Sabbat E12 Ultra - Reviews
Pros: Good fit.
Easy connectivity.
If you like bass...
A slight upgrade to the predecessor.
Amongst the better TWS BT's out there.
If you like it, buy it and live with it.
Cons: Sound sig is somewhat untamed.
Tip dependent.
Can't change tips readily and still charge in case...
Treble too forward for me.
Call quality wind dependent more than others.
Sabbat E12 Ultra TWS ($79.99): An upgrade, with solid bass.



Within the last six months (more so recently) the TWS BT market has exploded. Kind of like when early ChiFi hit the market, the BT market has grown exponentially recently. Perusing another site to gain information on the Ultra, the gentleman does nothing but TWS IEM’s. And based upon his readership, does quite well. Looking at his site alone shows the variety, price range and sound quality available. I have far less experience in this market save for about 5 TWS BT IEM’s and a couple of BT headphones. The headphones are quite good (to me), and the IEM’s fairly good.

But something I have noticed is that with each iteration that crosses my threshold, the sound seems to get better. And the E12U is pretty much not an exception to this rule. The E12U presents a vibrant deep reaching sound, with good vocals. It is a good unit, with some minor flaws. If the quality of upcoming TWS IEM’s continues the trend forwarded here, then we really have something with which to look forward.

I thank Linsoul for the sample, and as always, an open honest review will be the result. It is also the understanding that the product may be asked to be returned at any time. Until then, the product is mine to keep and not sell. That’s really an uncool thing to do.

Linsoul page:
https://www.linsoul.com/products/sabbat-e12-ultra?variant=28428927565924

Amazon link:
https://tinyurl.com/ybmelzes

Sabbat Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/sabbataudio/



Specs (from Amazon site):

Amazing Features of Sabbat E12 TWS Earphones:
-6-8 working time with a single charge
- Deep bass Hi-Fi quality sound
- Built-in microphone with noise cancelling function
- Auto-on/off
- Qi Smart charging box (Support wireless charging)

Specs:
Product: Sabbat E12 True Wireless Earphones
Material: ABS
Bluetooth: V5.0 Qualcomm
Bluetooth distance: up to 10m
Supported Format: AptX/AAC/SBC
Impedance: 32ohms
Support Protocol: HSP/HFP/A2DP/AVRCP
Sensitivity: 120+5db
Frequency response range: 20-20000Hz
Headphone battery capacity: 3.7V/50mAh
Charging box battery capacity: 750mAh
Headphone/Charging case charging time: 1H
Play Time: 8H
Standby Time: 100H

Dimension and Weight:
Package size (L x W x H): 11.50 x 8.00 x 5.00 cm / 4.53 x 3.15 x 1.97 inches
Package weight: 0.1300 kg

Product size (L x W x H): 2.50 x 1.90 x 2.00 cm / 0.98 x 0.75 x 0.79 inches
Product weight: 0.0300 kg

What’s in the Package?
-1 Pair of Earphone
-1 x Charging Compartment
-1 x Charging Cable
-6 Pairs of Eartips
-1 x User Manual




Gear used/compared:

All prices in USD, unless noted otherwise

Helm Audio True Wireless 5.0 ($129)
Astrotec S80 TWS ($89)
Simgot Meeture MTW5 ($49)

iPhone XS Max
MBP
Shanling M2x



Songs used:

Dave Mathews albums, Come Tomorrow, Away From The World
Los Lonely Boys- Heaven (en Espanol)
Los Lobos album, Disconnected In New York City
twenty one pilots-Trees
twenty one pilots-Car Radio
twenty one pilots-Heathens
twenty one pilots-Forest
Damian Marley-Everybody Wants To Be Somebody
Damian Marley-So A Child May Follow
Damian Marley-The Struggle Discontinues
Ziggy Marley-Lighthouse
Ziggy Marely-See Dem Fake Leaders
Mark Knopfler-Laughs And Jokes And Drinks And Smokes
Santana w/ Mana- Corazon Espinado
twenty one pilots album, Trench
Mark Knopfler album, Down The Road Wherever




Unboxing:

The Sabbat comes in one of the better boxed experiences of late. A white sleeve, replete with information (the pair I have are the Rock and Roll Coffee color) on the back and a close-up picture on the front. Sliding the sleeve off, there is a raised impression of the E12U, and the sayings “A person’s concert. The voice of the dreams comes from the Sabbat.” I would suggest double checking the box by the manufacturer as there should be a space between the two words...nonetheless, the box is nicely done with a lift-off lid.

