1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.

    Dismiss Notice

EarSonics EM10

Rating:
5/5,

Recent Reviews

  1. subguy812
    Mature and Refined
    Written by subguy812
    Published Sep 1, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Very smooth, mature and refined in its delivery
    Cons - If looking for heavy sub bass or brightness look another direction
    EarSonics EM10

    EM10

    20170807_174711.jpg

    http://www.earsonics.com/in-ear-monitors/en/em10/

    A Little Technical Stuff:

    · Sensitivity: 119 dB/mW

    · Frequency response: 10 Hz -20 kHz

    · DCR: 26,6 ohms

    · Driver: 10 balanced armature drivers, HQ 3-way passive crossover with impedance corrector.

    EarSonics EM10
    -MRSP: Custom fit $2000 EUR
    I want to thank Max from EarSonics he provided me the EM10 in exchange for my honest thoughts. Thank you to Max, and EarSonics.

    There was a lot of excitement on my part to have the opportunity to review the EarSonics EM10. EarSonics SM64 was one of the first IEM’s, when I was becoming immersed in this hobby, that really made me realize there was a whole new realm of sound available in an in-ear. Having dabbled with a couple of Westone models first, and then purchasing the SM64, I found the sound really agreed with my musical tastes and the SM64 was one of the few IEM’s I have regretted selling. My second experience was with the EarSonics Velvet, different from the SM64, but there were some similarities in the signature and I found the ability to adjust the sound via switch a welcome addition.

    Given the opportunity to review the EM10 I was looking forward to a reunion with an old friend. Quite a bit of time and new releases have passed since owning an EarSonics. I would read the reviews, especially S-EM9, and ponder purchasing them. I even went as far as having them in my basket for checkout but never pulled the trigger. I was curious if this new flagship model would have the same house sound I had grown to enjoy from EarSonics or if it would deviate and deliver a totally fresh sound. Once listening, there was a realization that the EM10 was more of a fresh sound from ES, a sound that was focused in delivering an all-around smooth tone for the individual wanting to immerse themselves in music, this would truly satisfy your audiophile cravings. The sound is clearly designed for the critical listener and would veer from a stage monitor utilized by musician’s. The guru’s at EarSonics have fabricated an IEM that stands as their TOTL custom offering and the audiophile is the benefactor of their hard work.

    A Little Marketing Hype:

    3 WAY / 10 DRIVERS

    After waiting two years, we finally offer you a custom model deriving from our fantastic S-EM9.
    This time allowed us to let this project go, which was to build the world best custom in ear monitors available.

    HERITAGE

    The EM10 is the fruit of all our partnership and experience acquired in recent years with audio professional actors as well as the audiophile technical culmination of the s-em9.

    INNOVATION

    More than a simple concentration of our knowledge, the EM10 goes further with the development of new 100% proprietary drivers as well as the exclusive use of our 3-channel asymmetrical output channel profile, always with the aim of improving sound quality and musicality through an ever more realistic sound scene.

    SIGNATURE

    The EM10 is defined in term of sound rendering by two important adjectives in the eyes of passionate audiophiles, that are musicality and stamps respect. Light motiv of EarSonics since its creation.

    EXCELLENCY

    The EM10 becomes the ultimate monitors of our knowledge and passion manufacturing custom high end products with the best musicality experience.
    If your are looking for the best, the EM10 is your tool.

    lol.png

    WHAT’S IN THE BOX:

    · EM10 with is detachable cable

    · Comes in a luxury ES packaging

    · 1 cleaning tool

    · Carrying Case

    · 3.5mm jack adapter

    · Manual



    The packaging is different today than of EarSonics in the past. I have always found the EarSonics to not focus on packaging and accessories but more on their monitors. This time their redesign of packaging is definitely noticed and welcomed. The top of the box flips open to reveal the monitors through two small windows and to access the monitors you would need to slide out a drawer, the type of drawer found on a drawered jewelry box. The EM10 is a custom earphone and so you will not find many accessories, kind of the standard ES fare, an included 6.3 mm adapter, a cleaning tool, and the black ES carrying case. Their cable is the same black cable that ES always packs-in and is a 2-pin type of connector that terminates into 3.5mm, anyone owning ES products will find familiarity.


    20170807_173846.jpg

    20170807_173933_Burst01.jpg

    My review was written utilizing two sources, Opus #2 and LG G6. Obviously, being a CIEM no ear tip rolling was necessary and I solely listened using the stock cable for review purposes, but since it is a standard 2-pin connector cable swapping would be simple. Since I am finished with the review I will begin to try some of the different cables I have so that I can utilize a balanced setup. I will be happy to respond to comments on various cable pairings.


