Lime Ears Pneuma

General Information

  • One titanium dynamic driver for sub-bass
  • Four balanced armature drivers
  • Four-way passive hybrid crossover
  • Switchable subwoofer dynamic driver
  • Utilising VariBore and
  • BAM technology.
With the new Pneuma our goal was to create an IEM to enjoy.
Thanks to the 7mm titanium dynamic driver responsible for the sub bass frequencies, low-end is more pronounced and punchy than every other Lime Ears monitor. The sparkly treble region results in a very dynamic, yet sophisticated sound signature that is very easy to listen to.
In terms of the design, we really wanted to create something inspired by sacred geometry.
Also, since it is a hybrid design using a dynamic driver we focused on the concept of dynamism. We imagined colour-shifting red to be a colour of dynamism (a bit like molten lava), paired with a Seed Of Life symbol representing creation.
Having that in mind, we wanted Pneuma to look dynamic, spicy and sophisticated at the same time, pushing our boundaries of design creation further than ever.

Switch changes level of lowest frequencies (approx. 3-6dB<100Hz). You can also use it to make changes depending on:
  • the listening level – to make use of the Fletcher-Munson law (for lower listening levels, bass can be boosted to make it better audible)
  • the level and quality of bass in the recording (if the bass is well recorded, it can increase its strength. On the other hand, if the material is not properly mixed and lows are becoming boomy and get out of control, they can be trimmed down)
  • the external noise levels (if you are using your monitors in a noisy environment: airplane, subway, etc., where the low-end noise masks the lows, you might want to switch them up).
Extreme sound source separation, natural width, incomparable depth.

The design is inspired by sacred geometry, but tonality is a completely different approach. In comparison to our neutral and natural Aether R, Pneuma sounds more pronounced, lively and direct.
In “neutral” switch position Pneuma is quite a similar sounding iem to Aether R in terms of tonality, with more emphasis on sub bass and highs
With the switch turned on, you’re getting all the goodness and physical punch thanks to opening the dynamic driver a bit. In this switch position Pneuma is a monster of musicality, creating a very lively and spectacular sound.


Latest reviews


1000+ Head-Fier
Lime Ears Pneuma: Excellence in Musicality
Pros: Holographic Imaging
Transparent with Great Separation
Wide Soundstage
Natural Lush Mid's
Deep Sub Bass Rumble and Growl (Quantity)
Detailed Punchy Mid Bass (Quality)
Female and Male Vocals Excel
Non Fatiguing Listen
Pw Audio Stock Cable
Cons: Lacks a bit of Extension in the Treble
Fit can be fussy, Big Shells
Slight BA Timbre at times


*This Review Kit was provided by via Apos Audio and Lime Ears for my honest and genuine review. I was not paid or given any incentive.*

Limes Ears, a Polish company is a brand known to take its time. They are not one to jump on hype trains, instead they rather skillfully and masterfully take their time and give us tuneful and engaging transducers. Pneuma being their first ever hybrid. Even if it arrived on the scene later than most hybrids, this is by and far one the best I have heard.

Graph: *courtesy of Tech Power Up*


The search for the perfect iem is one that eludes many of us in the hobby. As we are always searching for a tweak here or a tweak there. I myself am guilty of the catch and release culture that this hobby can elicit if curiosity gets the best of me, which let’s be honest, is unhinged. So I feel like I am always searching, then comes along Lime Ears Pneuma with its bass boost switch and I have to say, this one took me by complete surprise. If I were to ever say there could be one monitor that would cover all my bases, it would be this one. That is a huge merit not to be taken lightly. The musicality of this monitor is fluid and flowing. It has been compared to vintage tube sound and I have to agree. It is a truly beautiful rendition of reference with a musical forward presentation. The engagement factor is huge but does not overshadow detail, resolution or technicalities. The thought and care that went into the tuning, the tech and the build is nothing short of deserving a standing ovation.



Sub bass is a shining star here, especially once the switch has been engaged which attenuates the lower shelf 4-5db and only in the lowest regions (100hz). It is quite remarkable how this boost doesn’t bleed into the mid’s. The reason for this is due to the 7mm titanium driver solely handling the sub bass regions, while the rest of the lower frequencies are handled by two BA’s. However what it does do, is infect the spaces in the FR with a soft rumble, making this comparable to the Sub bass rumbles of EE LX without the bloat. This is highly impressive. There is no expense of detail or resolution. With the switch in the downward or off position, Pneuma comes across very “audiophile." Lime Ears state the switch is the ‘Fletcher/Munson Law-(FML)’ as we get older it becomes more difficult to hear the lower frequencies and at the flip of the switch makes them more audible. This is true, but also for modern music the switch engaged really makes for a more “fun” engagement factor. I feel this will be split down the middle for who prefers what. I have used the switch in both positions and really enjoy having the option while also being easy to use while wearing.

