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EarSonics Grace

Rating:
5/5,

Recent Reviews

  1. Rollk2
    EarSonics Grace, performance and musicality
    Written by Rollk2
    Published Dec 28, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Details & resolution
    Articulation
    Spatial capabilities
    Transparency
    Emotional mids
    All-rounder
    Cons - Packaging could be richer in ear tips
    Two years after the S-EM9 EarSoncis is coming back with a kind of EM10's universal adaptation and so much more…

    Based in South of France, near Montpellier, EarSonics created his reputation 8 years ago with his flagship at this time, the SM3, the first 3 drivers / 3 ways the brand created. Since then many other IEM were released and EarSonics opened some new ranges dedicated to audiophiles: Music, Signature and Classic. The excellent but old-fashioned SM3 is now discontinued, but they have worthy successors.

    A year after the EM10’s release and due to numerous customer’s expectations regarding an universalization. As a result, EarSonics recently unveiled the Grace, which is almost identical on paper, but they improved the bass, mids and treble departments.

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    The Grace are sold at 2000€ and are marketed as the Music range’s flagship. Like the S-EM9 and the S-EM6v2, they’re produced through a 3D printing process, then varnished. Despite its 10 drivers, the Grace seem to have the same shell as the S-EM9, but with a different look.


    Packaging

    As for their other high end products EarSonics delivers the Grace in a soft carton box which is very pleasant to open as it lets you discover the IEM in their slot. They are no as many accessories provided as other manufacturers do. Although, the essential tools needed are provided: a small or rather middle carrying box, a jack adaptor, some hydroalcoholic wipes, a cleaning tool and 6 pairs of ear tips in S and L sizes.


    Comfort and ergonomics

    Despite having 10 BA drivers, the Grace’s shells remain very compact. They have the same short cannula as the S-EM9 and S-EM6 do, thus finding the seal is very easy. As a result the comfort is close to what a custom can offer and it is even less invasive.

    [​IMG]

    Many friends of mine tried the Grace and confirmed their user friendliness thanks to the shell and the cannula’s smart ergonomics. Nevertheless, the Grace’s sound depends a lot on ear tips, therefore be careful to use an appropriate size for the sound tube.

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    Isolation to external sound is not exceptional as the seal is situated at the beginning of the ear canal, the custom version EM10 can be a better compromise for noisy environment but with a less refined sound.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Compared to the 5 BA drivers Phantom, the Grace are more compact and feel stronger.

    [​IMG]

    Sound summary

    The Grace achieve a TOTL performance where the EM10 were more focus on tone beauty. With an impressive holographic and out of the head sound stage, the Grace are like a super S-EM9, but more precise, detailed and accurate. In that regard, the Grace are not the revolution some music lovers would expect. Franck Lopez, the CEO and Grace inventor, told me some months ago he was working on a more spatial and layered EM10, those were the Grace.

    Coming from the EM10 the Grace’s openness and instrument separation impressed me especially because of the stage clarity and deepness. Unlike the EM10 and the S-EM9 which stage distance is closer to the center of the head and voices more backwards, the Grace push ahead the instrument imaging and improve mids’ clarity and presence. The bass department is still very engaging and pure EarSonics house sound, but the S-EM9 and EM10’s sub part sounds looser. The Grace exceed the S-EM9 capabilities regarding resolution and micro-detail retrieval and that is mainly due to a more extended treble and a better high mids articulation, contributing to make them comparable to the SE5U and VE8’s performance.

    The lower notes have a quick and impactful attack, with a bit longer than usual decay, making the bass spatial but powerful. They are propagated in an airy stage without bleeding on mids and trebles, but fulfilling the space between instruments. Bass’s presence is higher than what we usually call “neutral bass” and that’s a nice trade-off: quantity for pleasure when it needs to and quality resulting in a high resolution imaging. Compared to the mid-bass centric VE8 the Grace sound is lifted in the high-bass/low-mid region. As a result, the soundstage and the imaging are cleaner where the EM10 had some difficulties to layer precisely and impactfully lower notes. The SE5U are even cleaner and organic with a very technical and beautiful bass imaging which can be addictive, but sometimes a bit too analytical.

