Penon Turbo


1000+ Head-Fier
BA Bass - the game has changed.
Pros: Prominent bass output, capable technical performance, physically small shells.
Cons: Dark treble tuning.
"...BA bass". There - I said it!

Is it an audiophile faux pas? An obscenity deserving of washing one's mouth out with soap? Was it secretly Harry Potter's fourth Unforgivable Curse?

If you're flummoxed by this rest easy, a super-short history lesson will bring you right up to speed on.... actually you know what, let's skip it. All you need to know is Balanced Armature drivers (BAs) were used in hearing aids for decades, until a guy named Jerry Harvey thought they'd work in earphones too.

So why the audiophile hate for BAs? Well mostly on account of a really annoying thing called physics.

You see BAs are tiny which means you can stuff an earphone full of them, but they don't move a lot of air. That's not an issue when you're reproducing the sound of violins, but when it comes to beefy bass drums - different story.

Saying earphones reliant on BAs to do bass have struggled is like saying Donald Trump's presidency may have been slightly controversial. Unlike Trump BAs aren't great at producing lots of wind, and moving large volumes of air is what creating reverberating bass you can feel is all about.

I have good news though - the times they are a changin'.


When Penon Audio asked if I wanted to accept a free pair of their new USD $549 Turbo earphones in exchange for a review, my first thought (free stuff = good!) was different to my reaction upon learning of their 6x BA configuration. (could this be bad?)

BA-only IEMs can be polarising, and to make things even more controversial the Turbos are deliberately turned to have an overwhelming amount of bass - almost deliberately provoking anyone who thinks BA bass can't cut it!

Suddenly I was intrigued, and couldn't wait for them to arrive. In the interim I began reading, and soon learned they feature no less than four tuning switches, one of which named Super Bass Boost sounded particularly ominous.

So I began asking myself the question - why have BA bass drivers disappointed many of us in the past? One answer is although they've let us hear bass frequencies, they've struggled to make us feel them.

However I noted the Turbos use a pair of beefy Sonion double-vented BAs to produce bass frequencies, which I believe have only fairly recently hit the market - could this finally be the moment BAs bass drivers attain absolution for past failures?

Days later a package arrived on my doorstep, which I hurriedly unwrapped seeking answers...



The Turbos are packaged almost identically to the Penon Globes I previously reviewed, arriving in a small cardboard box, inside of which is a leather carry case containing the IEMs.

Alongside a smaller leather accessories case, no less than tree sets of eartips in 3 sizes are supplied, along with a cleaning tool & shirt clip. Also included are two different tools to aid in flipping the Turbos' tuning switches, one of which appears to be a SIM card ejector. The overall package is about what you'd expect for an IEM in this price range, and the tuning switch tools are a thoughtful & useful inclusion.

The stock cable is a Penon CS819, a very flexible & lightweight 8 wire OCC copper & silver-plated copper cable that sells separately for USD $49, in your choice of 4.4mm, 3.5mm or 2.5mm terminations. I have nothing but good things to say about the CS819, which may be my favourite cable under $100.



Physically the Turbos feel extremely similar to the ISN Neo5s I recently reviewed - which is to say for my ears their comfort is superb, on par with or better than almost any multi-driver IEM on the market.

Intrinsic to this is their small size which stems from their relatively low driver count, but also in the case of the Turbos their lack of a dynamic driver. Not only are they small, but their shape matches my ear geometry almost perfectly and I can keep them in my ears for hours without discomfort. They're also vented so pressure build-up isn't an issue.

The only slight downside to such tiny & lightweight IEMs is their isolation doesn't benefit from extra bulk blocking my ear canals. To me the comfort tradeoff is worth it and I find the Turbos' isolation adequate even on noisy trains, but slightly down from the most isolating universal IEMs I've tried.

Sound Impressions


The Turbos are extremely cohesive, as fast as their name suggests, and pack a wallop.

Bass is heavily emphasised with a slight bias towards midbass, though there's still plenty of sub bass rumble as well. Bass texture is impressive, if I'm nitpicking it's a touch mushy compared to bass-focused DD IEMs though still perfectly acceptable - definitely not the kind of bass that jumps out as being produced by BA drivers if I didn't already know the Turbos' driver configuration.

There’s absolutely no want for bass quantity either - if anything it may take you awhile to get used to how bass dominant the Turbos are because this is definitely bass that's a long way north of neutral, so if you listen to a lot of electronic music as I do you definitely won't find them bass shy.

There's a satisfying sense of fullness to the Turbos' midrange, perhaps aided by their midbass output, yet they're not so warm as to make the soundstage feel constrained or claustrophobic. In fact they do a great job of presenting such a large amount of bass whilst still sounding so clean.


I find their balance between the lower & upper midrange quite satisfying, there was a quite a bit of upper midrange energy right out of the box but that dissipated after a few nights of burn-in. My preference would still be for a touch more lower midrange emphasis, but the extra bit of upper midrange probably aids vocal articulation.

The Turbos feature a fairly dark treble performance which reduces potential fatigue, but you may miss a bit of extra upper treble sparkle. This is an area where the compromise of significantly smaller shells gained by omitting EST drivers will be felt, as I find there's a certain silkiness ESTs deliver which BAs struggle to replicate. The Turbos feel like they're delivering virtually all the treble information, but that last little bit of effortless refinement is absent.

Technical Performance


One of the big advantages of omitting a DD is by using BAs exclusively greater technical performance can potentially be achieved.

You probably won't be surprised then to learn the Turbos are technically very competent, not only compared to other IEMs in their price range, but particularly considering how small they are.

The Turbos' soundstage width is slightly above average, though despite exhibiting some depth remains shallower than that of expensive IEMs worth thousands of dollars. Imaging is very solid without being truly outstanding, and dynamics are satisfyingly strong.

Resolution is very good, though detail isn't quite rendered with the same effortlessness one hears when EST drivers are present.

Perhaps most impressively the Turbos possess a tremendous sense of speed despite their huge bass presence, which will be especially appreciated if you listen to fast-paced music with busy passages.

Tuning Switches​


The Turbos feature no less than four tuning switches. Three of these boost the bass, midrange & treble respectively whilst the last is a Super Bass Boost switch that does exactly what you'd imagine.

Having this kind of flexibility is especially valuable given the source & cable you pair the Turbos with can alter their presentation significantly, to say nothing of your choice of music affecting your preferences for any given listening session.

I'm a bit of a minimalist however, so though I tested the switches for the purpose of this review it was almost a relief to learn my preferred combination was the configuration they arrived in - Super Bass Boost OFF, bass ON, midrange OFF and treble OFF - best described as "0100". (seen in photo above)

Though I also like the Turbos with all switches OFF, I find they lack that little bit of warmth & fullness without bass set to ON. Treble ON might work if my source were darker or warmer, and Super Bass Boost though fun to take for a spin was a little boomy, adding too much midbass for my taste - but if you find the rest of your system or choice of music anaemic... it's nice knowing the option's there.

IEM Comparisons


As always I find tremendous benefit in comparing IEMs to their competitors, further revealing their sonic traits in the process. Rather than use my Cayin N8ii I opted to A/B test IEMs with the Astell & Kern SR35 I recently reviewed, in Hi-Gain Mode with Quad DACs enabled.

Spinfit W1 tips were used on all IEMs to keep things consistent as these have been my go-to tips of choice for some time now.

ISN Neo5 – 4xBA, 1xDD (USD $289)


Upon reviewing the Neo5s I was more impressed than expected, in fact I've been a little shocked how much they suit my preferences so detaching from that kind of bias isn't easy - basically I really like them.

Requiring 40 volume on the SR35 vs the Turbos needing 50, they're slightly easier to drive and physically similarly small & snug - either will "disappear" in my ear for hours at a stretch with zero discomfort.

The Neo5s share tuning similarities with the Turbos, and heading that list is their unashamed bass dominance. The difference is the Neo5's use a DD for this purpose and although though bass quantity is similar between them, the Neo5's bass decays much slower, is biased more towards sub rather than midbass, and features more satisfying slam & texture despite the Turbo being no slouch in this area.

The Neo5's midrange is smoother yet with more presence & heft, making the Turbo sound a little thinner by comparison, and I do find the Neo5's tonality a bit more organic & satisfying. Both IEMs are on the darker side, but the Neo5's are a little darker still with a more relaxed overall sound.

Where the Turbos pull ahead is in technical performance, with sharper imaging, a blacker background, and slightly higher resolution. Transients feel sharper on the Turbos, though the Neo5s are similarly dynamic. I remain a huge fan of the Neo5 tuning but all that DD-driven bass hurts their technical chops.

Penon Globe - 2xBA, 1xDD (USD $329)


It's crazy to think the Globes are more expensive than the Neo5s given the terrific performance of the latter, but the Globes do have some tricks of their own. Physically they stick out more than the Turbos and don't seem to isolate quite as well (perhaps owing to increased difficulty I have getting a seal) and requiring 40 volume on the SR35 are somewhat easier to drive than the Turbos at 50.

Despite their dynamic driver, the Globes are exposed quite badly in the bass department by the Turbos. Not only is bass quantity far lower, but the Turbos' BA drivers actually deliver better bass texture as well.

Midrange is the Globes' strength, with a large amount of presence that rivets one's attention on vocals and almost makes the Globes feel like a mini Penon Impact. They're extremely cohesive & more relaxed than the Turbos, but the Globes' treble feels a little simplified & grainy, their stage is slightly narrower & shallower, dynamics are lower and resolution also feels a notch lower.

ISN EST50 – 2xBA, 1xDD, 2xEST (USD $449)


The EST50s feel physically larger than the Turbos than photos might suggest, stick out further and are not as supremely comfortable. They require 42 volume on the SR35, compared to 50 for the Turbos.

EST50s boast superior bass texture thanks to their DD, but that bass is slower and not as tight as Turbos'. Sub bass rumble is slightly higher, but the Turbos have considerably more midbass output. The EST50 midrange is more forward with greater lower midrange presence, whereas the Turbos are more upper midrange emphasised. Upper treble is more prominent on the EST50s which exposes the Turbos' darker tuning, with the EST drivers delivering more effortless detail leaving the Turbos feeling a tad grainier in this area.

Both IEMs have similar soundstage depth, but the EST50s' stage is a bit wider and they also take the lead in imaging, separation & layering, but dynamics & resolution are similar between them. The EST50s sound slightly more refined, whereas the Turbos feel a bit cleaner & more incisive.

Unique Melody Mest MKIII - 4xBA, 1xDD, 1xBCD (USD $2359)


Significantly larger & heavier than the Turbos, Mest MKIIIs are a little bigger than I prefer but require the same volume of 50 on the SR35 as the Turbos.

The Turbos sport greater sub bass thump & impact, whereas the MKIIIs feature increased midbass output and superior overall bass texture, which I interpret as more satisfying bass decay. The MKIII midrange sounds a little distant and lacks body, being MEST's greatest area of weakness.

By contrast the Turbos midrange is much more forward but the tables are turned when it comes to treble, where MKIII is considerably brighter with much more sparkle, exposing the Turbos' lack of upper treble. Turbos feel more cohesive, and are flatter tuned whereas MEST is very V-shaped and could be fatiguing.

MEST pulls ahead on the technical front with a slightly wider & deeper soundstage, better dynamics, a blacker background, slightly higher resolution and especially good BCD-driven imaging, helped further by its' shielded cable. Turbos are no slouch, but MEST plays on a different technical level.

Penon Impact – 10xBA, 4xEST (USD $2499)


Decently larger & heavier than the Turbos, the Impacts nonetheless fit my ears with similar comfort and superior isolation. Requiring 45 on the SR35 they're also slightly easier to drive.

Immediately noticeable is the Impacts lower overall bass quantity, which is weighted more towards midbass rather than sub bass. However the Impacts' BA bass can sound a tad pillowy, and I do find bass ruble & texture more satisfying on the Turbos.

The Impacts have one of the richest & most vivid midranges of any IEM I've heard, resolving the tiniest nuance of every vocal breath effortlessly, totally surpassing the Turbos in this department. The Impacts also possess more laidback treble, and though detail is not rendered as prominently there's more information resolved, yet tastefully recessed slightly so as not to fatigue during long listening sessions.

The Impacts' soundstage is certainly deeper, but also a little narrower than the Turbos'. Resolution is higher, as are dynamics, and the Impacts have a way of making the Turbos sound fatiguing but do not deliver the same levels of punch & excitement, with bass & treble prominence being sacrificed to place greater focus on Impact's magic midrange.

More IEM Comparisons

I took advantage of a recent Head-Fi members meetup in Melbourne to pit the Turbos against some of the best BA-bass IEMs on the market.

Please bear in mind the following impressions were garnered in fairly noisy showroom environments, which made discerning tiny differences difficult.

Elysian Diva 2023 - 6xBA (USD $1599)


The Divas owned by my friend GiullianSN are physically massive and stick out a long way, but I don't seem to have any comfort issues during my short demo. Requiring 65 on the SR35 compared to 50 for the Turbos it's clear they appreciate a lot of power - shame I didn't try them with a portable amp. Please bear in mind these Divas are using GiullianSN's ConX Cardas Clear/PWA 1950s clone cable, which enhances their performance compared to Diva 2023's stock EA Ares S cable.

Diva & Turbo bass feels similarly dominant but the Turbos may have a little more bass quantity, though Divas bass texture is more satisfying with the Turbos' bass a tad mushier by comparison, while Diva boasts slightly more sub bass rumble too. Diva seems to display more lower midrange emphasis whereas the Turbos sound a little more wispy with increased upper midrange emphasis.

The Divas also possess more treble sparkle, which helps give their tuning a more V-shaped sound. The Turbos' stage is shallower but also wider, and they feel less claustrophobic than Diva as a result. Turbos tuning is flatter & less coloured, but consequently less exciting. Diva feels similarly cohesive but with improved dynamics and slightly higher resolution. The Turbos come commendably close at a third of the price, sonically what jumps out isn't so much the gap in technical performance but rather the tuning differences between them.

Noble Audio Spartacus - 4xBA, 2xBCD (USD $1799)


Spartacus just arrived at Addicted to Audio, and their driver configuration with two bone conduction drivers but no dynamic drivers is unusual in the hobby - I firmly believe manufacturers deserve praise for innovating & daring to be different. Physically they're very large with correspondingly superb isolation, but comfort is quite good and better than I feared for such large shells. Needing 44 on the SR35 they're a bit easier to drive than the Turbos.

Spartacus bass quantity is lower than Turbos, which have more sub bass presence in particular but I feel like Turbos bass isn't integrated into the rest of the presentation quite as seamlessly - perhaps that's a natural consequence of dialling bass quantity way up beyond neutral. Spartacus also feature a more prominent lower midrange with vocals projected further forward.

It was tricky in noisy conditions to get a read on the treble differences between the two, but Spartacus definitely plays at a much higher technical level - almost reminiscent of MEST MKIII, with superior dynamics, a deeper & wider stage, a blacker background, better imaging & higher resolution.

