SHUOER TAPE - Reviews
Pros: Interesting look.
Quality build.
2.5mm bal cable
Good bass reach.
Cons: Case.
Scooped out mids.
Case.
Bleed of bass into mids.
Case.
Fit might be hard for some.
Shuoer Tape ($129): Electronically charged!



Linsoul: https://www.linsoul.com/collections/headphones-iems/products/shuoer-tape

I thank Linsoul for the review sample, and it is our understanding that the unit may be asked for back at any time. It is also understood that the unit is mine to keep until and if that were to happen. Also, don’t sell review samples, that’s really unethical, uncalled for and uncool.

From Prime Audio’s review: Shuoer Electronics is a Chinese manufacturing company based in Guangdong, China. Founded in 2016, its aim is to provide innovation and value with the use of science, product research and strict quality control.




PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS:

Driver Configuration: Low-voltage Electrostatic Dynamic Driver
Sensitivity: 104dB/mW
Impedance: 18 ohm@ 1KHz
Frequency Response: 20Hz- 30KHz
Plug: 2.5mm Balanced Plug With a 2.5 to 3.5 Adapter
Connector: MMCX


More:

New technology with Low-Voltage Electrostatic Dynamic Driver
5-Axis CNC Carve Metal Body
High Purity 6N Single Crystal Copper Cable
High Quilty MMCX Connector
Coming with 2.5mm Balanced Jack and 2.5-3.5 Adapter



In the Box:

Electrostat driver IEM
2.5bal MMCX copper cable
2.5bal to 3.5se adaptor (different than one in picture, mine has a cable between jacks)
2 sets of s/m/l silicon tips (one wide bore, one smaller bore)
Instruction card
Silly M&M shaped two-part case




Comparisons:

TinHiFi T4 ($109)
IKKO OH-1 ($139)
Simgot EN700 Pro ($149)




Unboxing:

Coming in a round lidded container, which mimics a small Scotch case, the Shuoer has a piano keyboard wrapped around the bottom. Orange in color, one removes the lid like you would with the Scotch. Inside you find the IEM cradled in form fitting foam, with the instruction card bent over the top. Underneath you find the M&M-style case along with the tips and cable inside. A tidy container, and different for sure.

My one big dislike here is with the case. It has to be a joke. Threaded in two parts, when closed it indeed looks like a large forest green M&M. But to open, you must grab it fairly tight and unscrew. Herein lies the problem. It is slipperier than a greased pig in a high school, and not only flies out of my hand, but is ungodly hard to unscrew as well. These old hands had multiple problems opening the case to the point, where I left it barely screwed on. Surely this will lead to a failure of the threads or the lid will come off. Plus, one must wind the cable, adapter and IEM fairly tight in order for the unit to fit inside the case. Either way, this is the absolute worst case I have ever seen. Take the IEM and cable out and throw the case away. Or fill it with sand and use it for hockey. It would work.

Once you get past that horrid case, the Tape presents itself much like an older cassette tape. Hence the name. And it does look different and kind of cool. With a low voltage electrostat driver, one can see how the technology of higher end electrostats is working down to the mainstream.



Fit-n-finish:

Made of two pieces, the CNC machined, and powder coated “halves” fit together well, mimicking the angular shape of each half well. No mismatches to speak of, and the powder coating aids in keeping fingerprints off the IEM. A nozzle with a large protruding lip is press-fit into the inside half and is not overly long. It is a bit wider of bore, especially when putting tips on (a real PITA actually). Good finish exudes overall, with two Philips head screws of black and red adorning the back, while a small vent hole gives bass breathability below the nozzle on the inside.

Solid fitting MMCX cables adorn each side of copper wire. Nicely wound, with a tight plastic cinch at the gray metal y-splitter gives way to 4-braid evenly wound wires below. The standard 2.5bal jack is also of gray metal with a “tiered” sleeve protection of two layers. A first in my book. Easy to grip and functional, the cable is quite attractive. I also like the benefits of copper as a slightly warmer signature than silver. The adapter is 4-braid thicker copper between jacks with a length of cable about 6” long. Newer models have a right-angled jack included, so I consider myself lucky with the added good-looking adapter. I do wish the adapter was also of the gray color as well. But the silver looks acceptable.

The unit fits deeper into my ear than others of late. And the overall angular shape mimics Campfire Audio and their models somewhat. But, due to the small size, I found I could listen for extended time without pain. I also found that isolation was very, very good even with the included silicons. So much so, that I left those tips on for the duration.



Sound:

The Tape have a pleasant enough tonality overall, with good timbre. Mostly. Normally I have not heard timbre broken down, since it is reserved for the overall tendencies of the unit; but here I believe it warrants that separation. Bass & treble are good, with good deep reaching sound and a push up top, which is quite amiable, airy and crisp. Neither are offensive as they promote the music pretty straightforward and honestly. The bass can be a bit ungainly in control, bleeding into the mids, and hence bloom. It still has fairly fast decay, but that bleed carries over into the mids regardless. But taken separately the two hold down the ends well. The electrostat working well in an affordable manner, that is neither piercing nor sibilant, would be a definite plus with the treble.

Some have gushed over the presentation and clarity. And they are mostly good. Detail retrieval is good. But I would not call it great. There is air between notes, which aids in the clarity, but one thing holds the overall character back…the mids. To me, the mids sound like they were lifted from an old cassette and placed between the treble and bass hoping no one would notice. Well, that artificiality of mids cannot be missed. They sound scrunched and flat at the same time. I’m not sure how that works, but the mids and I do not get along. Snare hits like on Chlorine sound like the drum is 2” deep. There is no depth there, which hinders the ability to present those mid-level instruments. But and here is where the mids pull off somewhat of a miracle; the vocals are quite tangent from that character. Tyler’s voice sounds like it should. Clean, piercing (in a good way) and present at the right depth they just work. Normally his voice tends to be quite forward, but here it does not overpower. Call this a reaction to that scrunching and flattening of the overall mid character. It works anyway.



