LetShuoer S12 Planar iem

SenyorC

100+ Head-Fier
My new EDC
Pros: I am just a big fan of these, so it's easier to list the cons!
Cons: Not the most detailed of IEMs
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These IEMs are a set that I was very interested in trying out and while I was in Miami, Antdroid very kindly loaned them to me. I got to spend a day or so with them, with a very positive first impression, and was about to create a mini review for them when Letshuoer reached out to me, offering to send them to me for review. I was obviously very happy to do a full review of them and a few weeks later, here we are.

Therefore, these IEMs have been sent to me by Letshuoer in order to review them and give my detailed impressions on them. They have not made any specific requests (although I will share a non-affiliate link to them on my blog (here) and my review will aim to be, as always, as honest and unbiased as possible, although you should always consider the fact that these IEMs did not cost me anything.

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Intro…

There has been quite a surge of planar magnetic IEMs lately, gaining quite a lot of popularity due to them having improved a lot since previous releases. Two of the most popular have proven to be the Timeless and the S12, the set I have here today.

I did get to try out the Timeless while away and published a mini review of them that you can find here. In that mini review, I compared them quite a bit to the S12, as I had tried them side by side for a day or two, and I mentioned that the comparison probably didn’t make much sense due to the fact that I didn’t actually publish the mini review of the S12. I just mentioned above the reason for not publishing the mini review and I am very happy I have got the chance to test these IEMs over a longer period so that I can share more detailed impressions.

I also mentioned in all of the mini reviews (unless I forgot to mention it in any of them) that when I spend a more extended time with a set of IEMs (or headphones), my opinions may change over that period. I may grow used to some of the things I find strange at first and learn to like them more than I do over a short period, but it can also go the other way, I may start noticing things that I didn’t at first and which make the IEMs not as pleasant for me.

In this case, my impressions from the short period I spent with them have not changed much, if anything, I like them even more than I did over the short period I spent with them. I said in the 7Hz Timeless mini review that personally I preferred the S12 (although both are great sets of IEMs) and although I haven’t had a chance to spend a longer period with the Timeless, I still maintain my decision.

Anyway, enough chit chat and let's get on with the important stuff.

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Presentation…

The packaging of the S12 is simple, with a basic white box and an image of the product on the cover. Inside there is nothing out of the ordinary either, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t come with everything that a set of IEMs should.

Inside the box we get the IEMs, multiple sets of tips (3x sets of foam in their own hard case and two types of silicone, 3 sets of each type), a nice compact carrying case that is smaller that what is usually included but is still big enough for the S12 to fit without issues, and a cable.

You can choose which cable you would like including when placing an order for the S12 (via the official page), choosing between 3.5mm and 4.4mm terminations, with an option of silver or nebula grey for the IEMs also. In my case, I went for the 4.4mm cable and the cable is of very good quality, although it is a little thick for my personal tastes. While it is not what I would pick personally, the cable has actually grown on me a lot over the past week as far as comfort, and there is no denying it is a great looking cable.

So, everything you need is included in the package, I cannot complain at all in this sense.

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Build and aesthetics…

The build quality is good, there are no apparent issues that I can spot, and everything in the package seems well manufactured, including cable, IEMs and tips.

As far as aesthetics, these are quite simple. The shells are fully metal and are finished in a simple, no frills, silver colour (in my case). Obviously aesthetics are just as personal as comfort but they don’t strike me as anything that should offend the vast majority of people.

I just mentioned above that the cable is a great looking cable, so again, I have no complaints.

As far as comfort, I find them very comfortable, fitting my ears perfectly and although I would prefer a slightly lighter weight cable, it has also grown on me (possibly aesthetics taking a part in this). For tips, I had been using Xelastec tips for a lot of my listening time but I decided to try out the spring tips that are included with the Moondrop Chu (review of the Chu coming soon) and I have found that I not only find them to have great sound but to also be extremely comfortable without the hassle of the Xelastecs.

As I just said, comfort is as personal as aesthetics (or even more so), so everyone is going to be different, but I find these more comfortable than the Timeless and also less “attention seeking” with regards to aesthetics.

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Sound…

Just a reminder that all tracks mentioned in this section are clickable links that will allow you to open the song in the streaming service of your choice, allowing a direct reference of the song I am talking about.

Here is where I fell in love with the S12. Anyone who has followed my headphone reviews will probably already know that I am a planar magnetic lover, and in the case of IEMs, it seems to be that I am of a similar fashion. I have had the Audeze iSine for quite some time now and I like them, except for the fact that they need a ton of equalisation in order for them to have a decent tuning. The S12 does not have that issue. The tuning out of the box is great, in my opinion of course, and I have found that they are probably the most pleasurable set of IEMs for long listening sessions that I have spent time with so far.

