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Smabat ST-10

Rating:
4.33333/5,
  1. FastAndClean
    "Bass detail"
    Written by FastAndClean
    Published Jul 23, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - High quality bass response, forward upper mids without harshness, ability to take bass EQ, light and comfortable, good build and packaging, good soundstage and positioning
    Cons - lack of fullness in the mids, treble not very extended
    9940764_l.jpg

    source for the review - Sabaj DA3

    Songs used for the review
    Jim Keltner - Improvisation
    Eric Clapton - My father's Eyes
    Nah Youn Sun - My Favorite Things
    Inception - Dream Collapsing
    Steve Strauss - Youngstown
    Stimulus Timbre - Expression
    Diana Krall – Let's Fall in Love
    Trevor Jones - Clear The Tracks!
    The DALI CD - Zhao Cong , Moonlight on Spring River
    Baba-Yaga, for orchestra, Op. 56
    Rebecca Pidgeon - Grandmother
    Sara K - Maritime
    Trevor Jones - Promentory
    Patricia Barber - Regular Pleasures
    Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms
    Dire Straits - Your Latest Trick
    Dave Brubeck - Take Five
    Marcin Przybylowicz - Go Back Whence You Came
    James Horner - Going After Newt
    Hans Zimmer - Dream Is Collapsing
    Hans Zimmer - Molossus
    Harry Gregson - Emergency Launch
    Shpongle - Shpongle Spores
    Dizzy Gillespie - Could it Be You
    Dominik Eulberg - Bjorn Borkenkafer
    Trentemoller - The Forest
    Kryptic Minds And Leon Switch - Ocean Blue
    Nirvana - MTV Unplugged In New York (Album)
    Xiomara Laugart - Tears and Rumba (2015) [192-24](Album)
    Xiomara Laugart (2006) Xiomara (24-96)(Album)
    Xiomara Laugart (2010) La Voz (24-88)(Album)
    Jed Palmer - Upgrade (2018)(Album)
    Plug_-_Drum_'N'_Bass_For_Papa-2CD-1997-FLAC(Album)
    Jon Hopkins - Insides (2009)(Album)
    Eric Serra - Lucy (2014) [flac](Album)


    Jim asked me if i want to review the ST10, i saw some reviews praising the bass response.
    That got me very curious because i have OURART ACG and the only weak point was the bass response. So i told Jim to send them in.

    Packaging
    4836d6b5.jpg

    carrying case, mmcx cable, foam covers and some rubber covers


    Build, fit and comfort
    The build is very good, half plastic half metal build, they are very light but feel solid.
    At the beginning i was not able to get a good fit over the ears but when i changed the cable with another one that has no hooks i was able to do it, over the ears and cable down also.
    The comfort is great, they are very light and comfy.

    Overall sound signature. (i am using them with full foam covers)
    ST10 is neutral with a little bit of a bump in the upper mids.

    Bass
    On some reviews i was reading that the bass is boosted, for me the bass sound neutral in DF target with very good extension for earbud. It goes down to about 40hz and that is a very good result.
    The bass is tight with excellent texture and details, reaching deep with fast hits, that makes them very enjoyable with bassy types of music like DNB and EDM. The bass is very articulate and clean, very unusual for earbud, most of them are trying to cheat with boosted mid and upper bass but not here.
    ST10 can take bass boost without distortions retaining the bass control and texture, the driver inside is very capable.

    Mids
    The mids have some boost in the upper part, the lower midrange sound linear. Male vocals sound clean but not full, the female vocals are forward and clean sounding. I was worried that the midrange will be very aggressive on some bad recordings but it is not. Overall clean midrange performing better with female vocals.

    Treble
    The treble have some sparkle in the lower to middle treble but after that it rolls of, not a lot of upper treble here but is not harsh or overly bright. Overall clean and articulate treble without aggressive peaks but not the airiest out there.

    Soundstage and imaging.
    The soundstage has good width and dept, it is tall also so the shape of the whole soundstage is more like a sphere, the positioning is very good, the driver is very fast and there is no congestion even on complex tracks.

    ST10 VS ACG
    IMG_20190818_170609.jpg

    Bass
    ST10 has deeper bass response, ACG has more mid and upper bass but no sub bass at all.
    ST10 sound more natural and it is better for modern recordings.
    Also ST10 can take bass EQ if you want to have some fun, ACG cant, the driver on ACG is fragile.

    Mids
    ACG has fuller mids and more mids overall, ST10 sound thinner and a little bit in the back compared to ACG.

    Treble
    The treble quantity is similar, ACG sound smoother with a little bit more upper treble.

    Soundstage and imaging.
    ACG has similar stage size but the imaging is better and more distinct.

    Conclusion
    I like them very much for doom and DNB, for vocal music i prefer ACG.

    Have a good one.
  2. Otto Motor
    Smabat ST-10 Review – The Earphone Earbud
    Written by Otto Motor
    Published Jul 2, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Meaty sound with a healthy low end unusual for an earbud; good depth; pleasant sound image; interesting design.
    Cons - Recessed mids; some technicalities could be improved.
    IMG_0414-800x445.jpeg

    This review was originally posted at https://audioreviews.org
    In addition, you find a series of photos of the Smabat ST-10 on the blog HERE.



    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

    The Smabat ST-10 is distinguished from the usual Sennheiser lookalike earbuds by its over-ear fit and a much fuller, juicy low end triggering a meaty, homogenous sound. It should appeal to people who like an in-ears sound but not an in-ears feel.



    INTRODUCTION


    Much has been written about the Smabat ST-10 and I refer the attentive reader to the 10 or so existing reviews. I’d like to present you with distilled and condensed information focusing on the relevant features of this earbud.


    SPECIFICATIONS


    Product Name: Smabat ST-10 metal earbud
    Model: ST-10
    Type: Earbud
    Impedance: 45 Ω
    Sensitivity: 115 dB/mW
    Frequency Range: 10-22000Hz
    THD: <1% @ 1 KHz
    Plug Interface: 3.5 mm
    Cable Length: 1.2 m ± 5cm
    Colour: Green
    Plug Type: Line Type
    Interface: MMCX connector
    Drive unit: Single 15.4mm dynamic drive unit
    Price: $99 (at the time of this review)
    Purchase Link: NiceHCK Audio Store


    IN THE BOX…


    …are a fine pleather case, three pairs of screens, a largely textile-coated cable, the ear pieces, and a manual.

    q9I1poi.jpg


    PHYSICAL THINGS


    The earpieces are made of metal and plastic and appear to be sturdy. They certainly feel like quality between the fingers. The cable is old-school textile-coated up to the splitter and has a chin slider as well as memory wires for over-ear wear.

    The Smabat ST-10 have a different fit compared to regular earbuds in that the cable is being worn over-ear and the hold is maximized by memory wire. First, I had real fitting problems, but this was my inexperience with the design. In fact, with foams added, the earpieces stayed firmly in place and were firmly held in place by the memory wire. Isolation is, of course, minimal: you still hear the doorbell while grooving.

    jhh0qFT.jpg

    The Smabat ST-10 were easily driven with my iphone SE but the sound improved substantially with the AudioQuest Dragonfly dac/amp. With the earpieces uncovered, the sound was aggressive so that I settled for normal-thickness foams. Sound will vary according to foams used, keep that in mind when reading the next section.


    TONALITY AND TECHNICALITIES

    JK’s tonal preference and testing practice

    What strikes me is that the Smabat ST-10 have much more bass and sub-bass extension than any earbud I have listened to. The low-end is in fact the dominant sound element. It provides a decent, visceral, but never overwhelming punch right from the bass/sub-bass transition and contributes to a meaty, substantial, big, and clean image. Yep, the Smabat ST-10’s sound is warm without being thick, as opposed to being analytical and sterile. A mid- bass hump is missing (bass is fairly linear). Nevertheless is the bass boosted quite a bit above neutral, its decays pretty naturally (with the Dragonfly and the foams used), but it smears somewhat into the lower midrange. And while this boosts the low voices, it pushes the higher voices back, which helps create a good depth. Regardless are voices not “overly” distant. Upper midrange and lower treble stay fairly flat which saves us from shouty, splashy high voices and instruments, sibilance, and hardness…all fairly smooth and relaxed up there. Speech intelligibility is very good despite the recession. Treble picks up above 10 kHz which adds to the good air but also a sizzle to some cymbals.

    v8yBBYA.png
    Frequency response graph provided by Head-Fier ClieOS.