Sound stage/imaging/instrumentation:

You might think that based upon my analysis above that I do not like the Tape. Nor is it acceptable. Well, that would be wrong. For some reason, I still like the Tape. Maybe it is the bass quantity, and the inoffensive treble or the vocal presentation, but there are good points. The Tape has a wide sound stage, with adequate depth and height. Not quite a square, but wider than tall and deep. This width gives good instrument separation as well. You can pretty clearly hear where all are and where they should be. This is quite good, especially when you consider that there is an electrostat shoved into a package for less than $130usd. As a result, imaging is very good as well. This could be a case of the sum of the parts overcome the weakest link. It might be. Again, I fall back upon “pleasant” as a descriptor.


Comparisons (all prices USD, unless stated otherwise):

Shuoer Tape ($129) v TinHiFi T4 ($109):

The latest iteration of the T-series is their best. Except for the cable, everything else is an upgrade. In fact, I broke the MMCX cable on one, so I subbed in the cable from the T2 Pro for this. It sounds just as good as the original.

The mids are definitely the highlight of the T4. Clean, clear and crisp, they set the tone for an overall very good sound. Not as much bass as the Tape, and a bit more “splashiness” up top, gives a cleaner overall sound, but not piercing or peaky. On Stressed Out, the difference is clearly heard. No artificiality to the mids, like on the Tape. Presented the way it was meant to be. But the two go about their business indifferent manners. The T4 presents open and airy cleanliness. The Tape presents much more bass reach, and a treble with the electrostats, which is not unpleasant, nor peaky. Two different approaches, and you must decide whether you want a darker sound (Tape) or a cleaner, crisper sound (T4).


Shuoer Tape ($129) v IKKO OH-1 ($139):

There comes a time when you receive review units, which seemingly go under the radar. Or come and go quickly as today’s push often does. The OH-1 would be a case in point. With much more forward mids, and bass equivalent of the Tape, the OH-1 is one of my under the table favorites. Is it perfect? No, the cable tangles easily. The mids can be a bit shouty, but the treble and bass just hit my sweet spot with regard to my favored signature. Good rumble down low, as attested by Ride. When that thrust hits, it rumbles. Good reach up top, without piercing qualities or sibilance, like on the vocal parts of Ride. The OH-1 works well.

This would be another case of whether you want scooped out mids with good rumble down low, even if ungainly at times (Tape) or whether you want superbly controlled bass, vocals which are more forward, and treble, which while bright are never too bright (to me, and yes that is the OH-1). I know which one I would take…


Shuoer Tape ($129) v Simgot EN700 Pro ($149):

Over the years, I have reviewed many Simgot items. By and large I like them all. Probably my two favorites are the EM5 and this, the EN700 Pro. This to me is another model or even brand that has slipped under the radar. Providing consistent quality and affordability, Simgot pretty much set the tone for mid-fi ChiFi back in the day (all of five years ago). Another cult-classic to me, the EN700 Pro is quite good.

When Simgot asked me to review this unit, there were not many reviews out yet. Once I listened, I did not understand why. Other than a tangly cable, the Pro has as good of a reach as the Tape, with much better control. Up top, it can get a bit bright, but nothing that bothered me too much. Vocals are strong and present. Pushed forward a bit (or maybe just because the Tape is so withdrawn), the mids are open, airy and tie together both ends better than anything here, save the T4; which has much less bass, so it has an easier job.

Fit and finish is superb on the Simgot, and so too the Tape. This comes down to whether you want an electrostat for the top end, with scooped out mids; or if you want a more complete package, with slightly raised treble, and a different look. This would be the closest of comparisons here, and a tough call. I know which one I would prefer here as well.



Sources:

This section will be short and sweet. The Tape worked with all of the units I threw its way. From the ultra N6ii, to the “budget” M2x, and superb sounding DTR1; the Tape did not seem to care. Easy to drive, it came along happily and did not seem to offend from any of the sources. Like I said, short and sweet.


Finito:

We are left with one of the latest flavors of the month. Oftentimes I eschew reading others reviews before listening and making my own judgements. This would be a case of the opposite. I read many reviews and reread some. By and large, those reviews were positive all the way to gushing. I guess this is what makes it hard. I can be neither. The Tape has good bass reach (but uncontrolled) and rumble (a bit), but it bleeds into the mids, leading to bloom. The treble can become fatiguing and almost blisteringly hot at times as well. And this to me is the worst-case scenario. Why? Well, because those mids are pretty non-existent on top of the above. Recessed like few I have heard before, they are scrunched and flattened like a car in a junk yard being turned into a cube. You are left with only a hulking mass of metal. No character, only memories if you knew what the car was before.

And this is a shame to me, for the Tape has some laudable attributes, such as that good bass reach and an electrostat in a tiny package. It is also “affordable.” It has a wide sound stage, which gives good air between the notes. But to me the negatives outweigh those good aspects. The mids are so far behind that they are almost getting lapped by the bass and treble like a back marker at a NASCAR race. Plus, that case has to be a joke. Aesthetically pleasing at which to look, functionally unschooled to use. So, what it comes down to is whether you like the sound enough to put up with the shortcomings I mention. Or take the word of others, who like it and find ways to like the Tape. There are many who do. But alas, I am not one.

I thank Linsoul for the sample and continued support. Plus, from what I hear, the latest models from Shuoer are pretty decent.

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Pros: Clean and crisp sound, comfortable and well built
Cons: Upper midrange peak
Firstly I would like to thank Linsoul for sending me the Tape to review. I had not heard of Shuoer before but the Tape seemed to be getting some attention so I was looking forward to checking them out.

