Periodic Audio Beryllium (Be)

General Information

Specifications
Frequency Response
12 Hz to 45 kHz
Impedance
32 Ohms nominal
Sensitivity
100 dB SPL at 1mW in ear
Power Handling
20 mW continuous
THD
Less that 1% THD at 1mW
Material Properties
Melting Point
1560 Kelvin
Speed of Sound
12890 meters per second
Young's Modulus
287 Gigapascals
Brinell Hardness
1320 Megapascals

Latest reviews

Layman1

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: nice compact carrying tin
warm and meaty tone in the mids (depending on ear tips)
Cons: non-detachable cable
3.5mm SE is the only option
awkward fit (for me) in terms of getting a good seal
sound signature deficiencies (somewhat eartip/song dependent)
poor L/R earpiece identification
poor value proposition overall
Introduction:

Good day to you all!

Well, today I shall be gracefully gliding into uncharted waters with the first of a pair of reviews of two IEMs by Periodic Audio.

For those who don’t know (and this category of reader until recently included Layman1), they are a California, USA based company, with the apparently revolutionary mission statement of producing portable audio products with “high quality audio performance”.
Who would’ve thunk it? :)

Whilst I’d heard a bit of a positive buzz about the Periodic Audio Be a couple of years back, I had no awareness of the origins or character of the company itself.
I took a look at their website as part of my research for these reviews and you certainly have to admire their chutzpah :)

I’ll include here a link to the ‘Customer Care’ page on their website.
I encourage you to scroll down to the ‘Returns’ section, and have a read.

It’s quite amusing, although I can see the potential for that humour to backfire somewhat, were a customer to be in the unfortunate position of having encountered a product defect or suffered a cable failure or similar.
https://periodicaudio.com/pages/customer-care

Still, I suppose it speaks volumes to the company’s faith in their products. They offer a 5-year warranty, although as ever, it pays to read the small print.

The warranty only applies if you register your product on their website within 30 days of purchasing the product. On behalf of the Layman1 Public Information Service, you’re welcome :)

Furthermore, the warranty period is reduced to 2 years for those outside the USA.
I’m not sure which warranty period would apply if one were to buy the IEMs whilst travelling/working in the USA but then return back to one’s home country and subsequently find cause to make a claim? Hopefully such a ‘test case’ never has cause to come before a court :)

Well, let us move on to the whole point of this endeavour, namely an IEM review.
Today, I’ll be reviewing the Period Audio Be.

By way of a time-saving hint, each model in their entire IEM line-up is named after the material from which the dynamic driver diaphragm is made.

In this case, Beryllium, which their website reliably informs me is ‘among the least dense stable metals, but also has among the highest Young’s modulus values (a ratio of the stiffness) and speed of sound’.
They go on to claim that ‘This rare combination of performance attributes is what endows the Be IEMs with their freakish ability to compete with the best Beryllium transducer-based headphones on the market, at any price’.

Sadly, since Layman1 has thus far never had the fortune of hearing any Beryllium transducer-based headphones (let alone the best ones on the market), I shall be unable to examine the veracity of this bold claim.

If anyone wishes to donate a pair of Beryllium transducer-based headphones (market-leading or otherwise) for such a purpose, Layman1 would be delighted to entertain your proposal on the private messaging system here :)

All details of this IEM can be found on the appropriate product page of Period Audio’s website (link below), and the IEM may be able to be purchased there (it may be listed as ‘out of stock’) and delivered to locations around the globe. It can also be purchased from various other dealers of course too.

https://periodicaudio.com/collections/in-ear-monitors/products/beryllium

It would be remiss of me not to note that they sometimes have an option on the product page to purchase a ‘Blemished’ (a.k.a. ‘B-stock) version of the IEM at a substantial discount.

The RRP at time of writing was a $299, placing it – financially speaking - at what I suppose these days would be around the bottom of mid-range or the upper end of the entry level.

My sincere thanks to John at KS Distribution and the team at Periodic Audio, for providing me with a review unit to keep in exchange for an honest review.

