ICE LAB Prismatica Gold

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100+ Head-Fier
Gold Never Sounded So Good
Pros: Top Tier Resolution
Wide Stage
Midrange Timbre
Custom Cable
Faceplate Design
Cons: Shell Size
Bass texture and impact
Cable is only 4.4mm
Some treble etch
If you’re like me, you’ve never heard the name Icelabs. They seem to be a relatively unknown brand with very little online presence. I looked for a website, a facebook page or even an instagram post, but really didn’t find much. I have been around the hobby for a long time so I figured I had heard of the more relevant players in the game, but IEM makers sprout like weeds. I walked down the Canjam aisle and saw a booth for Icelabs / Flash Acoustics. I figured I’d see what the brand was all about.

I sat down and was struck by each cable having a “waifu.” This is a marketing practice that I cannot stand. I like anime, I have watched some, but I don’t see the value added here. A lot of box arts, especially in the budget scene, are just cartoon women on boxes, but I digress. I asked to hear the Prismatica, which was the IEM I saw when I sat down and it had a faceplate design I wasn’t too fond of, but had a decent colorway. I used the stock tips and cable and was overall pretty impressed. The sound was warm, with a pinch of treble spice and some nice vocal timbre.

The price of $899 was pretty tempting as well! The hobby has become much more expensive and I have started to really lose my patience with it. There has been a real race to the bottom in true high quality, high value budget IEMs around $25-$150 and then a plethora of exorbitantly expensive and hyped IEMs from $2500 and up. From my experience, the diminishing returns in this hobby kick in really fast and at about $1500. The imaging, soundstage and separation are about 90% of the $5000 IEMs so the value proposition becomes a very personal decision.

The Icelabs Prismatica presented a unique value proposition in a market that has been catered to significantly less in the past year or so. The original Prismatica falls in under $1000 and offers great technical performance with good tuning to boot! The upgraded Prismatica Gold VIP adds a flashy cable and new faceplate design for a little extra money. I’ll be hyperbolic for a minute, but I think that this IEM is better than most IEMs over $2000 and I will also say its technical performance will get you closer to some top dog performers than some of the $3000+ options.


Let’s dive into it!

I would call the Prismatica Gold (from here on called PG) a warm neutral. It graphs as if it has a warm bass boosted signature with a bit of a dip in the mids and a boosted upper treble. I don’t think it really sounds like this. To me it sounds closer to one of my neutral favorites, in the Dunu Mirai. The midrange has a lot of clarity and the treble has some wonderful edginess with a slight bit of etch at the top end. I think its biggest downfall is the bass. The decay is quite fast and the overall impact of kickdrums is pretty limp while also lacking texture.

graph - 2024-04-04T082312.375.png

This is a compensated target to a 5128 delta of -1.0db tilt

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This is the raw measurement

I decided to try and push the bass to its limits and really test it in a few ways. I wanted to see if I could find slam or impact because that’s where this IEM struggled the most. One of my favorite test tracks is Neon Medusa by the Midnight and How You Like That by BLACKPiNK. When I use my A12t or my Symphonium Meteor, these tracks erupt in my head and really hit hard. On my Singularity it’s honestly just too much. With the PG it was a bit disappointing. The bass was present, but didn’t have its whole heart in the attack. I was left wanting more. These 2 tracks are closer to electronic or hip hop than my typical listening so I tried some bass heavy jazz to get a feel for texture of bass guitars, standups basses, cellos, and low pitched woodwinds. Compared to the Symphonium Meteor, I think the texture in this area is lacking on the PG as well. Marcus Miller’s slap and finger styles don’t come through as thick as I like while Edgar Meyer’s bowed bass is also a bit flat. If you like bass and you like really thick texture in your mids bass / lower mids, I think something like the Symphonium Meteor, 64 Audio U4S, 64 Audio Nio or then IE900 (with EQ) would be better options. If you like absolutely slamming and impactful sub bass, my 2 favorite sets for that would be the Nightjar Singularity or the Symphonium Helios. All of these IEMs are in roughly the same price bracket but perform better in this area than the PG. I’ll give it a 5/10

Well if it’s all about that bass, we would probably not have much more else to review. The mids are where PG starts to shine. The mids on the PG are some of my favorite if not my favorite in recent years. I don’t know if I have a good ear for timbre, but I got goosebumps from the string timbre in the mids. I love acoustic music, especially bluegrass. There are amazing players like Bela Fleck, Billy Strings, David Grisman and Chris Thile to name a few. Their music is fast and technical, really melding traditional bluegrass and jazz together. The IEM before that really made this shine for me was the Symphonium Meteor, but I think that I like the PG presentation better.

Banjo plucking, as well as guitar and mandolin strumming are heavily affected by the player's strength and ability to push in and hold back and sometimes these nuances can get lost. My #1 track to test this with is either “Charm School” by Bela Fleck, Billy Strings and Chris Thile or Vertigo by Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, Stuart Duncan and Sam Bush. These songs are recorded and mastered, balancing the rhythm and the lead while panning each instrument to clearly define who plays what and where they are on stage. The PG is able to clearly define each player on the stage and balance the push and pull of lead and rhythm in busy passages. With the PG, you can almost picture Bela smiling across the studio at Billy and Chris as they progress through a bluegrass odyssey.

