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LEAR LHF-AE1d hybrid fit earphones

  • Interesting single dynamic driver model, offering lots of tuning options

Recent Reviews

  1. mark2410
    LEAR LHF-AE1d Earphone Quick Review by mark2410
    Written by mark2410
    Published Aug 24, 2016
    Pros - Serious lookers. Sound most excellent. Generalist super crowd pleasers.
    Cons - Physically rather large. Want amping. So so Isolation.
    LEAR LHF-AE1d Quick Review by mark2410
    Thanks to LEAR for the sample.
    Brief:   All of da pretty and they sound just as good too!
    Price:  HK$1488 or atm £146 or US$191
    Specifications:      Driver: 10mm CCAW ,5u diaphragm ,Neodymium magnets, LEAR custom tuned dynamic driver, Frequency response: 20~20kHz, Impedance : 33ohm @1000 Hz (Adjustable knob at 4'o clock maximum position ), Sensitivity : 110dB @1mW ((Adjustable knob at 4'o clock maximum position )
    Accessories:  By my count 6 pairs of tips, a cleaning cloth, a little screwdriver fortuning the bass dial and a case.  Oh but that case, calling ait a case would be like calling a Faberge egg, an egg.  The thing is very bling but wow, its looks amazing, it’s so solid too and that rubber, wow that crazy vibrant green inner absorbs any vibration.  It gives it such a feeling of solidity in a case that’s crazy.  Love it.
    Comfort/Fit:  They do rather want a pair of foam tips and they sit rather shallow so not effortless to get a fit but pretty reasonable.  Comfort though was great once seating correctly for me.  Just don’t think you’ll wear them laying down as they are really big.
    Aesthetics:  Wow.  You may love or hate the bling but wow, for metallic painted plastic they look lush.  Maybe a little to glossy but ooooooh so pretty.  Love the look of them even if they aren’t the most subtle things ever.
    Sound:  You know what I said about their looks?  Something about their sound.  Oooooh pretty.  They have a variable bass port thingy so you can have light, neutral bass, you can have stupid amounts or anything in between.  The more bass the softer it starts to get but never really soft.  Nor when it’s very light is it ever really hard.  A little touch middlelly in temperament, tonality and flavour.  It’s rather good though.  I like a bit boosted bass and I don’t like extreme rigidity nor flab.  This strikes a very pleasing balance for my ears.  The depth is nice and it does hump a bit in the lower bass before dropping away.  There is also a slight dip as it reaches upward to the mid/bass cusp.  This gives a bit of a distinction between them and increases the separation.  The mids are nice, rather middling but at their best when pushed towards dry.  Creamy they just never seem quite at home entirely with.  The tonality though is lovely.  Thu highs, they are really capable and have a nice lightly impactful initial edge and then trail away superbly.  Extension is a bit so so but I’m fine with that.  They are more about pleasing than hurling detail at you.  Overall the detail levels are great if a little subtle.  Very spacious and pleasing a sound signature.
    Value:  Excellent.  These are pushing toward top tier IEM universals before we enter the esoteric crazy realms.  First rate quality that is slightly provided to you at the expense of some isolation.  It’s a good bargain however.
    Pro’s:  Serious lookers.  Sound most excellent.  Generalist super crowd pleasers.
    Con’s:  Physically rather large.  Want amping.  So so Isolation.
  2. Hawaiibadboy
    Great sounding IEM with adjustable tuning
    Written by Hawaiibadboy
    Published Mar 17, 2016
    Pros - Bass adjust and good mids. Smooth highs,cable
    Cons - Memory wire not good condition
    Video Below
      slowpickr, clee290, Raketen and 12 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. RedJohn456
      Thanks HBB, I had the EX800st for a short while and I was impressed with it but I never tried the pinhole mod. Thinking of picking up a used pair form Japan one of these days :)
      RedJohn456, Mar 17, 2016
    3. ajaxender
      I got a set of these, cos of this review and what seemed like a more than reasonable price. Yeah, they're good. Real good. 
      ajaxender, Mar 30, 2016
    4. Robert777
      Nice review. Thank you. I am diving in to my first pair of IEMs for rock music. Any comments between these and the XBA - A2s you could share?
      Robert777, Sep 10, 2016
  3. Cathcart
    The Lear LHF-AE1d: Bliss in a single dynamic
    Written by Cathcart
    Published Feb 15, 2016
    Pros - Exacting clarity, adjustable bass, overall natural sound, diverse tip selection, storage case
    Cons - Subtle lack of treble extension, bodies are fingerprint and oil magnets

