Venture Electronics Asura 2.0

General Information

The VE Asura 2.0 is a single dynamic driver earbud.

The specs:
Housing Plastic
Driver Unit Dynamic
Frequenzy range 17Hz-23KHz
Sensitivity 110 dB
Impedance 150 Ohms
Cable lenght 1.2m

Latest reviews

Pros: incredible mids and highs
Cons: lack of bass



We reviewed the VE Monk Plus recently and fell in love with it. The main reason being that it was only $5, yet it performed way above its price point. This got us wondering what their higher end earbuds were capable of. I am sure many of you have wondered the same thing. So here we have it, one of their higher end earbuds, the Asura 2.0s. Asura 2.0 is priced at 78 USD and takes its place right in the middle of their lineup.


The Asura 2.0 was sent me by Venture Electronics for a review. As usual, my reviews will contain no bias in any way.

ABOUT Venture Electronics

This company does something that no other company has ever done and that is to admit that perfection may not be feasible. This is true in many cases but not many companies come out and say it. This company is honest from the root. They also carry the same mindset as us AUDIO-MANIACS “We will never stop striving for perfection.” They do 3 things to strive for perfection:

1.   They want to break the notion of EXPENSIVE = BETTER SOUND. They strive to make great sounding products for best value possible
2.   Creating products that are inexpensive but does not sacrifice build or sound quality
3.   Creating positive and honest relationship with their costumers and fans by creating products that they themselves would be proud to use
With that being said, VE’s presence in the HI-end audio does not fall behind. VE is the first to introduce hi-end earbuds, which is priced for 358usd with premium cardas cable and the first in the world to introduce true balanced portable amp with full spec desktop connector. which is the ra2.0b.

Does this sound like a great company to you? I am normally not impressed with company descriptions but I was inspired by how they kept it so REAL, HONEST, and most importantly shared their PLANS & how they will achieve it with us.


Style: Earbuds
Communication:   Wired
Connectors : 3.5mm
Driver: Dynamic
Sensitivity: 110dB1mW
Frequency Response Range: 16-23000Hz
Line Length:1.2m
Resistance: 150Ω



The build quality is just a typical earbud. Like the VE Monk Plus, it had the same shells and the cables are plastic/rubber material.

Again, these are earbuds and they leak sound. These should be used at home or a quiet area.



This is where it gets interesting

Low Frequency: These have less bass than the VE Monk Plus, and VE Monk Plus themselves do not have much bass either. Not that they don’t have bass, they just have enough to tell you “hey dude, there is bass in this music.” This may be a turn off for some people but wait until I get to the mid and highs.

Mid Frequency: The strings and vocals are so well represented that you just open your mouth and start drooling. It is one of the cleanest Mids I have ever heard, and that including the $500 CDN IEMS I reviewed recently. Asura 2.0 slapped me right across the face, “hey soulsik, you thought the ER4XR was crystal clear, well have some of this.”

High Frequency: The highs are not sibilant, even the common vocal sibilance is nowhere to be found, and the details are all there with the harmonic and crystal clearness added into them. I felt like morphine was injected into my veins when I heard music with defined trebles on the Asura 2.0.

Sound Stage: for an earbud, I was amazed how they hard wider sound stage than some of the headphones out there that costed much more.

DRIVING & Final Thoughts

You get the asura 2.0 for the mids and highs. These are 150 ohms so you still need to drive it with an amp or a dac for the fullest potential, but you can still use these with phones or daps because of its sensitivity (although it may sound thin). Overall, I thought this earbud to destroy many of the headphones out there in many areas.

With the Darkvoice 336se: yes, they can be used with the darkvoice 336se, since they are high impedance earbuds. The sound stage increases and overall fullness becomes heavenly.

With the Oppo ha 2 se: with an exceptional dac/amp such as this one, imaging, clarity, and fullness cannot be simply measured or put into simple words

With a simple DAP (Fiiox1) or Phone (S7): Although the music becomes lough enough, it sounds much less FULL and rather seems thin sounding.

Essentially, if you took the VE Monk Plus and took away the bass and gave steroids to the mids and highs, you end up with the Asura 2.0.