For readers in the UK, the IEM can be purchased here (other stockists may be available):
https://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/co...cts/periodic-audio-be-iem-earphones-beryllium

Well, a longer-than-usual preamble today, but I shall leave you waiting no longer.
Let us proceed impatiently onwards, and see what this looks like in the flesh, so to speak :)

Photos:

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Unboxing, packaging and accessories:

The packaging – in keeping with the mission statement of the company – is what I would tactfully describe as ‘minimalist’, with all unnecessary bells and whistles stripped away.

There’s a pleasingly comprehensive array of eartips provided, two useful adaptors (a double mono airline adaptor and a 3.5 to 6.3mm adaptor) and a carrying case, which Periodic Audio describe as being ‘sized to fit inside the coin pocket of your favourite jeans’.

The cable here is of an unspecified material, thin, glossy black and springy.
That springy quality was initially a source of some annoyance when using the IEMs in bed with my DAP, as it kept curling up over the top of the DAP and getting in the way when I wanted to use the controls, although in fairness this was solved by shoving some of the cable underneath the DAP to keep it out of the way. Furthermore, this product is advertised as being designed for use on the go, so it may not be entirely fair to raise a criticism based on use at home, especially one so easily solved, which I include purely in the interests of honesty and thoroughness :)

The cable feels fine in daily use and I haven’t noticed any other issues with it.
Unfortunately, the pleasant cable feelings ended at this point.

As my regular readers – hello bored/desperate insomniacs! – will know, Layman1 is of the opinion that a special place is reserved in hell for those manufacturers with the temerity to supply a cable with 3.5mm SE as the only choice on anything above an entry level product.

Worse still would be the cardinal sin of supplying a non-detachable cable!

Regrettably, Periodic Audio flagrantly disregard such sentiments on their entire IEM line-up and so here we have a $299 IEM with a fixed, non-detachable cable, terminated in 3.5mm SE. I think I can feel my face twitching convulsively, even as my fists clench involuntarily and I tremble with barely-suppressed fury.

In fairness to Periodic Audio, they are trying to produce bare bones products where the focus is solely on sound, performance and value for money with all extraneous clap-trap stripped away. Furthermore, they want their IEMs to be able to work on all the most commonly used devices and they engineer them robustly such that mechanical failure should not be an issue (and back this up with the aforementioned warranty).

So, from this perspective, one could argue that the cable configuration here is not an unforgivable act. Still, I really would have liked the option to be able to try out different cable options at home, and certainly to be able to plug the IEMs into the 4.4mm balanced output of my DAP in order to extract a superior performance from them.

Finally, a note about markings. There are no external markings that enable one to determine the left earpiece from the right.

They had the idea of colouring the mesh of the right nozzle red, but I would tactfully suggest that whilst this would be a nice added touch, it cannot be the only such indicator in order for this to be practical and functional on a daily basis. Use of ear tips with built in wax filters immediately negate this functionality, as does the use of the IEMs in anything less than optimal light conditions.


The Fit:

I have now tried a staggering three different IEMs of this cylindrical-barrelled shape and form factor (I think the Flare Audio 2 Pro was the last one) and for some reason they just do not agree with my ear anatomy.

I have tried various tips including my usual go-to options of New Bee foam tips and Sedna Xelastec tips, but I found the foam tips to veil the sound of the IEMs somewhat, reducing soundstage size and separation, whilst making the low end sound somewhat flabby and undefined.

But with the Xelastec tips, I can hear quite significant differences in the sound signature depending on how deeply/tightly they are inserted, and worse still a frequent change in sound signature depending on how my head or jaw are positioned at any one time.

So this has made the review process somewhat challenging, and I trust you will take this into account – as I have – during my impressions.

The flip side of this is that for others, these may well be a perfect fit, with any and all ear tips.


The Sound:

You may or may not be a ‘believer’ of burn-in (or brain burn-in).
I personally feel that with dynamic-driver based IEMs, the burn-in process has an effect on the low-end performance, and with this in mind, I burned in this IEM for around 200 hours. Because I figure that even if I’m wrong, at least I have peace of mind either way, and no-one can later say “oh, but your impressions would have changed if you’d burned them in a bit longer” :)

I used the Sony WM1A (single-ended output, grr..) for the purposes of this review.
Similarly, I used only the stock cable (grr…).