*disclaimer: This sample was provided for the purpose of writing a review, no incentive was given to write a favourable review. All opinions expressed are my own subjective findings

Gear Used:
Audio Opus #2 > Tape
JDS Labs Element II > Tape

DSC_6276.jpg


Tech Specs:
Driver Configuration – Low-voltage Electrostatic Dynamic Driver
Sensitivity – 104dB/mW
Impedance – 18 ohm@ 1KHz
Frequency Response – 20Hz- 30KHz
Plug – 2.5mm Balanced Plug With a 2.5 to 3.5 Adapter
Connector – MMCX
MSRP – $129.00

Shuoer Tape

Packaging, Build Quality and Accessories:
The Tape come in a cylindrical box with the branding on the outside and the IEM’s inside along with the accessories. The box is a little different, and I like it, but it doesn’t allow you to see the product without opening the box. The IEM’s are tightly held in a foam inlay to protect them during shipping.

Build quality is great overall, the cable is copper and consists of 4-braids with good strain relief and connectors. Mine are the earlier version that came with a 3.5mm single ended jack. The housings are CNC machined and feel tough, and everything feels well put together. I have seen some people have issues with the MMCX connectors, however I am happy to say mine do not have any issues.

They come with 6 pairs of regular silicone tips but the nozzles are fairly accommodating of third party ones. They also come with quite a cool little metal case, very similar to some HiFiMan offerings. I really like the case and the Tape included all relevant accessories, nothing special to report here.

Comfort and Isolation:
The housings are an odd shape however they fit really well, once you get the right tips you can easily wear the Tape for hours on end. They are quite heavy but I haven’t had an issue with this so far.

Isolation is fairly average, the housings are vented from what I can tell but they still offer a fair amount isolation for general everyday use. They also leak a tiny bit if turned up loud.

DSC_6266.jpg


Sound:
The Tape use an interesting sort of mini, low voltage electrostatic driver along with a dynamic driver to reproduce sound.

Lows: The Tape has a well balanced low end that has an impressive ability to extend deep into the sub-bass without causing bloat. The lows are always tight and controlled however they are not lacking in terms of quantity with good body to the sound. There is a definite emphasis on the sub-bass with a slightly reserved mid-bass that doesn’t punch all that hard. They sound well rounded and should offer up enough quantity for most listeners, but they are far from being a bass oriented IEM.

Midrange: The midrange has a dip in the lower section that causes some male vocals to sound mildly recessed however it gradually rises pulling out female vocals and guitar riffs with ease. There is not a lot wrong with the midrange, the lower mid recession doesn’t make them sound overly v-shaped and there is plenty of detail present. The detail is the standout quality of the Tapes midrange, they manage to extract detail other IEM’s for a similar price struggle with. The Tape do however have a peak around 3-4kHz that can bring out a little harshness. This peak is there, and how severe depends on your ears and tips used, however many people do choose to EQ this peak down. I personally don’t find it too problematic however I am possibly more tolerant of higher frequency peaks than some.

Highs: The highs are airy and spacious with good extension and detail, cymbal crashes are precise but never sharp. Every tap is heard with ease but they are not pushed forwards to bring out an artificial sense of detail. This means they round off the every so slightly v-shaped sound of the Tape perfectly and don’t overstep the mark. They roll off gently and sound smooth yet detailed, it is also easy to pinpoint where instruments are placed in the recording, especially in the treble due to the better than average layering.

The soundstage on the Tape is wider than average, you can easily pinpoint instruments within the stage, however it is wider than tall. Layering and instrument separation are better than average due to the Tape showing expert control over the drivers.

DSC_6272.jpg


Conclusion:
I have a lot of good budget IEM’s come my way and there are a select few that deserve more praise than the rest. The Tape are one of those in my opinion, they have such a controlled, detailed and expansive sound for the price that they really have surprised me. They do roll off a little early in the highs, the lower midrange is a little recessed but overall I really like the sound and they offer up a lot of detail for the money. They seem to favour higher powered sources, and the Element II really makes them sing. If you like a clean and open sound signature that doesn’t lack low end the Tape are well worth looking in to.

Sound Perfection Rating: 7.5/10 (lower midrange dip, upper midrange peak, but overall a well built and great sounding IEM)
Last edited:
Pros: Tastefully done V-shape
Solid upper treble extension
Clean midrange
Wide soundstage
Cons: Dynamics feel compressed/squashed
Thin sounding
Soundstage has little height or depth
Introduction
Hi everyone, this a review of the Shuoer Tape, a $130 IEM that has recently garnered some fame for it's sound quality at an affordable price. While the Shuoer Tape advertises that it utilizes an electrostatic driver, it is actually a magnetostatic driver. Full disclaimer: I was sent the Shuoer Tape from Linsoul as a review unit in exchange for my honest opinions.

The Shuoer Tape has a black full metal shell with a shape that is reminiscent of the Campfire Andromeda. It appears to be vented in the back but rest assured there is very little sound leakage. The Tape utilizes an MMCX connector and comes with a braided 2.5mm MMCX cable. Included is a short 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter. Just like the Shuoer Singer, it's interesting that Shuoer has decided to include a 2.5mm cable with an adapter instead of just a 3.5mm cable.

In terms of accessories, the Shuoer Tape comes with a circular green metal screw case. Accessories are limited to two identical sets of silicon S, M, and L tips. I'm not a big fan of the quality of these silicon tips but they work well enough.

The fit of the Tape is fine for me though it does feel a little shallow. Isolation is decent enough for being vented but likely won't be enough for those in very loud environments.



Sound
Overall Sound Signature
The Shuoer Tape sounds classically V-shaped to me with a notable bass and treble presence while having thin mids. What's interesting with the Tape is that they manage more treble extension than a lot of IEMs do and adds an interesting dimension to it's sound. One thing that I did note was that the Tapes felt compressed to me; large choruses and outstanding transients feel a tad squashed and lacking it's usual energy. It's not bad but enough to make me think of it.

