**Note, this review is just of the Be, using a mix of 16 bit and 24 bit music played via the sources I've owned in the past year (JDS OL Stack, Schiit stack, AK70 MkII)**
Packaging and Accessories:
Periodic is all about value and simplicity - which I've come to appreciate. The IEMs (at the time) shipped in an inch-deep, no-frills, white clamshell box without much labeling or imagery. They have since revamped the box, but more on that later. Also included was a golden tin-case, ¼ adapter, set of foam tips, and standard silicon tips. The IEMs nozzles are wide, so keep that in mind if you prefer 3rd party tip options.
After opening the box and evaluating the IEMs, it was clear that this was a gen-1 product. It looked as If the left and right sides were marked only with a black and red sharpie on the nozzle grill, and glue was present along the seams of the shell and endcaps. With that said, Periodic quickly exchanged them for a set without any glue issues.
The shells are a durable polycarbonate which I like a lot. Some people might scoff at this since it seems most brands are turning to metals and fancy external design, but polycarbonate is super lightweight, durable (especially at this size/diameter) and non-resonating. The nozzles come out straight from the shell, with metal grills that looked kind of "meh" with, as mentioned previously, what seemed to be red and black sharpie to help indicate left from right. The three models in Periodic's lineup have colored endcaps to help differentiate them, the Be featuring a dark hue of gold.
The cable is non-detachable, but I don't see this as being too big of an issue since they are efficient IEMs and have a worn-down style, which creates less strain on the cable itself. Periodic also offers a generous 5-year warranty - so it's a moot point. My biggest complaint was the weight and tackiness the cable has, which detracted from the overall experience. As a subway commuter, I'm often in close-quarters and have to compete with jackets and bags. The cable stuck to everything and just created too much pull resulting in loss of seal, or even being ripped out of my ears altogether a few times. Another aspect I don't love is that the metal Y-splitter catches on my collared shirts and/or jacket, which would also result in loss of seal. Not cool.
Sound-wise, I couldn't be more impressed. The Be uses a 98.5% pure beryllium foil with the balance trace elements being oxygen, Iron, chromium, and silicon. I've heard grumblings saying that this material is a gimmick, but I don't find that to be the case at all after testing the other IEMs in this lineup, and they sound fantastic regardless of what's written on the box. The Be also features an N48H grade magnet, which contributes a lot to the punchy sound characteristics that many IEMs at this price lack.
I LOVE the Be's bass, which extends deep down to 12 Hz and stays controlled and never flabby. There is quite a bit of sub-bass rumble, but never uncomfortable. Mid-bass is punchy but not at all fatiguing. I wouldn't say that the Be's have a bass-head signature, but it's certainly more present than your average flagship. Some might argue that bass bleeds into the mids a little, but more on that below.
Due to the increased lower mids, guitars have extra weight to them which works quite well for the rock n roll I listen to most. I don't feel the bleed from the bass negatively impacts the signature, especially since vocals still appear slightly forward, warm, but maintain a healthy amount of resolution. A lot of other IEMs I've been trying at this price point sound too thin within this region and I'm glad Periodic opted to avoid that scenario.
Treble extends up to 45 KHz (but my latest hearing test shows that I can only hear up to 18) There is more weight towards the top (U shape) which I like a lot. The Be has no signs of sibilance or peaks, but treble can seem slightly cold at times in an otherwise warm overall sound signature. The extension is undoubtedly excellent, and resolution is high, even in more complex situations. Although it's been a while since hearing the other two models in the lineup, I remember those options sounding brighter to me. The Be is more on the natural side of the spectrum.
**Subtle Revisions of the Design for 2018**
Periodic worked with me to get the newer variant to compare to the original. They seemed to have made a lot of subtle improvements and now have a much more polished product.
1. New Cable and Y Splitter:
Periodic seems to have gone back to the drawing board here, as there are substantial changes. They now have a thinner cable that is far less weighty and has far more spring to it. It's unlikely these will ever get tangled like the original that I had.
The cable also seems to have lost that tackiness quality that I despised. I'm not sure if the cable is coated with something, or flat out new material, but it's smooth and doesn't catch on clothing like it used to. A+
The metal Y-Splitter is gone, and now what seems to be the same material as the cable, without the sharp edges from before. This dramatically reduces the potential for snags and also removes the possibility of the metal scratching my phone or DAP when in my pocket. Again, a solid decision.
Microphonics have been reduced with this new design, as I didn't notice anything walking around NYC the other day -- I picked up on this quickly with the older variant.
2. L and R Markings:
Periodic lost their sharpies and replaced the cheap nozzle grilles with something special -- chemically etched, .25mm thick, 316-grade stainless steel. Dan explained to me that they are then colored with an electrophoretic deposition - the same process that Apple used on its Airport Expresses and the black metal logos on the Mac Pro units. I used to work for a particular fruit stand and immediately had a smile on my face. Apple was proud of this minor detail, and it's cool that Periodic is using the same process.
The grilles are of much better quality and more accessible with the bright red on the right side (even in low light.) With that said, I still run into issues using 3rd party tips like my favorite SpinFit Twin Blades due to the narrow exit diameter - but the new finish/brighter color is a better solution than what Periodic offered before.
3. New Packaging:
The packaging is still compact but features a lot of eye-catching imagery reminiscent of the hand drawn schematic design of 1more's triple and quad drivers box. Still simple, but definitely better for store shelves. Since Periodic has an emphasis of selling these to enthusiasts from independent audio stores, this is a big improvement.
Now I have to award them a new star rating of 4.5 out of 5. If they add the L and R indicators to the strain relief, I will assign them a 5/5. I don't know of a better portable IEM for my music tastes anywhere near $300 at this time in 2018 - and I'm buying and selling gear all the time at various price points.
A Brand Full of Personality:
Periodic is very responsive via email, and always knowledgeable. Never a "well, let me talk to someone else and get back to you." The team also seems to incorporate humor into their conversations/social media, which is awesome in the audio industry – a rather dry, overly serious space. Their approachable nature and excellent products have made an impression on me, and I look forward to whatever else they have in the pipeline.