Pros: Light and comfortable. Good build and fit.
Atypical neutralish bright tuning in the vast sea of V shaped/harmanish budget CHIFI.
Good technicalities for the price.
Good price to performance ratio.
Good timbre for a budget hybrid.
2 pin connector – better lifespan than MMCX generally.
Cons: Bass lite, may be a pro or con, but definitely not for our basshead breathen.
Occasionally sibilant/harsh at louder volumes (Fletcher Munson curve), not the best option for treble sensitive folks.
Splashy cymbals/high hats.
Occasional nasal vocals.
I would like to thank Janet Hu from CVJ for providing this sample, my views are my own. The CVJ CS8 can be bought on multiple shops on Aliexpress at around $30 USD.
The CVJ CS8 is a budget hybrid with good technical performance at its asking price of sub $30 USD. Its tonality lies on the analytical side and it brings a breath of fresh air in sporting a neutralish bright tuning in the vast sea of V shaped/harmanish budget CHIFI.
Driver Type: 3BA + 1DD (10 mm)
Frequency Response: 7 Hz – 40 kHz
Impedance: 22 ohms
Sensitivity: 105 dB/mW
Cable type: 2 pin
Tested at $30 USD
In addition to the IEM, it comes with:
1) Wooden plywood box
2) Velvet pouch
3) Silicone tips (S/M/L)
4) OFC cable (2 pin)
The cable is pretty well braided and has minimal microphonics, though it lacked a chin cinch. I liked the fact that the CVJ CS8 uses 2 pin connectors, as I had my fair share of problems with MMCX connectors. Ear tips are also good to go out of the box, no need to mess around with aftermarket tips. The plywood wooden box is quite cool actually, it is definitely different from the usual white filmsy box other budget CHIFI generally come in.
The CVJ CS8 is very light, well fitting and ergonomic, with a small profile. I had no issues with comfort even with longer listening sessions. I did not detect any driver flex.
Isolation is above average, but won’t beat some non vented BA type IEMs in the isolation department.
I tested the CVJ CS8 with a Shanling Q1 DAP, Ziku HD X9 DAP, Sabre HIFI DAC (ESS ES9280C PRO), Samsung Note 5 smartphone, Tempotec Sonata HD Pro and a Khadas Tone Board -> Fiio A3 amp. The CVJ CS8 is easily drivable from lower powered sources, but the bass quantity and some technicalities improved slightly with amping.
Since the tonality of the CVJ CS8 lies on the more analytical neutralish bright side, I preferred pairing it with a warmer sources rather than something more analytical. Do note that the CVJ CS8 sounds the best when played at a low to average volume. With boosting the volume, the upper mids/treble can get hot due to the Fletcher Munson curve. So for those that love to blast their music at high volumes, this is something to be aware of, and you might need to look elsewhere.
The CVJ CS8 sports a neutralish bright tuning, which is a breath of fresh air from the usual dime a dozen V shaped/harmanish type budget CHIFI we regularly see at the sub $30 USD price range. I have to confess the CVJ CS8’s tuning is not my cup of tea due to my basshead tendencies, but I still think the tuning is relatively well done for the asking price and will definitely try to review this set objectively in stating its pros and cons.
The CVJ CS8 has good details, imaging, clarity and instrument separation for the $30 asking price. Soundstage is also above average in width, depth and height.
Timbre for acoustic instruments is good for a cheap budget hybrid, I was actually quite surprised on this aspect, there isn’t the usual artificial BA timbre sometimes seen at this price range for hybrids/multi BA sets, though a well tuned single DD set will still have better timbre than the CVJ CS8 in general.
Midbass on the CVJ CS8 is of more quantity than subbass. Bass on this set actually goes down to around 25 Hz before rolling off, but the bass quantity is neutral at best, and may be anemic for some songs, especially in songs with subbass predominance, where there is a notable lack of visceral rumble/decay.
