Simphonio Dragon 2+ SWD2plus Dynamic Driver Audiophile HiFi Earbuds Earphone

Rating:
4.375/5,
  1. Moonstar
    The Earbud with Clear and Spacious Sound...
    Written by Moonstar
    Published Sep 20, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Excellent clarity and detail retrieval
    Good treble & upper midrange control,
    Wide Soundstage,
    Fit,
    2.5mm Balanced jack + Adaptor,
    Cons - Bass is missing slightly depth,
    It’s not the cheapest earbud
    Simphonio Dragon2+

    The Earbud with Clear and Spacious Sound...




    Introduction:


    Simphonio was formed by a group of professional and experienced audio engineers and young- innovative audiophiles, who have created a number of products. The company Simphonio is located in Dongguan City, Guangdong, China.

    They have recently released two products, the Simphonio Xcited2 In-Ear Monitor and the Simphonio Dragon2+ an earbud with a 15.4mm diameter dynamic driver, which I will now review.

    Webpage: www.simphonio.com


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    Disclaimer:

    First of all, a big thanks to Simphonio for providing me a review sample of the Dragon2+. I am not affiliated with Simphonio or any third person beyond this review and these words reflect my true, unaltered opinions about the product.



    The Price:

    The Simphonio Dragon2+ is available on Penon Audio for 319,90 USD.

    Purchase link: https://penonaudio.com/simphonio-dragon-2plus.html



    Package and Accessories:

    The Simphonio Dragon2+ comes in flat square shaped brow card box that has a patterned surface with Simphonio logo. This box is wrapped with a white paper packing that sports some Simphonio brandings on the front (logo & company) and technical information’s at the back.

    This box contains the following items;

    • 1 pcs x Simphonio Dragon 2+ Earphone
    • 2 pairs x Full foams
    • 2 pairs x Donut foams
    • 1 pcs x 2.5mm female to 3.5mm male adapter
    • 1 pcs x Leather carry pouch
    • 1 pcs x Warranty Card
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    The Simphoni Dragon2+ comes with 4 pairs of foams tips (2 full foam + 2 donut foams), a 2.5mm female to 3.5mm male adapter, which is a nice addition and a leather carry pouch.

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    There leather carry pouch looks very premium and esthetic, but isn’t very protective against impacts.

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    Design, Fit and Build Quality:

    The Simphonio Dragon2+ earbud has a very familiar looking housing, with a pretty similar shape to the Yuin PK. The surface of the plastic housing is in dark grey and has a glimmering texture, which differs it from regular eabuds with plastic housing.

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    On the top of the Dragon2+ are 2 small channels, from what one is closed and the other seems to be open.

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    The inner side of the housing sports the brand name printed in white color.

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    On the outer side of both housings are left & right markings.

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    The cable of the Simphonio Dragon2+ is made of 6N purity OFC (Oxygen Free Cooper) material. The cable is made of two separate cables; one with black plastic coating and one with transparent isolation.

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    The metal Y splitter has the Dragon+ branding.

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    The Simphonio Dragon2+ comes with a 4 pole 2.5mm TRSS balanced headphone jack, which has a strait profile. This headphone jack has a strait profiled metal housing, which sport the Simphonio branding and a sprig like strain relief.

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    The 2.5mm female to 3.5mm male adapter is made of the same wire material and is a nice addition.

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    The housing profile of the Simphonio Dragon2+ is one of my favorites, which is sits very comfortable in my ears.





    Technical Specifications:

    • Driver: 15.8mm Dynamic Neodymium magnet
    • Frequency Response:20-25000 Hz
    • Impedance: 16Ω
    • Output Sound Pressure Level:110±3dB/mW
    • Maximum Input Power:3mW
    • Cable Length: 1.2M 6N OFC
    • Weight: 14g



    Sources:

    a) In Ear Monitor : Simphonio Dragon2+, Astrotec Lyra Collection, Shozy BK (Balanced

    b) DAP/DAC : Cayin N5II, Chord Mojo, Hifiman HM603s, Sony WM1A, Fiio M7, Hidizs DH1000

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    c) Albums & Tracks used for this review:


    • Celine Dion – Power of Love (Spotify)
    • London Grammar – Interlud (Live) (Flac 24bit/44kHz)
    • Laura Pergolizzi – Lost On You “Live at Harvard and Stone” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Minor Empire – BulbulumAltinKafeste (Spotify)
    • Casey Abrams – Robot Lover (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Steve Srauss – Mr. Bones (Flac 16bit/44kHz)
    • Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (DSF) – Binaural Recording
    • Future Heroes – Another World (Tidal Hi-fi)
    • Lorde – Team (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
    • Tom Player – Resonace Theory “Album” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
    • Opeth – Damnation (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Metallica – Sad bu True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
    • Megadeth – Sweeting Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Porcupine Tree – Deadwing “Album” (Spotify)



    The Sound:

    The Simphonio Dragon2+ is an earbud with a pretty balanced sound signature that tends to sound slightly bright. The brightness of the highs and the upper midrange tuning leads to a very wide soundstage.



    Bass:

    In terms of subbass, it extends pretty well and doesn’t show aggressiveness or dominance in the overall presentation. The Simphonio Dragon2+ sounds very control and has good speed. For example, it is possible to follow the bass lines of the song Acid Rain, performed in Liquid Tension Experiment. But please not that it is producing bass within the limits of an earbud.

    The rendering of detail and texture is on a high level and fulfills the price that is asked for.

    Quantity wise, it can’t handle some sort of music, which needs weighty bass like techno, rap or hip-hop. The midbass region adds some thickness and warmness in an acceptable level and they don't dominate the rest of the sound spectrum.