Bass
The Shuoer Tape's bass is tastefully elevated for a V-shaped IEM. I think it finds a nice balance between overtly bassy while still remaining a solid bass presence. Additionally, the Tape's bass is well controlled and does not bleed into the mids; it's quick and a little light. Despite the magnetostatic driver, the timbre of the bass feels quite close to a traditional dynamic driver. The Tape has good subbass rumble and doesn't roll off at the lower ends. Bass quantity does slope down as it approaches the mids but still enough remains to keep mid-bass clarity for bass guitar lines. If I had to nitpick, I'd say the Tape's bass is a little on the soft side and does slightly blurry at times.

Mids
There isn't much to say here. It's thin. Other than that, can't really complain about instrument tonality. The magnetostatic driver continues to show good speed and prevents the Tape from sounding muddy. There is a larger upper mid elevation that gives the Tape have a forward slant to it. The upper harmonics of stringed instruments are slightly exaggerated and brings out a good amount of clarity while vocals stand out clearly in the mix.

Treble
The most notable thing about the Shuoer Tape is its treble. It's immediately apparent that it has a solid amount of treble extension. There is a "sparklyness" to the sound that may be a little understated but present nonetheless. I quite like it as it adds flavor to music that partially goes missing as the vast majority of IEMs that start to roll off at the upper end. Yet at the same time, I wouldn't call the Tape bright. It has a minor dip in the lower and middle treble compared to the large upper mids boost. This prevents the Tape from having sibilance in the vocals or sounding shrill. While the dip in the lower treble does mean the crisp attack of the hats/cymbals are diminished, the Tape makes this up with a clearer shimmer and decay. That said, the Tape does sometimes sound a little brittle in the treble.

Staging and Imaging
The Shuoer Tape has a surprisingly wide stage, likely thanks to it's vented nature, but lacks adequate height or depth to have a well rounded stage presentation. Imaging makes good use of the wide stage and places different instruments in the stage nicely with good nuance.

Resolution and Separation
Resolution is solid for the price. The extended treble response adds small details that are normally hidden (whether or not this is "fake" resolution is another topic). The upper mids boost additionally accentuate note definition. Separation is quite good as well especially when combined with the wide soundstage.





Comparisons
MoonDrop Starfield
The MoonDrop Starfield is bassier and much more thicker than the Shuoer Tape. Resolution is also a clear step up on the Starfield despite its very tame treble response. Tonality in the Starfield also feels more realistic, if a lot warmer. Where the Tape gains an edge is in the wider soundstage it brings to the table and of course, its treble extension. The Starfield's staging is more well rounded with height and depth if smaller.

Tin Audio T4
While the Tape is thin, the T4 is lean. I find that the T4 has better clarity and resolution compared to the Tape. Treble wise, the T4 sounds brighter in comparison to the recession in the lower and mid treble in the Tape that keeps it tamed. While the T4 is no slouch when it comes to treble extension, it can't beat out the Tape.

Shuoer Singer
While the Shuoer Singer doesn't compete in the same price bracket, I thought I'd compare the two Shuoer budget IEMs. Overall, the Tape beats the Singer pretty handily. It has better resolution, better sound stage, and better tuning. The only place where the Singer has a bit of an edge is in a heavier hitting bass response.

WG T-one
To me, the WG T-one is the closest comparison to the Shuoer Tape. They have about the same technical ability in terms of resolution and separation. The WG T-one trades a wider soundstage for a more well rounded one much like the Starfield. Treble wise, while I like the Tape's treble extension, the WG T-one does a better job of presenting the delicacies of the hats/cymbals. Thus the choice between these two IEMs comes down to the tuning. I enjoyed the balanced tuning of the WG T-one more than I did the V-shaped nature of the Shuoer Tape during the week I spent listening to the two. That said, the Tapes do sound more unique compared to the WG T-one which can sound a little generic. While they both sound pretty good, they don't quite match live up to the sound quality presented by the Starfield or the T4.

Should you buy it?
If you like a V shape signature and "sparkly" treble, the Shuoer Tape is a good choice. I do want to go back to the start of the review where I mentioned it sounds slightly compressed. This slight compression makes the Tape feel less lively to me than it's competitors, making it easy to tune out at times. Otherwise, the Tape does bring good to the table. It has solid technical ability for it's price, treble extension beyond the vast majority of IEMs, and a wide soundstage. I don't think it's the standout choice for $130 but does establish itself as a reasonably competitive option.
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NeonHD
NeonHD
I somewhat agree to the "thin mids" part. While the Tape has incredibly refined and detailed mids with a nice natural tonality to it, I feel like it could use some more quantity.

It's like taking a bite out of a delicious heavenly-tasting burger, but the burger is only the size of a Whopper Jr.
Pros: Speed and Transient Attack
Deep, accurate sub-bass
Open expressive mids
Clean detailed treble
Presentation
Cons: Cable could be better
Treble may be a little bright for some
The Shuoer Tape is an innovative IEM featuring new technology. It employs two drivers, a 10mm “nanotechnology” dynamic driver (presumably carbon nanotube) and a “low-voltage electrostatic unit”. There is some uncertainty about the driver complement as the dividing network is described as “three-way frequency distribution” and this would require an extra drive unit.

The packaging, too, is unusual, being drum-shaped and bright orange with a design of piano keys encircling the lower part of the container. Removing the lid, the IEMs are displayed in a foam holder, below which there is a green metal tin shaped like a UFO. Unscrewing this reveals the cable, five sets of silicone tips (one is pre-fitted on the IEMs) and some documentation.

The cable is an MMCX four-core loosely-braided copper type terminated with a 2.5mm balanced connector. A 90 degree 3.5mm adapter is included and there is a cylindrical metal Y-split and a small silver-coloured chin slider.

The IEMs themselves are solidly constructed from CNC machined aluminium and are finished in anodised black. The faceplates feature two large bolts which are designed to resemble cassette tape spools (hence the name, “Shuoer Tape”), with a silver mesh grille between them. It is not clear whether this acts as a vent for the dynamic driver. There is clear channel identification on the earpieces, which are rectangular in shape with angled corners and are surprisingly comfortable to wear. Using the pre-fitted tips, I obtained an excellent fit and seal.