    IMG_20170815_081027.jpg


    Build and Quality:

    The EM10 comes in one color, black. It is a piano black, glossy shell with the ES on one ear and 10. on the other ear. There is no intense design page on the EarSonics webpage and your customs will come as described above. The look is understated, discreet yet classy to me. Not being a flashy person, the subtle look is exactly what I was looking for. Those wanting the more nouveau design of the S-EM9 will be disappointed.

    The quality of the build is perfectly smooth and without flaws, as I searched to find even the slightest of imperfection. The nozzle ends with three bores, one larger and two smaller and the overall fit of the customs was comfortable.

    20170807_174145.jpg

    Let us review the sound, shall we?


    Presentation:

    This is one smooth, easy listening IEM. The sound veers from the house sound I may have remembered from ES but there may be some slight similarities, but from recollection it is mostly new, fresh. A summary of characteristics would be, the overall tone is warm, never spikey or peaky, never fatiguing with a wonderful smooth tone. The bass is not boomy in the sub regions but yet it is smoothly abundant in the mid bass region. The treble is never harsh, yet always evident in the mid treble range. It is a warm, yet clear sound that can be enjoyed when just chilling and relaxing. The warmth of the tone never casts a shadow over the entire signature but fills the sound with a full bodied smooth richness. The sound appears subdued at both edges of the spectrum while adding to the range in the mid bass and mid treble frequencies.

    The stage it presents is not the largest I have encountered but I would say it is a "broad square" as opposed to a rectangle. It provides equal height, depth and broadness but it is not congested, thus describing it as a broader square. Its stage is narrower than the Dream by Dita and probably closer to the Vision Ears VE-8 in width but without the incoherent layout. The instruments are not easily placed with distinct borders but it all flows effortlessly with its coherent layers.

    Bass

    The bass provides an overall warmth, that is north of neutral, which makes the signature engaging and musical. The bass is not the punchy dynamic driver type of bass such as displayed in the Dream(Dita) or even the DK-3001, and the sub bass does not really wallop you with the deep boom. The bass is delivered in the mid bass frequency and supplies the listener with a polite yet aware coloration. The overall tone of the bass would be showcased here. It is mature and polite, yet very present in its presentation. I think that it complements the overall smoothness of the signature. If the bass was boomy and strong it would create an inharmonious balance with the smooth treble. Engaging, musical and fun.

    Mids

    The midrange of the EM10 provides a special tone as well. It is a very smooth listen that I wouldn’t describe as pushed forward or recessed. The signature of the mids would be classified as warm and smooth without any sharp, bright harshness. It is not the most detailed or clean sound but it is not muddy either. Instruments in the midrange sound smooth and present a fairly accurate tone for having an overall warmth. The listener will not ever feel fatigue and can enjoy long listening sessions. With this type of midrange delivery, you are allowed to just sit back and enjoy the harmony, kind of a scotch and cigar type of listen. Refined and mature thanks to the frequencies being boosted in all of the right areas. To my ears it is more coherent than the Vision Ears VE-8 but your mileage may vary…and probably will. Female vocal lovers will rejoice when listening to Norah Jones, Sade or Diana Krall.


    Treble

    The treble follows the trend of the EM10 and provides a wonderful smooth tone minus any hint of shrill. There is a blending among all of the frequencies of the EM10 and the treble folds in with the signature on the whole. The cymbals, such as found in Rush YYZ, have a perfect chhh sound, precise yet reserved. Because the treble blends so well with the rest of the frequencies it might lead you to believe that it has a stale or boring sound. Not true! It just blends in so well to create a wonderful harmony. Never sharp or shrill, it is best described as warm, clear and harmonious. I think this type of treble makes music such as Foreplay or The Rippingtons sound their best. Jazz has an overall smooth, silky ambiance when the treble is presented as it is in the EM10.