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    Mid:

    The most accurate word, which could describe the midrange of Simphonio Dragon2+, is "Crystal Clear". Midrange of the Dragon2+ is very revealing and transparent and there is an excellent detail retrieval, which is presented in a natural way. Although they have forwardness, they are not replaced right in front of the listener or they are not too far from the listener in terms of positioning.

    There is an exception for female vocals, which may become prominent thanks to Dragon2+'s upfront upper midrange presentation. For example, there is no harshness during Celine Dion is saying "the sound of your HEARTBEATING" or "I' m your LADY", which could fatigue your ears. The Female vocals are more successful and sharing more emotional than those of male ones and there is also no remarkable sibilance despite of the pronounced upper midrange, well done Simphonio!

    One more thing that should worth to mention is that electro guitar strings and riffs are very realistic and energetic, which makes the Simphonio Dragon2+ very suitable with genres like progressive rock or metal music.

    The midbass region of Dragon2+ is not thick or too thin in terms of tonality, which shows also nice sparkle, especially in acoustic songs. The overall timbre tends to stay in the north of neutral that carries quite amazing micro detail.



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    Treble:


    Airiness is the key word regarding Simphonio Dragon2+'s treble region. Dragon2+ has a well extended and crisp treble presentation, where instruments like cymbals and flutes sounding lifelike, with a slightly hint of thinness.

    It’s possible that some people can find the treble presentation slightly bright, but it doesn't show harshness at all, depending the type of music. The upper treble range is the star of the show, so that additional airiness can be heard in genres like metal music and sub genres. Instruments like crash cymbals are have good extension in song like Megadeth’s “Sweating Bullets”. But when pace of music increased, they become a bit distorted. However, treble region is not fatiguing, even in the album "Deadwing" by Porcupine Tree (This album's record is a little bit bright and it may be sounded harsh with earbuds that tends to sound bright).



    Soundstage:

    The soundstage of the Simphonio Dragon 2+ has a headphone-like expansive soundstage, which results in excellent imaging and separation of instruments. There is enough space for positioning of vocals and instruments thanks to its impressive depth and width, even in complex songs like Alboran Trio's Cingue Lunghissimi Minuti. The Dragon2+ is a very good earbud for electronic music and binaural recordings, which benefits from a wide and deep soundstage.



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    Comparisons:


    Simphonio Dragon 2+ vs Astrotec Lyra Collection

    In terms of sound, those two earbuds are quite having a quite different sound signature with similar technical capabilities. The first difference is in their tonality, where the Simphonio Dragon2+ shows a relative bright and the Astrotec Lyra Collection a warmer presentation. None of them can be called as neutral because both of them have coloration in specific areas. For example, the bass of Astrotec Lyra Collection has more quantity than those of the Simphonio Dragon2+. The midbass are of the Lyra has additional body in comparison with Dragon2+.

    The Simphonio Dragon2+ has the faster bass response, which is a good ability with genres that need speed in this area.

    Midrange of both earbuds is pretty upfront, but the Dragon2+ has more forwardness, than those of the Lyra Collection, especially with female vocals and sharing a detailed and transparent midrange. The Dragon2+ sounds slightly more transparent thanks to its airier presentation and more capable imaging. Instruments like piano sounds slightly more realistic with the Lyra Collection because of the additional body that comes from the midbass area. The Astrotec Lyra Collection sounds more realistic and emotional with acoustic guitars, while the Dragon2+ excels better with electric guitars because of the more energetic and crispier presentation.

    The treble range of the Simphonio Dragon 2+ has more presence than those of the Astrotec Lyra Collection, which result in to an airier presentation and additional sparkle, especially in upper treble region. When it comes to detail retrieval, both earbuds have great ability to give high level of detail, but the Dragon2+ is superior to the Astrotec Lyra Collection in overall performance.

    When it comes to the soundstage performance, I can easily say that both of this earbuds sharing a very spacious and out of the head presentation. The Astrotec Lyra Collection has the wider stage, while the Simphonio Dragon2+ performs better for soundstage depth.


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    Simphonio Dragon2+ verus Shozy BK (aka Shozy Stardust)


    It's not fair to compare these earbuds but I think that Shozy BK is a quite capable earbud independently of its price tag.

    The Shozy BK sounds warmer than Simphonio Dragon 2+, but it is not that Astrotec Lyra kind of warmness. In terms of subbass depth, they are almost identical, the main difference is the midbass quantity, which is adding more body to the overall presentation of the Shozy BK, but not that much body as Lyra Collection has. The tonality of Shozy BK's midrange is thicker, fuller and near analogue sounding, while the Simphonio Dragon 2+ is more transparent, detailed and it portrays more technicality rather than musicality.

    Their upper midrange presentation is pretty identical, so that both earbuds are very good with their vocal presentation. The Simphonio Dragon 2+ sounds slightly better with female vocals, while the Shozy BK sounds thicker with male vocals. The difference of vocal performance between the two is pretty identical.

    Treble region of the Simphonio Dragon 2+ is more pronounced than those of the Shozy BK, which is adding more air and sparkle to the overall presentation. When it comes to detail retrieval, the Dragon2+ is superior o the Shozy BK, which is otherwise very talented for its price tag. The Shozy BK's treble characteristic makes it more suitable for longer listening periods with a wide variety of music genres.

    When it comes to soundstage performance, the Simphonio Dragon2+ has the wider and deeper sound presentation. Technical abilities like instrument separation and imaging is better with Simphonio Dragon2+ thanks to its superior upper frequency performance. The difference in the price tag shows itself most in this regarding.