The bass as a whole is very balanced with the Mid bass decaying fairly quick as too not inflict an abundance of warmth but just enough to take off any trace of coldness. The weight of the sub-bass is very well done. It is not so linear where the detail layering of the sub-bass is heard but is more felt. The Ti 7mm DD although smaller than most DD is exceptionally well controlled thanks to the technology implemented here. The 2-BA's handling the Mid bass do so with a quicker decay letting detail and clarity of the mid bass to come through, giving some linearity to the whole of the bass frequency. I really adore what Lime Ears has done here by separating the low end in this manner, as I get my craving of quantity and quality. I do not think anyone listening to this set will have much to complain about unless absolute linearity is what you crave.



The mid’s are very natural and provide a great center image for vocalist to stand on. Male and Female voices alike sound convincing and full without weakness. I would say the vocals are a tad pushed back but not too much so. The macro detail is very vivid as well as the micro detail layered in between (Anna savage licking her lips). Guitars have a meatiness and swagger to them. Cello and violins have an aching tonality that comes across very emotional, especially with the Bass switch engaged. Pneuma is very resolute with a great coherency. It may not match the best of the best here, instead preferring musicality over pure technicality. The timbral nuance in this tuning is quite the achievement as this monitor is ALIVE with PRaT.

The lower midrange dip helps give body to instruments and a heft to male vocals all while providing a balanced note weight which slowly rises to give gain and power to female vocals. This slow and steady rise in my opinion is an optimal tuning choice for what Lime Ears wanted to achieve with this monitor. The slow rise avoids harshness and peakiness that could otherwise be wincing. The vocalists are not completely locked in to the stage but still enough grip for a sense of stage without overthinking or analyzing. The stage here is above average and the imaging is spot on. Not the best but it does not need to be with this presentation. There is an ethereal transparency in the mid’s that is quite addicting. There is a good sense of separation between the instruments and vocals. The vocals while being back a bit are the focus, however nothing gets lost. Pneuma has fast transient response. Drums sound authentic and powerful; full and forceful. The Dynamic range reminds me of the 64 Audio’s U12T. Everything works together with ease, loud segments not overpowering more quiet elements of the FR. This is due in part to a great depth and height in the stage. There is plenty of room while not over doing it with pin point technicality that can often take me out of the music.



The treble is so smooth, tube and vintage sounding. A perfect combination. Just enough sparkle and air to keep me engaged but not overly so that I am distracted by it. My nitpick is that I do recognize that good ole BA timbre giving off a bit of elastic sound at time, although very rare. This is my only gripe within this frequency range, other than that it’s a safe and pleasant one, which could be a good or a bad thing depending on who you are talking to. I think this is a monitor I can listen to for 8 hours with zero fatigue and be completely immersed and happy. I do not sense any special sauce in the treble other than its a great contender for the most cohesive all rounder I have heard other than the Traillii. Big talk there. Traillii taking the cake for air and extension but the vintage tonality in the lower treble I also hear with Traillii. The upper treble does not match the ethereal quickness of a estat but I think the choice for a BA was smart for the tuning. As the main focus is the midrange. If the lower treble had more energy, the midrange tonality would come off less full and life-like. The lower treble is extremely well done, giving vocalists that naturalness and authority. Acoustic guitars and horns and piano have a life like quality to them, the tonality is spot on never aggressive or intense, but just right.

Cymbal strikes sound natural and not splashy. A little subdued but nonetheless authentic sounding. Through all my sibilance tests, I never experienced any sibilance, not even close. Treble is a fairly dry presentation, which could be a deal breaker for some. However it is snappy and very organic. Lime Ears set out to create a tube like experience in an iem. In my humble opinion they have done that. I grew up with 2-channel systems and have one myself and this is a great impression of that sound.



Lime Ears uses their own “VariBore” Technique, giving each section of the frequency band its own bore opening a specific diameter to elicit a coherent and fluid sound flow to the listeners inner ear. They have also engineered what they have called “BAM” or “Backfire Acoustically-damped Membrane.” This technique greatly improves the bass control by using the energy from the back of the monitors guts while damping the membrane with open cell memory foam on the DD to decrease acoustic resonances. You will not see a vent on the Pneuma, which aides in its sublime sub bass tactility, with zero pressure build-up. So we have one 7mm titanium diaphragm dynamic driver for the sub bass, 2-BA for the mid bass, 1-BA for the mid’s and 1-BA for the highs incorporating a 4-way passive crossover.

The time and effort of the tech incorporated into this transducer has really paid off. The bass has depth, natural decay and punchy impact. But never crowding out the rest. Pneuma has above average stage width, wonderful depth and height with great imaging that envelopes you with a holographic stage. There is a bit of a mid suck out creating a bit more body, a fairly gentle pinna region, with a sharper drop in the presence region creating some of that holographic feeling of a wide open stage without sacrificing piano harmonics. The rise to the lower treble is balanced and a good sense of musicality. Upper treble has a fair amount of energy and a tinge of air and sparkle. In my opinion more like a naturally distorted guitar tube amp. There isn’t a ton of air but very natural and full. I was quite surprised at first listen how much I enjoyed the Pneuma as with most new monitors it takes me some time to understand what I am hearing, not with Pneuma, I knew I would need to have this is my stable almost immediately. There is definitely a delicate balancing act at play here and Lime Ears have pulled off something quite engaging without sacrificing transparency, detail, resolution or coherency.