    With the Dragonfly, the soundstage has both a decent width and a good depth. The sound is natural and organic. Other technicalities such as clarity, layering, separation, imaging etc. remain so so. The Smabat ST-10’s sound works best when seen as an entity: a meaty sound and good punch leading to lots enjoyment (outside of analytical listening). The Dragonfly cleans and smoothens the image, broadens the soundstage, and it contributes to a slightly overdone but always pleasant, punchy, and amazingly contained and textured (sub-)bass that leaves a pleasant sensation in my ears (despite some lack of overall detail resolution). And I am not known as a bass lover. In summary, the Smabat ST-10 is distinct from budget earbuds such as the ISN Audio Rambo [review], NiceHCK EBX [review], or the “old Sennheisers” by having a bigger body that is mainly fed by an unusually lively low end.


    CONCLUDING REMARKS


    The Smabat ST-10 is an earbud for people who don’t like their ear canals intruded by silicone/foam tips, but who want an over-ear fit for optimal hold on the go. Sound wise, they cater to listeners who appreciate a full-bodied, warm sound with a well-extended low end that comes close to a dynamic-driver earphone. The right amplification produces a smooth and homogenous image that leads to a satisfying, engaging listening sensation. Upon first testing, I was rather skeptical of the Smabat ST-10, but with foams and Dragonfly, these sound fabulous to my ears.


    DISCLAIMER


    The review unit was supplied by the NiceHCK Audio Store for my critical independent review. Thanks to Jim and also thanks to Smabat for quickly resolving a technical issue. The frequency response graph was kindly provided by Head-Fier ClieOS.

    My generic standard disclaimer

    aynRvsi.jpg
  3. B9Scrambler
    SMABAT ST-10: Little Bat
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Jun 8, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Outstanding bass response - Cool design - Nice accessories, even if they aren't plentiful
    Cons - Recessed mids - Comfort could be better
    Greetings!

    Today we're checking out a snazzy new earbud from Smabat, the ST-10.

    Smabat is a new company with two products under their wing, the ST-10 earbuds and the XT-10 iems. The ST-10 that we're checking out today is a pretty cool little earbud. Unlike many companies that have been tuning the driver and shoving it into an MX500 shell, Smabat put a little more thought into the ST-10. With titanium coated drivers, MMCX removable cables, and a unique acoustic cavity which actually improves bass response, the ST-10 does a good job of standing out in what has become a crowded segment over the last few years.

    Let's take a look and find out why I think this is a quality earbud that is worth your time.

    Disclaimer:

    Thanks to Jim at NiceHCK for reaching out to see if I would be interested in reviewing the ST-10, and for arranging a sample for the purposes of review. The thoughts here are my own subjective opinions based on time spent listening to the ST-10. They do not represent sSmabat, NiceHCK, or any other entity. At the time of writing this earbud was retailing for 99.00 USD. You can check it out here:

    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/329...6&spm=2114.12010615.8148356.43.56746685w31jHB

    Personal Preference:

    I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. My preferences for earphone tuning are quite relaxed and as such their is no one signature I look for. The HiFiMAN RE800, Brainwavz B400, and Massdrop x MeeAudio Planamic are examples of earphones with wildly varied signatures that are enjoyable for different reasons. I generally listen at very low volumes, so keep this in mind when perusing my thoughts on how an earphone sounds.

    Sources:

    Mobile: Shanling M0 with the Periodic Audio Nickel amp, or, ZiShan DSD by itself
    @home: ZiShan DSD or Asus FX53V laptop plugged into a TEAC HA-501 desktop amp

    Specifications:
    • Driver: 15.4mm dynamic
    • Impedance: 45 ohms
    • Sensitivity: 115dB/mW
    • Frequency Response: 10-22,000Hz
    P1020820.JPG P1020821.JPG P1020822.JPG

    Packaging and Accessories:

    Packaging and for the ST-10 is basic, but I like it. The matte black textured cardboard box is fairly compact. On the front is Smabat branding and their bat wing logo in gold foil, while the sides and top contain this information and their website repeated in silver foil. On the back is a stick with the model information and specifications as well as contact information for Smabat's Customer Service team.

    Lifting the lid you see the ST-10 earpieces set in a foam cutout. Below sits a Smabat branded leatherette case covering the rest of the extras which are set within a multilayered foam sheet. It's a neat presentation overall and fun to unboxing without being overly wasteful. In all you get:
    • ST-10 earbuds
    • Leatherette carrying case
    • MMCX cable
    • Foam earbud covers
    • Rubber earbuds covers
    • Manual
    Maybe a little light on extras compared to come of the competition, but it's what you need to get going so I can't complain. Overall a nicely presented package.

    Build, Comfort, and Isolation:

    The ST-10's ear pieces are made of a combination of aluminum and plastic. The rear portion of the housing is where the spiral acoustic cavity resides. That part is plastic, wrapped in an attractive brushed aluminum exterior which is emblazoned with the Smabat brand name, as well as the model info and L/R indicators. Out the bottom of the cavity there is a silver vent. The stem connecting the rear to the rest of earbud is textured aluminum, as is the bell-shaped housing itself. There are three small vents for the driver hidden around the bass of the stem. The metal grill is neatly installed within a plastic surround. Overall construction quality is quite good with excellent fit and finish, though the edges of the aluminum surround for the acoustic cavity could serve to be rounded off at the edges. They've got some sharpness to them.

    Below the y-split the cable is cloth covered, something I am generally not a fan of because it tends to fray and transmit noise up into the ear pieces. Thankfully, above the y-split the cable goes back to a more traditional black rubber coating which negates my microphonics concerns. The y-split is a simple metal straight jack with an effective rubber relief. Smabat branding is present and looks to be laser etched so it shouldn't rub off. The y-split and chin cinch are also metal with relief present leading into the bottom of the split. Leading up to the earpieces are preformed ear guides making this a cable up earbud. The angle of the guide is well formed and even on both sides, stiff enough to hold the cable in place during movement but not so stiff as to cause discomfort. The MMCX plugs are simple rubber stubs and are easy to grip should you wish to detach the cable. Despite my bias against cloth-coated cables, this one is nice to use. Unless you want something flashier, I see no need to replace it out of the box.

    When it comes to comfort, you're either an earbud per or you're not. There is no in between in my experience. With the ST-10 this is not different thanks to it's large 15.4mm drivers. Even without foams or the included rubber covers, the ST-10 is a wide earbud and as such those with small outer ears are going to have issues. For me, I found them simply okay. Without foams, after about 30 or so minutes they would start to cause a hotspot and I'd need to shift them or take them out for a bit. With foams, I could wear them indefinitely since they're so lightweight. I don't recommend trying to wear them cable down as they are clearly designed with the support of an ear guide in mind. Trying to wear them down showed zero stability and they simply wouldn't stay put. Maybe someone else would have better luck than I?

    Isolation? None. It's an earbud.

    P1020825.JPG P1020831.JPG P1020832.JPG

    Sound:

    To foam or not to foam:Without foams in place I find the ST-10's treble a bit too aggressive and slightly harsh. It's also gets uncomfortable after a short period. Donuts help soften the treble sharpness, but not enough. Full foams do the trick and permit the best seal allowing the ST-10's impressive low end out to party.

    The ST-10 has a fairly pronounced v-shaped signature for an earbud, though that's not a bad thing when it's done well.

