PEARS SH-3 - Reviews
Pros: +Warm and rather forgiving sound
+Tasteful upper midrange tilt
+Focus on extension at the very upper treble
+Technically proficient
Cons: -Sound can be seen as a bit too lean at the lowermids
-Slight dip at the lower-mid treble can be a double edged sword
Hello, you may have recognised who I am - I write impressions on IEMs I hear on my thread that I update regularly. I usually don't really write reviews so this is my first review on head-fi. The SH3 was bought 100% with my own money. I'm writing a review because I think the IEM deserves high praise.

P.EAR.S is Switzerland's first CIEM manufacturing company. The team behind PEARS is an army of three - Samuel Harsch, Stephane Rochat & Roberto Piacenti. You may have heard of Mr Harsch prior to this - he was an acoustic engineer at Phonak where he developed the Phonak universal IEMs. He's also involved in the speaker scene by coming up with the Harsch crossover.

With IEMs, PEARS' belief is that the best sound is achieved by minimizing the number of drivers with a perfectly optimized acoustic design. Companies like Etymotic and HUM share similar beliefs when it comes to driver count. My first encounter with PEARS was more than a year back where I purchased a universal version of the SH3. I sold it away in pursuit of a better reference monitor but here I am back with the same IEM but now in custom form a year later.

Technical Specifications
  • Triple Driver dual mid-low/single high
  • 1 passive crossover
  • 117dB @ 1kHz, 1mW
  • 25 Ohms
The SH3 is very sensitive so make sure it's paired with a DAP/amp with a low noise floor.

Customs Process
After my ear impressions reached Switzerland, PEARS 3D scanned my impressions and finished building my CIEMs in just a week (website states 3-5 weeks). Since they 3D scanned impressions, the ear impressions are sent back without being trimmed down or having anything done to them. Communication with PEARS was done mainly on instagram in my case. Replies were professional and fast (within minutes during working hours sometimes).

What Comes In The Box?
The package comes in a cardboard packaging. Inside the packaging it contains their new aluminium box (similar to Vision Ear's), instruction manuals, warranty certificate, ear impressions, a small pouch for the IEMs, microfiber cloth, cleaning solvent and a earwax removal tool as accessories. The default stock cable is okay, it's those Plastics1 stock cable with memory wire. PEARS are available in both 2pin and MMCX.

In the aluminium case, you will find a top compartment for the cleaning tools and cloth to be stored. The main compartment can fit the IEMs and perhaps a DAP.
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Build Quality and Fit
PEARS fully fills their IEMs so their IEMs are a solid chunk of acrylic. Bubbles in the acrylic are extremely minimal and the build quality feels solid. Now you might have noticed that there are some bubbles at the very center of the IEMs, just outside of the drivers. I believe that is actually glue. PEARS seem to encase the drivers in an enclosure of glue then adds acrylic to secure it. Very similar to how my pair of Future Sonics customs are built. In terms of fit, they isolate and seal very well like how customs should. They're my best fitting pair of customs and isolates the best.
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Frequency Response Analysis
I would like to mention that the SH3 seems to have had a retune. Since I owned the universal previously, the new SH3 measures with 2dB more bass and more gain at 1-4kHz to balance out the extra bass. My customs now have what is the new single port design which according to PEARS, smoothens out the frequency response even further up in the highs compared to the old 2 bore version. Check out this new port:

Here we see a QC with about 1dB variance from the L and R channel. This is fine and inaudible. Sound wise, the broad 4dB boost from 100-500Hz provides a warmer tone that pushes vocals forward. Subbass doesn't roll off here - there's still enough at 20hz so it does not sound like subbass is rolled off. At 2kHz, there is a 8dB gain, similar to Etymotic ER4SR's 8dB gain at 2kHz. Due to the amount of energy at 2kHz, it helps lift vocals even further providing a leaner tone. At 4kHz the same 8dB gain is maintained. After 4kHz the gain starts to drop and ends at 6.5kHz. Personally I think it can use a bit more acoustic energy at 6-8kHz. That area is a bit dipped so cymbals stay a little behind and can sound slightly dark. Won't talk about the graph further after 8kHz since graphs are unreliable past 8k.
Past 8k, I can hear excellent, smooth extension of the treble. Where many IEMs start to roll off after 10kHz, the SH3 has great acoustic energy from 10-15kHz. The extension here is definitely audible.