Pneuma resolves extremely well and I honestly hear very little lack of coherency, almost never. Separation is above average and while not matching 64 Audio’s U12T on this level, Pneuma’s layering is never left wanting. I am extremely pleased with the Dynamics of this monitor. For me, Dynamics play a huge part in my engagement factor, and Pneuma is up there with the best of them. I would summarize Pneuma's tuning as "just right" it is a extremely balanced one that is extremely pleasing on all fronts.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Pneuma, so much so that I went seeking my own set and I will have one arriving to me in a matter of days.


Thank you to, Apos Audio and Lime Ears for this tour review kit and giving me the opportunity to hear this masterful monitor.

*Reviewed in Complete Stock form, with stock PW Audio No.10 4-Wire 2-pin 3.5mm cable with stock spinfits in medium size, using Uapp bitperfect on Cayin n6ii w/ R01 module and Roon to Destktop Denafrips Pontus 2 with Topping A90 amp.*

Music Used for Review:

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals-Beautiful Sorta
Renaud Garcia-Fons- Bekaa
Greentea Peng- Dingaling
Dave Holland- Hands
Eagles- Hotel California (Live)
Johnny Cash- Hurt
Brandee Younger- Reclamation
Joni Mitchell- Help Me
Lady Blackbird- It’ll Never Happen Again
Bill Evans Trio- Gloria’s Step (take2)
Bruce Springsteen- New York City Serenade
James Blake- Limit To Tour Love
Damien Rice- I Dont Want to Change You
Mahler- Symphony No. 9 Adagio
Anna B Savage- Corncrakes
Bob Dylan- Man in The Long Black Coat
Last edited:
Awesome review!
Great review of a brand I have never once heard of.

Now I want to have a listen myself!
I have a feeling that they will rebrand to ”Lime”

“Lime Ears” sounds like a bacterial infection.


Reviewer at Twister6
Pneuma - Lime Ears' new flagship in audiophile town!
Pros: Build quality
- Premium unique Signature Lime Ears stock shell design
- Comfortable fit
- Well balanced-musical sound signature
- Fun Ti DD sub-bass rumble and BA mid-bass punch
- Natural sounding midrange with good tonality
- Good quality treble tuning
- Good punchy note weight as well as resolution and instrument definition
- Premium PW Audio No. 10 cable and Pelican 1010 case.
Cons: Nitpicking - More musical than outright technical which can be seen as a pro or a con depending on preferences.
- IMO, a bit of zingy boost in upper treble could've been the icing on top of an already fun sound signature (cake?).
- Even though it comes with 3 different types of premium branded ear tips, I think more ear tip options like Azla Sedna, Spiral Dots, Final-E etc. can be included in the asking price to offer more options for fit and signature tweaking, especially since they pair even better than the stock ones.
My Background.

I am a professional musician, producer and audio engineer with experience in the performing, recording and pro-audio industry. I test products on a technical and musical level but try to write reviews as simple as possible from a music fan's perspective.


I would like to thank Lime Ears for sending me Pneuma to test and review. I am not affiliated with the company or any of its sellers and write this review with an unbiased opinion regardless of how the review turns out.

Genre preferences.

I majorly listen to rock, acoustic, pop, metal, and sometimes popular EDM songs doing the rounds on the charts.

About Lime Ears.

Lime Ears was started by Emil Stolecki who is himself a musician, bass player as well as an Acoustics Engineer by education. In case you haven’t noticed, Lime is basically Emil spelt backwards. They are based out of Warsaw, Poland and have a very simple but intriguing line up of 5 models, Λ (lambda), Ψ (psi), Model X, Aether R and Pneuma. Lime Ears cater to both pro-musicians and audiophiles, and make CIEMs as well as universal models with very attractive and intriguing designs. Some of Poland and Europe's breakthrough metal bands like Katatonia and Decapitated endorse Lime Ears and can be seen sporting their IEMs in their concerts.

Links - Lime Ears Official Website | Lime Ears Pneuma (€1800)

Pneuma Box Open

Technical Specifications.
  • One 7mm Titanium dynamic driver for sub-bass
  • Four balanced armature drivers
  • Four-way passive hybrid crossover
  • Switchable subwoofer dynamic driver
  • Utilizing VariBore and BAM technology.

Lime Ears' philosophy for tuning Pneuma.