Inside you find and extensive box-sized two-sided instruction manual. The manual includes pictures of other colors as well as all the information one needs to successfully use the BT IEM. Laid out efficiently as well, the directions for use are complete and thorough. Under the card instructions, you find the BT buds with a tip already mounted above and the case below. To the right, you find a plastic tray with six sets of silicon’s “mounted” to posts. The red sleeved tips have a slightly wider opening, while the blue-green have a slightly narrower opening. The blue-green have a shorter sleeve as well, so the bud inserts deeper into the ear. To me they provided a better seal and more bass presence. As a result, I used the largest of the blue-green throughout the test.

Under the tip tray is a glossy paperboard box, which contains the charging cable (USB-C) and a nylon carrying pouch. The pouch is big enough to carry both the charging cable and the case with buds, so that is a nice addition. Well thought out and appreciated. Overall, a nice set of accoutrements with enough to satisfy an owner.



Fit-n-finish:

The E12U has an ovoid pinched teardrop shape, which fits my ear well. The nozzle is on the longer side, but very narrow and a lip to support tips. This helps with fit. Made of plastic, the inward side is smooth and one piece with the nozzle. The outward side has a sort of “cap,” which gives the unit their color. Fit together is very, very good, with seemingly no mismatched seams. A small vent hole on the bottom of the tear, inward side gives the E12U breathability as well as a spot for the microphone. There is another hole as the base of the nozzle as well. The outer plate also carries the company logo, and acts as the “control room” for the unit. Single, double and triple clicks rule the roost.

The single 10mm dynamic driver, at an impedance of 32 ohms along with 120dB/mW sensitivity makes the E12U usable with many sources. It also has adequate power to raise volume levels to near-painful levels, so this should appease most. But, with a Qualcomm BT chips, you can get Apt X, AAC, and SBC but not LDAC support. BT agreements include A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, and HSP, and can broadcast approximately 10m (verified). Connectivity is good, with only minor glitches, such as “reaching out” first to previously connected devices when you might want a new device connected. This happened when I wanted my MBP connected, but the E12U connected automatically to my XS Max.

I could get more or less 5hrs out of as charge, amongst the best of any I have used. Charge time of only 40ish minutes makes for a very quick recovery, and you can get four full charges from the case. The amount of technology lately giving 20ish hours is simply amazing and getting longer and better as well. Plus, with the E12U, you simply replace the critter in the case, and it will automatically start charging. The Helm Audio does not have that apparently as you need to push the button between the L/R buds to activate. The small case of the Sabbat is a welcome addition since it easily fits into one’s pocket. While not as nice as the Astrotec cases, it is functional and works well.

Call quality was among the better of late but could still pick up environmental noises pretty easily. It could be the placement of the microphone hole at the end of the teardrop as well.



Sound:

Upon first listen, the bass hits you. There is no denying that the bass is the foremost character of the E12U. It can be overpowering and a bit ungainly. The reach is good, deep and thorough. But it does bleed into the lower mids a bit to me. This bloom can lead to obscuring the mids, and it does. As others have stated, the E12U is subject to character changes with tip rolling. Switching to the Acoustune aet07, I found that bass bloom dissipated, and the mids opened a bit. It did become too bright for my liking on a song or two. This did not happen with the stock green shaft tips.

This as a result is one of the more tip-dependent IEM’s I’ve auditioned of late. Placement in ear also hinders/helps the sound as even with the stock (which were quite slippery in my ear), the sound changed during several workouts and uses. So, tip roll and you should find a happy medium. The Azla SednaFit tips also worked well for me. Switching to the Final Audio Type-E, I settled into what was the best pairing for me. While the medium gave a good fit, the large sized tip gave a better seal and sound to me. For open and airier, the medium would work. But if this is to be used for workouts or commuting, the large isolates much better. The only limitation is the narrow nozzle, which may not accommodate many tip choices.

Moving up top, the treble is there, and gives a V-shaped result, but not outstanding. I find it a bit too forward for me, unless I use the aforementioned Final-E’s and Comply foams. While not very energetic, it is not fatiguing either. So, one can listen for long periods without being too bothered. I enjoyed long sessions while working out on the treadmill, or in the yard as well as cleaning, which included vacuuming. The sound was pleasant enough, without becoming grating or too biting. But, for dedicated listening, you definitely know the E12U is a BT bud. While the BT market has exploded and some are very good, many are moderate at best to slightly above average. I would rate the E12U in the latter category. Enjoyable for those moving sessions, but not dedicated listening.