Moving through the usual sound categories, starting with subbass as always, there is no roll off here, at least not that I can hear. Putting the S12 through my usual subbass workout which is “Chameleon”, there is plenty of presence to give me the sub rumble that this track presents, without them seeming to lose control at any point. There are many sets of IEMs that can get that low end rumble with this track but once the subbass starts to mix with the midbass, things can get a little hazy. That is not the case with the S12, they keep things nice and collected, offering a great presentation of this track which is better than the vast majority (almost all, especially at this price) of IEMs that I have tried.

Moving into the midbass, if we look at the graph of the S12 vs my target preference, there is a little more than I request.

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(all my IEM measurements can be found and compared on achoreviews.squig.link)

However, targets are just a rough guidance and we shouldn’t get fixated on things adhering to targets too much, as sometimes a deviation can actually sound better, depending on how that is presented and controlled by the IEMs in question.

In the case of the S12, the midbass is extremely well controlled, making things sound precise and clear, even when a track is busy in these areas. Even activating the XBass boost on the Gryphon, where bass becomes overpowering for me personally (depending on the track of course), they still keep control and definition of the notes.

Tracks like “No Sanctuary Here”, which have a strong bass presence but need cleanliness to sound their best, sound clear and, well, great on the S12. More “old school” songs, such as things like “Whole Lotta Love”, benefit quite a bit from the additional presence of the midbass, making the bass guitar of John Paul Jones become a little more present but without it sounding out of balance with the rest. The live performances by Clarke, Miller and Wooten (which is unfortunately not available on streaming services, at least as far as I know) are nicely presented with the separation of the 3 bass guitars being quite easy.

Moving into the mids, there is no bleed, no muddyness, just a nice clean transition. There is also no recess in the mids, keeping them from losing space to the midabass. The slap/pluck of “Elephants on Ice Skates” comes across as well balanced, without it being overpowering in the lower notes and without it losing in the mids to the brass section.

Listening to some of my favourite styles of music, such as acoustic and simple vocal/instrumental tracks, the mids are smooth, without anything sounding harsh or out of place. There is the usual hint of “coldness” that this kind of music can portray on planar magnetic drivers, which may sound a little different if you are used to dynamics but it is something that I have grown to enjoy from infinite hours spent with planar headphones.

A listen to “Diamonds on the Souls of Her Shoes”, which can be a little harsh on the higher mids and lower treble on many sets, still presents a little harshness to Paul Simon's voice if volume is pushed but in general it is again well balanced and is not painful (unless pushed way above my usual listening levels). “Don’t You Worry Child”, another track that can easily become harsh to my ears, is much better than I expected and is quite listenable.

Hip hop, which is something that can suffer quite a bit in regards to vocals when the midbass is boosted and the higher mids are not overly present to compensate, actually sounds as it should. Or at least it sounds like I expect it to sound after many decades of listening on many speaker set ups and other headphones. As an example, “Make Noise” by Busta Rhymes and Lenny Kravitz, has the vocals quite recessed in the mix, which can either totally disappear or become boosted, depending on the system, seem to have the same presence as I have heard on many monitor and live set ups.

Moving into the treble, there is a nice extension and plenty of “air” to make it thoroughly enjoyable for me. As a sibilance test, using “Code Cool” as usual, there is a slight hint of sibilance on a few of the “S” by Patricia Barber, but certainly not enough to make the track painful or difficult to listen to. This is something that can be the case on many sets of IEMs and headphones, with her voice either being harsh and sibilant, or subdued and pushed back. Again, I would say that the S12 do a great job of keeping it where it should be.

While the detail of these IEMs is very good, I do feel that detrail retrieval may not be the strongest point of the S12. I only listened to the Timeless for a day or so, although I got the possibility to test them side by side with the S12, but I got the feeling that as far as detail retrieval, the Timeless did have the slight edge here. Neither sets are going to compete with something like the Helios (a set of IEMs that is 5 times the price) but both are very good, not just for this price bracket.

At no point do I get the sensation that details are missing, they are all there, just maybe not as apparent as they are on some other sets. Listening to the intro of “All Your Love Turned to Passion”, there are some details in the left channel from the acoustic guitar that can be extremely impressive when a set of headphones presents them well. In the case of the S12, the details are there but they are not something that stand out and make you say “wow”, something that does happen on certain planar magnetic headphones like the higher end Hifimans, but this is obviously not even a comparison that can (or should) be made.