Enough about graphs. FR is just a part of how it sounds and can't explain everything. The SH3's signature to my ears, has a warm sound with a slightly boosted uppermidrange. Bass levels sound neutral. Due to the warmth and more forward uppermidrange, vocals sound forward and are on the leaner side of things. I do feel the tone of the vocals is nice here with adequate amounts of warmth. The boosted uppermids adds this sense of precision in transient response and helps vocals and electric guitars sound exciting with great energy. The uppermids are not overwhelming - they're balanced out by the warmth. In Joe Satriani's "Crowd Chant" (Super Colossal) and Steve Vai's "Tender Surrender" (Where The Wild Things Are), electric guitars sport great bite and are always well separated at the front.

When it comes to vocals, Stacey Kent's "The Ice Hotel" (Breakfast On The Morning Tram) has her vocals leading with a sweet and soulful presentation. I know some would prefer a more lowermids here with more chesty vocal presentations but I think the SH3 works well with female vocals. Hayley Williams from Paramore has a pop-punk, spunky type of vocals. She's best known for her husky voice. In "Misery Business" (Riot), I can hear that there is perhaps insufficient lower mids that best displays her timbre. The SH3 captures more of her upper harmonics better. The same goes to male vocalists - lower harmonics of their vocal range can sound a bit scooped out which lends vocals a thinner, leaner timbre. Suits female vocals best I'd say.

How about the treble? I mentioned that the 5-7kHz frequencies can sound a bit dipped. Since this is where the lower harmonics of cymbals can be found, cymbals can sound a little behind in some track. However this also means the SH3 plays damn well with tracks that have cymbals mastered too forward or poorly mastered tracks in general. In Dream Theater's "The Enemy Inside" (Dream Theater), cymbals are always kept well controlled and sound well extended despite it behind a bit behind. Extension above 10kHz is really the best part of the SH3 - it captures the shimmer and decay of cymbals very well. With Chon's "Fall" (Grow), cymbals have a beautiful splash and shimmer in the background. They really never sound like they are too much and allows me to hear that captivating extension in cymbals.

I don't think I've talked much about the bass. They just sound fast and present with adequate midbass and subbass. Never boomy or overwhelming. There's really more warmth than bass here. I think SH3's strength lies not in the individual parts of the tone like its bass, midrange or treble. It's all about how it comes and mashes together. Lead instruments and vocals are kept forward in the mix and sport excellent separation from everything else. Cymbals sound a bit behind but perhaps you can say it aids with depth. Layering is the SH3's strong suit and it never sounds congested, keeping all instruments in check behind the leading vocals/instrument due to the uppermid and warmth boost. With Daft Punk's "Lose Yourself To Dance" (Random Access Memories), the "Come On, Come On, Come On" synth travels slowly from the side of my head. The spatial cues are well imaged with a great sense of precision and detail.

Transient response is sharp and fast like typical BAs. In Judas Priest's "Lightning Strike" (Firepower), the SH3 sounds coherent and handles the track well no matter how fast things can get. There's no room for bloat and muddiness with the SH3.

The SH3 manages great technicalities with forgiveness which makes it a very pleasing, easy going monitor with little to fault. It's a nice take on a reference monitor with its own character and sound profile that is distinct from other reference monitors out there without sounding unnatural. Well done to the team at PEARS. Waiting on the next SH which is releasing early next year. The SH3 does not fall anywhere short with its lower driver count compared to the multi-multi-driver IEMs out there. There's a serious emphasis on maximising what they can achieve in terms of sound whilst keeping it simple to get the basic fundamentals right. Hell, at their current pace and capabilities, the next SH might not even need to be a 4 driver.
Zenith Street
Zenith Street
Thanks for the detailed review!
Pros: combines good technicalities and natural sound
sweet vocals
sounds good with most musical genres
premium build quality( shell filled with acrylic resin)
Cons: bass could have more impact and body

The SH3 is the latest flagship model from the swiss company PEARS, it mounts 3drivers each side and was designed to have a flat and reference signature.