Pros: Excellent Sound for the price; Nice cable
Cons: Needs a strong source/amp; Generic design; Not exactly an upgrade over the 1.0, not as 'musical';
Full review of the Asura 2, Zen 2 & Duke here:
The Asura 2 resembles very closely to the Zen 2 flagship in overall sound quality and signature. With the 150ohm impedance it's noticeably easier to drive, and even with a weaker source the sound is already good enough to impress. There's still need for the right source to bring it to its best. The PK1 sounded quite anemic without a powerful source, the Asura 1.0 congested and distorted, while the Asura 2.0 would be something in the middle, with less distortion but lacking power.
As with the Zen 2, the low end of the Asura 2 is tight, clean and very detailed, but lighter in body and note thickness. Even with foam pads, the bass is smoother, less prominent and lacks the slight extra aggression of the upper Zen model. It doesn't lose in terms of control and accuracy, just not as immense and extended. In terms of pure quantity, the Asura 2 is not a bass light earphone, definitely not for an earbud; it still carries more energy and bass power than the Hifiman Compact and a tad more mid-bass focused than the Yuin PK1. The Ubiquo/Ucotech ES903 while it has a richer mid bass focus it sounds much more muddy and less detailed than the Asura 2 (and so next to the Asura 1.0). 
The midrange is also neutral to bright, with a slight emphasis towards the lower treble. Less warm, thinner in body with a leaner presentation next to the Zen 2, but very well balanced on its own; might be found a tad U-shaped sounding for some with more transparent sources. Just clear and detailed mids is what the Asura 2 has been made into. They're smooth and liquid, only a tad cooler with a slight tilt on the upper mids region due the brighter emphasis which also gives an impression of better clarity compared to a PK1/Hifiman Compact (Balanced). While technically the Asura 2 could be considered 'better' it is also less 'musical' than these (relatively) warmer earbuds. This is also reflected in the vocal presentation being the Asura 2 not as sweet and immersive and a bit sharper sometimes. For the midrange, the source matching is more critical on the Asura 2 than those ones, and even next to the Zen 2.
The top end is bright and slightly more emphasized than the low end without the foam pads. It's still very well controlled with a touch of an analytical character. Compared to the well extended Zen 2, the Asura 2’s treble roll-off a bit earlier and tends to be a bit sharper and less forgiving but still manages to maintain a high level of refinement and accuracy at a fraction of the current flagship's price. There's not extra sibilance on the treble and it won't necessarily classify as 'hot', and while fortunately there's no hint of grain or harshness, upper instruments might feel a tad splashy and too energetic.
The presentation also reminds of the Zen 2; almost as spacious and open. It will also sound quite effortless if it gets enough power. Soundstage is also very impressive, very wide and three dimensional too but imaging and timbre is not as natural. Dynamics are excellent, maybe a little bit slower, but much faster than the also 150ohm rated Yuin PK1.

Pros: Sound quality, build quality, visual appeal, open sound, value, channel matching, ability to change signature with covers
Cons: L/R markings hard to see, 2-3 kHz peak (can be sharp with vocals)
For larger views of the photos (1200 x 800) - please click on the individual images


As a hobbyist reviewer, the one thing I've noticed with virtually all the manufacturers I've dealt with is a huge passion for what they do, and also a desire for continual improvement. I've been dealing with Lee from Venture Electronics for a bit over a year, and have so far had the pleasure of reviewing VE's Zen, Zen2 ear-buds and Runabout amplifier. I also have in my possession (and in my long review queue) the Monk and Monk Plus ear-buds, the Enterprise amplifier, and the Asura 2 which I am reviewing today.

I bring up the comment on passion because of all the people I've interacted with so far, Lee has been one of the most engaging and passionate about his products. He's also brutally honest and expects the same in return. For me – as a reviewer – I love this approach.

I'd like to bring up two more things before we skip to the review itself. First is a shout out to my friend Tamal (RedJohn456) who initially introduced me to Lee (zhibili06). The second is a thank you to Lee for his patience. As my popularity as a reviewer has grown, my queue has grown longer. Couple that with a recent surge in hours with my real job, and a recent catastrophic data crash (lost a months worth of review progress), I am now severely behind in my review queue. Lee has been brilliant throughout the whole saga – and I really appreciate your patience my friend.

Venture Electronics (or VE) is a 3 year old audio company based in Shenyang, Liaoning in the Peoples Republic of China. I was able to ask Lee a little about the company, and he has been very open and approachable – something I love to see when dealing with a manufacturer. It really shows a lot about a company when they show pride in their own achievements, and are so open about sharing information with their customer base.