Soundstage is also good for a set of IEMs but without being outstanding. I really don’t find many IEMs to have a large sensation of space in this regard and the S12 are no exception. I would say they are on the higher side of average but not something that give the impression of having a huge amount of space for images to spread out. For example, “La Luna”, which is a binaural recording, does give a nice surrounding sensation but it is slightly closer than on open back headphones (which is again, not a very fair comparison).

The placement of images is very good however, with pretty good precision inside the soundstage that the S12 do have to work with. As I just mentioned, “La Luna” is easily placed around you, and also things like “Strange Fruit” show nice placement of the different layers of vocals.

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Conclusion…

Well, I guess I have made it pretty clear that I like the S12, I don’t think there is any doubt about that. When I made the series of mini reviews, I got to spend some time comparing the Timeless and the S12 (I mentioned the comparison quite a bit in the TImeless mini review here), two sets that compete pretty closely with one and another, and I mentioned that I personally preferred the S12, at least after a day or two of use. I also mentioned that more time with a set sometimes makes me like (or dislike) something more and with the S12, I have grown to like it even more, making me very happy to use it as my daily IEM. I obviously haven’t had more time with the Timeless since then, but if I had picked the S12 out of the two based on the time I spent with them both, then I would have absolutely no regrets.

I read Antdroids review of the S12 and he said something that completely clicked with me and that I agree with 100%. I am paraphrasing from memory here but he said something along the lines of “ *The S12 are like the Hifiman HE400se, they are maybe not the most detailed option and don’t have the fastest of planar speeds, but there is a decent amount for the price and the tonality makes up for it* ” (or something along those lines 😉 ). I couldn’t agree more. The HE400se are a set of headphones that I just like, they are by no means the best performing headphones that I have but the overall sound is just pleasurable and is something that I can enjoy for hours of simple music listening. I feel the S12 are the same, I have come to not expect them to surprise me with things I didn’t know existed, but I have no doubt that they always perform well, no matter the track, and are a pleasure to listen to.

I was also surprised to find that they work really well with the iFi Go Blu. Due to expectations, I thought that the Go Blu would not be able to drive these IEMs well, but I was mistaken. Using the balanced output, it performs very well and has become a very portable set up that I am more than happy to use all day while away from my usual set ups, meaning I don’t need to rely on the Gryphon for portable power with these IEMs. I think this is probably more of a praise towards the Go Blu than the S12, however, it is something that has made me very happy.

If I needed to resume this (very long) review into a TLDR, it would be “A set of IEMs that I enjoy immensely and while not the highest performers out there, a perfect solution for my EDC”.

As always, this review can also be found in Spanish both on my blog (here) and YouTube (here)

Gabriel Lira

New Head-Fier
The best iem what o ever heard
Pros: - Tonality
- Tecnicalities
- duality in bass
- Price, apresentation, ergonomic
Cons: - Sound stage
Hello, this is my first review, I'm a native Brazilian, I don't know English so I'm using a translator, I ask you to forgive possible inconsistencies in my writing
I am a listener of classical music, my favorite genre, which I listen to every day. Sometimes I catch myself enjoying Burial or headbanging listening to Marauda or Svdden Death, but only sometimes 🥴

My headphones - I have a TinHifi family, Moondrop Aria and the Shuoer S12

Well, let's go
- APRESENTATION
It's good, it comes in a nice box, good tips in a good presentation, but that's it, the Moondrop Aria presentation pleases me more, but the box is good for storing the phone in the period when he left China and came to Brazil ( Unfortunately the box came slightly wrinkled by the carrier 😞)

-Ergonomics and isolation
The headphones are big, they occupy my ear completely, but they don't bother me, looking at myself in the mirror with them on, they seem uncomfortable, but when I manage to fit them in correctly, they are wonderful. About the insulation, from 0-10 I would give it a 5, maybe it's because of the huge hole it has for ventilation, I can't say exactly why, but it doesn't insulate very well, it insulates well, but that's all

- Sound Stage
Well, it could be better. Everything sounds close, I don't feel like anything sounds too far away from me, even on recordings with the most well-developed stage. Something that I can consider as a slight problem is the position of some instruments on stage, when a passage comes where there are brass instruments that sound more intense, such as a trumpet, a trombone, for example the s12 places these instruments in front of the others , the whole orchestra is frantic, but the trombones and trumpets take the lead and sound stronger, more alive, sharper, more textured, but that's not exactly correct, but it's nothing to stop you from enjoying the music. The instruments sound well detached from each other, the position of the sounds is quite satisfactory, we have a great separation between the instruments around your head, but they sound around the head, they don't sound far away, don't forget that,

