Peaks are painfully apparent in others when compared directly against the W900; the Jomo Samba for instance sounded strident and fatiguing next to the W900 even though I noted that it was sparkly and energetic just a week before. One criticism is that the treble could just be a little faster, but that’s nitpicking for perfection.[/size]


Extremely wide and open soundstage. Hits start about 4cm from the ears and diffuse outward. Highly precise and accurate positioning, with ample separation between separation between instruments that is neither overly stretched out nor congested.
[size=11pt]The W900 has done what ADEL and APEX strived to achieved, without the loss in isolation or bass response. My personal theory is in how AAW placed their drivers a little further back of the shell with minimal curving of the acoustic tubing, but that’s purely conjecture. The end result however is amazing; everything is as it should be and placed where it’s supposed to be. Its wide and realistic imaging is simply not something anyone can expect out of an IEM.[/size]


Jomo Samba​

I've made my love for the Samba rather public, despite not even owning one. In this match of Singapore vs Singapore, they both excel in wholly different things and are complements to one another than bitter rivals.
Two things that'll first pop out between the two: bass and treble. Being used to the warm signature of the W900 for a few days made the Samba borderline sibilant and harsh on first listen, but nothing a few minutes of conditioned listening didn't fix. The treble of the Samba is airy, sparkly and fast, a stark contrast to the laid-back, smooth and comparatively sluggish nature of the W900's. The Samba has also more energy and edge to its top end while the W900 is dead flat all the way to the top, which can be a little too grounded and lacking in air for some.
Down in the bass, the W900 is easily trumps the Samba, no holds barred. Do not trust the measurements on this; the W900 has more authority and articulation despite objectively measuring lower than the Samba. The Samba admittedly still suffers from "farty BA syndrome" next to the shining, thundering behemoth that is the W900's dynamic driver. Hits are more rounded and 3-dimensional on the W900, while the Samba felt like it was trying really really hard but unable to deliver.
Tonality is another diverging point on both. The Samba is much better balanced, perfectly juggling between musicality and reference, providing the best of both worlds. The W900 strays into smooth-warm territory which is still very enjoyable by all accounts, but I felt that a tonality closer to reference would be better for its neutral tuning. Transients on the Samba are quick and straight-to-the-point while the W900 takes its own sweet time with the decay, which leads to the Samba to be more detail-oriented while the W900 being more laid-back and musical.
Into the soundstage, I'd say while they're on opposite ends of the spectrum with regards to flavour, the W900 has some of the best positioning and spacing that I've ever heard (more on this in my future review). The Samba is intimate and throws everything right at your face, but the W900 takes a step back in staging, diffusing outward with ridiculous width though with somewhat average depth.

64 Audio A12​

The A12 and the W900 are, surprisingly, similar in more aspects than they are different. They both shine in the bass, has somewhat laid-back treble and warm in tonality. 
The bass on the A12 is the best I've heard out of a BA system, for sure. Rumble and darkness of hits done so excellently that it sounds almost dynamic. Though the keyword is "almost"; while the difference between the W900 and the A12 isn't as large as the chasm between the W900 and Samba, there's still a lot that the A12 has to concede to the W900. 3-dimensionalness and decay are the A12's biggest losers, but all in all still an impressive showing by the APEX-clad IEM.
Both are smooth and warm in tonality, with the A12 being ever so slightly moreso. There's more mid-presence on the W900, pushing vocals closer to the listener than the A12.
Treble is also similar, both being laid-back and smooth. Speed on the A12 is ever-so-slightly faster, but the detail on the W900 is noticeably higher, picking out easy-to-miss hi-hat rides on certain test tracks.
The A12 handily wins in soundstage depth with its APEX-tuned signature, but is still nothing in width compared to the spacious, open stage of the W900. Instrument placement and spacing is of much higher quality on the W900, easily separating every individual sound from each other.

Empire Ears Zeus-XR ADEL​

Let's just get it straight from the get-go. The Zeus is the most technically proficient IEM I've heard to date. Its clarity and detail are easily in the top, and soundstage demolishes most of the competition.
No surprises here, the Zeus' weakest point is completely decimated by the W900's specialty. The Zeus' bass is well textured yes, but one-dimensional and inarticulate next to the W900's. I don't need to touch on this too much.
Tonality of the Zeus-R lies closer to the reference/cold side of things, coming back to neutral on Zeus-XIV mode. Not as balanced as the Samba, but definitely going in the opposite direction of the W900. Zeus mids are airy, clear and intense, everything the W900 is not. This all comes down to preference and again, the Zeus has more detail. Though in the summit-fi of things, the differences are still pretty much neck-and-neck.
Treble is also as different as the rest comes. Just like the Samba, the Zeus is sparkly and well textured, though surprisingly not as intense as the Samba. The W900 is the opposite, so it's definitely a question of sonic preferences than technicalities between the two.
As much as I would love to say that the Zeus-APEL destroys the W900 in soundstage and imaging... it didn't. In fact, the W900 in its fully sealed glory held up rather well, even taking a few points off the Zeus. In particular the width, the W900 is amazingly spacious and open, surpassing the Zeus on certain echo-y type tracks. Intrumental spacing and separation are both flagships' forte, and honestly too close to call a clear winner.
@crinacle Shouldn't it be Zeus-ADEL?
As much as I would love to say that the Zeus-APEX destroys the W900 in soundstage and imaging... it didn't. In fact, the W900 in its fully sealed glory held up rather well, even taking a few points off the Zeus. In particular the width, the W900 is amazingly spacious and open, surpassing the Zeus on certain echo-y type tracks. Intrumental spacing and separation are both flagships' forte, and honestly too close to call a clear winner.
@ironpeg Thanks for the heads up, it should be Zeus-ADEL.
Funny how a single letter can change the whole context... 
@crinacle  If we can only correct "a single letter" we're stuck with either APEL or ADEX  


