EarSonics Velvet

Average User Rating:
4.58333/5,
  1. justrest
    5.0/5,
    "Enjoy the Silence"
    Pros - Fast and puncy bass, Soundstage, 3 different sound options, Detailed treble, Fit
    Cons - Tuning dial is very fragile. recessed mids
    Introduction:

    Earsonics is a France based professional audio company and the Velvet is their first signature series earphone.

    The Velvet has quite a big body. I was worried that I would have an ergonomic problem in my ear when I first bought it, however I did not encounter any problems, even in 3 hours of listening. I just think that if you have smaller ears you can have trouble after prolonged listening.

    Velvet has 3 balanced armature drivers inside. In addition, the largest armature driver I've seen so far. Giant armature drivers and circuit boards, looks full inside of the body. 2-Pin connectors are very solid. There is no looseness. There is 1 screw on the body. The place where the screw is located is slightly sharp when touching the nail, but it does not feel discomforting in the ear. I like the quality and ergonomics of the body.

    [​IMG]


    Technical Specs:

    Driver: Triple Balanced Armature w/ 3-way Crossover
    Imp: 31.5 Ω – 41.5 Ω
    Sens: 116 dB
    Freq: 10-20k Hz
    Cable: 3.9′ L-plug

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Inside of the Box;


    The texture of the box is pleasantly soft. There are
    4 Double Flange,
    1 Small Double Flange
    1 Fat Silicone tip,
    1 carrying case,
    1 pot screwdriver,
    Cleaning wet wipe
    6,3 mm jack.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Isolation:

    I liked isolation of the Velvet with the double flange tips. It also provides a very good isolation when combined with the big size of body. It has also good isolation to the outside. As far as I can remember, this is slightly better than the SE846 and UMPRo30.


    Bass:

    Velvet came to me with warm mode as a factory setting and I started to listen to it with Warm mode. Before listening, I was curious about the bass and I started to listen to the Day Din - Halkidiki (Zonka Remix) to PSY Trance song. There's a very strong bass entry in the 55th second of the track, and the first time I heard it, I don’t want to exaggerate, but I'm a little bit "shocked". I was so surprised, I didn’t expect such a powerful bass, as the bass burst into the deep, creating explosions in my ear. I am a bit surprised by this bass. Bass is really as strong as I can not compare it with any balanced armature IEM I have heard so far.
    The Velvet bass is not uncontrollable, even though it has high bass power, and is not bleeding to the mid area. Some bad recordings can be a bit muddy and loss of detail.
    Velvet bass is not dry like regular balanced armature drivers. There is no such thing as a slowness in the fast parts or a hunch in one hit in the fast pace.
    Despite all these massive bass, I found it a bit unnatural. Even though such intense bass does not create imbalance in the mid-range, it makes me feel that I can hear a bit more than the existing bass, because it dominates the general air of music. This is a good thing for EDM or R&B music, the bass spreads all over, but other genres can be tiring from some angles as well. Balanced and tight mode is more natural than the Warm one.
    Warm mode is not suitable for users who like balanced and natural sound. Someone who does not like bass can hate the Velvet with this mode. However, users who love bass can fall in love with Warm mode of Velvet.


    Mids:

    Mids quite laid back. As the stage is wide, the feeling of mids is presented in a wide area. Since Velvet is not mid-focused (at least with warm mode), the vocal doesn’t feel like singing in your face. But it still doesn’t too far. In fact, vocal distance can be change with the source. When I listened with AK120, vocals feels closer than my LPG and iPhone. But when I listened with LPG, the vocals were located in a little bit far.
    My complaint is the mid-bass. It’s a bit weak, which has a little effect on the overall sound. Especially men’s vocals feels a little bit thin.
    Although the Velvet is also in warm mode, it doesn’t have such a dark atmosphere. I mean, it's definitely a warm but it's not curtained and dark. I like the level of resolution in the mids.


    Treble:

    Despite the warm mode, the treble is not laid back. The resolution level is also quite high. I noticed when I heard first time. I hear air and details in the music with excellent extension.
    The trebles don’t mix with fast passage, even at high volume. The speed and detail of the treble is very good. It has enough level of speed. Guitars have a nice extension and decay to them, as do cymbals.
    I listened Tina Turner - Steamy Window and I really liked the timbre and cymbals. There is absolutely no peaking of treble. I've never heard of sibilance even though I've been listening to all kinds of tracks. The treble is very controlled.


    Soundstage:

    The soundstage is really wide. I don’t have IE800 anymore but it is exactly as same as I remember. It is much more spacious than SE846. The 3D feeling depth and width are both impressive.


    Conclusion:

    Velvet is a very impressive earphone and we can call All-Rounder. The level of instrument layering and imaging is really good. If you are looking for EDM earphones with balanced armature, I highly recommended it. With a lot of bass and a lot of "bass head" users will be happy too. It has a high power, resolution and detailed presentation that should definitely not be ignored in this price range.
  2. SeeSax
    5.0/5,
    "Potentially the Most Fun I Have Heard in an IEM"
    Pros - Incredibly punchy bass, detailed and clear mids and lush, sparkly treble.
    Cons - None really, but fit and included tips may be an issue for some.
    About Me:
     
    I came into the world of audio from a guitar background, buying up tube amps from when I was a kid and was always fascinated with them. Then I ended up buying my first decent pair of IEMs one day for a long flight (Yamaha EPH-100) and it was downhill from there. For a year or two, my only source were cell phones + a DAC/amp combo. Recently, I've invested in a desktop setup consisting of an Audio-GD Master 11 (which I absolutely love). I'm still no professional, I don't know all the right terms and I can really only offer an opinion of what I like. I don't have golden ears and I would not be considered a sommelier of the audio world. But what I do have to offer is the fact that I buy pretty much every IEM that looks interesting and give it some good listening time. As for preference of music, as cliché as it sounds, I love everything with a definite nod toward pop, country, electronic, rock and blues.
     
