Penon Fan2

Redcarmoose

Headphoneus Supremus
My Gosh.......
Pros: The most neutral sound Penon Audio has ever produced
2 X 6mm "dual" bass pumpers
1 Sonion mids
1 Knowles treble
Extra long nozzle..........going deep, whether you like it or not
Gorgeous OS133 high-line cable included, a $36.60 cable purchase by itself
Spectacular Pace
Timbral accuracy with-out barely a hint of sheen, don't believe me........buy them
Swanky deep low-end textures
Beautiful midrange that will take you places
Warm yet agile treble which centers around the all important note-weight
Unique sounding, yet totally accessible and ultimately natural
Cons: Hmmmmmm.......
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Just look at the Fan 2 will you? The faceplate can represent many things to many people, but to me they look like islands in the ocean. In fact these imaginary islands represent the soundscape you’re visiting when you drop the Fan 2s in your ears…………an escape…….an escape from reality. All of a sudden you look closer and those red islands have small valleys and volcanos…….seemingly a small microscopic world filled with adventure. The water surrounding…….filled with sparkles and highlights. Am I crazy…….or is my imagination running away on me? Let’s get down to earth........I will sum-up the sound signature for you. Neutral………..the most exquisite form of neutral was obtained by Penon Sound Design in the form of a warm-neutral. Gone are any references to an Eastern Tune, gone are the tones found in a Western Tune.

THE PENON INTERNATIONAL TUNE

If I could humbly add, this is my “made-up” nomenclature for what we are experiencing sound-wise. A sound so even and correct that now the finite details can be absorbed because nothing is overpowering anything else. Before with certain tunes the lower midrange was added to Western Tunes or the sub bass was added to Eastern tunes, which arguably pushed around other frequencies for attention. If you had a certain style of music, a certain genre then it all worked out, except often these IEMs only excelled at specific music genres. Except now the Fan 2 plays it all, it really does. This is related to a dexterity in abilities. This International Tune goes with every style of music and file quality, fully ignoring the past thin and analytical ideas of flat.


Get them here!
https://penonaudio.com/penon-fan-2.html

$279.00

Penon FAN 2 2BA + 2 Dynamic Driver Hybrid 2Pin 0.78mm HiFi Audiophile In-ear Earphone IEMs


Description

3D printing resin, medical grade resin cavity, light and beautiful, comfortable to wear
2 Balanced Armature +2 crystal-plated biological diaphragm Dynamic driver hybrid Audiophile FAN In-Ear Monitor IEMs
2 x 6mm dynamic driver for low frequency
1 Sonion BA for middle frequency
1 Knowles BA for high frequency

From Penon Audio
Introduction of crystal-plated biological diaphragm:

Among many new types of diaphragm materials, biological speaker diaphragms are commonly used in loudspeakers in recent years, high-end headphone manufacturers have gradually cited them.

The so-called biological diaphragm is the traditional beating technology using physical or chemical methods, adding a special proportion of biological materials to form modified materials to overcome the shortcomings of ordinary diaphragm.

Ordinary biological diaphragms will mutate due to humidity problems. The latest technology of crystal-plated biological diaphragm can solve the humidity problem and improve the compliance of middle & high frequency.


Specification
Model: FAN 2
Driver:2BA+2DD Hybrid
Impedance: 13ohm
Sensitivity: 112dB
Frequency response: 20-20kHz
Cable: OS133 -2 shares, single share is 133 cores, a total of 266 cores.
Plug: Gold-plated copper + carbon fiber plug accessories
Length: 1.2M

Who is Penon Audio and what are they about?
Penon Audio is really just like you and I. Through the love of music they started in 2013 building/selling cables, then expanded out to include a full gambit of merchandise. With sound quality as a priority they have single-handedly started their own following. Again with people just like you and I, the followers have had luck with prior purchases, so they are retuning to the watering hole. If there is a better validation of company worth than return customers, let me know? Penon Audio is doing day-in and day-out just what they specialize in.....making great audio products and supplying professional service to the Head-Fi community. And just like you they are into what they do, because all these sound making devices are art. So (in a way) you could say this is simply artistic expression. It's a passion and a hobby, a distraction and a focus. Now for a news flash, this is way different than any Penon to come before. Yep, they have added a variant to what they were up to. It doesn’t lessen any of their previous adventures in IEM creation, it’s just a new departure and a new journey in sound reproduction. In many ways this is like the history of Sony……where in the late 1980s Sony had a more neutral/midrange focused house sound, then graduated to a thick meaty 2014 sound with the XBA-Z5 and MDR-Z7. Even the historic Sony WM1Z Walkman was almost stifled when it arrived, with software 1.01 showing just how far down the syrupy/dark rabbit-hole Sony could go. But just like Penon, Sony made an about-face and started to explore much more detailed and neutral avenues. Now that in no way means the Fan 2 sounds like the IER-Z1R, but to a Sony affectionoto like myself, I instantly recognized Sony moving to a more neutral response from the bass heavy flagships like the XBA-Z5. For Penon to explore this style of neutral ends both a refreshing blast of creativity and a no-nonsense step into true technicalities. In case you don’t know FR and technicalities cross over. They intermingle due to a give and take relationship between clean FR abilities and clean technicalities. It’s safe to say the Fan 2 excels at the technicalities it owns partially due to FR. It’s actually more technical than I first thought, and almost at the place of calling it perfect, yet I don’t want to use that word……..but I just did!