Before testing, I completed a burn-in period of 100 hours, after which the IEMs were evaluated using an Xduoo X20 DAP via line-out with a Topping NX1a amplifier. I did try the balanced output of the DAP but discovered that the advantages of this were outweighed by the improvement gained by the extra power, which is when the Tape really came to life.

The benefits of the electrostatic driver were immediately apparent, with the Tape displaying superb speed and transient attack, impressive levels of detail and excellent timbre. Moreover, the character of the dynamic driver possessed a similar clean and immediate quality which blended perfectly with the treble unit, resulting in a seamless transition across the frequencies. The overall balance was neutral with well-extended bass, a slightly forward midrange and a bright and airy upper register.

Bass

The superb transient capability of the Tape endowed the bass with wonderful clarity and impact. Extension was also very good whilst avoiding boominess and colouration. The powerful percussion in Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” performed by the Eos Orchestra was a perfect example. Timpani and bass drums sounded clean and potent with a great sense of weight behind them. This contrasted very well with the incisive trumpet solo, providing a perfect backdrop for the rest of the orchestra. Jonn Serrie’s “On a Frontier of Fables” is a large scale space music epic from his album “Planetary Chronicles Vol.2”. It is an episodic piece containing some deep synthesised tones which reach far down into the sub-bass. The timbre and texture here were maintained at the same time as delivering serious depth and power and remaining musical at all times. The electronic interpretaion of Faure’s “Libera Me” by Schonherz and Scott was another instance with the rhythmic bass line plumbing the depths while complementing the beautiful flowing melody.

Midrange

The clean delivery and low colouration extended from the bass into the mids, which were free from bass bleed. This produced a very transparent presentation. Benny Andersson’s “Piano” album consists of solo renditions of his compositions. Linn Fajal’s wonderful recording is clear and open and the Tape really shone here. “The Day before You Came” explores the whole range of Andersson’s Fazioli instrument and the authentic timbre was very impressive. The reproduction of the overtones and the natural decay of the notes added to the realism of the performance and took you right into the studio with the artist, drawing you in to the music. Hennie Bekker is an accomplished electronic musician and on his “Mirage” album he displays his prowess with the Synclavier. “On and on and on” features a cyclic motif with the principal voice resembling a harpsichord. This came over with clarity and precision and excellent timbre accompanied by woodwind samples and sweeping string synth patches, which all combined to magical effect.

Treble

Perhaps the highlight of the Tape’s sound, the treble possessed superb clarity, resolution and precision, with a wealth of detail on offer and often allowing me to hear subtle details I had not noticed before, even in familiar music. Listening to Grace Jones’s “Private Life” resembled sitting in front of the monitors in a recording studio, with everything precise, clear and well-defined, enabling me to hear every detail of the track as the producer intended. Percussion was snappy and incisive and Ms Jones’s voice clear and articulate even above the complex many-stranded production. Kevin Kendle is a British electronic music artist and his latest album “Terra” explores the landscapes of the earth. “Ice” portrays the polar regions and the shimmering crystalline sound effects recalled frozen snowy vistas, with the high string voices complementing the percussive elements beautifully, producing a very atmospheric scene. Pachelbel’s “Canon in D major” in a stately interpretation by the J. Paillard Orchestra featured a bright harpsichord continuo backing graceful strings. The harpsichord solo was very well-defined and the rhythm of the piece was attractively rendered.

Soundstage

The Shuoer Tape managed to reproduce three-dimensional elements very accurately. Where the production demanded it, the presentation was either intimate or wide-ranging. Trevor Horn’s vocals in “I am a Camera” by The Buggles stood out beautifully from Geoffrey Downes’s atmospheric synth accompaniment, with studio reverb and other spatial effects perfectly rendered. The sense of depth in this track was particularly notable. “Elesewhere” from Vangelis’s album “Direct” contains a wealth of electronic effects dancing around the stereo image, creating a perfect foil for the anthemic melody line. Electronic woodwind and deep resonant bass filled out the production and it was all contained within an expansive acoustic. “Aragon” is the third movement of Albeniz’s “Suite Espanola”. In a colourful and vibrant orchestral transcription by Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, the position of the various instruments was accurately portrayed, taking the listener direct to the concert hall which was laid out impressively before me. The quality of the vintage Decca recording shone through.

Conclusion

There have been a number of new driver types appearing recently. Piezoelectric units (BQEYZ Spring 1 and NiceHCK NX7), Planar drivers (Tin Hifi P1 and TRI i3) and now electrostatic drivers. The Shuoer Tape has remarkable speed and clarity with excellent fine detail. It is tempting to ascribe this to the electrostatic unit but we must not forget its partnering dynamic driver which keeps up in terms of speed and resolution. The crossover is also well designed, delivering a smooth transition from bass to treble whilst maintaining a consistent timbre across the frequency range. Being a new type of hybrid, it is difficult to make like-for-like comparisons, but of the earphones in my collection the sound of the Tape most resembles the TRN BA5 (but with deeper bass) and the Tin Hifi T3 (again with a more extended lower range). The treble tonality does resemble that of a piezoelectric driver but adds a crystalline quality which is very appealing.

Listening to the Tape is like dusting off all your music tracks and hearing them sounding shiny and new! With a wide frequency response, excellent accuracy and detail, the Tape manages to combine a crisp analytical quality with entertainment and musicality. It does it all, and could be described as the Swiss Army Knife of IEMs.
This sample was provided by Sunny from Better Audio US at Amazon.com. Product link:https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07YWNSQPR/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Attachments

Pros: Phenomenal Build Quality
- Comfortable fit, with zero rough edges or protrusions
- Substantive, value-for-money package
- Hyper-realistic Mids
- Clear and concise, upper-mids
- Super vocal performance
Cons: Unforgiving on poorly-recorded tracks
- Lack of Bass
Sound Review by Kev
Disclaimer: Shuoer has graciously provided us with this sample unit in exchange for an honest review. The views discussed below are a reflection of Project A3's thoughts surrounding the product. It has been run-in for at least 50 hours prior to reviewing in order to achieve an accurate representation of the product.