    The LEAR LHF-AE1d
    I had been eyeing the Lear LHF-AE1d for some time; but it being an obscure product from a relatively obscure company, I had my doubts. I am the type of buyer who makes sure the carrots are cooked before I make a purchase. That is, I cover every angle of a product before I buy it. While the few reviews I had read sang its praises, there was so little information to absorb about the Lears that they would be a leap of faith for me.
    All my doubts melted away upon the audition.
    The Lear LHF-AE1d is a special beast. It may refuse to cooperate at first. But once you score that perfect configuration, the reward is wonderful. Perhaps it is the audiophile's Japanese tuner car: sure, it's fine stock, but to get the most out of it you tinker, tinker and tinker until you find that perfect configuration.
    Packaging and Accessories
    Open the elegant black box, and you immediately find the chromed storage jar. While it probably isn't rugged enough to withstand too many drops or knocks, it is a lovely piece worthy of mention. It screws open and closed smoothly. The inside is rubberized, which is a clever touch. Inside you'll also find the simple cleaning cloth.
    The tip selection is very impressive, with a total of 20 pairs to choose from. The usual silicon small-medium-large are included. There are also small and large tips with green cores, which are firmer than the usual cores. You'll also find silicon bi- and tri-flange, which may come in handy to get a deeper seal for the vented shells. There are three foam pairs: one resembling Shure olives, one regular-shaped, and one glossy foam which requires less rolling and slides in easier than regular foam. The included mini-screwdriver is for adjusting the bass knob.
    Build Quality, Fit, Comfort and Isolation
    The Lear LHF-AE1d's shells are lightweight chromed plastic. The chrome is eye-catching and stylish from afar, but very close inspection will show some minor blemishes on the chrome finish. This is normal with such delicate finishes. The blemishes are not at all noticeable when the shells are being worn. The shiny chrome does, however, strongly attract fingerprints and oil. The included cleaning cloth solves that easily enough.
    On one side of the shells sits the bass knob. The 9-stepped bass knob on the Lear LHF-AE1d uses a variable resistor to control bass. Lear describes its superiority over most other bass tuning methods: filters are set tunings with no in-between, while physical air ports can compromise isolation. Digital EQ, if not well-implemented, can drastically lower sound quality. But Lear's knob actually works. Having first been used on the top-of-the-line Lear CIEMs, it has found itself all the way down to the AE1d.
    The 2-pin connectors (not recessed) are found on the other side. They generally don't have any problems and the connectors sit snug without wobbling. The cable is a braided affair, with just enough memory wire at one end. The Y-split is a shrunk tube of plastic that, while not too glamorous, does the job. The straight 3.5mm jack is jet black plastic, but it looks fine and is low-profile enough to be phone case friendly. Red and blue dots differentiate the left from the right.
    The AE1d go into my ears without any problem. Tip rolling is important here, though: I found medium Spinfits or the glossy foams to be perfect for me, but I'm sure everyone's ears will vary. They rest rather comfortably in my ears in spite of the large shells thanks to the light weight and relatively comfortable shape. Isolation, however, is only average. This is only natural being a vented dynamic IEM. A good fit will, however, ensure that it doesn't get too bad.
    Sound Quality
    Can the AE1d back up its pretty face with some serious sound? Hiding beneath the glint of chrome is a single 10mm dynamic driver in each earpiece. They have an impedance of 32ohms and 110db sensitivity, but in reality the AE1d is much more power-hungry than its specs imply - not in terms of volume as much as sound quality. Quite simply, the AE1d yearns for a better source than your smartphone. I paired it to with a Fiio E12 on low gain and a Samsung Galaxy Note 4, with satisfactory results. The most notable improvements included decongestion, improved overall clarity and tightening in the midbass. 
    The adjustable bass of the AE1d is quite impressive. Throughout almost the entire spectrum, it remains tight and concise. It has a certain viscerality to it as well, but it seems a bit held back at the lower settings. It does do well with bass detail. On Victor Wooten's "Can't Hide Love", the bass virtuoso's riffs hold out quite well even above the chorus of voices. Each pick, slap and tap is rendered pleasingly. Midbass is mud-free, which is all I really ask from it. Kick drums hit with a satisfying impact and resonance, particularly on more "vintage"-sounding sets
