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  • The hand made, bespoke, LSIV is Lark Studio’s second earphone offering to arrive to market and is furnished with 4 precision balanced armature drivers to create another incredible earphone. It has quad balanced armature drivers (1 low, 1 mid, 1 high, 1 ultra high) in each ear and provides phenomenal clarity and musicality. Along side the excellent sound quality are fantastic ergonomics. Either choose a universal model, which has an impressively small and ergonomic shell size, or go custom and have an in ear shaped perfectly to your ear. Either way, the price is the same.

    Lark Studio LSIV official website

    LSIV.jpg

Recent Reviews

  1. Takeanidea
    Lark Studios LSIV IEM - Full Review and Supertest
    Written by Takeanidea
    Published Sep 21, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Fully Customisable design, needs no amping, semi custom shape and fit, SQ befitting of a mid tier IEM
    Cons - There is a lot of competition out there. Tuning is slightly bass light and mid forward, not really a criticism, more an observation
    Shells very close up.jpg

    Introduction

    It's been a while. But don't worry, I'm back :relaxed: In this latest episode I shall bring out some of the big guns. I will pit the best midChiFi against some pretty amazing competition. You may ask..why? I may answer...because I can, and I was fed up with writing the same old reviews. Thus, the Lark Studio LSIV 4 Balanced Armature Driver IEM becomes the guinea pig, allowing myself to indulge and showcase several IEMs, several of which have become legendary in the annals of Head-Fi. The review is a complement to the YouTube epic I have put out, it can be read without needing the film, but the film was made first. Which, I guess, gives the film a bit more credibility. Although there should be a few less glaring errors in this piece.
    The LSIV IEM Tour has been set up by Micah, aka @Glassmonkey on the forum. He persevered and after a year we finally saw what Lark Studios were capable of. Even that seems in the distant past now, as our final tour member puts these earphones through their paces. Phil Wannell of Audio Concierge is the UK Distributor and has been heavily involved in the project, formerly of Audio Sanctuary, Phil has some amazing bespoke products at his disposal. Without the company themselves taking a leap of faith in head-fi we wouldn't be able to introduce Lark Studios to the World. So my gratitude goes out to their generosity.

    Shells Close Up 2 .JPG
    A close up of the design our review team were sent -
    brushed ebony by the looks of it



    About the Lark Studios LSIV

    The LSIV is the 4 BA driver model of the Lark Studios range. Lark Studios are a Chinese Company hitherto unknown to myself, but the company, based in China, has 18 years of experience behind it, albeit from engineers who worked elsewhere in the Industry. The LSIV is available in both Custom and Universal variants. Interestingly, the universal model has much in common with it's Custom Brother. The universal model has a shell which looks very much like any custom out there. And the shells are customisable - for free. You can add hundreds of designs and colours together to create your very own masterpiece, for no extra charge. Nowt! Did I say the design is part of the price? The LSIV retails at £369 in the UK. I am expecting several of the audio giants out there will be looking nervously over their shoulders at this attention to detail. The website reveals plenty more models on offer, primarily we are talking about either a 4 driver or a 10 driver IEM. The LSIV is their base model. The LSX is the flagship and has been tuned to various flavours.
    The LSIV, in brief, is a 20 hz to 20 hz, 15 Ohm, 102 dB sensitivity, 4 way crossover design featuring a low, mid, high and supertweeter driver setup. Lark Studio have paid a great deal of attention to the shape of it's universal IEM, and the LSIVs are a far cry from the normal bland fare we have come to expect. The small olive design with a medium size nozzle should produce a really good seal for most ears out there. Coupled with the tips provided, particularly the Comply Foams, there is a great deal of isolation available. Even very quiet classical pieces can be heard clearly when out commuting. The cable, a twisted braid design, is a 2 pin connection, and is detachable. It is made solidly enough. The connection into the shells is just right, and the memory wire loops around the back of the ear admirably. I think the design of the cables diminishes the look of the LSIVs considerably. They look so...normal. Ah well, each to their own. Something a bit less visible would accentuate the beauty of the shells; after all, there is a lot more cable than there is IEM.

    Unboxing

    Box Open Full.jpg
    The Box - perhaps more elegant for it's space between each item, has pretty
    much what you need to get you up and running


    With the sheer luxury of being able to specify your own design for these IEMs, I had great expectations for loads of goodies, more than one could ever need, to be crammed into a very large cloth bound leather box, or wherever my imagination was going at the time. What we have here is not quite up to that level, but it's ok. There's no manual or glossy brochure, and a precious few tips are provided. Is this an issue for headfiers? I have 100s of tips. I keep finding them. I could spend months rolling tips and still be opening up drawers full of them. However, my motto is - you can never have enough Comply tips. I would have like a few more Comply Tips included as spares, even if they had to charge us a few more quid.