    Test Equipment:
     
    I used a few different setups for this review, but I will note that I primarily use IEMs with “mobile” setups, meaning I do not typically test them with either of my desktop setups. That said, the majority of my listening (and the most enjoyable) was on my LG V20 playing Tidal HiFi via USB Audio Pro Player and then connected to my Chord Mojo. I also used the Centrance DACportable briefly and also tried the Velvets straight out of the LG V20. All produced outstanding results, with my slight favorite being the Mojo setup.
     
    The IEMs:
     
    I wasn’t sure what to expect from Earsonics honestly. I had read differing things such as lackluster build quality, cheap plastics, nothing-special cables and so on and so forth. When these arrived, I must have drooled over the box for a good minute or two due to the beauty of just the package! Opening the box, that continued as I stared in awe of these crystal clear, unique-looking (to me anyway) IEMs. The tip selection is okay and the carrying case is fairly standard, but the presentation was overall very nice. The cable feels very soft and while the memory wire is very short, it holds the IEMs firmly in place. I have been rather vocal in the past about my distaste for over-ear IEMs, but I approached these with an open mind and I actually find them to be tied as the most comfortable IEMs I have owned (tied with the Pinnacle P1, that is). You simply forget these are in your ear and you can then just enjoy the music. They are nowhere near as fussy as the Sony XBA-Z5 to me. Also, they have a screw for tuning the sound signature. You can choose between warm, balanced or tight. I prefer the balanced position and that is what my review is based on.
     
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    Tips:
     
    I feel like this needs its own section. The tips that come with the Velvets are primarily double flange silicon. I would not say there is a wide array of tips like you get with some other IEMs of this caliber (XBA-Z5, for example). As someone who does not much care for double flange tips, I had to investigate my own options and ultimately settled on a Westone Star tip that works perfectly. It is hard to tell if this changed the sound or not because I was not getting a good deal with the Earsonics tips. Note: the Westone silicone tips fit these just fine, but they require some patience to install. I do not, however, think the foam Westone tips will fit because they are not nearly as flexible going over the nozzle. I’d pass on those. These also came with Comply tips, but I’ve never been a fan of them so I am not a good person to ask how they sound with those.
     
    Update: I have found some tips that I LOVE with the Velvets. These tips came with (I believe) my LZ A2 earphones, so I am unsure where to buy them separately unfortunately. For me, the fit is outstanding and they really allow a proper seal. This proper seal gives the me the full benefits of the Velvet's sound characteristics and I'm 100% pleased with these tips. Below is a photo to show what they look like. The black and white are identical, just different colors. I highly recommend these tips. 
     
    IMG_20161207_182040.jpg
     
     
    Sound:
     
    Right off the bat, I knew I would love these. Despite a less than perfect seal, I was immediately taken by the sound signature of these. Gobs of warm, powerful bass, smooth mids and a really nice and textured treble sparkle. This was on the “balanced” setting as I mentioned. Once I got the Westone tips installed, isolation and bass impact improved further for me and I can honestly say these are some of the most fun IEMs I’ve ever heard. Here’s a bit more of a breakdown on the different sonic characters.
     
    Bass: Extremely powerful, warm and fun. Not bloated, but definitely makes its presence known and these are definitely north of neutral for me in the bass department. They do not have the sub-bass rumble that my Shockwave 3 or Sony XBA-Z5s have, but they trounce other IEMs like the XBA-300, Pinnacle P1, RE-600 (no comparison whatsoever) and overall I find it extremely pleasing. I do notice it bleed into the mids a bit on certain tracks, but not nearly enough to be bothersome. I love a warm, musical sound signature and these have it.
     
    Mids: Apparently this is where Earsonics really shine and these are no exception. Vocals are fantastic and I have no complaints about the mids. They’re the neutral, smooth and probably the most accurate of the frequency range and while I don’t have the technical know-how to go into much more detail, these are my perfect balance of neither recessed nor overly-forward (which something like the Simgot EN700, for example is).
     
    Treble: This is a very fun sounding IEM on the highs. They have a certain grain or texture to me that makes them sound euphoric. They’re still extremely detailed and accurate, but they have a bit of extra sparkle that makes me really enjoy cymbals or rhythms on electronic music. I do not find these fatiguing in the least, but I can imagine someone who is treble-sensitive to maybe want to try a few different tip combinations to keep the treble in check. Again, it’s very enjoyable for me, but the treble is there and you won’t forget that it’s a main factor in the overall sound signature.
     
    Separation: These are very, very detailed IEMs and at the same time sound incredibly smooth. Those probably conflict one another, but hey I’m writing the review and that’s how they sound to me! I won’t go on to say “I’m hearing things I’ve never heard before in a recording,” because I’ve had at least 20 headphones/IEMs and it’s unreasonable to think that these would uncover instruments I never knew were there. They are, however, among the best from a separation standpoint on any IEMs I’ve heard. I think they slightly edge out the Z5s for me, and they destroy the RE-600 which I had thought had pretty good separation. They’re even slightly better than the Pinnacle P1 in that sense, which is a strong point of that IEM.
     