    How about quantity? Well, at the lowest setting, bass is overall surprisingly neutral. At 4/9, it picks up a bit more, gaining in quantity while still retaining most of the detail. 7/9 is as far as I can go, however. At this point the bass slams with ruthless abandon, and while the entire spectrum isn't exactly plagued with mud, the bleed into the midrange subtly begins at this point. It is still tolerable, but only just. At the max setting, though, I think there is simply too much for even the most devoted basshead. The excessive low-end causes ugly resonance and overpowers the rest of the music. I usually keep my set at around 4/9 or 6/9, depending on my mood or the genre I'm into at the time. Interesting enough, though, when the bass is adjusted, the rest of the signature is barely affected until that last max setting. Overall, the bass adjustment is well done on the AE1d and gets my thumbs-up.
    Perhaps the most enjoyable part of the signature. The midrange has an exacting, precise clarity to it that is delightful for the ears. In particular, strings do very well. On "Hotel California" from the Eagles' "Hell Freezes Over" album, the acoustic guitars sparkle; they take the center stage, holding your attention with their ethereal shimmer. Piano is also rendered nicely. Chopin's nocturnes sound full and the emotion seeps through every note. Electric guitars have a satisfying crunch to them, especially on the iconic intro for Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing". 
    Vocals can brim with energy, bursting with feeling - or they can be velvety and sweet, serving up each syllable with a restrained passion. An example of the former would be on The Police's "Murder By Numbers", where Sting's high-energy voice peaks in the chorus, sounding every bit as mad as the lyrics leaving his mouth. An example for the latter, meanwhile, is none other than Louis Armstrong's "La Vie En Rose", where his husky voice has a subdued vibrance. Female vocals are wonderful as well, proving the AE1d's competence in the upper mids.
    Probably my only real qualm with these IEMs is the lack of treble extension. There is a noticeable roll-off at this end of the spectrum, making cymbals and hi hats sound darker and more held back. While the highs do display satisfactory clarity and airiness, the roll-off can be observed in cymbal-heavy tracks. The dark tuning here does, however, ensure the treble isn't hot or tiring to the ear. In this way, the dark treble can be both a pro and a con.
    Soundstage and Separation
    The soundstage on this IEM is only average. There isn't congestion by any means, but this isn't exactly a standout category for the AE1d. I can still pick out individual instruments, but it doesn't come like it does on some IEMs or cans. Presentation is on the more intimate side, which may also be seen as a pro or con. In any case, the averageness of the soundstage doesn't do too much harm to the overall sound of the AE1d.
    Last Notes
    I couldn't be happier with my decision to purchase these. The Lear LHF-AE1d are a versatile, unique IEM with a very impressive accessory set, subdued style and - most importantly - best-in-class sound. These IEMs are perfect for the mood-swing kind of guy like me, whose favorite artist changes around every week and whose mood for music is around as constant as Bitcoin. Without any doubts or reservations, I recommend the Lear LHF-AE1d to anyone looking to get quality sound for $200. These are brilliant.
      mgunin and hqssui like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Cathcart
      Thank you, @HiFiChris and @praneethbm!
      Cathcart, Feb 15, 2016
    3. jant71
      Nice review! Didn't realize that they are quite affordable. Anyone have the advanced nozzle version. Interested in the mid and high improvement and if it helps the soundstage size.
      jant71, Feb 15, 2016
    4. hqssui
      Great review, thanks. I always wanted to buy one of these..
      hqssui, Feb 15, 2016
  4. chompchomps
    Exciting, Customisable without a hefty price tag
    Written by chompchomps
    Published Dec 19, 2015
    Pros - adjustable bass, solid cables, ergonomic design, smooth Highs
    Cons - Almost none! Some positions uncomfortable, normal Soundstage and Instrumental Separation.
    Hi Head-fi,
    I would like to thank Tatco Ma for providing me with this set of earphones in exchange for my honest opinion. Just for disclaimers, I'm not one with golden ears or one that can distinguish sound waves from one another, I listen to generally quite a wide range of music, and I will let you know how this earpiece fare with my preference of music.
    I will not be going through the technical specifications of these earphones as it can be viewed from their website, other than it being one with Universal Fit Mould, 10mm DYNAMIC driver and pretty solid removable cables with a memory hook. I would say, to me, the most interesting feature about these earphones were the Bass adjuster knobs found on each side of the earphones, giving me free play on how I want my music to sound. My previous pair of cans were a pair of Audio- Technica IM02’s and upon listening to these pair at a audio shop, I was mesmerized on how fun and exciting they sounded compared to the analytical IM02’s. It felt almost like you’ve always eaten bread plain and though its good, a layer of Peanut butter is now applied, and you’re into a whole new world.