Member of the Trade: In-Ear Fidelity
Pros: Non fatiguing sound, satisfying bass rumble, rich midrange and vocals, smooth frequency response throughout, price
Cons: Relatively congested midrange, rolled off treble, veiled sound
Gear references
Favourite: D2000
Neutrality: SRH940 (audition experience with the ER4XR and the HD600)
IEM reference: Aurisonics ASG-2.0

  1. 10mm Proprietary Dynamic Driver + dual driver unit Knowles TFWK-30017, dual sound bore design
  2. TruXross 3 Way Crossover (electrical crossover)
  3. Frequency response: 20 Hz - 20000 Hz
  4. Sensitivity: 105 dB SPL @ 1mW
  5. Impedance: 16 Ohm @ 1kHz
  6. THD <= 0.5% @1kHz


Packaging and accessories
AAW really steps it up with their luxurious box. It opens up sideways on a hinge, sealed shut with a magnetic mechanism. Inside, you’ll receive your CIEMs (of course), a cleaning cloth, a cleaning tool, two-pin airplane adapter, a ¼” adaptor, with a warranty-and-policy booklet sealed with fancy stamped wax. It also comes with a little card with your name written on it. I don’t much care for it, but you’re the kind who’d like that kind of personalisation, it’ll be a nice treat for you.

Build quality and fit
To put it short: superb. No air bubbles as far as I can see them and consistent translucency throughout the acrylic shell. My selected faceplates, the red and blue Mother-of-Pearl, are very well made, though upon closer inspection you can see the seams where AAW joins individual shells. Which is something I’d willing close an eye for, considering the nature of working with MOP and how they hid the seams very expertly.
The tiny bass port
As shown above, there is a bass port on the shell due to the dynamic driver. However, given the size of the port, it barely makes a dent in the shell’s isolation. There is hardly any difference in isolation between my custom made silicon plugs and my A3H-Pros.
What AAW did, as far as I can tell, is that they added additional layers to my ear impressions, making it a snug fit rather than a perfect one. This creates additional pressure against my ears, which makes it a very full sealing seal. This is in stark contrast to a previous custom I've had, a reshelled TF10 by a defunct company called Stage93. This reshell was slightly more comfortable as they've used my impressions as they received it, resulting in a more "perfect" fit. However, the seal in those customs broke with the slightly movement in my jaw (turning my head, opening my mouth etc.) which made it very annoying to wear.

Personally I think this fit is a good balance between comfort and seal. Obviously not perfect, but I have not had the seal break on me at all.
Null Audio Brevity cable w/ microphone
The cable is a Null Audio Brevity cable, a soft, smooth silicone-coated braided cable that is feels very comfortable against bare skin. Microphonics are higher than average, though the custom design along with the over-the-ear position makes it a non-issue.