Subtonic Storm - 7xBA, 2xEST (USD $5200)


I tested my friend Damz87's Storm IEMs using his Brise Yatono 8 Wire Ultimate cable which helps address Storm's soundstage being narrower than expected from IEMs at this price, but Yatono's stiff earhooks & enormous weight make Storm's already problematic ergonomics even worse, contributing to their very large & heavy metal shells to make obtaining & maintaining a seal challenging. Storm also requires a gargantuan 80 volume on the SR35, double what I use for most IEMs and far beyond the Turbos at 50, demonstrating how difficult they are to drive properly.

Storm is the industry benchmark for BA bass. The two "SLAM subwoofer" drivers it uses must be doing something special, because I've never heard better textured BA bass than this, and the amount of bass quantity is almost perfect as well - ample, but never enough to overpower the rest of the presentation. By contrast the Turbos do have more sub bass quantity, but their bass feels slower & mushier. The difference isn't night & day however.

Even on the Yatono 8 wire Storm's stage feels narrower than Turbos', but is far deeper. Storm also offers much more treble detail leaving Turbo feeling quite dark, and it does feel like 'a veil is lifted' going from Turbo to Storm, who's background is blacker & imaging much sharper. However it feels like Storm's flat reference tuning is revealing an almost overwhelming amount of detail, which could be fatiguing.

The $64,000 question is would I take Storm's BA bass over that of even mid-priced DD hybrids? No, not if obtaining a visceral bass experience was the only consideration. However achieving Storm's level of resolution & transparency with a DD present is probably impossible (no manufacturer has accomplished it yet) since a DD responsive enough to keep up with the fastest BA drivers simply does not exist.

Unique Melody Amber Pearl - 8xBA, 2xEST, 1xBCD (USD $8000)


Damz87 recently obtained the Amber Pearls as part of the Cayin N30LE Combo, and suffice to say they lie beyond the means of most hobbyists. Their shells are very large and stick out quite a bit, but I find their comfort reasonable and certainly far better than Storm. Needing only 41 on the SR35 they're very easy to drive, in fact after adding a Mass Kobo 475 to the chain I was very surprised to find I prefer them straight out of the SR35 instead.

I'm just going to come out and say this - Amber Pearl are possibly the most impressive IEMs I've heard, up there with the very best of the best. They eclipse the Turbos in almost every department, which is no surprise because they do most things better than most IEMs. Bass is perhaps their weakest area because though their bass quantity is perfectly adequate, I do rate Storm's BA bass as having slightly better texture. The Turbos possess far greater bass quantity, but it tends to sounds pillowy by comparison.

Amber Pearls' midrange reminds me of the Penon Impacts, remarkably rich & smooth with perhaps even greater resolution - it almost almost feels like Amber Pearls are resolving more detail than Storm, but doing it in a more tastefully-smooth fashion. All of the emotional overtones come through, whereas Storm can feel more clinical & less natural. Amber Pearl's treble is also terrific, with sparkle reminiscent of MEST MKIII.

I do have to say Amber Pearls' stage isn't quite as deep as I expected, but is suitably wide, and combined with their superb dynamics, very black background and truly holographic imaging makes for wondrous technical performance rivalled by few IEMs - Storm would absolutely be one of them, though I unquestionably prefer Amber Pearl's gorgeously smooth & uncannily resolving midrange, which is where most of the music resides.

Amplification Performance​


I recently received a Mass Kobo 475 portable headphone amplifier and have been keen to discover how the Turbos scale with beefier amplification. Having previously owned the Aroma A100TB, ALO Audio Continental Dual Mono and demoed the Cayin C9 & Brise Audio Tsuranagi, I rate Mass Kobo 475 as the most impressive portable amp money can buy. It is fully balanced with 4.4mm input & output, and delivers 2.3V RMS from its' balanced jack.

What I'm particularly interested in learning is if lacking a DD affects how much the Turbos benefit from the 475's extra grunt...

...well as expected 475 does improve the Turbos in a multitude of areas, and each improvement is significant enough to transform the overall sound. Bass deepens noticeably despite no DD being present, and unquestionably leaps well beyond the threshold of bass performance I can be completely content living with - and that's just the beginning.

The soundstage grows in all directions, dynamics improve significantly, tiny details are much easier to pick out particularly during busy passages thanks to the 475's greater sense of control, and instruments sound larger. Going back to listening directly from the SR35 (or even the N8ii) everything sounds flatter, mushier and more lifeless.

Considering the N8ii's built-in amp is one of the most capable of any DAP on the market, this level of improvement is particularly impressive - and is absolutely not hampered by the Turbos lacking a DD.
I don't want to turn this into an amp review, but if maximising IEM performance is something you're serious about then a 475 may be the best investment you can make in this hobby right now.

Cable Comparisons


Naturally as a cable aficionado I can't resist trying the Turbos with some different cables to learn how effectively their presentation can be altered.

Penon CS819 - Turbo Stock Cable (USD $49)


In many ways I regard the humble CS819 as a mini PW Audio 1950s, in the sense that it balances tonality & technical performance really well and tends to sound great with the vast majority of IEMs I try it with - that's definitely not the case with many cables I've owned.

Paired with the Turbos the CS819 delivers a fairly warm sound, the soundstage is decently deep but not dramatically wide and I do think imaging could be a little more precise. Tonality is terrific however, so I'd look to upgrade purely for increased technical performance rather than better tonality.

NiceHCK BlackSoul (USD $50)


I was concerned the Turbos might be a little dark for this pairing to work and this has proved to be correct. BlackSoul makes the stage feel narrower, treble is definitely more rolled off which I don't think suits the Turbos, dynamics are lower and bass feels less impactful.

Everything seems a bit more congested though this does create the illusion of greater cohesion and smoothness, perhaps if you find the Turbos fatiguing this cable could be an option to consider but to me it robs the Turbos of too much energy up top.

ISN S4 (USD $55)


Again we see the importance of synergy given I'm impressed with how the S4 pairs with the ISN Neo5s, but on the Turbos I definitely prefer the tonality of the stock cable whereas the W4 adds a slightly metallic sheen. However it does boost sub bass, increases soundstage depth a little, improves imaging and brightens the sound overall which you may find attractive given the Turbos are tuned somewhat dark.

However the stock cable seems to deliver better note weight & warmth, with more midbass and perhaps even a slightly wider stage. Mostly though I find the midrange feels richer and more grounded on the CS819, whereas the S4 imparts more of a 'hi-fi' flavour I don't care for quite as much.

Penon Vocal (USD $69)


Vocal stays true to its' name by emphasising & enhancing midrange presence, even increasing midrange resolution slightly in the process. Center-stage vocals feel more impressively spotlit against background instruments yet the overall presentation isn't quite as warm as on the stock cable.

Imaging is slightly improved but bass feels a bit more anaemic and I actually prefer the tonality of the CS819, nor do I do find the Turbos' midrange lacking enough to warrant choosing a cable that focuses so heavily on improving this area.

Penon Obsidian (USD $149)


The Obsidian is an interesting modular cable, with different plugs you can purchase separately. Using the Rhodium Plated Plug the Turbos become warmer, gaining greater midrange presence with slightly improved resolution, better note weight, improved imaging, a slightly wider stage, though bass is slightly less elevated. This very impressive pairing sounds smoother & more refined but keeps the dynamics & treble presence of the CS819.

Using the Purple Copper Plug midbass is more heavily emphasised, the background feels a little blacker and the stage is widened, but feels a little flatter than it does using the Rhodium Plug. I find the increased midbass can sound a little boomy and doesn't blend in with the rest of the presentation terribly well. The Rhodium Plug also feels airier with better technical performance yet tonality doesn't seem adversely affected, so I greatly prefer it with the Turbos. I'm surprised at the difference the two plugs make compared to when I tried them both on the Neo5s recently.

Effect Audio Ares S 4 Wire (USD $179)


As expected the Ares S emphasises Turbo's lower frequencies, with midbass and the lower midrange in particular being boosted. The stage is widened but seems flatter, midrange resolution is improved and there's a little more upper treble sparkler but lower treble actually sounds flatter.

Perhaps its that flattening of the lower treble that makes the Turbos feel darker on the Ares S, and there's also a little too much midbass for my taste. I'm not sure the modest resolution & stage width improvements are worth compromising the CS819's tonality which I prefer.

Hakugei Sky-bolt (USD $884)


Sky-bolt is flagship-level cable that feels explicitly designed to boost IEM technical performance. As expected then it substantially grows the Turbos' stage in all directions, improves dynamics, increases resolution, sharpens imaging, blackens the background and even increases bass impact.

In short Sky-bolt turns the Turbos into a technical monster, leading me to wonder if this level of improvement has been aided by them lacking a DD that slows everything down. Unfortunately the overall tonality shifts upwards and the result is a brighter sound which seems to reduce the perception of note weight, and although I prefer the tonality of the CS819 stock cable this massive uptick in technical performance feels worth the tradeoff.

PW Audio 1950s clone (USD $2149)


If you're a regular reader of my reviews you may be growing bored of me saying nice things about this cable, but if you've ever tried or owned a 1950s or Cardas Clear cable you probably understand why. It just seems to pair really well with everything, and there aren't many cables I can say that about.

So as expected the Turbos gain a wider & slightly deeper stage, although I was hoping for a tad more depth improvement, better dynamics, a blacker background, improved resolution and slightly more impactful bass, whilst preserving a similar tonality to the CS819 though I do think the stock cable has a slight edge in that regard, sounding a touch earthier & more grounded.

Treble is more articulated on the Cardas Clear/1950s though, with a greater overall feeling of refinement. Despite the across-the-board technical improvements Sky-bolt boosts those areas to a much higher level, but I prefer this cable's tonality which makes choosing between them tricky.



There comes a time in every man's life when he must find his voice and take a stand against injustice.

BA bass, you are redeemed - your long history of audiophile persecution must come to an end.

The Penon Turbos have convinced me the latest generation of BA drivers have finally crossed the rubicon and reached the promised land of acceptable bass performance, free of audiophile prejudice.

Have BAs breached the bass-texture gap between themselves and dynamic drivers? Not quite I think, though they're coming very close. Which I means if bass slam & texture is something you prioritise you may end up sticking with DDs, and that's fine.

In fact I wonder if it's largely the slower speeds of DDs, allowing them to produce bass that decays more gradually, that results in more satisfying bass sensations? Which would beg the question why you'd want to slow a BA driver down to achieve the same result, when doing so would have other ramifications.

All-BA earphones can potentially achieve the very highest levels of technical performance thanks to their ability to respond so quickly -especially during busy passages of music- but the moment any driver slow enough to reproduce bass decay fully is added to mix, some of that supreme precision is lost.

Slower, more visceral bass or better technical performance?

The Turbos are Penon's take on having the best of both worlds, and though they're bettered by IEMs worth thousands of dollars I'd label them a commendable effort...

...that potentially offers a glimpse into the industry's future.


New Head-Fier
Penon Turbo - Delectable Flexibility
Pros: Clean delivery
Clear sound
Detail retrieval
Open sonics
Crisp technicalities
Versatile tuning switches
Cons: Tuning switches (Turbo setting is over the top)
Sonically don't immediately disappear


The Penon Turbo is another release from the well-known company. The Turbo is an ambitious release which Penon themselves describe as “Penon TURBO 6BA TOTL 2Pin 0.78mm HiFi Audiophile IEM with 4 Tuning Switches”.

Obviously Penon has not only put much effort in this iem, but thinks very highly of it as evident by the “Totl” statement. I believe their description is fitting by the way.
The Turbo boasts a driver compliment of six quality balanced armatures per side. The set consists of 2 Sonion for Low frequencies, 2 Knowles for the midrange and 2 Sonion for the highs. Additionally, there are a total of four tuning switches provided. Switch 1 gives a bass boost, switch 2 mids and switch 3 boosts the higher frequencies. Switch 4 is an outlier as it is what Penon calls a “Super Bass Boost” that can be used in conjunction with switch 1 for some massive bruising bass. Needless to say, I left this off for review purposes, in fact for general listening as well.

That’s a lot of quality hardware in each gorgeous shell. Thankfully Penon have done an admirable job of tuning the Turbo into a very satisfying and cohesive audio experience. At $499 USD the Turbo is a weighty effort priced to go toe to toe with some serious competition.

The Penon Turbo is relatively easy to drive. Even so an iem of this resolving capability begs to be driven by a quality source and fed well recorded source material. Tip selection is also crucial here, and I found a trusty set of wide bore tips worked great.

**The majority of this review was done with the switches in the 100 setting as I found this offered the most balanced sound. **

Driver:6 Balanced Armature
2 Sonion for high frequency
2 Knowles for middle frequency
2 Sonion double opening hole for low frequency
Impedance:16 Ohms
Frequency response: 10-20 kHz,
Passive noise reduction:26dB
Connector: 2Pin 0.78mm
Cable:8 shares 19 cores OCC & silver-plated Mixed Braided IEM cable


The Penon Turbo is a beautiful iem. The translucent green resin shell adorned with natural pearl panels is quite a looker. Fit and finish are top tier as well. The included accessories are also of similar quality.

Fit was not an issue as the Turbo is a medium sized iem with a shape that fit my ears very well. No physical discomfort noted even during longer listening sessions.




The Penon Turbo has a bass that is fast, crisp and articulate with generous amounts of detail. The bass is balanced with neither the mid-bass nor sub-bass taking a lead. Bass power and slam can be tailored by the switches but its quality remains regardless of the setting.

On “No Worries” by the Robert Glasper Trio, the acoustic bass could be clearly heard and followed. What really stood out here was how the Turbo relayed the natural tone of the bass in this track. This was heard again clearly on “Bass Drops” by Nenand Vasilic off the album titled Bass Room. The bass has just a right amount of thickness while retaining all its best attributes. On “Angel” by Massive Attack bass playback was very good as well, missing just that last measure of texturing that truth be told, very few other earphones have managed to extract from this track in the first place.

“Informers Room” by SGVO sounded wonderful. Bass control was nicely managed as well.

The Penon Turbo has a bass that is versatile, but more importantly, it offers high quality bass reproduction with a level of refinement more than becoming of its asking price.


Right out of the gate, the Penon Turbo is an iem that is capable of impressive detail retrieval combined with crisp technicalities. These are quite a resolving set of earphones to be sure.

There midrange is slightly recessed and there is a touch of warmth in the lower mids with a moderate pinna gain heard in the upper midrange. No harshness was noted in the mids. The midrange has a noticeably open and unrestrained sound with great layering and separation. Clean without being clinical, the mids of the Turbo never leave the listener feeling that they’ve missed a single note. “Tenderhearted Lover” by John Stoddart came through with exceptional clarity, easily allowing a connection with his emotional vocal delivery. “Sweet Love” by Anita Baker had the same effect though female vocals did sound a hair more thin than male vocals.

Tone and timbre were well done as well and transients were managed very well with great control noted on both the leading and trailing edges. Long enjoyable listening sessions were easy to come by with the turbo.