    I generally listen to music powered by my Macbook Pro from Spotify and powered solely from an ipod touch 4th gen on the go. Apart form the Spotify, most files are either 320 or Apple lossy converted from FLAC files.
    An example of the songs I usually listen to are:
    1.     Sam Smith – You’re not the only one
    2.     Kodaline – All I want
    3.     Mariah Carey – Hero
    4.     Birdy – Skinny love
    5.     Justin Bieber – Sorry
    6.     Tiesto & KSHMR – Secrets
    7.     Drake – Hotline bling
    8.     Corinne Bailey Rae – Like a star
    9.     Kygo – Here for you
    10.  The Weeknd – Prisoner
    As you can see they are a mix of pop are vocal heavy songs, some Tomorrowland mixes here and there. Sometimes I just use it for classical music or Piano pieces and they fare just fine.
    As I like to listen to highs, I find them rather pleasing, clear and it rolls of smoothly to have a non fatiguing kind of sound signature, very nice to listen to the likes of Mariah Carey and Sam Smith.
    As for Bass, my knobs are turned to the 3rd last dot, as I like my bass to have a bit more oomph but also not bleeding into the mids or highs, when I turn it down a notch, I find some songs lack the punch and this is where it is just so easy to bump it up a notch and perfect!
    The Mids are neither recessed or too forward sounding, just balanced and I would not say it’s a specialty, but they sound really nice. For those who tried the the IM02, I would say the IM02 is more forward sounding but comparing to the Klipsch X10’s I would say the AE1D is really much warmer and slightly more forward sounding.          
    In my opinion, I think soundstage and Instrument separation is where it is Achilles heel is, WOAH wait, I don’t mean its lacking, but sometimes I listen to my Grado Sr80e’s and found it to be not that kind of level, considering those are open headphones, its really quite difficult to argue. But I think its an area Lear can look into to improve and make these pair of cans a BEAST!
    When it comes to accessories, LEAR is really generous, the Case that comes with these is really solid, and quite hefty, feels like an iron man armor, but the glossy nature of the surface of it makes it a finger print magnet. The rubberized interior is also welcomed, making sure the precious cargo is very well kept. For me, I prefer to use my Pelican Case 1010 to store it, together with my IPod touch 4, since I already used it with my IM02 previously.
    There were also a generous selection of ear tips present, from foam to Sony styled tips, and some wide bore ones.
    Did I mention the exchangeable tips to some custom ones? Yeah, if one is bored of the universal tips, you can get just unscrew the canal and fit on some custom ones from LEAR! I have not opted for that option, so I guess I can’t comment much! I personally like the Sony style tips and have stuck with it ever since.
    Let’s talk about the cables, they are probably the C2 wires from the web-store and they are light, westone styled two pin tips with a memory wire near the attachment of the earphones. I personally like these memory wire as it feels really non-obstructive and it keeps my earphones secure. Once its on, no worries about it falling out. According to the web-store, “C2 is made with high purity silver plated copper conductor and "Tinsel wire" technique.” I’ve no idea what difference the different cables make, but they do sound pretty good to me, they are not very tangle resistant and sometimes a minimal memory effect to them.
    Ending off with comfort, I really like the comfort of these, they are made to fit into the external ear ergonomically. When I compared it with the IM02 and Shure’s SE215, I found these the most comfortable and the easiest to wear. In my opinion it’s a put on and forget. However, during my extended usage thus far, sometimes I feel that if not put exactly at the correct spot, matching the curves of the external ear, it will create unwanted pressure sores, or just area of hotness and just a little sore after awhile. It can be easily remediated by taking it off and letting the ear cool down and making sure you put back correctly in the proper position. These seldom occur but it makes me annoyed once in awhile. I want to highlight that since these are a universal fit mould, they do not sit flush with they surface of the cheek
    But it sits at least flush with the most lateral portion of the ear. Meaning, it wont stick out that much. So these are not for side-sleepers who use earphones for sleep a lot. I use them on a few 5 hour flights and they seem to be fine while sleeping with a neck pillow.
    In Summary, I think this pair really fits the bill of a exciting, customizable earphone, without a hefty price tag. The option for exchangeable nozzles especially with custom tips is very welcoming. Good Job to LEAR for this piece of audio equipment and I hope to see more products out in the market soon! I set out to give this piece of equipment more awareness and I hope this review will help potential buyers out there!
    Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