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Ever heard the term “Artistic Leeway”?
Such freedoms allows for creativity to occur. Artistic license gives freedom to an artist to apply smaller departures from the rigorous idea of a neutral response, yet we still call it neutral in the very purest form of the word. The entire Fan 2 frequency band sits within 6.5 dB………….that's right the difference from bass to mids to treble all stays within a range of close proximity, giving illustrious attention to every frequency, because not one frequency is overpowering another. This is exactly what the definition of neutrality is.......exactly. Though keep in mind most people will have a different definition of what neutrality is. So it’s best to consider neutrality as a range. The reason the range is fine as recordings differ. Each recording is mastered in a non-standardized fashion. Giving a somewhat broad leeway as to reproduction in a neural manner. It means reproduction of neutral is more of a city address and not a strict street address…….and that is the basic response of the FAN 2. While its brother, the H30 offered a more forward and intense upper treble/midrange, that also can be considered neutral as far as response goes. My personal preference is the FAN 2, not just because it costs more money and has a more complete sound……..but there is something about the tuning (even with-in the restraints of neutral) is even more involving and offers an accessibility which ends more profound. The Fan 2 is warmer than the H30.......the Fan 2 has more of that ever important note-weight! The mid bass seems slightly bumped in relation to the H30, which to my ears is a better idea of a tune. This creates the end result of not being a Western or Eastern tune, but transcending any geographical pigeonhole. You see the Chinese tune was always thought of as a set of frequency focus which varied from the Western tune, having an additional frequency departure from neutral……….now we are witnessing a true unification of tuning ideas which results in a form of uniqueness!

Sound Design:
Bass:

The bass is ample and complete. So for understanding of what is going on here, completely forget that neutral has to be thin and boring……in-fact the musicality found in the bumps can be one of the best parts of the Fan 2 response. It’s just that some music genres make emotional use of more low-end. So also remember........I’m using a bass heavy source….which somehow makes the Fan 2 come alive with an endearing warmth. But EDM and other electronic genres will show how the Fan 2 is neutral, yet the bass will own a style of charm that’s truly provocative. Why...........well kids……because it’s fast and complete. Remember two 6mm drivers are kicking here to generate a correct response with authority. Two of a smaller than normal (bass driver) diameter means faster take-off and faster breaks. Full-on exquisite pace and note weight……..but most of all the bass timbre is correct and consistent. Still with all that said, maybe, just maybe more bass could be utilized to further (bass heavy) specific tracks? Still I don’t know…….these are so well rounded performers that I could definitely go out on a month long vacation and simply take the Fan 2s………that’s how good and complete they are………..don’t believe me? Buy a pair!

Seriously these do it all, and I like bass!

To help prove my point here……….


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Umwelt
Days Of Dissent
“World Shatters”

96 kHz- 24 bit

The first thing you feel is the bass notes accompanying the synth strings adding just the right amount of tie-down. At 44.5 seconds the rhythm bass hits with full force. Here a plethora of Rolland drum machines takes control…….the fact that we can hear all parts of this watch-work progression starts to take precedence. At 2.57 the bump starts to get sexy and show a groove……what? At 4.10 the groove intensifies once more…………truly this is all the bass I need. And finding myself here is not what I expected a week ago when the Fan 2 was placed into my ears upon open box? That’s right, a full 7 days of burn-in was crucial to this performance in electronic music replay, though to be fair I was 90% there after only two days of constant (burn-in) music replay.

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Mick Gordon & Chad Mossholder
Doom Eternal OST
"Phobos Space"

48 kHz - 24 bit

Chad……his name is Chad…..Lol.
I’m sorry, but there is a lot of messy gossip with the introduction of this OST to the world. And……in being good, I am not going to continue to feed the fire. But you should note, most of the time I include the songs featured only by Mick Gordon……..something about this being the last Doom OST for him to work with iD software........and he in-fact gave them a boatload of material, yet possibly it wasn’t enough, and wasn't maybe the quantity of material they were expecting? So Chad…..came in to finish the adventure off. Still this is one of my favorite releases ever, besides the first DOOM OSTs……and I’m not even a gamer any longer. Anyway……………

Phobos Space is an incredible introduction to just what the Fan 2 is about. Big, super big drops make this intro an example of what truly is possible in the bass department. The song literally opens with an ambient bass drop. And a follow-up drop at the 22.00 mark……this is the rhythm of the song……..the size was so big I couldn’t get true perspective? It's all here, all of it! Such magic is truly special............in that the bass is the fullest ever. I’m in a style of (bass) paradise found with the Fan 2………a paradise (bass) island. And the groove……same as the last song………the groove is the ticket here……..the reason we have these things in our ears in the first place. I don’t want this song to end…….in fact I want it to go on forever and ever! Probably the best union of Mick Gordon & Chad Mossholder ever? This is that style of OST which pushes every button I’ve got! Big washes of ambient sound and blasts of synth effects……….they’re coming……….something is coming…………and it’s not human.

Mids:

Same song (Phobos Space) at the 03.17 mark. While later I will go into standard rock replay…….yet, this style of OST immersion is involving to the point of mentioning it. The way the everything is balanced!


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Theater of Tragedy
Assembly
“Episode”

44.1 kHz - 24 bit

I use this song daily to understand midrange and guitar replay……with different IEMs. Because here can be found a truth, a truth in tone. The way the guitar is parlayed can be one of a multitude of playbacks………..yep, it can actually be done a thousand different ways. And just like almost anything……this style of performance can be judged. Judged for authenticity…….yes, there is a closer to correct way and a farther-out way to be accepted…….and faults can often be forgiven as again artistic merit, still when it’s right it’s right, and this is right/correct. Both this song and the next song “Play” showcase the incredible guitar team of two guitar players! Vegard K. Thorsen makes his debut and I can only guess this giant guitar tone is 2 guitars.