    Treble is clearly elevated and extends well enough for the eventual drop off to be insignificant with the vast majority of music I used for testing. It is plenty detailed and crisp with a very controlled presentation and quick decay. Air between notes is spacious thanks to a lean note weight. The ST-10 did a great job with the sprinkling of digital sounds that are present throughout Gramatik's “Bluestep”. Even the aggressive screeching on The Crystal Method's “Grace” isn't completely unbearable.

    The ST-10's mid-range is dialed back in comparison to the rest of the signature, quite unlike the majority of earbuds which are usually neutral to mid-forward. Vocals and instruments are quite lean and lack body and weight as noticed running through modern tracks like Dillon Francis' “We The Funk” and more classic tracks like Supertramp's “If Everyone Was Listening”. Thankfully clarity is excellent so there are no issues with speech intelligibility. Instruments also have some bite to them which works well with metal and rock.

    Bass is the ST-10's specialty and unlike most ear buds, reaches deep and has a prominent sub-bass region. The ST-10 is capable of providing some physical feedback on the deepest notes that you don't really hear, but know are there thanks to the reverberation. This was evident on Skrillex's “Ruffneck”, a track I wouldn't say is well suited to your average ear bud. The ST-10 and HE 150Pro are about the only buds I've heard that really do it justice. Texturing is good, and the driver remains composed even when tracks pick up the pace.

    The ST-10's sound stage is another positive aspect. The combination of an ear buds natural airiness and ample ventilation with the ST-10's pulled back mid-range makes every track sound wide and deep, with that width being the most prominent quality. It's somewhat open-back headphone like in it's presentation. Imaging is surprisingly sharp with clean and accurate channel transitions. Layering and separation are good with the ST-10 avoiding any sense of congestion, but it could be better.

    P1020833.JPG P1020834.JPG P1020836.JPG

    Select Comparisons:

    Penon BS1 Official (109.00 USD): The BS1 is more balanced and displays a thicker, more robust sound with a stronger mid-bass presence. Clarity and detail is quite similar with the ST-10 giving the impression of being the better of the two thanks to it's leaner note weight and additional treble emphasis. Bass depth goes to the ST-10 which gives off more sub-bass rumble. The BS1's low end emphasis rolls off much earlier and lacks the physicality of the ST-10. The rest of the low end presentation of the ST-10 bests the BS1 as well since it is tighter and more textured. The BS1's midrange is more prominent and engaging with a more natural tonality. Sound stage goes to the ST-10 which feels both wider and deeper and has a less intimate presentation. Imaging, layering, and separation is good on both. While I enjoy the BS1's mid range more, the ST-10 makes for a more engaging listen. Plus, I don't have to deal with the BS1's heavy cable.

    Rose Masya (109.00 USD): Where the ST-10 focuses on treble and bass, the Masya places it's focus on the mid range and treble. Both have a somewhat lean note presentation. While the Masya's mid range is more forward and vocals certainly have more presence, I also find it is mildly sibilant where there is none on the ST-10. ST-10's bass digs deeper and has more grunt, but falls short on texture and control compared to the Masya. Treble is thinner and more prickly on the ST-10 but comes across more refined. Makes sense given the two+ years that separate their release dates. Sound stage of the Masya is slightly wider but not as deep, though it places the listener closer to the performance giving it a more immediately intimate feel. Overall I prefer the presentation of the Masya and think it is worth the extra 10 USD. It's more comfortable for me as well.

    Final Thoughts:

    The ST-10 is a good earbud. Not amazing, but certainly good. I like the design which is stylish and well built. The cable is a touch thin above the y-split and I'm not a fan of the cloth coating, but in use it comes together and shows itself to be a fine addition to the package. Sound quality is pleasing with plenty of detail, a spacious sound stage, and impressive bass for an earbud, but a slightly meatier presentation and more forward mids would be appreciated since vocals lack body and presence. The ST-10 is competitive with other products in the price range and are worth checking out if you want an ear bud with a more visceral low end than is the average.

    Thanks for reading!

    - B9Scrambler

    ***** ***** ***** ***** *****​

    Some Test Tunes:

    Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid (Album)
    Hail Mary Mallon – Are You Going to Eat That? (Album)
    King Crimson – Lark’s Tongues in Aspic (Album)
    King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black (Track)
    Supertramp – Crime of the Century (Album)
    Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma (Album)
    Gorillaz – Plastic Beach (Album)
    Massive Attack – Mezzanine (Album)
    Fleetwood Mac – Rumors (Album)
    Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels (Album)
    The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy (Album)
    Tobacco – F****d Up Friends (Album)
    Felt – Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bonet) (Album)
    Michael Jackson – Thriller (Album)
    The Crystal Method – Grace (feat. LeAnn Rimes) (Track)
    Jidenna – Long Live the Chief (Track)
    Skrillex – Ragga Bomb (Track)
    Big Grams – Run for Your Life (Track)
    Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (Track)
    Aesop Rock – Fishtales (Track)
  4. TechnoidFR
    Smabat ST-10 : The neutral earbuds
    Written by TechnoidFR
    Published May 31, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - - Balanced sound
    - Packaging
    - Design
    - Good tonality
    Cons - - Earbuds too big for somes
    - Light in bass
    - Average separation instrument
    Hi all,

    I'm frenchy with a bad level in english so sorry for lot of fault which arrives on this review.
    This is a simplist but clear review but you can see my french video review here.

    i don't have lots of experience with earbuds, i prefered IEM ad i have a lots of experience so it based on this experience.



    Design :
    The design of this Smabat is very interesting. With the particularity of the intern, the design is différent than most of earbuds i see. With the part added and the grill to aspire the air they have very original design but need to have cable which goes behind the ear. The bad thing is for the diameter of earbuds which is slighly too big and few ears may be discomforting.
    P90424-115850.jpg P90424-130517.jpg

    Sound :
    The sound of this earbuds is, for a iem lover, very flat with brillance tendancy. I found them very light in bass/sub bass just enough to have slighty vibrance and life in the bass but is very very light. The tonality is natural with a touch of brillance. Mids are balanced. Treble are brillant but non agressive.
    I find the sound more neutral and cold ( absolutly not warm ) than i see on other review. Maybe in my ears they have other sound because little too big and low frquency are less heard than other.

    P90424-130541.jpg

    The instrument separation is, for me, average. Used to iem with multiple driver, i have clearly a difference of clarity both all instruments.
    P90424-120044.jpg

    Conclusion :
    The Smabat ST-10 is very good balanced earbuds. If you search discreet bass, natural tonality and good brillance, you'll appreciate. In comparison of my own earbuds, Senfer PT25, i find them less warm, more detail and more wider scene.

    P90424-130719.jpg P90424-130757.jpg

    images

    1. P90424-130723.jpg
  5. subwoof3r
    My new earbuds reference
    Written by subwoof3r
    Published May 19, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - First tier level SQ.
    Great finish and look.
    Excellent price value ratio
    MMCX (so cable swap friendly)
    Cons - Be sure to ask for the revised version to avoid loose MMCX connectors issues (should be OK now, but still fresh at the time I write this review).
    • English is not my native language but I will (as always) trying my best.
    • My review reflects exactly what I really think of the product itself.
    • Note that my pair has been properly burned for about 200 hours before this review (yes! in burn-in: I trust)

    DAC / AMPs used during this review :
    • Fostex HP-A8C (at home)
    • FiiO E10K (at work)

    OFFICIAL TECHNICAL SPECS

    specs.jpg



    PACKAGING

    The earbuds comes in a nice little box which contain 1 set of black middle-thick foams, 1 set of black donut foams, a pair of rubber rings, a MMCX cable (designed to be worn around ears), a little leather bag, notice, and of course earbuds units.

    box.jpg

    Sans titre-1.jpg

    Sans titre-l1.jpg


    BUILD QUALITY

    Build of the shell is just excellent. No scratch of production mistake, great and sturdy MMCX connectors. Nice overall look with its sexy green metal textured finishes.

    earbuds_box.jpg


    The cable is made of basic OFC but overall well made and great finishes. It comes with standard 3.5mm plug (with the white Smabat logo manufacturer on the green plug). The click is firm (ensuring the connection is safe).

    cable.jpg

    If you can, I highly recommend using other quality cables with some kind of 7N pure OCC copper (for exemple) to make the drivers soundc at their best (as I found a difference between stock cable and my usual high quality MMCX cables).