In my chats with Emil talking about Pneuma, he told me that he not only wanted to create a hybrid IEM that is tuned to be fun, enjoyable and musical but also one that sounds natural with good tonality and timbre of instruments and low-end that is more pronounced and punchier than any other Lime Ears monitor they’ve created. Also, with him being an acoustics engineer, he's always looking to create IEMs with a realistic sense of space and close to how different speakers react in different acoustic spaces/rooms.

With the Covid-19 lockdowns in place, they experimented with multiple dynamic drivers and crossover points to achieve the bass sound production he was wanting. After multiple prototypes, they finalised on a 7mm Titanium dynamic driver which is specifically made for Lime Ears as per their specs. What is interesting is that they decided to tune it to only handle the sub-bass section for that natural DD sub-bass rumble and dynamics while a complimenting dual-Balanced Armature was tuned to handle the rest of the bass range.

Lime Ears Tech Inside.

Lime Ears have implemented some new tech that they've named and trademarked as BAM™ (Backfiring Acoustically-damped Membrane) which is basically them utilising the energy radiated by back of the transducers membrane. This engineering solution was inspired by bass reflex enclosures of studio monitors and produced extraordinary results as per Emil's R&D. Additionally dynamic woofer has been damped with carefully selected open-cell memory foam which helped decrease acoustic resonances inside of the enclosure, which in turn improves stereo separation and helps the soundstage to go deeper and wider.

Pneuma also has Lime Ears standard Varibore tech which is an acoustical design of utilising different diameter sound bores for each frequency band. For example, they use 2mm bore for high frequencies in combination with internal acoustical damping which results in open sounding smooth highs.

THE SWITCH - Switch changes level of lowest frequencies. Lime Ears say that it is approx. 3-6dB < 100Hz but I perceive a 4-5dB low-shelf boost at around 150-200Hz (if you aren't aware how a low-shelf boost looks in a Parameteric EQ, please google). It is implemented to provide flexibility for the following,
  • As a compensation switch as per the Fletcher-Munson curve theory. Basically at lower volumes, human ears don’t hear the bass quantity as nicely and for that you can flip the bass switch up to give the bass a slight boost for it to be more audible.
  • To manipulate the bass level according to the quality of bass in the recording. If the bass quantity in a song isn't as much as you like, it can increase its strength. On the other hand, if the material is not mixed properly and lows become boomy and get out of control, they can be trimmed down.
  • To compensate for external noise levels. For example, if you are using your IEM in a noisy environment: airplane, subway, etc., where the low-end noise masks the lows, you can use the switch to make up for that.

Pneuma Solo 2

Included in the box.

Lime Ears Pneuma’s box is simple but stylish with tasteful usage of the colour green here and there because after all we’re talking about a brand called ‘LIME’. As soon as you open the classy cardboard box with Lime Ears branding, you’re welcomed by a Pelican 1010 case put in lime green confetti which actually looks like a bed of grass. Even the included Spin Fits are different shades of green to denote their size. Here is a list of all that Pneuma box contains -
  • Pneuma
  • Pelican 1010 case
  • Cloth lace pouch x 2 (One for ear tips and one for IEM+cable)
  • Ear tips – 3 Symbio W hybrids | 4 Green-coloured Spin Fits | 1 Comply Foam
  • Cleaning tool
  • Emil Stolecki business card
  • Warranty card

Pneuma Box 1.jpegPneuma Accessories.jpeg

Build Quality.

Shells – Pneuma comes stock with a newly developed ‘Signature Lime Ears design’ inspired by sacred geometry and seed of life patterns, which is very cool because Lime Ears Signature designs are otherwise €100 extra per side. The diffused multi-colour design funnily reminds me of Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto era where the band’s stage as well as the instruments were painted in similar trippy colours by an artist called Paris. I liked that so much that I even contemplated painting one of my Stratocasters in a similar way. Since that would’ve been an expensive affair and could’ve gone south real bad, I think Pneuma will safely fill that artistic hole in my life of having something I owned painted in similar cool trippy colours. Jokes aside, Pneuma’s design is one of nicest innovative and artistic stock shell designs I’ve come across recently which doesn’t demand a massive upcharge as it is included in the stock pricing. It is also unique enough for everyone to recognise the IEM from a quick look.

The build quality of the shells are top notch. They are made out of resin but the way they are hand-made and lacquered makes them seem more solidly built than a lot of other universal resin IEMs I’ve tried. Maybe their weight adds on to that confidence as the shells have a reassuring weight but aren't heavy per se. The artistic colouring, cool grainy ‘Seed of Life’ pattern and overall finishing on these shells is very well thought out and executed. All curves and contours are very smooth. Lime Ears logo and Pneuma’s logo on top part of the shell is also very nicely implemented with the same grainy font as the Seed of life pattern.