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    Conclusion

    The Simphonio Dragon2+ is a very capable earbud that has very transparent midrange and can produce high level of micro detail. The bass tuning is not appropriate for certain genres, but is good enough for genres like jazz and acoustic music. Expansive soundstage and amazing instrument separation is the strength of Simphonio Dragon2+, along with its fatigue free treble presentation.



    Pros and Cons:

    • + Excellent clarity and detail retrieval
    • + Good treble & upper midrange control
    • + Wide Soundstage
    • + Fit
    • + 2.5mm Balanced jack + Adaptor

    • - Bass is missing slightly depth
    • - It’s not the cheapest earbud
  2. BloodyPenguin
    A Self Indulgence for a True Earbud Fanatic
    Written by BloodyPenguin
    Published Jun 26, 2018
    4.5/5,
    The Simphonio Dragon 2+ is the culmination of function and form. This is a top tier earbud that pushes the limits of its own design.

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    **Disclaimer, the Simphonio Dragon 2+ was provided for my honest review with the help of Penon Audio.**


    https://penonaudio.com/simphonio-dragon-2plus.html


    Brief History:

    Simphonio is a fairly new name to the audiophile world, however the company behind it, Sunrise Audio, has been a player for a while now. Sunrise Audio has had past hits with the Dragon name before. Including the SW-Dragon and the newest SW-Dragon II. So, as you can tell, they like putting the Dragon name on their high end earbuds. Sunrise Audio has also produced some well reviewed earphones as well. That tradition continues with Simphonio's Xcited2. But this article is all about their best earbud.

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    Specifications:

    - Brand: Simphonio
    - Model: Dragon 2+
    - Driver: 15.8mm Dynamic Neodymium magnet
    - Frequency Response:20-25000 Hz
    - Impedance: 16Ω
    - Output Sound Pressure Level:110±3dB/mW
    - Maximum Input Power:3mW
    - Cable Length: 1.2M 6N OFC
    - Weight: 14g

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    Contents:

    - Simphonio Dragon 2+ Earphone
    - 4 pairs of foam eartips
    - 2.5mm female to 3.5mm male adapter
    - Leather carry pouch

    Th leather pouch with its embroidered logo, is quite premium in material and feel. I do wish for this price point that Simphonio added some alternate color foam eartips, like maybe a bronze to match the cord. Also, the addition of some earhooks would be a nice welcome as well.

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    Build:

    The Dragon2+ takes the basic design of the earbud and pushes it to level 11. Starting from the bottom, the 2.5mm plug is crafted with precision as it extends itself with tough flexible strain relief. The 6N OFC copper cable is braided neatly from end to end. The Y splitter provides a nice added weight and uses the same casing as the 2.5mm plug. The housings themselves look to be just a simple black paint at first glance, but on further inspection, they have coating that projects a beautiful luster at close range.

    The 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter includes the for mentioned 6N OFC braided cable. The black adapter piece while made from metal (and not from plastic as I first thought), is of solid construction, but it is angled design seems to stand out from the flow of the rest of the build. I would have also have liked to have seen a slightly more serious 3.5mm plug.

    The Dragon2+ is a handsome earbud that looks the part of a luxury earbud.

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    Sound:

    Before I breakdown the signature of the Dragon2+, I want to say that clarity is beyond impressive. The sound quality is silky smooth from top to bottom. This is an amazing earbud that can produce magical music representation.

    I also want to say that I took the advice of Earbud Collector Extraordinaire @golov17 and burned in the Simphonio Dragon 2+ for just about 200 hours before doing any critical listening.

    Bass - The lows are quite reserved and do take a backseat to the mids and highs. Tuning for this earbud was clearly focused for the mid-range. With the Dragon2+ you never have to worry about any bleeding from the lows. The restraint in the bass helps to give this earbud its clean character in playback. What is left over are lows that portray an authentic, yet subtle version of the original intention of the sound engineer.

    Mids - As have already stated, the mid-range is showcased with the Dragon2+. Putting on "Sad Lisa" by Cat Stevens leaves a truly haunting impression. Vocals are accurate, strings are crisp and keys are powerful. Songs of this nature show off the extremes in transparency that this earbud is capable of producing.

    Treble - Playing with the overall feel of cleanliness. The highs are a big part of the Dragon2+ signature. While the upper range is on full display and all of its glory I never found these earbuds to be overly harsh or bright. It gives you all the details without any of the pain or fatigue.

    Soundstage - Wide, ultra wide. The Dragon2+ has wonderful depth and in return helps to provide great instrument separation.

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    Driving and Source Selection:

    Being an earbud of this magnitude, one might assume that you would need a fancy rig to get the most out of the Dragon2+. While there is no denying that almost any product would befit from the highest quality sources, it really is not as big of a factor with this Simphonio earbud.

    I used the Dragon2+ with a plethora of DAPs, Amps and DACs, I can tell you that this earbud excelled with every interaction. While I could go over each individual source in further detail, in the end it does not really matter. This is a very easy earbud to drive. One of the few I have tested over the years that just did not care if it was a $100 Micro DAP, or a $2000 DAC/Amp pairing. The Dragon2+ has its distinct sound signature that just makes the best possible impression with whatever I threw at it.

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    Comparisons:

    *Note, the other earbuds in this comparison cost about 1/3rd the price.

    One of my favorite earbuds of all time is ‎Wong Kuan Wae's "Blur". I find it has an excellent close to neutral balance, also with great clarity. When listening back to back with the Dragon2+, the two both show great range. Though the Blur does include a more noticeable quality sub-bass, while the Dragon2+ has a hint of sparkle up top. Wong Kuan Wae's earbud is not finicky, but does like to be used with higher end, more powerful sources. Both of these show off why I am in love with earbuds with their palpable signatures.