    Grace’s low-mids are neither backward, nor forward, and give more coherency to male vocals which sometimes lacks on the EM10. Indeed, they share a very controlled low-mids presence which can sound off compared to the bolder and energetic VE8, but on the other hand they remain bright and articulated with a touch of warmth. On the other side, the SE5U sound mainly organic and full with still an excellent and now legendary separation and can be seen as a compromise between the VE8 and the Grace: rich but highly transparent.

    Grace’s mid region is technically and to me the best part of the IEM. Voices are soft, accurate and true to the record, with a lot of micro-details and nuances which makes us feel the studio's atmosphere. During the first seconds of listening I was focused on high-mid’s region and are peculiar as I needed some time to get used to the tone. Indeed, compared to my other custom monitors the Grace gave me the feeling they were tuned for female vocals but in fact they are more balanced than the EM10. The voices are neither presented forward like the Zeus nor backforward like the EM10, but well integrated in the stage’s center a bit farther than the eyes. Like the EM10, the Grace are able to differentiate easily two singers on the same tone especially on choral concert and in that regard best the SE5U and VE8. Emotion is conveyed thanks to a realistic, rich and highly detailed tone. Although, the imaging’s space volume created by the EM10 and the VE8 on electronic genres offers more openness and an impressive feeling of fullness compared to the Grace.

    The high-mid’s region is more present than usual with EarSonics products and sounds a bit more loud, but quickly the Grace reveal a level of control and sumptuousness with a great dynamic and tonal accuracy on violin or piano. Although their level of details is fairly similar, the SE5U and VE8 sound fuller and a bit more transparent than the Grace sometimes. The Grace are both less discriminant on poor records and less prone to sibilance. They maintain the EarSonics’ touch of softness through a real boost in that region.

    Trebles are softer and more delicate than in the EM10, but a bit more present. Cymbals crash are realistic, neither too smooth nor too bright. EarSonics knows how to make energetic trebles with lots of harmonics and achieve with the Grace a high level of performance without aggressiveness. The VE8 are nevertheless still the best in the treble region. Notes reproduction is more realistic with finer nuances and a very engaging way of sounding.

    Treble’s extension and high-mids’ dynamics contribute to open the Grace’s soundstage giving sometimes a strong feeling of tridimensionality. Technical criterias such as separation, resolution, width and depth are high rated, but the Grace feel more alive than the S-EM9 with a more stable and holographic soundstage than the EM10.


    Ear tips

    The Grace are sensitive to tips like many earphones, hence the sound tube’s diameter must be at least as wide as the cannula. Tips with hard silicone offer a strong seal in the inner ear’s canal and thus a more impactful and controlled low end. Soundstage’s size, high mids imaging and bass control are directly related to tip’s choice which is highly personal and is often a trade-off or a long quest…

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    EarSonics single flange have two sizes and have an interesting and comfy shape for the Grace use. Bass impact can be improved for my ear size, the sound’s signature is clearly on the brighter side, which often describes a poor seal.

    EarSonics double flange have two sizes too and offer a stronger seal due to a harder silicone. The sound tube’s diameter is wider than the cannula and bolsters from top to bottom the sound signature. Unfortunately the material is a bit too firm for long listening sessions and people will certainly prefer the single flange which have a softer feel.

    Symbio W are shorter than the EarSonics tips, but the tube is as wide as the Grace’s cannula. The sound signature is not as firm as with the EarSonics double flange, but they are more on the warm side. The peach skin effect of the tips is very comfy and the foam brings more insulation to external noise than usual single flange tips. That’s not the best sound with the Grace but that could be a reasonable compromise.

    The Type E by Final Audio have a shorter tube width than Grace’s cannula and therefore the soundstage is congested and voices more distant with a kind of veil covering them.