VE is relatively small (for now) with 5 employees, and currently have a very small product line (Zen, Asura and Monk ear-buds, Duke IEM, Runabout portable amp, and Enterprise statement tube amp).

I asked Lee about their core business, and he said they were primarily an internet company, and had developed more products than were currently on offer, but for now their current product range covered enough to cater for immediate development. Their goal long term is “to have the best budget and hi-end gear”, and it was refreshing to see some frank and honest comments in reply to some of my inquiries. I’m going to quote one of Lee’s replies, because it really does add to my impression of VE as a company.

“We see our fans, not just as moving wallets. I see our budget gear (like the monk) as a walking ad for our brand, among our online community (people who love earphones, because they mainly they love the ART the earphones can deliver, like gaming, movie, anime and stuff. We believe the Zen is the best ear-bud in the world, and as we can sell the monk for cheap then it might go viral and get more attention to the other products. We believe to be the best hi-fi company, we need to have the best of the best gears, not only budget ones. If we only do budget, people will have a false image of us not being serious enough, so the idea is very simple”

And to close, I asked Lee about VE’s mission statement or values statement, and the answer I received made perfect sense – “keeping it real”. As I’ve furthered my correspondence with him – I can reassure anyone reading that this is a value very much in evidence.

The Asura 2 that I’m reviewing today was provided to me gratis as a review sample. I have made it clear to Venture Electronics that I still regard any product they send me as their sole property and available for return any time at their request. But I thank them for the ability to continue use of the Asura 2 for follow up comparisons. I do not make any financial gain from this review – it is has been written simply as my way of providing feedback both to the Head-Fi community and also VE themselves.

I have now had the VE Asura 2 since around January 2016. Normal RRP is USD 78.00, and can be purchased on VE's Ali Express site

PREAMBLE - 'ABOUT ME'. Click here for a summary of my known preferences and bias

I'm a 49 year old music lover. I don't say audiophile – I just love my music. Over the last couple of years, I have slowly changed from cheaper listening set-ups to my current set-up. I vary my listening from portables (including the FiiO X5ii, X3ii, X7, LP5 Pro and L3, and iPhone 5S) to my desk-top's set-up (PC > USB > iFi iDSD). I also use a portable set-up at work – usually either X3ii/X7/L3 > HP, or PC > E17K > HP. My main full sized headphones at the time of writing are the Beyer T1, Sennheiser HD600 & HD630VB, and AKG K553. Most of my portable listening is done with IEMs, and lately it has mainly been with the Jays q-Jays, Alclair Curve2 and Adel U6. A full list of the gear I have owned (past and present is listed in my Head-Fi profile).

I have very eclectic music tastes listening to a variety from classical/opera and jazz, to grunge and general rock. I listen to a lot of blues, jazz, folk music, classic rock, indie and alternative rock. I am particularly fond of female vocals. I generally tend toward cans that are relatively neutral/balanced, but I do have a fondness for clarity, and suspect I might have slight ‘treble-head’ preferences. I am not treble sensitive (at all), and in the past have really enjoyed headphones like the K701, SR325i, and of course the T1 and DT880. I have a specific sensitivity to the 2-3 kHz frequency area (most humans do) but my sensitivity is particularly strong, and I tend to like a relatively flat mid-range with slight elevation in the upper-mids around this area.

I have extensively tested myself (ABX) and I find aac256 or higher to be completely transparent. I do use exclusively red-book 16/44.1 if space is not an issue. All of my music is legally purchased (mostly CD – the rest FLAC purchased on-line). I tend to be sceptical about audiophile ‘claims’, don’t generally believe in burn-in, have never heard a difference with different cables, and would rather test myself blind on perceived differences. I am not a ‘golden eared listener’. I suffer from mild tinnitus, and at 49, my hearing is less than perfect (it only extends to around 14 kHz nowadays).
I’ve used the Asura 2 from a variety of sources, but for main body of this review, I’ve used it primarily with my FiiO X3ii combined with the E11K amp, my iPhone and also the FiiO X7 with AM2 amp module. In the time I have spent with the Asura 2, I have noticed no change in the overall sonic presentation – except for when I have changed variables such as covers.