    Box Closed.jpg
    The box - closed. Nuff said. Let's move on

    So, we know what you don't get in the box. But what do you get? A closer look reveals a few gems tucked away inside. There are 2 rubber straps with the embossed Company Logo in the box on the bottom right, which in itself could be used to take the LSIVs safely away on your hols. There is a small velour bag with a drawstring; just large enough for the IEMs, but a bit of a squeeze nonetheless. A nice shiny flight adapter, of which I'm not too sure of the need for nowadays. A 6.3 mm adapter, although these IEMs need no amping, they go plenty loud enough through a phone , so any DAP should be suitable. My playing was done with my Samsung S7 or my Fiio M11. There is 1 2 pin cable. It has a velcro band to coil up the loops of cable, which saves them from being rammed into that tight jewellery bag.






    Listening session inevitably spawns a Supertest

    I had such mixed feelings about the Sound Quality and signature of the LSIVs. For the first 30 minutes I was gobsmacked by the clarity and fullness of the mids, especially the vocals were really vivid. The bass was linear, but sub bass was slightly subdued. There seemed to be a pinch of too much forwardness in the upper ranges, it gave me the impression that I needed to adjust the volume down on some of my more lively tracks, think Metallica and fast rock tracks. I did a side a side comparison between these and a pair of HiFiMan RE2000 Silvers I had nearby. I plugged them into the Chord Mojo and swapped with the LSIV at regular intervals. My Wife, part of the experiment, felt the LSIV was head and shoulders above the RE2000 Silvers, who she described as "boring" in comparison.

    Shells Shadow 2.JPG

    Those thoughts must have come from the realms of madness of course:) Another week went by of grabbing bits and bobs of listening whenever I could. The isolation, looks and poise in the mids were a definite wow factor and made it quite difficult to pick apart the sound, which is pretty normal for me when I know I'm on a deadline. It's a sort of writer's block, where my brain is unwilling to articulate the sound characteristics I'm getting. How on earth did I get into this craziness?!! I came to the realisation; throwing all of my IEM collection at them was the only way to figure it out.

    Shells on glass.jpg

    The Competition

    I have an extensive collection of earphones, many of which you will find unrecognisable. Simply put, the fit for the vast majority of IEMs out there, does not suit my ears. The problems are exacerbated when I take the earphones out for a run. The solution? To customise them. The problem with that? That costs a lot of money, and hassle too. The solution to that? Do them yourself of course! So, on my video don't be surprised to see a variety of quite different designs. These are necessary to overcome some of the unique shortcomings of the original bulkiness or otherwise awkward shapes of many high performance earphones.

    Shells Side View.jpg

    I went through 30 pairs of earphones before I was able to narrow down the contest to more manageable proportions. I ended up with the following. The AKG K3003i, Sennheiser IE800, OBravo Erib 2a, HiFIMan RE2000 Silver, JH Audio Roxanne Customs, Trinity Audio Master 6 with custom cable, Cardas EM5813 Earspeaker and ACS Encore Studio Customs. Some of those choices suggest the Lark Studio LSIV is punching well above its weight - the JH Audio Roxanne retails at £1600, for instance. The IE800 is £599 new. I was more interested in finding out just how close the LSIV got to some of these models. Before you dismiss these IEMs as being unrealistic because they retail at a higher price, please take a look at the research I did in my video-you will be quite surprised.

    Shells Shadow.jpg


    This is where the review cuts off and the video kicks in - the results of the supertest I have covered on film in detail. To see what happened on that fateful day when I had a floor full of IEMs you need to watch it. The testing was all done sat down. It was all done through the Fiio M11. The M11 was set to low gain. The IEMs were hot swapped halfway through dozens of different tracks. The Fiio has 2 512Gb cards full of music, and is set to endlessly shuffle through my collection at present. In total I must have spent 6 hours supertesting. Only when I was satisfied I know the answers to the questions my ears were asking me did I take the last set off and commit my findings to film.

    Shells top view.jpg

    Conclusion

    I am glad to be back. I have not directly compared all of these IEMs before. It was quite an experience and the LSIV came a lot closer than the price differential would suggest. The winner of the supertest did not turn out to be the LSIV, not for me. For another pair of ears, of course, the answer might be different. I hope you find it as interesting as I did, and, if not, please use the comments below

    Shells very close up.jpg



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    1. Shells on table.jpg
  2. betula
    LS IV: pleasantly neutral and comfortable IEMs
    Written by betula
    Published Sep 1, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - pleasantly neutral tuning
    - natural, balanced sound
    - comfort, build quality
    - customisation
    - value for money
    Cons - 2 pin connector is not the sturdiest
    - carrying case is not great
    Intro:

    Lark Studio is a China based custom in ear monitor manufacturer, established by three audio enthusiast audiologists. That sounds like a good recipe for quality sound, doesn’t it?