Introduction:


Shuoer is a brand from Dongguan City specializing in IEMs'. With their entry level model, the Shuoer Tape, the brand has established themselves as a serious competitor in a saturated marketplace of budget IEMs’ clamouring to be the best.

What makes the Tape special, lies beneath its unassuming shells. It features a single nano-sized, low voltage electrostatic driver. Today, electrostatic miniature drivers, especially ones manufactured by Sonion, easily cost up to $900 USD. The Shuoer Tape has significantly undercut the entire electrostatic driver market, being competitively priced at $129 USD.



The 10mm “high-performance nanotechnology driver” on paper, should attack and decay at a faster rate than traditional diaphragms, achieving a lower total harmonic distortion and flatter bass response that mimic the sonic qualities of planar-magnetic headphones. However, unlike a planar magnetic driver, the high-performance drive utilized in the tape requires little to no current, making it much more efficient than traditional orthodynamic headphones.

Despite its low cost to entry, will the Shuoer Tape be able to live up to the sonic capabilities of its more expensive counterparts?

Specifications:
● New technology with Low-Voltage Electrostatic Dynamic Driver
● 5-Axis CNC Carve Metal Body
● High Purity 6N Single Crystal Copper Cable
● High Quilty MMCX Connector
● Coming with 2.5mm Balanced Jack and 2.5-3.5 Adapter
● Frequency Response: 20Hz- 30kHz
● Sensitivity: 104 dB +/- 2%
● Impedance: 18 ohms

Gear Used & Tracklist:
Onkyo DP-X1 | Sony NW-A105 | Aune X1S | Periodic Audio Nickel (Ni) | Venture Electronics Odyssey | Google Pixel 2XL

Unboxing:


The Shuoer Tape comes in an orange canister style box. Lifting open the top lid, reveals the earphones themselves, which feature MMCX connectors. The UFO-style metal case, the 6N OCC Copper cable terminated in 2.5mm balanced, a 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter and tips of varying sizes can be found under the top foam insert. Like most chi-fi products, the Tape comes with a generous accessory package that covers all bases right out of the box.

Props to Shuoer for including a beautiful copper cable and balanced/unbalanced options, considering its affordable price tag.

Scalability:


The Shuoer Tape on my Sony Walkman NW-A105 requires +10 extra steps of volume to reach listenable volume levels. While it can be driven by most portable sources, be prepared to crank the volume knob up in small increments. With my Aune X1s DAC/Amp, the Shuoer Tape sounds clearer in the mids, with a tighter bass response. Power is your friend here. Nevertheless, it is still easily driven out of most sources. Consumers can rest easy, knowing that a simple dongle and a smartphone provides ample driving power.

Fit:
Working with CNC machining is a double-edged sword. The only audio brand to successfully tool a comfortable IEM ala CNC is Campfire Audio. I am proud to say, the Shuoer Tape has achieved that goal at a portion of the cost. The earphones are not only light, but they rest snugly in my ears, barely moving an inch as I make my daily train commute with little to no discomfort.

Its aluminium chassis is well finished, with zero blemishes to be found.

Sound Sig:
The Shuoer Tape has an interesting mid-forward signature
that favours a sparkly treble, with a slight upper-mid emphasis, sacrificing bass-response and extensive highs in the process; the complete opposite of the traditionally favored V-sound signature.

Bass:
Unfortunately, the bass on the Tape is alittle tame.
On tracks such as “Chasing Kites” by Iamamiwhoami, the punchy bassline while present, lacks the heft in the mid-bass that complements electronic music well. Sub-bass carries enough body, but it lacks the mid-bass depth for a well-rounded, bass response. Strangely enough, the bass is drowned out by its energetic midrange, placed further behind in the mix.

Mids:
The midrange is the obvious star of the show here. The Shuoer Tape has an ultra-clean midrange that sounds wonderful with female vocals. On Natalia Lafourcade’s “Soledad y el mar”, Natalia’s vocals sound eerily lifelike, alongside the hyper-realistic representation of flamenco-style guitars and string instruments. It is easy to discern the sonic capabilities an electrostatic driver carries over the traditional balanced armature/dynamic driver configuration.

Overall, the Shuoer Tape absolutely excels in the midrange, and it is easy to see why it has become a community favourite. However, it has a tendency to sound thin on certain genres.

Highs:
The highs on the Shuoer Tape are airy and well-formed, with little to no harshness or rough notes to detract from the overall experience.
On Max Richter’s “On the Nature of Daylight”, the violins on that particular track tend to sound shrill on IEMs’ with an unconstrained high-section. On the Tape, the highs are ever-present, but it decays rapidly without overstaying its welcome on overly bright tracks. Even then, instrumental sections with crystalline highs are given ample room to breathe.

Treble:


The Shuoer Tape has a treble response that favours tonal accuracy, in lieu with its mid-forward tuning.


On “My Queen is Harriet Tubman” by the Sons of Kemet, the percussion section, alongside the prominent snare drums sound tonally accurate, recreating the timbre characteristics of each instrument with ease and precision.

However, it is important to take note that the Shuoer Tape is particularly unforgiving with badly mastered tracks, hastily revealing all their imperfections and recorded flaws, especially with dynamically compressed music.

Soundstage:
The Shuoer Tape has above-average soundstage, with decent left-right channel separation.
The rectangular vent on both faceplates of the Tape allows the bass to dissipate, and allows the Tape to enhance its sound staging capabilities.

While it isn’t exceptional in this department, instrumentation and vocal section on tracks like “Please don’t let me be misunderstood” by Santa Esmeralda are separated well enough, creating a decently wide stereo image.