      Dopaminer and Raddiqal11 like this.
    1. cyph3r
      cyph3r, Dec 23, 2015
    2. chompchomps
      yeah i like how detailed and technical your review is @cyph3r
      I think you managed to put some of my thoughts into words too! 
      chompchomps, Jan 1, 2016
  5. HiFiChris
    You like a very balanced sound? Go for it. You like an extremely bassy sound? Go for it. - The LHF-AE1d is incredibly versatile.
    Written by HiFiChris
    Published Oct 22, 2015
    Pros - extremely versatile, sounds natural and vivid, bass screw offers a wide range but doesn't really bleed into the mids, good resolution, cable, case
    Cons - bass a bit on the softer side, bodies collect fingerprints

    Before I begin with my actual review, I’d like to thank LEAR (http://www.LEAR-eshop.com/) and especially the creative head behind the company, Tatco Ma, for arranging a sample of the LHF-AE1d for my honest evaluation.
    Please note that I’m neither affiliated with him nor the company in any way and that this review reflects my actual opinion.

    LEAR, founded 2008 in Hong Kong by the Hong Kong Forever Source Digital, one of the most well-known local professional portable audio products, quickly got attention and good reputation in audiophile circles (heck, even us geeks in Germany know them!). For good reason, as in 2014, their hard and consequent work was awarded by the renowned international business magazines publisher Mediazone with the “Hong Kong's Most Valuable Companies Award 2015”.

    Looking at the LHF-AE1d’s specific values and features, one could get an idea of which other IEM will be the LEAR’s competitor in this review.
    Just as the Sennheiser IE 80, the LHF-AE1d features one dynamic driver per side, allows you to tune the amount of bass with a screw that sits in the housing, and is even in the same price range.
    Before I finally head over to my actual review, just let me explain the meaning of the letters in “LHF-AE1d: "L"EAR, "H"ybrid, "F"it Series,"A"djustable, "E"xchangable, 1 "d"ynamic driver. “Hybrid Fit Series” points to that the IEMs can be used with regular silicone tips as well as with separately available custom-moulded eartips from LEAR (the procedure is the same as for CIEMs (you have to get ear impressions from an audiologist which are sent to the manufacturer who then makes the CIEMs/custom eartips), but with the benefit of a better resale value as the custom eartip can be replaced without damaging the IEMs), wherefore a second pair of metal nozzles is included (which bypasses the sometimes worse sound of custom eartips, as the nozzles for the custom tips from LEAR are shorter and allow a better sound direction). “Exchangable” stands for the exchangeable nozzles for standard and custom tips; “Adjustable” is the indicator for the ability to adjust the lows through the screw. I think “1 dynamic driver” is pretty much self-explanatory.

    Technical Specifications:

    Driver: 10mm CCAW, 5µ diaphragm, Neodymium magnets, LEAR custom tuned dynamic driver
    Frequency response: 20~20kHz
    Impedance: 33ohm @1000 Hz (Adjustable knob at 4'o clock maximum position)
    Sensitivity: 110dB @1mW (Adjustable knob at 4'o clock maximum position)
    Price point (without custom-fit nozzles): HK$1488 which translates to ~ $192

    Delivery Content:

    The LHF-AE1d comes in a plain black cardboard box which has got shiny silver LEAR logos on its front and back.
    Its content is pretty good and covers the in-ears which come in a sturdy black screwable plastic box with black soft-touch surface that is bolstered with green rubber on the inside, a cleaning cloth, a screwdriver for adjusting the amount of bass, an additional pair of short screwable metal nozzles* for custom-moulded eartips* from LEAR and last but not least 10 pairs of eartips (3x foam, 2x hybrid silicone with green core, 3x silicone (in 2 sizes), 1x bi-flange, 1x triple-flange).

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    Aesthetics, Build Quality:

    The lightweight IEMs have got a shiny surface with a dark chrome appearance, are very well built and feel extremely sturdy – here is nothing that I could criticise. The bodies have each got one inbound screw for adjusting the lows’ level and a classic 2-pin standard connector system for the exchangeable silver cables that have got four cores, are twisted, extremely flexible and can also be found with other valuable custom-made IEMs.
    The nozzles and their threads are made of metal and colour-coded, as the direction in which they are screwed in differs on both sides.
    The included carrying xasw is just as commendable as the IEMs, as it is waterproof, very sturdy and has got enough space on the softly padded inside – something that I miss on some other premium IEMs’ carrying cases.