    In Closing

    Would I recommend the EM10…without hesitation…YES, even in a crowded market! I am so pleased I had the opportunity to review and revisit an old love affair with a company that has helped develop my listening skills along the way. I loved the Velvet and the SM64. I love the EM10, albeit different, with only a hint of house sound remaining. The sound is artistically beautiful, smooth, rich and easy to listen to. If you are looking for teeth rattling sub bass or extreme brightness, look in another direction. If you want a smooth presentation that requires zero effort to enjoy, look at the EM10. I have other IEM’s/CIEM’s that excel in certain areas more so than the EM10 but they also don’t provide me the flowing, effortless smoothness that the EM10 is capable of. Mature…with a smooth, piquant bouquet.

    images

    1. 20170807_173804.jpg
    2. 20170807_173943.jpg
    3. 20170807_174711-01.jpg
    4. IMG_20170815_075643.jpg
  2. flinkenick
    EarSonics EM10
    Written by flinkenick
    Published Aug 28, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Beautiful tone, smooth sound, coherent signature
    Cons - Resolution and imaging could be be more precise
    I would like to thank Max from EarSonics for providing me with the EM10 in return for my honest opinion.

    For many audiophiles that have come in touch with EarSonics at some point along their journey, the France-based manufacturer has become synonymous for a very special type of ‘musical’ sound; one that combines an emotional signature, with excellent technical performance. I’ve personally reviewed more EarSonics models than for any other company, for only one reason: when it comes to preference, Franck Lopez seems to understand my deepest desires – sometimes before I understand my own. In fact, iems like the Velvet and S-EM9 have played an important role in shaping my preference over the years.

    Even so, EarSonics has been moving in different directions. While earlier models as the S-EM6, EM3, and SM64 provided a warm, smooth, and midcentric tuning, their latest line of models, starting with the EM32 and later the S-EM9, went for a more exciting, stimulating sound, by means of a U-shaped signature. The EM10 is their latest creation, taking over the EM32's position as flagship custom monitor. And this time it’s tuned for audiophiles rather than musicians, despite their heavy roots in the professional musician industry – something that quickly becomes evident from its tuning. For with the EM10, EarSonics is diverging yet again from their path, with a new type of sound – one that's especially easy to listen to, and has a very special type of tone.

    E1.png

    EarSonics EM10
    -Drivers: 10 BA drivers (2 low, 4 mid, 4 high)
    -Design: 3-way crossover, 3 sound bores
    -Impedance: 26,6 Ohm
    -Sensitivity: 119 dB
    -Fit: Custom

    -PRICE: €2000

    Packaging

    EarSonics iems traditionally come in a matte black box. While some people found their iems could be included with a larger selection of accessories, the box itself eludes an elegant sense of understatement. I was expecting the classic EarSonics box I’ve opened regularly over the last years, but was pleasantly surprised to see they’ve spent renewed attention to their packaging, as it has a high quality feel to it. The top of the case flips open to reveal the nested earphones, after which you need to slide the case out. Admittedly, it took a moment to figure it out, but all in all, it’s a packaging that matches the expectations that come with a top tier product. Being a custom earphone however, the accessories are pretty slim; a 6.3 mm adapter, cleaning tool, and the classy matte black ES carrying case, which of all the cases remains my favorite to use. But nothing out of the ordinary here, as a custom earphone really doesn’t need any more. The cable is the trusty Plastics One that comes stock with all of the EarSonics earphones.

    E2.png

    Build and design

    The EM10’s design options follow Henry Ford’s classic quote: “You can have any color, as long as it’s black”. The EM10 is only available in a glossy piano black finish, combined with a golden letter/number combination on the shells. The S-EM9’s design had more prominent logo’s filling the sides, but the flamboyant design didn’t appeal to everyone. Since then, EarSonics decided to tone it down a bit, resulting in a more subtle and 'timeless' design for the EM10 with smaller logos, reminiscent of the S-EM6v2. The build quality itself is impeccable, feeling completely smooth to the touch without any imperfections. The nozzles contain one large and two smaller bores, similar to the S-EM9.

    Sound impressions

    Presentation
    EarSonics whisks us away with a dreamy, euphoric type of sound that feels pleasantly familiar, yet unlike anything I've heard. The EM10’s intended focus of the tuning is clearly on tone – but it's a special, unique kind of tone. It's a signature intent on letting the upper midrange shine. The sound is clear, but it isn't bright; there’s a special, soft type of glow behind the sound – the combination of a rich bass and mid-treble tuning. According to Franck, the key to the EM10's special tone lies in combining pairs of subtle peaks around 8, 10, and 12 KHz for ultimate musicality and finesse – because apparently, our ears love paired harmonics. Franck must be on to something, because the EM10 certainly seems to be agreeing with my ears. But even so, the treble region as as whole is relatively laid-back, and it's mostly the 12 KHz region adding some colour to the sound. The result is a melodious signature, which remains silky smooth.