    I applied for the review tour of their flagship model, the LS X in October last year. Their top IEM has 2x10 BA (balanced armature) drivers and is relatively affordable compared to other flagship IEMs with its £1500 ($1700) starting price. During the many months since last October the tour has changed for different reasons. Only the LS IV was available to review; which is a new entry level model from Lark Studio with 2x4 BA drivers. This model retails for £369 ($442).

    IMG_20190829_094415864.jpg

    Background:

    I have been into full sized open back headphones for many years, currently using a Meze Empyrean as my daily driver. Every now and then however I like to take an adventure into the IEM universe. I owned many budget IEMs under £300, the latest two were the Etymotic ER3XR and ER4XR. Perhaps my most memorable high-end IEM experience was the Mason V3 from Unique Melody (another Chinese company) with 2x16 BA drivers and a $2700 starting price.

    I have just sold my Chord Mojo, so I mainly tested the LS IV out of my Chord Hugo TT2 in low gain which is a setting for sensitive IEMs.

    IMG_20190821_171906559.jpg

    Packaging, build, comfort:

    Lark Studio’s entry level IEM comes in a simple but nice box. In my opinion the ear tip selection is wide enough for anyone to find a comfortable option. In the box you can find a carrying case as well, but it is a bit big and the quality is only average, it just doesn’t seem very sturdy or practical.

    IMG_20190829_094631942.jpg

    The IEMs themselves look gorgeous and the build quality seems superb for the price. It is actually a very nice feeling to touch these little gems, and I think they look particularly good in this ‘tiger’s eye’ finish. Don’t worry if you fancy another colour, Lark Studio can customize them to your personal preference. This makes the LS IV the most affordable customizable IEM.

    I also found the comfort very good (I was struggling with UM’s Mason V3). They are small enough to nicely fit into almost any ear; the shell almost feels like it was custom shaped for you. Changing ear tips is super easy and very quick. I settled down with the blue double flange tips.

    IMG_20190821_170116217.jpg

    I also like the cable of these IEMs; it is thin, light and non-tangling.

    Sound:

    All right, how does it sound then, and is it worth the asking price? The short answer is yes and yes. J

    The four BA drivers are as follows: 1 for bass, 1 for mids, 1 for treble and 1 super tweeter for the highest frequencies.

    The tuning is neutral and very balanced, with perhaps just a thought of warmth. Neutral tuning in my experience can often sound a little boring, but that is definitely not the case with the LS IV. This is when neutral tuning is done right: no frequency range is over exaggerated, but all equally present. The sound feels natural and musical at the same time. Yes, a neutral tuning can sound musical too.

    IMG_20190901_110612311.jpg

    Bass:

    1 BA driver for bass frequencies won’t make any IEM a bass monster. It is a balanced and relatively clean bass; it is simply there when needed. Bass slam and impact won’t break walls, but all the low frequencies are audible with a very good sub-bass extension. It is a balanced and tasteful bass which actually doesn’t leave much to desire for in a BA IEM. It never ever bleeds into the midrange.

    Mids:

    Mids are also nice and clean. There is good instrument and vocal separation. Vocals are a little bit forward but never harsh, relatively intimate. Instruments and vocals sound lifelike for the price, easily beating any other IEMs I have tried under £369.

    Treble:

    In my opinion the treble is the strength of these IEMs, perhaps that high-frequency tweeter does the trick? The treble on these is opened and detailed but never harsh or piercing. It is very natural sounding, and doesn’t feel exaggerated like on many other IEMs these days in order to achieve a false impression of details. The treble here is opened and naturally detailed without being edgy or grainy at all.

    IMG_20190901_110659942.jpg

    Other aspects of the sound:

    Being an IEM, soundstage is in a limited space, but not small at all and sounds quite ‘out of your head’. I found the instrument placement accurate and you can actually pick up individual instruments which means there is enough ‘air’ on the imaginary stage.

    IMG_20190829_094818289.jpg

    Conclusion:

    Overall the LS IV was a very positive surprise to me. Its tasteful tuning can please almost any audiophiles who prefer a balanced, neutral but not boring sound. In my opinion it actually sounds clear enough to use it for stage monitoring too.

    IMG_20190829_094854892.jpg

    Out of my phone they sounded a little bit flat, so I would definitely recommend using a good DAP or external amp like the Chord Mojo to hear what the LS IV can really do. These IEMs from Lark Studio are comfortable, and easily beat any £200-400 IEMs I have heard. They sound natural and balanced which is a true delight to more educated ears.
    The LS IV is a solid choice for the price if you like your music served in a pleasantly neutral way.
      Haden2866 and glassmonkey like this.

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