2 Pneuma Right

Nozzles - What I want to point out is Lime Ears’ attention to detail which is very nicely seen in their usage of their characteristic smoke coloured metal nozzles which come on all their universal IEMs. Now they could’ve gone with simple resin nozzles which would’ve been a continuation of the resin body and cost them nothing extra to make but they made the effort of going and asking multiple CNC-milling companies to make these nozzles to their specifications, where only one of them agreed to do it for the small quantities Lime Ears were wanting to order. The nozzles are very nicely milled, plated with Ruthenium and finished to perfection. The nozzles take on ear tips really well and have a nice lip to hold them in place. The quality of the nozzles instils confidence and negates my fear of accidentally chipping the resin when tip rolling like a madman.

Here's something funny - Emil told me that the galvanisation process is carried out by a bunch of badass old ladies smoking cigarettes in an old mill on the outskirts of Warsaw. He went into detail of how the mill is old and vintagey and how those ladies work in there. I can't tell you the kind of vivid image that story created in my mind. It was like they were in a Guy Ritchie movie! Lol! For this reason, I've been pushing Emil to start a blog of his own with such stories, to give us all more insight into the inner world of Lime Ears and the IEM manufacturing business. He surely has a knack for storytelling.

Pneuma Nozzles

Cable – Since this is Pneuma’s flagship IEM, they decided to include a premium cable in the package – PW Audio No. 10, which is PW Audio’s 10 Anniversary edition cable. PW Audio has kept the materials used in making this cable a mystery and the only information known publicly is that the cable features single crystal OCC wires and that it uses four 24AWG thickness conductors with a fibre core for extra strength. This is a very nice addition because I think all IEMs in this price range should come with nice premium stock cables like this but a lot of them sadly don't. The cable is very supple, easy to wrap with nice good quality 2-pin connectors and gold plated jack. The chin slider has PW Audio logo on one side and Lime Ears logo on the other. What is most important is that Pneuma pairs very nicely with this cable and I kinda preferred the ergonomics and pairing of this cable with Pneuma over many other 3rd part premium cables I own.

Pneuma Cable Collage 1.jpgPneuma Cable Collage 2.jpg

Case – It’s the popular Pelican 1010 case which is one of my favourite IEM carrying cases too. They are extremely well built and comfortably store the Pneuma, cable and ear tips.

Pneuma Case

Fit, Comfort and Noise Isolation.

Pneuma fits my ears very comfortably owing to its ergonomic semi-custom shell design, which is better than Aether R for my ears. Pneuma's shells are a smidgen bigger than Aether R's but it is the shell depth mainly that fills up my concha better and along with the optimum nozzle length, helps provide a very nice snug fit. They remain comfortable for hours on a stretch. Isolation depends on the choice of ear tips but for me personally, tips like Symbio W, INAIRS foam, Comply foam, Azla Sedna, etc, provide isolation close to what I get with CIEMs.

Sound Analysis.

Summary – Pneuma has very nice natural tonality, resolution and the kind of character that sounds like a fun, slightly fuller and musical take on reference-ish sound. It has a very well-balanced signature with a nice controlled bass boost, slightly fuller lower-midrange body in the 250-400Hz than Harman-neutral, well defined & forward upper-midrange and just the right amount of neutral treble presentation which is neither too smooth nor too sparkly but is exciting and enables good clarity and detail retrieval. It is a versatile IEM, kind of like a jack of all trades, as it doesn’t try to be the most technical or the most unique, playing every genre with equal finesse and enthusiasm. Pneuma in isolation by itself has good technicalities but focuses even more on being musical and delivering that big sound that is highly musical, enjoyable and fun. Be it audiophiles or musicians, Pneuma will work very well for people who prefer a musical monitor with good technicalities rather than an outright technical one with lesser musicality. What I personally like a lot in Pneuma is its realistic impact and note weight of instruments.

Ear tips Selection | Quick tip - Though Pneuma isn’t very tip sensitive, it still benefits nicely from the right tip selection. Sadly, Spin Fits ear tips don’t fit my ear canals that well. I can somehow manage a decent fit with one of the sizes but since they don’t isolate as nicely as other ear tips, I keep fiddling with them. Stock Symbio W, Comply ear tips as well as Spiral Dots fit very well but I like Azla Sedna Light, Fearless green bore ear tips and INAIRS foam ear tips most for the fit and sound signature. Probably Azla Sedna Light and INAIRS foam ear tips the best for sound as well as fit.

I want to quickly get into specifics, so let’s dig in deeper. Also, I’m writing the review with Switch in OFF position mostly and will add the effects of turning it ON where needed.

1 Pneuma Left

Bass – Holy smokes sub-bass! If you're coming from Lime Ears’ own Aether R or IEMs with a slight sub-bass roll off or more linear/DF-neutral IEMs, Pneuma probably has the sub-bass you’ve been missing and wanting. Pneuma is tuned slightly more towards the fun side and as a result, you have a nice tasteful bass boost here. It isn’t a bass-y IEM per se but the bass is boosted a couple of dBs above neutral and is well present in songs but never in your face. Where Harman Target style IEMs have a bass shelf of around 6dBs starting around 200Hz, Pneuma has the same starting around 350-400Hz or so. As a result, you hear sub-bass as well as a bit of mid-bass above neutral, with a fuller bass character than Harman-neutral IEMs like Moondrop S8. What really intrigued me in case of sub-bass is its positioning in the soundstage, which is placed deeper, occupying the background and isn't in your face upfront.