PEARS is not much famous in the audiphile community, so here you can find some info about their philosophy and history:

PEARS is born from the meeting of Samuel Harsch, acoustic engineer and founder of harschacoustic, and Stéphane Rochat, electronic engineer and musicians.In 2012, Samuel Harsch manufactured his first custom in-ear monitors made out of acrylic resin, for himself and for some of his friends and colleagues.In 2014, given the success encountered with his first prototypes, he devoted his partial working time to make in-ear monitors and launches the model SH-2, dual driver. In 2015, Samuel Harsch decided to create a more powerful and flat in-ear monitors; the SH-3, triple driver, is launched in spring 2015. In parallel of this year, Stéphane Rochat joined harschacoustic as freelancer by doing at beginning a study market for understanding more the Swiss market and the wishes of musicians about in-ear monitors. In October 2016 the brand PEARS is officially launched as 1st Swiss made custom in-ear monitors.

Samuel Harsch
Co-Founder / Acoustic Engineer
Samuel has always been passionate about sound. In primary school already, he designed and built various speakers. From 2005 he was hired as an acoustics engineer at Phonak. He was in charge of the acoustic part of many research projects and various products such as custom made hearing protection devices called Serenity (passive and active) or the in-ear earphones Audéo PFE series that have won numerous awards and mentions on various specialized blogs and forums, both in audio quality and comfort. He filed 7 patents for Phonak as inventor or co-inventor, including the patent of the interchangeable acoustic filters that was one of the key points of the success of the Audéo PFE series. In 2013, Samuel takes the decision to reduce his working time at Phonak in order to focus on in-ear monitors and other personal projects. He develops speakers and various acoustic elements for a Swiss company, Audio-Performance in Echallens: a waveguide and an adjustable directivity horn for line arrays as well as various filters, small speakers and subwoofers.

Stéphane Rochat
Co-Founder / Electronic Design Engineer
Stéphane wears different hats here at P·EAR·S. He handles all the business stuff like sales, marketing, artist relations and different technical aspects such as electronic & acoustic too. Stéphane’s been messing with music since his childhood. He started by studying classical guitar followed by jazz guitar in different music schools for many years. In 2006 he graduated from University of Applied Sciences of Fribourg with a degree in Electronic Engineering. In parallel of his former job, he worked as sound technician during 4 years at Fri-Son Fribourg in order to understand more technical aspects of live music. Since 2011, he is working at Phonak, using his skills in acoustic and electronic engineering. In 2014, he did postgraduate studies in project management for improving his knowledge in business. Stéphane brings to P·EAR·S a wealth of experience in the music and an experience of more than 10 years in different R&D departments. In addition to the business stuff, Stéphane is also involved in new developments for the next generation of P·EAR·S.

This unit was sent me for the purpose of this review, i am not affiliated with the company and all observations and opinions will be only my own. This company usually produces custom fit iem, they can sell universal fit too under request.
For more info about PEARS , you can easily contact them on their facebook channel:


DRIVER CONFIG: Triple Driver dual mid-low/single high 1 passive crossover



PACKAGING: my units arrived in a simple aluminium carrying case, from what i see on their site, they use a carrying case made of wood too. Inside the case, you can find a cleaning set, pouch and cloth in microfiber. Both SH2 and SH3 comes with a standard copper cable( standard plasticsone cable).

SOUND: the SH3 has a reference signature, but with enough body and sweet vocals to avoid a boring reproduction. It sounds accurate, with good tonality and resolution to satisfy audiophile needs too.

BASS: maybe the weakest point of the SH3( and usually the weakest point for BA drivers). It is quite flat, a boost from 20 to 100Hz helps to have a fuller sound and sweeter vocals. If you are looking for a big bass, or a fun signature, this is not the iem for you. The SH3 was aimed to combine good technicalities and a natural sound and for this purpose, is a great iem. Bass has enough impact and body to make the SH3 a good all-rounder with most musical genres, and i think the custom fit, can give you a better bass response. Overall, with Spinfit cp145 i can get a satisfying bass response.

MIDS: the strongest point for this iem: both male and female vocals sound enough rich and bodied, creating a great balance with the clear treble. Vocals never sound thin, but quite rich with exellent timbre and realism. There is no sibilance in female vocals like my inear SD5 and can compete in many ways with my Aroma YAO, that is one of the best vocal iem i have ever tried.

TREBLE: treble is clear, showing good resolution and details and giving great presence to instruments like violins, cymbals and strings. This helps to have a mature sound with good technical abilities. Sometimes, it can sound a bit harsh, due to its revealing nature, special if used with a clear sounding player and with bad recorded tracks. From my experience with custom iems, i think the SH3, could have better bass response and less hot treble with a custom fit iem.