Soundstage/separation/imaging:

I think for what it is, a TWS BT bud, the soundstage is adequate, but not outstanding. With a signature pushed up and to the front a bit, your senses get overwhelmed and one can almost forgive the lack of depth in soundstage, because it is adequately wide. A fairly good compromise for its purposes. With good separation the user can imagine a wider stage, and this can give good illusion of imaging. Both are better than decent and make up (to me) for inadequacies in the mid-section and that slight rolling off of the treble. Think of a very pretty scene that has good vistas, but not those towering peaks. Just a very peaceful, beautiful valley and you get the idea. Satisfying.



Connectivity:

Since the early days of BT headsets/earbuds, call quality has gotten better and better. This makes sense as other than music sound, call quality is the utmost important aspect. The E12U provides good call quality, with no problems. Connectivity to calls was straightforward and simple. Click one of the buttons to answer, another to hang up. Connectivity between devices was good as well. I did run into issues when connecting to a new device. Sometimes the E12U would try and connect with a previous device, even if the BT was off on that device, such as my iPhone or MBP. I would go into the settings and click “forget device” and connection with the new device would proceed near-normally. I sometimes had to replace the E12U into their cradle to reset the connection as well. Slightly annoying, but not every time. Your incidences will of course vary.



Comparisons:

Sabbat E12 Ultra TWS ($79.99) v Helm Audio True Wireless 5.0 ($129):

While the E12U is competent in many facets and gives the user a good amount of airiness (not IEM quality, but decent enough), the Helm comes across as the bass-monster. With deeper reach, you can definitely hear the difference immediately. Not bad mind you but reach on par with better IEM’s. It is fairly clean as well, but I feel it too bleeds over into the mids. And those mids are not as receding as the E12U. I think what takes me aback is that the bass is pushed forward more than usual. In an effect to promote that low sound, the Helm does so almost too much. Vocals can come across a bit dull as a result.

That is countered by the more forward treble, which to me does not bite either. This is to me a darker overall signature than the E12U. As @Wiljen mentions in his review, EQing the bass back a notch or two definitely helps. If you like bass, this one would be the one to get. If you want a bit more dialed back signature, then the E12U would be the choice of the two.


Sabbat E12 Ultra TWS ($79.99) v Astrotec S80 TWS ($89):

I tried really hard to like the S80 and gave it 3.75 stars. I do like the dual cases, that are both small enough and good looking enough to draw ooohhhs from the crowd. A nice feature so that you can take the charging cord along as well as an extra pair of tips. I found my favorite sound pairing was with foam tips, which of course made keeping the BT in the case nie-on impossible. You simply cannot charge pretty much any BT TWS in the case with foam tips. And this to me truly limits the capabilities. For of all the BT buds here, I like the S80 the best with foam tips. A very solid seal was had, which prevented a change in sound due to movement. I tried large, and extra-large silicon’s, to no avail. If I moved wrong, the seal was broken. This is a cardinal sin for BT buds, and many are meant for active work. A large failing. But, if one could hold still (or use foams), the sound was pretty decent, with tight controlled bass, and vocals that were average enough to keep you interested. With the Comply tips, treble was tamed to my liking, otherwise it was too peaky, and I could not tolerate it. Good quality, but too much for me to handle in long sessions with silicon tips. Better treble than the E12U in fact.

This would be a toss-up to me. Better bass control with peaky treble of the S80, or less reach of bass and a bit of bloom wrapped in a decent signature.



Sabbat E12 Ultra TWS ($79.99) v Simgot Meeture MTW5 ($49):

The very first BT bud I tested was the Simgot. At the time, it was also one of the first to espouse “audiophile” as part of its signature. Good bass, good vocals and soundstage that was wide enough to keep you thinking about an airy sound, I rather enjoyed the sound. Subsequent editions of BT phones showed how quickly things could change. And while the MTW5 was good, it was quickly passed by with newer iterations and companies. A shame really, for I really respect the way Simgot approaches business. They build a solid unit at many levels, and I still listen to all of them. Worthy to be included in the mid-fi market, the MTW5 iteration has simply been passed by with the newbies.