Since generally Dynamic Drivers (DD) are more popular for their rumble & slam and Balanced Armatures (BA) for their speed, resolution and details, Lime Ears interestingly decided to use the Titanium DD just for sub-bass duties and a complimenting dual-BA to cover the rest of the bass spectrum. The sub-bass is tuned in a way that it hits hard, is well present, goes really deep, where you not only hear the rumble very clearly but can even start feeling it in your body at louder volumes. Mid-bass isn't tuned to play second fiddle to the sub-bass either. It too has a nice tiny boost and hits hard with very good resolution and details. Overall bass sounds fuller than Harman-neutral and highlights nice bass playing with good extension, layering and dynamics overall. Sub-bass provides a nice smooth rumble whereas mid-bass has crunchy quick attack. What Pneuma does really well is reproduces the bass mixed in the songs very dynamically and musically with a very realistic note weight and slam. Kicks too have good dynamic and fuller impactful hits.

Even though Pneuma is versatile, its bass shines particularly nicely with good pop and EDM records like Walk the Moon’s ‘Talking is Hard’, Chainsmokers’ ‘Sick Boy’ and ‘World War Joy’, ZEDD’s ‘Clarity’ as well as Linkin Park’s ‘One More Light’. Bass in all these records have a tasteful, good quality boost which is fun and exciting rather than bass head levels of in your face quantity. As for Rock music, bass has a larger than life character in Karnivool’s ‘Simple Boy’ and ‘Goliath. It sounds big like it does in 64 Audio’s U12t but with a bit more fullness in comparison. When the bass starts playing in One Republic’s ‘Rescue Me’ at 0:48, it not only has very good mid-bass definition but also heart moving rumble. Bass in Dua Lipa’s ‘Don’t Start Now’ has very good attack and definition with a very fun character that you kinda want to start disco dancing like Jimmy Fallon. Haha.

Switch - When the Switch is flipped ON, I perceive a 4-5dB low-shelf boost at around 150-200Hz which lifts not just the sub-bass but also a bit of the mid-bass. What I hear the boost doing most is increasing the physicality of bass, filling the background with sub-bass rumble, kicks getting fatter with even more punch and overall bass body getting a tad fatter and impactful too. With EDM tracks, it definitely enters bass head territory for me personally but I quite liked it with The Chainsmokers' tracks 'Side Effects' and 'Somebody', which have really good bass tones and the switch just pushes and amplifies those tones really nicely. Preferring it ON or OFF will depend on one’s preferences as well as the song’s mix. I personally keep flipping it on and off to check but mostly use Pneuma with the Switch OFF with most Rock and Metal songs. It however worked wonderfully in songs like Dave Matthews’ ‘Shake Me Like a Monkey’ and ‘She’ which have a rather crispy mix. So, with the Switch ON and the lower end filling up, kick drum and bass became fatter and more impactful, making the song sound punchier while keeping the overall crispy upper-end clarity intact. It works even better if you're a bass lover and want to enjoy EDM tracks by bringing the bass more upfront.

Mids - Pneuma’s lower mids have very good body for snares to have good punch and smack. Lower mids in the 250-400Hz are slightly fuller than Harman-neutral and that makes vocals and snares have the nice kind of fuller body and warmth. Upper-midrange has a very well defined forward presentation with the upper-midrange peak peaking in the 2.75k-3kHz region but pinna gain a smidgen (1-2dBs) easier than Harman/DF style of IEMs like Moondrop S8 and CustomArt Fibae7. Overall, midrange is very well layered, has very good clarity, separation as well as microdetails. Vocals are well defined and sound very natural. Instruments too have accurate and very natural tonality, timbre and dynamics.

Treble – Pneuma has the right amount of exciting lower treble energy to balance out the bass and midrange to always keep things sounding interesting and exciting. It enables songs to have very good clarity and details without sounding intrusive or peaky. The 5kHz peak enables instruments to have quick lively attack which adds onto Pneuma's strong instrument definition. Now some IEMs in this price range like 64 Audio’s U12t have sparkly upper-treble to infuse more zing and excitement into songs but Pneuma's upper treble post 12kHz is neutrally airy with good neutral top end extension. It is quite open and airy by itself but if you like, want or have gotten used to that boosted wowing extra airy upper treble that IEMs like U12t in this segment have, Pneuma might not fit those preferences perfectly. But frankly, not all IEMs can or should be tuned similarly and I personally dig both kinds and can appreciate different sound signatures for what they do well, especially when they are well executed. I personally dig Pneuma for the way the upper-treble is tuned closer to neutral, is comfortable, doesn't need extra adaptation period and how wonderfully it not only keeps all instruments sounding tonally natural but also interesting, fun and exciting. Pneuma is also quite fatigue-free for long sessions relatively. Yet, I keep wondering if a tiny boost in upper treble could've been the icing on the cake since Pneuma is already tuned to be fun and exciting but well, it's all preferences at the end of the day but the stock tuning is very cool by itself. Pneuma's treble shows its strength by enabling good resolution, clarity, exciting energy without it coming off as too bright in the top end. Pneuma also doesn’t add any sibilance or harshness from its side since its 6.5k-9kHz range is tuned to be easy but it doesn’t smoothen out song mixes either.