    Comparisons:
     
    Sony XBA-Z5: The obvious comparison for me is the Sony XBA-Z5 because they are similarly priced (I paid about $500 for each) and they each have three drivers. The similarities stop there, however. The Velvet are overall more musical to my ears. I absolutely love my Z5s, but they are a different animal. Where there are gobs of sub-bass on the Z5s, the bass is a bit warmer and extends up closer to the mids on the Velvet. This gives them the overall feeling of more warmth and I like that. The mids are clear and up front on the Velvets where they are slightly recessed in the Z5s. Treble quantity is somewhat similar for me, but I give the nod to the Velvets due to their pleasing texture to me. Overall if I had to pick between both, it would probably be the Velvet and that is just because I think they are more versatile. Fit and isolation are WAY better for me on the Velvet, though I do love the Z5’s sound with something like electronic music. For an everyday IEM, the Velvets would win for me. But they are in no way going to make me get rid of my Z5s.
     
    Sony XBA-300: This seemed like a logical choice because they are both three-BA units. Again, the similarities stop there. In a nutshell, the Velvet are very fun sounding IEMs that trade a bit of accuracy for musicality and color and the XBA-300 are bright, dry, almost-reference sounding IEMs. The bass is definitely there on the XBA-300s, but not to the levels of the Velvet. The XBA-300 has sort of become my reference test against my other IEMs because they’re so detailed, articulate and they have a flat neutral sound signature. I prefer the Velvets for every day listening with pretty much any genre of music.
     
    Musicmaker Shockwave 3: These IEMs don’t have much in common other than me owning both of them. I’ll say right off the bat that the SW3 might be the more technical IEM with loads of drivers, but I prefer the sound of the Velvet nine times out of 10. I get deeper sub-bass rumble out of the SW3, but the extremely bright treble and simply massive shell make these less enjoyable to just relax and listen to music. The Velvet have a warmer signature, nearly as much sub-bass, better mids and a much more pleasing treble to me. I love the SW3, but, I love the Velvet more.
     
    Sennheiser IE800: Now this is tough. Really tough. I have seen these compared in the past and for good reason, they are similar in price and both very well-regarded IEMs. For me, they are different, but equally good. I am biased toward wearing IEMs down and I LOVE the fit of the IE800, yet I also read that it’s a problem for some people. So for me, I prefer the IE800 as far as comfort goes, but there is very little to complain about either one. The sound? Seriously, this is tough. They sound so different, yet I am having a very hard time choosing a winner. There may be no winner, per se. I get more of the deep, hard hitting bass with the IE800, but I get that kick-drum-to-the-head sensation from the Velvets slightly up the frequency ladder. The mids are ever so slightly recessed on the IE800 while they are ever so slightly forward on the Velvets. Treble has a similar texture and grain and I have a really hard time declaring either a winner. Separation and detail I give a VERY slight win to the IE800. Seriously, they’re both equally amazing for me. If I had to choose, I’d buy the cheaper one.
     
    Others: Pinnacle P1, while I love this IEM for its comfort, neutral sound signature and great separation and detail, it isn’t in the same league as the Velvets (nor should I expect it to be at ¼ the price). The RE-600 might have been the biggest disappointment here since at $400 initially, it was said to punch well above its weight. Simply put, it doesn’t punch the Velvet anywhere or in anything. Now, I just received an pair of LZ A4 for review and I cannot wait to pit them against the Velvets.
     
    Conclusion:
    I had immediate buyer’s remorse after jumping on these Velvets at the $500 Black Friday sale price. I had been wanting them for a long time, but then I bought them and immediately felt that sensation of “man, did I really just kiss another $500 goodbye on another set of IEMs?” I debated canceling the order, but I left it and I am so glad I did. While these are not “reference” IEMs and they do not have 15 drivers in each ear in an exotic configuration, they have potentially the funnest sound signature of any IEM I have tried to date. They’re just a beautiful IEM to listen to. They will slam the bass into your ear when the track calls for it and they will display elegance the rest of the time. Call me crazy, but these are the perfect wife! They know how to party, but you will not wake up the next morning regretting your decision. If I’m going to get really picky (and I should because these retail for $799), the plastic does feel cheap, the cable is whatever and the memory wire is very short. None of this, however, detracts from some of the best sounding IEMs I’ve ever heard. I do not regret my decision in the least and if I didn’t have the IE800 I would say these were my solid number one. Since I do have the IE800s, though, these are solidly TIED for my number one. I can’t wait to listen to them even more.
    jpguy, hqssui and FUYU like this.
  3. LMka
    4.0/5,
    "Earsonics earphones which are very different from other Earsonics "
    Pros - Great bass. Built-in Attentuator. Great fit and isolation.
    Cons - May be fatiguing for harshness sensitive people. Source dependant.
    It was a long time since I orignally intended to write this review as I wanted to check black Velvet in addition to the Crystal velvet I've had.
     
    You can find a lot of impression on Head-fi thread and there are several good reviews which are very detailed so you can get an average impression of what to expect so this is going to be not so huge review but I try to cover most important parts for me here.
     
    First of all - these are not fatigue free not in Crystal nor in Black version. You can find a lot of reviews saying that these are smooth and fatigue free but these people are either not treble sensitive or asian( this is not racism but there are biological differencies between asian and european nationalities and asian products are usually more treble focused. Some companies are even establishing branches to focus on Asian market and tune it's products accordingly).
     
    There are also a lot of impressions on head-fi thread which say that these are fatigue free but you have to pay attention that most of them are early and were written regarding Piano black version of Velvet. Differencies between Crystal and Piano Black versions are not night and day but they are audible and black version is more smooth when Crystal version is even more focused on highs.
     