    Spinfit double flange (CP240) have a bit smaller tube width than the Grace, but the fit is comfy with a great seal. The size of the stage is smaller than with the EarSonics biflange, but that can be like a trade-off between sound quality and comfort.

    Other tips can surely be used with the Grace despite their rather short cannulas, but that’s a matter of personal choice and I can only recommend to first try the regular tips given by EarSonics.


    Cables

    EarSonics stock cable is, as I perceive it, an excellent entry level due to its smart ergonomics. The ear’s hook is short, the jack is right angled and made for smartphone’s cases and most of all it’s tangle free. All that said, the Grace are like many other earphones: sensitive to cable changes.

    The Effect Audio Ares II pairing improves clarity and the instrument’s separation, as a result the whole soundstage is cleaner and focus on micro-details is also easier. The high mids are a bit more enhanced as the bass line is more precise. That kind of combination can be pleasant for people who are looking for a more controlled low end and a bit more high mid’s presence and, in my opinion, the Ares II improves Grace’s value for classic or acoustic genres.

    The Moon Audio Bronze Dragon improves the global transparency too, but it contributes mainly to boost and enhance bass depth with a quicker attack. Cord instruments’ resonance are a bit more discernible among the other instruments, but the rhythm is focused on bass with a warm ambiance.


    Comparison


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    ES5 - EarSonics/France - 950€

    EarSonics 5 BA drivers model is not very famous despites their great qualities. Yet not as spacious, extended and transparent as TOTL contenders, they deliver a great sense of rhythm thanks to their impactful and relatively quick and organic low mids. Details retrieval is pretty good, but compared to more spacious, effortless and layered presentations like Grace’s one, the ES5 show difficulties to image them.

    The Grace manage more homogeneously the full bandwidth, the bass is more deep and layered, voice’s definition or treble fineness are clearly brought a step further, but most importantly, the ADSR profile of the ES5 is not the same as the Grace’s one. The attack in low mids is more present and the bass release is quicker with the ES5, which can be more pleasant for some people.


    Phantom - Empire Ears/USA - $1799 or 1799€

    Phantom’s sound signature is focused on lows and high mids with a warm grain, delivering a smooth but engaging feeling on most modern genres. Their spatial presentation is not the best in depth but they handle well a stage presenting several instruments. Grace presentation is wider and deeper with a better overall tone.

    On classical music the Phantom are outperformed due to their warmer tone which is sometimes excessive when mids are invited. Saxophones like pianos can be excessively colored and as result miss some harmonics. That’s not obvious when listening to electronic music like goa or minimal, but when switching on classical music like Yann Tiersen, who is a contemporary artist, the experience is really different compared to the Grace. The Phantom’s warmer presentation hides the nuances of tones especially due to the mid bass’s thicker image. The Grace’s presentation is wider, lighter, it displays a more accurate tone and is also less veiled than the Phantom.

    On electronic music the Phantom may be very interesting because the tone’s accuracy is not as critical as with acoustic instruments. With a great bass impact and an overall warm sound signature compared to the Grace’s lifted mid bass, the Phantom are more engaging, but with trebles, like cymbals or strings instruments, they can sound off and we are missing the enjoyment.

    The Grace offer a nice performance which combine both high level of technicity and pleasure where Phantom are more focalized on the second one, with a grainy bass which may be very pleasant for a lot of people but the Grace go simply further.


    VE8 - Vision Ears/Germany - 2330€

    The VE8’s sound approach is a warm one too, with a full mid bass sound giving a density to voices which reminds me of the ACS Encore. The acrylic shell filled with silicone does contribute to offer that organic kind of sound which sometimes seems to reduce the transparency, but at the end trebles and high mids are never forgotten, a domain where the VE8 excel.

    The Grace’s sound signature is overall more neutral with their lifted mid bass, but differences are more on the ADSR profile of the VE8, quicker during the attack on mid bass and high mids. The bass’s plucked strings, the electric guitar or violin's bow are faster paced and convey an engaging feeling especially on rock music, something that Grace are not completely able to reproduce.