-Technicalities
Here is the high point of this phone, extremely technical
Great instrumental separation, it is noticeable that there is a great amount of air between the instruments, great ability to reproduce the smallest details of the music, it is really impressive. The separation of the instruments on the stage is very good, the orchestra sounds very big and complete, if the stage was further away it would be perfect. We can clearly hear from the breath of a panting musician to the soft strumming of a clarinet (on recordings that provide this richness of detail, of course)

Before talking about the tone, I wanted to point out that I bought them with my money, and I wanted to point out that I still need another 4 months to pay them, because in Brazil a phone like that costs a lot, but very expensive, so all that you're reading, it's my sincere and humble opinions and perceptions, that being said, let's go

-Bass
Yes friend, B A S S.
Let me explain, when I listen to Beethoven's 9th symphony, they sound well behaved in quantity, and with an incredible quality, a lot of texture, a lot of presence, they sound concise and consistent without standing out, they sound very well behaved and correct, the snoring of a acoustic bass or the expressiveness of a cello or a tuba are very pleasant to hear.
Now, when I listen to Truant, from Burial, s12 turns into a monster. Very, very, VERY sub-bass, the s12 has a tremendous extension and a very strong impact, it's really impressive, the headphone hides those bass until you call them with a song that has a lot of sub, they come with a lot of authority and impact, me made me very happy

-Mid range
As Leonardo, from Mind the Headphone (a very dear and respected evaluator in Brazil, one of the first to openly disseminate the hobby here in Brazil and creator of Kuba) would say, the medium is the soul of music and s12 manages to present it. them in a way that you are very satisfied. I'm going to consider trombones and trumpets as medium, even though they have a little high midrange, I'm going to consider them as medium. The mids have a lot of texture, the details live here, very articulate, very faithful, a horn sounds like a horn, all the sweetness, all the burning of a muted trumpet, I like to quote Tchaikovsky's Manfred Symphony, at the end of 1 In the th movement, the vitality and strength of the brass at the moment of the "march" is remarkable, the s12 shows you all the strength and weight of the brass, leaving them a step ahead of the rest of the orchestra, as said before. The voices sound very realistic, in Beethoven's 9th Symphony, in the 5th movement, at the entrance of the voices, I felt that the singer was on my right singing right there, close by, that was impressive, I can describe how

-Treble
Really enjoyed. A Piccolo flute sounds like a Piccolo flute, sometimes it bothers a little hehe, but in real life it bothers too, it's not exacerbated in aggression, it's in the right spot. Still quoting Manfred Sinfonie, in the 1st movement, in the "march" there are some cymbals that sound very aggressive hehe, but it's part of the music, in real life they also sound aggressive, they're there to make things "tastier" , let's say. As I said before, the amount of air between the sounds is remarkable, at first I noticed that and the timbres are very correct, I loved the treble

-Final considerations
The s12 is the best iem I've ever heard, certainly, but it's not perfect. I would give it 8/10 considering the compact soundstage and lack of musicianship (for my taste) sometimes it sounds drier and harsher than what I'm looking for at the moment, but when I want definitions and speed, it puts on a show. I liked it a lot, it's certainly a sincere recommendation to those who like electronics, the duality in the bass is incredible, sometimes very correct and sometimes monstrous when required. I blindly recommend it for lovers of classical music, it's a beautiful purchase, everything is very lively, strong, impactful and real, very real.

That's it, my friends, I would like to give a big hug to the Brazilian community that takes this hobby in their hearts, above all the love of music, given that prices in Brazil are exorbitant, when I say that I paid half of the minimum wage on a headset, I'm called crazy (yes, the s12 cost me around R$650 or USD125, and the minimum wage is R$1100).

*Extra*
I would like to give a hug to Thiago from Manual de Fones, to Fabrício from CutBox BR, to Antenor from MusiCafe and to all the headphone evaluators that make up the audiophile community in Brazil. A hug to everyone
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aptquark
aptquark
Great job Gabriel. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. After I realized some of the other guys also reviewed this IEM...along with your review...I went ahead and ordered to try out. Thanks for your time and also a thanks to all the guys that do this here. You SOB's keep me poor thats for sure! Cheers.
G
Gabriel Lira
Thanks for your comment, I'm glad to hear that I can help you.

antdroid

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Great value
Good fun tuning
Punch bass and good resolution for price
Cons: Slightly bright upper mids
Cable is a little heavy



The S12 is LetShuoer's new and first planar in-ear monitor and comes in at $149 USD. This IEM packs a large 14.8mm planar magnetic driver encased in a all-metal shell and comes with a fancy multi-colored braided cable and a tin case. It's quite a decent package all together and it has a nice resolving and clean sound that should please many.

