Periodic Audio Beryllium (Be)

  1. meringo
    A Single Dynamic to Rule Them All!
    Written by meringo
    Published Mar 7, 2018
    Pros - Brilliant Sound Signature, Lightweight, Pocketable, 5-Year Warranty
    Cons - Needs proper L and R markings
    My first introduction to Periodic was at CanJam NYC in 2017. This was my first big audio event and frankly quite overwhelming. Many of the companies had knowledgeable staff present to discuss their products, while others had generic sales reps that couldn't talk about even the most basic attributes of the product. A few companies went above and beyond though - one being Periodic Audio. I discussed the not-quite-released IEMs with Dan Wiggins and Zeke Burgess (who were sporting white lab coats) and listened to the whole lineup, on a whim, right before I was about to head out for the day. The Mg seemed to be an excellent entry-level option, with a brighter treble sound, and the Ti was V-shaped and not precisely what I was after… and then I tried the Be. Just right. I knew that I had to have it in my life and placed an order mid-April.

    **Note, this review is just of the Be, using a mix of 16 bit and 24 bit music played via the sources I've owned in the past year (JDS OL Stack, Schiit stack, AK70 MkII)**

    Packaging and Accessories:
    Packaging_02.jpg packaging.jpg
    Periodic is all about value and simplicity - which I've come to appreciate. The IEMs (at the time) shipped in an inch-deep, no-frills, white clamshell box without much labeling or imagery. They have since revamped the box, but more on that later. Also included was a golden tin-case, ¼ adapter, set of foam tips, and standard silicon tips. The IEMs nozzles are wide, so keep that in mind if you prefer 3rd party tip options.

    Shell Design:
    After opening the box and evaluating the IEMs, it was clear that this was a gen-1 product. It looked as If the left and right sides were marked only with a black and red sharpie on the nozzle grill, and glue was present along the seams of the shell and endcaps. With that said, Periodic quickly exchanged them for a set without any glue issues.

    The shells are a durable polycarbonate which I like a lot. Some people might scoff at this since it seems most brands are turning to metals and fancy external design, but polycarbonate is super lightweight, durable (especially at this size/diameter) and non-resonating. The nozzles come out straight from the shell, with metal grills that looked kind of "meh" with, as mentioned previously, what seemed to be red and black sharpie to help indicate left from right. The three models in Periodic's lineup have colored endcaps to help differentiate them, the Be featuring a dark hue of gold.


    The cable is non-detachable, but I don't see this as being too big of an issue since they are efficient IEMs and have a worn-down style, which creates less strain on the cable itself. Periodic also offers a generous 5-year warranty - so it's a moot point. My biggest complaint was the weight and tackiness the cable has, which detracted from the overall experience. As a subway commuter, I'm often in close-quarters and have to compete with jackets and bags. The cable stuck to everything and just created too much pull resulting in loss of seal, or even being ripped out of my ears altogether a few times. Another aspect I don't love is that the metal Y-splitter catches on my collared shirts and/or jacket, which would also result in loss of seal. Not cool.


    Sound-wise, I couldn't be more impressed. The Be uses a 98.5% pure beryllium foil with the balance trace elements being oxygen, Iron, chromium, and silicon. I've heard grumblings saying that this material is a gimmick, but I don't find that to be the case at all after testing the other IEMs in this lineup, and they sound fantastic regardless of what's written on the box. The Be also features an N48H grade magnet, which contributes a lot to the punchy sound characteristics that many IEMs at this price lack.


    I LOVE the Be's bass, which extends deep down to 12 Hz and stays controlled and never flabby. There is quite a bit of sub-bass rumble, but never uncomfortable. Mid-bass is punchy but not at all fatiguing. I wouldn't say that the Be's have a bass-head signature, but it's certainly more present than your average flagship. Some might argue that bass bleeds into the mids a little, but more on that below.


    Due to the increased lower mids, guitars have extra weight to them which works quite well for the rock n roll I listen to most. I don't feel the bleed from the bass negatively impacts the signature, especially since vocals still appear slightly forward, warm, but maintain a healthy amount of resolution. A lot of other IEMs I've been trying at this price point sound too thin within this region and I'm glad Periodic opted to avoid that scenario.


    Treble extends up to 45 KHz (but my latest hearing test shows that I can only hear up to 18) There is more weight towards the top (U shape) which I like a lot. The Be has no signs of sibilance or peaks, but treble can seem slightly cold at times in an otherwise warm overall sound signature. The extension is undoubtedly excellent, and resolution is high, even in more complex situations. Although it's been a while since hearing the other two models in the lineup, I remember those options sounding brighter to me. The Be is more on the natural side of the spectrum.

    **Subtle Revisions of the Design for 2018**
    Periodic worked with me to get the newer variant to compare to the original. They seemed to have made a lot of subtle improvements and now have a much more polished product.