    BUILD ISSUE

    Like some of you already know/had, first batch of the ST-10 was affected by a MMCX connectors issue on stock cable and which affected units. Connection was much loose and rotated easily, resulting some kind of false contacts sometimes, which was ruining listening experience. Personally I wasn’t able to listen to stock cable properly once in ears due to the fact it was rotating so easily. Fortunately, and thanks to both Smabat and NiceHCK excellent support and service, I was able to receive a revised version of the cable and units, and I can confirm it solved this issue prety well. Now the snap is hard and units does not rotate anymore, it needs much force to make them rotate, which is a good thing now.


    FOAMS CHOICE

    Don’t underestimate this step, foams choice is probably the most important thing to do on these ST-10. Personally, I found them excellent with standard full thick foams. This way the bass are going extremely low due to the better fit, without sacrifying details at all and keep a great amount of mids and slightly taming the highs which makes ST-10 sounding close to perfection.

    I experimented donut foams (not bad but still a bit brighty), the silicon rings included in the box (the worst ! definitely not recommended), extreme-thin foams (way too bright althought fine details), and mid-thick foams (my best second choice).


    SOUND QUALITY

    ST10 has probably the most natural and transparent sounding that I ever heard from any earbuds yet.

    Soudstage is extremely deep while keeping good width.

    The timbre and instrument separation is close to perfection too. Drivers are fast enough to let you enjoy all music genres. This is the kind of earbuds I’m looking for (like all my DIY projects) : beeing a great allrounder without the need of using any EQ at all.

    The overall sound signature is slighly from laid-back/cold side. It is designed to have neutral sound signature in mind, but to me it almost not look like neutral but more a « L » sounding.

    They delivers a clear and vivid sound signature, also, they are not very warm and I don’t feel any kind of coloration.

    Bass goes extremely deep and thanks to the transmission line system, there is a great amount of impressive rumble that is rarely achieved on earbuds. To me, is sounds more like a full-size open headphone (there is not much earbuds that have made that feeling to me).

    I feel like there is a massive boost of bass at around 50Hz on my ST-10 (which I like), feeling like a big subwoofer. There is some kind of warmth (but only) in bass area.
    Also, I don't feel any kind of mid-bass bump (unlike we can easily recognize on Willsound MK2, for those who know these earbuds).

    Mids are soft, not too much forwarded, there is no annoying peak to signal (of course if you set the right full thick foams on it). Vocals are great (both male and female).

    Transmission Line system :

    The ST10 has the great idea to integrate a kind of Transmission Line system (that I will call TLS) in an earbuds shell. According to ClieOS, this system is also already present on Svara Pro. While both shares same armature, they uses different drivers. The drivers used on the ST-10 is 45 ohm, which is a bit uncommon for earbuds (from my experience) so I guess the drivers has been home tuned by Smabat.

    That TLS is just impressive, the bass thanks to this are getting so low and you really feel a nice and deep rumble (that is so much addictive).


    CONCLUSIONS

    Sanllls titre-1.jpg
    [ ST-10 equipped with my 7N pure OCC copper MMCX cable ]

    ST-10 is currently my yet best earbuds. They are tuely a reference. The unique system they incorporate (TLS) make them so interesting. To me, they definitely sound first tier level. They will be very hard to beat in term of SQ (especially for the price asked). Everything is here and at a close perfection (soundstage, bass, mids and highs). I’m just amazed by this product. They are a great bargain and they perfoms very well with all kind of music genres (I listen electronics mainly but appreciate listening to all variety too).

    Smabat delivered us a little bomb here with this ST-10. Highly recommended.


    MY SUBJECTIVE RESULTS
    • Overall sound quality and appreciation : 9/10
    • Soundstage/imaging : 8.5/10
    • Details : 9/10
    • Bass : 9.5/10
    • Mids : 8.5/10
    • Highs/treble : 8.5/10
    • Quality/price value ratio : 10/10
  6. assassin10000
    Clean sound with IEM like sub-bass.
    Written by assassin10000
    Published May 19, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Clean sound.
    IEM like bass/sub-bass.
    Build quality.
    Innovative bass port really works.
    Cons - 16.8mm diameter may be too large for some ears, despite 'thin' housing.
    Minimal accessories.
    Disclaimer: None, I paid for these. Also, first review.

    Brief Intro:
    From what I understand Smabat is the new company started by the same person(s) that made the Svara earbuds and IEM's. The ST-10 is their most recent earbud design and includes a rather interesting bass port design that is inspired by transmission line boxes. It does not work like one though, as it is nowhere near long enough. In my opinion it is a tuned bass port design.

    20190519_001853.jpg

    Basic Specs:
    Driver: Dynamic 15.4mm Three-layer Diaphragm (PEEK, PU, PEEK Titanium Diaphragm)
    Frequency Response: 10-22000Hz
    Sensitivity: 115dB/mW
    Impedance: 45Ω

    Unboxing/accessories:

    The Smabat ST-10 comes in a nice black cardboard box with multiple layers of foam cutout to hold the earbuds, covers, cable and soft case. Below all these is the manual with specifications. Unfortunately it is rather light on the accessories as it only comes with one pair each of: full foams, donut foams and silicone covers. The soft case is nice but I'd prefer a harder case design to prevent accidental crushing. Even though the build quality seems good.

    20190421_192331.jpg

    The cable is 3.5mm single ended, cloth covered until the splitter and rubber coated after. It does have a chin cinch and the ear hooks do NOT have memory wire. This style of soft ear hook without memory wire is what I prefer for over ear style cables. I noticed no microphonics but this is probably mostly due to the over ear design.

    20190421_192415.jpg


    I recommend using the foam covers, as typically without them bass is anemic. The foam provides enough seal for the bass frequencies to be directed to your eardrum, without them there may be little to no low end bass. This seems to be true for most earbud designs. I tend to prefer a donut style earbud foam as it provides a seal for a better bass response but at the same time does not affect/muffle the mids/treble.

    I do listen to these using a donut style earbud foam.

    The ST-10 had a metallic resonance or sound that I noticed when trying them without using foam covers. I'm not 100% sure if this is just due to reflections of sound off the screen back into my ear canal but it is not there when using foam covers (either full or donut style). YMMV.

    FYI: A few other listeners have reported the silicone covers muffle the sound. I did not try them as they would make the earbuds too large to comfortably fit my ears.


    20190413_231401.jpg


    I listen to a mixture of EDM (Dance, Trance, Vocal Trance, House), Classical, Acoustic, Rock and 90's to early 00's Rap.

    I am not too savvy with reviewing and the critical listening skills needed to accurately describe sound. So I may not cover some things that may require a more skilled listener to describe.

    Note: I do not have a USB DAC, a separate amp or a DAP. All my listening is typically done through my smartphone or my laptop. I do burn-in for 100+ hours.

    Despite the ST-10's 45Ω rating, the sensitivity is high enough that my phone drives it with no issues.


    The sound:

    Treble: The quality is good and it is not emphasized or lacking. Neutral in quantity, neither forward or recessed. Cymbal crashes are not piercing and the ST-10's are not sibilant to me. It does not seem to roll off too early. It has plenty of 'air'.

    Mids: Are also neutral in quantity being neither forward or recessed. Tonality seems ok, stringed instruments don't sound 'off' to me. Male and female vocals are good with neither lower mids or upper mids being lacking, which can lead to either thin male voices or shrill female voices. Again, quality is good.