First off, I'd like to thank Joseph from LetShuoer for reaching out and sending me a review unit of this new product. As some may know from reading my past reviews, I'm not always the biggest fan of Shuoer's previous products, in fact many of them rank in quite the lowest tiers of my ranking list, but the recent EJ07M and this product is starting to change my opinion of this brand with a new name.





So let's just get down to business.


The S12 is a really nice sounding planar. A couple months ago, I reviewed the Timeless planar IEM from 7Hz, and gave the $219 IEM a rave review with some of the best commentary feedback I could give at the price point. Driver-wise, these two are similar in size but the S12 goes a step larger and increases the driver from 14.2mm to 14.8mm. Now, I don't know if these are similar drivers at all, or made in the same factory, but the driver plus tuning combination between the two IEMs are quite similar and very enjoyable.




Unfortunately during this review period of the S12, I did not have the Timeless on hand. I had lent it out to another reviewer, ufospl2 of Headphones-N-Stuff, for an extended listen on holiday, and so he's out there, somewhere, enjoying that set. Instead, I'll just have to manage this written review without that crucial A-B comparison, at least in the near term.




The S12 presents a small bass-boosted take on a balanced/neutral sound, that is right up my alley on tuning preferences. The mid-range is just slightly recessed with forward upper-mids and a generally smooth treble for me, however, some could find a slightly excess energy peak in the treble range, depending on how deep of a fit you can manage. There is also a nicely extended treble which helps with percussions and strings.

Many of the same characteristics I wrote about in the Timeless review can probably be brought over to here, but one of the key differences (from memory of course) is that I find the S12 just a little smoother, a little warmer, and with an extra amount of sub-bass rumble. These are things that I do not really think I mentioned in my Timeless review, but I can write here.



I never found the S12 to have the occasional bright glare on random tracks either, and I played this through a gauntlet of acoustical tracks from country to bluegrass to folksy music to female pop songs. The S12 handled them all quite well and with a good amount of "fun" for my tastes.

The tonal balance of the S12 is really solid in my opinion, however it doesn't have the fastest planar-like transient speeds. It's not quite the same speed and precision as my Hifiman Susvara, and is more along the lines of the Hifiman HE400SE, which is actually a very similarly priced $149 headphone. That is, while there is a decent amount of quality and resolution for this price tag, I don't think the precision is there. There isn't that extra layer of detail or exacting edge to each note that makes a higher tier driver or IEM stand out. It's not necessarily blunted, or blobby, either. It's just good, but not great or exceptional.

In addition, I find the S12 to have a relatively small and condensed sound. It's not grand and majestic, but provides a more intimate soundstage and more up and center presentation. While I don't mind this and it's never claustrophobic, I do like a wide and open soundstage personally, and this does not quite hit that mark.

But, all and all, I find these little things to be rather small in negative points when you take a look at what you're getting for $149. This is a very nicely put together package of build quality, accessories, and great tuning and above average sound. LetShuoer did a very nice job here, and they hit it home with great values in the last two IEMs I've tried. Things are changing for the better with this brand!
DJ Core
DJ Core
Love these. Perfect Tips to make 'em shine are the azla sednaearfit xelastec in ML size

Otto Motor

Headphoneus Supremus
Better than Ezra...and the 7Hz Timeless
Pros: Articulate bass and very good treble extension, great cohesion, superb resolution (!!!); very good build and fit; great cable; value.
Cons: Lean and somewhat bright in the vocals department; top-end transients a bit fast.
letshuoer-S12-800x445.jpg


I don't want to further congest this page with repetitive packaging and physicals and focus on sound.
You find the whole story at https://www.audioreviews.org/letshuoer-s12-review-jk/


Equipment used: Questyle QP1Ron med. gain, Sony NW-A55; MacBook Air with Apogee Groove, AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt, Khadas Tone2 Pro/4.4 mm BAL & 3.5 mm SE or Earstudio HUD 100/high gain + JitterBug FMJ + ifi Audio iPower X; stock cable or CEMA 6N OCC + OCC silver-plated 2.5 mm balance cable with or without the ddHiFi DJ44A adapter; stock eartips (translucent ones).


The LETSHUOER S12 carries most of the characteristics expected from a planar magnetic driver: low distortion resoling in good clarity, tight bass, deep bass extension, easy to drive, good staging…but, but but…

The S12’s bass is tight while digging deep. Midbass is well composed and focused, notes are not as rounded and soft (as in the Timeless), there is a crisp attack…and that’s the biggest different to the Timeless. A smaller but better focused kick.