I’d describe the sound signature thus:

Low end:
Quite bassy, in a way that adds some colouration – welcome or otherwise – to the rest of the sound signature. There’s quite a bit of sub-bass presence, with a reasonable amount of extension. The mid bass seems elevated too, and to my ears, it’s a somewhat L-shaped presentation overall. The speed of the bass response seems fairly slow and whilst this adds some decay and richness, I feel that it does rather come at the cost of tightness and accuracy and can lead to the low end sounding a bit flabby and undefined, especially with foam tips. On my low-end test track ‘Dove Sei?’ by Italian hip-hop outfit Poison, the impact was there, but I felt the extension and texture were somewhat lacking and the rumble suffered from a lack of definition and clarity.

In fairness, as I mentioned previously this could simply be a factor of not really finding a particularly good fit, but it’s something to think about if you’re considering these IEMs.

Mids:
The mids have a meaty and full-bodied quality, informed by that bassy foundation.

This gives a pleasing richness to vocal performances, both male and female.

The strings on my regular classical opera test track (Alison Lau’s performance of Handel’s Lascia la spina in 24-96 HDTracks) sounded gorgeously rich and full-bodied.
Her voice, which soars very high indeed in this song, did not trigger my treble sensitivity and had a pleasing timbre.

On Paul Simon’s ‘The Coast’ (again 24-96 HDTracks), the relative lack of low end activity in the song meant that I was able to hear the IEMs without much influence from the bass, and they did sound a bit more open and spacious, not to mention well-balanced.
Which I just mentioned.

On ‘Fast Times at Dropout High’ (by The Ataris, and specifically the alternative version from the ‘Silver Turns to Rust’ album) again we see both the strengths and weaknesses of the IEM here. The opening electric guitar is full-bodied, but a lack of detail and clarity detract from its performance, making it sound a bit muddy. There’s a bit more detail and clarity in the mids and treble, as the chime of the second electric guitar coming in rings out nicely, and the drums have a more defined sound than the artificial beats of ‘Dove Sei’, the bass drums on other songs or the bassline on this song itself.

I find the vocals to sound slightly recessed. I think spatially they are positioned pretty much dead centre, but again, something of that slight veil/muddiness seems to make them sound just slightly hidden in the mix on some tracks. Again, this tends not to be an issue on songs where there’s limited bass presence.

I tried another of my favourite vocal test tracks, Bollywood song ‘Thodi Der’, which features gorgeous female and male vocals by Shreya Ghoshal and Farhan Saeed respectively.

I’m coming to think that it’s hard for an IEM to make these vocal performances sound anything less than enchanting, although the Be certainly does it's best (humour).
This song is fairly light on bassy instrumentation, and as such the vocals are allowed to shine. I feel the presentation of vocal timbre to be decent but not outstanding. There’s emotion and engagement, but I do feel there’s just a disappointing lack of transparency and micro-detail.

Treble:
I hear this as being decent, with some variability. On songs light on bass activity, it sounds reasonably extended, with a fair degree of openness and air.
There’s a modest amount of sparkle. However, when there’s a solid bass-line in a track, I do feel these effects to be lessened somewhat.

Technical Performance:
I found the soundstage size, in all directions, to be below average for this price point. That perception is further emphasised on bassy tracks.

Similarly, I felt the layering and separation were acceptable, but nothing praiseworthy stood out to me during all of my critical listening.

Micro detail presentation seemed to be a bit below par to me.

Timbre was a mixed bag; the warmth and richness in the mids gave a nice body to vocals and instruments, but the technical performance overall seemed to me to be deleterious to the overall presentation of timbre.

On a positive note though, I found imaging to be good, as was the presentation of significant macro details.


Conclusion:

Overall, I could not in conscience really recommend these IEMs wholeheartedly, at least according to how I’ve subjectively heard them during my review process.