The midrange of the Penon Turbo is well done. If you, like me, love details yet still desire an organic presentation, the Turbo will go a long way in satisfying those needs. From this Opinionated Music Lovers perspective, I often didn’t feel as immediately engaged by the Turbo, at least initially. I didn’t “Fall Right In” as I’ve done in the past with the likes of the Hisenior T4, T2, and 64Audio U12t and very few others. Still, this immersion did happen with the Turbo eventually, just was not as quick a process as with some others. Still a great showing by the Penon Turbo.



Treble is well extended with ample detail retrieval, air and sparkle. Treble control was also impressive. Again, we have a situation here where no note or nuance will be missed. It’s all there for the hungry listener to take in.



The Penon Turbo throws up a well sized soundstage with crisp imaging. Instrument placement is precise within that soundstage as well.

The Turbo, aided by its impressive layering and separation, sounds unrestrained presenting the listener with a fairly vivid reconstruction of a venue. This was heard on “Stimelah, the Coal Train” by Hugh Masekela. This is a standout live recording and the venue characteristics were on full display here. Elements of width, height and depth were presented in balanced proportions to each other continuing this trend of great imaging.



The Penon Turbo is an enjoyable, versatile and well tuned iem. Open without sounding overdone, detailed without being clinical and musical without being vague. It’s ability to pull the listener into the sound experience is also notable.

Penon has much to be proud of with the Turbo. It’s mix and balance of attributes imho will leave the vast majority of listeners satisfied. If you are like me and prefer a balanced presentation with ample detail, the Penon Turbo should be given serious consideration.


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100+ Head-Fier
Turbocharged Bass
Pros: 1. As expected from Penon, excellent tonality
2. One of the best BA bass executions out there
3. Clean yet lush midrange
4. Zero fatigue and sibilance
5. Extremely comfortable and compact form factor
6. Substantial tweaking potential with tuning switches
7. Good accessory package
Cons: 1, Tuning switches are very small and difficult to flip
2. Upper treble is not particularly extended
3. Decent but average staging and imaging
I am an audiophile and a reviewer who works with Mr. @Sajid Amit of Amplify Audio Reviews. Amplify generally covers high end IEMs, DAC Amps and Headphones with occasional reviews of budget products. Check out our video reviews at:

Penon Bass was sent to Amplify in exchange of an honest and unbiased review. You can buy the Penon Turbo at:


Turbo is the second Penon IEM I have got my hands on so far. The last Penon IEM I tried was the Fan 2 which I immediately became a ‘fan’ of thanks to its beautiful tonality and technical prowess that punches way above the 290 USD price tag.

The premise of the Penon Turbo is an interesting one. It is a compact ‘basshead’ 6 BA IEM with tuning switches offering a broad array of tweaks. Basshead is a term I generally do not associate with all BA sets but trust me, Turbo’s bass might knock your socks off. However, I do not think that Turbo is a one-trick pony and there are a number of things other than the bass response that it does really well. Let’s dive in.



Driver Tech: 6 BA, 2 Sonions for high frequencies, 2 Knowles for mid frequencies, 2 Sonion vented woofers for low frequencies
Impedance: 16 Ohms
Sensitivity: 103 dB
Cable:8 shares 19 cores OCC & silver-plated Mixed Braided IEM cable (sold separately at Penon website for 49.99 USD. Model name: CS819)
549 USD

Build quality, accessories, and comfort:


The unboxing experience was quite the step up from the cheaper Fan 2. Like the Fan 2, Turbo also comes packaged in a yellow cardboard box. Inside you are greeted with a very high quality and spacious soft zipper case with Penon branding, 3 sets of color-coded ear tips (S, M, L sized), a metal shirt clip, a leather cable tie, a little leather pouch for storing the ear tips and a cleaning brush.



Build quality is solid. Turbo is made of translucent green resin therefore the innards are clearly visible from the outside. Despite being jampacked with 6 drivers and tuning switches, it is remarkable how compact the Penon Turbo is. The size of it reminds me of another fantastic basshead IEM from Singapore, Fatfreq Maestro Mini. The stock cable is extremely pliable, lightweight, and comfortable to use.


Comfort is exceptional as expected from a compact resin IEM coupled with a flexible, lightweight cable. Fit was super secure and I barely felt they were there during the whole time I was listening to them.



Turbo is a bassy set but in typical Penon fashion, tonality has been given the highest importance in its tuning. I cannot stress enough how full and organic the vocals sound on this IEM. I would even say that vocals are a clear step up from the Fan 2, which already does midrange and vocals very well. There are 4 tuning switches in total. My major gripe with the switches is how small they are. Turbo being a super compact IEM makes flipping the switches quite the challenge. The switches increase bass to varying degrees. You can go full psycho and give the turbo a whooping 18 dB bass boost or sit comfortably in between with a sizeable but not overdone bass lift. Although I was more than happy with the default bass tuning (AKA balanced setup) it is always nice to have options.


The bass is not what I expected from an all-BA set. It is authoritative, rumbly, and textured. I still find the bass presentation to be distinctly different from basshead single DD or planar IEMs though. The overall bass tuning is tilted more in favor of sub-bass (the complete opposite of midbass-focused Fan 2) There is a limit to how good BA bass can sound and I think Penon did a fantastic job. On default switch setup the bass remains well controlled and does not bleed into the lower midrange. I did not like the turbo boost mode as much as the bass became too intense and kind of overshadowed everything else. Maybe that is what the devout bassheads will like and appreciate.

The midrange performance of turbo is some of the best you can get in the 500 USD range. Both male and female vocals sound clean and accurate with no odd upper midrange suck-out or glassy overtone. I personally detest the trend of tuning the midrange thin in pursuit of supposed clarity but fortunately, Penon continues to avoid that route contrary to many of its Chi Fi compatriots.

Treble is where the Turbo takes the back seat, especially in the upper treble. It falls off sharply past 10k and not much treble information can be perceived beyond that. There is zero hint of sibilance or harshness in the treble region but if you expect a lot of air and upper treble energy then Turbo might slightly disappoint you.


Technical performance of the Penon Turbo is competent enough but not price-class-defining. The soundstage is intimate as expected from an IEM with bass emphasis and tame treble. I find the overall stage to be more elliptical than round-shaped as stage width precedes both height and depth. The soundstage is also significantly affected by how the tuning switches are set up. I found Turbo to be the widest in its stock switch config. Stage depth lessened with bass boost but width remained roughly the same. Separation and imaging performance were decent but not extraordinary. If you need dead accurate, pinpoint accuracy then IEMs like Sony IER M7 or Flipears Aether will be more fitting options (both have studio monitor ‘esque signatures though therefore can be perceived as boring). Detail retrieval is decent but left me a little bit wanting at times. Dynamics and speed are commendable, especially for an all-BA set.



Dunu SA6:
My general complaint with the SA6 is its subpar bass quality and Penon Turbo completely annihilates it in that regard. I find the turbo quite a bit better overall as far as tonality is concerned. SA6 does microdetail and treble extension better but not by a whole lot.

Flipears Aether: Aether is way more technical and has an expansive, cavernous soundstage. It is the better IEM both technically and tonally (also more expensive) but falls behind in dynamics and bass quantity.

Penon Fan2: Both are warm and bassy IEMs but Fan2 goes for a midbass heavy bass presentation while the Penon Turbo favors sub-bass. Turbo does midrange quite a bit better as well.

Sennheiser IE 600: IE 600 is way more V-shaped and significantly more intense in the treble region. I find the IE 600’s bass to be more tactile and fun but the treble can be too intense at times.

Turbo is yet another well-tuned basshead IEM from Penon Audio. 500 USD range is an extremely competitive one and forging a distinct identity in that range is not an easy task. I believe Penon has pulled it off successfully and Turbo gets an easy recommendation if bassy, safe tuning is what you are looking for in the semi-kilobuck range.


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: -good balance from basshead to near neutral
-very good bass performance for BA woofers
-fast dynamic big slam
-bass line and kick drum have singular dynamic
-very cohesive tuning balance tone and timbre wise
-natural timbre
-beautifull lush full bodied male and female vocal
-safe fatigue free tuning (unless plain basshead mode)
-good layering and macro dynamic
-good note weight
-plenty of lower mids
-incredibly versatile due to tuning switch
-small comfortable housing
-generous accessories
-good cable
Cons: -lack of sparkle-brilliance-air-treble extension
-dark imaging
-rather warm bass definition
-average soundstage

TONALITY: 8.5/10
TIMBRE: 9/10
SOUND VALUE: 8.8/10 (due to tuning variety)


Penon don't need lenghty introduction since they have been around for more than 10 years now. Due to this great contact and experience they produce IEMs under Penon and ISN brand.
I've review alot of Penon IEMs and never find any of them plain bad, though Vortex and Fan1 aren't my fav, i've been extremely impress by the Serial, Fan2 and lately the 10th Anniversary tribrid.

Today I will review their latest flagship offering call Penon Turbo.

The Turbo is a multi BAs IEM with 4 switch. It use 2 open Sonion woofer BA for bass, 2 knowles BAs for mids and 2 sonion BA for treble.

Whats unique about the Switch here is that their 3 for low-mid-treble ''boost'' and 1 independant switch for ''Super bass boost'', so this open door for a great variety of tuning balance including a real basshead one with 18db bass boost. Yes with these IEM you can go from 6db near neutral bass boost to big boom 18db and this is the main thing that make them both unique and appealing for potential consumers.

Let's see in this review how this translate into musicality and sound performance.




The Turbo has a unique looking housing that make me think of seashell due to backplate made of nacre like material. It's very glossy and shine and sure attire the attention like a jewelry would do. I like the green color.
Housing is made of high grade resin plastic that feel very sturdy yet is quite light too. It's soft and very comfortable due to an ergonomic shapre with long enough nozzle.
The 2pin connector are solidly embeded and cover with resin plastic so their no gap around it to be found and it feel very durable.

As always with Penon, the included cable is of excellent quality. It's the typical 8 shares 19 cores OCC & silver-plated Mixed Braided IEM cable we found included with most of their IEMs from Serial to 10th to Turbo. It's a very flexible and well made cable and you can choose it in 2.5mm, 4.4mm or 3.5mm plug.


Again Penon spoil the consumer with great amount of good quality accessories. The case is among my fav right now due to portable yet big enough size for multiple cable and IEMs and accessories fitting. We have 9 pairs of silicone eartips. A little leather pouch for ear tips or cable. Cleaning too and cable holder clamp. Oh, as well as little metal tool for tuning switch....that I loose (sorry!).



Let's begin by saying the Penon Turbo has 4 tuning switch with up to 14 tuning choice, but it's really mostly about the bass boost and slight treble change. In fact, those switch play with impedance of BAs so let's give a look to the product descrition of those switch mode here:

''The 3-switch system modes
020 standard mode, vocal is the best.
100 is low frequency enhanced (low frequency will enhance a little, if you still feel that the low frequency is not enough, then turn on the super bass boost switch.)
003 is high frequency enhanced.
The other modes are mixed mode.
0-000 is invalid.
1-switch system
Independent 1-switch is super bass boost switch, can be used with 3-switch at the same time, can also be used independently.
When used independently, it is low-frequency super boost mode, and with 3-switch, the low-frequency performance can be further enhanced in the corresponding mode of 3-switch.
3+1 switch system
Make sure that at least one of the 3-switch or 1-switch is turned on which is in normal mode.
In any mode, you can turn on the super bass boost switch. to enhance the low frequency, which is equivalent to 100, 020, 003 mode, on the basis of its own effect, a separate increase in the low frequency performance.
The super bass boost switch can also be used independently, i.e. in 000 mode, the super bass boost switch is turned on. It's pure bass boost mode.
The rest is mixed mode and can be used in combination. The independent super bass boost switch, turn on to enhance the bass, turn off is not enhanced, can be enhanced on the basis of the sound of 100, 020, 003 mode. It can also be used independently, i.e. 000 mode + independently enhanced 1-switch.'


Ok, it's rare i include a graph but this time it's legit so you can see better how the switch inflict on sound. It's ALL about bass and lower mids boost or damp here, yet their impedance playing with to overall dynamic sens too, this can't be properly measure but this inflict a bit on dynamic gain of treble indeed. But at they end, it's the bass warmth and dominancy that will either thicken mids or make treble gain higher due to more treble centric balance.
Warmer bassier tuning is 000+1 or 100+1, when its just bass boost swith ON and nothing else, it suddenly sound like super bassy L shape with slightly detached bass boom that dominate the mix, with lean mids and treble. I prefer 100+1 which has more organic and lusher balance.
Then 100+0 is most balanced and sweet tuning to my ears, its a bassy warm V shape to smooth W shape with slightly dark treble, it's very cohesive and my review will be based on this. To my ears its most mid centric tuning too, since we have plenty of lower mids.
020+0 is second most mid centric, with more upper mids focus so it sound more open and less thick, mid instrument presence is better focus and dont feel thin.
003+0 is most gently bright U shape tuning, mids presence focus is cleaner and a hint brighter as well as treble is a hint edgier, snappier, it's my least fav tuning with 000+1.

The thing to note is this: these can go from smooth near neutral sounding with slight bass boost to plain basshead with 18db bass boost. No tuning sound dull or wonky, yet the consequent tuning change will be about bass and lower mids warmth that change mid range behavior. Then you can mix 1 and 2 and 3 (etc) and even add super bass boost to that, it will change the macro dynamic rendering a bit, most mid centric will be 1 and 2 up, while brighter just 3 up.

Again, overall tuning is warm W shape with rolled off upper treble to me, very dynamic and lively yet smooth and unspiky in balance, it go either sub or mid bass +lower mids boost, gentle upper mids boost and around 10khz boost. It's this type of IEM that don't let anything behind yet has greater focus on bass and mids than treble which is darker-leaner, so real balance letter would be something like this: V\ . A V for bass and mids boost then a straight line that go down to about 12khz. So one thing certain it's not a plain bright nor ultra crisp W shape, it's not a sparkly or airy sound IEM and can go from gently bright from plain warm and dark set.


Some might expect a technical sounding set due to 6BAs used, but it isn't that exactly, it's not analytical nor neutral, yet it's effortless in it's technical performance and can deal with busy track. It's better in macro dynamic than micro details of fine definition and separation of whole soundscape. The balance is thicken as a whole and attack edge is smoothen, so it's not a sharp sounding and instrument presence isn't brighten alot with upper mids, it's more colorfull than textured in tone.

The BASS is really the star of the show here and surely among the best i've heard in term of dynamic, elasticity, note weight, slam and well rounded presence for a multi-BA. Yes, even better than 64audio U12T which lack punch. It most be noted that it use 2 sonion ''open BA'' for bass part, this explain why its both dynamic and well layered in term of sub and mid bass, but not very textured cause of this open design that widen presence in a warm slightly euphonic way.
The switch either had gain to one or 2 BA, when Bass boost is ON, it add extra sub-mid bass boost, but not an edgy one, a fast boom that can go warm and resonant if we add switch 1 ON too. The real basshead joy is 100+1 to me, we have a vast slam that dominate the mix but dont mess up too much with mid range which is lush and thick, vocal are in fact very beautifull this way so for rap and soul it's a nice laid back basshead choice.

