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Universal Fit item created by squallkiercosa, Jul 11, 2014
Pros - Vsonic balanced sound; cable
Cons - lack of strain relief; unnecessary polygonal shape; short nozzle; missing the rotating nozzle
REVIEW: VSonic VSD3S (New Version)
Sensitivity: 108 dB
Impedance: 40 Ohm
Frequency: 5Hz- 31.5KHz
Rated power: 10mW
Maximum input power: 30mW
Price: SGD 68 (~U$D 50) from LMUE - LINK
3 pairs of silicone tips
1 pair of foam tips
1 pair of ear guides
1 carrying bag
For some reason Vsonic thinks that they need to be cool looking with the VSD3 (and apparently with VSD5 too). The previous GR series and even VSD1 and 2 where more discreet and plain in their design, but they decided to use a particular “diamond cut” shape for the VSD3s shells. Can’t say the design is really impressive, but the semi-translucent color is a nice touch to see the drivers inside. Build quality is nothing above average with an all plastic material and simply glued cables. They dropped the detachable MMCX option on the previous version, probably due the reported quality issues, which is actually a good decision. Also, the VSD3 series are now missing the rotating metal nozzle that the GR07, 06 and even VSD1 adopted, which I found very convenient to get a best fit. The nozzle on this model is so simple, short and less wide than standard, so finding the right eartips might take some time.
Getting to the cable, the new version cable is very comfortable, behaves well and very pliable even without the included earguides (which I never used or needed). However, it lacks a proper strain relief. The plug is now L-angled and the y-split follows the polygonal ‘diamond’ design, and they’re both unnecessary large and also are missing a cable relief everywhere.
For the fit, the VSD3S is meant to be used over-ear only. The included eartips didn’t work very well and I preferred the Spinfit CP800, Sony hybrid and also RHA single tips, not just for better seal but also for sound results. Getting a good fit and seal is not very difficult and despite the shallow fit from the short nozzle, the VSD3S provide a slightly above average isolation. Even though, the earpieces are not completely comfortable and the reason is the special outer shape with all that sharp geometrical design. It may look cool, but not the most comfortable; for instance the VSD2 and VSD1 were much better in fit.
This is where Vsonic products tend to shine, and the last VSD3S version is no exception. The VSD3S has the usual Vsonic house signature sound, balanced, detailed and very resolving. It’s very airy with a very slight V-shaped like presentation and a delicate sense of warmness that adds extra fullness and musicality to the sound. While the first VSD models, the VSD1/1S where advertised as having a 70-80% sound of the famous GR07, that statement was a bit hyped in my opinion; the VSD1 offered an excellent sound back then, no doubt, but it wasn’t truly mimicking the old company flagship. On the other hand, the VSD3, which are supposedly tuned with a Westone W4 in mind, are actually much closer to the GR07 sound that aimed for a total balance.
Labeled as “enhanced bass”, the low end on the new VSD3S is impactful with a strong punch and a bit more emphasis into the mid-bass region, but it’s far from being overwhelming and won’t take the attention of the listener if the played track doesn’t allow it. Still, the bass should be considered as north of neutral, being full-bodied with great control and accuracy with a relatively natural decay and depth considering its sub $50 price. The texture keeps the typical Vsonic style and speed is quite good, especially with some extra amplification.
Following the v-shaped nature, the midrange itself is slightly recessed next to the low and upper ends, but free of any bass bleed and with excellent level of detail, clarity and more importantly, resolution. Despite being placed a little far away, it presents a very good sense of distance and space between instruments or voices still having the usual nice amount of warmth and sweetness. Similarly to the VSD1S the 3S was marked as more suited for upper/female vocals, and while that statement is quite accurate, I found the VSD3S to be much better balanced between lower and upper midrange from what I remember on the 1S, just having a bit more energy and forwardness towards the upper part which might give an effect of a bit thinner lower mids.
Treble is forward and very energetic, mainly towards the lower treble, crispy and full of sparkle, well extended at the higher top. The extra emphasis also means it tends to be a bit too sharp and not very forgiving. Like many Vsonic IEMs, the VSD3S is not sibilance free, although it starts to fade away after a proper burn-in process. Transparency is very good and the VSD3 gives that illusion of sounding like a more expensive earphone, but the Soundmagic E80 still holds the first place in that regard.
The presentation on the VSD3S spacious, nicely layered and very open. The slight lively signature contributes to offer a wide stage impression and has very decent sense of height for a small in-ear, and even though it lacks depth, it is airy with excellent imaging. Dynamics are very good as well, and while the wider presentation gives up some 3D effect, the left-to-right separation is very coherent.
Worth the money?