I choose guitars to judge IEM timbre due to liking the sound of guitar, that and there is part of the tone I can’t put into words, but when it’s right it’s right. Here the Sonion midrange BA is so fluid and textured, not really holding any BA timbre at all…..none. This is wild as I know some off-timbre must be provided, yet it’s hidden so well. I could probably do a whole review just on this Sonion model…..lol. It’s both harmonically accurate and rich, it has a certain character with guitar that appears to be simply giving you more…….more detail, but it’s a workhorse………..you don’t need anything more……nothing. We are not asking for more drivers.

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Theater of Tragedy
Assembly
“Play”

44.1 kHz - 24 bit

At 0.44 the blast of dueling guitars enter with full-force. Here the guitar is used with economy, yet they are startling in surprise and emphasis. The guitar is only used to propel the chorus to the whole song. Open power chords ringing-out in perfect pitch and timbre……truly a delight to behold here. The attack at 0.44 gives us a clue as to the transient quality as well as the leading edge definition bringing about the emotion of such 6 sting instruments. Truly this is why we choose BAs for IEMs and why so far BA technology still has winning attributes over other sound making methodologies. In fact, whether in-fact this is some new style/model of BA from Sonion, or just a beautiful implementation of an old one, this is the cat’s meow! While slightly more laid-back than the midrange tone of the ISN H30 that just came out, there is an extra layer of accessibility and realness I just can’t argue with. It wins out on any question of correctness, as found an in absolute example of how to do this “art” correctly.

(Metal Mind Productions reissued the album on 27 July 2009. The album has been digitally remastered using 24-bit process on a golden disc and includes three bonus tracks, "You Keep Me Hangin' On", "Let You Down" (Remix) and "Motion" (Funker Vogt Remix). The album is limited to 2,000 copies”)


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The Cure
Faith
“All Cats are Grey”

44.1 kHz - 16 bit

And………..remember we are still judging the midrange. All this is so slight, in a way, as when I reviewed the ISN H30 I talked about how I felt it was about the mids, that even though they were showing a slight upper midrange emphasis, still it’s where the soul of the H30 is. The Fan 2 does a more even-steven style of approach, where there is more of an exact balance…………so much even-balance that just that fact becomes an area of neutral-fascination. All Cats are Gray starts out with a wonderful drum sample. Such rotations of rhythm, are fully reverberated in the style for the time. It was like a new sound, where drums took a front and center place in the world of pop music, just adding this style of studio reverb and the sound of classic 1980s was born. There is much more to this reverb effect, but this is not the place to talk of it. Here though we find the drums reaching way out to the right and left of the stage……seemingly again right in the zone……..the tone zone! And amazing, the reverberations actually have a decay and note weight that seems not too fast in fall-off. Filled with extra harmonics of piano chords………this is both a warm bath and neutral at the same time. Each instrument having absolute timbre in identity to character…I’ve heard this album 100s and 100s of times and this take on replay is totally correct………not a version of correct……100% correct.

Robert Smith’s voice comes in at the 2:19 mark, now right before that there is a sonic emphasis in the way of a crash cymbal. It’s actually though-out the song……….the cat sounds are actually (an effect) in the tail-off of the cymbal tails. Now while the cat (sonic) effects sounds are more prominent in the cymbal strike at 2:11. I’m getting ahead of myself in that we will go into the treble character in the treble chapter to soon follow. At the 2:19 mark Robert Smiths voice is of a both relaxed and detailed manner, such a placement into the soundstage is just right. Yet somehow we hear his voice enveloped in echo too? While I have heard it more showcased and showing more of microscopic detail, here somehow it’s more integrated and part of the song. This character is also connected to how the treble ultimately plays out 100% of the time. It’s that the Fan 2 gets it’s strengths though correctness of timbre yet at the cost of creating more of a laid-back atmosphere. For all-night easy listening, I’m all in, for taking the Fan 2 as my only IEM on a trip, it’s fine too. It’s the very same reasons that the Fan 2 plays back everything……everything. One of my most important aspects of testing IEMs…………..let’s face it, it’s stupid if you have to search for recordings to make an IEM listenable. Not here, and not with the Fan 2, it plays every file I throw at it, now obviously old, dusty old recordings only sound so great, but they are not too bright or wrong sounding in any way. So as far as vocals go, they are not vocal specialist IEMs which showcase the vocals, yet they also are not a V shape response which can bury them in the mix. With the Fan 2 we are never wanting for the volume to be tuned-up louder, just to hear vocals. Vocals in-fact are heard for just what they are, with a smidge of warmth thrown-in for good measure.

There is a studio artifact at the 00:09 mark which I have used for years to judge IEM playback. In truth I don’t know what created this sound but it only lasts a fraction of a second. It’s maybe a dirty knob turn, or static electricity, whatever it is they failed to take it out of the mix. I have found this artifact to be of genuine value when getting a clue as to the true nature of IEM playback. In an instant it gives me an idea of the tone we are working with. This little sound can go and truly explain a lot. And here it’s just as expected, reflecting the neutrality of the Fan 2s playback, while not the most delineated, like some emphasis creating IEMs would perform, it’s fine and correct for what we are hearing.

Treble:

I’m actually going to use the “All Cats are Grey” Cymbals as a great example of what treble character is going on. The lower treble focus of Fan 2 is a big part in contrast to how the upper treble on the ISN H30 differs. Typically in spending more you get a more complex and detailed treble with the more expensive model of IEM. Yet in this case it’s the 8-9 Khz treble focus of the ISN H30 which while still being very neutral, is more bright and airy. Where (to me) the ISN H30 is missing a slight bit of note weight, which while the H30 is more emphasized and louder in that treble area, I find the laid-backness so much more inviting with the Fan 2. The two IEMs didn’t come (to me) at the same time, so I reviewed the ISN H30 first…then came the Fan 2. While some may feel the Fan 2 is pricy in comparison to the ISN H30, here because they are both supplying an interpretation of neutral, the simple fact that the Fan 2 exists, makes having the H30 almost unnecessary. I simply feel the overall Fan 2 sound warrants the extra cost. That is of course unless you really want the style of treble the H30 does, then by all means get it. In truth though I don’t really miss the upper end sparkles the ISN H30 bring to the table……..and somehow find the Fan 2 more complete and natural, despite the lesser contrasts in tone.