That said, I found the mids quite enjoyable with good detail and clarity, perhaps the best of the lot mentioned here. The fit was not the best but could be overcome with good tip choice. As such, it was a worthy inclusion in talk of early BT TWS buds. My daughter happily absconded with the set and I have not seen them since. So, it goes.



Conclusion:

The TWS BT market is overrun with choices. What is here today, may not be tomorrow. Or something that cost less comes along and the user moves along to the next iteration. Or the unit gets lost and the user starts all over again. BT bud have almost become throw away critters, which is a shame because those that are good (or cost a good chunk) should be allowed to stay in our stable for as long as we wish. And here, the E12U falls somewhat between. It has laudable attributes, such as good call quality, good fit, and looks (I do love coffee!), as well as intuitive use. But that bloom of bass takes away what could be better than good midrange. I am not one who likes to EQ, but from what I have read, the E12U works better with a decent EQ of the mids and bass. If one likes to do that and play for their favored signature as well as take the time to tip roll (as you should anyway...), then the E12U is worth a look. This is such a tough market right now, that you might want to comparison shop as well. This is not a knock against the Sabbat, but the nature of how this BT game is played. If you like it, then buy it. If not, then move along.

I thank Linsoul for the product, I truly appreciate the support and the wonderful world of trying new critters. This really is a lucky hobby, isn’t it? Thank you, and good listening!

Pros: easy fit, QI support for quick charging,
Cons: Big bass, recessed mids, veiled vocals.
disclaimer: The Sabbat E12 Ultra was provided by Linsoul Audio for purposes of review. I have no financial interest in Linsoul or in Sabbat and received no further incentives or direction as regards this review.

These can be purchased directly from Linsoul or from their Amazon Store here.



Unboxing / Packaging:

The E12 comes in a slipcover box with the name and graphic of the headphone on the front and the specs shown on the reverse along with a picture of the case with earpieces seated in it. Once the slipcover is removed, the kit is mostly visible sitting in foam cutouts in the tray. Earpieces, the case, and the tips are all immediately visible with the other items hiding under the tips. In total, the package includes a carrying bag, charging case, USB-c cable, the earpieces, 6 sets of tips, and the warranty card. Its a fairly complete package for an in-ear at this price point.

Sabbat-E12U-box-front.JPG Sabbat-E12U-box-rear.JPG Sabbat-E12U-box-inner.JPG Sabbat-E12U-kit2.JPG


Build/Fit:

The E12 Ultra is a 2 part shell with the outer shell having a chrome finish while the inner is black. The button on the outer shell complements the inner and carries the Sabbat logo which appears to be a stylized antelope. There is a small LED at the rear edge of the outer shell at just slightly below the mid point (look at the button and then look to 4 oclock position from button center). The inner shell has a large flat portion and then a stepped central portion that contains the nozzle. It probably is not coincidence that the stepped portion is round with a diameter roughly the same as the driver, so my suspicion is the battery and bluetooth equipment hide in the flat and the driver in the stepped portion. from the stepped portion, nozzles exit the front, and have a distinct forward and slightly downward rake to them. Nozzles have a ring cutout behind the lead edge to form a lip to hold tips, and screens are slightly recessed in the nozzles. A single vent exists near the center of the raised section immediately behind the nozzles. Charging connectors sit in the flat area above the driver about 1 cm apart.

Sabbat-E12U-nozzle1.JPG Sabbat-E12U-nozzle-rake2.JPG Sabbat-E12U-nozzle-shape2.JPG Sabbat-E12U-shell1.JPG Sabbat-E12U-side-view.JPG


Internals:

The E12 Ultra is a single 10 mm dynamic driver model with a listed impedance of 32Ω and a sensitivity of 120dB/mW. Since the E12 is a bluetooth only model, the only comments that can be made are that it has adequate power to be driven to levels one should not use to prevent hearing damage. (it has no lack of potency). On the connectivity side, the E12 sports a Qualcomm Bluetooth 5.0 chipset, but does not list Apt X, or LDAC support. Bluetooth is listed as supporting: HSP1.2/HFP1.7/A2DP1.3/AVRCP 1.6 SPP1.2/PBAP. My understanding is that most of improvements between 4.2 and 5.0 are not applicable to Audio playback as they are changes in the low powered mode and as such this models connectivity may be very similar to the previous 4.2 version.