    There are several comments that say that Velvet sound full which can make you a false conclusion that they are thick sounding but these people probably mean that they can extract everything out of the song meaning that you get full experience and all the detail as sounding thick is not the case. Velvet are more or less neutral in sound thickness they are not thick nor thin.
     
    Low mids on these are a bit lacking and signature is a very different from all the Earsonics line. I've had SM3 and SM64 and I can say that they are completely safe in terms of treble and ear fatigue. Velvet take a different approach. Both SM3 and SM64 focus on lower mids while Velvet focus on high mids and treble. Male vocals suffer from that a bit and lose a bit of weight.
     
    Attentuator is more or less a built-in equalizer as it can give you an opportunity to tweak your sound but you can also do it on your mp3 player even though I have to notice that when using DAP equalizer feature it can ruin the proper song presentation and here you wont ruin it. This is a more advanced feature that some other manufacturers offer like DUNU rings and similair and it can be useful when you want to tune it a bit to fit your DAP signature or song preference however let's be honest and say that we all now that when earphone sound great you mostly dont have a wish
    to change anything. I personally play with such features for one or two days and then just leave it be.
     
    Velvet are overall focused on bass and highs.
     
    Highs are crisp and clean which is bad for me because I love to listen songs loudly and with Velvet it hurts my ears. Listening on average volume is pretty fine though.
     
    Bass is very-very good, you get tons of sub-bass  and good texture etc. You probably already read about it in other reviews and I agree on all of that.
     
    I believe this earphones are for those who like ie800 but want an improved version as these two are very close and I don't really like either.
     
    I would like to notice that my problematic experience may occured because of the source DAPS I used which were Hifiman 600 line and HUM Pervasion. In any case I highly recommend dark soundig DAP for these and I don't recommend these for Iphones and general mobile phones as they can't properly control this multi-driver IEM and can be very fatiguing.
     
    Regarding fit - I had some problems with Crystal version when black version fitted me better I don't know why as visually it looked like they are about the same size. I would like to notice that I had a proper seal with both.
     
    I would recommend these earphones for people who love sparkle and v shaped sound. I recommend these for bassheads. I highly recommend these for asians :) You have to keep in mind that you would have to get a good DAP do properly drive them.
     
    I do not recommend these to those who love thick sound and mid focus. I do not recommend these for those who love linear sound. I dont recommend these for those who are very-very treble sensitive.
     
    Please understand me properly, these IEM are very detailed and technological. High mids, bass and highs quality is very good. These will unveil and give you most of the recording and honestly these are TOTL and other TOTL won't be better than these they just would be different and harshness level is not so catastrophic as some T-PEOS products like Altone-200, these are much much smoother than Altone which I could not hear for more than 10 minutes. It's just that these are not for me and not for harshness sensitive people. 
     
    All the other reviews get a good understanding of what to expect so I decided that you should read mine to take it into consideration as well.
     
    I wish you luck in a searcb for your sound :)
    Tom Yum Goong and ScarletShade like this.
  4. azerty6713
    5.0/5,
    "EarSonics Velvet - A stage above"
    Pros - Sound quality
    Cons - Default tips fit; finishing detail construction
    (0) Context:
    1. It's my first review. English is not my native language, hope I will not make too much mistakes.
    2. I'm not affiliated with any brands i quoted in this review.
    3. Purchase the crystallized version of EarSonics Velvet in March 2015 (699 €)
    4. Music I like? Electro (EDM), trance, progressive
    5. They are the only IEMs I heard at this price range.
    6. I don't have all the vocabulary for sound testing, sorry
     
    WP_20150405_008.jpg
     
    Tested with:
    1. Nomad settings: DAP Sony NWZ-A15
    2. Home settings: Windows 7 x64 --> Foobar2000 --> Micromega MyDac --> Matrix M-stage amp
    3. Music files: FLAC 16/24 bits files
     
     
    Compared with:
    1. InEar StageDiver SD-3 ( bought 479 € in July 2013)
     
     
    WP_20150405_002.jpg
     
    (1) The IEMS build quality:
     
    Nice build quality, but small details i don't like:
     
    It is not a "one piece" of plastic but 2 blocks assembled with screws:
    1. If i run my fingers over them i can feel that the screws exceed.
    2. You can feel the two plastic parts with your finger.
     
    Velvet have a plastic screw ( one per unit) to change the sound signature. A metal screwdriver is included in the box.
     
    I had/have no problems to turn them with the screwdriver. Screws turn well. You just have to have a good lighting source beside.
     
     
    Winners: SD-3 ("one piece", no screws)
     
    (2) The IEMS fit:
     
    Compared to the SD-3, they are lightweight, smaller. They don't oppress my ears contrary to SD3. But they are a bit uncomfortable.
    It took one week for me to handle them more than 4 hours without having pain. Now it is okay.
    I can handle SD-3 for hours without pain.
     
    Tips included in the package doesn't fit for me. So i use now tips I had before (don't remember from what ebay seller)
     
    Winners: A draw here. I prefer the SD-3 fits but they are oppressive and too big if wearing too long.
     
     
    (3) Sound quality:
     
    Velvet have two "three position" signature screws (one screw per unit).
    1. Warm
    2. Balanced
    3. Tight  
     
    I used for this test only the Balanced mode.
     
    Bass:
    Woooh effect. I love the bass, and their bass are amazing. They go very deep, very detailed, they don't override medium region.
    1. vs. SD-3:They go much lower than SD-3.
     
     
    Medium:
    Very detailed.
     
    High:
    Never sibilant, go very up. Doesn't sound "metallic" as my Yamaha eph-100.
    Very crystal sound, detailed and smooth. As i like.
    1. vs. SD-3:they go much higher than the SD-3.
     