Further comparisons to the H30:
It’s that in truth the Fan 2 is more well rounded. While they both do the Rock genre of music really well, the extra bass genres like techno are a plus for the Fan 2, but more than that, the Fan 2 is just a more well rounded performer in the end. Hence I gave the ISN H30 one-half less star, where the Fan 2 gets the full 5 star approval and sincere recommendation. I had no idea the Fan 2 would be this great, this forgiving and this much fun. Normally I rely on extra bass (read bass-head) for the thrills, here we are given an extra dose lower midrange that’s still relatively neutral and bass (that’s also close to neutral) to finish this reviewer off. Where the H30 is a few dBs short on bass, it becomes even more noticeable due to the (accented) treble balance. Hence the perfect combination found with the Fan 2! It’s just that the Fan 2 has this note weight to the treble, a realism which is uncanny, despite being rolled-off a tad in comparison to brighter V shaped responders. You know Penon did this on purpose, they almost never release a new IEM, yet is a short time we have the ISN H30 (a sub-brand of Penon Audio) and the Fan 2 released. This double-barrel shot gun effect works to create even more excitement than a single IEM release. And…….there is nothing wrong with the value the H30 represents. The cable it comes with, the abilities, especially for the price asked are phenomenal. It’s just when two IEMs come out back-to-back (at the same time) they beg to be compared.

Laughably the H30 probably fits better...........actually not probably, the H30 does fit better than the Fan 2. Still for the sonic attributes, I will choose the Fan 2, and while both are great at what they do and represent value in todays marketplace due to originality in tone, and technicalities. Those technicalities arrive from being both fast and agile in performance tempo..............still the Fan 2 has more midrange and lower midrange thickness. This adds to the realism in my humble opinion.

Cables:
I have reserves about including cable rolls in this review. Mainly because it changed to IEM so far from the norm. Yep……..folks, I’m about to drop some bombs is this section.

The Penon Audio PAC480:

https://penonaudio.com/pac480-iem-cable.html
https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/penon-pac480-iem-cable.25228/reviews#review-28808

I’m putting this 1st as it won out over the included cable. This beast of a cable was $99.00, now (on-sale) for $49.50. To me it just sounded bigger and offered a more expanded soundstage. The sound was also fuller and a tad warmer. And while later cable takes talk about the $699/$799 Penon Audio Totem cable being somewhat costly/impractical, it's still the bees's knees with the Fan 2.

But really the OS133 stock cable and the Penon PAC480 are the two most recommended cables in this review due to price sound value. Both offer incredible synergy with the Fan 2, and both are warm, but in slightly different ways. Depending on the tone of your DAP, and personal preference, really both the included cable and this PAC480 are both the path to success. Though I must warn you, if you eventually decide to give the Penon PAC480 a try, keep in mind........it's giant, and a beast of a cable.

The ISN Audio G4:
https://penonaudio.com/isn-audio-g4.html
https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/isn-g4-iem-cables.25670/reviews#review-29405

Laughably the Graphene is pumping the soundstage, the sound response is just slightly brighter than stock...........but it’s the imaging and emotion that brings-up the entertainment factor with the G4! Bass is not only more separated, it’s slightly better defined than any cable described as of yet. Still this G4 addition is a kind of compromise that would only be of value if you held it as personal preference in the end. Meaning while the G4 does add separation, it also may add a brightness to the treble that may simply be too much for some. All and all, after days of testing and backtracking again on the comparison to the included Penon OS133 cable.........there is a specific tone with the included cable that's just right, being the silver add is less than the G4, we are left with a more well rounded yet slightly less detailed rendition with the Penon OS133. But for those curious as to the hidden information in the top-end of the Fan 2, adding the G4 may shorten your listening times, but add a little top-end spice! :)

Penon Totem Adapter Cable:
Plus the Penon Audio OS133 (stock cable)
https://penonaudio.com/penon-totem-adapter-cable.html

$79.90
This is when part of the review is going to get crazy. Are you sitting down? I hope so. For a modest price of $79.90 Penon offers a way to grasp part of the Totem TOTL cable’s abilities. Now remember this simply adding special metals cable onto the front of the signal. Attaching any cable plug you normally use, to go ahead and add to the front part of your existing cable. First you plug in the Totem adapter and plug in your favorite cable on-top. Simple. What you are doing is using the Palladium, Gold, Silver and Copper in a co-axial environment to pre-filter the regular signal. Such filtering adds part of what the complete Totem cable does to the Fan 2 anyway. Bigger soundstage, more instrument separation, and more involvement……….better defined bass, midrange more real and even the treble has slightly better articulation.

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The Penon Totem Cable:
This is science fiction. So days before this review came out, Penon Audio revamped the Totem Cable. They ditched the pig-tails and now include a modular plug system. The covering went from a strange otherworldly blue to dark blue cloth style weave that almost resembles the black Penon Audio OS133 stock cable. Oh……and they knocked-off a $100.00 due to less pig-tail building costs. So the Penon Audio Totem comes in at $699.00. That’s a lot of money to put with a $279.00 IEM I hear you saying............off in the background. :)

Well, yes it is….............it is a lot of money……and with many so-so IEMs it would be a waist to even attempt this style of tomfoolery. I mean..........yes, the cable makes an improvement with every IEM I have used it with………..still with the Fan 2 it’s dramatic…….and if you can float-it……….I’m not going to suggest you get the Penon Totem just with one paragraph of information…………but read some reviews, don’t take my word for it……..until you read my TOTEM review, which should come out shortly. The Penon Totem maximizes everything, everything under the sun……334 Shares X 2. Litz 6 silver plated single crystal copper, palladium plated pure silver, pure gold plated single crystal copper. Each element that makes up the shares could be a cable of its own. Basically the Totem makes the Fan 2 sound louder at the same volume as other cables, so somehow its sound is not only more vibrant, but clearer.

