General Information

"The ultimate boutique experience.

The Plunge Audio Signature Series gives you access to technology, material, and innovations that no other model can provide. You’ll have unlimited access to the Plunge Audio team to create the most unique, tailored pair of IEMs, down to your every specification and requirement.

Not for the fair of heart, this process is intense and in depth – no sonic stone will be left unturned."

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justsomesonyfan

100+ Head-Fier
Plunge Audio Signature Ciem review: Jack of all trades, master of all.
Pros: -Massive Balanced soundstage which enters the realm of full sized
-Sublime balanced sound which highlights every frequency range naturally
-Gobs of details and resolution
-Realistic timbre
-Incredibly musical sound
-Perfect custom fit comfort
-Aesthetically pleasing
-Reacts well to cable rolling
-Option to add dual BA to brighten sound
-Full African Blackwood shell for better resonance
Cons: -May be a tad too dark for some (however there is an option to add dual BA if dark iems aren't the customer's preference)
-Pricey (but you get what you paid for)
Small edit: personal reccomendation of mine would be to go for the 2ba option to boost highs, in my opinion the dark sound won't be for everyone but a dual ba can easily fix that tuning and turn it upside down.

First disclaimer: the plunge iems require a quality cable to sound at their best, a bad cable will definitely hinder this iem's quality, it's a make or break matter imo.
For this review i'll use the cema tianwaitian cable.

Second disclaimer: I'm very bad with professional iem terms and think that a lot of them are too vague and too subjective anyways, thus my review might not be very clear for everyone, feel free to ask questions in the comments below.

Before we get started quick heads up: this iem has both a 6mm DD and 14.3mm planar running full range crossoverless. You may proceed reading.

Unlike other reviews, I'll put the introduction at the very end to those who are interested in me and plunge and the whole process of making this frankenstein iem.

Lets get to the meat of this:

Plunge Audio's Signature Planar Magnetic Dynamic Driver Hybrid Wood Vented Custom iem Review: Jack of all trades, master of all.



Packaging
: Very simple, comes with a pouch which has stickers and cleaning tools, and a plastic retainer with the name and phone of the owner on it which holds the iems and cable inside.
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For obvious nodoxx reasons, I've censored my name and number.



Comfort: Look at this, does it look comfy?
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If your answer is negative then I hate to break it to ya but these are sublime, lightweight and perfect custom fit, not much to say!

The iems are made of African Blackwood that has been precisely carved and sandpapered into the custom shape, then has been covered in 3 layers of stabilising materials and wax for the wood to last long and enter the ear smoothly.

Onto the sound-
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Bass: I want to call it a basshead iem, but I can't, I really really want to tho. The bass is clearly emphasized, there's a small subbass boost, but it does not do it in a way which takes away from the mids or highs, at all.

I've heard a few iems in the past and it seems that there are 2 main types of bass- subwoofer type, monitor type. most of the iems i've heard were more monitor like, solaris se/og, ier m9, obravo cupid
then there were those who went for the woofer route, xba n3, ier z1r. ier z1r especially, I think most people that listen to it claim it's the best iem bass or atleast put it very highly.


While I appreciate both types, my personal preference leans more towards the woofer type, and while ier z1r did it well, there was a lack of finesse to it, to me it could've been tighter, i also found it's decay to be too slow.

This is where plunge comes in with a 70/30 bass, 70% woofer 30% monitor, or rather.. lets go even deeper into the woofer/monitor analogy, 4 types, loose woofer, tight woofer, loose monitor, tight monitor- if ier z1r is loose woofer, then the plunge is a tight woofer.

The plungies were made by Simon Fisk, a doublebass jazz player, and yet they absolutely excel at hiphop and electronics.. That should give a perspective on how much I appreciate the bass on this pair.

It cannot do wrong unless you're looking for some serious monster basshead iem which is all bass nothing else.

I'll also put the other iems in the analogy so if you own any of the pairs you'll be able to get a better image of the plunge bass.

Loose woofer- ier z1r
Tight woofer- plunge, xba n3
Loose monitor- ier m9, solaris og
Tight monitor- solaris SE

If I were to put the highlights of the bass in terms- highly textured, punchy, addictive, tight, big. this is a bass you will definitely feel when listening to music, and it will sway your attention if the track calls for it.
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midrange: Same story when it comes to some of the terms, texture, addictive, big.

All of those still stay along for the mids.

I cannot call these mids thin at all, they're definitely on the thicker side.

The mids is where the planar takes over and yells "you wanted detail and speed, here you go"

Plunge Audio made me realize how outdated the BA drivers are when it comes to the midrange, now now, I haven't heard all the ba iems out there, and I'm sure some can definitely come close to the plungies, but not quite.

For midrange, the jump from ba to planar to me is the equivelant of the bass going from ba to a DD- you can try to imitate a dd with a bunch of BA drivers but it'll never be one.

One word stands out to me for planar mids- uncompressed: Think going from 128kbps to flac, going from phone output to a proper dap/dacamp.

When it comes to vocals both female and male vocals stand out, however I'd give the upper hand to the male vocals on this pair. voices are lush, well presented, prominent and pronounced, and definitely take the lead when they're present.

I definitely want to write something along the lines of: "oh instruments are a highlight on this pair" but I can't.

I can't because every part of this iem is a highlight, you don't get one without the other.

