REVIEW: VSonic GR07 Classic & Bass, New 2017 version with MMCX cables Specifications Classic Driver: 11mm CCAW High Dynamic Drive Units, Bio-cellulose diaphragm Impedance: 50Ω +/- 10% Sensitivity: 110dB (@ 500 Hz) Frequency Response: 10Hz- 28kHz Channel Balance: <1dB @ 500Hz <2dB (at 20Hz~12.5KHz) Distortion: <1% @94dB Rated Power: 10mW Maximum Input Power: 50mW Plug: 3.5mm gold plated dual-channel stereo plug Cable: 1.3m Bass Driver: 11mm CCAW High Dynamic Drive Units, Bio-cellulose diaphragm Impedance: 50Ω +/- 15% Sensitivity: 105dB (@ 500 Hz) Frequency Response: 5Hz- 22kHz Channel Balance: <1dB @ 500Hz <2dB (at 20Hz~12.5KHz) Distortion: <1% @94dB Rated Power: 10mW Maximum Input Power: 50mW Plug: 3.5mm, gold plated dual-channel stereo plug Cable: 1.3m Price: SGD 180 (~U$D 130~135) from Lend Me Ur Ears (LMUE) Accessories 3 pairs of silicone tips 1 pair of foam tips 1 pair of ear guides 1 carrying bag The accessory pack is the same for all the current Vsonic models, from the new VSD2 to these both GR07 new versions. It’d be fine for the lower options, but for their current flagship you’d be expecting a fuller and package, with a larger variety of eartips; even the GR07x special version included a set of SpinFit CP100. For those who remember the previous iterations of the GR07, when the GR07 Mk2 and VC1000 were introduced all the Vsonic upper models packed a much nicer and complete selection of accessories, so a bit of a letdown for these last versions. Moreover, the included silicone eartips are not really useful and are not capable of bringing the best fit or sonic results out of the GR07 (or any other Vsonic IEM). the one good thing added on these latest versions is the nicer carrying bag instead of the plain pouch, and while it still a bit small, it has a more premium look on it and enough room for the earphones themselves. Design There’s nothing new on the 2017 versions over the previous ones. Same old square shaped shells, made of plastic, lightweight and of course with the featured rotating nozzle that was introduced way back with the GR04. At least, the nozzle is made of metal and should spin into 360 degrees, though it can be too stiff at first. It is a simple yet very smart feature that helps to achieve a best fit needed for an over-ear earphone. The cable is like the ‘newer’ one used back then with the MK2 version of the GR07, internally twisted and with a thicker outer covering. The plug and y-split are the polygonal shaped used already with the new VSD3 and VSD5 models, larger but lacking a proper strain relief. These new 2017 version finally have the detachable cable option. Vsonic opted for the standard MMCX connection type. There’s nothing fancy and not too much dedication on this, just a simple mod to the old plastic housings. In fact, the finish is far from being nice for a product that still rates as the flagship of a company. Residues of glue can be easily spotted on the shells and on the MMCX socket sections. The MMCX plugs are decent enough and did not suffer from a sudden disconnection during the last months of use. The MMCX part is usually a weak spot for many IEMs and Vsonic are no masters of QC; still a cool feature to have in case of needing an extra cable or wanting to switch to balanced sources. With the light shells and rotating nozzle the GR07 are very comfortable and easy to fit. The isolation is good enough for daily commuting and not bad for more noisy environments. On to the Sound: The Classic Balance and the Extra Bass The Vsonic GR07 is one of the most famous and best regarded earphones from Chinese companies and for some years already has been considered as a reference item for its high sonic quality performance at a very affordable price. The original GR07 version was announced back then around the 2008, but only officially released during the 2010. After that, there’d been various iterations, different versions and also changes in the packaging and accessory pack. There was the Mk2 version which introduced a newer cable and a “Bass” version too, both advertised as apparently improving, or at least changing, slightly the overall tuning. The original GR07 version was supposedly released again under the “Classic” naming, and later we found a 2014, 2016 and now the 2017 editions. While I can’t comment on every single model of the GR07, I still got to audition the GR07 and GR07 Mk2 a couple of times during the past years. It is not possible to give a direct comparison with the older models, but from memory these new 2017 GR07 versions keep the same type of tuning signature and great sound quality of the previous ones. The GR07 was originally tuned for a stage monitor like IEM, completely well balanced with a reference kind of sound that could compete with higher priced flagship of various brand companies. Despite the Classic and Bass labels on these models, they are really very close in their overall tuning in every single sound aspect. They do rate a different frequency response on their specs, being the Classic higher in the treble dept., and the Bass reaching some extra Hz down there. However, they are more similar to each other than to any other Vsonic model of the current VSD series and much different to other companies’ options. The following impressions apply to both models, with a more detailed A/B comparison afterwards. Still using the 11mm bio-cellulose single dynamic driver, the GR07 delivers an excellent sound balance from lows to highs that keep competing well against known brands around