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Fan 2 build:
Consisting of 4 drivers and three driver types, the bass is handles by two 6mm biodynamic drivers. As talked about earlier, the idea here is a smaller DD moves faster, stops faster to create a nimbleness. The Mids are created by a single Sonion BA driver, as the treble handled by a single Knowles BA. I can’t help but think this combination is special, due to both soundstage and cohesion, transient edges and naturalness. The medical resin shell will be noted as being the first of its kind. Really it looks like the H30 and is relatively the same size, both with extra-long-nozzles. This goes about to create an impactful sound due to the sound exit point at nozzle-end actually being deeper in your ear. Though take note, the Fan 2 takes it one step further an has a slight downward angle to the nozzle, different from the H30. The nozzle tips are furnished with the same high-end lips and screens found on the ISN H30. There are a number of (screen) holes here, instead of a wire mesh used. Such ideas in shape offer a further stance on the universal custom, almost becoming even more custom due to shape. A two pin allows for connection, along with only a single vent for air-pressure in and out duties. Such a dark resin means you can barley see inside of the Fan 2. The faceplates have the Penon name on the left and Fan 2 on the right.

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The included cable:
https://penonaudio.com/penon-os133.html
https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/penon-os133-iem-cables.25829/review



A $39.60 purchase on its own.

Laughably I did an entire review just on the cable the Fan 2 comes with. Before the Fan 2 the OS133 was a stand alone purchase. A 2 shares, single share is 133 cores, a total of 266 cores, OFC silver-plated cable. Though typically I regard this cable sounding more to the copper side of the mix, than expressive of the slight silver add. It does have an increase in midrange spaciousness and a treble tilt in relation to a pure copper cable. But the main question in your mind is does the cable fit the IEM? And yes, without a doubt the cable just works………reason being is it’s one of the Penon cables which only has a hint of silver…….at least that’s how I interpret the OS133 to be. Where there are brighter cables, yet we don’t want that here. We want to bask in the low-end warmth, using what silver is there to kind-of add detail to the midrange and treble………and that’s exactly what’s going on. In fact after all my cable rolling I returned to the OS133 included cable to reconfirm its excellence. If anything the extra cables simply go-on to show that other signatures were possible, but there is no reason you can’t be happy with the included cable long term. Penon understands an IEM’s cable needs, and stepped-up to the plate to bring you a great balance of value, ergonomics and sonics.

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New for Penon Audio, a new fangled GUCCI IEM case. You know what these things are. I will say this shape is slightly smaller (than normal) yet holds everything securely. Some of those new cases are LARGE! Disclaimer: GUCCI did not make the case in question.

Soundstage:
Big, bounty-full and fun. There is nothing boring about the Fan 2. And the reason why it not boring may in fact start with the stage? The soundstage is the vary reason I placed this part of the review near the end……..that’s right, I saved the best part for last. And while I’ve heard bigger stages, there is something special going on here. It’s probably the ultimate balance that comes with FR……that’s right, there are technicalities which transcend due to FR and spill-over to effect pace and imaging…..and quite possibly soundstage, it sure seems like it. A light breezy pace with perfect placement of all sound constituents. While it’s more wide than anything, it does have ample thickness that seems to draw imaging? It’s not really that tall, but how it’s done is fine……….Producers play with soundstage, meaning at times stuff is mixed way-out to the sides, then other mixes will center a bass throb directly in the center. But the beautiful part here is whatever was planned in replay, IS experienced………..and far greater than the price of the Fan 2 would have you believe. It’s this separation which goes down due to never one single frequency over-shadowing anything else. Part of this effect is called hidden bass, this occurs due to fast bass response, and will actually delineate a fine section of the stage………..that’s right, siting right in its own little area, due to the tightness heard……..none of that bass bleed to clog up dynamics and bass perception. Literally it’s reserved bass, but it’s warm, fluid, fun and deep.

When playing songs which have the stage contained as an add, it’s amazing. Still low quality songs are shown (soundstage wise) for what they are, it’s realistic and truthful. The stage (to me) comes off exciting and big, with yet a big part of my findings has to do with how the Fan 2 responds with cable rolls. To be blunt, the stage is slightly better than average width, yet what makes it seem bigger is the correctly formed imaging.

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Imaging/transient response:
People are always asking me what my favorite part of the Fan 2 response is...........and I always response with imaging and stage, besides the bass. Reason being is the technicalities are truly superior for the price asked. It is first noticed with these broad floating vocals.......perfectly detailed and separated in the mix, the violins having there own room to exist. You see, with-in neutral there is a space where instruments are never crowded, they add the nice pace, due to a perfectly reserved low-end.................and imaging is even better delineated! Really I need to address bass imaging too........while very dependent on both your cable and DAP character...........after a while you can really learn to find the low end! And.......what's found is a tailored form of quick imaging separated and sculptured......truly it's all I could want. But get the Fan 2 a thin source and the bass can become too thin, or lacking punch and depth. A perfect example would be using the new TRN silicone ear-tips combined with the PAC480 cable..........that set-up with the more mid centric Walkman WM1A, it was just slightly too thin. A change-out to the Walkman WM1Z was absolutely perfect! So the lesson for all here is at times it's a super small adjustment which means the world of difference between wining and losing!