     
    Instrument separation and soundstage:
    Woooh effect. I could not imagine instrument separation and soundstage could be so great in an IEM.
    1. vs. SD-3: Velvet explode SD-3.
     
     
    Winners: Velvet. They literally explode SD-3.
    Ok ok, not the same range price, so not a fair match. Maybe SD-4 will be a better competitor at the sound quality level.
     
    (4) Conclusion:
     
    A bit disappointed from the finishing detail construction, compared to the SD-3, but Velvet is definitely a keeper.
     
    I love them, the sound quality is just a big gap from my others top tiers IEM (SD-3), amazing bass, amazing soundstage.
    MadMusicJunkie likes this.
  5. flinkenick
    4.5/5,
    "A basshead's best friend"
    Pros - Full and thick highs, energetic, bass, soundstage
    Cons - Tips can be uncomfortable in the beginning, tuning dial damages easily

    For starters, I probably don’t have to explain that taste in iems ultimately depends on personal taste. I listen to a very wide variety of music including all types of (classic) rock, indie, pop, rap, electro and EDM. I’ll even dabble in a bit of jazz and classical. But when it comes to what I expect from an iem, I have to admit I’m somewhat of a basshead. Cause some types of music you can’t just listen to, but have to feel. I’m talking about that badass feeling you get when you’re listening to hip hop after going to the gym, or EDM tracks that make you want to dance. I actually think mentioning your music profile should be mandatory when writing reviews, since it determines whether you’ll like an iem or not. After reading glowing reviews of the Grado GR10 for instance, I thought I couldn’t go wrong but was instantly disappointed when I bought it, and returned it after a day. I preferred my 30 euro Sennheiser CX-300 over the 400 euro Grado's. Just like the soundstage of the IE800 impressed me, but it’s sound as a whole was quite disappointing.
     
    I’m not gonna talk about the fancy dial that allows you to tune the sound, there are enough reviews describing the different modes. I listen to music in the 'balanced' setting. Instead I’m going to try to paint a picture of the sound quality that made me fall in love with this iem, like no iem has ever done before. Yes, this is an ode. Mainly because it feels like the Velvet was tailor made for me. If I had to describe the sound in one word, it would be ‘engaging’. The Velvet has a grand soundstage, comparable to the IE800. But where the IE800 sounds thin and far away (IMO), the energetic, full highs and coherent sound of the Velvet fill your headspace. With the IE800, it feels like you’re going to a concert, but sitting in the back line. Yes, you have an excellent view and see all the instruments. But with the Velvet, you’re standing in front of the stage next to the speakers. You can still see everything - but you're surrounded by music that's blasting through you.
     
    I wouldn’t say the Velvet is just a better SM64. If you’re listening to indie bands then yes, the comparable darkish sound, but with superior soundstage, could make you think so. But that’s not what the Velvet is built for. To really hear why the Velvet costs 300 euro more than the SM64’s you have to play tracks like Dan Black - “Symphonies (Dada life remix)” that thrive on releasing energy. But basically anything with energy; music that you have to feel. Metal, electro & EDM, rap and R&B, that’s when the Velvet pulls apart from the SM64 (I’m not even gonna mention the IE800, which absolutely sucked at those genres). Then, compared to the SMM64, the Velvet sounds like it’s plugged into a huge amp. Now I’m not talking about a classy desktop amp, but one of those big boxes where you plug guitars in. The sound is so full, coherent, with tones impacting heavily and precisely. The drums and bass feel quick and accurate. I’m not sure if bassheads will agree with me on this, but for me being a basshead is not even that much about the bass. Of course, it has to be present. But that’s not necessarily it. The IE800 has a very appraised bass. What I need, is for the whole sound to ‘bang’, not just the bass. There’s no point in playing an electro track with flat and thin highs, but a great bass. The whole sound needs to be slamming.
     
    You know that moment when the dj breaks it down by taking away the bass, just to build towards a climax to get the crowd fistpumping at the moment of eruption? It’s that moment of impact that has left most iems disappointing me. When I’d open the box of a freshly arrived iem, I’d test that moment with Diplo’s “Set It off (Fatrat Remix)”. After a buildup of a little less than a minute, you want that raw electronic sound to fill your head while the beat is pumping. I played it with the SM64; meh, alright I guess but was it spectacular? Don’t get me wrong, I like and respect the SM64. With the IE800? Instant disappointment. But hearing that full sound of the Velvet, I knew I had finally found true love.
     
    When you’re listening to Kanye’s “Black Skinhead”, the beat isn’t supposed to give you a pleasurable listening experience, composed of a balanced collection of sounds. It’s supposed to sound like an angry African pounding a set of drums out of frustration, to accompany Kanye’s rant. That’s what you hear that with the Velvet. Relistening to albums, I feel like I’m hearing them for the first time. It’s the combination of the grand soundstage, with the way that soundstage is coherently filled by thick tones accompanied by bass.
     
    The excellent soundstage, full sound, and overall SQ will please a lot of people. But if you’ve recognized anything in the music I just described, it will be so much more. It’ll be the perfect platform for your favourite music. Comparisons with other iems after the image!
     
     
    velvet-sens.jpg
    Since there's been a lot of confusion about the settings, I've added it here. I first assumed both sides had to be mirrored but that's not the case.
     
    Select comparisons
    When I first got the Velvet it was the best thing since sliced bread, but new experiences have helped define the characteristics of the Velvet better so I thought I’d add some comparisons. The Velvet was my first real ‘top’ iem so I had little to no reference, but I’m glad to see that the qualities I initially admired from the Velvet, are still those that set it apart from other iems. Most listening has been done with the DX90, and occasionally the Headstage Arrow 5P to crank the bass up. Please keep in mind that these comparisons are my personal impressions, other people could feel different about descriptions and understandably so, music and iems remains very subjective.
     