    1. New Cable and Y Splitter:
    Periodic seems to have gone back to the drawing board here, as there are substantial changes. They now have a thinner cable that is far less weighty and has far more spring to it. It's unlikely these will ever get tangled like the original that I had.

    The cable also seems to have lost that tackiness quality that I despised. I'm not sure if the cable is coated with something, or flat out new material, but it's smooth and doesn't catch on clothing like it used to. A+

    The metal Y-Splitter is gone, and now what seems to be the same material as the cable, without the sharp edges from before. This dramatically reduces the potential for snags and also removes the possibility of the metal scratching my phone or DAP when in my pocket. Again, a solid decision.

    Microphonics have been reduced with this new design, as I didn't notice anything walking around NYC the other day -- I picked up on this quickly with the older variant.

    2. L and R Markings:
    Periodic lost their sharpies and replaced the cheap nozzle grilles with something special -- chemically etched, .25mm thick, 316-grade stainless steel. Dan explained to me that they are then colored with an electrophoretic deposition - the same process that Apple used on its Airport Expresses and the black metal logos on the Mac Pro units. I used to work for a particular fruit stand :wink: and immediately had a smile on my face. Apple was proud of this minor detail, and it's cool that Periodic is using the same process.

    The grilles are of much better quality and more accessible with the bright red on the right side (even in low light.) With that said, I still run into issues using 3rd party tips like my favorite SpinFit Twin Blades due to the narrow exit diameter - but the new finish/brighter color is a better solution than what Periodic offered before.

    3. New Packaging:
    The packaging is still compact but features a lot of eye-catching imagery reminiscent of the hand drawn schematic design of 1more's triple and quad drivers box. Still simple, but definitely better for store shelves. Since Periodic has an emphasis of selling these to enthusiasts from independent audio stores, this is a big improvement.

    New Rating:
    Now I have to award them a new star rating of 4.5 out of 5. If they add the L and R indicators to the strain relief, I will assign them a 5/5. I don't know of a better portable IEM for my music tastes anywhere near $300 at this time in 2018 - and I'm buying and selling gear all the time at various price points.

    A Brand Full of Personality:
    Periodic is very responsive via email, and always knowledgeable. Never a "well, let me talk to someone else and get back to you." The team also seems to incorporate humor into their conversations/social media, which is awesome in the audio industry – a rather dry, overly serious space. Their approachable nature and excellent products have made an impression on me, and I look forward to whatever else they have in the pipeline.
      mgunin, hqssui, Niyologist and 2 others like this.
    1. Jacobal
      You really deducted a whole star over something so trivial? Lol
      Jacobal, Mar 8, 2018
    2. meringo
      Half a star (I guess headfi doesn't show that?)
      meringo, Mar 8, 2018
  2. mejoshua
    An absorbing bass experience + clarity
    Written by mejoshua
    Published May 30, 2017
    Pros - Deep, textured and thumping bass experience, clarity and separation
    Cons - Bass may be too heavy for some, staging may be on the intimate side
    Before I begin the review, I would like to take the opportunity to thank Dan and team at Periodic Audio for allowing me to review their debut IEM lineup. Because I can only post one review for each item at a time, the same opening paragraphs will be repeated for all three IEMs, with only the review on sound differing.

    A short preamble before the review proper: Periodic Audio takes an interesting approach to their design philosophy. I will not bore you with details here – you can find all you need to know about their company and approach on their very neatly designed website,

    Two things that I found most novel in terms of design and engineering choices, which is reflected in their company name, is that firstly, their choice of driver material is based off certain elements on the periodic table. Their opening lineup includes Mg (Magnesium driver), Ti (Titanium driver) and Be (Beryllium driver), which is their current top of the line offering. Beryllium seems to be a popular choice of material for hifi, which I recall the popular Focal Utopia headphones also utilizes.

    Secondly, Dan and team have chosen to use a polycarbonate shell for the IEM housing, which purportedly reduces resonance drastically. I was skeptical at first, but after my initial impressions which I will go into later, I realized that it sounds like they are on to something.

    Packaging and Accessories:

    The packaging comes in a utilitarian white cardboard box, and in it contains the IEMs, as well as a selection of tips including silicone and complys in small Ziploc packs, stuffed inside the yellow gold metal container with the Periodic Audio logo emblazoned on the top shell. They have also generously included a in flight adapter as well as a 3.5mm to 6.35mm (1/4”) adaptor. Some may raise an issue with the quality of the packaging, but personally I can see that Periodic Audio has chosen to focus on the quality of the product and accessories, which they clearly delivered.


    All 3 Periodic IEMs sport the same outer shell and housing, with the differentiating factor being the piece that covers the back of the IEM indicating the type of metal used. The Mg has a shinier silver back plate; the Ti has a darker hue, gunmetal type tint back plate; and the Be being the easiest to spot among the pack, having a darkish golden back plate that is quite aesthetically pleasing. The polycarbonate shell feels tougher and harder than it sounds, and is a deep black. What is also interesting is that there are no L/R indicators on the shells or the strain reliefs, but the guys at Periodic have opted to colour code the earpiece filters. The left earpiece has a blue filter, and the right has a red filter. The only downside about this is when trying to identify them in an environment that may have little light – it might be difficult to tell the difference then. I had no issues during the day though.

