Brise Audio BSEP for Sony IER-Z1R

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Headphoneus Supremus
Brise Audio BSEP for Sony IER-Z1R
Pros: Ergonomic: Flexible and lightweight, much thinner than most of the competitors
Overall improvement of the sound quality without significant change of the sound signature
Cons: For people who expect huge change you may be disappointed
Not cheap (more than 1/3 the price of the IER-Z1R)
Long waiting time
I have been a happy customer of Sony IER-Z1R for many years, but I always complain about the ergonomics of the IEM package, including the stock cable hook, which makes the fitting a bit challenging.

Over the years, I bought five different upgrade cables, with many tiny gadgets that were supposed to improve the fitting, nothing turned out to be any better than the stock cable. I heard of Brise Audio BSEP before, but I was hesitant to spend that much for an upgrade cable until recently. Partly due to the Japanese Yen’s depreciation, partly due to my changed perception of the premium cable, the price is no longer that shocking to me.

I finally pulled the trigger and bought the “best” upgrade cable for Z1R, the price (including $32.79 shipping) is $647.64.

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I placed the order on Feb 11 this year, and I finally received the cable from Brise Audio on May 1st. I know, that’s a long wait for a cable, so bear in mind if you want to order yours.

Now a little bit about me, I am a relatively new audiophile and started this journey about 4 years ago. I bought this cable from Brise Audio without any promotion or discount, and I am writing this review simply to reflect my own impressions and help the fellow head-fiers.

Now a quick impression:

I bought and tested some premium cables before, therefore giving the price point, I am quite surprised that the BSEP cable is so thin and so lightweight. As a result, the cable is very flexible and fits easily around my ears without a plastic hook to bend the shape near IEM connection.

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Build Quality
I trust Brise Audio’s quality, but you can see the tightly shaped cable and overall looks show higher craftmanship. I hope the durability of this cable will be very good. Since this cable is customized for Sony IER-Z1R, the termination is uniquely recessed MMCX, which connects like a glove just like the stock cable. My choice of the cable equipped with an L shaped 4.4mm balanced termination on the other end.

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Sound Impression
This is the most important part of the review since we are all interested in the sound quality. Before my purchase of BSEP cable, I tried my Effect Audio Code 24 on Z1R. My finding is that IER-Z1R unlike most of the other IEMs, cable rolling does not bring dramatic change of the sound signature. Even though Code 24 brought huge changes to some of my other IEMs, such as Quattro, the change to Z1R is very subtle.
With BSEP cable, you won’t feel like Z1R being transformed into another IEM. The change is also nuance and subtle, but you do hear the difference, mostly on bass, midrange, and sound stage.
First, the bass performance is always one of the cornerstones of Z1R’s legendary reputation in the IEM world. I have heard most of the TOTL IEMs that excel in bass, and I have to say that so far none of them can claim a clear leading edge in that regard compared to Z1R. BSEP has improved the bass, not by increasing the bass quantity, but by tightening the bass.
Midrange of Z1R is always the most criticized area, for its recessed mids, and lack of TOTL quality, especially male vocal. BSEP again seems to work some magic here. It of course does not fundamentally change that, but at least for many tracks, I can clearly hear the improvement. Z1R won’t be transformed into a singing bird, with forward mids, but at least for me, it is much more enjoyable.
I also perceive some improvements in the sound stage, which is already grand and huge for IEM. However, it is not as clear as the bass and midrange improvements.
For treble and imaging, I really cannot tell any difference from the stock cable.

Now A few sound track to illustrate my points. Norah Jones - Don't Know Why

Female vocal, you won’t feel any midrange recess, and the vocal is as sweet and as detailed as any other IEMs I heard before. The only quibble some may raise is not having very high energy at the top, but that is exactly what I love about the performance here: no fatiguing without being dark.

LP - Lost On You (Live)

LP’s unique female voice is again up front in the track as it should be. I could enjoy this track with Z1R as much as I do with Oriolus Monachaa.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats - S.O.B. (Official)

The fists banging on the table, and the feet stomping on the ground, you can hear the very detailed bass, the sub-bass rumbling and hard hitting mid-bass have enough quantity and with great clearness.

Dil Se - Jiya Jale | AIFF | A.R Rahman

I am not Indian, and I cannot understand any lyric in this sound, but this movie soundtrack is so wonderfully produced with very satisfying bass rhythm and beautiful vocal. Listening to this soundtrack with Z1R and BSEP cable is such a treat.


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Great review! Agree with your impressions! It's a great cable!
@goga1980, I am using Sony's tips, which was recommended in Z1R thread: EP-EX11
im tried few eartips ,even coreir,but last best use EP-EX11 too. or stock white silicone.


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