    JVC FX-850 ($250)
    The FX-850 is an excellent reasonably priced iem, with a warm and thick sound which reminds me of the Heir 8.A in its overall signature. It is warmer and thicker than the Velvet, but instruments are less defined, and although it has wide soundstage the thickness can come at the cost of instrument separation with thick sounds like bass / electric guitars played in rock music. The Velvet is more precise and detailed, with a cleaner presentation of the imaging. In comparison with the Velvet, the FX-850 is a diamond in the rough; a great sound, but the Velvet being more refined.
     
    EarSonics SM64 ($450)
    In comparison with the Velvet’s younger brother the SM64, the Velvet is not per definition a direct upgrade, because while they both share the EarSonics house sound they have very different signatures. The SM64 is darker, warmer and has a overall more balanced (maybe more midforward) signature. Its bass is punchy and capable, but lacks the quantity and quality of the Velvet. Its signature makes it an excellent allrounder, with strong mids that sound excellent for guitar-based music. The less prominent highs combined with the smaller soundstage make it less capable with the bassy V-shaped genres, but that doesn’t mean its automatically less. Fans of warmer prominent mids might still prefer the SM64 over the Velvet, although the Velvet is technically a better iem in its overall characteristics.
     
    Sennheiser IE800 ($800)
    The Velvet and the IE800 share a similar V-shaped signature, with great bass and an emphasis on the highs over the mids. But within that signature the Velvet sounds thicker and fuller, with tones having more impact and a greater ability to fill your headspace with sounds. The thickness comes at a relative sacrifice of clarity and instrument separation in comparison with the IE800. The IE800 has a more airy sound, with instruments being smaller, but more separable. Although soundstage has a similar width, the airy sound of the IE800 gives the illusion of a wider space. The Velvet and IE800 are built for very different purposes, with the IE800 being better for classical and jazz, but missing the impact required for genres like EDM, rock and hip hop. Genres where the energetic Velvet excels.
     
    Rhapsodo Rti1 ($1000)
    Like the IE800, the Rti1 also sports a single dynamic driver. It has a similar airy sound, with excellent instrument separation. The Rti1 is marketed as a ‘detail monster’ and rightly so, you can hear every single detail effortlessly. It is extremely precise, quick and detailed, making instruments and voices sound more realistic compared to the Velvet. Probably because it is a single DD, all sounds are presented coherently, without mids or highs pushed forward or backward relatively. But the incredible detail and instrument separation comes at the cost of fullness in the overall sound, and impact and size of the individual instruments. Instruments and tones are thicker in the Velvet, and combined with the more powerful bass provide a more engaging experience. The Rti1 has a qualitative and precise bass, but is no match for powerful and punchy bass of the Velvet. The Velvet and Rti1 are clearly built for very different reasons. The Rti1 is for audiophile listening, sitting back and seeing the whole picture with every single component. With the Velvet, tones and guitars for instance sound fuller, and combined with the excellent bass gives a more energetic result. The thicker sound however comes at the cost of microdetail but this is relatively speaking of course. The Velvet is still very detailed. Overall, neither is a direct upgrade from each other, they’re very different iems and which sounds better depends entirely on preference and music genre.
     
    Heir 8.A ($1200)
    The Heir is simply a magnificent ciem. It makes no attempt to obtain an audiophile reference sound. It takes your music, and pours a thick and warm sauce over it. Mids dominate, highs are pushed audibly back in space; the highs appear more in service of the huge mids in the overall sound. Directly switching to the Velvet after long periods of listening to the Heir, make the Velvet’s more U-shaped character very apparent (but this is relative speaking). The Velvet sounds brighter, with a clear emphasis on the highs in comparison with the midforward Heir. The Velvet's midrange is thinner than the 8.A, making the 8.A sound fuller for instrument-based music. The Velvet on the other hand sounds fuller in the high's, enabling EDM or the electric guitars in rock to fill your headspace beautifully. The second large difference is the analogue, laid back sound of the Heir which is in sharp contrast with the energetic character of the Velvet. The Heir is built for old school rock and roll: AC/DC, Guns and Roses and T-Rex (or for the next generation, bands like Kings of Leon etc.). A usual setup of e.g. the bass guitar on the left, solo guitar up front next to the voice and second guitar on the right, with the drums in between sounds absolutely phenomenal. Big, powerful guitars are rocking out in each of your ears. The Heir is a lot thicker and warmer than the Velvet, but retains excellent instrument separation due to the large, quality soundstage with layering. Of course it’s less detail oriented, its all about big sounds. Big guitars, big voices. Think Elvis and Waylon Jennings. The strong mids make male voices sound a lot warmer, deeper and bigger than the Velvet. Soundstage is probably similar in width, but the Heir adds a little bit more layering and has more of a rounder, coherent feel. It feels more like instruments are part of a band, while the Velvet presents them more as individual components. This doesn’t automatically mean the Heirs soundstage is better; its just different. For electronic tones, or bands that have a digital feel to them like MGMT or Soulwax, the Velvets presentation can sound better. Not to mention EDM of course. While the Heir declasses the Velvet within ‘old fashioned’ genres like country, rock and roll and blues, its analogue nature makes it too slow for faster and modern genres. Guns and Roses sounds better on the Heir, but Velvet Revolver (the spinoff band without Axl) is too fast for the Heir. When guitars are played faster the Velvet is more in its element, as well as for the ‘modern’ computer-based genres like hip hop, pop and EDM. Both have great bass, but the Velvet wins in quality, with the Heir sounding more bloated (I'm talking fully amped) in comparison. Despite their big price difference, neither is overall better since they're very different. Each has their own genre, and will sound a lot better than the other depending on which music is played.
     