SOUNDSTAGE: soundstage is very wide, with great layering, showing a good out-of-the-head experience. Depth is average, here i would have preferred a better balance of width and depth. If i can find one area to criticize is the soundstage, that like vision ear VE8 has great width and layering, but sometimes you can loose the focus of instruments around you. Maybe too much holographic, but don't know if this problem will be still there with a custom fit iem.

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PEARS SH-2: the SH2 shares almost the 80% of the SH3, with the same timbre, but it lacks the technicalities and sweet vocals of SH3. Soundstage is less wide, but more rounded, with better depth, thanks to the vocals placed more behind the scene. SH2 is slightly more organic, darker, fuller, a bit more fun with more mid-bass presence. SH2 is a good all-rounder iem, sounding good with most tracks, SH3 has a more flat,detailed and a more mature reproduction.

SH3 VS INEAR SD5: SD5 has a w shaped sound singature, compared to sh3, it sounds more fun and engaging, with more boosted sub-bass and upper treble and overall a better bass quality. Where the SH3 clearly wins is on vocal reproduction, giving much more body and realism to both male and female ones. On SD5 female vocals can sound a bit sibilant. Upper treble on SD5 is more forward, giving more sparckles, on the other side SH3 has less boosted upper treble, but gives more finesse on violin or string instruments. SD5 sounds engaging and fun, working better with more modern tracks, on the other side SH3 has a more mature reproduction, combying in a better way technicalities and natural sound. Soundstage on SD5 has more depth and more or less same width of sh3.

SH3 VS INEARZ EUPHORIA: EUPHORIA has a more u shaped sound signature, with more mid-bass presence and slightly fuller reproduction. Vocals on euphoria are rendered in a more “liquid” way, on the opposite, the SH3 has a more organic and realistic vocal reproduction. Treble on Euphoria was tuned to result innofensive, but is less detailed compared to SH3. Both are exellent iems, Euphoria has a more modern approach, sounding good with many players and tracks, on the other side SH3 sounds a bit more sterile, but with better technical abilities.

SH3 VS nfaudio NF6I: the nf6i is another great iem, if you are looking for a good reference sound. 6i has a bass response similar to SD5 with a more sub-bass boost compared to sh3, vocals on 6i sound drier, on the other side on sh3 they sound more organic and fuller with a better sense of realism. They both have similar treble extension and detail retrieval. Soundstage on 6i has more depth with a more precise instrument positioning.



OPUS 2: great sinergy: reference and natural sound with wide soundstage, female sweet vocals. Can easily drive the SH3 on mid gain, with high gain bass gains more impact, but soundstage is too much holographic.

Opus 1s: more organic reproduction, more rumble on sub-bass area, vocals are more organic and gains more emotions compared to the leaner vocals on the Opus2. Great left/right channel separation, but less width compared to Opus2.

Opus3: more fun reproduction, with more boosted bass and less forward midrange, a bit clearer on top end, sounds more harsh and less natural compared to Opus 2, but portrays more details on top end. Better to use on high gain and push the volume to 85-95 to have a satisfying volume level.


  • 10Hz – 18kHz
  • 117dB @ 1kHz, 1mW
  • 25 Ohms
Pros: Controlled Bass, Sweet Midrange, Smooth Treble
Cons: Depth is slightly closed in.

PEARS is a Switzerland company that specializes in custom in-ear monitors. They have 2 iems in the SH-2 and SH-3. I would like to thank PEARS for the review unit of the SH-3. At the moment, you can purchase the SH-3 from PEARS .


  • Driver Configuration: 3 Balanced Armature
  • Frequency Response: 10Hz – 18kHz
  • Input Sensitivity: 117dB @ 1kHz, 1mW
  • Impedance: 25 Ohm
Unboxing & Acessories

The SH-3 comes in an unique pear shaped wooden package that is 100% Swiss made. After opening the package, there are the IEM, 2 pins 0.78mm detachable cable, pack of tips, cleaning set, special pouch in microfiber, microfiber cloth, pin badge and sticker.

IEM Build & Design

The SH-3 has transparent clear shells. On the faceplate on each side, there is a wood finish with the brand logo, brand name and model name in silver color. The nozzle is slightly angled. The iem utilizes 2 pins 0.78mm cable. The SH-3 has an ergonomic design with a comfortable fit.