I am more than satisfied with the Tape’s sound-staging capabilities, given its entry-level price point.

Separation:
The Shuoer Tape touts above-average imaging capabilities, allowing for easy discernment between both instruments and vocals.


However, musically complex tracks with a giant array of instruments and vocals, such as the aforementioned “Please don’t let me misunderstood” by Santa Esmeralda reveals the limitations of the tape; everything starts to sound like a cohesive mix, making it much harder to pinpoint the positions of each instrumental or vocal cue.

Musicality:
The Shuoer Tape favours string instruments and brass instruments that emphasize odd-harmonics and coarser highs. The Tape shines on jazz standards, such as John Coltrane’s “Blue Train”. Instruments with a porous timbre sound airy and open on the Tape due to its saturated upper-mid section, allowing these instruments to shine, doubling down on their strengths. I would highly recommend live jazz standards or classical music to be paired with the Tape.

However, because of its unique mid-forwardness and upper-mid focus, the Tape’s thin-mids and bass-light signature does not do pop tracks justice, lacking a commensurate low end.

The Tape excels with acoustic tracks and live recordings. Bassheads, look elsewhere.

Comparison:



Falling under the sub $150-dollar price bracket, the Tape is one of the only affordable electrostatic IEMs’ in the porta-audio marketplace. Nevertheless, it faces stiff competition against other lauded brands in the audio community, such as the BQEYZ Spring 1; a triple-hybrid IEM with 2 balanced armatures and 1 electrostatic driver that is priced similarly to the Tape.

Comparison.png


Sound Conclusion:


The Shuoer Tape is an exceptional value proposition. Its sound signature is an acquired taste and it may not appeal to those who prefer a more forgiving tuning. Nevertheless, its exceptional mid-range is something to be experienced. The Tape serves as a wonderful showcase of what an electrostatic driver can do at an attractive price point.

The Tape’s existence is a testament to the price-to-performance philosophy; good sound does not necessitate an expensive price. I implore the audiophiles out there to at least experience what the Tape has to offer.

I cannot wait to see Shuoer has in store for us in the near future*.




*All ratings are accurate as of date of publication. Changes in price, newer models may affect Project A3's views on the performance and value of the reviewed product.
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Reactions: Jawis and hqssui
Jawis
Jawis
Enjoyed your review. I found that the bass seems to extend for me with larger tips that are further out of the ear canal, but with a good seal. The upper range still sounds great for me with this set up. Personally, I feel a great value 2019 purchase for me
Project A3
Project A3
@Jawis It is an amazing showcase for what an electrostat driver can do at such an attractive price point! I noticed some slight changes in the bass response as well (whilst tip-rolling), but they weren't substantive enough. I'm glad you're enjoying your purchase :).
Pros: shiny shimmering trebles
no sign of sibilance
very detailed
lows are tight and fast but not overpowering
mids are clear and with body
comes with a very sturdy metal case
Cons: MMCX connection on my left shell is too to hard insert/reinsert cables on
stock tips aren't as good as I hoped
could use a bit more lower mids
This is my first $100-$200 range IEM so I have no same range comparisons. But I do have BGVP DM7 (around 3x the price). I really love the treble control of this one.

Trebles
  • Extends very well with no signs of sibilance but maybe borderline too bright for some
  • Trebles tamed a little bit after around 10 hours of burn in.
  • String sections in orchestral music sounds alive and energized
  • A little airy
  • Cymbal sizzle comes out naturally and alive

Mids
  • Well-bodied
  • Focus on upper mids
  • Vocals blend well with the excellent treble (Consonants etc)
Bass
  • Very tight and fast
  • Low end rumble is good
  • No signs of muddiness
  • A little bump up the lower mid bass
Soundstage
  • Medium width
  • Height isn't too tall but not congested
Imaging
  • Busy tracks like large orchestral music show no signs of congestion
  • Cymbals and other details do not bleed into the background on loud rock tracks
Accessories
  • Lots of tips included but none look, feel or sound good
  • Cable is a little hit or miss. It feels good but somehow there something off about it. Ended up using the stock cable of my BGVP DM7.
  • THE CASE IS GREAT
Pros: Extremely detailed sound
Tight,powerful and fast bass
vocals lifelike and clear with very balanced male and female vocals
unique look
nice case and storage box
VERY good price
Cons: Shell Form
tips
mmcx connector
QC issue that can be fatal
Price: 129 usd

Edit 2: If you use EQ to tame the 3,5k area then it removes the sibilance and also improves the the naturality of the sound, without any degrades in sound.

EDIT: Cable 175 is this cable: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000158772005.html
from @Hakuzen´s amazing list of cables: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/resistance-of-cables-pics-comments-and-links.907998/
Introduction: There have been reports of people having QC issues with the Tape, but I still bought it knowing it might also be affected. As some of you might know, I have been buying a lot of iems in only a year since I joined the Plagu… I mean the hobby called Chi-Fi and this will be my first Full review so If there is something important missing then I apologies. As packaging goes, I believe it is better to watch a video of it so I will just leave a video of someone else unboxing it. As for my few comments on the packaging, the cable is nice but I didn’t try them (more on the reason for why later), the case is very well made but the Tips looked like trash so I didn’t even bother trying them.
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Build
: They feels like they are made of metal, they have metal filter for wax guard and no sharp edges. Very good impressions so far, BUT the MMCX connector is really weird since they didn’t make the typical clicking sound when connecting to a cable as others do. For this reason, I am very hesitant on changing or trying out different cables with them, as there is no indicator for when it is inserted enough or too little. Feels like I can just accidentally damage them if I were to force them in more or they might detach if attached too lightly. Luckily, I have others iems with MMCX connectors so I just inserted them with the same amount of force I do for them. The MMCX connector is the only problem with the build of the tape.