    IMG_20151006_202439.jpg   IMG_20151006_202638.jpg
    IMG_20151010_085442.jpg   IMG_20151010_085730.jpg
    IMG_20151010_085758.jpg   IMG_20151010_085922.jpg
    IMG_20151010_090040.jpg   IMG_20151010_090107.jpg

    Comfort, Isolation:

    The quite lightweight in-ear monitors are ergonomically shaped and modelled on the shape of the ears’ concha, wherefore they sit very comfy and securely in my ears and should also fit most other people with no issues. Due to their low weight, I barely notice them. Their cables are intended to be worn professionally over the ears (which is also my preference with all of my other IEMs), wherefore the already comfy fit gets even more secure and microphonics are completely eliminated.

    It should be clear that the LEAR doesn’t isolate as much as fully closed IEMs, but its noise isolation is actually better than just mediocrity and clearly superior to the barely isolating Sennheiser IE 80, my antagonist for this review.


    Before I started more critical listening, the IEMs were burnt in for at least 50 hours with noise and sine signals (just in case).
    Most of my listening tests were made with the iBasso DX90 playing FLAC, but also WAV, Hi-Res and 320 kBps cbr MP3 files.


    Due to the bass screws (which really have got a high impact on these IEMs’ tonality), there are several types of tonality that can be achieved with these IEMs, reaching from “very balanced” to “utterly bloated and bassy”, wherefore I decided to split my descriptions below into four parts, namely “Screw at 4 dots” (which is the stock setting the LHF-AE1d arrives with), “Screw fully closed”, “Screw fully opened” and “Versus Sennheiser IE 80” (for which the screw was in the upper third).

    Screw at 4 dots:

    In this setting, the sound is still surprisingly balanced, with a moderately recessed treble, but without actually sounding warm or overly dark.

    With the default position at four dots, sound is already surprisingly unobtrusive and tempered, with a moderate bass emphasis of little more than ~ 4 dB compared to a strictly flat IEM. Bass is emphasised pleasantly even and reaches down to the lowest registers of sub-bass without noteworthy roll-off. To the top, the bass’s emphasis reaches up into the middle ground-tone, adding just a little warmth to them.
    Mids are pretty spot-on in terms of level, although somewhat darker than neutral* although lower highs are a bit emphasised.
    The ensuing treble is moderately in the background, but evenly comes back again already after just 2 kHz without noticeable dips, wherefore nothing is missing, although it is a bit recessed. On the whole, there are no peaks or valleys in the treble or frequency response in general, wherefore especially highs sound very natural and realistic.
    Super treble has got a good extension as well.

    Screw fully closed:

    In this setting, treble remains the same, although it subjectively appears more present due to the lesser amount of bass.
    With fully closed bass-screw, lows are audibly reduced. In the upper midbass, upper bass and ground-tone, a slight “emphasis” of about one dB (which is less than before) remains; mid- and subbass are obviously more neutral and probably even a very slight tad recessed.
    In this setting, sound could be seen as a relaxed adaption of “neutral”.

    Screw fully opened:

    This is what all bassheads are probably looking for: with the screw in this position, a mighty wall of bass appears, which even exceeds the Sennheiser’s level.
    Although the bass emphasis is quite enormous, it surprisingly doesn’t bleed into the mids too much, although ground-tone is obviously more present than before and also affects the lower mids, but as the transition from bass into ground-tone is quite smooth and even, mids are in relation overall quite free of bass-bleeding. Although, in consequence of the quite humongous bass emphasis, treble unfortunately perishes somewhat.

    Versus Sennheiser IE 80:

    The IE 80 has got a very warm sound because of its broadband ground-tone emphasis which also bleeds into the mids, which therefore are warm, dark and voluminous. Luckily, this is not the case with the LEAR, even if the bass adjusting screw is in the upper third. Ground-tone is vastly less present and also decreases earlier and more evenly towards mids, wherefore the LHF-AE1d sounds clearly less warm and has got the noticeably less dark midrange. Lower and middle highs are less present on the Sennheiser’s side, but there is a narrow peak at about 7-8 kHz which compensates for the bass emphasis. Although the LEAR has got more level in the lower and middle highs, to me it sounds darker than the Sennheiser, as its treble is more even and has got a consistent level of lesser amount between 7 and 8 kHz. Clear win for the LHF-AE1d.