This is a purely subjective review - my gear, my ears, and my experience. Please take it all with a grain of salt - especially if it does not match your own experience.



The stability fins - small and large
Standard foams (thick), do-nut (thick) and Monk Plus (thin)

The Asura 2 arrived in a courier bag – so no retail packaging. I did get some accessories though, and as far as I know purchasing the unit should include:

  1.  Foam covers
  2.  2 sets of ear-hooks (small and large)
  3.  A shirt clip
  4.  Zippered clamshell case
Better look at the stability fins (fitted) rear
Better look at the stability fins (fitted) front
The round zipped clamshell case (about 85mm in diameter and 50mm deep) has a mesh inner compartment and quite rigid outer shell. It is reasonably pocket friendly, and very sturdy. The foam covers you should receive are the thicker full face covers and also the thicker do-nuts. You may also receive the much thinner new covers which are now included with Monk Plus (I will try to find out from Lee),

Edit - Lee contacted me and advised all Asura 2 will receive a free Monk Plus and the extension pack (foams etc). A fantastic add-on bargain

(From VE)

Open dynamic ear-bud
15.4mm dynamic
Frequency Range
8 Hz – 25 Khz
150 ohm
110dB +/- 5dB (1mW)
3.5mm gold plated, right angled jack
1.2m, TPE outer coat, 256 x 0.04 4n ofc copper
Approx 15g with single full foam covers
IEM Shell
Polycarbonate / hard plastic

The graphs below are generated using the Vibro Veritas coupler and ARTA software. I must stress that they aren’t calibrated to IEC measurement standards, but the raw data I’m getting has been very consistent, and is actually not too far away from the raw data measured by other systems except for above 4-5 kHz where it shows significantly lower than measurements performed on a properly calibrated rig. So when reading the graphs, don’t take them as gospel – or at least remember that the area above 4-5 kHz will be significantly higher in actuality. It is my aim to get this system calibrated at some stage in the future.

Raw frequency response (no covers) and channel matching
Very clean CSD apart from the 2-3 kHz ridge
The frequency response graph was created with no covers, and the body pressed lightly to the coupler to simulate a normal fitting. Further in the review I’ve added comparisons to other VE ear-buds, as well as taking measurements with covers on and off.

What I’m hearing (no covers):

  1.  Clean and quick bass, mostly mid-bass with a big sub bass roll-off (with no covers fitted), but still with good overall balance for an ear-bud.
  2.  Clean and very clear mid-range, quite forward in the upper mid-range and has good vocal clarity
  3.  Upper mid-range seems to have a peak, which can be a little strident without covers, and is particularly apparent with female vocalists and any instrument hitting the 2-3 kHz area.
  4.  Detailed treble – a little peaky in my personal sibilance triggering area (around 7 kHz)
  5.  Good overall balance, if a little bright sounding.
Once again channel balance is pretty amazing (see graph). Lee told me previously that they switched OEM factory and the proof is in the measurements. He’s very happy with the consistency of the results, and you can see why when looking at the care taken with driver matching. Any small variations could also be the seating on the Veritas coupler (really hard to get consistent with ear-buds).

Like the recently released Zen V2, and the newly released Monk Plus, the new Asura 2 continues use of the “smoky” clear polycarbonate shell so you can actually see the internals. Reaction to this new shell has been very positive and I really like the aesthetic appeal of the new casing. The shell is practically identical to the Zen 2 casing. It has two circular rows of ports (total 56) close to the outer edge of the main face. The rear of the ear-bud is ported on two opposite sides (two small and a single larger port), and there is also a rear port running parallel to, and along the full length of the cable exit.

Front face of the Asura 2
The slightly smoky translucent shells
Side on
The entire ear-bud is approximately 33mm long from the top of the outer face to tip where the cable exits. There is no strain relief from the cable exit, but given my experience with Lee's other ear-buds (solidly built cable), the fact that the cable is internally secured and also primarily worn cable down, this should not be an issue.

The cable is very pure copper (256 x 0.04 4n ofc) with a black TPC outer jacket and each channel is separate and in side by side configuration – ideal if anyone wants to re-terminate to balanced. The cable is reasonably flexible, but can be a little unruly (photographing it at times was problematic). Overall though practical, solid and ideal for the product range placing. The Y split is pretty small, made of flexible rubber, and has no relief (but again none is needed). There is no cinch. The jack is right angled (my personal preference), 3.5mm, gold plated, and has excellent strain relief. The jack is also smart-phone case friendly, easily fitting my iPhone 5S with case intact.