Connectivity:

The E12U has bluetooth 5.0 and supports aptX, as well as SBC but does not have LDAC or aptX-HD support. I found pairing to be straight forward and after the initial setup, the earpieces would auto-connect upon removal from the case. The only issue I found was when within range of my vehicle, my phone would disconnect from the earpieces and preferentially connect to the car. When exiting the vehicle, the earpieces would not automatically reconnect. Turning them off and back on would re-connect them at that point.

Distance in open space is limited to roughly 25 feet between source and earpieces and walls (even interior) fairly easily defeated the connectivity. Latency of controls is acceptable, but not great and the system for volume control makes me want to use the software control on the phone instead as it requires 3 fast clicks on the right to turn volume up or left to turn volume down. Problem is, too slow and you just turned the headphone off.



Case/Battery:

Battery life on the E12U was quite good with an average of a little over 5 hours per charge when listened to at standard volume. Once dischargged, placing the earpieces back in the case initiates charging and the buds will completely recharge 40 minutes to an hour depending on depth of discharge. The case is listed as being able to charge the earpieces fully 4 times which may be a bit optimistic as my tests found 3 full charges and a partial 4th. Overall, not bad for a small case. The case has a USB-C connector on the back with 4 leds to indicate the charge state of the case immediately above the connector. The Case itself is also one of the smallest in the group I have recently reviewed and is more easily dropped in a pocket and forgotten like some others in the group. One other added benefit, the case does support wireless charging so those who wish can take advantage of that instead of using the USB connector.

Sabbat-E12U-case closed.JPG Sabbat-E12U-with case2.JPG


Call Quality:

I found call quality to be good with the E12U but it does suffer some from picking up environmental noise on the microphone of the wearer so use in a quiet areas is recommended. Controls worked well to answer calls and latency was minimal between click and call initiation.



Sound:

I found the E12u to be highly tip dependent and it is definitely worth your time and effort to find tips that work best for you. The FR plot and all notes assume use of the provided tips which I do not recommend as significant improvement can be made. (Try the Spin-fit or Auvio wide bore)


Sabbat E12 Ultra FR.jpg




Bass:

In a word, the E12U bass is overstated. Sub-Bass is definitely the star of the show here and it is quite bold. Mid-bass starts to fall off a bit from the sub-bass peak around 100Hz, and stays in free fall until well past the transition to the mids. I found the E12U did not respond particularly well to EQ so while I could dial back the bass some, I could not remove all the added thump or bloom and some muddiness was inherent regardless of adjustments made to tuning. There is pronounced mid-bass bleed and boom that obscures an already fairly thin mid-range. Bass texture and detail is only average for the class.



Mids:

Mid-bass bleed colors the mids significantly and gives the E12U an overall warm thick feel. Low register vocals sound thicker than higher registers as a result and at times sound a bit artificial. On top of this, unlike most tunings where the mids begin climbing forward almost at the transition point with the bass, the E12U continues to drop as we move up the mids. Vocals are recessed and can sound as if they are behind the guitars at times as a result. Female vocals in particular can be a bit lacking in energy and at times are not as lifelike as I would prefer. Overall, the combination of warm, thick, and recessed would not be my first choice in mids presentation.



Treble:

The treble finally climbs forward, but does so in such a way that it adds more energy than needed in some places, a not enough in others. The lower treble has good detail but is pushed substantially forward and can get a bit 'in your face' at times. Above that (starting at about 4kHz, treble falls off at a tremendous pace and realistically, the E12U has nothing above about 6kHz that contributes audibly. There is a very minor peak higher up that keeps this from being the true roll-off point, but for all practical purposes it is. This limits air and sparkle considerably and makes the E12 feel somewhat closed in. The good news, it is fatigue free, the bad news its not very well extended.



Soundstage / Imaging:

The soundstage is very small, which is not unexpected for a closed back in ear. Width is a bit larger than depth, with little sense of height in the mix and overall the stage can be thought of as a living room size rather than an auditorium. Imaging fairs a bit better as instrument separation is reasonably good and spatial cues are well rendered. Layering is only average and some congestion and compression becomes evident as tracks get faster and busier.


Thoughts / Conclusion:

I'm not a big fan of the tuning of the Sabbat E12 Ultra. It has entirely too much bass and not enough of anything else for my tastes. Having said that, it does have some redeeming features and can be made considerably better with EQ and tip-rolling. Build quality is good, the case is nice, and the earpieces themselves are fairly comfortable. This one is just a case of wrong fit for me, and others that prefer a big bass may really enjoy the E12 Ultra.

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