    The S-EM9 seemed to be optimised for separation and resolution; a precise, articulated sound. The EM10 in turn takes a different direction, with different priorities. The difference resides in the upper bass and attenuated lower treble tuning. Where the S-EM9's leaner notes formed a perfect match with its stage dimensions, the EM10 sounds rich and bodied. So while both construct a similar average-sized stage with even proportions in width and depth, the EM10 creates a full and more engaging sound, where the S-EM9 sounds cleaner and organised. And due to the EM10's softer treble approach, the imaging doesn't strike you as pinpoint precise. But rather than striving for analytical precision, it's a very coherent presentation, that seamlessly weaves together. And by means of its depth, the EM10 makes good use of its layering ability to perform well at separation.

    E3.png

    Bass
    The EM10’s bass leans towards the fun range, due to its slightly greater than neutral quantity. It’s a bass that comes with a nice mid-bass punch. Even so, its low-end extension is about average, and it isn’t a mean, hard-hitting bass. It is however a natural-sounding bass. Due to the lower treble tuning, the bass has a soft touch. It’s a rounded bass, with a gentle decay. It’s decisively not a stereotypical dry, lean BA bass. While manufacturers often choose to dip the upper-bass in order to create a cleaner sound, the EM10 maintains a fairly linear tuning throughout the upper-bass region, in favour of tone. Taken together, it's a fun bass with a gentle touch, which contributes to the overall tone.

    Midrange
    There's a special glow over the EM10's midrange. It’s exciting and engaging, but most of all, easy to listen to. The most common way to add some excitement is by lifting the lower treble, which also results in a brighter sound. But the EM10 instead lifts the higher treble regions combined with a classic 5 KHz dip, effectively avoiding the whole sensitive area. But the signature seems centred around its enhanced upper mids; a touch of added beauty, while remaining smooth. The purist might say it’s coloured, but it’s purposefully, and most of all, tastefully done. Which isn't to say the tuning is wildly inaccurate, as instruments nevertheless have a fairly accurate timbre, resulting from the attenuated lower treble tuning. And combined with the rich bass, it isn't an overly clean-sounding midrange; but it is a very harmonious one. It's a tuning that invites to forget about analytical dissection – the hallmark of a coherent signature.

    E4.png

    Accordingly, the EM10 creates a nicely full sound, and vocals are a treat. Full-bodied and slightly forward, as a result of a characteristic bump in its centre midrange frequencies. It’s a solidified, rounded vocal presentation, with sufficient vocal power. There's body and depth to male vocals, but equally, a sweetness to that of female's. It’s clear to hear the vocal presence was prioritised within the tuning, as they jump out from within the stage. But they do so gently, as the vocal articulation is incredibly smooth, in line with the rest of the presentation.

    Treble
    To accomplish its tone, the treble itself is slightly laid-back. It's an articulate treble nonetheless, but one that doesn't demand your attention. The EM10 breaks with its predecessors, by dipping the lower treble region. The result is not only an incredibly smooth treble, but one that results in a very coherent presentation as well. Selflessly, the treble takes a step back in favour of guitars, background choirs, and especially synthesised notes. It’s a treble reminiscent of something like the UE18+ perhaps, smooth, and warm in tone. But a crucial difference is that the EM10’s signature nevertheless sounds clear, exciting, and melodious. This is a tuning that seems to be fare especially well with our guilty pleasures – pop music for instance, or 80’s hits any true audiophile will never admit they listen to.

    Comparions

    EarSonics S-EM9 (€1490)
    The universal S-EM9 shares some similarities with its co-flagship, but in their core, the two are ultimately quite different. The priority of the EM10’s tuning lies in its tone, where the S-EM9 takes a more technical approach. Both share a fairly similar, deeply enjoyable bass. It’s north of neutral with a nice bit of impact, and lengthier decay. It’s from the midrange on where the two truly depart; the EM10’s midrange has greater body, with a more forward and denser vocal presentation. However, due to the S-EM9’s laid-back vocal position and leaner instruments, its stage is cleaner. As their stage dimensions are fairly similar, this results in a more effortless separation of the S-EM9. In addition, its midrange resolution is a bit higher.