Y split
Right angled jack
So the Asura 2 looks identical to the Zen 2 in almost every aspect except for the cable colour. The only critiques I would have is that the L/R markings on the earpiece stems are very hard to see, and also it would be nice to have the actual model printed on the stem of the earphone.

Since I've been testing the various ear-buds from VE, I’ve been using ear-buds a lot more than I used to. I knew from past experience that fit and comfort were going to be pretty good, and they are. The difference this time is that where I don't tend to use hooks or covers with the Zen 2, my own personal preference requires them for the Asura 2 (sonically). This does give me more helpful options for correct seating, and a more consistent sonic experience.

I now have both large and small stabilisers from VE, and have to admit I very much prefer Lee's stabilisers than the ones I was using from Dunu. These are sturdier, and far easier to get a consistent fit. Basically they sit over the housing, with the fin part angled upward and forward. The ear-bud body sits normally in the concha cavum (tucked inside the tragus and anti tragus), and the fin lies alongside the anti helix and basically locks against the concha cymba. This drastically aids stability, and if you are careful, allows you to angle the Asura 2 perfectly to meet your individual preference. It also allows a slightly better seal (by widening the body) which also affects bass response.

The other alternative we'll cover shortly is the use of foam covers and there are a lot of different options which all affect the sonics a little or a lot. With either the covers or fins (or a combo of both) in play, I find the Asura 2 very comfortable and overall fit for me is pretty snug. As far as isolation goes – it is an ear-bud – so any isolation is minimal.

I was a little more than outspoken about some claims of the original Zen / Zen 2 needing beefy amplification to really shine. Yes, they are 320 ohms, but their sensitivity allows them to get to very listenable levels without a lot of additional amplification. However, after receiving advice from Lee regarding trying the Zen2 recently with his full sized tube amp (the Enterprise), I have to admit that he may be right about them scaling a little. I haven't worked out yet whether this is the extra power or the sonic signature of the Enterprise.

So I set about trying some of my portable sources to see subjectively what I thought sounded the best, and at what power level. The Asura 2 is 150 ohm and has a sensitivity of 110 dB so it should be easier to power than both Zens.


As I did with the Zens – I armed myself with my trusty SPL meter, set all of my DAPs and DAP/amps as close as possible to being level matched within 0.5 dB (not easy with an ear-bud), and then played the same track through each piece of equipment. Here is what I found – the track used was Dire Straits “Sultans of Swing” – which I often use to test for dynamics and detail. For this test I used the full covers, no fins.
  • FiiO X3ii – 45/120 low gain. Plenty of dynamics, good bass response, does not sound anaemic in any way.
  • FiiO X3ii + line-out to the E17K (0 gain, 20/60 on pot). No significant change from X3ii solo. Sounded exactly same as X3ii by itself.
  • FiiO X3ii + line-out to the HVA (hybrid valve tube amp). I can't tell you all the setting here as the HVA has an analogue pot and there aren't any clear markings. I did use the X3ii variable line out to avoid clipping the valves. Again – no major change in dynamics – but the HVA has slightly fuller body, and it appears to round the upper mid-range response a little (less sharp).
  • FiiO X7 + AM2 (low gain, 42/120). No significant change from X3ii + E17K in dynamics. X7 is slightly smoother - again mainly in the upper mid-range.
  • FiiO X5ii – low gain, 43/120. Plenty of dynamics, good bass response, good detail.
  • iPhone 5S – approx. 6 (40%) clicks of volume. Again plenty of dynamics, good bass response and detail level. Marginally thinner overall.
  • FiiO M3 (tiny $55 DAP) – 20/60 volume. Surprisingly one of the vest sources and again because it is slightly warmer and tends to soften the upper mid-range treble. It doesn’t have the overall resolution of some other DAPs, but has a very good tonality which complements the Asura 2 very well.
So as far as source goes, the Asura 2 is going to sound good out of almost any source you throw at it.


Here is where things get a little technical, and where I explain what the covers can do to the overall signature of the Asura 2.