    Another interesting earbud is the NICEHCK EBX. It is in quite the contrast of the other earbuds in this comparison. The EBX is a full metal, detectable cable, heavy hitter. Build materials are top notch and heavy. Fit is very different from the light housings of the Dragon2+ and this can factor in when thinking about both comfort and extended use. Sound wise, while the EBX is pleasant and similar in signature to the Dragon2+, Though to my ears, the EBX lacks ultimate character that the Simphonio portrays.

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    Overall Thoughts:

    The Dragon2+ is an expensive earbud. How does one justify this extravagance when looking to purchase? For me, it is their versatility to stay true to their designed tuning with all types of music and sources that shines through. Not many earbuds out there can show this type of clarity in multiple setup scenarios.

    Any "downsides" would stack up to personal preferences with sound signatures and output assignments. For those looking for a neutral sound or something with more bass and a dedicated 3.5mm plug, then this might not be the earbud for you. Though I would be willing to bet that anyone that does want their own Dragon2+ already has a set purpose in mind for this wonderfully made Simphonio product.



    My rating: 4.5/5

    The Dragon2+ is an excellent earbud. It sounds fantastic and looks amazing. It will hit your wallet hard and is not intended to be end game, neutral monster. Instead it knows what it does well and sticks to it strengths. For what it is and what it can do, the Dragon2+ gets one of my highest recommendations.


    **You can see more of my photography and follow me at:**

    www.facebook.com/JustinMinerPhotography/

    www.instagram.com/justinminerphotography/


    I've also started a Facebook Group for earbud fans:

    Earbuds Anonymous: www.facebook.com/groups/EarbudsAnonymous/

    --
      Dobrescu George likes this.
    1. Dobrescu George
      Cool photos all around XD

      Congratulations on the nice review, and happy you also like the Dragon2+
      Dobrescu George, Jun 27, 2018
  3. WilliamLeonhart
    Not quite your dad's Walkman earphones
    Written by WilliamLeonhart
    Published Jun 25, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Neutral sound leaning towards the enjoyable side. Impressive sound imaging. Easily driven. Nice packaging.
    Cons - Uncomfortable to tiny ears.
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    Disclaimer: The Dragon 2+ reviewed is a loan unit from Simphonio via their friends in Notes Audio.

    When Tuan, Note Audio’s founder mentioned the Dragon 2+ during my latest visit, I was a bit surprised. What does an Vietnamese audio equipment company has anything to do with a Chinese brand? As it turns out, Simphonio’s founder/CEO and Tuan used to be colleagues in Sunrise Audio, which they co-founded and ran together. Now they have split to focus on their native markets (China and Vietnam), but the relationship is still close: Notes’ excellent AT10 get distributed in China under Simphonio's name and the Dragon 2+ gets to Vietnamese music lovers at very attractive pricing.

    To be honest, if it had not been for this special relationship between Notes and Simphonio, I wouldn’t have bothered with the Dragon 2+. $320 (at Penon Audio) is no small price to ask for any new headphone/earphone product. I’ve never been a fan of the earbud form factor either. Could the Dragon 2+ change my mind?

    As if it came with a cassette Walkman

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    Yeah the accessories look more high-end than the buds themselves...

    Let’s start with the reason why I’d never held earbuds in high regards: they look cheap. At first glance it’s more reasonable to say the Dragon 2+ costs $20, not $320. Look at the housing. It’s the very same plastic earbud that has been with us for the last many decades.

    There’re still some face-saving here. First, the plastic housing feels sturdy and reassuring. The Dragon 2+ doesn’t bother to deny that it is (very) plastic, but this type of plastic screams “durability” and “polishing”. Then there’s the braided cable, perhaps the most relevant cue to the 2+’s price. Mixing black with yellow/god is rather an ingenious choice in terms of looks.

    (It also screams “I’m balanced”).

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    And the packaging looks even more high-end than the accessories.

    Funnily, the housings are the only elements that feels cheap. The 3.5mm jack is unabashedly big, similar to that of the Notes AT10. The 2.5mm balanced – 3.5mm dongle is made from metal and perhaps would feel finer than the housings themselves.

    Also, the Simphonio’s product box is top-notch. Just keep it so you can display it to visitors of your attic. The pleather pouch that comes inside also impressed with looks, especially with its uncanny green-ish finish. This is also the best carrying case I’ve had with earbuds and IEMs. Each time I finish using the phones, I can just wrap the cable around my hands and put it straight inside the pouch. Much faster and more convenient than other type of pouches and carrying cases.

    Urgh, earbud comfort

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    I can't stand it (I know you planned it)

    I could remember how sore my ears were after a few hours with my dad’s Walkman – and after that, with my first iPod Nano. The Simphonio Dragon 2+ isn’t an entirely new story. Even with the outer foam, it still hurts my ears after about half an hour. The flat surface on Simphonio doesn’t quite fit the curvy space inside my ears. For the same reason my “Earbud Comfort Hall of Fame” only include the AirPods and EarPods – please don’t laugh at me, as IMHO their “bean” shape allows for much better extended listening sessions.

    It’s important to mention how well the Dragon 2+ could fit into your ears because the sound will be affected. At times I do find myself having to push these phones in to regain the bass lost after I stood up and grabbed a cup of coffee. Sometimes I did try to position the speaker grill so that it faces my ear hole directly. Needless to say, the mid ranges immediately became more prominent.

    Iced honey water

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    You'd never realize how much of a Beatles-tribute band Oasis really is until you hear it on this combo.