I will be the first to put my hand up and declare that – despite trying various ear tips - I’ve never felt like I had a really secure and stable seal on anything but the foam tips, which unfortunately for me had the effect of exacerbating what I found to be the negative qualities of the IEMs, namely a somewhat muddy and slow low end and what I perceived as a somewhat mediocre technical performance, which sometimes limited the performance of the IEMs.

Having said that, I wouldn’t say they are terrible IEMs either; I found enjoyment in just sitting back and listening to music with them, and they were never sharp, piercing or tinny.

However, at this fairly substantial price point, I can’t say that what I’ve heard is good enough for me to enthusiastically recommend these IEMs, even more so when factoring in the non-detachable cable and 3.5mm only connection which I personally feel are inappropriate for IEMs at this price point, and the strange decision to only have a red grille/mesh on the right nozzle as the sole way of identifying the left earpiece from the right.

As ever though, listening to a demo model prior to purchasing is highly recommended.

I’ve seen plenty of 5-star glowing reviews for this IEM, so it seems it’s doing the right things for some people! It could simply be down to fit.

The company talk a good talk on their entertaining website, and it’s nice to see IEMs designed and built in the USA. Conversely though, if their latest IEMs (the Ti and Mg models) have been released since the various reviews of this one, then it perhaps shows a lack of engagement and responsiveness if they are still not employing any kind of external markers to help people to identify the left IEM from the right. Ditto the non-detachable cable and plug choice, but that’s perhaps just a design policy decision from the company that may not change.

So overall, I’d encourage you to give these a listen before buying if possible, if my (or other people’s) reviews have piqued your curiosity. And experiment with different tips :)

I feel they’d be a better fit for fans of acoustic, jazz or classical music, as they seem to perform better with tracks that lack thunderous bass or drums.

Anyway, with that I shall sign out here. Thanks for reading and all the best to you!

RikudouGoku

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Isolation (for a bullet style iem)
Accessories
Cons: Rip-off price
Packaging
Build quality
Sound
Cable
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Disclaimer: I received this unit for free by Periodic Audio. Thank you very much. Burned in for 20+ hours.

Price: 300 usd

Specifications:

Frequency Response

12 Hz to 45 kHz

Impedance

32 Ohms nominal

Sensitivity

100 dB SPL at 1mW in ear

Power Handling

20 mW continuous

THD

Less than 1% THD at 1mW

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Accessories:

S/M/L narrow bore silicone tips

S/M/L double flange silicone tips

S/M/L foam tips

Can carry case

3,5mm to 6,35mm adapter

airplane adapter

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Cable: Non replaceable cable, no chin-slider and thin as a noodle. Very disappointed that something that costs this much doesn’t have a replaceable cable or at the very least, is thicker than a damn noodle.

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Build: The shells are plastic but feels solid. It has a vent and a lip for the nozzle. L/R markings are colored on the nozzles, which is unique but bad in low light. There is driver flex on both sides for me.

Fit: fit is pretty good as it is on the bigger side for a bullet style iem. But does need readjustment from time to time.

Comfort: Pretty good for a bullet style iem and I don’t usually like them.

Isolation: above average for a bullet style iem due to the size but since it does have a vent it isn’t top tier.

Setup: Ibasso DX160 (low gain, volume around 40), Final Audio type E LL tips,

Lows: Both mid/sub-bass are quite even in quantity. It is clean but speed and tightness are average along with texture.

Mid-bass: Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), grainy and harsh but the bass can keep up with its speed and tightness makes every single bass strike distinct, but lacks some quantity.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), tight but not very fast and lacks texture along with some quantity.

Sub-bass: Will Sparks – Sick like that (03:08-03:22), clean, tight and fast but is lacking texture and quantity.

Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), extension is lacking but tries to compensate with rumble. Punch lacks texture and quantity and is a bit too loose.

Mids: Vocal balancing is pretty good, but they vocals themselves are really bad. Male vocals are grainy/harsh while female vocals are either sharp or like needles.

Female-vocals: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), sharp, harsh and detail is below average at this price.

Yuki Hayashi – MightU (01:58-02:55), grainy but otherwise sounds pretty ok.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), very sibilant, not good.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Crescent (02:07-02:26), can’t listen to it, extremely sibilant.