    Bass: The lower bass frequencies are quite good and do not bleed into the mids. The bass is quite controlled, it is not boomy. Despite the emphasis on the lower bass, it is not overwhelming.

    Bass wise it is perhaps the most 'IEM' like sounding earbud I've listened too or perhaps another description would be a good pair of speakers setup along with a matching subwoofer (80hz crossover). These play very well with EDM and Rap with their bass and sub-bass. That's not too say they sound bad with classical, rock, etc.; just that these have good synergy with genre's that have low end bass frequencies.

    The bass port works quite well. If you cover it, it completely changes the bass response and becomes very bass light. I ended up using a frequency sweep test while covering and uncovering the ports to get an approximate idea of what frequencies the port effects the most. To my ears it sounds like it affects 30-75hz the most. It does have an effect higher up the bass range but not as large of one and the effect decreases as you climb in frequency from about 75hz up to around 250hz.


    20190521_190030.jpg

    Comparisons:

    Smabat ST-10 vs Nicehck EBX: The ST-10 has a better low frequency bass response. The EBX has a more linear bass response. Both are good, it just depends on what you prefer. The mids and highs on the EBX are a little more forward and the EBX is a little bit brighter than the ST-10. The lower midrange on the EBX sometimes seems a bit lacking, I do use EQ to add a 1.5-2.5db at around 500hz on the EBX. I like both and it's kind of a toss-up. I'd say the EBX may be a slightly better all rounder but if you prefer bass heavy genre's (or are a basshead) the ST-10 would be better for you.

    Smabat ST-10 vs Ourart ACG: The ACG is lacking in low end bass. ST-10 has emphasized low end bass. If you're looking for bass, there is no contest here. The ACG mids and high's are special, despite being quite good the ST-10 can't quite compete here IMO. It's hard to describe with words. It's like comparing an older Plasma TV vs a newer LED TV with 'darker' black's, the contrast is just better. For classical, acoustic, acapella, etc. I would go with the ACG.


    I unfortunately got back into audio just a little too late to get a pair of the last generation Svara-L (32Ω version) so I cannot compare the ST-10 to it. While the design is similar, from what I've read (here on head-fi) the older Svara-L does not have a shaped bass port this new design does.


    Conclusion/Thoughts:

    The Smabat ST-10 is a fairly well rounded earbud with an emphasis on bass and sub-bass. Mid-bass is not emphasized and does not bleed into the mids. It is not forward or bright and neither is it veiled or recessed. Signature wise I'd say it is an 'L' shaped signature where the L is not too 'tall' or overpowering. I would recommend this for EDM, Rap and Pop. It will also work well with any other genre that has low end bass included in it. It does well with other genre's but if you only listen to acoustic, classical or other bass light genre's you will not get the most out of these.
  7. LetheFB
    This Bat Sounds Good
    Written by LetheFB
    Published Jul 5, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Subbass Extension and Rumble, Fast and Weighty Bass, Clear Mids, Clarity, Instrument Seperation, Depth of Soundstage
    Cons - Accessories

    INTRODUCTİON


    “Shenzhen Smabat Technology Co.,Ltd is a young and energetic entrepreneurial company” which was formed by the team that has developed Svara models.

    Smabat has three products, namely XT-10(iem), Svara Black (iem) and the only earbud in the productline: ST-10 which i will review as much as i can.

    Thanks for excellent customer service of Smabat and Jim from NiceHCK to make this review possible.

    Smabat ST-10’s retail price is $99 and it can be purchased from NiceHCK Audio Store.

    1.jpg 2.jpg

    Packaging and Accessories


    The Smabat ST-10 comes in a black rectangular box which is housing the logo of Smabat and its website address. When it’s opened, ST-10’s itself and its leatherette carrying pouch welcome us

    3.jpg

    Under the leatherette pouch, ST-10’s cable is replaced. The rest of the accessories are two pair of foams(full foam and donut foam), a pair of vented silicone tips and an owner’s manual. Overall, the packaging and presentation is very nice but there would be a pair of earhooks to get the fit better.

    4.jpg

    Design and Fit

    ST-10 shares the same design of the Svara Pro. The only difference is the position of the MMCX connector. Shell and the material of the Smabat St-10 is different from most of the plasticky earbuds. It has a brushed aluminium outer surface which is housing the company’s name, L/R indicators and the product model number. Overall design is very good and ST-10 looks attractive and premium.

    20190705_204424.jpg

    ST-10 is an earbud which is worn over ear. You can also wear them cable down purchasing an aftermarket cable. The stock cable make it easy to sit the earbud in your ears thanks to its well-shaped memory-wire. Fit is dependable from person to person. To get the most out of ST-10, you should make a couple of trials while music is playing to find the best fit. Fortunately, this is not a case that only applies to ST-10, it’s an earbud lover activity :beyersmile:

    Technical Specifications

    · Drive Unit: 15.4 mm

    · Frequency Range: 10-22000hz

    · Sensivity: 115dB

    · Impedance: 45 Ohm



    Drivability

    Although ST-10 has a relatively low impedance, it needs a little more power to perform it’s best. It’s not a must. ST-10 is an efficient earbud to listen with cellphones and digital audio players but you had better match the ST-10 with powerful sources, stack it with a portable amp or replace its cable with a balanced one and plug it into a balanced out of a DAP.

    IMG_20190629_153918.jpg


    Review Equipments

    Earbuds: Shozy BK (Balanced)

    DAPS,DACS,DAC/AMPS: Sony WM1A, FiiO Q5(with AM3D amp module)

    6.jpg


    Sound Signature

    I have witnessed to positive effect of burn-in and i have written this review after 110 hours of burn-in. I have attached full foams during my listening sessions. Imho, included vented silicone tips affect the sound in a negative way, it smooth out every frequency.

    The Smabat ST-10 is an earbud with a slightly bright tuning which has well extended bass, clear mids and non-piercing but lively treble section.


    BASS

    One of the most outstanding frequency range which impresses most from the first time is the lows. Yes, it is a “love-at-first-rumble” type of earbud, because subbass extension is comparable with, say, Astrotec Lyra Collection which is almost 3 times more expensive than the ST-10. Subbass goes very deep and has decent rumble especially for an earbud. The song “&burn” by Billie Eilish is an good example to witness to ST-10’s low frequency extension abilities (Actually, it is a song that you can almost completely test all capabilities of an earbud/iem etc…).

    Emphasis on the subbass and controlled midbass provide fast and accurate bass presentation. Beside that, kick drum hits have a more than average punch and this makes the ST-10 a very good earbud to enjoy metal music archive. For instance, Nightwish’s Wanderlust or Dark Tranquillity’s Encircled can be listened effortlessly through ST-10.

    Midbass region is behind the subbass region in terms of emphasis, but it has warmth that prevents the ST-10 sounding too thin and adds some body to instruments, like acoustic guitars in the song “Volcano” by Damien Rice.

    MİDS

    As a result of the V Shaped tuning (not completely V-Shaped exactly), mids are placed somewhat behind bass and treble. This is not the end of the world because ST-10’s mids are very clear and effortless. Additionally, their detail retrieval capability is very high and represent good level of clarity.

    High mids are presented more obviously than the low mids. Low mids lacks a little body and in terms of tonality, they are close to neutral(I don’t mean that they are completely lean, they have enough body. I think that engineers chose to tuning the ST-10’s low mids to represent clarity rather than body). In spite of this lack of body, there is no dryness to point out.

    In contrast, electric guitars in Dream Theater’s Bombay Vindaloo or Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Little Wing sound extremely lively and crunchy.

    Female and male vocals have good presence but i want to admit that i love listening female vocals with ST-10. It portraits Norah Jones’ rises well without being sibilant in the song Don’t Know Why.