Whatever switch choice this is thick round bass that is fast in attack and dark in texture, it's not edgy in definition or separation, kick drum are a hint warm but weighty and tactile. Bass line and kick can be well separated but not in a detached way, it's about 2 sound layer sticken togheter and not mixing their dynamic togheter.
The sub extension isn't linear, and depending of switch choice it can have extra resonance that widen bass headroom.
The double bass isn't clean and well resolve, it feel amped and warmed, not acoustic and extension is vibrant but blurred with resonance and attack bite and texture is lacking.
Cello is better, it's dense, lush and quite natural, it's not thin nor too boosted in presence so we can think it's a violin.
Electric bass too is quite good, it seem those BA like this vibrant grunt that wasn't beneficial for double bass, it's how bass is projected here and it do very good for this instrument which is easy to follow and can go fast and still keep it's dynamic and tactile presence. Synth bass line too are well extract and have similar presentation.
And what's very impressive is that when listening to rock we can track both electric bass and kick drum round beefy presence, this add an engaging dynamic.
Then for plain digital instrument slam often found in trap rap, electronic, R&B, soul etc, this is with this more simple music style that the ON bass boost switch is very fun to use, since we can go plain brain shaking basshead fun. The Turbo are in hurry to deliver big slam, and it doesn't go muddy because of multi-BA use that permit proper macro sound layering so while whole bass boom dominate the show it don't create distortion or swallow mids and vocal. I mean, don't expected balanced bass response with 18db boost, for this go 100+0 which is the bass I described here mostly. And it offer 10db boost that slip naturaly into lower mids, we don't have plain lower mids scooping here, Turbo is anti-Harman even when it try to go this way with 003+0 switch choice. Nothing sound thin with Turbo.

While bass might dominate the show fully boosted way, when your into balanced bassy tuning choice the mid range is most appealing part of it's audio spectrum, in fact, I hesitate calling Turbo mid centric since bass is a bit too boosted in 100+0 mode but it's not far from it.

Those are full mid range with plenty of lower mids and note weight, natural lush tone and focused yet smoothen presence. Those that favor tone and timbre before presence definition will fall in love with this intimate innoffenssive but captivating mids.

I know i'm into real mids when Piano sound right tonaly and it's what we get, well felt note weight, dense and soft definition of each note in a tactile way that is embossed with natural warmth sustain that don't blur readibility of solo pianist playing due to fast attack, powerful dynamic and fully restitute tone harmony. It's not an edgy, brighten and boosted in texture presence presentation of piano, it's not thin, not boosted in resonance or higher harmonic balance, it flow gently and calmly near the listener, not in a recessed lean way like alot of too V or U shape balance. Presence will get brighter if you select switch 3 which add just a hint of extra definition edge in lower treble for finer detailing.

But first and foremost, it's the vocal that the Turbo cocoon. Both male and female vocal are full bodied, lush in timbre and smooth but never dull in dynamic. The presence is widen in center stage and near the listener, in a non shouty way, it's not jumping ast you when singer go loud, it's always stable in its intimate proximity without texture imbalance or wonky behavior. Your be hard pressed to find any BA timbre within those dense velvety vocals.

Same goes for all type of woodwinds instrument from saxophone, to basson and trumpet. The projection is wide and dense with colorfull air, free of unplesante bite or texturing details, it's not too liquid either especialy when you dont add extra lower harmonic density with extra bass switchs.

Yes, we are into smooth and even a hint dark mid range territory, but not dark because it's recessed, nor muddy since the multi BAs permit an organic effortless sound layering. It's because fullness of each instrument benefit tone before boosted clarity from upper mids presence gain and fowardness, which is rather safe. We don't have sibilance nor shoutyness going one, it's laid back and immerse the listener without sudden treble peak.

Now if bass and mids impress me that much, it mean treble will have some kind of trade off.
Here it's about a well rounded macro dynamic balance that keep the highs lean and smooth, but full sounding and caress by bass warmth when bass switch is ON.
Without this extra bass hazyness, the treble become sharper and airier a bit, but never achieve intense brilliance and sparkle, which in fact never or very rarely happen with balanced armature, for sparkle you better bet on dynamic drivers or EST.
The 2 sonion BA used for treble do extract a good amount of sound info, but never pass 10khz it seem, so it's a permissive treble it will not extract background hiss or micro details that feel out of place, it stay within an organic laid back balance.

The percussions are presented fastly but not in a way it go fowards of the whole mix, it stay in the back and can be found if needed, their resonance is softed as well as metallic brilliance, they don't sound thin too. Still, for once ill say...i miss metallic timbre of BA! Yes, they are a bit dry and lacking in natural decay as well as well felt snap.

When we go in lower treble region, this is lusher than brighter, the violin sound even, full and dense, the tone is very enjoyable and far from thin or just about presence texture delimitation.

The acoustic guitar has similar treatment, we have a bit of lower harmonic dominancy that densify the projection but stole sharpness of lead attack and warm the release of brilliant sparkle.

Harp is the only instrument i find a bit problematic with the Turbo, this time it do sound thin and even distant, depending of register, as well it's a bit hard to really see the attack lead which seem overly softed. It's not trebly at least, but i wouldn't suggest Turbo for this very niche instrument. For ex, with harpist singer Arianna Savall, her voice is notably more focus, widen in presence and more frontal, harp which are suppose to be part of an holographic airy macro presentation is leaner and more recessed, struggle to open with the music and seem left out. When it's lower register harp it go more upfront though.

Simply put the treble is safe here, it's fast and impressive in layering but ''anti-splashy'' for cymbals wich will have a tamed splash release and very polished in edge and spike as well as a bit rolled off after 10khz.

The Soundstage is intimate and holographic, it doesn't sound in your head and have a good balance between wideness-tallness and deepness. With bass ON, it can goo wider but less deep while with switch 3 ON it gain in deepness. Nonetheless, these aren't gigantic in term of spatiality and quite average I would say.

The Imaging isn't an higlight of the Turbo. While the sound layering is quite good and we are able to pull off instrument in Y axis quite easily, the separation between instrument isn't very wide nor very clean, especially when we go for Bassy tuning we will have air vibration warmth affecting silence between instruments.

Side Notes:

At 16ohm of impedance and slightly low 103db of sensitivity, the Turbo aren't hard to drive at all but will benefit of a source that have both low output impedance and powerfull amping of at least 100mW to permit fully waken up dynamic response.

Eartips are very important with those, don't use something with small nozzle hole since it will compress spatiality and make bass muddy. The wide bore eartips included are good enough, but short wide bore or Fan2 blue eartips is even better for fully open soundstage and more articulate sound layering.

In term of cable, i find the Turbo a bit sensitive and included one add extra warmth to an already warm sounding IEM so I'll suggest a good silver plated cable like the Hakugei or TACables White Peony. The ISN S4 is good too, but i prefer modular cable for versatility.



VS PENON 10th (2DD+2BA+2EST-500$)

Both of these are W shape in their own right but 10th is a crisper more open one while Turbo is warmer in balance.
Soundstage is notably wider-taller and deeper as well as more holographic and less blurry in macro dynamic with 10th.
Bass is less boomy and energic in slam, more extended and elastic as well as better articulate in (sub) bass line rendering, more textured and overall leaner. Kick drum are less chunky as well as overall mid bass and rumble don't resonate as loud. We have more mid bass to lower mid range thickness with the Turbo too, while separation is cleaner with 10th. Overall performance is superior with 10th but not as speedy and thumpy.
Mids are thinner, more boosted in presence and more transparent and clean with the 10th, it feel a bit more recessed and its notably less natural and fowards in vocal reproduction. Turbo is more mid centric, lush and thick, smootherr too yet not as crisp and detailed.
Treble is faster, airier and more snappy and brilliant with 10th, drum rolling is more edgy and less euphonic in fast sustain-release, percussions feel a bit thinner but crisper in definition and thighter in control. Overall Turbo treble is leaner and smoother, more bodied and more organic in balance, percussion attract less your attention than vocal or saxophone for ex, which will cover macro resolution more with Turbo.
Soundstage is way bigger deeper cleaner with 10th as noted so imaging has more space for proper separation in both X and Y axis, silence between instrument is cleaner and wider and transparency of mids permit better sound layering too, the EST highs are more precise and clear too.

All in all, Turbo is more fun, warmer, darker and mid centric while 10th is more technical, crisper and holographic, i do prefer vocal and mids timbre of Turbo yet not bass or treble quality.


Skuld are slightly brighter and notably more mid centric as well as less bassy.

The sub bass is near non existent and way more rolled off than beefier bass response of Turbo which offer better bass line presence, more dynamic punch and more bass info like kick drum and bass line can exist while for Skuld it will be lacking punch and just have presence brightness for bass line.

Their less lower mids warmth yet it isnt lacking with Skuld, which boost whole mid range in both presence and body while for Turbo presence is less brighten and smoother so vocal aren't as risky for hearing fatigue in term of pinna gain yet the resolution is darker, vocal are less lean with Skuld and all in foward especially for female vocal wich are more engaging and still lush and thick enough while it's even thicker with Turbo but more balanced with rest of spectrum.

Treble is a notch brighter-spikier with the Skuld, both snare and percussions have more energy but aren't as well layered and feel half cooked, as if some sound info get lost in the mix while Turbo deliver fuller treble, again smoother way, we dont have sudden percussions sharpness like we do with Skuld and everything seem better balanced as a whole in macro dynamic.

Soundstage is wider with the Turbo, slightly taller and deeper with Skuld.

Imaging is betterr with Turbo but nothing to write about really.

All in all, Turbo is superior in both tonal balance cohesion and technical performance like sound layering, soundstage. Its fuller sounding too as well as more dynamic in bass and less nichely mid centric tuned.



Their no other IEM like the Turbo on the planet audiophile and this is already a big win in it's own right.

The fact we finally have an IEM that can go from gently bright neutral to plain basshead banger is truely incredible, because we talk about a multi BAs earphones here that surely deliver among most exciting bass experience of them all.

But it's not just bass too, since those are near mid centric sounding IEM, so we are into best of ''multiverse'' IEM here where you can either make the bass or vocal dominate the mix, and without BA or thin timbre, another big plus imo.

As well, the tonal balance is lush and smooth, mostly safe unless you go full bass boom mode, then, well, logically with 18db bass boost it will dominate the mix, but again, in a technicaly competent manneer.

With IEM like the Turbo that can deliver multiple sound flavor, I always feel I havent review enough of the diversity it offer, but if I rave so much about 4 main tuning i've analyze, it certainly mean all of them are good. This tuning diversity raise the sound value of those too and certainly merit extra praise for this.

Highly Recommended.


PS: I want to thanks Penon for sending me this review unit. I don't participate to any affiliated program and i'm 100% independant minded in term of subjective audio impressions. As always. And this will never change. I'm a reviewer, not a promoter.

You can order the Turbo for 550$ here:


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: A vocal specialist IEM coming to the party disguised as a bass player
Super fast bass response and pace, that travels-up to the treble
2 Sonion BAs for treble
2 Knowles BAs for mids
2 Dual vented Sonion Acupass BAs for that bass
Incredible imaging and focus
Best pace out of the 14 Penon/ISN IEMs I've heard
Up to almost 20dB of extras bass if switched into action
The most crisp imaging I've ever heard out of 14 Penon/ISN IEMs?
Cons: Strangely the Turbo likes warmer cables despite you guessing more bass would want clarity not warmth
Penon Turbo Universal IEM
6 Balanced Armature & 4 tuning switches
Redcarmoose Labs August 20th, 2023


While very different from most IEMs I review, I can pretty much guarantee you don’t have an IEM which sounds like this in your collection. Why? Mostly due to the bass levels, now we can still arrange the tuning switches to reach only a subtle bass boost, but even then it’s standout due to bass levels….a little. Then we can go hog-wild (if wanted) to reach profound levels of bass. All and all this makes the Turbo unique, but also this is one of the very few Penon all BA sets, other than the Sphere and Legend IEMs. Meaning it’s got the Penon sound, still but also added room response if you want it.

Room Response:

What is room response? It is the extra low frequencies that are added to a speakers front driver’s response due to sounds coming off the sides and rear of the speaker cabinet........then bouncing off the back and sidewalls of a listening room. This is not a theory but a tested and proven phenomena which takes place, and one of the main differences distinguishing speakers from headphones.

Tailored Room Response:
We are still arriving at a kind of middle ground (especially at the bass light(er) settings) due to the careful audiophile stance the all BAs produce. Dual vented Sonion Acupass BAs for the lows, dual Knowles BAs for the mids and dual Sonion BAs for the highs, means there is still an audiophile clear response despite all this bass action. A clear response due to a specific tri-band crossover, and tri-band sound-tube design…….all frequencies are fully separated and accounted for.

14 different tuning modes
6 Balanced Armatures
Exceptionally small form factor
Up to a full 20dB of bass included if desired
Semi custom fit
Only 4 grams each
Room response


The Turbo name:
The interesting part is how I really don’t look at the Turbo being named turbo due to the bass switch. I mean sure the switch is a marketing idea, and fun to include a never before introduced function into the audio world. While DUNU added a single bass switch activating the crossovers into a different style of bass response with the DUNU SA6………..our Turbo switch here has no remote similarity? Meaning the Dunu switch is incredibly passive, and almost non-eventful. Some feel bass is not the SA6 strong point, and I would agree. Where here the bass switch is an event, a tone changing affair that is not to be taken lightly. Now if you’re wondering (my take on) why the Turbo was named turbo, it is due to the IEM's transients. It is this unique pace which comes through detail of changes taking place in relation to sound events. Faster changes mean a style of time-detail which is the antithesis of what you would expect from bass drivers………yep, there is a pace detail that gives life into how bass texture is achieved. Such texture was not even discovered fully until I had understanding through side-by-side comparisons. I mean, yes I knew it was there, but not to such an extent that it was IEM to speak. To me literally the demeanor of the Turbo is created through how it does pace, and that pace is wildly unique sounding as an attribute, incredibly different from all the IEMs I have heard in the world. :)

The tuning switches are easy to use:

Even if tuning switches are not your bag, it is easy to find a single setting and stay with it. Meaning bass is incredibly subjective. Subjective due to music genres preferred, or ear anatomy. Much of the personal bass levels wanted is not fully understood, though what we can all agree on is, when it’s right, it’s right. I mean really the bass should be able to be adjusted on all headphones, due to finding that sweet spot where the bass seems to all work-out.

Finding the sweet-spot:

1 234

There are four switches. Number one is the Turbo switch which by itself can add almost 10dB of bass. With no switches on the Turbo IEM adds an additional regular (from flat, whatever that is?) 8-10 dBs of bass. This is pretty close to your standard V shape IEM. The added effect of the Turbo switch (1) is an additional 8-10dBs of bass to arrive at 20dBs of bass. Switches 2, 3 and 4 add primarily different levels of bass too!