Male-vocals: Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (00:57-01:17), grainy and not natural.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), sharp instruments, harsh and grainy vocals, not natural.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), the electric guitars are like needles.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), lack texture for the violin/cellos and they are too bright.

Soundstage: Average soundstage.

Tonality: Bright U-shape. Very bad tonality as they are on the majority of my songs too bright and sharp. Timbre is below average and along with the tonality it has a very unnatural sound.

Details: Below average and especially when you consider the treble peaks.

Instrument Separation: Below average.

Bad genres: Everything I tried, Jpop, Pop, Kpop, Rock, Metal, OST, Orchestral, Hip-hop, Trance, EDM, acoustic sounded bad.



Comparisons:

IEM: Blon BL-03 (mesh mod)

Bass:
Will Sparks – Sick like that (03:08-03:22), more texture, faster and tighter on the 03.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), the 03 can’t keep up with bass speed and gets muddy, while the BE can keep up. But the BE sounds grainy and harsh while the 03 does not.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), better on the 03 because it isn’t sharp, harsh and sounds much more natural.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (00:57-01:17), harsh and grainy on the BE while it is not on the 03 and also much more natural.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), sharp instruments, harsh and grainy vocals, not natural on the BE while it is a bit sharp on the 03 but much more natural sound (not harsh and grainy).

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), more texture on the 03 and much more natural with the tonality.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (0:00-0:03), cleaner bass on the BE but harsh and grainy which is not present on the 03. The (02:24-02:57) section has better instrument separation and soundstage on the BE. The BE is however unnatural since it is sharp and grainy.

Overall: The 03 sounds much more natural and not sharp at all when compared to the BE.


Conclusion:
Cable, Sound, packaging, build quality are all extremely bad at this price. It is a damn rip-off and if it truly is a pure beryllium DD. Then they took gold and turned it into crap. Stay away from this garbage. Thanks for reading.

Advice for Periodic Audio
: Instead of sending free units to shill reviewers, at least try to make something that sounds acceptable for this price. Because if this is any indication of what you are capable of making, Chi-fi is going to laugh at you from above.
M
METAL4ever
Just received the Periodic BE, sounds great with my Cayin N3PRO on tube mode low gain ultra linear, still playing around with it.
W
warbles
This has all become patently absurd. Complete and utter contradictions followed by shrillest accusations of shilldom. I'm seeing no reason not to give up reading these blasted reviews ALTOGETHER.
RikudouGoku
RikudouGoku
@warbles The stuff under my review aint reviews. They are blatant lies.

JP the Elder

New Head-Fier
Pros: After 2 weeks run-in: Coherent, detailed, near-magical sound
Light and easy to wear all day
Keeps sounding better as your source and gear get better - anybody try these with a Chord M-Scaler and a DAVE?
Cons: Captive Cable
Cliff Notes Version
After a horrible start and a very long time in training, these “Be-came” so good that I purchased 2 Be. “Be-cause” I never wanted to Be without. I also gave away several other iems “Be- cause” I no longer needed or wanted to listen to them. I think the Periodic Audio Be are one of the greatest bargains in audio at $300. Very Highly Recommended.
The Be has a captive cable. I wish I could try my favorite cable with the Be, but cable swapping is not allowed. Maybe the next version of the Be will allow that.

Prologue
Beryllium in speakers can really Be something very special. About 30 years ago, I heard beryllium as a tweeter in the Yamaha NS500 speakers. “Be-ing” a college student of modest means, I took extra yearbook photography assignments and at the end of the term, I took everything out of the piggy bank except the squeal and bought a pair. Yes, they were vapor deposition Be instead of solid Be foil, but my ears said they were the best sounding speakers that I could afford then and I voted for them with my paychecks and enjoyed them for years.