    Let’s pretend my tiny Vietnamese ears can stand the Dragon 2+ for more than 1 hour, how does it sound? First thing: Simphonio’s newest is definitely NOT for those looking for neutral sound as colorings are quite audible in the mids. If you think of the ATH-AD2000’s mid-range presentation as honey, Simphonio is iced honey water. Instead of making the mids as “sweet” and thick as possible, Dragon 2+ instead aims for a smooth-but-not-in-your-head mid-range, improving clarity in the process.

    I was also quite surprised to hear the Dragon 2+’s bright-but-not-hot trebles. I imagine Simphonio engineers tried to make the sound as bright as possible but decided to stop at the 8 instead of 10. There’s a feeling of airiness as opposed to energetic hits like those you’d hear from Grado or Beyerdynamic. It extends and decays very naturally: no peak and no “broken,” grainy cymbal crashes. I could not determine how detailed the mids and highs are (with the Dragon 2+ being 16-ohm it’s hard to do accurate A/B with a pair of full-sized AKG or Sennheiser) but overall, it’s audibly less revealing than my Q701.

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    It will scale with DAC/amps or DAPs.

    Anyway, “Relaxing enjoyment first” seems to be the motto here – I’m sure lovers of solos-ridden Hair ballads will love the Dragon 2+. Female vocals-centric like those “audiophile” albums that we Asians love would also shine with the Dragon 2+, provided you are not looking for the Beats (or V-MODA) sound. Similar to the AKG Q701, there’s just enough bass to create a “base” for the musical landscape as well as to keep the phones from sounding weird. It doesn’t rumble your nostrils, being earbuds and all. It doesn’t extend too deep and it doesn’t last for very long.

    The general lack of bass quantity allows for quite good Rock/Metal (of which drum passages might be over-powering) and once again almost perfect for relaxing Vocals-centric performances. This perhaps would perplex some listeners, but as a long-time fan of Grado, Audio Technica and Sennheiser I’ve come to the conclusion that a (somewhat) mids-centric sound signature with articulate bass and refined trebles will always be good for both Rock and Vocals.

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    Very impressive imaging - something you'd say about the buds, but not this picture I assume.

    Obviously, the same type of sound signature can be easily found on some cheaper earbuds from Yuin or VE. What makes the Simphonio Dragon 2+ stands out is its impressive imaging capabilities. Based on my experiences I’ve already learnt that earbuds are capable of putting out some pretty spacious soundstage, but I never figured it could extend as far and as deep. Upon listening closely, I could hear the layered positioning of instruments, something the Yuin PK1 or most VE earbuds that I’ve auditioned cannot produce.

    A final point of notice is that while the Dragon 2+ is of low impedance and high sensitivity, it will still improve with your source equipment. Plugging it into a phone or a laptop and you’ll get a more closed-in sound, which is quite similar to vintage speaker system. But a Mojo or a Burson Play will open up the mid-ranges and “refine” the trebles a bit, putting away that veil of old-ness. I suppose a balanced DAC/amp will help even more, but unfortunately, I don’t have any equipment with 2.5mm balanced output.

    The Earbuds of Wows

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    Will I spend $350 to buy the Dragon 2+? Unfortunately, the answer is still no. At the same price range, I much prefer its distant cousin, the Notes Audio AT10. My ears are just more compatible to IEMs than earbuds.

    Yet I’d still wholeheartedly recommend the Dragon 2+ to listeners who prefers earbuds to IEMs. It offers such a lovely musical experience that will definitely put a smile on any Jazz, Classic Rock and Oldies Pop lover’s surprised face. It’s so impressive that all of my prejudices against the earbud form factor were all gone in just a few days of use. Yes, I still hate the comfort, but this is not my old Walkman/iPod earbuds, of which I hate the comfort and the sound. On the contrary, the way it sings make the Dragon 2+ my most favourite earbuds ever.

    PS: I had seen the Dragon 2+ is being discounted to ~$240 on Massdrop. The drop is long gone but with it fellow product Xcited 2 frequently appearing on the site, I guess the Dragon 2+ would return some time in the future.

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      Dobrescu George likes this.
  4. Dobrescu George
    Simphonio Dragon2+ - The Balanced Dragon
    Written by Dobrescu George
    Published Jun 10, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Soundstage, Build Quality, Design, Midrange, Clarity, Detail, Revealing Abilities, Balanced Jack and Adapter, Good Value
    Cons - Comfort will be very subjective based on the ear shape, Bass is not as large in amount and deep as some IEMs, like Xcited/2 from Simphonio,
    Simphonio Dragon2+ - The Balanced Dragon

    Simphonio Dragon 2+ is an expensive earbud, no silicone tips, but more of a classical earbud shape. This is the most expensive earbud we've heard, and most probably the most interesting one as well, but we won't be easy on it, just because of its 300 USD asking price, which means we have quite some expectations from it.

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    Introduction

    Simphonio is a super friendly and super reliable company from China, which after you get to know, you'll be really happy to work with. They stand firmly behind their products, and they created and designed some awesome IEMs, like the Xctied/2 IEM we recently reviewed. They sure have a taste for slightly strange names for their products, but there's nothing wrong with that, and Xcited/2 surely impressed us with its sonic quality, so we can do nothing but be ready for Dragon2+, although, we'll name it Dragon during the review, and we will be very strict when reviewing it as it is priced a bit higher than Xctied/2 and needs to convince us of its quality for the money.