Sound Quality
Frequency response
Slightly bass linear (bass > mids = treble). Bass emphasis all the way into the lower midrange where it valleys, followed by roll-off in the upper treble.
General sound signature
Warm and smooth with slightly laid-back treble, very non-fatiguing sound.
Genre strengths
Jazz and vocals, instruments like trumpets, saxophones and cello
I would consider it the star of the show seeing as how it’s the first thing that pops up when you first put it on. The bass is slightly emphasised at about 5dB+/- above neutral, valleying at 400Hz and running linearly into the sub-50 frequencies, creating good rumble and pushing air like nothing else. It extends deep into the double-digits and has extremely satisfying volume and texture.
However, it wouldn’t be considered a basshead’s bass. Flatheads would assume that it’s for bassheads, while bassheads would find themselves wanting more. It's a neither-here-nor-there bass that's slightly higher in quantity than the new Ety ER4XR but not as bassy as, say, the SE215. If you’re one who prefers this kind of "on-the-fence" signature, the A3H would be perfect for you.
On another note, the A3H’s bass is not “punchy”. There is a resonant quality to its bass due to its slower driver speed and relative balance between sub-bass and mid-bass. This creates three very obvious qualities:
  1. It’s not very impactful but rather very volumetric and rumbly, making its bass very smooth and easy to listen to.
  2. This overlap between of the sub-bass over the mid-bass creates a lot of resonance at the cost of speed, making the A3H struggle with very fast tracks.
  3. Bass extension is superb, very easily picking out details from the lowest reaches of the bass frequencies.
If anything, the A3H is reminiscent of a tiny subwoofer, not necessarily bringing speed and imapct but rather providing a dynamic and hefty bass experience.
After the initial awe of the A3H’s bass, there was something else that crept behind its shadow. Vocals, instruments, synths… if the bass was the star of the show, the midrange was its manager. The strict, workaholic manager that occasionally played along with the star’s aloof and showboaty nature. The midrange itself is clear and detailed, but when in tandem with the weight and volume of the bass frequencies creates a much more weighted sound that borrows some low-end heft from the lower-midrange frequencies. The mids and treble are handled by the time-proven and very capable TWFK-30017, a rather premium dual-driver single-bore model by Knowles that does well in retrieving the detail out of the midrange. However, previous experience with TWFK IEMs gives me the impression that TWFK drivers tend to image a rather cold, analytical and, some would say metallic, sound.
The A3H's tiny TWFK-30017
The low-end influence of the A3H's dynamic driver over the midrange creates a sound that is very distinct from the signature TWFK mids, giving vocals that added richness and various instruments that much needed volume in their sound. The coherency between the dynamic driver’s bass and the BAs’ midrange is nothing short of amazing, reminiscent of the Aurisonic’s own famous mids.
Onto its shortcomings, the emphasis in the lower midrange (200-600Hz) does result in a "veil" that is similar to the HD650 as well a more congested-sounding space, which weirdly matches with the rather excellent width of its soundstage. Dampening that range with an EQ improves clarity and apparent detail greatly. though at the cost of smoothness and some body.
Once out of the influence of the dynamic driver, the treble isn’t much to write home about. I can tell that the TWFK has been lightly damped, removing any stray peaks in the 3k-6k regions and resulting in a very smooth and non-fatiguing high-end. As stated above, AAW has left a little sparkle in the treble in its tuning, so I wouldn’t exactly call this IEM dark by any means, but I wouldn’t call it bright either. There is definitely more treble quantity in the A3H as compared to darker IEMs like the SE215 and even AAW's own A2H.
There is a rather heavy roll-off after 9K, making the sound miss some of the “air” that’s ever-so-present in my full-sized headphones. I guess if there is a silver lining to this lack of treble extension, is that combination of the linearity of the upper frequencies along with the early roll-off greatly contributes to its signature non-fatiguing sound.
I’m not too familiar with IEM soundstaging, so I’ll be rather quick and brief on this aspect. Of course, it wouldn’t trade blows with my D2000s, but definitely presents a bigger stage than my ASG-2.0s. It can present a very wide stage, but when coupled with the rather congested midrange creates the illusion not unlike a small band in an orchestral hall. EQing the 250Hz and 500Hz down slightly (special thanks to tz0531 for the tip) really helps to separate the midrange apart, opening up the soundstage very nicely.
If I remember correctly, in width it seems to be on par with the soundstage of the UE900, which according to a quick Google search seems to be pretty well-regarded.

A very solid contender in the realm of entry-level CIEMs, the A3H performs above and beyond its price point, trading blows with well-established veterans of the field. The A3H’s strong points lie in its non-fatiguing sound and well-textured bass, as well as amazing coherency between bass and mids.
The rabbit hole just got a little bigger.

Do visit the main review thread for updates and further comparisons.
Further readings:
Lachlan's review of an older revision of the A3H
tz0531's review of the A3H-Pro
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Member of the Trade: In-Ear Fidelity
Pros: Thunderous bass, powerful sub-bass, all while maintaing clarity of the low end
Cons: Too much warmth, tight clamping, horrible fit with stock pads


Member of the Trade: In-Ear Fidelity
Pros: TIght, clean. clear and detailed bass; sharp and clear mids + highs; unique soundstaging and superior instrumental separation
Cons: Comfort, sometimes uncontrolled highs, lifeless and metallic mids


Member of the Trade: In-Ear Fidelity
Pros: Very clear and transparent, big soundstage, excellent instrumental separation, sweet midrange
Cons: Big, highs can be a little too much, slight grains in the high frequencies, the guilt that comes after realising how much you paid for it...


Member of the Trade: In-Ear Fidelity
Pros: Extremely clear sound, excellent soundstaging, comfortable
Cons: Big... prepare for the tang of guilt when you realise how much you paid for it
awesome review sir
i sense sarcasm
Awesome review, but no sarcasm included. In fact, your review among a handful of others was detailed enough to really convince me to consider these. Now, they--meaning that I had to go out and get two because they were so flipping good (lol)--are a personal favorite.


Member of the Trade: In-Ear Fidelity
Pros: Excellent bass reproduction for tracking, smoothness in sound, versatility, comfort, portability
Cons: Bass reverb may be a little too much to those who work with neutral cans, mids are slightly recessed, soundstaging could be bigger
I thought the mids on the M50s were recessed a little too until I paired them with the Fiios E9/E7 amp/dac.  The mids were definately brought forward in my opinion.  I am using the M50s more now than my Sennheiser HD 650s.