1 000 pure bass mode

0 004 adds to the most amount of bass.

0 030 medium

0 200 the least lowest amount of bass.

The Turbo will come with the Turbo switch turned off and the 0 200 setting activated, thus recommended to start off with.


Comparisons: All done with the recommended settings 0 200. I’m starting out with comparisons as truly it is one of the best ways to define an IEMs sound signature. I used the Sony WM1A and (mostly) the ISN G4 cable.

Left to right
Penon 10th Anniversary, ISN Neo 5, Noble Audio Kaiser 10 Encore

Left to right
SHOZY B2, Penon Volt, Penon TURBO

Left to right
ISN EST50, Penon Globe, SONY IER-Z1R

Such diversity (in comparison) shows both the Turbo’s weaknesses and strengths.

Penon 10th Anniversary $499.00 2DD, 2BA, 2EST
ISN Neo 5 $289.00 4BA, 1DD
Noble Audio K-10 Encore $1850.00 10BA
Shozy B2 (SCB2) with ISN SC4 cable $299.00 1DD
Penon Volt $799.00 4EST, 2BA, 1DD
Penon Turbo $499.00 6BA
ISN EST50 $449.00 2EST, 2BA, 1DD
Penon Globe $329.00 2BA, 1DD
Sony IER-Z1R $1698.00 2DD, 1BA

Penon 10th Anniversary:
What do you know, this is my favorite Penon/ISN IEM of the 14 that I have heard so far. Yep, I like the 10th the best and better than the Turbo. The placement of the 10th at the start is pure coincidence as this photo was taken weeks ago. Still the Turbo is different, it’s a different animal altogether. What this comes down to is speed. The Turbo is way, way faster than the 10th. Somehow this quickness follows through with everything the Turbo does. Meaning the 2 6mm DDs in the 10th offer great speed, but the Turbo is faster and the quickness follows up Into the whole signature? The Turbo is actually clearer and cleaner.

In comparison (to the 10th) the Turbo bass is slightly slower, and somehow denser? Here is a funny thing…..because of all the Turbos drivers being all BAs, there is an added style of cohesiveness. Though due to this thickness offered by the 10th, even the stage seems bigger and more dislocated (not necessarily a bad thing) due to three different methodologies of drivers? Also check-out the physical size difference..........where the Turbo is way smaller than the 10th. But my love for the 10th is almost endless? Still the turbo is faster/cleaner and does many styles of music in a different more detailed and precise fashion. The Turbo becomes complementary in the end.

Turbo graph supplied by Penon Audio:
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The 10th Anniversary graph:
It’s probably a good place to show a graph here. Take note of the 6kHz area where we have a more traditional dip in the 10th Anniversary. Now I’m not criticizing the use of the Turbo tune in that area, it is just an idiosyncrasy of the Turbo and in fact adds many cool attributes, it’s just different that’s all……and a new thing!

ISN Neo 5:
I just did something a little crazy here, I tried the Neo 5 IEM and Turbo IEM with the Penon Totem cable…..yep. Beginning with the drama surrounding the Neo 5 and cables. You see, at first Penon supplied the Neo 5 with the darker S8 cable, yet about two weeks ago Penon changed the stock cable to the (brighter) S4. And sure enough later down the line we are going to try the S4 cable with the Turbo to see what happens.

TOTEM and Neo 5:
You see the TOTEM cable is the best cable I tried with the all BA Turbo, also surprisingly the TOTEM doesn’t always fend well with DDs, but somehow (and really somehow) the TOTEM became the very best cable I ever found with the 10mm + 4 BA Neo 5! So to compare these two (in regular Turbo bass setting mode) the Neo 5 has less bottom end, which is probably expected, yet to hear these two in-action side-by-side reconfirms how much different the BA drivers are in the Turbo. Normally there can be found a style of DD attenuation with the TOTEM cable, but the 10mm in Neo 5 is heaven.

So what we have is a silky midrange offered in the Turbo…..along with great vocals with the Neo 5 too. Somehow though the Turbo vocals are better defined, being smoother and more detailed? Where Turbo vocals have a slightly extra sparkle of playfulness?

Noble Audio K-10 Encore:

Prior listening:
While the K-10 is known for aspects which really come-off as the antithesis of the Turbo, and it’s over three times the cost, still a lot can be learned having these two side-by-side.

My gosh, the Encore is so vivid and even more forward. What I mean by forward is how instruments and vocals are placed, Like a giant 8K TV set in the room! Everything is big, big…big. But in all honesty a new aspect of the Turbo was coming to light. Yep, after hearing the forwardness of the 10BA Encore, all of a sudden I had new appreciation for the Turbos top-end and vocals. Where the Turbo was still vivid and clear with vocals, but kind-a in a more normal way? Not so out front and electric, except still totally clear and containing all the detail? Surprisingly they were not the opposites that I came to this test expecting, with the Encore having only 4 more BAs a side, they were brothers in playback, not opposites. And will you look at that……both offer a 6-8kHz boost up-top, with the Encore of course being way more boosted, especially in regards to balance. Except in my listening I discovered how they held this treble similarity, then graphically it also made sense. Truly I don’t memorize graphs and especially can’t remember how two IEM would share graphic similarities, so this in itself is enlightening. You see even if part of this peak is the 8kHz artifact the rest of the peak couldn’t possibly be.


Penon Turbo:
Screen Shot 2023-08-20 at 9.53.18 AM.png

Above Penon Turbo response graph provided by Penon Audio:

Shozy B2:

The B2 was bass dramatic holding a thicker bass and yet less detailed….almost one dimensional bass in comparison to the Turbo. B2 vocals took a backseat to what the Turbo was capable of. Also there was a stark difference in tone, that while the BAs in the Turbo were not showing off timbre, there was a separation into the stage, where the imaging lived. I mean all this could be guessed prior, except hearing it once more drove those ideas home, that much further home in testing. And while possibly showing less technicalities than the Turbo, there was this single DD cohesiveness that was unarguable.

Penon Volt:
Coming in at way more money, it’s always a treat to get a taste of what the Volt is up to. Laughingly like the Encore in forwardness, this once again shows how hearing an IEM again is always full of surprises. What I mean by forwardness is how the sound in close-in-front…..real. Vibrance and skill abound with the Volt. And while coming back to it is emotional, like meeting an old friend……..I still could hear other differences. One being the bass is slower, not lethargic, but owning a slight delay that the instantly responding Turbo didn’t have. Yes, the Volt is showcasing more midrange ability… in many ways it’s the focus of the Volt. Where somehow the midrange of the Turbo shows-up slightly less involved and of holding an ever-so slight metallic tone (in comparison)………. being thinner in nature, yet well placed none-the-less.

Wow, the bass is both the same and totally different. Where it’s the same is in the amount of playback. But where the Turbo was romantically different is the bass came more from the center of the stage, where the EST50 bass was more wide and to the outside stage in its approach. The detail and quality of the bass drivers in the Turbo was of value and while emitting a large amount of bass, really in many ways equal to the 10mm EST50’s output. Still there was an additional refinement to it, a sculpture that was uncanny. You see this holds a specific value in playback, that such bass holds more pedigree and sophistication……in the end more detail! That the EST50 bass can almost come off uneventful and too big, in comparison. Where the Turbo tone was of the same level, except here the response was faster, and cleaner. If you think Penon/ISN are releasing two IEMs which are close to the same, nothing could be farther from the truth. Next the vocals, when vocals come in with the Turbo they are way more forward, and holding a slightly brighter tone, better defined and separated than the EST50. In comparison EST50 vocals arrive almost sleepy in contrast to what we have with the Turbo. Truly these two IEMs have nothing to do with one another. They arrive at playback as different as night and day. You as the consumer would be forgiven for guessing both bass heavy IEMs are from the same company and should represent bass in the same fashion. Only realize it’s been years and years since the EST50 came out, and the difference here is DD bass in comparison to BA bass. There is a spacial placement way onto the edges of the stage as to how the EST50 works, where the Turbo’s BA bass finds itself emanating from deep inside the center area of the IEM. The bass soundstage is approaching from a totally different position, not only that, the Turbo bass gets in and out faster, leaving room for faster turnarounds and change-ups. Due to these characteristics the bass offers more texture than what is possible with the 10mm EST driver, a subtle flexibility that proves of value. The EST50 bass is of a denser opaque stature holding firmness and more weight, where the Turbo is cleaner, tighter and clearer, offering a window into bass playback never before witnessed.

Penon Globe:
Less bass, but quality…………..nonetheless, I keep rotating the Globe into side-by-sides as I view it as incredibly special! Today the Globe”s stage somehow seems much larger than when I compared it against the 10th Anniversary? Also I don’t remember the vocals being as good as they are today? Literally every detail is held in the playback here? While now I’m hearing more about what the Globe is, and getting more down-to-earth with its abilities, It’s much more midrangy than remembered, which can often happen with Penon IEMs. Where this midrange will show-up and there is no stopping it. I mean it’s only 3 drivers…the Globe? The Turbo gifts us a more detailed low end, holding more items, the midrange is of a thinner demeanor yet, more spread-out, and again more detailed inside of those items. This is probably 2X the drivers coming into play. Still there is a thickness coming from the Globe that I wish the Turbo had? Less musical details, but soul…..the Globe has soul. All you Globe owners know what I’m talking about. I mean really the Turbo needs an extra small amount of that soul added, to be better. And……I tried to figure out the location of that soul, you would think it was the lows, but it was more, and could even be part of the midrange with the Globe……a style of thickness……I can’t explain it?

Update: As testing continued with the Turbo I was able to add the desired “soul”. This addition came with using a warmer cable than expected. Yep, really the opposite than you would guess? As typically warmer IEMs are bass centered IEMs, and don’t need a warmer cable but need (brighter) clarity…… least that has been my humble experience. Here in fact that missing part the Globe had was note weight, and a style of thickness that we could in fact (in-the-end) add to the Turbo by using a darker and warmer cable…..the ISN CS02.

Sony IER-Z1R:

Look, the IER-Z1R is often heard to be the most realistic IEM on this page. Yet, still it’s not perfect. Fit, the fit of many of these IEMs made by Penon/ISN are much more comfortable. At a whopping 13 grams a piece the IER-Z1R is the heaviest. Efficiency wise, both IEMs come in close to the same, with the Turbo being 20% efficient. And even bass levels are fairly even between the two, though the IER holds a slimply amount of clarity, the 2X Sonion drivers are in many ways doing what this single Sony DD is up to. Where they really start to differ is in stage and treble details………I mean nothing I know of comes close to the realism of the IER-Z1R in regards to treble detail. But after a few back to backs…..I can’t help but realize the Turbo vocals are special. Really they are more of a noticeable quality than the bass maybe? They are in fact more forward than the IER-Z1R, which isn’t saying a whole lot, but it’s true. I mean I can hear all kinds of accents and expressions in these vocals? I don’t know why? It is like you start to notice how special the vocals are while concentrating on the comparisons, then they start to unfold, even more so? The IER vocals are sitting back farther, yet also holding more detail, and smoother.

Such items can make a small difference, yet that is the place we are at, trying to align the tone more to our wanting.

Here is the Turbo and Penon Obsidian a great additive!

But in testing I found three more incredibly interesting and one a super value!

ISN S4 Cable
Penon TOTEM Cable
ISN CS02 Cable (value)

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ISN S4 Cable:
The first in the running is the ISN S4 cable. Here we are questioning the ISN S4s ability to add spacial properties and stage? And to tell you the truth, I thought that maybe the ISN S4 was going to cause trouble or something? I even got out my more bass heavy WM1Z in preparation for the event. But really the relatively cheap $58.90 S4 cable made the Turbo very, very special. So much so that if you simply wanted to get your feet wet with an aftermarket cable and were wondering if there was a perceivable difference between the included SC816 cable and the S4, I can recommend the S4 wholeheartedly. Really in many ways it did exactly the same as what it did for the Neo 5 in comparison to the included cable. A wider soundstage, improved imaging and clarity. Even the bass was slightly cleaned-up and imaged better, in comparison to the CS816 included cable? Upper harmonics are improved, really there is a lot of room to change the Turbo, especially if you choose to not use the switches. But more than that, there are qualities which a cable change-out can do, that are above and beyond what you’re going to get with switches. In fact just that I had great luck with the more mid-centric Sony WM1A simply showed both how great the Turbo is to slight changes, but also how there was no worries as to getting a new and different cable that can add vocal ability and stage, while adding a small increase in imaging.


Penon TOTEM:
Before burn-n I was hot to try what the TOTEM could do. Truth to be told, I never had (13 Penon/ISNs later) an all BA Penon before, and as far as I was concerned the Flagship TOTEM and Turbo were made for one another. And during this test today my curiosity got the best of me…………to try the Neo 5 with the TURBO too. There are only two small ideas working against us, number one the TOTEM isn’t always the best with DDs, taking the wind out of their sails at times. And…..price, the TOTEM is a little expensive to match with a $289.00 IEM like the Neo 5. What does the TOTEM/Turbo combo do? Size, soundstage size. That and realism.

It for all intents and purposes sounds like you turned-up the volume on the Turbo, only you didn’t. So that clarity that comes with more volume is there, that and the stage was increased in every direction, forward, backwards and up and down……oh…..and width, the side to side elements were also arrived at. Basically everything was clearer. Also more with the Neo 5, but the Neo 5 became more cohesive…..strangely enough. To me, finding a random IEM that can be added to the TOTEM list of improvements, is like getting a new IEM, all over again.

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ISN CS02 Cable:
Here is the newest cable from Penon/ISN. Quite the entertaining transformation. Why? Because the first thing you totally notice is the deepness added to the bass. Extra authority. A forwardness and an added roundness, denser….and somehow it’s a good thing. I know this is going to sound dumb, but the effect is purely analogue? The Turbo sounds more analogue now…..hah. There is also an incredible change to the vocals. I mean these were all the things that the CS02 did with all (well most) IEMs. Only here they were maybe more needed? Where the S4 brings clarity though the upper sections, the CS02 was adding this lower warmth. And really I know I recommended the S4, and I still do, but the SC02 is even better. Remember that soul that that Globe had, that the Turbo didn’t have? The CS02 brings it. Yep, it brings all of it……perfect! And then you may be wondering about why I’m making such a big deal about the CS02 cable? For one it’s more regularly priced than the TOTEM, at $69.90. THE CS02 also adds a thickness to the lows, which makes them perfect. Now to be honest I was going to also include the Obsidian cable in this cable test group. The Obsidian is still another very specific cable additive for the Penon Turbo. Except after burn-in and further testing, the less expensive CS02 does many of the same things, only I think even better? The fascinating thing about the CS02 cable, many IEMs have a brightness where it seems to be included an amber glow?