    The Grace are nonetheless excellent on acoustic rock or folk, indie music like Mumford and Sons, Angus and Julia Stone, Ben Howard or Fairport Convention. The lifted mid bass offer a great place to light up the acoustic guitar and open the stage, where the VE8 has a more lateralized and frontal imaging.

    Whatever the strengths or the weakness of the Grace or the VE8, both of them are TOTL IEM with focus on strong qualities which can complement each other well.


    EM64 - EarSonics/France - 1140€

    Both Grace and EM64 were released at the same period this year, but the latter are designed for a professional use and replace the EM32. For those who are used to the professional range of Earsonics products they will find the same dynamics range’s control and the special atmosphere of EarSonics custom ear monitors.

    The EM64’s sound signature is more on the neutral side with an impactful but highly controlled bas. The note is sustained and released during a shorter period than it is usually with the EM32, EM10 and now the Grace. The new professional flagship is not as bass friendly as other EarSonics product, but they’re not missing them. Indeed, EM64’s bass tightness is great, but compared to the Grace they don’t have that flattering and airy imaging.

    Mids and high mids are greatly improved on the EM64, with more presence and definition than usually in EarSonics professional offer though still very controlled and without any aggressiveness.

    Like the EM32’s trebles, EM64’s ones are distinct, harmonic, but can be discriminant on poor track records where the Grace and EM10 are less likely to discriminate.

    Dynamics is where the EM64 and Grace hold their main difference, because developed for different purposes. The Grace sound like all the sliders are up, spatialization, resolution, openness, when the EM64 remain controlled despite a better efficiency to easily sound loud.

    Though a huge price difference, the Grace and the EM64 share a high level of transparency, details and resolution. The Grace are doubtlessly more spacious, with big instrument’s imaging like high volume of air out of the head, but the EM64 sound more “live”, with a big frontal picture which labels the EarSonics pro sound.


    EM10 - EarSonics/France - 1990€

    The Grace and EM10 share a lot of common character traits, while having neither the exact same sound signature, nor the same sense of space. That distinguishes the two flagships.

    The EM10 soundstage is wide and high but not as in-depth layered as the Grace. Their sound is powerful and direct, while the Grace are more contemplative and spatial and also more comparable to the SE5U and VE8. Indeed, the EM10 are less precise in instrument separation and while their bass are extremely natural because of their tone, the depth and resolution is beaten by the more tridimensional Grace.


    SE5 Ultimate - Spiral Ear/Poland - 2075€

    The SE5U are like chameleons, their stage can vary as defined in the track’s master. The sound imaging can be thinner or thicker, but it’s overall a weighty atmosphere while keeping a high level of transparency and articulation. As the soundstage’s size varies from one record to one another that’s frequent that the Grace sound more open and out of the head, while the SE5U stay organic and focused on the note imaging. As a result, the SE5U seem to be warmer than the Grace, but they are less dense and spatial during the bass note’s decay and release and also less open in the highs due to more mid bass presence.

    The Grace are more an all-rounder IEM compared to the less flattering SE5U, but more true and serious to the sound reproduction. That’s two different kinds of windows on the music which are finally clearly comparable as they tend to technically achieve a realistic performance.


    Conclusion

    The Grace are undisputedly the best universal earphones EarSonics has produced to date, surpassing the EM10 on technical criterias, but keeping the same house sound: refined mids without aggressiveness, emotional bass and soft but extended trebles.

    With the Grace, EarSonics technical know-how reaches its highest level. The bass is richer than ever with a controlled impact to minimize listening fatigue, mids are transparent and realistic in conveying well emotion, while trebles are rich, smooth, but clearly present and extended. A year after the EM10’s release, EarSonics shows how research and development can improve an already great sounding IEM: more control, more details, more mids presence, more trebles refinement! A clever mix for an excellent all-rounder.