Soundstage and Imaging.

Pneuma has a very good natural soundstage expansion with good width as well as depth. It is slightly fuller sounding than Harman Target IEMs and that along with very good pinpoint precise imaging owing to its forward instruments definition, provides a nice holographic experience. It is not the widest or deepest sounding monitor in its range but it sounds like you're listening to records with wide near-field monitors with a nice sub-woofer or a band performing in a studio space rather a live arena.

Pneuma in hand


Lime Ears Aether R (Switch ON) - Aether R was Lime Ears' previous flagship and Pneuma is priced €600 above its asking price of €1200, which might seem like a substantial jump but Pneuma comes with a much much better PW Audio No. 10 cable which itself sells for €200 and €200 worth of Lime Ears Signature shell design as stock, which Aether R doesn't. So, if you consider these upgrades, Pneuma is kinda priced only €200 more than Aether R. Moving onto sound, Pneuma has a much better sub-bass presentation because Aether R's sub-bass kinda rolls off around 35Hz. Pneuma has more sub-bass as well as mid-bass presence, even more with its Switch ON. Lower-midrange in both sounds clean but Aether R is slightly leaner sounding in comparison. Both have forward upper-midrange presentation but Pneuma sounds more even in the 2-5kHz region. Aether R is a tiny bit peakier in lower treble compared to Pneuma whereas Pneuma has better and more natural upper treble presentation and extension. Because of all this and Pneuma being more even in its presentation, it has slightly more natural tonality and timbre of instruments. Both have good wide soundstages but Aether R's soundstage sounds slightly leaner and deeper whereas Pneuma's soundstage sounds even wider, more natural and fuller.

64 Audio U12t - Now U12t has a vast die hard following and is widely considered a TOTL favourite and the IEM to beat for its price. Since Pneuma is priced similarly, I reckon this is one comparison everyone would be looking forward to, so let's get straight to it. Pneuma and U12t have similar sub-bass quantity but Pneuma has a tiny bit more rumble and very slightly fuller bass character. U12t's bass on the other hand sounds slightly crisper. Pneuma has a bit more body in 250-400Hz lower-midrange region than U12t. Besides that they're quite similar in rest of the lower-midrange. Now I've seen people call U12t slightly thin sounding in lower midrange and with that perspective Pneuma might seem more natural to that category of people. On the other hand, people who dig U12t's lower-midrange character might find Pneuma a 'smidgen' fuller sounding in that region. At the end of the day, it's all perspective as per one's preference. Both IEMs have a similar forward upper-midrange presentation keeping instruments sounding tonally accurate. Instruments and vocals are well defined on both but Pneuma has a smidgen more instrument attack. Both have a very nice, lively, exciting but always comfortable lower treble tuning though Pneuma has a bit more sparkle in lower treble. U12t has significantly boosted upper treble whereas Pneuma is more neutral in that region. Now U12t's Tia upper treble peak adds extra crisp airiness which also helps infuse some openness in the otherwise warm signature but Pneuma is no slouch as it too has good air and clarity but just isn't as airy or sizzly sounding as the U12t. This isn't a bad thing per se because what one might prefer over the other depends on preferences but neither of them are slouches by any means. U12t is slightly more resolving owing to its upper treble tuning and 12 drivers. Pneuma has pretty good technicalities too but is more musical in my opinion. Both are highly enjoyable IEMs and do tonality pretty well but I think I prefer U12t for its slight upper hand in technical capability and Pneuma for its slight upper hand in musicality. Both have very good holographic soundstages but U12t with its slightly leaner lower midrange body and airy upper treble peak sounds a smidgen wider whereas instruments in Pneuma's soundstage have a bit more body and punch.

BGVP EST12 - EST12 has a wonderful tonality and a very reference style of presentation with a tiny bass lift compared to absolute neutrality. Back to back, Pneuma's bass is punchier, has more rumble, impact and also sounds fuller in comparison. EST12 has a very well done neutral lower-midrange to upper mid-range presentation where upper-midrange is presented forwardly but with around 2-2.5dBs lesser pinna gain compared to Harman Target. Pneuma is slightly fuller sounding in the 250-400Hz region but is then quite similar to EST12 in upper-midrange presentation. Both have very clear and well done lower treble but Pneuma has peaks at 5kHz and 10kHz whereas EST12 has peaks around 6kHz and 8kHz. Both have a neutral upper-treble presentation. Both have very good clarity and resolution. Pneuma has a slightly bigger soundstage which is slightly wider and deeper.