Remember when reading this section:

  1. It's hard to get consistent measurements with the coupler and ear-buds. I took all of these pushing the ear-bud face gently against the coupler to simulate interaction with an ear, but it can't be accurate compared to reality of different physiology.
  2. Variations in outer ear shape and size will change measurements completely
  3. Whilst the measurements do match reasonably well to what I'm hearing, the only way to tell is to experiment with different combinations.
Asura 2 - different covers
Tick do-nut and thick full cover
Thinner Monk Plus covers - ideal for Asura 2
We've already seen how the natural (no cover) Asura 2 looks (red line on graph below), so let's look at using the full foam thicker covers and also the do-nuts. What this does for me is allow a much better seal. The result is the yellow line on the graph. Two things immediately change – the bass immediately becomes a lot more evident (including sub-bass), and the peak in the upper mid-range flattens. For me this really helps take the peak out and puts a little more distance on vocals – but it also makes the Asura too thick sounding and overly warm. Some of the character I really like is gone.

So the next is to use the thin covers from the new Monk Plus. This is much better. The bass is raised a little without losing the character of the Asura 2, and more importantly again that peak is gone. Green line on the graph.

The trick though is to experiment with what you personally like. I've even tried covers over the top of the fins, and covers on covers. Like the Zen 2, for my tastes I don't think the Asura 2 needs much tweaking, but I do quite like the thin covers, and I think it would be good if Lee could include these in the future.

The following is what I hear from the Asura 2. YMMV – and probably will – as my tastes are likely different to yours (read the preamble I gave earlier for a baseline). For my testing I used FiiO's X7 flagship with the AM2 amplifier module. I used just the thin covers from the Monk Plus because they suit my ears the best. I could have tested the Asura 2 naked (without covers), but I don't think that would have been fair, as without them, it is too sharp for my personal tastes. Tracks used were across a variety of genres – and most can be viewed in this list

Thoughts on Default Signature
I’ve covered this in the frequency response section, but this time with the thinner covers what I'm getting is a little more bass enhancement, but a little less peak in the upper mid-range. The end result is still a quite balanced overall signature with good bass response (again mainly mid-bass), very clear and clean vocals, and enough detail in the lower treble to keep cymbal splashes interesting.

Overall Detail / Clarity
Tracks used: Gaucho, Sultans of Swing

I was actually quite surprised with both tracks because despite the roll-off in the sub bass, there was still enough mid-bass impact to keep the Asura 2 reasonably warm, but still very detailed. On Sultans there is a still a lot of high level detail coming through – and that includes cymbal decay, and snare taps. The nice thing is the depth of detail in mark's vocals, but still getting plenty of crunch and edge from the guitar.

Sound-stage & Imaging
Tracks used: Tundra, Dante’s Prayer, Let it Rain

Tundra is always a starter for me and covers imaging, depth and width. There is a reasonable amount of both width and depth – but I don't think the Asura 2 is as spacious as the Zen. Everything is projected out to the periphery of my head-space – but it doesn't really extend beyond. Imaging is good though – very clean and accurate.

Dante’s Prayer is my test for imaging (I know the position of instruments in this recording) and also for immersion (the applause at the end). The first noticeable thing is the really nice cohesion and tonality of cello and piano, and while the covers have dropped some of the emphasis on Loreena's vocals, now it all sounds very natural. Cues are good, and again the stage is intimate rather than expansive. Immersion during the applause section is excellent with a real feel of the crowd being around me.

The last track is Amanda Marshall’s “Let It Rain”, and I use this as a test for both vocal sibilance (there is quite a bit in the recording) and also for testing spatial ability. The Asura 2 really delivers well with this track, and the 2-3 dB drop at 7-8 kHz seems to have really helped with the sibilance I heard with no covers. The detail is still really spectacular, and the sense of the music playing around me is brilliant. A really nice presentation.

Bass Quality and Quantity
Tracks used: Bleeding Muddy Water, Royals

Muddy Waters is my usual test for bass texture and also bleed. It’s a dark broody track with a lot of feeling in Mark’s vocals, and can be quite visceral in its intensity with some transducers. The Asura 2 actually really delivers quite nicely with this track. Great mid-bass thump, and although the track appears warmish, it is still really clear. It doesn't have the overall sub-bass impact I can get from hybrid IEMs – but nor should it (it's not a sealed unit!). What I'm getting instead is a thoroughly enjoyable well balanced overall presentation which hits low enough to make it utterly pleasurable.