    As I conclude, I should like to thank Max Capgras, EarSonics head of Ear Monitors division, who gave me the chance to try and review the Grace during 5 long weeks.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Rollk2
      Regarding the justified price, it is not. As for many other top of the line, the price is only due to the extensive amount of hours worked for that result and the relative market price.
      Rollk2, Jan 4, 2019
    3. McCol
      @Otto Motor I'd ignore the FR graph as I always do regardless of price of earphone. Nice information for those that like that kind of thing but really not a basic requirement in a review for me.
      McCol, Jan 4, 2019
      Will Chiu likes this.
    4. Otto Motor
      An FR graph is simply an important piece of information on the basic flavour of an earphone. And if it is not there, some information is missing. Even an erratic graph is important data - but erratic graphs are the exception. The more information the smaller the risk that somebody buys the "wrong" earphone. And the higher the price, the bigger the loss can be. And people who don't know what to do with this information can still ignore it.
      Otto Motor, Jan 4, 2019
  2. subguy812
    EarSonics Grace
    Written by subguy812
    Published Dec 18, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Great timbre, smooth for long listening sessions, comfortable
    Cons - Plastics1 cable, average accessories
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    EarSonics Grace


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    Grace

    EarSonics Store – Direct link to purchase

    EarSonics – Homepage

    A Little Technical Stuff:

    Specs

    · Sensitivity: 119 dB / mW

    · Frequency response: 10 Hz -20 kHz

    · DCR: 26.6 ohms

    · Driver: 10 transducers with 3-channel HQ filter with impedance corrector


    -MRSP:
    Universal fit € 2000.00

    EarSonics, a company that came to existence in 2005. It was started by Franck Lopez, who himself is a musician, a bass player. This entire EarSonics thing came about because of love, a love for music and a passion for quality sound. You have to appreciate the story, of a man not happy with the quality of ear monitors available at the time, so he seeks to create a better mousetrap. Franck did just that, and since the humble beginnings of EarSonics, they have released several different models to include the SM64, Velvet, S-EM6 and S-EM9, some of their most popular IEM’s to date. Not only their most popular, but some of THE most popular amongst the “in the know” crowd. There has always been a distinct EarSonics house sound, one that has an established and loyal fan base. Anyone that follows this hobby knows that a lot has transpired in this industry since 2005. Innovators such Franck, are always busy developing cutting edge technology in an attempt to stay ahead of an evolving market. The companies two latest TOTL offerings, the EM10, and the Grace have taken a different path from the characteristic house sound that made EarSonics so famous and I for one, like the progression. I also have a lot of respect for someone willing to deviate from their norm. It is a gamble to take a departure from the tried and true.

    I credit EarSonics for having a significant impact on the IEM market as we know it today. I also credit Franck and EarSonics for being a contributor in sending me spiraling down the audio rabbit hole. I will never forget purchasing the SM64 second hand, after already owning a couple of Westone offerings, the UM3X and W4R, it was the beginning of my slippery slope. While the Westone’s were incredible, it was the EarSonics SM64 that captivated me. Along the way, I would dip my toe in the EarSonics waters, with the Velvet, for example, to see what they were up to. Each EarSonics offering, known for a full bass, house signature. The custom, 10-driver EM10 was the first to plot a different course than the usual house signature, but it was only available as a custom offering so it wouldn’t have mass appeal like a universal offering would. I enjoy the EM10, and it’s smooth operator capabilities, but it was a paradigm for EarSonics in a non-traditional house signature.

    I noticed that EarSonics had a new TOTL 10-driver universal model, the Grace. With the EM10 also being a 10-driver model, it was a fair conclusion that the Grace would be the universal peer to the custom EM10. I asked directly what, if any, were the differences versus the EM10 and the Grace. The response I received was that the Grace shared the same DNA as the EM10 but with some slight tuning differences. I am not sure if this was EarSonics being humble, but to my ears, I think there is maybe more than minor tuning differences. The shared DNA is the 10-drivers, smooth overall signature and a listener-friendly tone, but I feel that is where the similarities stop, and while they may be brothers, the differences abound.

    A Little Marketing Hype:

    Place to excellence!

    When the technique fades to give way to emotion; a single word to characterize that ...