The original VSD3/3S were advertised as being tuned with the Westone W4 sound in mind. While I haven't got a chance to try those first versions, I think this new VSD3S is more tuned like a W3 (or current W30), and find that to be a rather good thing. The fit didn’t work as good as with the other Vsonic offers, nor are the build quality and design something impressive, and missing the adjusting nozzle is a disadvantage for a Vsonic IEM. Nonetheless, the overall sound quality, well balanced and detailed presentation is what makes the new VSD3S version a worth product.
Pros - gorgeous design, great isolation, detachable cables, enjoyable, warm, smooth sound, Affordable
Cons - housing a bit big, cable is lacking strain reliefs at key areas, and proprietory MMCX connectors (waiting for stock to be released to the public)
My video review for those interested:
The VS3S is a VSONIC’s latest earphone, and they have made a big claim. That is that these VS3S as well as their brother VSD3(at the current price of $45-50) were tuned with the Westone 4R in mind ($499 earphone with 4 Balanced Armatures). Now I, myself have not tried the Westone 4R, but I can say that VSONIC proved yet again, that you can get great sound at an affordable price (as they have achieved time and time again with their GR07, VSD1/1S, Gr06 and many more).
This is where I think Vsonic had disappointed me a bit. They come with:
1 soft carrying pouch (very smooth to touch)
3 sets of single flange eartips
1 set of double flange
1 set of foam
Its good but in comparison the HAVI B3 Pro 1 (about $60) came with BOTH a pouch and a hard carrying case and more eartips and sizes.
I absolutely love the look of these earphones! They have a diamond like cuts through the housing, which gives it a sense of elegance. Its transparent, and you can see the internal wiring and structure. Mine pair of the VSD3s, in particular are multicoloured, the left earpiece is blue, the right earpiece is red, which I think makes them very unique I love the colours used. (VSONIC also have a number of fun colours coming as well, all transparent red, light blue, purple, or the traditional black)
Note the only separating the VSD3 and the VS3S physically is that the latter has the letter “s” labeled on the right earpiece.
Overall: 10/10 (totally subjective but I love it)
The earpieces are made up of entirely plastic, but it does feel fairly solid in the hand I can see them lasting me for quite a while.
However the biggest selling point is the fact that they come with detachable cables (which is unheard of at this price, the cheapest I can think of is the Shure se215 at $99). The detachable cable is a fantastic value allowing you easily swap out the cables should something go wrong, protecting your investment over the long haul. The cables however are a proprietory MMCX connector and itsthe first of its kind, so aftermarket cables are not available yet. As of right now, we will have to wait for VSONIC to sell these cables individually.
The cable itself is has good thickness to it, and has a nice quality to it (reminiscent of my VSONIC GR07BE). I would say that the biggest downside to the cable is the lack of strain reliefs in a few key areas, namely at the y shaped connector and at the jack, which is a bit concerning for its long term durability, luckily it is replaceable.
Overall: 6/10 (the cable is what dropped the score here, otherwise its good)
The earpieces are ergonomic but quite big , so if you have smaller outer ears, I can see the VS3S not being a comfortable experience. That said for me there are about above average, my outer ears do feel a bit of fatigue after about 2 hours.
In terms of isolation, its excellent! Its a fully sealed design and it has becoming my daily commuting friend, cutting through the subway chatter and the rumbling bus wheels very well.
They are very warm and smooth with some weight in the bass, with a crisp treble to balance out the other end.
Bass: The bass is the emphasized (particularly in the midbass) with plenty of weight and punch. It’s a bit on the slower end, making it very smooth and meaty. Giving it a full bodied, thicker sound. The bass here is well extended but is a bit on the boomier side, while not loose, I wouldn’t say it’s tight either. In faster basslines, things get a little just little uncontrolled. Its not sloppy and nothing glaring for the most part however. However, this leads me think that this earphone is bit better suited for more mellow, soulful music, but also plays top 40 songs very well.
Mids: The mids here are a bit forward, just a bit, despite the bass and treble prominence. Its not left forgotten and is very well intergrated. Its very natural especially towards both male and female vocals (retaining their character, tonality) and relatively clear, but because of the warmth and bass weight, its clarity does take a hit.
Treble: The lower treble is crisp particularly emphasized to make give some spice and excitement into otherwise a warm, and probably dull sound. The texture on the treble is very interesting, and I like it. I describe it similar to a whip, its quick, has a short impact and disappears without a trace or any prolonged ringing. This treble here, makes the VS3S more of an all-around for different types of music. I would say there is a mild case of sibilance, which seems to be the “VSONIC house sound”.
Soundstage: Its wider than average but not by much. However, at times with faster music, along with the bass, the soundstage feels more “stuck in the head”. The separation is just okay.
Overall: 8/10 (for the price I think it’s a no brainer, there’s very small nitpicks to an overall very enjoyable experience).