While priced much more than its sister release, the H30. The $279 Fan 2 is taking the signature to a whole new level! $297.00 is a lot of money, it’s $168.00 more than the H30. Yet if it’s a keeper…….then nothing wasted. In fact if you love it…………well.........you love it! :)

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Conclusion:
In many ways the Fan 2 opens a doorway. To me that door is to new lands of adventure and tone. In fact the sound kept reminding me of something. I couldn’t put my finger on where, but I had heard this sound before? That in and of itself is strange because you wouldn’t think a neutral sound would be rare in an IEM, but in my experience the Fan 2 comes off pleasantly unique in my collection, and possibly yours too? The sound of the Fan 2 is very much from memory like the famous Sony MDR-R10 which came out in 1988. Sony continued the sound-tuning even with my own personal pair of Sony headphones the MDR-CD-870 to which I purchased in 1998 and used (as my only headphone) until I discovered Head-Fi in 2006. When I finally got a chance to hear the MDR-R10 it was in the very best of situations. While experiencing my second Head-Fi meet in 2010, the R10 was left alone in a quiet room upstairs. I could listen just as long as I wanted, it was being fed by the ultimate upstream equipment too! I came to realize that this headphone was Sony’s take on neutrality. Introduced back in 1988 they continued with this Sony house sound for years. While Penon’s version in the Fan 2 is slightly warmer, also the R10 treble is slightly more refined, which you would expect from a $2500 (at time of release) full-size headphone. Today the Sony R10 brings in on average $6000 a pair! So an IEM version of this old Sony sound is a welcome embrace.......also strangely new in the IEM world. Yet the Fan 2 is powerful because it gives you the ability to play any file type and any musical genre. In playback there is a style of completeness that is truly special. This results from soundstage as well as a lickety-split bass department! And.....I haven’t even started with the genuine midrange!

When you start to add up the features, you start to get a glimpse of the value. Truth to be told, there is nothing more I could ask for in this Fan 2 sound signature, it’s all there, doing everything right! In fact this sound is both exciting and unique. Unique because somehow Penon went and figured out a tune that could be introduced to market as fresh and new. There is nothing that I have heard that even begins to approach what the Fan 2 is! So in that it stands alone. I haven’t heard the original Fan made by Penon, but I can guess it has nothing to do with the IEM we are discussing today. The Fan 2 sound is textured and vivid, fast and embracing. Truly this single product is like nothing you have ever heard in your life, unless you have a pair of Sony MDR-R10 laying around!

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Disclaimer:

I want to thank Penon Audio for the love and for the Fan 2 review sample.

Disclaimer:
These are one persons ideas and concepts, your results may vary.

Equipment Used:
Sony WM1Z Walkman DAP MrWalkman Firmware 4.4mm
Sony WM1A Walkman DAP MrWalkman Firmware 4.4mm
Sony TA-ZH1ES DAC/AMP Firmware 1.03
Electra Glide Audio Reference Glide-Reference Standard "Fatboy" Power Cord
Sony Walkman Cradle BCR-NWH10
AudioQuest Carbon USB
UA3 Dongle DAC/Amplifier 4.4mm

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dorisisaway
dorisisaway
When I got ”the offer” on these from Penon I thought it was worth the blind. Once the treble woke up these are a unusual mix of weight, thickness and accuracy in the bass to mids. To me these sound how the Serial is often described.
Redcarmoose
Redcarmoose
dorisisaway

It's interesting that they get compared to the Serial.......in that before the Serial was the most neutral Penon, yet the Fan 2 takes a completely different approach, based on almost true neutrality. Where while the Fan 2 is slightly warm, you could never call it thick..........though the Serial is thick sounding in a way.
szore
szore
Just got mine and I love them!

Dsnuts

Headphoneus Supremus
Dual DD+Dual BA Hybrid IEM from Penon Audio
Pros: Newest IEM from Penon audio with the aim to meet their fan base needs.
The most neutral Penon IEM tuned to date.
Excellent use of 3 different types of drivers.
Two 6mm bio dynamic for bass+Sonion BA for mids+Knowles BA for trebles
Excellent passive isolation due to longer than usual nozzle for Resin designs
Nicely resolving technically proficient sound tuning with excellent balancing
Versatile due to its neutrality and excellent stage.
Includes a new style larger carry case for Penon with a liner for the IEMs.
OS133 included cable matches well with the sound of the Fan2
Excellent neutral tonality, highly technical
Tight speedy punchy dynamic bass. Moderate in emphasis.
Well balanced extended trebles.
Cons: Longer nozzle of the Fan2 has a bit of a strange shape to it that might cause some discomfort
Tip and fit sensitive it seems due to the new shape of the housing.
Slightly uneven bass with more mid bass focus than sub bass.
Could use more tips.
Penon Fan2
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Not often do we get Penon made IEMs and the Fan2 happens to be the latest offering from the group that keeps on making premium in ears. The Fan2 consists of 4 drivers in an all resin build. The build you should be familiar with but the actual shape of the housing is new. Its got the longest stem of any of the recent Penon offerings for one. This seems to give an added effect of stage with better passive isolation. Will share more thoughts on that later but for now, inside the new medium sized shell are 2x 6mm dynamics and 2 BAs. More specifically a Sonion BA doing the mids and a Knowles BA doing the treble.That leaves the two sets of dynamics handling the bass.