Where the CS02 performs both a spatial expansion and a smoothing of such trebles. Here while the treble is expanded and even added separation into the mids. Remember how there was an added quality of smoothness to the IER-Z1R vocals in comparison to the Turbo, well now the CS02 cable helps add that smoothness back into the Turbo. Yep!

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Included is 9 pairs of ear-tips, two switch-tools, and a wax cleaning tool that can also double as a switch tool. Included is the CS819 cable as well as a case and a pouch.



Such design really fits the ear, and part of understanding fit is simply getting used to a new design. The nozzles are smaller in circumference diameter than the 10th, but somehow after prolonged use, I was able to get my favorite ear-tips to work............maybe the inner diameter shrunk? The single air-vent is red and the right side and blue on the left side. Such natural shell material is embedded into the faceplate which gives off a pearlescent glow upon the light hitting it at a certain angle, and gives a non-plastic feel to the IEM. Being both small and lightweight has its advantages.


All the music tested today was done on the Sony WM1A with MrWalkmans Firmware. The ISN CS02 Cable was installed along with my favorite standard wide-bore shallow length ear-tips.


Hans Zimmer & Benjamin Wallfisch
Blade Runner 2049 OST
44.1 kHz - 16 bit

Don’t know if you know but I have been using this song more and more to evaluate IEMs. Reason being it is recorded well and offers challenges to IEMs to get the bass correct, and timbre in string instruments (namely the piano)! At 00:00 the piano introduction affords us both a mixture of ambiance due to piano reverb, and at the same time a fully clear set of bright piano keys notes are introduced. Even at 00:02 the bass starts to wash in at the right. Such a bass is characterized by a frequency just at the threshold of our hearing. At 00:06 the center and left side approach us in bass tones. At 00:08 the first blast hits. Such are the familiar sounds with the original Blade Runner film. In your mind you may remember the very beginning, the oil refinery in Los Angeles that was used (to film) the effect? Showing many lights and a dark backdrop……..then the very first propane gas explosion took place, as the bellows of fire reached towards the sky. Such an introduction to a movie, and they are repeating that drama here. It was the connection that we as viewers made with the visuals and sound that was so satisfying. Probably due to the fact that we as movie goers had never seen such a sight? Then the sound, adding to the visceral experience of it all. Here anyway, such sounds are a wave to prior theme music, and all at once bring us home again to the original Blade Runner film. Yet here this is far off into the future (for Blade Runner 2) in the year 2049. The second hit occurs at 00:15, and we find it even more forward and clear. At 00:30 we find we are in the center of a bass synthesizer tone. Such a low-end marker adds drama in excess to the bountiful reverbs at hand. Literally every sound in this introduction contains reverb, and I will have to say it’s nice, and not just for BAs, it’s nice across the board, any how you choose to play this. At 00:45 the main synths comes in, of higher pitch, yet tonally it could find itself slightly scathing with other IEMs, though here it’s fine. Also I might add, there is already a lot going on here, yet the 6 BAs seem to take the confusion and make sense of it all?

An interesting part of this playback is the fact that the low bass additives are completely separated and disjointed from the whole. With acoustic music this may not be wanted, yet with this wall of bass synthesis it is mandatory, and something that single bass DDs just can’t replay. I mean.........did I pick-out this song due to showcasing this effect, no, but it just came up as an added feature. Really impossible with DDs. And that is how I kinda describe the tone of 6mm, 7mm, 8mm, 9mm or 10mm IEM DDs, that is detail on the outside of the note having nothing to be found inside. Well here is the opposite, where the sound is more or less coming from the center and falling out later…gaining us bass detail as it is portrayed. There is no IEM that I own that currently does this song this way. That’s the thing, if you’re truly into this style of technicalities, it’s actually a rare find. Rare because due to the performance the different striations of bass which are both separated and delineated. Separated into levels which can be taken apart and studied, each a separate entity all its own into the stage. Finally at 01:24 there is a coming of fruition in terms of song structure, a section where everything is taking place at once. This apex is sent home with a series of drum hits at 01:40.

Honestly I had no idea of the bass quality until I tried this song. The Penon Turbo is kinda like that. It’s waiting to show you, ask it of its abilities, as they are almost hidden. Such character means that in normal daily listening the Turbo can remain mild mannered and really pretty much normal. Except give it something to chew on and you may be startled? I was? Though I want to send home the message that this song was also technically complete, meaning the echoes and piano notes show correct timbre and adequate reverbs. There was also the added dimension of technical separation that made this number the cat’s meow. Is this the best I’ve ever heard the song……maybe? Surely the more expensive Volt doesn’t go to this side of town? You see it’s the speed of the Sonion bass BAs, the fact that they are vented, which may even make them faster? And simply the fact that BAs offer the fastest bass, regularly.


44.1 kHz - 24 bit

This is the second song on the album and seems to showcase what the album is about. It was the first song I became attracted to on the album. There are going to be a few concepts that are of importance here…..mainly with just how both the drums and vocals are done with the Turbo, but also just how the timbre of the higher octave instruments are displayed. I have to admit when seeing DCD perform this live, has them play very few instruments. Also this kind-of being a reunion (for the band) record, it’s very different from their other albums. Really this is pretty much a vocal performance when played live? There are bird sounds in the background, and somehow I hear them better than ever?

Album version:

The incredible texture 00:09 due to the absolute speed of the BAs. You can also take note of the positioning (and repositioning) in the stage, this imaging is directly connected to the transients involved, as is the moment of found handclaps. Faster the transients, and the clearer and faster of the imaging. Even the drum texture is tightened-up by this level of transients. Already............ a quick introduction of bass drums at 00:33. When the vocals arrive at 01:33, it is clear how the Turbo is a vocal IEM. That is a fact that we can now hear every subtle interjection, every nuance performed. And it’s not too bright, yet totally detailed, but on the more clear side of organic. Each vocal vibrato is exquisitely timed and focused. At 02:59 the piano is reintroduced and holds an exact timbre. In fact, for me understanding the timbre was my main path for success here. For whatever reason my very first 1/2 day with the Turbo had me guessing off-timbre, but the second half of the day had my applauding the timbre, and the whole day after, and the whole day after that. So somehow I got used to the timbre? And timbre can be a funny thing, that once in a while when it’s new in the song (from changing IEMs) it will appear off, but then fall back to well done. One of the first things you learn in Head-Fi is to start recognizing the various levels of timbre, and in fact it can be ever-so-slightly off at times.. But here its still BA timbre, yet it is both Knowles and Sonion BAs, so those name brand BAs have a way with getting timbre down right.


The first sentence I wrote about the Turbo was you most likely don’t have anything like it. And continuing with that theme, at the end of this review I’m doubly sure of that fact. Why? Well for one it’s bass technicalities. Yep, Penon were not messing around when they decided to invent something that never existed before. They knew that (in the current market) you need to make something new and different to earn people’s business. And probably every kind of tune has already been done? So what’s left? Technicalities that’s what the other guys haven’t figured out how to come-up with. Sure they can release bass heavy IEMs by the truck load, but do they have switches to add and subtract the bass? Do they have Sonion bass drivers which can be adjusted to replicate a movie theater? They don’t, so what you get (instead) is one-dimensional bass. Sure there is fast bass out there, and there is textured bass out there, in fact bass technicalities are coming along for the whole industry. Even if you have even the smallest collection of newer IEMs at your house, you can attest to that. But even those maybe don’t do the itemized striations of bass............the plateaus of bass that the Turbo does? I mean I have a few IEMs, and I don’t have this exact bass replay, not even close. And it is not all about bass amounts, sure stock setting, the Turbo puts out a nice level of bass. And if you want to put the pedal to the metal and floor-it, more bass can be achieved. But there is more here than excessive bass, there is quality bass. And that’s only half of the story.

Yep, do you ever think that Penon would deliver an IEM that didn’t have midrange, or treble? You see every component is important in this equation. Why? Because most of the time the bass is only an additive to the rest of the song. It’s simply a spice added in, the whole of the song is really more comprised of midrange. So we would end-up short changed if Penon left anything out there. But what’s even more important is contrasts. The fact that the midrange and treble need to be of a certain light so that we can even see the bass being adequate. There is truly a complete story here, one that is actually focussed on the tri-band crossover, and tri-band sound tube arrangement. And it is this specific separation that is really the star of the show. Amazingly dynamite comes in a small box, low-weight too, at only 4 grams each. In fact it took me a few hours just to get used to how small the Turbo was.



Probably when you started reading you had no idea that the Turbo would be a vocal IEM too. And that is the hard thing to swallow, that a 2023 audiophile IEM would be both good at vocals and bass……..but it’s true. Now remember too there are strict vocal specialist IEMs that only do vocals, this is not (exactly) one of them. Typically vocal specialist IEMs don’t have this amount of bass. But imagine if they invented both, a bass IEM that you could turn down and change into a vocal IEM. That is exactly what I heard in my testing today. It’s hard to get your head around, but it’s true, there is no other way to describe the Turbo.

Something different:
The thing is, I’m incredibly jaded. So much so that when I get new IEMs in the mail, I’m already guessing I’ve heard the sound of them already.......them all……..all of em. And even when I started this review I thought that I had heard what the Turbo was….I thought I knew what it was. But I didn’t know exactly, it was new to me just how the Turbo could perform. The way it does bass sounds, and the character it has for vocals. Of course the treble isn’t too shabby either. If you want a one-of-a-kind performer in your collection, one that sounds different than anything you could find out there, the Turbo is just maybe don’t know it yet.

Turbo Switch:
The truth of the matter is Penon maybe didn't name the Turbo because of the little switch, no. They named it Turbo due to speed. Actual pace which starts to take place across the board. Detail inside of the bass notes, that IEMs like the ISN EST50 could only dream of reaching. Added is the enigma that you would like that bass attenuation through a cable.....which maybe would be in order...........when that's not what the Turbo has in-store for Actually the Turbo comes alive with a way warmer cable than you would guess, adding note-weight and deepness to the bass even farther than what is possible from the switches, the opposite path!

The main dynamics of the Turbo are transients, transients which create imaging inside of detail and beyond detail to create what is known as texture. This texture is not only specialized into the bass, but comes out to play inside all of the instruments and vocals is simply part of what the Turbo is.


I want to thank Penon/ISN Audio for the love and for the Penon Turbo Universal IEM review sample.

These are one person's ideas and concepts, your results may vary.

Burn-in was a real phenomena with the Turbo, seemly gaining both cohesiveness and detail after 100 hours?

I spent one day short of two weeks with the Penon Audio Turbo.

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

Currently Penon/ISN manufactures and sells.

ISN Audio Cable Products:
AG8 Cable
C16 Cable
C2 Cable
C4 Cable
CU4 Cable
CS02 Cable
G4 Cable
GC4 Cable
GD4 Cable
GS4 Cable
H16 Cable
H2 Cable
H8 Cable
H8Plus Cable
8 Core Cable
S16 Cable
S2 Cable
S4 Cable
S8 Cable
SC4 Cable
Solar Cable
Type C Audio Adapter

ISN Audio IEM Products/Earbud products
Neo 5 IEM
Rambo Earbuds
Rambo II Earbuds

Penon Audio Cable Products
Bass Cable
CS819 Cable
Fiery Cable
Flow Cable
GD848 Cable
HiFi Balanced Adapter
Penon Impact Cable
Leo Cable
Leo Plus Cable
Mix Cable
Neo Cable
Obsidian Cable
Orbit Cable
OS133 Cable
OS133 Adapter
OS849 Cable
OSG Cable
Space Cable
Storm Cable
Totem Cable
Totem Adapter Cable
Totem Adapter Type-C DAC
Vocal Cable
Penon Audio IEM Products
Penon IEM
Impact IEM
Legend IEM
Globe IEM
Serial IEM
Sphere IEM
Volt IEM
Vortex IEM
Turbo IEM

Penon Tail Dongle

64 individual personal audio products

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Nice review as well great IEM!


Previously known as TheDeafMonk
Pros: What I Liked:
- Included Accessories are top notch , case , cable, tips, cleaning brush with end to change the switches, all with minimal packaging well done PENON
- 0.78 2 Pin termination for easy cable swapping embedded directly into the resin shell
- One of the most coherent and smooth IEM I have ever heard at any price
- Sibilant free highs great for treble sensitive people with lots of extension for details and air.
- Tune-able with a very musical balanced tuning ( Switch Dependant super V to Balanced )
- PENON Unmistakable House Signature VOCALS that is smoother than the 10th anniversary and closer to my ideal.
- Fantastic bottom end that goes low and sounds closer to a Dynamic Driver than a Balanced Armature, ( Actually if I didn’t know what the configuration was I would have guessed at all DD )
- Vocals in both Male & Female are silky smooth in a organic and lush musical way ( Copied and pasted from every PENON Review LOL ) Vocals on the TURBO are in my opinion closer to PENON house sound more so than the 10th.
- Zero BA timbre no sibilant spikes or harshness on the Turbo even when pushed hard.
- Can listen to for days on end fatigue free.
- Not your typical BA Bass , Mids or highs ( Love it or hate it )
- Cable perfectly matched to the sound signature to get the most out of the TURBO not just a after thought.
- Tuning Switches work and allow to honestly tailor the tuning to your specific sound signature.
- I cant stress this point enough- ZERO PRESSURE BUILD UP! Even through a 8rh listening jam.
Cons: What I Though Needed Improvement: (Subjective)
- Not your typical BA Bass , Mids or highs ( Love it or hate it )
- Tuning switches for those who hate switches
- Tuning switch set up and not mirror image and is confusing at first also possible to get settings mis-matched Left vs Right
- TURBO Boost was not for me washed away the mid bass that I prefer
- Micro Nuances and details could be better- not a huge knock as I use that comparison to a 64 Audio U12t another standout top in its class IEM
- Stage Depth is good but just average
- Mid bass could have more snap for my taste and gets closer with the tuning switches to my ideal.
PENON TURBO $499 July 2023
July 29, 2023
11:30 AM

PENON TURBO - One Smooth Operator

Now let's get into it: The Techy Stuff
Balanced Armature Drivers Consisting of:
2x SONION AcuPass Low Frequency BA and output independently though one sound tube.

2x KNOWLES Balanced Armature for the mid frequencies and output through the second sound tube.
2x SONION Balanced Armature for the highs BA's Share the third and final sound tube.
Shell is a Fully Transparent neon green shell with the top made of pearl green
4 Tuning switches that control the bass level and to some extent the mids and treble. 14 Possible Configurations
A 3 Way crossover divides the frequencies to each respected BA driver pairs.
Sensitivity is rated as 103 db for each watt of power used.
Impedance is 16 Ohms
Cable can be chosen as either 3.5mm SE, or 2.5mm or 4.4 Pentagon Balanced Options and is a 8 core Silver Plated & OFCC mixed braded cable. PENON CABLE CS819 (Copper , Silver Plated 8 Cores 19 Shares p/core)
Comes with the best Penon case pocketable and blue!