Today, several very well-regarded speakers for pro, home, and mobile use are blessed with beryllium tweeters. The Focal Solo 6be, Twin 6be, Trio 6be, Trio 11be, and SM9 are among the powered speakers that are generally well respected by the pro audio market. They cost between about $2,5k and $7k per pair. The Focal Utopia home series with beryllium tweeters tops out around $65k per pair. The Focal Utopia 6.5” separates car speakers are about $2k a pair. Then there are the very well-regarded Focal Utopia (open back $4k) and Stellia (closed back $3k) beryllium-based full-sized headphones. How could I resist risking $300 for some Be iems from Periodic Audio? Yes, I ordered them from Amazon and paid for them with my very own money.

Act 1: Hate
As soon as I extracted my new Be from the well-designed packaging, I plugged them into my iPad Pro to make sure they were working. There was sound coming from both channels. This was important. I noticed that the inside of one channel, visible down the hole in the center of the eartip was blue and the other channel was red. This was an elegant way to determine right and left channel, except for in two instances: in the dark, or if you prefer the Comply eartips with the wax screen that would cover the red or blue parts. One reviewer went on a rant about this. I just applied a very simple and inexpensive fix. Since the outside of each golden endcap is nicely engraved with the Company logo, I put a few coats of my wife’s chip resistant clear nail polish on the right channel’s end cap so it is smooth and the left one has the factory engraving. Now I can easily distinguish the right from the left in whatever conditions allow my fingers to feel. (I added the fire engine red metallic later on the right channel to color code the outside.)

Since the Be’s were basically functional, I started training them (I loathe the term “breaking in” as that implies either that some kind of crime is happening, and the cops should stop it, or that something destructive is happening. I prefer the term “training” as in “Train up an iem in the way it should go . . .”). Initial training material included Celtic Woman “A New Journey”, Burmester “Art for the Ear”, Berlin/von Karajan “Holst: The Planets”, Michael Card “Starkindler” and Rick Wakeman’s “Merlin”. All were “.wav” files playing on my iPod pro set to repeat all with the volume about a solid forte (volume slider between the pause/play indicator and the next track indicator).
Shortly thereafter, I nearly blew it. I know it’s not fair to listen critically after only 13 hours of training, but I couldn’t help myself. I rationalized that I should check the Be progress and target the remainder of the training for the problem areas (if any). So I stuck ‘em in my ears and plugged them into my Roon/Hugo2 and listened up.
Here There Be Bass - good, solid, detailed, layered, one of the three best jobs with Enya Watermark bass lines I have ever heard in iems or headphones with my Hugo2 (Jerry Harvey Layla 2 with Silver Dragon cable tops the iem chart for me, and the Fostex 900 with hard-wired Silver Dragon cable for full size headphones). I could tell that for the bass, the Be has the potential to Be something very special.

Then I made the mistake of trying a men’s acappella choral group. In just a few notes, I was hit with an intensely negative emotional experience, best summed up by JRR Tolkein’s Gollum screaming: “Nassty, NASSSTY SSIBILANCESSS! It hurts Us! It Hurts Us! We hates it! We HATES IT!”

I had to turn off the tunes to shut Gollum up so I could think. (Screeching like that is my worst sonic nightmare. Like several fingernails scraping several chalkboards, it stops further audio processing until it is silenced.) After rational thought returned, I decided that the Be really needed more midrange and treble training to try and make the upper mids and lower treble listenable. I remembered that the Grado 10e’s and RHA MA750’s had similar, but not as glaring, mid/treble issues, which were solved by 5 to 7 days continuous training. I put the Be’s on double secret probation and added sibilance torture tracks like MercyMe’s album “Welcome to the New” on the training playlist. That album actually sounds fantastic through my reference system, but several other systems and less refined iems and headphones can make it screech bigtime.

Act 2: Wait
Some people tell me that patience is a virtue. To which I usually reply “Yeah, right. I ain’t a doctor and I don’t need patience.” The iPad pro fed continuous music from the Training playlist to the Periodic Audio Be at a good solid forte level for another whole week. That’s 168 hours or half a fortnight. What Happened? I then went back to the Roon/Hugo2 rig and listened to my bass tests first:

Bass: Potential for excellence on both acoustic and electronic bass was shown using Major Mackerel’s “Conga Beat the Drum”, Dub Colussus’ “Dub Me Tender”, Kraftwerk “Radioactivity” and “Autobahn”, MercyMe “Welcome to the New” and “Greater,” Rick Wakeman’s “Merlin,” Mannheim Steamroller’s “Prelude/Chocolate Fudge”, Iona “Kells”, and Stephen Wiley’s “Glory to God” from DC Talk’s Yo Ho Ho CD. I say potential for excellence, because there was something about the decay and release of some bass motes that just did not sound quite right, but the bass attack, extension, and the body and layering of the bass notes and sostenuto was as near “spot on” as I have heard through any sub-$1,000 iem or headphone.