From a design standpoint I have always advocated the use of smaller dynamics to handle bass. Contrary to popular belief, just because a dynamic is smaller in size does not mean it will have smaller bass. It has everything to do with tuning more than physical size for drivers. In the headphone space I have owned plenty of 40mm dynamic headphones out punch and out rumble larger 50mm dynamic headphones. I suppose it's the idea of a bigger driver gives you bigger slam. I found out the two sets of 6mm dynamics are both handling the bass frequencies in unison. Kinda like a dual push pull system for bass. Penon is using their latest biological dynamic with what they claim has a crystal plating.
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Apparently, humidity can affect a biological dynamic, hence the need for a “crystal plating.” Which is a newly revised version of the biological dynamic Penon has used for their prior IEMs. My experience with biological dynamics is that it does bass splendidly well for IEMs. Will get into that later in the bass descriptor but for now just know you're getting the latest and greatest from Penon tech.

The Penon Fan2 was provided for the purpose of a review. You can read more about them and purchase a set here. The Fan2 has been burned in for a weeks period and are now ready for evaluation using my sources. IBasso DX300Max, IBasso DX160, Shanling M6 pro, Shanling M5S, Fiio BTR7, Fiio K3 2021, IFI Gryphon, IFI Signature.
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What you get/ build
The Penon Fan2 comes with a new medium sized rectanglish 3”x4” clamshell type zip up case with a soft formed lining for the earphones and cable to be more secure inside. If you don't need or want the lining you can take it out of the case for more room if you wish. Accessories include two sets of silicones, a cleaning tool and clip. Accessories are standard fare here and nothing too spectacular. Overall just ok with usable tips. The cable on the other hand clearly makes up for any shortcomings for the accessories. The highly regarded OS133 makes a debut as an included cable offering with the Fan2 which matches splendidly with the sonic qualities. The cable will come in any termination when ordering.
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I spoke briefly about the new resin housing and I have to write about this new shape. It clearly has the longest nozzle of any of the Penon resin designs. Some pros and cons of this design is that it forces the user to have a deeper insertion into the ears. Witch unto itself is not a bad thing if you're used to using IEMs. However the nozzle shape is slightly awkward in that it points at a downward angle. I have a friend who has owned and heard 100s of IEMs and he finds the Fan2 new resin housing a bit uncomfortable for him. I happen to have a larger ear than him so they seem fine for me. This guy owns numerous other Penon IEMs so this was a bit of a surprise to me. But I can understand due to the new housing shape. This longer nozzle also seem to cause a variation of its sound based on tip selection. These do seem to be more tip dependent than most. If you find the mid bass to be a bit much or too little with too much treble it might be due to how they fit for you so you have to experiment with different type of tips more so on the Fan2 than most. It was clearly designed for a deeper insertion so know this before experimenting.
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Sound design and technicals.
As stated, Penon is very deliberate in everything they design. There was a prior FAN IEM they created that was a single dynamic design. Fan series of earphones, I can call them now are named as such as they design these for their audiophile audience. Therefore the name FAN. With the 2nd iteration of the FAN design we go from a dynamic IEM to a hybrid in the Fan2. Fan2 is the most neutrally tuned Penon IEM and I do believe was designed about the same time as the new ISN H30 which interestingly enough also happens to be a neutrally tuned IEM. You can read my review of the ISN H30 here. The Fan2 is very similar in many ways to the H30 design. They both use two BAs. Possibly the same BAs, not certain but they have differences in their tunings. Both are neutrally tuned IEMs but with the obvious design differences being their dynamic drivers.

The other difference is how the Fan2 was tuned to be a higher end IEM vs the H30. Fan2s neutral balanced tuning has a more refined extended treble tuning vs the H30. Its bass has greater definition. Mids are the most similar between the two IEMs as well as the actual balancing for the frequencies. The use of a slightly larger shell, and how the treble was tuned with a dual dynamics on tap doing the bass. The Fan2 is basically a higher end ISN H30.
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The Fan2 technicalities are standard of Penon fame. Meaning they use quality components and drivers for their designs.Technicalities are some of the best for the bucks always.. Trebles with a different better balanced tuning focus with better extension, bass which is tighter, a touch better defined, speedier and then using a larger shell vs the H30 seems to give the Fan 2 even a wider sense of stage, airier trebles, an airier sound. That wider sense of stage and space makes for a different level of immersion. A different level of earphone. It seems Penon tunes for the given price points they sell their IEMs for. The Fan2s sound profile being neutral has everything in moderation with no particular parts of the tuning that stands out above the others. Excellent balancing, has very good definition both macro and micro, imaging in space with good timbre be it BA timbre, sound separation, very good cohesion, neutral tonality with a hint of richness. Excellent well defined, tight and speedy bass impact with good rumble and texture for its price level. Very good stereo separation, excellent wider stage with a moderate depth for IEMs. Fan2 is fan service for their patrons.
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Trebles.
The trebles of the Fan2 were tuned differently from the similarly neutral ISN H30. Here is where treble tunging makes for a different level of IEM. The Fan2s treble tunging is the opposite of the H30s mid treble focus. The Fan2s treble focus is more at the heart of the lower trebles and then a nice treble extension for the upper trebles. It does have the Penon classic anti sibilance/fatigue free dip at around 8-9Khz. Which was the actual focus for the trebles for the ISN H30. Micro detailing for the trebles could be a touch better but for the most part the better balanced trebles of the Fan2 injects air to the treble frequencies. Excellent crisp macro detailing and is easily the more refined treble experience. One of the best aspects for Penon branded IEMs is to expect fatigue free trebles for their IEMs and this is at the heart of their treble presentations.
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I have seen some rumblings of enthusiasts that have posted that would like more of the 8Khz presence for the brilliance factor. It isn’t that Penon neuters the area altogether. It is not as emphasized as the other regions of the tuning. This makes for better versatility. Ask a rock and metal listener how they like the 8Khz spike and more than likely they will tell you it is not pleasant to get a whole helping heaping of crash cymbals in your ears. I would like to think Penon knows what they are doing in that regard and it shows for their IEMs. The trebles overall are handled splendidly with the single Knowles treble BA. The treble blends in seamlessly with the mids presentation.