    My only niggle with the IEM design might be the cable. The cable seems run of the mill, and does not feel sturdy enough to endure daily abuse. It has some cable memory, tends to get tangled easily and is also not very compliant during coiling and storing.

    Comfort and Seal:

    I found all 3 IEMs to fit well and fit quickly, with very decent levels of isolation when I’m out and about during the day. This is with the default silicone tips. Once they are in, they also do not move about easily, and I find that they sit snugly in my ears.


    Sources used – Onkyo DP-X1A, Sony A15

    The moment I first listened to the Be, I knew that it was something special. Not merely because it is the most expensive one in the lineup, but more so because of its absorbing sound signature. The Be marries a wholly musical tuning with good technicalities and lifelike imaging, resulting in a immersive and engaging listening experience. The hallmark separation and clarity, together with a powerfully but tightly controlled bass remains distinctive. However, unlike the Mg and the Ti, the Be has a comparatively thicker midrange that brings a slightly warmer tilt to the overall tonality, which is very pleasant, especially for a stickler for timbre like myself. I found that the Be came the closest in accurately replicating the timbre of instruments and voices.


    The bass is still weighted and slightly emphasized but what sets it apart from its titanium and magnesium brothers is how effortlessly it maintains its tautness and grip-like control. It seems to reach the lowest recesses a hint more ably than the Ti but it is not clearly noticeable with casual listening. It is heavier than the Mg, and punches similarly to the Ti, but exceeds the Ti in quality and speed. The Be gives a punchy, weighty and highly musical bass experience, thoroughly in line with what I expect from a quality bass presentation. I love it!


    The cold tilt of the Mg is gone, and in its place a warmer tone created from thicker midrange notes fills out any deficiencies in this range perceived from the previous models. There is some magic in the tuning here because this mid weightiness does not compromise on clarity and resolution, but conveys a very lifelike and powerful midrange. This is especially so for the reproduction of vocals and instruments such as strings and brasses. I have to make a note here that plucked strings are incredibly and convincingly realistic. Unlike the Ti, the mids are less centered in front of your face, but rather more centered in a 3D axis closer to your face. While this may seem strange, the presentation of audio space is actually more balanced in terms of all 3 axes, which I will elaborate more about on the section on soundstage. Backing vocals sound excellent here, with harmony lines clearly delineated but in a layered way. This is because they pan out to the left and right: not in a simple wide planed way, but rather curves in around the headspace, as if the backup vocalists were singing from the left and right spaces beside your ears. There is obviously a greater focus on delivering a more powerful vocal experience in the Be compared to the others, and I can safely say Periodic has delivered on this front.


    Treble extends well and is crisp, with great speed and resonates with bell-like clarity. What this translates to is defined, singular strikes on the most complex band arrangements, even with rapidly successive cymbal work. There is neither sibilance nor harsh peaks here as well, yet like the Mg and Ti, the treble tonality here generally veers towards slightly cold.


    In terms of resolution, the Be naturally comes up top. On very high quality recordings it is easy to hear the intakes of breath and little nuances conveyed by the singer. Of course it will not compare favourably with IEMs that well exceed its price tier, but I could comfortably say it is competitive with earphones costing below $1k. The stage is most immersive out of the 3 models in the lineup, and throws out a spherical space. This spherical space is more width and height than depth, but depth is still great. It does not, say, extend far behind the listener’s neck, but is still rather convincing. The main vocalist is somewhere around the centre of the sphere, and instruments are imaged quite precisely within the 3D field. Bass tends to emanate from the bottom back, and instruments and backup vocals fill the spaces around the ears. Separation is top notch while retaining solid layering of instruments. While the presentation of spatial depth could still be even better, it is holographic enough to be quite immersive – this is mostly contributed by the excellent timbre and realism that the Be produces.

    *note – I also managed to find time to listen to the Be out of the Schiit Fulla 2 which is my office setup, and I found that the Fulla 2 presents a superb synergistic match with the Be. It retains good technicalities while sounding very musical, akin to marrying the merits of pairing it with both the Onkyo DP-X1A and the Sony A15.


    Periodic Audio has served up a potent combination of IEMs suited to different budgets and tastes in its entrance to the audiophile market. One can hardly go wrong with either the Mg, Ti or the Be. For my personal preferences I’d pick the Be any day, because I’m biased toward a musical tuning that has focus on engaging mids and quality bass. But if one is on a budget, the Mg comes with a high recommendation. I find the Ti more of a specialist – if you love rock or metal, or genres that tend more toward a v-shaped tonal profile then the Ti would be perfect. Well done, Dan and team at Periodic Audio!


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      sludgeogre and mgunin like this.