This may have a few reasons, for example, the different housing shapes and the Timeless’ bigger contact area inside the concha (“bigger in-ear resonance”) and also the S12’s relatively higher frequency response above 2 kHz (which itself may be related to the housings).


LETSHUOER S12
The LETSHUOER S12’s rather wiggly frequency response is typical for planar magnetic drivers.

The S12’s better mid-bass composure may trigger a chain effect in that the midrange is not masked and therefore clearer. Its transition from bass to lower midrange is much smoother compared the abrupt change in the Timeless…which results in a much more cohesive, balanced sound…which is the dealmaker/breaker for me.

Female voice remain articulate and lean, but are more forward and intimate, and a tad brighter, livelier, and spicier than in the Timeless. Vocals have a perceived higher energy in the S12, which plays them softer and therefore with lesser note definition. They are more prone to sibilance and shoutiness with unfavourable sources in the S12, but this has not been a problem for me.

Treble is also a mixed bad with the S12. Whilst extension and resolution are great, the transients are a bit fast up there and occasionally also yield that metallic sheen (“tizziness”) as in the Timeless.

As to technicalities. Staging is rather average, but tall, and reasonably deep (much deeper than in the Timeless). I find the staging adequate. Timbre is ok but benefits from a warm source such as the DragonFly Cobalt or Apogee Groove. Separation and instrument placement are ok. Resolution is absolutely superb and dwarves the Timeless’.

The Timeless, overall, sound a bit darker and less dynamic, more laid back but less composed than the more forward S12, which runs more into danger of being shouty. S12’s attack is crisper, Timeless have the softer transients. Note weight in the midrange is about even and could be better in both models.

When compared to a photo, the Timeless is more blurred and the S12 is sharper…but some may find the S12 overpixelated.


LETSHUOER S12 and 7Hz Timeless


In summary, the S12 has the better composed bass, crisper attack, deeper stage, and better resolution than the Timeless. Everything is tighter in the S2. Compared to a car’s suspension, the Timeless is a comfortable SUV and the S12 is a sporty BMW.

In the end, it comes down to personal taste: pick your poison!

More comparisons...

We are in for some surprises. The S12 killed my beloved Final E5000 with my Questyle QP1R reference dap in these aspects: staging, transparency, really good transients, and upper extension. I hope I just had a bad morning when testing these two. The Final has a narrower stage lesser upper extension, less clarity…but more bass quantity.

The KBEAR TRI I3 Pro Pro is less cohesive than the S12 with a narrower stage, lesser resolution, and less midrange clarity. The I3 Pro is less balanced. Resolution is much better in the S12, which also has the crisper attack with more pizazz.

The Moondrop KATO offers a narrower stage because of early treble rolloff. It is slimmer in the bass and the upper midrange but still comes across as not less shouty. It also lacks richness in the lower midrange, a full orchestra’s crescendo comes across as somewhat lean in comparison. The S12 excels in resolution. It is much more bass dominated without overbearing midbass. Higher notes in horn sections as not as incisive as in the Kato, which is a bit scratchy in the upper mids in comparison.

The $600 LETSHUOER EJ07M shows better carved out vocals, is less bassy, has a narrower and deeper soundstage, better dynamics, and better resolution. Its presentation is lean(er) but never on the analytical side.

Disclaimer

The LETSHUOER S12 was sent to me unsolicited by the company. The 7Hz Timeless wass on private loan from Head-Fier Rockwell75. A huge thanks to both. At the time of publication, this S12 specimen was on a “West of Centre” Canadian tour to Rockwell75 and co-blogger Biodegraded.

Get the Shuoer S12 from letsshuoer.net
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Otto Motor
Otto Motor
That's ok, Arnold :).
logiatype
logiatype
This review is SPOT ON re the Timeless vs the S12. Tighter is the exact word that came to mind as soon as I popped the S12 in. So much so that I knew I'd read this exact statement somewhere and had to come back to confirm it.

I know to trust your ears going forward.
Otto Motor

SammyG

New Head-Fier
Bridging the gap between budget and flagship
Pros: Detail Retrieval, balanced sound, value
Cons: Comfort is about average, accessories are acceptable, isolation is below average
Sound: This is the first exposure I have had to planar IEMs, and I am pretty blown away. They seem to have the punch of single DD, the speed of BA, and the treble extension of ESTs. But, unlike many tribreds, this earphone has no coherency issues as all sound is being produced by a single driver. The sound signature is largely neutral, with a tasteful amount of bass boost and a bit of extra energy in the lower treble. The result is a very pleasant sound that has a lively characteristic to it. The sound stage is wide but not very deep. The imaging is above average but not pin-point accurate. Detail retrieval is about on par with the Moondrop S8 to my ears, but not quite as clear as the MEST. Lastly isolation is below average for an IEM. With 2 vents per side, they almost give an open back headphone feel.