Fit: Weird fit, have to adjust them from time to time. Not a good iem if you move around much. No problems otherwise. They are on the small side so people with big ears might have problems with them but for me they are the perfect size, just that the shape of the shell could be better.

Comfort: Quite comfortable actually for a weird shape as this, nothing to complain as I can use them for a long time without discomfort.

Isolation: Below average, with no sound playing I can still hear people talking and cars moving. With music I can’t hear anything (but that is usually the case with iems). Not recommended if you need good isolation.

PROBLEMS (IMPORTANT): Before moving on to the sound I have to warn you that there has been reports of people having QC issues with the Tape. I will leave a link to where people have discussed about it.
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/shuoer-impressions-thread.916267/page-34


Setup: Fiio M11, cable 175 ( 4,4mm balanced), Spinfits CP145.


(here comes the subjective part)

Lows in general: songs that do not have powerful bass isn’t boosted and feels very natural, on songs that have powerful bass it is amazing. Supreme combination of soft and powerful bass. Entire low spectrum is tight and fast in general. With a focus in Sub-bass. This is my ideal bass, absolutely perfect with nothing negative about it.

Sub-bass
: Oh boy this is the best part of the tape, Powerful, tight and fast. The sub bass digs low and has good extension. There is almost no rumble, making it very tight and the speed is amazing no bleed into the mids at all. Bassheads that like powerful,tight and fast bass should love it. But if you want powerful rumbling bass then you might want to look elsewhere.

Mid-bass: Punchy, tight and fast. Just enough mid bass to not being dull and not boosted so much that the mid-bass feels like sub-bass.

Mids in general: very balanced between male and female vocals but leaning just a tiny bit on the brighter side due to the boosted 3k affecting high pitched female vocals. 99% of my other iems have a female focus with male vocals a bit behind, but on the Tape both seems about equal which is amazing. Instruments is very natural and lifelike.

Male vocals: Is better than female vocals by just a bit due to the boosted 3k making some female vocals a bit shouty, but this can be the same for male vocals that are either screaming a lot or high pitched.

Female vocals: beautiful and emotional, females with high pitch can be shouty especially on high volume but it is not sibilant.

Highs: very crisp and extremely detailed, the problem comes with electric guitar on some rock songs where it is around 3k that can be a bit too shouty and almost sibilant. This happens on Drowning Pool-Bodies and breaking Benjamin-Blow me away where the electric guitar gets very shouty. Fortunately (or unfortunately if you only listen to rock like those two) it is only electric guitars that gets sharp or shouty. Violin and other high frequency instruments do not have this problem and instead sound natural and lifelike. For example, Gothic storm-kronos sound very natural and epic without being sharp or shouty. Sibilance is not a problem.
Soundstage: Just average soundstage, good enough for music but pretty bad for gaming (overwatch) as it was hard to hear where exactly everything was.

Comparisons (very subjective):

Some keywords I use: Powerful>strong>punchy, sibilant>shouty>sharp

Tin Hifi P1: Mids and Highs in general is better on the P1 except that male vocals don’t sound as good as on the Tape and female vocals is more boosted making them more of the focus. Female vocals sound better on the P1 and male sound better with the Tape. Highs is more detailed than the Tape but not by a lot. Tape is absolutely destroying the P1 in lows no contest really, you might like the P1´s bass more if you prefer bass light. Soundstage is bigger on the P1. (P1 tested with Fiio M11 not enough power compared to my desktop setup but it wouldn’t be fair otherwise, can however say that on the desktop setup the mids and highs are definitely better than the Tape but the lows still destroyed by Tape. Not a portable iem really)

Moondrop KXXS: very similar sound profile in general to the Tape, but honestly the tape is destroying the KXXS in every way except soundstage and it being a more relaxed. I would describe the Bass on the KXXS as being pretty fast (not as fast as the Tape), tight (Tape is tighter) and strong/punchy and the highs are lesser in quantity to the Tape. Everything is less detailed too, honestly wouldn’t buy the KXXS and take the Tape instead.

Blon 03: basically, the same as the KXXS but I can definitely still recommend the Blon 03 and the Tape since the blon 03 is very cheap and offers a more relaxing sound compared to the Tape.

Audiosense T800: I seriously dislike the T800 more for every iem I gotten after it, not only can´t I handle the sibilance in the highs the bass is too boomy and slow. Due to the highs being so boosted and sibilant there is a lot of details. Mids is recessed. The shape is too big for me and to top it all of it is a VERY picky iem with only 9ohms of resistance, making this useless on phones and even my Fiio M11 a 450 usd dap has some hissing in the background. NOT recommended, if you like U-shaped iems and can handle the sibilance then maybe it is for you but not for me (there are dampers you can buy and modify the T800 which according to people should tame the highs)

TFZ No.3: almost everything that I said about the T800 is the same on the no.3 except that it is not a picky iem and can be driven of a phone, it is not sibilant but it is a warmer sounding iem, and the bass is powerful and average speed but it is boomy. It is much more U-shaped compared to the Tape, where mids are recessed whereas the mids on the Tape are forward when needed. Highs quantity is similar on both but the Tape is much more detailed. If you are a basshead that likes Powerful and boomy bass then the no.3 gets the recommendation if not then Tape all the way.


Conclusion: This is honestly my favorite iem of 2019 and I hope that mine survives the dreaded QC issue, otherwise this should be in everyone’s collection if they call themselves an audiophile. Looking forward for more iems to use this kind of driver.

Thanks for reading and if there is anything wrong feel free to tell me.
Last edited:
Kenneth Galang
Kenneth Galang
Just a note that not everyone will understand what cable 175 is since that number does not come from the manufacturer. Good review though!
Krassi
Krassi
Very nice review and i can confirm that cable 175 and spinfit like tips (whirlwinds in my case) work amazing on it and no need to eq anything.
pointlineplane
pointlineplane
Thanks for the detailed review! I just got mine two days ago. Like you, I like the Tape's lows in general and dislike the stock eartips.
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