    I want to keep it short here and come to my core statement of this paragraph:  LHF-AE1d’s resolution is clearly above the IE 80’s and also additionally beats it in terms of naturalness. Tiny details are audibly better unmasked by the LEAR. Because of the more even frequency response and the treble, which is also more consistent and without considerable peaks or valleys, instruments simply sound more natural and realistic. Although bass is also rather on the soft and slowly decaying side, it is faster than the IE 80’s, which is especially audible with fast double and triple bass punches, which just sound like uniform mud with the Sennheiser, but are distinguishable with the LHF-AE1d. However, I wouldn’t mind a bit more speed, though body and texture sound very good and not boomy or muddy.
    As a side-note, a positive thing about the LEAR is that its lows don’t soften towards subbass, but remain the same level of speed all over the whole low-range.
    Although the LHF-AE1d doesn’t noticeably cave in with very fast and complex music, it sounds a bit more strained and can’t retain the same amount of dynamics and effortlessness as Balanced Armature drivers, whereas everything is just fine with slow and moderately fast music.
    Even with utterly opened bass-screw, lows don’t tend towards muddiness and boominess too much, although they appear less precise than before (but still faster and more arid than the IE 80’s) and overall resolution decreases.


    The LHF-AE1d doesn’t create an enormously expansive soundstage as the IE 80, but doesn’t sound constrained by any means either.
    Lateral expansion is better than good mediocrity, with a good balance between width and depth, and LEAR’s dynamic in-ear monitor creates an authentic spatial depth with decent layering. Instrument separation is on a good level as well and exceeds the Sennheiser’s, although the latter is able to create the roomier instrument placement due to its soundstage’s wider expansion. Nonetheless, the LHF-AE1d has got the more precise borders between single instruments. Even with very fast tracks, the stage remains pretty coherent, steady and effortless.


    With the LHF-AE1d, LEAR has created a very good dynamic IEM which clearly exceeds its direct opponent, as well as all in all other dynamic IEMs in the same price range (such as the RHA T20).
    The bass screw is a very effective feature and allows many steps between a relaxed balanced-neutral and massively bassy sound signature, wherefore a whole lot of individual preferences can be covered with one single IEM.
    The entire sound is spacious, high resolving and especially appears very natural, as frequency response is quite even and smooth, without any striking peaks or valleys.

    The premium build quality, the high resolving, natural sound and the high versatility make the LHF-AE1d an excellent IEM, which solely could have a faster decaying bass with a little more aridness, which leads me to an overall rating of 4.75 out of 5 stars (the only small "negative" things are that the bass could still be a little more arid and the midrange a bit brighter to my ears*).
    Shortly summarised: the LHF-AE1d is a brilliant and versatile dynamic in-ear for a very fair price.

    */edit March 24th 2016: I just figured out that the short nozzles are actually the upgrade nozzles that, in contrast to the longer standard ones which are smoother with warmer mids, add some midrange and treble brightness (but just the right amount and not too much), resulting in voices now sounding tonally correct while keeping their relaxed character. So if you are a fan of tonally correct mids rather than warm, smooth vocals, the short upgrade nozzles are just right for you (and having found that out, I am loving one of my favourite single dynamic driver in-ear even more than before). Their only disadvantage is that the eartips don't sit as tightly anymore, resulting in that some might not fit on them anymore (for the record, the standard single-flange silicone tips fit very well on the short upgrade nozzles) and that the LHF-AE1d doesn't sit as deeply in one's ears anymore.
      sepinho, CoiL, mgunin and 3 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. naddm
      Ok thanks. Very informative and definitive coming from someone who have those in his profile.
      This made my purchase decision a whole lot easier...
      naddm, Nov 21, 2015
    3. major25
      thanx for the review, can you compare these to RHA T20 and Aurisonics Kicker
      major25, Nov 30, 2015
    4. HiFiChris
      Excuse my delayed reply, seems like I have missed your comment.
      Sorry, have never heard the Kicker.
      As for other dynamic in-ears in LHF-AE1d's price range: they are no competition for the LEAR, simple as that. Even DUNU's Titan series is only superior in the lows (bass speed, bass control), but in the other categories (overall resolution, naturalness, authenticity), the LEAR is bloody brilliant and certainly one of the best dynamic driver in-ears ever made. So yes, it is better than the T20.
      And this comes from someone who loves just very few dynamic driver in-ears - the LEAR (among the Titan series from DUNU) is one of those few models. Simple as that, I personally really love the LHF-AE1d.
      HiFiChris, Mar 8, 2016
  6. cleg
    Extending model for those, who like experiments
    Written by cleg
    Published Sep 14, 2015
    Pros - price, accessories set, storage jar, you can tune sound
    Cons - stock tips doesn't fit me well, you have to tune sound
    One of the strongest sides of Lear, is their constant willing for experiments. They've started with "simple" multidriver customs, but then go on with sophisticated dual-dynamic hybrid with 4 BAs, new system of 3D sound for IEMs (sort of) and now they're offering even newer concept — hybrid fit.