Cable Build & Design

The cable is a detachable 4 core cable with 2 pin 0.78mm connectors. On the connectors, there are blue and red dot on the left and right side respectively so users can differentiate. The connectors have transparent housing. The cable has a memory wire section that is enclosed in a transparent heat shrink tube. It is not very flexible due to the metal inside that helps to form the shape. The chin slider is made is made up of a transparent tube and the y-splitter is made of a soft rubber material with strain relief. The jack is 3.5mm gold plated right angled with strain relief.

Sound Analysis


The sub-bass of the SH-3 is extended moderately with tightness. There is a natural rumble expression. Each bass note is articulated with a smooth and controlled hit. There is good quantity. The bass decay on the SH-3 has moderate speed. Bass texture is rendered with great smoothness. The mid-bass has fair body and it is able to express the slam with sufficient weight which provides the necessary impact. It is relaxing to listen to without any signs of aggression or density.


The midrange is presented in a smooth manner with moderate transparency level. There is a tinge of warmth. The SH-3 is able to express its midrange soothingly and vocals are enjoyable to listen to. There is good satisfaction with strong mastery. The lower mids has moderate quantity and male vocals are showcased with no signs of hollowness and dryness. The upper mids has slight forwardness and female vocals sound sweet. The SH-3 is extremely competent in the vocals reproduction.


The treble extends well with no sibilance and harshness. There is moderate crisp with lack of sparkle. The treble has good body and the presentation takes on a smooth approach. The amount of air rendered is great and it offers space at the top end. The controlled expression helps to provide a relaxing fatigue-free listen.


The SH-3 expands with good naturalness and the width has a good magnitude. The depth is slightly closed in with sufficient space rendered. Positioning of vocals and instruments has moderate precision.


PEARS SH-3 vs Custom Art FIBAE 3

The FIBAE 3 has more sub-bass quantity than the SH-3 and the SH-3 has greater extension. The FIBAE 3 has a fuller sub-bass reproduction while the SH-3 expresses it in a more clinical manner. Rumble on the FIBAE 3 is presented in a natural manner. The mid-bass on the FIBAE 3 has additional quantity and the slam is expressed in a full manner. Each bass note on the SH-3 is articulated with slightly more strength. The bass texture on the FIBAE 3 is rendered more smoothly than the SH-3. Bass decay on the SH-3 is slightly quicker and there is a higher engagement level. The midrange on the FIBAE 3 is fuller than the SH-3 and it benefits vocals reproduction. The transparency level on the SH-3 is higher. The lower mids on the FIBAE 3 is slightly thicker than the SH-3 and it helps to express male vocals better. The upper mids on the FIBAE 3 has a little more forwardness and the female vocals has higher intimacy level. For the treble, the SH-3 has greater extension. The amount of air rendered is greater on the SH-3 which gives a light and airy feeling. There is more treble body on the FIBAE 3. The FIBAE 3 has additional sparkle. Lastly, the FIBAE 3 expands naturally for its soundstage. The SH-3 has greater width magnitude while the depth of the FIBAE 3 is more closed in.

PEARS SH-3 vs Earsonics Velvet V2

The SH-3 has more sub-bass quantity than the Velvet V2 and it boasts better extension than the Velvet V2. The sub-bass reproduction on the SH-3 is fuller than the Velvet V2 and it is able provide greater satisfaction. Rumble on the SH-3 is expressed with additional naturalness. The bass texture is rendered more smoothly on the SH-3. Bass decay on the SH-3 is slightly quicker and the agility contributes to a higher engagement level. The mid-bass on the SH-3 has more body and it is able to deliver the slam in a more punchy manner. The midrange on the SH-3 has fullness while the transparency level on Velvet V2 is higher. The lower mids is slightly thicker on the SH-3 and it benefits male vocals. The upper mids is more forward on the SH-3 which elevates the intimacy level of female vocals. For the treble section, the Velvet V2 has better extension than the SH-3. There is no sibilance and harshness on both. The SH-3 is much smoother in its treble with extra body. There is additional sparkle on the Velvet V2 to inject liveliness to the overall sound. Lastly, for the soundstage, the expansion on the SH-3 is more natural. The SH-3 has greater width while the depth on the SH-3 offers more space than the Velvet V2.


The SH-3 is a musical sounding iem that is able to provide controlled bass reproduction, sweet midrange and smooth treble. It has an impeccable performance that captivates listeners. In addition, the faceplates have nice wood finish and the packaging has an unique feel. The PEARS SH-3 is a highly recommended iem and it delivers with a strong showing.

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Tight review. Thanks