Mid/Treble: Much improved. Some sibilance remained, but at least the above tracks were listenable without cringing. Gollum’s screaming at me was gone. In general, the mids and treble were nowhere near as detailed, precise, coherent, involving, and attention-grabbing (in a good way) as the bass.

If you ever heard one of the ESS Heil or the Carver Amazing loudspeakers, this one-week-of-training sound was the exact opposite. The ESS folded motion transformer and the Carver ribbons made absolutely exquisite music for the midrange and treble, and both were paired with bass sections that sounded like elephants plodding through quicksand by comparison.

Conclusion: Continue Training for the second half of the fortnight. Support for this came from a few reviews on Head-Fi. One mentioned 200 hours and another said 250 hours were required. Note to Dan at Periodic Audio: Please emphasize that the Be really needs 10 to 14 days of continuous “Training” or “run-in” to unleash most of their potential. Listening too much before then could make you wish you never bought them.

Act 3: Love
When music is being played or replayed very well, there is an emotional response. Breathing slows, as if the noise from breathing will shatter the magic of the moment. Heart rate will be affected, racing or slowing as the music carries it along. This is not just getting the notes right. One of my favorite conductors said that getting the notes right does not mean you are making music, you are just not making noticeable mistakes. The bass, midrange, and treble all need to be there at the right time and in the right proportions to permit the possibility of making music. The attack, body, and release of the notes must be right. This elusive ethereal confluence is difficult to achieve through playback, and usually can be fouind only while soaking up the original live event in person.

336. The number of very slow hours in two weeks or one fortnight. The only audio equipment that I have heard of needing more training than that is the new Spectral mono amp – it gets 500 hours before leaving the factory.
I have really been enjoying about a month with my now fully trained Periodic Audio Be. Those bass tracks listed above found just about everything I think was missing. I place the Be third on my all-time bass list – behind the Astell&Kern/JH Audio Layla 2 with a Moon Audio Silver Dragon v3 cable and the Fostex 900 (original with Moon Audio Silver Dragon cable “hacked” in). And the Be does this at 1/5 to 1/10 the price.

The mids/treble testing included most of the now quite enjoyable MercyMe Welcome to the New album. This, of course, sounded best on the reference rig. Then Quincy Jones’ “Back on the Block” from Burmester’s Art for the Ear. When the female soloist, full jazz choir, and instruments get into a very complex passage, it takes a very good playback chain to handle it without smearing or losing something. At times it can sound sibilant, but it is not. (This was on a Burmester compilation CD that was produced to help sell Burmester systems costing upwards of $100k.) On this track, I realized that Be were the first two letters in “Beautiful” for good reason. With my suspicion confirmed by hearing Radka Toneff “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” from Art for the Ear, and Celtic Woman’s “The Sky and the Dawn and the Sun”, “Newgrange”, “Caledonia”, and “Mo Ghile Mear” on their A New Journey CD, I thought the Be were ready for the final testing.

The Be passed my final “goosebump” tests with great delicacy, insight, and that elusive emotional response. Cecelia Bartoli’s “Exsultate Jubilate” from her Mozart Portraits CD at the right volume is absolutely captivating – especially for the last two minutes. It was all there, the orchestra, the hall ambience, Cecelia’s voice soaring and reverberating from the walls. I rarely hear this reproduced this well. Bria Skonberg’s “Trust in Me” was suitably mesmerizing. Kaa (Jungle Book) could not have done it better. And finally, Celtic Woman’s “Over the Rainbow” from A New Journey brings four female voices: Chloe, Orla, Meav, and Hayley, each a soloist in her own right, into a four-part harmony that just begs for absolute silence to hear the voices interplay with each other and the hall harmonics and to follow the melody weaving from one voice to the next. I suppose that I breathed during the 2:38 of that track, but I do not remember. Yes, I still preferred the Layla 2’s presentation, but the Be handily bested most of the other iem’s I have heard.