Mids of the Fan2 are affected from the better treble and bass tunings of the Fan2. Mids sound broader, somehow deeper and airier sounding vs the similarly tuned ISN H30. The mids are the meat and bones of the Penon tuned IEM and here we get an excellent Sonion BA handling the mids duties for the Fan2. Mids come with one of the better imaging aspects for IEMs. The Sonion BAs are amazing for mids due to their tonal qualities. This is reflected in the Fan2 richer tonal presentation. It does sound like a different Sonion BA that is being used vs the Orbs, Globes and Volts. Can’t confirm this but it is probably due to having moderate bass ends on the Fan2 vs the others mentioned that use the Sonion BA. Mids have excellent neutral clarity and presence in all parts of the mids bands. Utilizing roughly 6dbs of upper mid pinna gain, the Fan2 has just enough to really balance out the mids presentation while injecting a very good clear definition for the mids. It wouldn’t be a Penon tuned IEM without a dimensional character and you get that with the Fan2 as well. Penons mids presentations are emotive with their deliberate use of the Sonion BA. And I can say there are not many really neutrally tuned Penon IEMs. The Fan2 is now the closest to a neutrally tuned IEM even over the Serials.
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Bass
The two 6mm crystal plated biological dynamics handling the bass has about roughly 6dbs of bass. You can see the balancing of the 3 types of drivers here with the Fan2. 6dbs is really the bare minimum for a neutrally tuned IEM. Anything lower than that and the bass will start to sound anemic and lack in impact. I know 6dbs of bass does not seem much but for a neutrally tuned IEM it is right at the moderate level of bass in all aspects related to bass. Here is where the level of bass presence is identical to that of the recent ISN H30 hybrid. Both sets are focused more for mid bass vs the sub bass presence. Which is OK but I would have liked to see the Fan2 have just a bit more in the sub bass.
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Where the slight lack of emphasis is made up is in the sheer quality of the bass performance on the Fan2. Fan2 has a tight well defined bass presentation. Which is exactly what you want from a neutrally tuned IEM. Its bass tonality is natural with excellent transient and speed qualities for dynamic bass. Percussion sets especially sound excellent for the Fan2. It has a moderate level of rumble for sub bass. All of their prior made IEMs for Penon has more emphasis for bass. However to get a greater bass presence your best copper based cables and tips apply here. Bass has plenty of impact and its cohesion with the BAs are done well. I have heard plenty of hybrid IEMs where the bass sounds different altogether from the BAs it is using. Not so with the Fan2. The idea of using a hybrid is to get the natural bass impact and rumble of the dynamic vs the tight clean well defined BA presentation. You get just this with the Fan2 as the bass integration is nicely done. Sure I would have liked to see just a bit more emphasis for the bass but as far as the overall balancing goes. The Fan2 is the very definition of balance.
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In the end
The Fan2 is yet another nicely designed hybrid from Penon. It actually fits in perfectly with their current line up as it is the most neutrally tuned Penon IEM out of the bunch. It is the one area they have not really explored in the past. I suppose the Serials come the closest to the Fan2 but those are differently designed altogether. Even their flagship Volts and Legends are more colored in comparison. Its overall tuning is clearly a Penon version of the neutral tuning. You will never see an analytical type tuning from Penon. Well balanced and refined yes but bright neutral will never happen. Penon IEMs are all about listening to music and that includes bass genres. I own bass first hybrid IEMs where it will pound your ear drums into submission if need be. The Fan2 is not it. While being very versatile due to its outstanding balancing the Fan2 is not the IEM I would choose for bass genres..They sound surprisingly capable for bass genres it's just that that is not their strongest strength. Fan2 still shows good versatility and you know it is a Penon made IEM when mids are clearly some of the better aspects for the IEM. Vocals sound superb be it male or female, acoustic tracks sound fantastic, punchy for pop and is surprising just how well it does for Jazz, orchestral and rock music.
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Penon Obsidian cable shown.
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The all-resin design Penon uses are outstanding for their solid nature. The new Fan2 has one of the longer nozzles that sit on a medium housing. This makes the Fan2 have a deeper insertion of the ears and seems to present the Fan2 sound with an outstanding sense of a wider stage for IEMs with added sense of a greater passive isolation. The Fan2s neutral tuning gives precedence for accuracy and detail which bodes well for a versatile listen. The included cable for the Fan2 is the highly regarded Penon OS133 cable in any termination you want. You can read about the cable here. The cable matches amazingly well with the Fan2 sound signature but like all good things that are made well. A higher end aftermarket cable brings out even better performance for the Fan2. If you're in the market in search for a well made, excellent sounding neutrally tuned hybrid. Penon just released a very competitive and compelling product in the Fan2. Thanks for taking the time to read.
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Fan2 optimiazed. IFI Gryphon+ Penon Obsidian+ Fan2+ Spiral dots.
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P
PKTK
@GoldBug Can you elaborate on the mild disappointment you have experienced ?
GoldBug
GoldBug
@PKTK it was very brief, these are awesome earphones. The initial mild disappointment was because they sound very similar to the ISN IEMs I already have with the "Penon sound".

Now after some hours listening, I'm more disappointed I've spent so much on other IEMs, lol.

Absolutley worth it.
P
PKTK
@GoldBug I would be very surprised if Fan2 and ISN iems are not produced in the same factory. BTW: I like FAN2 as well and I think it is worth what I have paid for it at it's discounted price.
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