    GRACE .

    Born of the spirit of its designer and the hands of our goldsmiths, Grace brings together the essential ingredients to make it an exceptional in-ear.

    An intense black dress in which lodge 20 hearts beating in concert, capable of delivering the most intense and harmonious sound that you have been allowed to listen.

    Advanced electronics combining exclusive materials and high technology, driven by drivers specifically developed for EarSonicss through a set of specifications rigorous.

    A lacquered acrylic envelope, manufactured using 3D technology and assembled entirely by hand in our laboratories.

    Extreme comfort provided by a silhouette studied and developed over several years, to forget the presence in the hollow of the ear.

    The most advanced pair of universal earphones ever developed by EarSonicss, for an audiophile experience out of the ordinary.

    WHAT’S IN THE BOX:

    Included


    · GRACE and its detachable cable

    · Delivered in luxury box ES.

    · 2 pairs of Comply tips of different sizes

    · 2 pairs of silicone tips of different sizes

    · 1 cleaning tool

    · Carrying case

    · Adapter jack 3.5

    · User manual

    Unboxing and Accessories:

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    The box was adorned with a black sleeve with Grace monitors autographed in a copper or maybe a dark gold color in the lower right-hand corner and ES in the lower left corner. Upon removing the jacket, the consumer is presented with a black box with the ES initials in the lower right corner. Once you flip open the lid, there is a thank you note, in French, from Franck Lopez the CEO. Above the note are two circular windows which showcase the monitors and their dark gold cursive inscription of Grace adorning each monitor.

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    Laid out in a foam tray beneath the Thank you note are the accessories. The packaging is purposeful and reminiscent of the EM10 packaging, minus the eartips since the EM10 were a custom design. All of the inclusions are listed above, and I would consider the EarSonics retail packaging and accessories to be average with other TOTL offerings. I will include a photo below to show you can expect to receive. There is a card included that lets me know that Jean pierre Pinaud handcrafted my Grace’s. They include a Platics1 cable with memory wire. Keep in mind EarSonicss uses a reverse polarity in their design. For the price of the IEM, I wish they would include a more upgraded stock cable, but that is only a wish.

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    Build Quality and Fit:

    I gave the Grace monitors an OCD level inspection and found the build quality to be top notch. They are relatively small considering there are 10 BA drivers inside. EarSonics are never flashy and very simplistic in their design efforts, which I actually like. The shells are shaped in a teardrop shape, and for a universal they have a slight custom fit feel to them, regarding their comfort. The shells are black with the name Grace emblazoned in a dark gold on each monitor. I have had zero comfort issues and would not hesitate to recommend them as their shape should not really give many folks any comfort issues. The short, angled nozzles have three bores. The nozzles are very short and do not have a lip to assist in grasping the eartip. I tried some of my go-to eartips, the JVC Spiral Dot Tips and I could not keep them on the nozzle. However, the Final Audio E tips held tight. I found the Final Audio gave me the best sound and comfort, so I am glad that they stay put on the nozzle. Going down in size to a smaller eartip, compared to my usual eartip, gave me a stronger bass presence.

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    Review Setup:

    The review was written utilizing multiple sources, , Essential phone w/HD adapter, QP2R, iBasso DX120. I listened using multiple aftermarket cables, to include the Ares II 4-wire and the Ares II 8-wire Bespoke cable as I found both paired really well. Honestly, I took the Plastics1 cable off immediately and never looked back. Maybe I should have given it a chance because I found it to pair quite nicely with the EM10. My sample music consisted of 320kb, FLAC, 24bit as well as streaming Tidal Masters, Spotify, and Deezer.

    Moving on to the sound section….

    If I were to characterize the Grace in a couple of words, it would be balance and tone. The Grace is most certainly a departure from the bass bold, animated, house signature of EarSonics past. It is evident that the EM10 began this shift in house sound, and the Grace is picking up where it left off, but with a twist.