    Before I start my review, I would like to Thank Lear for providing me with a review sample in exchange for my honest opinion.

    I won't describe it in much details, you can find everything about it in corresponding topic on forum, I'll just highlight profits of hybrid fit.

    • You can try headphones before starting all this complicated part with impressions, their shipment to China and so on.
    • You can easily sell your pair of earphones bundled with universal nozzle, keeping your custom one. So, upgrades became as easy as with regular IEMs
    • You'll get almost all benefits of custom IEMs (almost all, because fullshell offers a bit better fit and isolation)


    And the most interesting thing, Lear decided to test this concept on really inexpensive model with single dynamic driver, LHF AE1d costs \~$192 for universal fit version, and \~$256 for version with standard and custom nozzle. Also, you can get version with spare nozzle with filter, improving resolution and clarity, it costs \~$218. Also, you can get same driver in fully custom shell for \~$260, and it's one of the most affordable custom models on market, which made it an interesting option for beginners. All new models offers bass adjustment option for getting exact sound you want.


    In nice black cardboard box, besides earphones themselves, incredibly stylish metallic holding jar, small screwdriver for bass adjustment and set of tips: 2 pairs single-flanged, 1 pair of double and triple flanged, 2 pairs of different foams. As you can see, accessories set is great, but almost none of those tips was OK for me and didn't offer proper seal (I really wanted bigger single-flange ones). Luckily, I've got tons of different tips, so I've found a good pair easily.


    Headphones are relatively big, but in my ears they've fitted perfectly, without any issues. But if you have small ears, you should better try them before buy. AE1d tailored to be worn over the ear and you can't wear them cable down. Shells are made from chrome-plated plastic, so they are lightweight. Earphones are pretty comfortable, you can wear them a for a long periods of time easily.


    Cable is interchangeable (great option for this price point) and is really nice: light, no tangling, comfortable. I've read opinion that thirdparty cable improves AE1d sound, but I didn't tried it, as I'm travelling in Montenegro now.

    Sound isolation is tip dependent and is average. It's good enough for regular street use, but in subway or plane, it won't be enough.


    Generally, sound signature of earphones is very variable, you can use regulator to adjust bass from "no lows at all" to "nose-bleeding bloated bass". Also, you can tame treble if you like to, using foam tips. So, after long experiments I've finished with rounded foam tips and bass set to a little less then 3/4. This tuning gave me somewhat "fun" sound with light accent of V-shaped FR. With this tuning I've found AE1d pretty competitive with established dynamic models like HiFiMan Re600 and Dunu Titan 1.


    Please note, that this earphones requires perfect seal to perform their best, so experiment more with thirdparty tips, it's a rewarding exerise. Also, they benefit from good source, as they are able to highlight weak points of your setup.


    Lows are pretty punchy, it's common for dynamics, but their speed and resolution is close to armatures. Bass shows almost no distortion, so it's good layered and well textured. I like lows of AE1d both by quantity and deepness, but it's definitely not basshead model. When bass is turned to full power, they became boomy. So, you'll need to find an option that suit for you personally.


    Mids are also great, as for dynamic model. For me, HiFiMan RE600 are reference model for dynamic IEMs mid frequencies, and AE1d are pretty close to them (but Re600 is little better though). Speed and clarity of mid frequencies of those are great, but compared with balanced armature models, you can find a small traces of softness. Of course, it's OK for $200 IEMs, moreover, some tracks even benefit from this, but if you need absolutely best resolution, you should consider BAs. This model is really great at imaging, for me they're building good soundstage with nice width and average depth.


    Highs are a bit rolled of by quantity, but it's compensated by resolution, so treble is present and definitely does its job. If you like more brighter sounding, you can tame bass a little bit and add some volume, and you'll get typical bright "analytical" sounding. Sibilance aren't masking, if they are present in record, you'll get it, from other hand, AE1d doesn't add them, if they are absent.


    To summarise all above, strong point of this headphones — heir tuning capability. You can adjust sound to your liking, and you'll have to make some experiments, finding perfect option for you. It's a biggest benefit of AE1d, and their weak point at the same time.


    Also, Lear prepared to similar models to be launched soon, one with balanced armature driver, and second with "mystery driver", they've decided not to tell what's inside yet. Both models are really interesting and I'm waiting for them with impatience.


    P.S. I'm sorry for photos, it's definitely not the best ones, but I dodn't have my photo rig with me, so I've had to improvise.
      mgunin and tarhana like this.


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