Conclusion:
2 Be or not 2 Be? Yes. I purchased 2 Be. With my very own money. Be-cause I never wanted to Be without. I think the Periodic Audio Be are one of the greatest bargains in audio at $300. I saw on the Periodic Audio website their Be B-Stock sale, I grabbed one for $149 due to some microscopic cosmetic flaw that I may notice someday.

The Be sound better and better as the source tracks and playback equipment get better. The same “.wav” file sounds better on the iPad pro than the iPhone 6 plus. There is a bigger quality jump moving from the iPad pro to the Roon on Dell/Chord Hugo2 and the really good gets much better with the reference rig: Furman 15 dmi/MIT power cords/Melco/Silver Dragon USB with or without Audioquest Jitterbug/Chord Hugo2.

I try to keep 2 dynamic and 2 balanced armature iems for comparison purposes in reviews, and to have something to take with me – because the Sennheisers and the Laylas do not leave the house. My current Dynamic Duo are the Periodic Audio BE and the Sennheiser ie 800s. Gone are the Nuforce 700 and 800 series, Klipsch 6 ii, Focal Sphear, and RHA MA-750.

The Etymotic ER4s and Grado 10e did not fare well against the Be. Be put them on probation and the Massdrop/NuForce EDC3 iem with an aftermarket Moon Audio Silver Dragon v1 cable sent them away for good.

Room for Improvement
The Be has a captive cable. Please note that all 3 of my favorite headphones and both of my favorite balanced armature iems had the capability to swap cables and I installed my favorite Moon Audio Dragon (Black Dragon for the Utopias, and Silver Dragon for the NightOwls, Fostex 900’s, Astell&Kern/Jerry Harvey Layla 2’s and Massdrop/NuForce EDC3’s.)

I wish I could try my favorite cable with the Be, but cable swapping is not allowed. Maybe the next version of the Be will allow that. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Periodic Audio Be with a Moon Audio Silver Dragon would be a better all-around performer than the Sennheiser ie800s, at about half the cost, but we may never know.

Final Thoughts
If you are thinking of making a roughly $300 “Sound Investment” for in-ear monitors and do not mind waiting a few weeks for them to be trained properly, please put these on your very short audition list. I also recommend that on that very short list should be the Massdrop/NuForce EDC3 three Knowles balanced armature iems for $100 (for the drop I was in from Drop.com) with another $200 for a Moon Audio 2-pin iem silver dragon v1 cable for about $200 from moon-audio.com. The combination makes the decision between the EDC3+Silver Dragon and a stock Be very difficult. The two iems do different things. I believe that different people will choose differently, but many will find that a close match, even though they have different strengths and different sound signatures.

Short Summary: I think the Periodic Audio Be are one of the greatest bargains in audio at $300. Now I know why Be are the first two letters in Beautiful.

Shorter Summary: Berylli-Yum. Delicious sound.
LostnAmerica
LostnAmerica
02/09/2020
I had just bought a pair for the "be" IEMs after reading your interview, I am so glad I found your in depth review especially the information regarding that the "training" was required. This will be more than helpful, and has saved me from agonizing over my purchase. And if anyone reads this post, Periodic Audio is having a Founders sale. Amazing prices for an amazing pieces of gear, I just happened stumble upon the website and bought the beryllium (perfect for me budget wise) and seemed like the best bang for the buck scenario. And, no, I am not connected to Periodic Audio, just became a fan in my search for the best for less IEM's. Can't wait to get them and give them a good run-in (fortnight), and then some incredible listening! Thanks again!
Cheers
JasonLucas
JasonLucas
If burn in makes this much difference why don’t they mention it? I’d love to hear dans thoughts on this. I bought a pair yesterday and I’m currently burning them in.

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