    The Velvet might not be able to reproduce female voices and acoustic instruments as beautiful as the Rti1; or the big guitars and warm, deep male voices of the 8.A. But overall, the Velvet is the most allround of all. It never sounds really off, with the Heir and Rti1 being more specialists (and as a consequence having their own strengths and weaknesses). It’s finds the middle ground between thickness and detail, with the Rti1 and Heir being at opposite sides of the spectrum. Detailed enough to hear nuances and all the separate instruments and tones, but with enough thickness and note impact for a fun and engaging sound. Its signature emphasizes highs over mids, without the mids being recessed. Its not as warm as the Heir as it's closer to neutral, but has a hint of warmth to bring out emotion in music. The Heir has stronger mids, but the Velvet has fuller highs. But as is the case with every iem, there are no clear winners anymore in this pricerange, just different flavours for different music. For me, the Velvet is a very capable allround iem and due to its great bass and engaging highs without a doubt my go-to iem for the V-shaped genres EDM, pop, R&B and hip hop and certain rock (and metal/reggae/dancehall etc. if thats your drift). 
     
    IMAG0089.jpg
     
    Thanks for reading!
     

    Tony1110 and obsidyen like this.
  6. fonzler
    4.0/5,
    "Amazingly smooth and flexible to boot"
    Pros - So smooth yet so detailed, massive soundstage, sound tuning makes it incredibly genre-flexible, unobstructive cable
    Cons - Tuning dial is very fragile
    DSC_0486.jpg

    IEMs with tuneable sound seem to be getting more popular nowadays with offerings from brands like JH Audio, AAW and Vision Ears. The downside, however, is that most of these offerings are custom IEMs, adding the inconvenience of impressions and lead time to the equation.  It certainly doesn’t help that the abovementioned examples cost well upwards of USD1000.
     
    Enter the Velvet: Earsonic’s new flagship universal IEM, featuring 3 BA drivers in each side with a 3 way crossover, which is user tuneable. Earsonics are asking EUR749 (approx. USD900 at time of writing) for this unit, however, it certainly can be found more cheaply elsewhere online. While this is still by no means cheap, it may a more palatable alternative for those seeking customisable sound but unwilling to take the custom route.
     
    The Velvets appear to have quite lofty ambitions, so let’s see if Earsonics are able to make good on their claims.
     
    Full Disclosure: This unit was lent to me by Musica Acoustics for the purpose of this review. You can find more information and purchase the unit here.
     

    Package and Contents

     
    DSC_0484.jpg
     
    The Velvet comes in an unassuming cardboard box, wrapped in a decorative sleeve. The contents are protected by high quality closed-cell foam. While it doesn’t necessarily feel ‘premium’, I suppose it does allow Earsonics to cut down on packaging costs.
     
    DSC_0501.jpg
     
    Inside the box, you get:
     
    1. The Velvets themselves
    2. 5mm to 6.3mm adapter
    3. Semi-hard carrying case
    4. Tuning tool & instruction card (described in further detail under Design and Sound)
    5. Cleaning tool
    6. Spare silicone tips (1x small bi-flange, 3x medium bi-flange, 1x large single flange)
     
    I was somewhat baffled by Earsonics’ decision to include 3 medium size tips. While, statistically, it might be the size most people will be using, I think including so many of them is superfluous. It might be more productive to instead include some foam tips for those who prefer them.
     

    Design

    DSC_0483.jpg
     
    “Understated” is how I would describe the Velevets in one word. The earphones themselves are housed in a glossy piano black plastic shell, with no real distinctive features aside from the embossed EarSonics logo and white tuning dial.
     
    DSC_0495.jpg        DSC_0489.jpg
     
    By turning the dial with the provided tuning tool (essentially a fine flat bladed screwdriver), you can adjust the crossover to one of three preset sound profiles: Warm, Balanced or Tight (or anywhere in between). The profiles are represented by the three raised dots on the faceplate which you must align the groove of the dial with. I must admit that this was quite fiddly at first and I found myself consulting the reference card (pictured above) frequently. It also doesn’t help that the dots are difficult to see in low light. However, I did find that the process became easier with practice.
     
    While owners of the first batch of Velvets reported issues with shell durability that caused a widespread recall, EarSonics’ Japanese distributor, Musica Acoustics has assured me that no such problems should be present in units from the second batch and onwards and I am happy to say that I haven’t experienced any issues of the like with this unit.
     
    DSC_0478.jpg      DSC_0475.jpg
     
    On the issue of durability, however, I will say that I am quite disappointed with the build quality of the tuning dial, the face of which is composed of a soft plastic, which appears to be very susceptible to wear and tear as you adjust it. It is easy to nick the edges of the groove with the metal tuning tool, especially in low light and other potentially disruptive situations. This will eventually erode the groove, in turn making it more difficult to turn the dial and also to see which setting the dial is pointing to. The dial on the left earphone became practically unusable after barely more than two weeks of use, in my case. Seriously, EarSonics – this thing needs to be made of metal.
     
    DSC_0474.jpg
     
    I was quite pleased with the included cable. It has a slim profile, feels fairly durable, is easily coiled and tangle resistant. Its glossy black finish also blends well with the aesthetic of the earphones themselves. As with other EarSonics models, the cable is detachable and uses a standard 2-pin connector as found on the likes of JH Audio and Westone IEMs. It should be noted, however, that compared to other brands using the same connector, the polarity is reversed, so you will need to consider this when purchasing an aftermarket cable or making your own.
     