    TREBLE

    ST-10 has non-fatiguing clear treble section which adds extra clarity and an airy presentation to the whole sound. To my ears, they have good energy(especially hi-hats) and cymbals or hi hats can be easily counted due to fast attack. As you listen, you start to think that engineers spare a special room to the drummers for only hit cymbals, hi-hats and rides. There is no harshness or congestion to worry about. I think that there is an attenuation regarding crush cymbals and this may be done for preventing ear-fatigue. There is no such an attenuation in hi-hats, they sound very energetic and shimmer.

    Treble extension is an another strong point of ST-10. It extends very well and make you feel as if they are endless.

    TECHNİCAL ABİLİTİES

    St-10 is one of the most technically talented earbud i have ever listened up to date. The sounstage is both wide and deep but depth of the stage is more remarkable.

    Instrument seperation is above its price point and along with the successful imaging, you can pinpoint instrument wherever they are. There is very good attack and decay thanks to the cleverly tuned midbass and almost neutral low mids. Pace and rhytm is another successful point that keeps almost all music genres listenable with a good clarity.


    COMPARİSON

    I have a lot of earbuds but none of them is directly rival to the ST-10, considering their sound performance. Comparing the ST-10 with the Shozy BK is not fair, but i think that judging an earbud with only its price tag is completely wrong because there are good earbuds that have a sound above their price and now i will compare one of them with Shozy BK.

    Shozy BK is flagship earbud like ST-10 and both of them have strengths or weaknesses to each other.

    7.jpg

    Shozy BK sounds warmer than ST-10. In terms of subbass depth, ST-10 is an absolute winner thanks to its IEM-like subbass presentation. Shozy BK has also good subbass depth but it lacks extension and rumble compared to the ST-10. By the way, Shozy BK is very successful on delivering lows for an earbud on its own.

    St-10’s midbass is more rigid and rounded. Both of them have controlled midbass that doesn’t tend to mess midrange. Tonality-wise, Shozy BK’s midrange is more thicker, fuller and better in portraiting lushness and emotion, while the Smabat ST-10 is more detailed, thinner and less textured.

    Both of them have pronounced and controlled upper mids but Smabat ST-10 has more crispness that doesn’t lead to fatigue at all. Shozy BK’s vocals have more emotion and sound more intimate than those of Smabat ST-10.

    Treble region of the Smabat ST-10 is more upfront than those of Shozy BK and this keeps ST-10’s sound signature more airy compared to Shozy BK. Both of them present fatigue-free treble response. In terms of shimmer, Shozy BK has softer treble presentation which has less sparkling than that of Smabat ST-10

    As far as soundstage width and depth concerned, Smabat ST-10 is a winner by a large margin. Shozy BK has more intimate soundstage. In terms of pace and rhytm, both of them is very good to enjoy fast genres.


    CONCLUSİON

    ST-10 is the first earbud produced by Smabat and it proves that the company should be followed for the next products. If you want an earbud that has iem-like bass, headphone-like soundstage, clear mids and crisp, airy presentation without any fatigue, Smabat ST-10 will suit all your need. I really really love them, highly recommended.

    Thanks for reading :beerchug:
      Moonstar likes this.
  8. darmanastartes
    Stunning
    Written by darmanastartes
    Published Jun 15, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - sub-bass extension, clarity, detail retrieval, separation, soundstage
    Cons - limited accessory set for the price, mmcx connections too tight
    INTRODUCTION/DISCLAIMER:
    2019-06-15 06.10.52 1.jpg
    The Smabat ST-10 is an earbud that retails for $99 at the time of this review. I purchased the ST-10 from the Nicehck Audio Store on AliExpress for $1 with the expectation of a fair and objective review. The ST-10 is also available on Amazon.

    SOURCES
    I have used the Smabat ST-10 with the following sources:
    Windows 10 PC > JDS Labs The Element > Smabat ST-10
    Pixel 3 > Fiio BTR1K (Bluetooth Apt-X) > Smabat ST-10
    Windows 10 PC > Fiio BTR1K (USB-DAC) > Smabat ST-10
    Pixel 3 > Apple USB-C to 3.5mm dongle > Smabat ST-10
    I have tested these headphones with local FLAC and Spotify Premium.

    PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES
    2019-06-15 06.10.53 1.jpg
    The Smabat ST-10 comes in a mid-sized black rectangular package with inlaid silver text. The front panel, top panel, and bottom panel of the lid bear the Smabat logo, and the left and right panels list Smabat’s web address. While the web address is valid, the website is Chinese language and loads very slowly. The back of the package lists specifications for the earbuds and contact information for the manufacturer.
    2019-06-15 06.10.52 2.jpg
    Included with the ST-10 are a pair of full foam covers, a pair of donut foam covers, a pair of full silicone covers, a leather pouch embossed with the Smabat logo, and an owner’s manual. The pouch is small for the ST-10, and the materials used are cheap-looking.

    BUILD QUALITY / DESIGN
    The Smabat ST-10 has a two-part housing design. The outer housing section is black plastic with a U-shaped brushed aluminum wrap. There is a bass vent with a silver grille on the bottom. The Smabat logo is printed on the outward-facing brushed metal surface, and the model name and “L/R” are printed in line with the MMCX connector. The brushed aluminum seems to be wear-prone. In the few weeks I’ve had the ST-10, the green finish has begun chipping off along the edges.

    The saucer-shaped driver enclosure has a black metal back lined with fine concentric grooves and a silver ring about halfway down the sloped surface to the ear-facing grille. Below this ring, there are two circular vents about 100 degrees apart from each other. The rim of the earbud is matte black plastic, and the earbud face grille is polished metal.

    According to reports in the Head-Fi earbuds thread, the first batch of ST-10s had issues with loose MMCX connections. It is my understanding that Smabat replaced affected pairs at no cost to buyers and addressed the issue on the second run of ST-10s. My ST-10 is evidently a post-revision pair, as the connection on my pair is tighter than is necessary. It is very difficult to remove the stock cable.
    2019-06-15 06.10.53 2.jpg
    The MMCX cable has a cloth sheath up to the Y-split, after which the cable is enclosed by rubbery plastic. The MMCX connector housings are also rubber and have raised “L/R” indicators. The cable has pre-formed rubber ear guides. The Y-split and 3.5mm jack have metal exteriors. The chin slider is also metal. The chin slider is laser-etched with a barbute, the Y-split housing with the model name, and the 3.5mm housing with the brand name. The top of the 3.5mm jack and the bottom of the Y-split have strain relief.

    COMFORT / FIT / ISOLATION
    The Smabat ST-10 is intended to be worn cable-up only. The ST-10 is comfortable to wear for extended periods. Isolation is non-existent and keeping a secure fit is difficult, as with any earbud.

    SOUND
    The following sound impressions are based on listening without any of the included covers.

    The Smabat ST-10 has a slightly bright tuning with exceptional sub-bass extension.

    The ST-10 has a wiry, accurate bass response that digs deeper into the sub-bass region than any other earbud I’ve ever heard. Mid-bass is de-emphasized. Bass-heavy tracks generate rumble but do not slam. Bass articulation is fast and precise. There is not enough mid-bass to bleed into the lower midrange.

    The midrange emphasizes presence and clarity over warmth and body. Female vocals are slightly more forward than male vocals. Female vocals are vibrant but not shrill. Distorted electric guitars and harsh male vocals are convincingly abrasive.

    The treble is elevated and extended, with abundant air and sparkle. Transients are natural sounding.

    The ST-10 stands head and shoulders above any other earbud in my collection (QianYun Qian69, VE Monk Espresso, and Nicehck EB2) in terms of technicalities. Detail retrieval is excellent. Instrument separation is very good. Soundstage is expansive. Imaging is above average.

    AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS AND SOURCE PAIRING
    With a sensitivity of 115dB and an impedance of 45ohms, the Smabat ST-10 can be driven to adequate listening volumes with a smartphone or dongle but will benefit from the additional headroom provided by a dedicated source if one wants to listen at high volumes. I did not notice hiss with any of my sources.