    The bass of the Grace is satisfying in all of its technical glory. You will not find a ton of quantity in the bass but what you will find is adept and offers a clean, non-muddy bass. The sub bass is not the fullest, but as the bass frequencies head north, there is a pervasiveness to the bass. To my ears, it sounds stronger in the midbass and even fuller yet in the upper bass region. There is not much in the way of any coloration to the bass, it is natural, but what minimal color is there creates a bit more engaging personality in the Grace. It does not extend incredibly far south, but it is designed to be a quality vs. quantity type of listen.

    This is clearly not DD bass. I feel that the DD driver bass adds a bit more snap and fun, for the most part, but what the Grace brings to the table a technical, clarity in the bass transitions and allows the listener to decipher the differences between the bass ranges easily. Do not expect a tooth-rattling rumble because that isn’t what the Grace is designed to do, partly due to the nature of the BA and partly due to tuning. It is a quick bass without any lingering notes, so the decay is perfect.

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    If I were to singularize the overall bass feel I would say there is space between the transitions and a transparent tone. If I was a bass player, as Franck Lopez is, it is the bass character I would want to be associated with. Any more bottom floor to the bass it would more than likely create a blanket of bass that interfered with its technical ability to perform as bass aficionados would expect. I put on a Blue’s based playlist and found the bass to accompany the guitar riffs perfectly, it was like peas and carrots. Balance is alive and well in the Grace, and the bass clarity has a melodic tone. It is captivating and fun to listen to.

    The mids are perfectly balanced with the upper bass region and create a seamless transition. The mids do not steal the show. Actually, none of the frequencies take the spotlight, it is shared, as it should be in a balanced signature IEM. In all genres of music, the Grace excelled. I love listening to vocals with the Grace, especially female vocals. Norah Jones melted my heart. Female vocals are correctly placed in the presentation and stage. The tone of Norah’s voice is moving and sultry. Frank Sinatra crooned, It was a Very Good Year, and I felt he was in the room with me, the strength of his voice coupled with the plucking of the strings gave me gooseflesh. My preference was female vocals during listening sessions, quite an experience.

    The timbre of instruments is mesmerizing, there is an ambiance to everything Grace offers. There is transparency and air between the notes, which is one of the most significant tuning differences when compared to the EM10. The EM 10 sounds a bit more in head, and closed, where the Grace has a more open and airy sound. I feel the air not only adds to the stage width and depth but also to the emotion behind the music. The upper mids in the Grace have a beautiful tone, and if fullness exists, it is in this frequency. If you notice, fullness is not a descriptor I have used much in the review. While the total signature is not thin, by any stretch, it is not the richest or warmest I have heard. When listening to a FLAC version of Dave Matthews Crash, it sounds so complete and as I would expect the artist wanted it to be heard. The stage is wide and deep with extension to the furthest ends. I am not a Dave Matthews fan, but his music is very involved with lots of instruments and sounds coming at you from all directions. I like to test an IEM’s ability to provide ample air and stage using Dave Matthews music, and I am happy to say that the Grace reproduced the tunes wonderfully.

    I think the second biggest differentiation between the EM10 and it’s universal counterpart is the ability to extend well and offer a twinkle in the edge of the treble region. The treble is smooth and never offensive and finalizes the balancing act that is the Grace. I am not a fan of bright or trebly sounding IEM’s, and the smoothness of the Grace suits me perfectly well in this regard. I think this aids in the versatility of being able to adapt to all genres of music.

    The treble is nimble and features a clarity and sparkle without ever being fatiguing. The treble blends so well with the entire balance of the signature. It indeed is nice to hear such nice amounts of definition while maintaining the velvety serenity of the tone. It is a different type of listen, without any of the signature outshining the other. The treble rounds out and completes the package.

    Jazz, Rock, EDM, Vocal, Acoustic, everything I threw at it, never changed its delivery, all with a smooth tone and emotion to the music.

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    Pairings

    The Grace is fairly easily driven with moderate volume, but really shines when you bump up the volume. Yes, this is one of those IEM’s that you find yourself goosing up the volume level from time to time while listening.