    However, the EM10’s midrange not only has greater body, it is more beautiful in tone. The S-EM9 is tuned with an upper midrange dip, followed by a lift in its lower treble. It’s a tuning that provides a detailed, articulated sound, with a fairly neutral tone. As a result of the EM10’s lower treble dip however, its treble is smoother, and warmer in tone. It’s a tuning that not only provides a more pleasing treble timbre, but contributes to a more natural signature, and coherent sound as a whole. The S-EM9 might be the more precise; the EM10 has the smoother and more inviting signature to listen to.

    E5.png

    Spiral Ears 5-Way Ultimate (1699)
    Similar to the EM10, the 5-Way is tuned with a focus on tone. But even so, it’s a classic audiophile tuning. The 5-Way sounds warmer, darker, but most of all, more serious. The EM10 sounds joyous by comparison, a more playful sound. There’s more clarity in its sound, although both share a general smoothness throughout the signature. I can see many people finding the EM10 the more appealing iem listen to depending on music preference; the 5-Way’s warmer tuning leads you to smooth, easy listening type music. The EM10 on the other hand invites you to choose something more stimulating. Arguably, it has the more engaging signature. Even so, the 5-Way has its advantages over it. For starters, its stage is larger and more 3D, and accordingly, its separation is better. In addition, its resolution is higher.

    But the two really are more different than similar. The difference starts from the bass, where the 5-Way has the better low-end extension, as well as higher resolved mid-bass. It’s a more precise bass from a technical perspective. Even so, the EM10’s bass isn’t far behind in performance, while it in turn adds a touch more mid-bass impact. In both cases, the midrange is warm, with slightly forward and bodied vocals. The main difference lies in the upper mid and treble tuning. While both have smooth, attenuated treble, the EM10’s upper mids have greater clarity, and a more engaging tone. The 5-Way’s general treble region is more laidback, resulting in a darker tuning. However, it has the more accurate timbre, while its top-end extension is greater.

    Jomo Samba ($1725)
    Samba again goes in a completely different direction, as a technical hardliner – its priorities strictly reside with performance. Compared to the EM10, it constructs a significantly cleaner image, resulting from its stable black background, and high resolution. By creating leaner midrange notes and somewhat laidback vocals, it excels in separation – a presentation reminiscent of EarSonics’ own S-EM9. The EM10 counters with a warmer, smoother, and more melodious signature. It might not sound as clean as the brighter Samba, there’s more body to its sound.

    Samba’s bass is tight and punchy, but also a good deal drier than the EM10’s due to a dip in its upper bass. It provides a more stereotypical BA bass response, where the EM10 opts for a fuller and warmer bass. Similarly, the richer bass provides a warmer tone throughout the signature, although as a result, its stage isn’t as clean as Samba's. But both its instruments and vocals have more body, while their tone is more appealing. The Samba might sound cleaner, its technical approach results in a drier midrange. Its treble in turn is brighter, with greater top-end extension. The more prominent treble results in a more articulated sound, although it isn’t as smooth. The EM10 on the other hand sounds clear without sounding bright, and opts for a smoother treble tuning. But more than anything, this is the hallmark difference between tone and performance – and each has its appeal.

    E6.png

    Concluding remarks

    When you get to listen to more and more earphones from the same manufacturer, you start to know the designer in a certain way, their own tastes and preferences. EarSonics used to be known for their warm and emotional signatures, with iems like the EM3, and especially the first version of the S-EM6. But starting with the EM32, Franck Lopez went in a different direction, experimenting with a new type of sound focusing on excitement, resulting from a more prominent treble tuning. The Velvet was the offspring of that philosophy, resembling pure fun and excitement, though a little bit raw around the edges perhaps. With the S-EM9, Franck sought out more balance and finesse, while maintaining a similar musical element.

    But it's with the EM10 that his search and experimentation seems to have fully blossomed. It goes in yet a different direction, while maintaining typical elements of the EarSonics house sound. The EM10 eludes that same feel of joy and excitement, but sounds more beautiful than before. Despite having experienced a wide range of iems, the EM10 seems to fill a void I didn't know existed, with a tuning that seems to make so much sense. I've become too lazy to come up with catchy titles; but if I'd use one for the EM10, it would be something with 'euphoria'. With its dreamy upper mids, engaging vocals, and extremely smooth sound, the EM10 pulls you away into a hazy state of being, drifting away on the pleasantness of music. Franck has finally created his 'end-game' ciem, and I'm thankful he's letting us, the dreamers, join the ride. Like every iem, the EM10 isn't perfect; but what an excellent addition to an already crowded market.



    Manufacturer website:
    Earsonics.com

Comments

To view comments, simply sign up and become a member!