    CLOSING WORDS
    2019-06-15 06.10.53 3.jpg
    The Smabat ST-10 is a high-water mark for earbuds, displaying technical abilities I did not believe possible in the form factor. Recommended.
      Moonstar likes this.
  9. activatorfly
    Excellent Transmission Line Earbuds!
    Written by activatorfly
    Published Jun 8, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Superb micro detail retrieval
    Build quality/very light shells
    Subwoofer bass generated by Transmission Line System
    Fixed MMCX connectors offer more secure contacts & longevity
    Cons - Limited versatility as an all-rounder – hence probably not suitable for all genres
    Specs:


    st.jpg


    Build Quality:

    The first batch of ST-10 had poor MMCX connectors resulting in loose contacts with stock cable.

    However, dealing with Alice at the VS Audio Store on Ali Express (URL link here) provided excellent customer service to resolve this issue!

    Communication with VS Audio Store was very smooth & quick! - Alice arranged replacements to be sent out asap. After experiencing loose contacts, Smabat honoured to replace all faulty units with the fixed version.

    The fixed batch is much improved, having very solid MMCX connectors, which attach with a reassuring snap. The green metal textured finish of the shell seem much more sleek & professional in the second batch. The upgraded stock OFC cable now seems to push the mids forward noticeably.


    Foams & packaging:

    Along with the stock cable, ST-10 buds are supplied in a premium box, containing thick foams, donut foams, silicon rings plus a faux leather pouch.

    I attached silicon rings to the ST-10 shells from the VE Ex-Pack, added donut foams, then full thick foams. This seems to be the best seal combination imho for great bass & micro details retrieval – however forward mids & spiky treble can still be an issue on certain tracks.


    Sound Signature:

    On a subjective level ST10 could be considered fairly neutral analytical & cold…and are susceptible to being treble bright. Fortunately this aids in the superb level of micro detail retrieval alloyed with very realistic sounding bass and quantity of sub-bass.

    They are transparent with a wide & deep soundstage, however the forward mids can overshadow image separation & layering of instruments. Thus they do seem to excel listening to electronica soundscapes. Alas not so much for genres such as: Classical /Jazz/Vocals…where warmer coloration/more intimate sound signature is required. It is for this reason that their “musicality” is rather underwhelming.

    Timbre and instrument separation can be improved by switching the stock cable with a good quality balanced cable, whereby a more holophonic / 3D effect can be experienced.

    Out of the box they sound great…slowly revealing more details after a few days burn-in. They do also respond well to EQ via the iPad app for Radsone ES100.



    Transmission Line System:

    The port behind the shells of the ST10 implements a unique Transmission Line system (included previously with Svara Pro version.)

    The tuned Smabat 45 ohm drivers produce very authentic bass along with enough sub-bass rumble, the TLS maze ports convey an emulation of speaker sub-woofers. This certainly is conducive to enhancing a feeling of wearing full-sized open headphones!


    Conclusion:

    The star of the show is obviously the unique Transmission Line system which make these buds feel like you’re listening to full-size open headphones (– but not suitable for all music genres!)

    They do however fortunately excel at rendering electronica soundscapes - generating ample bass & sub-bass & micro details – maybe with a tad too forward mids and highs – which can impact against full appreciation of their soundstage.

    With the next iteration of TLS buds – maybe implementing different drivers, which are retuned to tame mids & treble - Smabat could potentially have a winner on their hands (& ears!)


    Rating:

    • Sound signature : 8/10
    • Soundstage : 8.0/10
    • Micro Details : 9.0/10
    • Bass : 9.5/10
    • Mids : 7.5/10
    • Highs/treble : 8.0/10
      ValSilva likes this.
  10. NymPHONOmaniac
    Maze acoustic technology aMAZE me!!
    Written by NymPHONOmaniac
    Published Jun 8, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Mature tuning, Balanced-neutral sound, great clarity, great attack, fast accurate bass, natural and weighty sub bass, incredible construction, comfortable, nice packaging
    Cons - Vocal sound slightly cold, soundstage will be underwhelming for some
    SMABAT ST-10 EARBUDS REVIEW :

    P1010310.JPG
    SOUND: 8.5/10

    CONSTRUCTION: 9.5/10
    DESIGN: 9.5/10
    VALUE: 8.5/10


    INTRO :

    SMABAT audio company is a newcomer in earbuds world, and for their first creation under Smabat branding they push the bar high in term of acoustic conception as well as driver tuning and material construction. In the past they have create other impressive earbuds under the branding name SVARA, wich receive great praise from audiophile.
    No, Smabat isn’t your normal earbuds company that stock a dynamic driver into a standard plastic shell like 99% of other earbuds, they are more in line with seriously talented conceptor like Toneking who make great unique earbuds.

    The highlight of their SMABAT ST-10 earbuds is the housing technology they use call ‘’turbine maze acoustic shaped chamber’’ wich is mostly use with high end speaker as an acoustic wave guide to improve bass response and lower distortion of transient response between different frequencies range. This is the first time I see an earbuds using this acoustic design and I’m pretty sure it will not be the last because the sound performance it give really translate what high fidelity mean.

    P1010312.JPG

    With its big oversized 15.4mm driver, the ST-10 sure promess a wide frequencies response and great dynamic. Now, let see what this promising earbuds worth in term of overall value, because yes, we are in hifi chinese territory here. ST-10 is priced aounrd 90$, so this is not entry level earbuds like VIDO or Monk+, did it worth the investment?

    You can buy the Smabat ST-10 for around 90$ at NiceHCK STORE

    DISCLAIMER: This is not the first review sample I receive from NiceHCK and I never biased my review in the past for this nice seller. I do not have difficulties judging price value when it comme to product that cost 100$ or less, so this is my fully honnest review free of any affiliation or shadyness.


    ACCESSORIES, CONSTRUCTION & DESIGN :

    P1011417.JPG P1011418.JPG

    UNBOXING is very rewarding with this product, and again, for a new company, its very professional and well thinked. The beautifull earbuds are well presented in a black box with Smabat logo on it, and under the earbuds we have a nice leather pouch. In term of proper accessories, we have only 3 type of eartips, including a strange rubber one that I don’t even care to try. I would have like more donut foam tips but this isn’t a big deal. The instruction manual is all in english and a fun read too, with touch of humour, wich is something I really appreciate especially when the product isn’t sounding like a joke.

    P1011426.JPG P1011425.JPG P1011424.JPG P1011422.JPG

    CONSTRUCTION is utterly impressive with lot of care to every details. The housing is quite complex craftsmanship with a mix of different material like brushed alloy, diverse plastic and metal, gold plated mmcx connection. Really, more you look closely to the construction of ST-10, more you are impress and understand why it’s call a flagship earbud.

    P1010306.JPG P1011419.JPG

    The cable included too is quite nice, its half ribon and rubber cable with earhook. This is a light and easy to wear cable that do not create microphonic and without feeling particularly high end, it do not feel cheap either and perfectly match the ST-10 look. Ribbon part look very sturdy wich make me wonder if its kevlar.

    P1010308.JPG

    DESIGN is unique and most of all :well thinked. Even if the earbuds can look big at first, the way its designed make them more comfortable to wear than smaller plastic earbuds that have an overall thicker housing. You have half ot the housing that is outside your ears and the other part have a nice conic shape that will fit most ears and give a more secure fit. Even without earhook the earbuds can stay still in the ears, but I still suggest to use to cable over ear. I try different cable with the ST-10 and they all do go, with or without earhook.

    st10.jpg

    ISOLATION is average if we compare to in-ear and above average if we compare to earbuds. Because of the tigh fit and metal housing, ST-10 do good jo in passive noise cancelation, but due to open back it sure have good amount of sound leakage too.


    SOUND :

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    Without burn in, out of the box, my very first impressions was extremely positive and even more when I turn on my ‘’audiophile critical listening ears’’ : the Smabat aren’t immaturly tuned earbuds and offer a vivid, realist and balanced sound that impress by its fast and tigh accuracy. Whatever the music style I trow at them, like a studio monitor, they render it in a clear, energic and very lively way.