Up next was my sub-bass test (Lorde’s Royals) – and as expected the sub-bass is pretty light, but it is indeed present, although way back in the mix. Ella's vocals are nicely balanced, and although the impact isn't here the way I am used to, it's still pretty good. The Asura 2 is never going to be a bass monster, but it handles bass well enough for me.

Female Vocals
Tracks used : Aventine, Strong, For You, Human, The Bad In Each Other, Howl, Safer, Light as a Feather, Don’t Wake me Up, Ship To Wreck.

Its amazing how much a difference the foams make with the Asura 2. If I had the covers off, I'd be struggling with that dominant 2-3 kHz peak, and instead what I'm getting is a really nice transition from lower mid-range to upper mid-range. It's amazing how much my tastes have changed since owning the 64 Audio Adel U6 as well – because I'm starting to appreciate this sort of transition and balance a lot more now – where in the past I'd be tending to wanting a little more tilt into the upper mids.

This however is an almost perfect balance, and tracks like Angus and Julia's “For You” just flow effortlessly. There is enough sweetness in the vocals to lift the soul and lose me in the music. Any time this happens you know it is a very good tuning. Cilmi's “Safer” had me wanting to go through the rest of her album, and Norah was simply sublime.

This is a tuning I can definitely live with. Nice job Lee.

Male Vocals
Track used: Away From the Sun, Art for Art’s Sake, Broken Wings, Hotel California, Keith Don’t Go, Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town.

Again – the change with the foams has transformed the Asura 2, and the great thing about it is bringing some bass to the forefront, whilst retaining richness and fullness through the vocals.

Rock anthems (Away from the Sun) soar whilst still maintaining an edge to guitar. Classic rock from 10CC and Jethro Tull maintain perfect balance between clarity, detail and impact. 10CC's “Art for Art's Sake” was a perfect example of absolute balance between vocals, bass guitar, drums, keyboards and lead guitar. This is rock done right.

With all types of rock the Asura 2 also showed hidden strengths, and the tonality with guitar didn't matter if it was Breaking Benjamin smashing it, or the Eagles creating a masterpiece with the live version of Hotel California.

My final test as always was Pearl Jam, and whilst it wasn't quite the same immersion as with the Zen 2, the Asura 2 still creates a sound-scape which is very easy to simply get lost in. Perfect capture of Eddie's vocals, and beautiful balance with cymbal upper detail and the guitar through the centre binding it all together.

Other Genres
The Asura 2 is another all-rounder from VE, and covers all genres beautifully with the possible exception of bass heavier trance, hip-hop, and some electronica – where low bass impact can be quite important.

For everything else though, the Asura 2 is a very easy earphone to enjoy, and that doesn't matter whether it is Portico Quartet with Jazz Fusion, or a full classical orchestra.

One of the stand outs was Joe Bonamassa's live Blues performance from the Vienna Opera House. Again – a perfect blend of vocals and guitar – but this time with the ambience of the famous venue coming through. Immersive, enthralling, and utterly convincing.

Really speaking I wouldn't try to EQ these too much, but they do react well. I wanted to see how euphonic I could get Agnes Obel's “Aventine” (which can tend to be a little “honky” at times, so I raised the low bass, cut some of the mid-bass, and then raised the 2 kHz slider by a fraction. All of these changes were no more than a couple of dB – and the result was amazingly good – so they react really well if you are inclined to tinkering.


I also tried raising the sub-bass sliders to give tracks like Royals a little more heft, and while I could definitely coax a little more out of the drivers, they are never going to be sub bass monsters.
The obvious questions here will be how the Asura 2 compares to both the Zen V2 and also the Monk Plus. So I graphed them the best I could, and them compared the best combination of covers I could find with each. In the scenarios below I've shown both earphones naked (no covers) and then in what I think is the ideal configuration

Asura 2 vs Zen 2

No covers Aura 2 vs Zen 2
Asura 2 with thin cover vs Zen 2 with no cover
The A/B rig

These two are practically the same with one glaringly obvious difference – the mid-range. The Zen 2 dips a little at 2 kHz (and has slightly stronger bass), whereas the Asura 2 has that big rise at 2-3 kHz. As a result, the Zen 2 is much better balanced, has a wider stage, and is more refined. The Asura 2 (without covers) is just a little too forward for me and ends up being a little strident.