    It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with Simphonio, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. This review is not sponsored nor has been paid for by Simphonio or anyone else. I'd like to thank Simphonio for providing the sample for this review. The sample was provided along with Simphonio's request for an honest and unbiased review. This review will be as objective as it is humanly possible, and it reflects my personal experience with Simphonio Dragon2+. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in Simphonio Dragon2+ find their next music companion.



    About me

    https://audiophile-heaven.blogspot.ro/p/about.html



    Packaging

    First things first, let's get the packaging out of the way:

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    Dragon 2+ actually comes in what we can call an even better package than the already well-packaged Xcited/2. The overall package is larger, and the presentation is more luxurious, although the colors of the packaging are probably something more common in some specific cultures rather than in Romania and the things we're used to seeing.

    Since this is not an in-ear monitor, the package is quite a bit different. There are no silicone tips, but there are sponge ones, although they all seem to be of the same size.


    There is a leather carrying case included with Dragon 2+, and it looks pretty nice, being a bright and lively orange color.

    There is a 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter, as Dragon2+ comes with balanced original cables and needs this adapter to work with single ended cables.

    The package is quite large, and offers a nice presentation, and while we can't say that the contents are the most expansive for the price, they surely include everything needed to enjoy Dragon2+.



    What to look in when purchasing an entry-level Earbud

    https://audiophile-heaven.blogspot.ro/p/what-to-lookl.html



    Technical Specifications

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    Build Quality/Aesthetics/Fit/Comfort

    Starting with the build quality, it is slightly different than what we're used to seeing when reviewing an in-ear. Dragon has a very lightweight earbud part, that is almost lighter than the cable it is attached to, but they feel incredibly sturdy, being made from what looks like a really well-reinforced plastic.

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    The cables seem to be of incredibly good quality, they are braided, cooper, and they are balanced. Dragon2 is probably the only IEM we know of which comes with a Balanced cable from the factory. The cable feels really nice, isn't very springy, but it doesn't feel cheap or too flexible.

    Aesthetically speaking, Dragon feels as good as we'd expect an earbud to feel and to look like. They have a finely printed font written on it, the whole earbud combines really well together and simply feels and looks top notch, for an earbud. The color is a galaxy-black with a black plastic all-around, but with a starry and glimerry texture all over it.


    Other than that, they will surely not look very expensive while being worn, so if that's a concern to you while you travel, or while out and about, Dragon2 will surely not attract any unwanted attention, like something like a large headphone or flashy IEM would do.

    And now, the comfort. The comfort is earbud-y. This means that if your ear works well with earbuds, it will work well with Dragon2, but if it doesn't then it won't. We know people whose ears simply work much better with earbuds than with IEMs, there are people who simply prefer the earbud shape and feeling, even without using any of the sponge attached, and they are usually incredibly happy with how an earbud feels like, but there are also ears that do not work well with earbuds and people who can't stand those. We recommend you to purchase any 1$ earbud and test how well your ear can fit one if you're not sure. For the record, from the people who tested it during the review, we had both a few users who loved the fit, and users who didn't get such a good fit.

    Dragon2+ comes fitted with Balanced cables, thing which is quite unique, even in the world of already unique high-end earbuds. They can be connected straight to a 2.5mm balanced output from DAPs like FiiO X5-3, or Cayin N5ii, or they can be connected to any 3.5mm Single Ended (Normal) outputs from any Music Player, by using the included adapter.

    All in all, the build quality is quite good and it has the golden level for it, but the comfort will vary widely with users, due to the earbud typical shape, so we can't commend neither say it is bad, just that it will be personal.



    Sound Quality

    The sound quality of a high-end Earbud. Now, when you think of earbuds, if you're about the same age as us, or older, you probably remember that first 1$-3$ earbud that came with your 256MB MP3 Player, or the earbud that came with your CD Player. You might remember some things about its sound, like a sweet midrange, or not knowing what sub-bass was, or not having any treble.

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    We most certainly remember a lot of sweet memories of those old MP3 Players and how those ascended by doubling in storage capacity at 2-3 years intervals until we had an MP3 Player of 512 MB of storage, full of Linkin Park, Eminem and other music that we probably don't listen to quite as much these days, but still find well-recorded and interesting.

    Now, you need to let go of those definitions for an earbud before you read about Dragon2+. We need to do that as well, this is a 300 USD Product that needs rigorous criticizing and reviewing.


    Starting with the sub-bass, depending on your fit, you'll have a good to a moderate sub-bass, but it still is there and it is quite good. The rest of the bass is quite quick, and has a fairly good extension, especially for an earbud, but in quantity, it will always be below the midrange and the upper midrange / lower treble.

    The midrange is extremely clear, well detailed, and most of all, really really wide sounding. Both male and female vocals sound natural, have really good timbre and texture to them, and pretty much all instruments sound really vivid and energetic. The overall midrange sounds engaging and keeps one in the music. The highest amount of impact comes from the midrange / upper midrange, where most of the energy is in Dragon2+. Music like Jazz all the way to pop sounds live and interesting, music comes off as lively on an overall level.


    The treble is less in amount than the midrange, but not by much, Dragon2+ being bright enough to be interesting and to keep music exciting. The treble has a smoother texture, without grain, so it is ever so slightly soft in presentation, but has a good amount to stay interesting even for rock and metal music.

    The resolving abilities of Dragon2+ are fairly within what we'd expect from a 300 USD earphone, along with the detail, while the sub-bass is a little fit dependent, and even with the best fit the sub-bass is a little shy for something like metal, where the pedals feel a little soft, but it should be noted that the midbass is warm enough to work well for rock, even for Pink Floyd and for older rock. Metal tends to sound a little happy on Dragon2+, but this isn't bad, it just means that something that's supposed to be harsh might be handed to the listener in a slightly happier mood.