The DD bass of the CVJ CS8 is on the slightly faster side, and due to the lack of bass quantity, there is no midbass bleed. Bass is acutally above average in texturing and amping does bring slightly better bass quantity and technical performance rather than just using the CVJ CS8 from a lower powered source.
I think those that prefer a neutral bass will like this set, but my fellow basshead breathen or those who listen to bass forward music eg EDM may need to look elsewhere for their bass kick (no pun intended).
Mids are transparent and detailed, and upper mids are boosted on this set all the way to the treble. Guitars sound crunchy and well rendered on the CVJ CS8, but the upper mids can get occasionally hot with higher volumes as detailed above (Fletcher Munson curve).
Female vocals are more forward than male ones as such, and vocals sometimes sounded nasal and thin, though they were detailed with fine nuances like breath sounds, lip smacking etc being heard in well mastered tracks. Instrumental timbre like piano reverb and vibrato on strings could be heard very well on the CVJ CS8, though perhaps the timbre of brass/woodwind instruments was slightly more authentic than acoustic stringed instruments. This is just nitpicking though, the instrumental timbre on the CVJ CS8 is definitely better than the run of the mill KZs/TRNs out there and coupled with the analytical nature, good technicalities, and neutralish bright tuning, it is quite a capable budget set for classical music.
The CVJ CS8 is a bright set with some sibilance (unfortunately). The lower treble is boosted in comparison to the upper treble. The CVJ CS8 has quite a lot of detail and clarity to suit trebleheads, but may be fatiguing for longer sessions at the lower treble region, especially with female vocals/horns/trumpets.
One thing I didn’t like was that cymbals and high hats sounded splashy, and even though this is quite a common offence in budget CHIFI hybrids/multi BA sets, it appeared to be more splashy than the usual fare. In certain songs with predominant cymbals/high hats, that frequency took centrestage and literally became a sharp mess of clanging metal.
Comparing some budget CHIFI hybrids at the sub $30 price segment:
CVJ CS8 has better timbre and is less fatiguing than the bright and sibilant Jade Audio EA3. Though EA3 has better treble and subbass extension and wider soundstage. Other areas of technical performance may be slightly better on the CVJ CS8.
CVJ CS8 has better technical performance and timbre than the recently released KBEAR KS2, though KBEAR KS2 has better bass quantities (though not bass quality) and a wider soundstage. Tonally, the KBEAR KS2 was off, with overly recessed lower mids and a boomy bass and hot upper mids. Timbre was also poor on the KBEAR KS2. Perhaps the KBEAR KS2 does fare better with songs with synthetic instruments or bass forward music but for most other genres, I would take the CVJ CS8 over the KBEAR KS2 any day.
CVJ CS8 has better instrumental timbre than the V shaped KZ ZS10 Pro, technicalities are about on par. CVJ CS8 is slightly harsher in the upper mids/treble than the KZ ZS10 Pro, probably cause there isn’t the larger bass quantities of the ZS10 Pro to balance out the frequency spectrum. ZS10 Pro has some midbass bleed though and bass isn’t as tight as the CVJ CS8. I think these 2 sets have complimentary signatures though, the V shaped KZ ZS10 Pro and neutralish bright CVJ CS8 bring different options to the table.
The KBEAR KB04 and CVJ CS8 are quite close in the technicalities department, maybe CVJ CS8 edges it slightly in soundstage and imaging. CVJ CS8 also has better instrumental timbre. KBEAR KB04 though has the better bass in terms of quality and quantity, and is probably more all rounded due to the mild V shaped tuning compared to the bass anemic CVJ CS8. CVJ CS8 is also more fatiguing and harsher in the treble regions than the KBEAR KB04.
The CVJ CS8 is indeed a breath of fresh air, bringing an atypical neutralish bright tuning to the table, in contrast to the vast sea of V shaped/harmanish CHIFI budget sets at the sub $30 USD region.