    Isolation and Comfort

     
    I do not consider myself to have particularly small ears, but the large size of the Velvets occasionally made it difficult to keep it seated in my ear, in turn causing the seal to break as the earphones moved around. This might be ameliorated by better-fitting tips, although I did not try any others than those included in the original package.
     

    Sound

     
    I must confess that the name “Velvet” initially generated expectations of a very thick and warm sound a-la Sennheiser IE80. However, upon trying them, I was quite surprised to learn that this was not the case. They certainly are smooth like velvet, with a very liquid sound absent of any offensive spikes in frequency response, while at the same delivering all the speed, detail and imaging capabilities that I desired. Overall, the sound reminded me of the Ortofon e-Q8, only better: the Velvets display none of the niggling faults that plagued the former while adding some additional bells and whistles, although you would expect this of an IEM that costs more than twice as much.
     
    My impressions below are intended as a baseline or general description of the way this IEM sounds, based mainly on listening to the ‘balanced’ setting. At the end of this section, I will also give specific notes on how each particular mode affects the sound.
     

    Bass

     
    The bass on the Velvets ticked all the boxes for me – well extended, plentiful and delivered with hearty impact, while leaving other frequency ranges virtually untouched. It’s also quick and precise enough to keep up with busy genres like house and dubstep. However, due to prioritising an overall smoothness, rather than revealing every last micro-detail, you won’t get the kind of crunchiness and texture from the likes of the UERM or ATH-CK100PRO. Never the less, it’s still an incredibly enjoyable experience; almost at the level of the Unique Melody Miracles, which I regard as producing the best bass I’ve ever heard out of an IEM.
     

    Mids

     
    In keeping with the overall sound, the mids are liquid smooth while still being very detailed. I felt that the Velvets were equally competent with male and female vocals, which are positioned quite intimately to the listener and reproduced with all of the texture and breathiness needed to create a convincing and moving experience. Whereas the e-Q8’s had somewhat of a high-mid hump, the Velvets are more linear, resulting in a lesser emphasis particularly on female vocals.
     

    Highs

     
    I found that the highs on the Velvets to be highly dependent on the sound tuning setting. In ‘warm’ and ‘balanced’, they lacked the degree of treble extension and sparkle that I was after, causing instruments like cymbals and high hats to step out of the spotlight and in some cases become easy to ignore. However, I do not consider this a deal breaker as this can be fixed by switching the IEMs to the ‘tight’ setting.
     

    Soundstage and Imaging

     
    The Velvets display what I think is their greatest strength here, with an incredibly spacious presentation backed by excellent separation and layering of vocals and instruments that simply sounds effortless. In my reckoning, they trumped many a similarly priced or even more expensive IEM in this field by a significant margin. Absolutely a class act.
     

    Sound Tuning

     
    I see the Velvets’ sound tuning feature being most useful in allowing you to enjoy a wider range of genres with the same pair of earphones. I didn’t find that changing the setting altered the fundamental sound signature and presentation, but provided boosts or reductions in certain frequency ranges that can emphasise certain instruments you want to hear more of or de-emphasising potentially annoying features of a song. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the characteristics of each mode:
     
    Warm mode is more or less what the name suggests. The lower ranges gain additional quantity and impact, to practically head-shaking levels, although I am unsure it will satisfy some bassheads. The sound is warmer and thicker overall and treble becomes somewhat rolled off, occasionally making it easy to miss high hats and other instruments in this region. With the increased quantity of bass, I felt as if it also became slightly less controlled and also noticed some bass bleed into the mids in certain songs.
     
    I spent most of my time in balanced mode, which I found offered the best mix of snappiness and impact in the bass and the most natural overall sound. With no significant emphasis on any particular frequency range, this mode allowed music to sound the most well-proportioned and in perspective. Although treble is slightly boosted compared to the ‘warm’ mode, balanced mode lacked my desired degree of sparkle in some songs.
     
    Tight mode brings boosted treble and reduced emphasis on the lower-end, particularly sub-bass. Bass feels more tightly controlled and responsive in this mode and I felt that I was able to perceive more details in this mode. It added all the sparkle I was looking for and then some. The boost in higher frequencies adds a clear edge to female vocals, and appears also to introduce some minor sibilance. Tight mode also produced the reverse of the problem I experienced with warm mode: cymbals and high hats were brought to the forefront, while in exchange, I found it more difficult to hear the bass drum in some songs.
     
    Perhaps it feels like I’m bringing up more negatives than positives in this section, however, I found that the key to using the tuning feature successfully is experimenting to see which setting works with particular genres and artists, thereby effectively expanding the range of music you can enjoy with this single pair of IEMs.
     

    Closing Comments

     
    The EarSonics Velvets really surprised me with just how capable and flexible they proved to be. Their smooth, accurate sound and exceptional staging made listening a pleasure, and they remained unfatiguing even for lengthy listening sessions. The tuning feature was really the icing on the cake, allowing them to convincingly and enjoyably render a wide range of genres at the turn of a dial. This, however, also proved to be the Velvets’ greatest weakness due to the tuning dial’s poor build quality.
     
    Still, these IEMs offer exceptional sound quality on par with many flagship CIEMs I have heard, plus the added benefit of customisable sound, all for less than USD1000, which is a praiseworthy achievement for EarSonics in my book. Definitely worth a listen, should you have the opportunity.
    Tom Yum Goong and hqssui like this.