Pictured in final configuration for sound impressions Switches set to 0-100 and with Stock SPC cable & TRI Clarion Tips. The stock cable , I just liked the sound synergy and comfort with the Turbo and appreciated how soft and pliable this cable was.



I treat fine tuning my Impressions including cables like this in my journey with IEM's.
TIPS CHANGE THE SOUND GREATER THAN ANYTHING ELSE. ( Stage, bass, vocals, highs ) Can be greatly altered by tips and are first thing I try for fitment and comfort and overall shaping the sound to my desired preference.
Sources are second for me. Since my new Hiby R6 Pro2 almost rivals my desktop stack Geshelli Labs J2/ Topping A90D , I stuck with the Hiby solely with this review and most of my impressions were sitting in a camping chair eating spits, drinking beer and watching loons at a lake I was camping at. Zero noise and distractions on this one.

Now cables, while some people get called out for including cable impressions as shills, I don’t think that’s fair honestly. If you cant hear a difference that’s OK. If you can then great why not cable roll. My belief is that I can hear a difference , though not earth shattering like some people state that make my roll my eyes I do honestly believe cable to some extent shape the overall sound. I find pure copper enhances the bass, Graphene enhances and tightens the Mids, a gold element thickens and enhances vocals while softening the highs and Silver and Palladium enhance the highs. That’s my take on how I perceive the tuning changes I hear and whether you agree or not is totally allowed as you have your own beliefs on the subject.
Mostly my choice in cables come down to what attributes I think I can instill into the IEM I am listening too, to enhance or detract to achieve my ideal sound preference but mostly

I WANT IT TO LOOK COOL! Silly as that sounds it floats my boat.

More information can be found here and non-affiliated link:

This one was provided from Penon Directly and my thanks for that. I was pretty gun shy about all BA IEM's from my experience so I would not have bought this one, and I would have missed out because this is my most favourite PENON to date.

Subjective Part of my Audio Review -

I share my impressions as I hear them with my ears.
As all our ears are different shapes & size so what I hear as bright or bass heavy -you might hear as dull and Vise-Versa; just something to be mindful of.

What makes my ears happy as a sound signature is a slightly more aggressive L shape. I love my Bass Sub and Mid Bass slam, love it all actually; and in balanced quantity. With the Bass, I prefer a faster decay the faster the better so as to not bleed into the mids., I am treble sensitive and prefer a slightly darker warmer replay with good treble extension.

I prefer the fast speedy bass of the Beryllium Coated Driver of my Xenns Mangird UP with a Beryllium Coated Driver. My reference is my THOR Mjölinar MKII single DD.
Of course, there are exceptions in the market - as I also find the bass of the PENON 10th Anniversary IEM special - has some great mid bass snap as well as some serious sub-bass!

My music Library is widely varied from; Metallica, Great White, Cowboy Junkies, Pink Floyd, Adelle, Melisa Ethridge, Fleetwood Mac, Five for Fighting, Mänskin, Poncho Sanchez, Jimmy Smith, Chopin, The Crystal Method just to name a few. When not listening to my test tracks the majority is Jazz or Alternative Rock especially Female Rock. The Tea Party, Mathew Good, LIVE, Lorde, Halsey, Alanis Morrisette, Evanescence. All depends on my mood.

Sources: Solely used the most excellent Hiby R6 PRO2 on 4.4 Pentaconn out.
Tips Used for the TURBO Impressions were the Super Wide Bore TRI Clarion Tips - a great combination of depth insertion and open bore for stage.

My Format has changed with community feedback. So now I will list the music tracks I used & why with my musical impressions of the playback using that track. I hope this will give you some context for my library and give you some contexts to compare using the same tracks.

Before I begin with some sound impressions, I would like to share a bit of my journey with the TURBO
I like sharing this part as it gives context on how I came upon my sound impressions:

  • This is a big deal for me possible for many others without even realizing it, and the reason I have not enjoyed a all BA set in the past until I listened to the outstanding 64 Audio $2000 U12t.
  • Without vented shells - My GS Audio SE12 $1000, NF Audio NF2U, Hisenior T2 , Hidizs MS5, all give me a headache after 5 Minutes , I get a loss of bass and a enhancement of the highs that vastly contour my sound impressions to the actual intended tuning. Now to be fair on past reviews I didn’t pick up on this until recently when another member of the community I respect Mr. Paul Wasabi suggested foam tips to alleviate the pressure and mitigate the issue. Using foam tips also has their downside for me as I find the highs are muted as well.
  • Very happy to say the TURBO has massive vented shells to completely resolve this issue and was not just a included feature, but a well thought out design and makes me able to listen to this set endlessly. So not just a shout out to the tuners on the TURBO, but the engineers as well who designed this IEM well done PENON.

4 - Tuning switches- I hate Tuning switches most don’t work on IEM's enough to make it a useful feature.

  • Again I am happy to report that not only can you turn the TURBO into a +db bass monster you can also tune it to a Balanced or even a neutral bright set if you so choose.
This is a well implemented feature and like the Most Excellent FATFreq Grand Maestro really allows you to shape the sound to your specific tastes. So again I would like to point out the PENON did a outstanding job of the implementation of the tuning switches and the ability to genuinely alter the sound signature quite a lot to suite so many different peoples tastes.


  • TURBO Boost switch to ON - Does exactly that but I found that a higher volumes it kind of bagged out and was not that enjoyable to listen to with bassy music, Now that being said on non bassy music the TURBO sounds great with added boost to male vocals. Overall this feature might appeal to some but for the majority of listening my setting was turned off.
  • 000 Switches now really change the overall tuning
  • 001 setting being a great setting for classical and female vocals and the most airy setting
  • 010 setting was great with Jazz and vocals tuned slightly on the brighter side but again like all the settings never sibilant, sharp or harsh ever!
  • 100 setting was my happy medium, I really liked the overall tuning of 010 and 100 the most. 100 overall gave me the added bass I crave and enjoy, while making male vocals perfect; as well as female vocals absolutely spot on and very organic in nature. This is where I left the settings for my overall impressions below in by track bases and overall sound impressions.
  • One thing to note is the switches are not mirror image Left 000-TURBO and Right TURBO-000 I wish they would be the same on both sides.

Let's Begin:

#1 "Bubbles" by Yosi Horikawa
  • On 0-100 setting the stage has great width nice height the ball drops have a great sense of bouncing you can hear the weight between the different balls and the bass is great.

#2 "Jetlag Corperation" by Aes Dana

  • Goes low I thought it was very balanced the treble keeps up for sure as the settings from 0-010 and the difference between 0-100 the droning bass goes lower with the more bottom end the TURBO actually has secondary resonances in the bass it's impressive it's not too much just very well done and in all the settings I found the treble keeps up with the bass

#3 "Poem In Chinese Drum" by Hok Man Kim
The TURBO actually has very nice decay in snack in the bass track here in all the setting,
I found the 0 -100 adds nicer tonality and the 0- 001 really brings out the nuances but still gives you great quality bass.
0-010 was in between, the details and the attack.
It was kind of interesting to hear how the switches made a difference in the bottom end with the turbo boost button on you better really nice decay and snap still without over being overdone, more DD like where is the BA bass, closer at 0-001 if you like that sound.

#4 "99 Luftballons" by Nena
  • This was an interesting one as I mentioned earlier in my review I was talking about cables and here I just happened to throw on The PENON VOCAL cable and definitely found out that was not a good pairing at all.
  • I just really liked it with the stock cable sounded wonderful best vocals was the I found the 0-100 setting it was supremo for female vocals.

#5 "Lux AEterna " by Metallica

  • The speed of BA bass with the weight of a DD what the heck! Might make no BA believers like me into loving what a SONION AcuPass BA set can do for the bottom end!

#6 "Marvin Gaye" by Charlie Puth and Megan Trainor

  • Great vocals both male and female to top it off I really like the way the bass is presented in this track it was overall very smooth and just a fun toe tapping playback

#7 "Walk on the Wild side" by Lou Reed

  • Lou Reed's guitar was amazing not only that that's his vocals were bang on you could easily pick up the female singer come across from the back moving forward but the guitar itself was simply amazing the residences on the tone.

#8 "Edge Of Seventeen" Stevie Nicks

  • On this track I just have to say how impressed overall I am with the turbo to reproduce female vocals simply superb bang on organic natural lush very enjoyable.

#9 "Unfinished Sympathy" by Massive Attack

  • Sweet drops , goes low , vocals perfect like the 10th did but dare I say goes lower yes I do believe so.

#10 "Freaks" by Live

  • Would I say the PENON TURBO does plays metal? Rock? YES I definitely would use the turbo for rock very, very much nice kicks great vocals & can go very loud and sound very great doing it.

#11 "Kashmir" by Marcin

  • Bass WOW not DD are you sure, has texture, decay, Instrumental brilliance and smooth detailed highs

#12 " A Case of You " by Jodi Mitchell

  • Female vocals done superbly , so organic , the guitar and details so well replayed. Just lovely

#13 " J.S. Bach Cello Suite #1 in G major" by Tina Gao

  • Strings are magical with te TURBO the depth of the Cello & the way the TURBO gives space to the notes is wonderful!

#14 " Act Right" by The Crystal Method

  • Blown Away by the bass firstly and how smooth the TURBO does EDM - go loud OH YES

#15 "Shape of My Heart" by Sting

  • Listening for accuracy of male vocals on 0-100 my favorite so perfect prefer over the 10th

#16 "Beving- Prelude" by Joep Beving

  • A amazing recording , how many tracks can you hear the piano chair creaking and narrow that down to how many IEM can reproduce that sound with pin point accuracy and realistic nature - not too many and for how much?

#17 " Save Me" by The Tea Party

  • One of the best replays I have ever heard not in a live venue was done by the TURBO

#18 " Medellin" by Madonna

  • Vocals from Madonna so smooth and the Stage was huge and done in a fun way Bass nicely balanced actually overall well balanced.

#19 "Deed I Do " by Ella Fitzgerald

  • I love Jazz on the TURBO, instruments sound crisp and detailed while vocals are lush and full.

#20 " The Feeling Of Jazz" by Poncho Sanchez

  • Poncho's signature Jazz and his drums so well done and very natural and organic love Jazz on the TURBO, Trumpets, Drums, Piano all sound very smooth and correct.

OK that was jus some tracks that blew my mind and helped my get to my overall impressions.

The PENON TURBO for me is the best sounding IEM so far I have heard from them period. Not only that has become the one I reach for over all others at this time.
Big statement right there. Comes from my heart not fluff or a endorsement. I truly enjoy this IEM.

Mentally I was not prepared to like this one, actually I was quite biased towards dynamic driver IEM's in general as I found from past experiences all the BA IEM's I have tried with the exception of the 64 Audio U12t were not to my tastes and experienced pressure build up. I have never liked the Bass of all BA units as I found them lacking texture , proper decay and the U12t changed that for me and now the TURBO has also built up my ability to appreciate a well tuned all BA set and experience quality bass that I didn't find lacking in a all BA set.

I was expecting BA dry bass, only to be pleasantly surprised by the TURBO's ability to not only go low but have some note weight. If anything I would mind some of that fast texture and dryer mid bass or at least more of it. That if anything would be what I would want a bit more of to call this set perfect for me.

The Mids and vocals are so spot on perfectly balanced in the mix not forward nor recessed. The timbre is also very well presented with vocals both male and female coming across with the correct weight and timbre not dry and thin, nor overly weighted and boomy, very smooth and organic.

Highs in the upper mids and extended highs are bang on perfect for me, giving tons of details and excitement while providing great instrument placement in the stage and sounding very natural as well.

Stage overall is averagely wide and has good sense of depth and great height. Certainly not the best I have had the pleasure of hearing as nust having had the 64 Audio U12t in my ears, but the TURBO can hold its own.

Where some might expect or want more micro and macro details from a all BA set, I just was pleased it did almost everything else so well that I can easily forgive the TURBO for this. Personally I really enjoy the tuning of the TURBO AS IS. Also please consider the PRICE of only $499 its hard to fault. I think you would need more drivers or EST to get to the next level and honestly If I were to go looking for that in a differently tuned IEM, well then I would reach for the 10th as that was one of its great strengths.

Overall I can say what do I like most about the PENON TURBO, well I could tune it to my preferred sound signature, so the tuning switches worked for me.
I really like how smooth and natural the vocals are on the Turbo and fatigue free. I can listen to this set all day long and just get lost in the music, the stage is set up to give you a great experience and keeps you engaged, bass was more than enough to make my inner bass head happy without washing out my beloved female vocals and instrument details so I was very pleased and a bit shocked on how well the TURBO did this.

The TURBO is a expertly tuned IEM, a true gem in a sea of neutral or bright BA sets that try to go for a flatter frequency response example the tuning of the ( AFÜL Performer 8 )
For me those sets are boring to listen to, lack dynamics and weight and really overall excitement. Those sets don’t make me engaged in the music nor get me lost in the playback. The TURBO does it for me and anytime I find myself just listening to music and not the gear attached to my head that’s a full win in my books.


As I happen to own the 10th Anniversary IEM as well and thought the two would make a good comparison with both IEM's being the same price so lets go:

  • Firstly on 0-100 both are tuned very similarly mild V shape sound signatures.


The graph actually represent what I was hearing:
The 10th has better faster and more Mid Bass and gets closer to my target
Bass overall I would say the TURBO sounds like it goes lower because of the less mid bass
The Upper mids on the TURBO give a more natural weight to male vocals and female vocals while being smoother and more natural.
Stage is very close to sounding the same no complaints at all.
The 10th presents vocals slightly forward and not quite as smooth as the TURBO.
The 10th defiantly has the edge with Micro and Macro Details with more Air and extension in the upper end twinkles and sparkles. EST drivers work.

Thank you for taking the time to read my review.
My Video review is here:

My QuBuz Playlist:
Listen to the playlist Test Tracks by on Qobuz


My YouTube Chan:

My Discord:

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I wanted to ask you something: even if the switches are not symmetrical between left and right, are the numbers that distinguish them still valid?
That is, does switch 1 on the left have the same function as switch 1 on the right (and so on), or not?

Thank you.
Yes the switches on both sides have the same action on both sides


Headphoneus Supremus
Penon Turbo. Penons first basshead all BA IEM!
Pros: 6BAs in an all Resin ergonomic shell.
3 + 1 tuning switches
1st Penon IEM to incorporate an astounding almost 20 dbs of total bass.
Tuning switches that affects the low end with 1 switch called Turbo
Turbo switch itself adds almost 10dbs of bass to the stock tuning.
123 switches that enhance given parts of its sound tuning.
New type of tuning for a Penon branded IEM.
Perfect IEMs for the Summer.
Cons: Folks that buy bassy IEMs and want a cable to reduce the bass end.
Mids and treble are not as effective as the bass switches.
20 dbs of bass will mean a big bass shadow.
Absolutely not for neutral or balanced heads.
Penon Turbo! An early look into Penons next IEM.