All of the tracks are all instrumental, so I really hoped the natural timbre would come across in vocals as well. IEMs like the Helios or Annihilator present instruments with natural albeit coloured timbre and wide stage, but then push vocals too far forward in the mix ruining the balance. PG didn’t fall for the trap and created such a good natural listening IEM. When I listen to songs I love like “Alive” by Pearl Jam “What Would you Say” by Dave Matthews Band or “Meet Me at the Creek” by Billy Strings, I want to try and evaluate where on the stage they are and how natural the vocals sound.

This is where I started to get really intrigued in PG and decided I wanted to own one. I don’t really own any IEMs that present vocals in a way that I like. Annihilator and Helios push vocals, especially female vocals, way too far forward in the mix. The Symphonium Meteor and A12t really relax that upper midrange relaxing vocals pushing them further back into the mix. The Dunu Mirai is a wonderful, clean reference, but PG vocals felt lush, they felt warm, but they still felt natural. PG was pushing a warm lucious vocal timbre that wasn’t too forward and I love that. For PG’s balance of the vocals and instrument timbre it would get a 10/10, but due to lacking texture in the lower mids I put it closer to an 8/10. There are trade-offs here that I think make it worthwhile to own, but not perfect. If you like male vocals and a natural presentation of jazz, acoustic music or rock and roll, this is an excellent set to choose.

Now that I decided I wanted to buy PG, I ran into a tough spot. How do I get it? I surfed the web and found nothing. As I mentioned earlier, I couldn’t find a website or facebook page. I was only able to visit CJ for one day so I really kicked myself for not getting one on the show floor. I bugged some friends that went Sunday if they could go to the Icelabs booth and they bought me one! The people in this hobby are so special and so kind. I really am just happy to be here.


I took a few days vacation after canjam and came back home to Icelabs Prismatica Gold VIP in my mailbox and a huge grin on my face. I fired up my coupler, measured it with a few different tip options and then just went to enjoy the music. I opened up the beautiful packaging and stuffed them in my ears for a few hours and really got down with what Icelabs made. I was nervous that PG was going to be different than I heard on the showfloor and whether the treble would be too bright. Luckily, I actually think that the version in my hands sounded better than the show floor unit.

I have said it about every IEM I have reviewed and I still think it’s true on every account. An IEM can have bad bass or wacky mids and still be fun. Bad treble will make or break it being listenable. If it comes off too bright it is painful and just unpleasant. If it’s too dark, the stage shrinks and it starts to feel claustrophobic. Treble is a knife’s edge and too much or too little can make an IEM unbearable. Most importantly, due to our ear anatomy, tip design and IEM design treble sounds different to everyone. The same IEM can be heard as dark or bright depending on listening conditions and the anatomy of the listener. With all of this said, please take the next section as true to what I hear, but possibly different from what you might hear.

I happen to love a well presented treble. I like it aggressive or I like it wispy and ethereal. I hate sibilance and I hate peaky percussion. Most commonly, the Annihilator 2021/3 are brought up as the best treble in an IEM. There are other players like the Subtonic STORM, but as I said everyone hears treble differently. I have owned the Annihilator 2021 and currently own the Anni 2023 version and I would say that it is amazing. The treble is clear, crisp and lively, but definitely bright. Some people find it too bright and I would say that it can be. Some songs and some albums are just not a good match for Annihilator’s insane treble.

The Dunu Mirai and the 64 Audio U4s play on two sides of a similar tuning. They are tuned less bright than the Annihilator, but have a much different presentation of treble. The U4s is wispy and a bit digital. It doesn’t have the same edge as Mirai and I think PG would come closer to Mirai. The biggest downside to PG treble is a slight bit of etch and a touch of sibilance on otherwise excellently executed treble. Cymbals and rides are crisp and clear. They have a natural tonality without any grain or haze. To test treble, I often use Dave Matthews Band because Carter utilizes a lot of high percussion that can be absolutely unbearable on bright sets. On songs like “Spoon” there is a tambourine hit in the intro that is a bit splashy, but maintains the edginess without hitting the point of being distracting. The crispiness of the cymbals for the rest of the track are really special. Most IEMs that I use either roll off, making these details much less apparent. On the flip side, some add too much peakiness and make the track unbearable. PG is really hitting the line just right.

Another sibilance track test is 5-5-7 by Pat Metheny. This is another track I love, but has some really really high pitched percussion in the intro that is distracting and unnecessary. On PG, it is present, but feels more like it adds some sparkle and some stage width and height without being too distracting. If you don’t love treble energy, this is not a good set for you, but the treble is well executed, clear, crispy and exciting. It has moments of brightness, but it is well balanced tonality with well executed treble. 8/10. The only IEMs I own that perform better in this region are Annihilator 2023 and Mirai.

So should you buy the Prismatica? I think that the Dunu Mirai and 64audio U4s present better value propositions at their price point. Dunu and 64audio are brands with a lot of reputation and a well known presence. Icelabs is unknown and I don’t know how to reach them if they break. With this said, if you want something technical, something that stages really wide and an IEM that none of your friends have, and most likely can’t get, Prismatica Gold is a fantastic option. It offers top tier resolution, lucious mid range timbre and edgy, detailed treble. If you can get your hands on one, I highly recommend this IEM.
@Jacobal You can google it, or don't. It's just a marketing tactic. I don't really want to teter on the edge of NSFW
@gadgetgod thank you!
I’m scared.
Ok, so I Google searched it and the rabbit hole goes very deep. It gave me a bunch of things including like furry stuff.


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