Fit/Comfort: The all metal shells feel cool to the touch. The ergonomics are good but not great. After about a half hour of listening, I tend to get some discomfort in my upper antihelix. Also the ear hooks are a little loose, and from time to time flop over the top of my ear.

Accessories: The accessories aren't going to win any awards. You get 2 sets of silicone ear tips, 1 set of foam tips, a cheap feeling case, and a 2 pin cable. Besides the ear hook issue I mentioned earlier, I don't have any complaints for the cable. It has a nice 2-tone look and a rubber-like coating.

Conclusion: Is this a perfect earphone? No, there are certainly areas where it could be improved (especially concerning fit). But I don't find any of my nitpicks as deal breakers. And the sound punches well above its price. I know that is cliché to say, but it's tuning and technical capabilities best match units I've tried in the $500-$800 range. So in this case, it truly does.

Infoseeker

Headphoneus Supremus
The Planar that brought it beyond a closed-in proof of concept.
Pros: .
Tonality--Keeping a good balance of organic presence without being too polite where it's too fatigueless.

Dynamics--Notes will stand out that will not be compressed into the mix.
Very special how it panes the stereo image from left to right. It surrounds you really really well, but not in depth/layering.

Beautiful package & cable (but the cable sheathing is kind of icky "plasticky" to the touch).
Cons: .
-Last Octave treble sizzle for those that are sensitive. (Starting somewhere 5kHz & beyond. Sounds like a distracting forward pink noise/white noise kind of way)

-Lack of tactile feeling. (Not necessarily a con, could arguably be in balance; as it's not an extreme V tonality. Is better with certain silicone "reverby" tips). Snare/Tom drums missing a dry hit & overtones.
Purchased by my own money. Bought directly from LetShuoer's website LetShuoer.net. So no conflict of interest.

While I said no conflict of interest, I am a fan of their previous work of the EJ07. So I am a fan of the brand. I pre-ordered this iem quickly when it went up.

Bass:
Bass is both high shelved but lacks a sense of a wet rounded bass hit. I feel planar drivers, like BAs, will always be sensitive to some level of seal leak and need some kind of extra bass in compensation for it.
The bass rounded note hit tactility is quite polite. Might need to use foam tips for an extra seal.
EDIT: Using reverb-inducing ultra-thin silicone tips help make this iem's bass hit better and more tactile....Spinfit tips, specifically cp1025 models. Oh wait, I'm silly, the supplied soft black tips with the collapsible core achieve this too, but the soft black tips push the sizzle of the iem, into the sibilance region, so still a new problem.

Also I noticed bass behavior seems reflective of the source & filters. My warmer Qudelix gives a nicer bass, my ibasso dap when I use the filter behind Nuetron-player's DoP dsd128 mode also makes the bass much better on the Shuoer S12.

Moving on. Bass snap for Tom drums exhibit nice detail, that whipping sound tied with what I am guessing is in the 6kHz region for snap.

Mids:
Vocals are effortless and not forward sounding (nor lost in the mix). Really good positioning. Very organic/"right" feeling if that makes any sense.

The vocals are not the sweetest I heard. Among the cheaper iems, the Moondrop Aria still has better vocals (if only for the sake of just listening to sweet vocals).

The S12 vocals are specifically nice for their positioning in the stage.


Instruments initial attacks have good dynamic presence & are not getting masked. But like the bass before, there is a limit to how tactile things feel (including for the harmonics and overtones).

Nothing in the presentation feels overly forward feeling. Nor do things feel compressed like with iems with little contrast in their tonality's upper-mids region.

Treble:
Sizzle. Might need a peak removed for my ears, either that 8kHz peak or more likely the 15kHz one for the sizzle.

Coming back to my repeating about tactile feeling and metallic sense. The IEM's tonality probably has less gain in the 3kHz-6kHz lower treble regions. This iem doesn't have a lot of those metallic details.





Discussion:
As for the positives. There is something interesting of how it stereo pans left & right. It has a good gimmick of how it pans things into existence into the stage field. Similar gimmick to Final Audio stuff. Exceptional dynamics in that sense.