All BA sets are a part of the IEM scene and has been for a very long time. There is a reason why some of the highest regarded IEMs are BA based, with the base performance of their sound using premium BAs. Today’s all BA sets in the mid fi range have several aspects in common. Highly technical, meaning you're going to get those bits of auditory information in the form of higher levels of detail that some of the other types of drivers can struggle at. The physical size of the small moving iron AKA balanced armatures allows for multiple speaker layouts within the smaller confines of an IEM shell. This allows for a level of sound layering and imaging that once again other types of drivers sometimes struggle with. Of course the negatives of a BA set is that the sound can come off a bit rigid, with cheaper unrefined sounding BAs sounding metallic lacking in a natural timbre. AKA BA timbre.

There is a vast variety of the Balanced Armatures and to me it will be more dependent on the drivers chosen for the design of the IEM more so than grouping all BA sets to have this rigid tonal and timbre qualities. You all know Penon uses BAs based on what meets their house sound requirements. Which to say is the opposite of what the dreaded BA timbre represents. The new Turbo is a midfi level set utilizing 3 x dual BAs or the ability of 6 BAs in a single all resin vented housing for bass.

Penons newest all BA set uses some very interesting techniques and while the aspects of the Turbo design, has been done on other sets. The new Turbo introduces to you an actual TURBO switch, AKA bass boost switch with 3 enhancement switches which ends up giving you something like 12 different levels of bass boost. It does have mids and treble boost which is actually dependent more on the amount or boosted bass you choose on the Turbo. Bass for BA sets have been a hit or miss depending on implementation and purpose. Penon is no stranger to boosted bass. Most of their ISN line up is just this minus the recent ISN H30. Which is the most neutral of all of Penon and ISN products to date. Including its bass end.

The new Penon Turbo incorporates Sonions best vented acupass dual BAs for lowes + dual mid range Knowles BAs for mids+ Sonion dual BAs for highs. 3 active switches with a boost switch a 4th. 3 way crossover + 3 sound tubes. All resin form in a light moss green all clear color + light pearl green plates. Very unique, good looking, summer fresh looking IEM.

Something new for Penon.
The tuning is a true Penon IEM in that you're going to get your mids in order, some of the industry's best mids for IEMs can arguably come from Penon made IEMs but what about the bass? Well how you perceive bass performance for BA based sets might change after you hear the new Tubro. The Tubro incorporates an on/turbo button next to the 1,2,3 switch. 1 represents bass, 2 mids and 3 trebles. Tuning switches are nothing new to Penon but one they call turbo has to be more than just a small bump for the given regions.

These remind me of the balancing of the Penons Legend on 2 mode and a bit of the tonality of the Impacts, some of the technicals in these higher regarded sets in a few ways but these are the first to include an actual bass boost switch. The Legends have tuning switches but not exactly the way it is implemented on the new Turbo. Which separates the new Turbo from its older higher end brothers. Actually separates it from all other BA sets. The boost switch in how it works with its cross over circuitry is brilliant in a few ways. The way the boost switch works when activated seems to bring up the mid to lower bass emphasis by more than a few dbs if I was a guessing man about 10dbs from what is already a decent 8dbs of boost for the region with the bass switch or 1 switch on you get 5dbs of boost if you add the turbo with the 1 bass switch your getting the entire grunt of almost 20 dbs of bass boost on the turbos.. With no switches the base tuning seems to have roughly 8 to 10 dbs of bass. Which is basically what Penons competition has as well. However what the turbos do is substantial for bass performance. Yes boys n girls we are talking 10 dbs of BA bass in their base form with the boost switches adding a substantial 8-10dbs of MOAR BASSS!. 20dbs of bass in a Penon IEM?

Mids and trebles also get a boost but not as much as the bass end; actually the mids and trebles are more affected based on how much bass boost you got going on. The mids switch for example increases the bass a few dbs which also increases the amount of lower mids for the tuning. Even more so with the 1 bass switch and 2 mid switch for example. The combination of the switches with the boost on is varied and you can boost the mids to become a bit more impact-like. Boost all of it to become more L shaped in form like an extreme ISN EST50. Only have the bass boost 1 switch on for an effective bass boost for your RnB, EDM and hiphop. The difference in what the Turbo does vs others is that it actually throws down double the boosted bass from using the 1 switch. You can hear a clear difference there and it isn't just a mild boost.

With this much bass. Yes there is some bleeding going into the mids and encroaching the treble for something like Vocal trance and or hip hop with bass boost. So the effect is nice and dirty. It has nothing to do with accuracy at this point. It does help to have its own sound bore for the dual Sonion bass BAs. I had no idea you can boost the bass end this much for these Sonion Bass BAs. I had no idea you can incorporate that with a flick of a switch. You want that bass big n loose? You are getting a whole heaping loving full of it. Accuracy be damned. It's a freaking nightclub in your ears. Next time you're at a club, feel that thump. Drown in its glory with that room filling bass.

My sweet spot for the turbo is actually the 1 switch in the on position without the turbo kicked in. This provides a modest boost, if you can call 4dbs of boost over 8-10 dbs of base bass or roughly 12-14 dbs of bass, modest boost which is all the Turbo needs for its base fun tuning and gives a semblance of balancing. However the turbo switch is always there, inviting, waiting for you to push play. Just in case you feel the need.

Turbo is not all bass, you gotta remember it's got the Penon name associated with it. It's technical yet musical bassy in performance. It’s after all a true Penon IEM but one with a trunk of funk added to its bass BAs. With a two step bass boost you get something that sounds more like an ISN IEM, specifically the EST50 comes to mind, yes it's very noticeable without it, it sounds like a traditional all BA set, a damn good one. Despite Penon making numerous IEMs. They only have 2 prior BA sets, the Sphere and the Legends. All their others are dynamics, hybrids or tribrids. So it was time Penon introduced a mid range all BA set that had something new going on and that is exactly what the Turbo represents.

Many of you own or have heard the Dunu SA6. These are competing directly with that set. I am going to doubt the sheer bass quantity even the new SA6 MK2 will have. Might be fairly comparable with the MK2 without the bass enhancement on the Turbo but with. The Turbo becomes another beast. Will have a comparison to the SA6 at the bottom of the read.

Dr, Jekyll Mr. Hyde.
Two personas that represent two contrasting personalities but from the same person. The Turbo without the switch, brings more of an accurate, relaxed balanced sound and leans to a more mild v almost neutral in signature. The Turbo could have been released without the switches but then why call it Turbo?. With the switch on. We get a rather large boost from the bass which also affects the 3 bands of the Turbos sound for a much more exciting, more energetic bass infused listen. More substantial lower harmonics brings a fuller lower more substantial mid range and a much more authoritative bass.

So, you want to party or not? They are like 3 IEMs in one with 2 contrasting voices that come out. Actually with minor adjustments a lot more than that but let's talk about the 2 contrasting tunings that come to play on the Turbo. One is well mannered and pleasant, a bit relaxed with good balance and technicalities associated with all BA sets. The other is an exciting mix of big bass, a more forward upper mids and a minor treble lift with very good details across all of its sound.

Some new ground for Penon IEMs.
As you know Penon loves to use Sonion BAs for mids. The new Turbo uses a dual Knowles for its mids. If you're worried that the Turbo will not stay true to a traditional Penon sound. No worries as this Knowles BA acts and plays on a similar level to its Sonion counterparts. The mids have very good fullness and sound natural with technicalities associated with good BA sets. Its tonal quality especially with the mid switch up and rest down is the closest to a traditional Penon tuned sound. However even on this form you will notice the bass. And this time around the trebles. Its lower mids tuning is a touch laid back in emphasis to the bass. It was deliberately done this way to enhance how bass is presented. Big, full, loud and proud.

The turbo does not have the traditional anti sibilance dip Penon incorporates at the 6-8Khz region. It has a mild boost in the region. Treble is enhanced this time to counter the effects of a beefier bass note. Trebles has a slight edginess to it at times but nothing that's going to cause fatigue. This is something that you guys should be familiar with for the recent 10th anniversary. The good news is somehow this set does not sound harsh for its treble performance. If anything a bit of the treble boost was done on purpose to offset the tonal influence of bass boosting. Without it, the warm bass skew will be for real on the Turbo. Treble tonal and timbral qualities are more grounded vs being overly airy. Has more of a moderate extension vs Penon sets with ESTs involved. The treble is more affected when the boost does not apply and here is where you will notice the treble aspect of the turbo tuning a bit more as it will slightly shift tonal qualities towards its trebles. Its cohesion is admirable considering just how much it has to offset on the opposite end. Even with the boost switch we have a semblance of balance which is how you want to hear a bass boosted set. So here is what you want to know: how's the bass quality?

If you have heard other Sonion Acupass vented BAs, I would put the bass in the good just due to how awesomely boosted it actually is. A technical marvel if you think about how much bass that is. It's pretty much the most optimized vented Sonion BA bass and clearly in the fun category for sound. It's more than musical; it becomes a trunk of funk sounding set with boost. My reference for quality bass comes from my IER-Z1R. Bass rumbles fairly stout but manages to actually have some semblance of control even though It is much more brawny vs the mids and treble both enhanced. Surprisingly does not skew the sound to be warmer than it could have been coming from something like a single dynamic driver with the same type of boosted bass.

Bass is big with an authoritative rumble and impact, but you can tell it comes from a BA set vs a dynamic. It's not the texture you hear from something like the new ISN Neo5 or even the 10th anniversary. The bass is bigger on this set vs both but does not have the same type of visceral feel as those sets mentioned. Dynamic timbre for bass vs BA timbre for bass you can look at it that way. Any way you manipulate bass from a BA set will have a lesser physical presence. The 18dbs of a dynamic will be eyeball shaking vs the BA set in the Turbo. You can say the rumble characteristics are slightly softer around the edges vs a comparable boosted dynamic. It's the bass impact for its mid bass in quantity that will play a similar ball to a dynamic. Its tonal qualities for bass performance is surprisingly good especially given the sheer amount of boost we are talking about.

Bass sounds like big bass with that impressive full blown impact of the 8-15dbs of bass end even without the Turbo on. With it on, it becomes another monster. Transient qualities are not ideal on a BA bass set as its decay is slightly quicker vs a well implemented dynamic; which shows a slower more lingering decay with better textures. So the Turbos bass texture is not exactly perfect, this is perhaps the real difference between a well implemented dynamic and a well implemented vented BA. Its tighter transient qualities and faster speed makes the Sonion Vented BA bass somewhat of a give and take. The take is. It is a very capable basshead set including its rumble capability but the give is that you do have to accept that its BA bass boosted to silly quantities. Is it accurate? Not really, but is it fun? You bet your arse!. These are a blast to listen to your bass tracks with. Somehow the sheer quantity helps with its slight lack of quality if that makes sense.

The advantage of an optimized full BA bass in the turbo will be its speed. Beefy is what you want with incredible impact for bass? That is the advantage for the Turbo. The Turbo for something like speed metal is a pleasure as its sheer speed is something to behold. Beefy punchy double bass drum sets become ethereal. Bass decay for something like hip hop just by sheer brute force comes up with something that is actually very enjoyable for the genre as the decay becomes more sustained with a bigger boost. Sub bass reach is deep just by that sheer brute force.These in the end sound like a fully cooked pair of subs in your ears. The bigger the bass the more encroachment it has for its balancing, this goes without saying but somehow the Turbo manages to pull off some balancing even with the full brunt of its bass end on full display. Its bass end is big and brawny make no mistake about it. Something you can’t say about all your BA IEMs.

You will have to tip and cable roll more so on this set than most IEMs you have. Each flick of the switch gives you adjustments for the sound properties so having the right tip to enhance and balance its tonal qualities will be crucial to getting the sound the way you want it. The bass end's impact is substantial. There is a bit of bass shadowing the rest of the sound especially with the Turbo switch. But nothing you're not used to if you own a 2.1 or 5.1 speaker set up. The bass end become woofers basically. If you're looking for a neutral balanced set? The Turbo is not it. If you end up getting a set and come on the thread to complain about how much bass you're getting with these..Then it is simple get yourself a Penon Fan2 or any other Penon set.

These are a complete departure of something like the Fan2 with its neutralish tuning. Even its stock 8-10dbs of BA bass will clearly be more bass impact and presence than your used to from other all BA sets.

And before you even ask. The very first question I had for Penon was. Can this boost switch be done for a capable bass dynamic? The answer to that would be yes but I would imagine a lot more RnD would have to be done and who knows based on how successful the Turbo becomes. Could we see a Turbo MK2 one day using something like a silicone dynamic? They might very well be looking into that. But for now this is the most bass I have heard from an actual Penon branded set. To call it a Penon Turbo means it has to be in the premium category for its sound. These could also be called Penon Fun. Not to be confused with Penon Fan. Lol.

Welcome to the fun, Penons 1st ever basshead IEM!

SA6 vs the Turbo.

Here we get comparable technicalities. With comparable sound qualities. Both very capable but one with a clear bass boost advantage. The SA6 leans a bit more neutral in its tuning vs the Turbo. SA6 also incorporates a boost type switch called atmosphere. The boost here is more subtle at 2-3dbs than actually giving you a boost. Nothing like what the turbo does.The obvious differences makes the Turbo a more exciting and energetic listen vs the SA6. Turbo's precision and imaging is a stand out and the SA6 is right there with the Turbo in its no switch mode however with the turbo switch on is where the big difference between the two IEMs comes to play. SA6 has somewhat of a safe tuning even more so in their newer MK2 but once you hear the bass emphasis of the Turbo and get used to having that bass foundation of the Turbo. The SA6 while actually not lacking for bass. Sounds lacking. Looking at the graph of the newer MK2 variant of the SA6. It seems the bass switch on is very similar in emphasis to the base tuning of the Turbo. Imagine adding a 5 db increase after turning on the 1 bass switch. Then add another 5dbs with the turbo on top of that. There is a difference.

So far my favorite tuning variant of the turbo is the 1 plus 2 switch in the on position. Occasional Turbo boost when called for. Bass goes from room filling to beefy. If you want it. It's now an option on the Turbo. Get ready for a fun set of IEMs from Penon as that is what I like to call these. It's like having a Turbo on your engine. Which adds a lot more fun and power to your cars power output. Adding a turbo switch will add a big dose of bass boost to your IEM sound. In doing so the Turbo is not only Penons most Bassiest IEMs to date but it's done the Penon way. Thanks for taking the time to read.
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Both sets have very good foundational bass but the serial can't boost that low end to 18dbs like the turbo. By nature your dealing with complimentary sets as there is nothing that sounds exactly like the serial but there is really no all BA set that sounds quite like the turbo either. Timbre and transient nature of an all dynamic set vs an all BA sets are different but both equally compelling. Serial is fantasticaly analogue, smooth you can even say a bit romantic in its sound. Turbo has more of a modern tuning angle with a bass end that I never thought was possible with BA sets. If your looking for something different vs the serials you will most definitely get that with the Turbo.
Thanks for all your precisions:gs1000smile:Too many options with the Penon 's sound :0)