the world. Right out of the box the GR07 are impressive enough, however Vsonic apparently suggest a 100+ hours of burn-in time, and in fact a certain break-in seems to work better for the GR07 more than every other of the VSD series. The overall balance is without a doubt the strongest characteristic of the GR07, with an excellent weight of each frequency across the sonic range sounding dynamic, nicely textured and well layered with great refinement and level of detail that’s still worth being the company flagship. Bass is punchy and rather quick, great in control and very accurate. Weight and note thickness is well done as well showing a natural attack and decay. Quantity-wise both Classic and Bass editions are just very slightly north of neutral, but the effortlessness and reach in sub-bass is impressive; bass-heads, however, need not to apply and better consider the VSD options out there for pure mid-bass larger quantities. Compared to other neutral sounding IEMs like the SoundMagic E80 or Hifiman RE400, the GR07 are still greater in impact and just more convincing. Nonetheless, on more powerful genre tracks the bass GR07 doesn’t feel like missing. The midrange presence is likewise great. More like the Mk2 GR07 version, very neutral to slightly forward with a gentle rich and warm tonality. Very liquid and transparent making a good match for any music genre, and very easy to handle from any kind of source. Maybe not as liquid or open as the good old Knowles TWFK options such as the Fischer Audio DBA-02 (Brainwavz B2), nor as full sounding as the Dunu DN-2000 hybrid, but they’re less aggressive and easier to listen. The Westone UM30 Pro (previously UM3x) and new Brainwavz B200 sound thicker, but also more laid back and not as dynamic as the GR07. Instruments and vocals sound very vivid and equally balanced with a perfect timbre and accurate positioning. The upper midrange was always a reported issue on the GR07 with a certain peak coming from the lower treble. The 2017 version is still bright up there and not the most forgiving. However, it’s arguably less peaky and more comfortable at moderate volumes. It is a bright sounding earphone, but not at the same level of the DBA or Etymotic stuff in brightness. Even the own Vsonic take on dual BA, the GR01 and VC1000 were more aggressive than the GR07. The treble balance is excellent up to the upper regions, rich in sparkle, full of detail and with an effortless extension as well. Next to the RHA MA750, the Vsonic are less sharp, hotter but also more controlled. The presentation is well rounded with a spacious and fairly wide stage. The GR07 excels in sense of air and openness, and despite the years from its first iteration release it still holds its ground among the sub $200 category. The whole sound is very coherent, resolving and never congested even with more complex tracks. The GR07 may not have the ultra speed of the fastest BA drivers like the Knowles TWFK, but for a single dynamic it is anything but slow. The AAW Nebula has more depth and the MA750 a wider stage, but none of those can match the natural presentation of the Vsonic which also has one of the best timbre. Classic vs Bass The Classic version seems to follow the older Mk2 model tuning, and while I cannot confirm regarding the Bass one, it is now being advertised as taking the Mk2 as a basis as well. Whichever the case, overall they’re both very similar, and interestingly enough with different ear tips the both 2017 models can sound even more similar than their naming would suggest. As noted above, they do rate a different frequency response, 10 Hz~28 kHz for the Classic and 5 Hz~22 kHz for the Bass. True or not, there’re certain audible differences on of both ends extensions. The Bass can reach a deeper sub-bass with a more weighted overall low-end, putting some extra fullness to the mid-bass region, yet keeping a clean midrange all the way. The Classic sounds leaner and flatter in comparison and also faster, while the Bass has a slower decay and more natural texture. At the midrange the Bass edition feels just a little tad less prominent, whereas the Classic is more forward tuned as the Mk2 was supposed to be. Getting to the upper mids and mainly at the treble as a whole, changes are similarly noticed. The Bass is a tad smoother, a little more laid-back and less bright, something that contributes in making it less prone to sibilance. The Classic sounds just a bit brighter and some extra extension can be perceived on real A/B comparison. Again, the different eartips used play an important role in this regard as well. Apart from that, the overall presentation, imaging and timbre is pretty much identical, with slight differences in the tonality, being the Classic more suited for the ‘purist’ and the Bass for the ‘musical’ type. All in all, there’s really nothing new on the 2017 version on these GR07, just the single extra MMCX feature which is nothing more than a simple mod, and even that’s an extra option to the main 2017 release. The build quality doesn’t match the standards anymore, and Vsonic need to keep a good eye on their QC. However, it’s quite surprising that despite the passing of the years the GR07 remains a very strong contender in terms of sonic performance. Regardless the Classic or Bass editions, this is still a reference earphone for a balanced, accurate and resolving sound. The VSD series have taken the warmer signatures, but the GR07 is still the most neutral yet enjoyable from all the Vsonic products.