I mentioned about the bass, not tactile feeling somehow. And this iem might need more lower treble/upper mids before the 6kHz. I guess I am too used to V signatures iems lately?

This iem does not lack presence in those regions, just I feel that I would personally want more for myself. Where is becomes problem about those regions are how they contrast too much with what comes after; letting the last octave treble sizzle stand out.

Funny take, I late tried this iem with my Qudelix 5k Bluetooth transceiver. And streaming off YouTube. The Qudelix being a warm & dark-ish source & YouTube 15kHz cut-off makes the iem sizzle-less. Haha


Sounds great like this. (Earlier I was using my Ibasso DX300MAX SS dap.) Even the bass is better rounded, not sure if that is the Qudelix 5k is extra warm? Or when this Planar driver doesn't have to playback an airy sizzle then it behaves better powered in the bass?



Disclaimer: The extra tactile feeling in the presence region that I want, might be cursed for other people, and the S12 as is, could be defined as the more normal approach. So I am not saying this as a critique but lets put it as a subjective take.

My EQ addresses my subjective concerns.

Especially the piercing-sizzle late treble.
Screenshot_20220126-230905.png
Pregain set at -6db.

The bass shelf doesn't actually reach +12 in the presentable range, but if you are worried, then set the pregain at -12db and move the frequency of the low-shelf up until 60Hz if you want more bass.

Other than the extra sizzle, do take notice that last octave sizzle I mentioned in the cons (more a concern for younger people?). That nocks a little of the grade for me.

And my subjective preferences critiques nocks it down again, but it may not be relevant for other people's takes. You can ignore if it is what you like.

Put Spinfits truly wireless tips (cp1025) for a different tip on the S12.

This seems to have worked out better. No idea if the TWS cp1025 are as upper-mids/lower-treble transparent as the other models.

More importantly:
Thin silicone tips like Spinfits CP1025, tips that do the bass reverb thing (Unlike foam tips), seem to give back a small step of bass tactility to the S12. Also a warm source.


Miscellaneous:
When taken out of the shipping parcel, it was wrapped in this cool branded bubble wrap!
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Box pictures & unboxing steps:
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Unboxed 1st view:
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Fully disassembled:
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Cable has a thick plastic sheathing that reminds me of the old Hibiscus iem cable. Other than the thick plastic sticky feeling, it behaves really well coiling.
20220112_083351.jpg


2-pin cable. Red for Right. Not extra dot to help with insertion orientation, but there is the ear-guiding ear hook wrapping that will give you the orientation via the only way to put them/wear them.
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Supplied tips are nice and give a fit & seal. Especially the clear ones with the solid core.
Other two is some good dekoni style foam tips.
And a soft black silicone tip.
20220112_082330.jpg

The black ones have a more softer core you can collapse easily squeezing. Not sure what their specialty is for. It's all one piece the core & the outside.
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The iem:
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The tuning air ports: One by the 2-pin connectors. You can see the careful holed-filter with control of how much air may pass the port.
Also note the notched nozzle lip for eartips to grab onto.
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Another that faces inwards by the nozzle, that sits against your concha when donned. Will this get blocked?
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The nozzle: With a filter plate:
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How the iem looks worn:
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Packaged with its cable color scheme, it's quite fashionable if you ask me.
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racerm5
Thanks for the quick reply, sorry for my slow thanks. Yes, unfortunately I am restricted to something around the $200 or less range. I do appreciate hearing about how good much higher end IEMs could be. Who knows we might win the lottery someday ha! One last question - do you think the TRN MT1 would be better than the s12 for jazz and classical? My biggest concern from reading reviews and listening to a few demos is that female jazz vocals, and a couple opera soprano's might not have a sweet and ethereal sound that I'm hoping for.
R
racerm5
Sorry, one last question...I've read s12 comparisons to the timeless. One reviewer of only the timeless said it was much better, less sibalence better soundstage and a few other comments with a $40 upgraded cable. Timeless + cable would be a big stretch financially, but I could try to save up if you think that combo would greatly outclass the s12 (+ perhaps an upgraded cable).
Infoseeker
Infoseeker
@racerm5 S12 is good, but the matter of more or less sibilance between Timeless and S12 depends on luck with your fit it seems.

This is a big margin in variability in people reporting between which is more/less sibilant. It'll come down to luck with your inner ear fit.

S12 may seem smaller, but it rrally comes down to the nozzle-angle and not the size of the iem shell for this fit-issue. Some people ears may fit the Timeless nozzle angle better, and some will fit the S12 better. Human ears are not clone of one another.

There doesnt seem to be clean conscience winner between them.
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