    This kind of signature works really well with anything really, the main reason for that being the soundstage. If there's anything that would be a weaker point of Dragon2+'s signature, that would most probably be Rap and Hip-Hop, where more bass would be welcome, but otherwise, we'd probably say that Dragon2+ is as impressive as a Grado headphone, especially in the sweet midrange, but with a slightly softer treble that is more inviting for long hours of listening.



    Soundstage

    This is a point that needs to be taken seriously into account. We feel that their soundstage is partially given by their earbud shape, which allows in general for wider soundstage, like we've noted when we reviewed FiiO EM3 a few years ago. Even so, some earbuds don't manage to portray the same width and depth to the soundstage, like Apple earbuds, and no 1$ will manage to portray the soundstage in such a convincing way.

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    The main thing you need to note is the width, as Dragon2+ has a really really wide soundstage. It is as wide as some open-back headphones, and even more. Of course, HD800S from Sennheiser will be wider in their soundstage, but we're comparing a 300 USD Earbud with one of the most expensive TOTL Headphones that is well above 2K USD.

    The depth of the soundstage is also quite impressive and they expand well on all axis, thing quite surprising for an Earbud.

    The imaging is also quite good, along with the instrument separation, which leaves enough air between the instruments to breathe and to present the music in a clear and well-layered way.



    ADSR / PRaT

    The ADSR and PRaT (Texturization) is natural in general, but it changes, the bass being on the slower side, the midrange being on the fast side, and the treble being on the natural side of things. This means that bass notes last a little longer, the midrange is quick and well textured, while the treble is a little softer and lasts a little longer than the treble. In translation, this means that most textures will feel natural to pretty textured in practice, except for cymbals, which don't have much grain and feel a bit soft, especially in comparison with the more textured guitars and other midrange-based instruments. Bass notes tend to be even slower, feeling impactful and natural in their decay, bass generally being better a little slower to sound natural.



    Portable Usage

    The portable usage is quite good.

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    The first thing most may be concerned about is the adapter that goes from 2.5mm to 3.5mm, in case you're going to plug them in something that is not balanced. Well, the happy part is that the adapter is quite well-made, seems to be made out of metal, and it works well. It has a good resistance and we trust it will last quite a bit of time without an issue.

    The other aspect that one needs to take into account, is how easy they are to drive, and on this note, Dragon2+ is very easy to drive, most smartphones should do a great job, but their more revealing nature, along with their potential for a wider soundstage mean that you should probably connect them with something stronger and more detailed.

    The other aspect, the comfort while walking, will be very subjective. If your ears generally work with earbuds, then those should be as good as they get, otherwise not.

    We generally don't split the comfort part into something so subjective, but this time we consider it is fair to mention that earbuds really work better than headphones for IEMs for some people, while they don't work well for others, it is too subjective to have a position.


    The isolation is not very good regardless of the fit, unless you listen quite loud, but on the brighter side this means that you won't get into issues because you can't hear the world around you.

    The IEMs themselves are very lightweight and stay well in ears once fit is achieved, the cables are not microphonic, there are no issues we can mention on the portability of Dragon2+.



    Comparisons

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    Simphoni Dragon2+ vs Meze 99 Classics - We start by comparing Dragon2+ with a full over-the-ear headphone which we hold in high regards. The reason for this is that we don't really have many expensive earbuds to compare them with, and we feel that we need to stack them up to other products one can get for around 300 USD. Starting with the package, Meze 99 Classics comes in a larger package, come with a larger carrying case, and well, they are over-the-ear headphones instead of earbuds. The comfort is better on Meze 99C for most people. The sonic performance is quite different. Meze 99C is bass-centric, with a thick and meaty, satisfying and fun colored sound. Dragon2+ is much more balanced, with more midrange quantity, with a more clear midrange, a larger soundstage, more instrument separation and more treble by default. This makes 99C the thicker, more satisfying, warmer, leaner, more laid back and more relaxing experience by default. By default comes because 99C can be Equalized to sound pretty close to Dragon2+ and even better, but it takes some patience and it takes some effort, plus understanding how EQ works and such. Still, it is good to know it works. Now, if you live in a very hot place, Dragon2+ might seem like a compelling choice since 99C, like virtually any other headphone, will get hot in those conditions. On the other hand, 99C is also a great choice. Honestly, we'd just get both, each for a different usage scenario, but if you need to pick between them, try to make the choice according to your needs and to your preferences, as well as to whether you feel ready to use some EQ for 99C or not.

    Simphonio Dragon2+ vs Etymotic ER3XR - Etymotic ER3XR is quite different from Dragon2+, in that ER3XR is a deep-fit IEM from Etymotic, it has a lot of revealing power, and generally, it is part of what we consider the most analytical IEMs in existence, which basically are all of Etymotic IEMs. Etymotic IEMs are in-ear monitors that fit very deep and that have excellent revealing abilities, very quick BA drivers, and which come in good packages, and feature good build qualities. Dragon2+ in comparison feels slower, more natural, less mid-centric, and smoother, with a more musical approach. This isn't to say that Etymotic IEMs aren't musical, but Dragon2+ is one step further more musical. The soundstage is much larger on Dragon2+, the instrument separation is quite similar, and slightly better on Dragon2+. The comfort gets similar grading, as both Dragon2+ and ER3XR are very subjective IEMs that some users will find comfortable, and some users won't. When it comes to their price, ER3XR is slightly cheaper, but not by a considerable margin. In the end, if you prefer a sound that is pretty mid-forward and which searches the music for details, and brings everything forward to you, ER3XR is the better performer there, but if you're looking for a more relaxed, more natural sound, then Dragon2+ is going to offer that performance, and if soundstage is important to you, then Dragon2+ surely performs well in that area.