    The QP2R is my reference player and pairs incredibly well, especially from the 2.5mm balanced output. The added stage and sparkle of the QP2R assist in widening the extension. The full, rich, organic tone of the QP2R does not add coloration but adds the fullness that might be otherwise lacking. The overall signature is organic and natural, meanwhile with smooth overtones. This pairing excels with Rock and Grunge genres, with female vocal music thrown in for good measure. Separation is broad, and staging is coherent.

    The iBasso DX120 utilizing the 2.5mm balanced output is also a sublime pairing. You could not go wrong with pairing the DX120 with the Grace. I actually preferred the pairing of the DX120 and the Grace more than I did the QP2R. The DX120 seems to give the proper lift in the areas most needed by the Grace. The tone maintains it’s pure form and really allows the bass transparency and layering to shine. Also, I found the power at 50% was more than powerful enough. As with the QP2R, the separation and staging are excellent.

    Comparisons

    EM10

    I touched on a few of the primary differences between the EM10 and the Grace, but I will expound on that and say that the tone of the EM10 and Grace is where the DNA is shared. Both IEM’s share a beautiful smooth tone that is conducive to long listens.

    I feel that because of the upper bass tuning of the EM10 it gives the signature a more closed sound. I am hesitant to say congested delivery because that conjures a negative perception, but it doesn’t have the air that the Grace has. That air also presents the listener with a more spacious sound, more of a transparent effect. It is genuinely effortless to place the instruments on the stage. Grace also has a deeper stage as well as width, almost creates a holographic feel to vocals.

    The Grace sound is not thin, but when comparing to the EM10, it comes off as leaner, because of the air surrounding notes. The bass layering and transparency, as well as quality, is more to my liking on the Grace.

    Legend X

    Compared to the Empire Ears Legend X. The Legend X is a bit more expensive ($2300) than the Grace. The X has more technical proficiency in its tuning as it showcases more detail than Grace and as well, the treble extends further than Grace. The X is a hybrid, containing DD and BA drivers and the Grace is strictly BA, so considering that, the Grace has a very technical bass with beautiful layering and transparency. The Grace has punch and speed with rapid decay overall, but the Grace lacks the snap that the Legend X has in the midbass and doesn’t extend as low as the X.

    To my ears, the Legend X really isn’t warmer than the Grace it just adds a bit more rumble. Contrary to belief, I don’t find the Legend X incredibly bassy. The Grace holds it’s own really well against the Legend X. That is not to say that one is my favorite over the other, as the Grace has received a lot of recent head time, and I can see it continuing to do so in the future.

    You might want to own this IEM if:

    + You want a perfect tone and organic timbre to instruments

    + You prefer a smooth, balanced, non-offensive signature

    + You prefer a sound that is full of emotion and excels at long listening sessions

    + You sensitive to treble peaks and sibilance as this is super smooth

    + You like a coherent stage with sexy female vocals

    In Closing

    Sometimes the wrap-up is the most challenging part of a review, and this one is no exception. I love Grace, it is a TOTL offering from EarSonics, and they hold a special place in my portable audiophile life. From my days of listening to the SM64 and the Velvets to hearing the shift in house sound to the EM10 and now the Grace. I have no problem saying the Grace is my favorite EarSonics IEM I have heard.

    The bass is perfect for a BA IEM and shows off its prowess with its natural tone and transparency. Franck should be proud because, rooted deep in his own musical abilities is a bass lover at heart, and it shows in Grace. It is evident that the tone, clarity and resolving bass are all really a labor of love. The overall sound is exciting yet smooth, which allows the listener not to be offended by any harshness, for long sessions. I love the organics of the Grace and feel it should be commended for a signature that focuses on its timbre.

    The cable is definitely one area that can be improved upon. I have enjoyed the Ares II 4-wire terminated with 2.5mm balanced and the Ares II Bespoke 8-wire.

    The smoothness prevails in its tone and what it renders to the listener is done with Grace. I really can’t think of a better name for this IEM.

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