    The big dynamic driver in there have ultra fast transient response and the back acoustic cavity is sure not a gimmick here, it help to give some tigh rumble to bass slam as well as giving extra deepnest to soundstage. Unlike most other earbuds I try that either have a too warm or too bright approach to sound, the ST-10 is really a step above in term of dynamic and imaging, it’s one of the most neutral earbud I own that keep a high level of musicality due to the energical way it present music.

    Some will find the ST-10 slightly bassy or V shape, but this isn’t basshead earbuds at all and will please serious audiophile that search for good reference sound that avoid over colouration in any frequencies range. No peak here, just little bump in mid bass and treble, rightly tuned.

    SOUNDSTAGE will not please everybody because its a little intimate and not particularly wide, but if deep spatiality is important to you, you will be blown away by how far you can travel in clean soundstage. Its a tall and deep soundstage, with an holographic but restrain presentation, you not in a hall with the ST-10 but you are perfectly placed between two monitor speakers in a silent room.

    LOWER END is extremely convaincing and have a weighty realist presentation, timbre is just enough thick and textured, but most of all, you have a fast rumble that give extra body and definition to sub bass line, something that you very rarely find with earbuds. Its fast and accurate bass, with great separation from mid bass. It will not distort at high volume, but with extremely heavy sub track, the rumble can shrill or stole some definition to lower mid range. This type of bass can deal with any music style, acoustic bass will be enough detailed and sub synth will have enough thickness.

    MID BASS is even more impressive and one of the highlight of ST-10 to my ears. Rarely did I enjoy as much punch and kick of an earbuds, its round, fast, tigh with realist timbre and superb attack. Its really hard to believe we only listen to a single dynamic driver here, because of how kick and sub act togheter in a agile and well separated way. Unlike lower end that bleed a little on mids, the mid bass is tigh and drop fast after its hit, this way, it keep the mid range extremely clean and do not affect its definition.

    MID RANGE without being recessed is very linear and intimate, its a sharp, clean, slightly bright mid range with excellent details retrieval and instrument separation. What impress here its the fast attack wich make violin or electric guitar sound energic and lively. Vocal are well centered and do not stole the show with a too wide or opaque presentation, it as if you listen to them in an intimate concert hall, timbre is detailed and transparent without sibilance, not particularly thick and again, it make me think of the type of mids we can get with Sony V6 monitor headphones wich is detailed, slightly dry with near analytical imaging.

    TREBLE is quite extended, with slight emphasis in upper region to achieve greatly detailed imaging. Highs are we resolve and crisp with fast attack and decay, percussion and classical guitar have beautifull brilliance to them that sound natural and never too sharp. High level of clarity give great sens of imaging and separation. This type of treble is very well balanced and isnt too bright or too smooth wich make the ST-10 a god choice for treble sensitive audiophile that do not want to sacrifice details redenring with a too warm or dark sounding earbuds.

    AMPING do improve soundstage wideness as well as imaging and give more natural timbre. ST-10 benifit from external amping but do not need ultra powerfull output. My Xduoo X20 and Ibasso DX90 drive them properly, but my phone or Xduoo X3 will not open the sound at its full potential.



    SUB BASS : 8.5/10


    MID BASS : 8.5/10


    MID RANGE : 8/10


    TREBLE : 8.5/10


    TIMBRE : 8/10


    ATTACK : 9/10


    SOUNDSTAGE : 7.5/10


    IMAGING : 8.5/10





    COMPARAISONS :


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    ST-10 VS NICEHCK EBX (120$):

    NiceHCK EBX is an incredible sounding earbuds, and a serious high end contender fairly priced 120$. With No BS honnesty, I can say its my number one favorite earbuds in my 20 pair collection. Built as well as sound is top notch so let see if the ST-10 can compete with such a fabulous top or the line champion.

    SOUNDSTAGE is seriously more wide, tall and airy than the more intimate sounding ST-10, EBX is hall like sounding while the ST-10 is more studio room sounding.

    BASS is more emphased with the EBX for the better and the worst, while lower end have more body and slam, its more boomy and less controled than ST-10. Mid bass is slower and less tigh too, wich can even create distortion at very high volume. The special ‘’back woofer’’ design of ST-10 make the bass sound faster and more accurate, with air moving in the back and avoiding bleed on high bass and lower mid range, the EBX more lot of air and this can be problematic with super bass heavy tracks. Overall bass is more balanced, accurate and faster than EBX.

    MID RANGE is slightly more fowards with the EBX, even if overall signature is more bassy compared to ST-10. Vocal have more presence and wider presentation, it feel mid centric compared to a neutral near reference sounding ST-10 wich do not colour the sound that much. Separation is more accurate with ST-10 and level of clarity as well, for instrumental music ST-10 is more agile to render realist timbre of instrument and separate them fastly, with good attack, compared to warmer and softer timber and attack of EBX mid range.

    TREBLE feel more extender with the ST-10, but less peaky too, it gently go up to 20khz while EBX go down and up after upper mids peaks that permit extra decay. Percussions sound more accurate with ST-10, due to tigh fast attack-decay versus a more splashy presentation of EBX. Still, classical guitar, harp and harpsichord sound more natural with the EBX due to hall like decay that give it beautifull musicality.

    COMFORT is less problematic with the ST-10 due to smaller housing, EBX is quite enourmous and will not fit all ears type.

    All in all, we have more wow effect with the EBX wich give a more spacious presentation and lusher musicality while the ST-10 sound more balanced and neutral but fail to deliver a very emotional or immersive musicality.

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    ST-10 VS MRZ TOMAHAWK:

    Another favorite of mine, the legendary Mrz Tomahawk is in my opinion still the best sound sub-50$ earbuds out there. Again, its a very different soundsignature than the ST-10.

    SOUNDSTAGE is wider and taller as well as more airy than ST-10 wich have more sens of deepnest and better clarity.

    BASS dig lower with ST-10 while MrZ feel near bass anemic, especially to render properly bass line wich is something ST-10 do with superb accuracy. Both mid bass have good punch but again the ST-10 is more full bodied and have thicker timbre than dryer mid bass of MrZ.

    MID RANGE is where miracle happen with the Tomahawk, its rich and spacious with fowards presence that do not sound too bright or artificial, its really the center of the show and make the ST-10 vocal feel very recessed and cold sounding. In term of instrument separation tough, ST-10 is more capable due to faster attack and better clarity in whole range due surely to a more linear and balanced frequencies response. Anyway, you cannot fall in passionate love with the ST-10 vocal while the MrZ is just too delicious for female signers (but sound drier with male signers).

    TREBLE is less extended with the Tomahawk and begin rolling off after about 15khz while ST-10 go up to 20khz with great energy and control. ST-10 dig more details in an effortless way and this affect positively instrument separation compared to more veiled MrZ that struggle with highs and can make certain percussion sound splashy. Lower to upper treble sound more refined and balanced with ST-10 and justify the price difference between these great earbuds.

    All in all, ST-10 sound from another league here, a serious audiophile reference sound compared to mid centric and very coloured musicality of MrZ Tomahawk that can offer same level of accuracy as well as versatility.



    CONCLUSION:

    The Smabat ST-10 are seriously great sounding earbuds that will please serious audiophile as well as music enthusiast searching for neutraly tuined soundsignature. Even if the musicality isn’t as spectacular and immersive as the more coloured sounding TOTL NiceHCK EBX earbuds, the ST-10 show its talent with its accuracy, fast attack and impressive level of clarity from low to highs. Neither too bright or too warm, too bassy or analytical, ST-10 proove that a single dynamic driver can deliver studio reference sound that do not forget musicality by giving a vivid, energic and detailed sound.

    Even if I would have like a little more air in imaging and soundstage as well as less cold vocal presentation, I’m sincerly impress by how capable and maturely tuned is this earbud wich will sure became my reference one for well done neutrality.
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