Add the thin covers though and it is amazing how well the Asura 2 mimics the Zen 2, and although it sounds a little thicker with the covers, the overall improvement is marked. Would I simply swap the Asura 2 with covers instead of the Zen 2 though? Well you'll get most of the overall tonality, and if you prefer covers rather than naked, it is an easy way to get 90% of what the Zen 2 offers. But in the last 10% there is some real magic – evident in spatial presentation, detail, and simple tonality. If I have the choice between both – I'll be taking the Zen 2. If I was on a tighter budget though, I'd thoroughly recommend the Asura 2.

Asura 2 vs Monk Plus

No covers Aura 2 vs Monk Plus​
Asura 2 with thin cover vs Monk Plus with thick covers​
The A/B rig​

You haven't seen my review on the Monk Plus yet, so I'll try not to give too much away.

The Monk Plus naked follows a very similar pattern to the Asura2, but has a far bigger dip in the mid-range, and bigger peak through 2 kHz. Rather than volume matching the vocals at 1 kHz for this comparison, it was easier to simply match the bigger peaks, then look at the differences. And the main difference is that the Monk Plus is very thin through the mid-range, and has higher comparative peaks. This makes it really quite strident without covers – enough to say that for me, the Monk Plus definitely needs blunting.

So the true comparison is the Asura 2 with the Monk Plus new thin foams, and the Monk Plus with full foams. The result has the Monk Plus having a much better bass response, including a surprising amount of sub-bass, and a comparative rise at 2 kHz. The Asura 2 still has a better vocal transition between lower and upper mid-range, and for me anyway remains the better tuning, but I can see how those who like a bit more robustness in the bass and a bit more sweetness in the upper mids are going to love the Monk Plus. For $5 USD it is an absolute killer.


First up I want to take the chance to thank (again) Lee for giving me the chance to listen to VE’s entire line-up, for answering my many questions, and for giving me the chance to look at some special stuff which is coming in the future.

I didn't get to hear the original Asura, so my review is taken from the perspective of comparison to the newer Zen 2 and Monk Plus only. The Asura 2 shares many of the traits in build and tonality as its other siblings. The shells on all 2 are very similar, with the Zen 2 having the slightly better cable. As far as tonality goes, the Asura sits very much in the middle of the Zen 2 and the Monk Plus, and I do like how Lee has positioned his whole line-up.

It comes with a good selection of covers and the ear-hooks, and you will want to play around with combinations to get your ideal sound. Unlike the Zen 2, I do think the Asura 2 needs covers to tame its upper mid-range. When you get to the sweet spot though – pure magic! The Asura 2 is also easy to drive, and for the low value it is being pitched at, is an easy recommendation.

Brilliant sound, brilliant value – 4.5 stars.

For those seeking the pinnacle, to me it remains VE's Zen 2, but the new Asura 2 is in the upper echelons, and I dare say for some will even be preferential (depending on your overall tastes). For those who start with the Monk Plus and are looking for an extra level of refinement, the Asura 2 is a natural progression forward.

And Lee – the new thin foams need to be included with the Asura 2 IMO. They are Ying and Yang – once completes the other. 


Very detailed and informative review as usual, and for earbuds in particular i find the 'fit' section covering the different foam covers and ear adapters additionally useful. I often read Brooko's reviews even on items I am not really interested in, becasue they are so informative
@Brooko, I have an Monk Plus (but without the Full foam that you recommend for them), but I have the opportunity to take an Asura 2. Do you think that the Asura is a big step up from the Monk Plus? Is worth for the value? Thanks!!
For my preferences - yes, although you can have most of the VE line match your personal preferences simply by playing around with cover and fin combos. I just like the Asura 2's transitions through the mid-range a little better.  I'm also one of the guys who actually prefer the original Monk to the Monk Plus.  The pinnacle though (if you really like the Asura 2) will eb the Zen 2.  They are a very special earbud.
So I guess it will depend on your budget.  If funds are tight - then get yourself an expansion pack, and play with combos to get ideal signature. If you have disposable income and want an upgrade to the Monk Plus - the Ausra 2 represents that next step for me.


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