Midrange just like the bass is very felt, I don't really know how to explain this part. but me and simon tried going for wood to hopefully get exactly that effect, with as much resonance as possible. similar to a bone conduction, but not quite.

I will say that the wood with full contact custom iem is a success and adds to every frequency a sense of feeling it, if that makes any sense.
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Highs: Dark, but present- the treble is all there, atleast the mid and high treble, when it comes to 5khz - 9khz it has a small recession when compared to the pinna gain but nothing that's a deal breaker.

The treble, it won't be upfront, nor will it be overshadowed.

I don't feel as if it's lacking, however- If one wants more treble adding a dual BA tweeter is always a possibility to get a brighter iem.




Now to the best part! What? You didn't think it could get better? well, let me introduce you to the

soundstage, seperation, presentation, and imaging:

THE highlight of the iem is how absurdly big it sounds, it's practically a headphone at this point.

the iems sound huge, huge and spacious.

hearing every tiny detail is an absolute piece of cake, everything is there and you'll be able to tell, but you won't get a monitorish/anemic/clinical sound at all.

Easily the most musical iem and audio product i've heard, ever.

The staging is 3d, very 3d, I wouldn't say it's the most balanced soundstage right now, but that's not because height and depth lack, rather because the width is just huge. it's genuinely bigger than my mdr 1am2, that's impressive man!

Putting it on paper, the plunge's width ends sound about 2-2.5 inches or 5-6cm far from each ear.

On top of that- the plunge custom is the first time i've heard sound coming from BEHIND my head.

The presentation is similar to the ier z1r on crack cocaine, sounds like the music surrounds you and plays as it wishes where ever it wishes, the band surrounds your head with instruments and music, however i won't go and exaggerate that it's just like being in the middle of a concert, there's a huge difference and personally i never liked those extremely over the top explanations for soundstage: "like being in a stadium" or "like being in a band rehearsal".

After all it's just an iem.. but not just an iem.

Compared to other iems it is definitely a few notches above in soundstage and everything that has to do with presentation.

Plunge breaks the walls (literally) of the soundstage by venting the back, and that makes all the difference, plug the vent and you get a normal iem that still outdoes the other iems i've tried, open the vent and the sound goes everywhere around your head.



Comparisons:

Small disclaimer: None of these iems can do what the plunge does and I genuinely have a hard time truly believing someone would prefer them over the plunge if s/he were to hear the plunge.

However there is a big price gap of almost double, priced at 4k CAD, or around 3k usd.

From memory ier z1r: The ier z1r's bass is looser, decay is slower, the plunge expands the soundstage in every axis more, mids are far thinner and less detailed, sound compressed, presentation is all around smaller, treble is much brighter, much more pronounced.

The ier z1r weigh much more and are far less comfortable.


Solaris SE/OG: This is the only iem I can see someone preferring over the plunge purely for the unique presentation, to me it always felt like when it comes to hearing the solaris everything was laid infront of me for me to gaze upon.

So solaris is definitely more linear and forward.

If we were to put them in over the top explanations, solaris is "being in middle to front row" while the plunge is "being with the band".

Other than that the solaris' bass is tighter but less textured, much less felt, mids sound more compressed, and less detailed, details feel much more pinpoint and smaller, highs are same as the mids.


Ier m9: No comparison. I've heard the ier m9 was the imaging king, and while it had great imaging, it has nothing on this.

I genuinely don't think m9 does anything better than the plungies.




Conclusion: If you want a seriously new experience in audio and want a unique custom all arounder iem that truly gets everything highlighted naturally without giving away balance, plunge audio is your go to.



Introduction: Who am I? A nobody really, just another person who likes audio a lot, and gives out his honest thoughts.

I've contacted Plunge Audio after hearing about it being an unknown obscure company, went to their site, saw their models, and got interested.

Got a pair of their highest model, contacted simon later on using facebook and we slowly but surely built a strong friendship on ideas and innovation.

When I first asked Simon about planars and mmcx he was very interested, we had a lot of ideas about iems it's development, at first we thought about a dd/planar/est combo, but the ests did not go well with the planar, trust me i've heard it.

Anyways, I don't remember if Simon had experience with planars before or not when it comes to iems, i can day that he absolutely found an understanding of the driver's sound and showed me just how well a planar can sound.

Simon himself in my honest opinion is a great person, he went very long lengths for me to be a pleased customer, he's very open minded, very spiritual and kind hearted at his core.

You can tell he does it for his passion and the experience of people and not for money, He puts heart into it.

I'd also reccomend checking out his music, he put on some very interesting albums out there.

Moving on with progress, making the iem itself took around a month or two I think at best? but figuring the iem, figuring what really works (since it was the first ever planar/dd full range crossoverless iem to come from plunge) I think it took about 6-8 months, including me getting 3 demos to hear the direction the iem is moving in and giving my thoughts on it.

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justsomesonyfan
justsomesonyfan
@arijitroy2 you can customize it however not every combo will work, trust me i wanted est drivers at first but it didn't turn out well.. however if you go to the signature page you can see there's a universal version, simon has started developing a proper universal that will get as close as possible to the custom sound quality and comfort.
S
Stu Paddasso
I live in Calgary and when covid restrictions are over I will drop-in and see Simon!!!
justsomesonyfan
justsomesonyfan
@Stu Paddasso you two have fun! he's a great guy, he might have demo pairs by then for you to try out :) hopefully

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