Custom Art Fibae7 - Even though Fibae7 is significantly cheaper, it is Custom Art's flagship model and it was kinda interesting for me to see how two flagship Polish brothers from different mothers faired against each other. Fibae7 takes some inspiration from Diffuse Field and Harman Target curves too. Right off the bat, Pneuma has a bigger sound presentation along with punchier and fuller bass. Fibae7 presents bass cleanly but with a bit more neutrality. Both have a natural and clean lower midrange presentation but Pneuma has slightly fuller instrument body in comparison. Both have similar forward upper-midrange presentations but Pneuma has a bit less pinna gain and as a result, Fibae7 comes off a bit shouty in comparison. Pneuma has a bit better and more natural tonality and timbre of instruments in comparison but most importantly, has a more realistic note weight and impact in my opinion. Relatively, both have comfortable and natural sounding lower treble though Fibae7 is slightly darker in lower treble but slightly zingy-er in upper treble with its 18kHz peak. Both have nice wide soundstages where Fibae7 sounds slightly leaner and cleaner and Pneuma slightly fuller and punchier.

Pneuma Solo 1


Lime Ears isn't one to belt out IEMs every year and the thought and R&D that has gone into developing and tuning Pneuma can be seen by how nice Pneuma sounds and performs. It is built with great attention to detail, has great fit & finish and comes stock with a very cool and unique €200 worth of Lime Ears Signature shell design which is inspired by Sacred Geometry and Seed of Life patterns. Sound wise, it is a very versatile well balanced IEM and one can hear hints of Harman Target inspiration, which might not have been intentional but works very well in the overall picture. It not only has a very good fun bass character, punch and rumble, accurate midrange tonality, good clarity and details but is also a highly musical monitor that plays most genres of music with equal poise and finesse. It isn't the most technical IEM in its range but in isolation by itself, has very good technicalities but focuses even more on delivering that big sound that is highly enjoyable and fun. Musicians and audiophiles looking for a nice musical monitor with good technicalities than an outright technical one with less musicality should definitely consider the Pneuma. Asking price of €1800 is definitely not cheap but considering flagship IEMs from other western brands and some even Asian brands are crossing the $3000 mark, my gauge of value for money is definitely broken. But well, with a premium PW Audio No.10 cable, Pelican 1010 case, a very nice comfortable and well isolating fit, a very cool artistic shell design and a very well done musical and highly enjoyable signature that is definitely worthy of Lime Ears' flagship status as well as Lime Ears' entry into the holy grail TOTL range of universal and CIEM monitors, I don't think one can go wrong with this one and definitely recommend everyone to check it out!

Gear used for testing and review.
  • DAPs – iBasso DX160 | Hiby R6 Pro
  • Laptop – Apple Macbook Pro 15″
  • Audio Interfaces – Universal Audio Apollo | Focusrite Clarett 8PreX
  • Phone – OnePlus 7 Pro
Reference Songs list.
  • Foo Fighters – The Pretender, Best of you, Everlong & Sonic Highway album
  • Coldplay – Paradise, Up in flames & Everglow + Everyday Life Album
  • Biffy Clyro – A Celebration of Endings & Ellipsis albums
  • Ed Sheeran – Thinking out loud, Bloodstream & Galway Girl
  • Dave Matthews Band – Come Tomorrow album
  • Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia album
  • Chainsmokers – Somebody, Sickboy, This Feeling & Closer
  • John Mayer – Slow dancing in a burning room, Stop this Train, Say & A Face to Call Home
  • Gavin James – Always & Hearts on fire
  • Switchfoot – Meant to live & Dare you to move
  • Porcupine Tree – Sound of Muzak, Blackest Eyes & .3
  • Our Lady Peace – Do You Like It & Innocent
  • Linkin Park – Papercut, Somewhere I belong & Talking to myself
  • Maroon 5 – She will be loved, Payphone & Lost stars
  • Lifehouse – All in all & Come back down
  • Breaking Benjamin – Diary of Jane
  • Karnivool – Simple boy & Goliath
  • Dead Letter Circus – Real you
  • I Am Giant – Purple heart, City limits & Transmission
  • Muse – Panic station
  • James Bay – Hold back the river
  • Zedd - Clarity album
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@Animagus I'm not too much of a fan of many 'reference tracks' I hear people talk about. And don't even get me started on the audiophile test track CDs composed of generic sounding songs.

I like your tracks. Sometimes I go back and listen to my jam band records of old...that really takes you back. They sound a lot better off tubes and an HD800 than they did in my old Chevy S-10.
Great review mate, looks like I need to pop in to LE to check them out.
@docentore Thanks! Be sure to carry your favourite ear tips along and try Pneuma with 'em too. I highly recommend trying Azla Sedna, Spiral Dots and INAIR foam tips with it. Those are what I personally use. :)