The CVJ CS8 lies on the analytical side and has good technical performance for the asking price. Bassheads and treble sensitive folks will have to look elsewhere, as the bass is light, and the upper mids and treble can get occasionally hot at higher volumes, with sibilance and splashy cymbals/high hats. Admittedly, this neutralish bright tuning is not my cup of tea personally, but I still think CVJ did well with this set (for the price) and neutralheads/trebleheads and those looking for a cheap set for critical listening will find this a budget friendly option.
From reading previous reviews of CVJ products, CVJ seems to have their own house sound and tuning philosophy that embraces a neutralish sound rather than generic V shaped/harmanish tuning. This is actually a trait that may let CVJ stand out and thrive in the highly competitive budget CHIFI market, and I applaud their effort in trying something different. I sure look foward to CVJ’s next release!
Pros: good details
pleasant separation and good bass
more balanced in comparison to CSN
Cons: unnatural compared to the CSA
3D image not very multilayered
Intro The CSN was a slight disappointment for me, because although it looked quite good on the paper and on the visual side and had an interesting tuning approach in the budget area, it could not implement it properly. At least not as far as my taste is concerned. The CS8 now has the heavy burden to turn the wheel again. 4 drivers for under 30 €? Doesn't sound too bad, right? But that doesn't mean much, especially in this price range.
Same procedure as every year CVJ. Okay, the brand is not that old yet, but I have the feeling that the wooden box and its contents will accompany us through a few more IEMs.
You can't tell from the outside which of the three products you are holding in your hand, unless you turn the box over, where the name is engraved. So: 3 pairs of silicone tips, a nice fabric pouch and the usable but not special cable incl. cable velcro.
the case is a hybrid of CSA (plastic) and CSN (metal), resulting in a plastic case with a metal faceplate. We know this from the TRN V60, because the metal plate is not the "cover", but only glued on plastic (in the case of the V60, it is screwed on).
Wears well and isolates accordingly.
The CS8 does it better than the CSN, which wants to suggest an analytical sound with all its might, while ignoring naturalness. Nevertheless, it can't quite convince me.
The bass is on the same good level as the CSN, but has a better weight in the signature. The sound is more homogeneous and gives more warmth, which the mid frequencies gratefully accept. But it is never obtrusive, but always controlled. It can also be fun when it's required, but otherwise it concentrates on accurate bass reproduction, where the punch can sometimes sound a bit muted (a bit too short resonance, like from a BA driver), but otherwise very pleasant and self-confident.
Compared to the CSN, the mids are a bit more present in the lower range, which results in a better musicality and also physicality. Nevertheless they can still be a bit thin sometimes, but not as sterile as with CSN. The CSA applies here still somewhat thicker, which is however a matter of taste, since this has also nothing more to do with neutrality. I like the mids for the most part quite well, but I would like them a little bit more physical. Voices don't jump into your face (CSN), but they still stand in front of the mix to a certain extent.
The highs are similarly emphasized in comparison to the CSN, but since the lower mids don't give them any additional energy, they sound more natural than the CSN. I still think they lack some of the substance, though. It can be quite exciting when acoustically fine sounds buzz around in the head, but this sounds not quite natural and sometimes thin and a bit tinny with cymbals. Sibilants are also an issue with the CS8.
As with the CSN, the stage is quite distinctive, but the 3D image is not quite homogeneous. In the width it's really good, but this is also where most of the action takes place, without much multilayering.
The CS8 does it better than the CSN. It sounds more musical and relaxed, but still has that light metallic undertone and is also not the most physical in the mids. But it sounds more balanced and homogeneous. Still a bit too bright and with occasional sibilant accentuation. I am surprised that in this line-up of CVJ at the end I like the most inexpensive CSA most. However the way there was stony, because only in the third attempt the CSA could convince. In between (2) it was even more extreme than the CSN.
But here it is about the CS8: Detailed, somewhat artificial and bright IEM, with balanced bass and lively mids.