    Simphonio Dragon2+ vs Simphonio Xcited/2 - Simphonio vs Simphonio, for a little more fair comparison. Although Xctied/2 is half the price of Dragon2+, the comparison is still relevant to some. We'd like to start by saying that Simphonio also existed by the name of Sunrise Audio before, but we never knew them as such directly. When it comes to their IEM vs their earbud, the thing that's most important is the sound, where Dragon2+ actually sounds better, has more detail and better soundstage, along with instrument layering, but this doesn't mean that Xctied/2 isn't quite amazing already. In fact, both IEMs perform amazingly well in soundstage, imaging and in their instrument separation / layering. The biggest difference is in the tonal balance, as Xctied/2 has a recessed midrange and a forward bass / treble, where Dragon2+ is slightly forward in the midrange, but has a recessed bass and treble. Each IEM is great for its price range, one can tell that Dragon2+ is more detailed, but Xcited/2 is not far behind, and if you're looking for an experience that's as open as possible Simphonio seems to have a great deal of experience in this.



    Recommended Pairings

    Dragon2+ is not overly sensitive to pairings, but it also has good revealing abilities, so a more revealing source will give it a more detailed sound. Wider sounding sources seem to sound best with Dragon2+ as it is already a wide-sounding IEM, so having a source that adds to the effect can result in crazy-wide soundstages.

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    Simphonio Dragon2+ + Cayin N5ii - N5ii is a great DAP to pair with Dragon2+, it has a lot of power, it has a wide and clear sound, it has a pretty neutral nature, so it doesn't change the signature of Dragon2+, and most important, you can use it in both Single Ended and Balanced modes. Other than that, Cayin N5ii has a very pocket-friendly price, it has support for third-party apps, it has Wifi and Bluetooth, and two microSD slots. In a few words, it is a dream-DAP that is priced very well and which makes a great pairing with Dragon2+.

    Simphonio Dragon2+ + FiiO M7 - FiiO M7 is another great option, but it doesn't feature a Balanced Headphone output. This means that one will need to always use the Single Ended adapter included with Dragon2+. The signature is quite neutral, even more so than Cayin N5ii, which pulls the midrange of Dragon2+ less forward than N5ii does, and gives them a more vibrant treble which surely helps them sparkle more with certain music.

    Simphonio Dragon2+ + Hiby R6 - Hiby R6 is already quite an expensive DAP to pair with Dragon2+, and probably won't make much sense for every single listener, as one would probably want to have a headphone at least as expensive as it before getting R6, but even so, R6 has both a Single Ended and a Balanced Headphone output, it has an excellent build quality, and although it costs almost double the price of N5ii, it also sounds more detailed and has a wider soundstage. With its quick CPU and reliable firmware, R6 feels like a dream DAP that many will come to love, and which pairs really well with Dragon2+.



    Value and Conclusion

    We're reaching a conclusion here, for this pretty hefty-priced earbud. At 300 USD, the price isn't exactly low for an Earbud, but it isn't quite that high either, considering that there are much more expensive options around, for those looking to get an even higher-end experience from an Earbud.

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    Starting with the build quality and the overall feel of Dragon2+, they feel quite high-end, their cables look and feel pretty trustworthy, and they provide a great amount of fun for Dragon2+. This is for the better, as the cables for Dragon2+ are not detachable, but Simphonio designed a way to provide a 2.5mm balanced connector as well for their Dragon2+, by giving them a 2.5mm connector, along with a 3.5mm single ended adapter. This means that you can use this IEM with both your balanced sources, and with your typical 3.5mm sources.

    The shape of an earbud, and the comfort / fit it brings with it are something that some love and will love, while some won't be as enthusiastic about, as the comfort in this situation will be extremely subjective. There are certain ear shapes that simply work with earbuds, and ear shapes that don't. For most In-Ears, the silicone tips come in sizes, and such it is easier to have an objective input on their comfort, but for an earbud, it will have one shape, so its comfort will either work or not.

    When the comfort works well for you though, Dragon2+ is quite amazing. They have no microphonic noise (cable noise), they don't get too hot while being worn, and most important, they don't fully isolate you from the outside noise. Just like a pair of iSine20 from Audeze, which are an open-back IEM, Dragon2+ is great at providing both comfort and an open sound.

    And this is the most important part, their sound is so freaking open. The soundstage expands much more than we thought it would, the instrument separation is crazy good, and the instrument layering as well. We're talking about almost-open-back-headphone levels of greatness, not just about Dragon2+ as an earbud. Another thing to keep in mind is their great detail retrieval that still feels organic and natural. The midrange is slightly forward, but it is nowhere near as forward as an Etymotic IEM, so if you're looking for a super-forward midrange, then Etymotic delivers one pretty well. Instead, Dragon2+ feels natural and well balanced across the spectrum, the treble is slightly soft, the bass is slightly warm, but the midrange is pretty colorless, with a good timbre for both male and female vocals.

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    At the end of the day, if you're looking for a really good earbud, for an open experience, and for a Balanced Earbud, Dragon2+ might be just the thing for you. Furthermore, if your ears prefer earbuds over In-Ears and Headphones, then you're in for a treat, Dragon2+ surely feels like a magical choice. We don't always recommend Earbuds, but when we do, they are pretty great earbuds, and Dragon2+ should bring lots of fun to you, if you're into 'buds.

    I hope my review is helpful to you!

    Stay safe and remember to always have fun while listening to music!



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