In conclusion, VSONIC has hit it out the park again with the VSD3S. The lack of strain relief on the cable is concerning but with a beautiful design, great isolation and detachable cables, and great sound makes the VSD3S an outstanding performer in its price range. I highly recommend this earphone for basically everyone except those with the most eclectic tastes.
Overall 48/60= 80%
Pros - sexy design, removable cables, great sound quality
Cons - proprietary mmcx connector
This is a review of VSonic VSD3S in-ear headphones.
*** As a Disclaimer I would like to mention the following. Often in my reviews I provide manufacture link if it's available, where unfortunately VSonic doesn't have one yet. I also get questions where to buy it. When it comes to budget headphones from Asia, it's not an easy task because of an incredible amount of fake products. Even on Amazon next to a trusted source, other shady sellers add their listing and people don't pay attention on what they click while looking for the "cheapest" deal. In my recent review of Pistons 2 headphones, I had people contacting me saying "the one we got sounds nothing like what you reviewed" when we bought it from Amazon, which turned out later to be a fake version. The bottom line, I will provide you with a link from where I got my review unit, and I can speak with guarantee about that source and its genuine quality. For VSonic VSD3S it's Zhengnan shop http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LS6V3EM ***
As my recent reviews of sub $100 headphones indicated, you don't have to spend a fortune to get a high quality sound. But one thing that's lacking with a number of these budget headphones is a design and a build quality. I don't think it's even a matter of cutting corners, but rather a matter of setting a priority where some companies put sound quality ahead of the design details. This becomes evident in designs with bland cylindrical or other exotic shapes that look good in photoshopped pictures but hurt your ears when you put these in. And when you think of the weakest point in a design, the wire attachment to headphones where it breaks first, removable cables is often an option found in more expensive models. That is why it's a rare combination to have a headphone in sub $60 price range with a great design ergonomics and removable cable. If you add a fine tuned sound on top of it, you are looking at the new VSonic VSD3S model I would like to share with you about in my review.
Arrived in a compact box, it wasn't too flashy but still had a nice top display presentation to reveal these VSD3S beauties. VSonic announced release of two VSD models, "3S" available now and "3" to follow soon (most likely already available at the moment of me writing this review). Everywhere on the box you will find a reference to VSD-3, and there is only a small sticker in the corner of plastic top display with "VSD3S" label. Another interesting detail, while most of the other vendors like to put specs on the back of the package, here VSonic presented a picture of professional recording studio with additional description to reinforce their philosophy of "tone quality" being the most important aspect of their design. I will talk more about the sound later in my review, but as a teaser - these don't disappoint!!!
Out of the box, you can't help but notice the shape of VSD3S earpieces. These are designed for over-the-ear wire fitment with a shape which resembles easy-fit ergonomics found in flagship models of Shure and Westone. To distinguish themselves, beside a tinted translucent finish, the outside of the housing surface has a unique diamond cut facets design. To take it to the next level, VSonic also included detachable cables using MMCX connector. Before you get too excited, unfortunately it doesn't have a common MMCX design but rather a modified version of it. Fortunately, you no longer have to worry about throwing your headphones away if you break the wire, and VSonic already working on replacement cables where I hope an option with in-line remote will be offered as well. If not, I'm sure we are going to see it from other after-market places, like lunashops.
The cable itself has quality OFC wires and a nice soft translucent jacket. Cables are easy to manage and wrap without being springy or having a memory effect which comes handy for behind the ear fitment where together with a chin slider adjustment I didn't need to use ear-hook guides. But those guides are still included as part of the accessories package. In addition to those, you also get a generous selection of eartips with S/M/L silicone tips, a pair of double-flange tips, and a pair of soft foam tips similar to Comply but softer. Also, they included a velvet draw-string storage pouch. Furthermore, the translucent theme is carried over to a chin slider piece, y-splitter, and even a clear strain relief of the straight slim 3.5mm jack.
As I mentioned before, VSonic was very clear about importance of sound quality in their headphones. The main sound signature is definitely a balanced bright full body sound with a nice separation/layering. Starting with a bass, I wouldn't call these a bass monsters, but they have a great low end extension and clear separation of rich sub-bass texture and rounded (not as aggressive) mid-bass punch. Bass is very articulate and well controlled without spilling into lower mids. Mids sound bright and detailed. Along with a crisp extended treble in some songs it could get closer to sibilance level, but never crossed that threshold and was always easy on my ears for extended listening period. I do have to mention this upper mids brightness adds a little artificial quality to vocals, but it's just a matter of personal taste. The soundstage of VSD3S is wider than average and has a nice depth to it with a decent imaging. VSD3S was very easy to drive from any source I tested, and I actually found it to be forgiving playing some of my lesser quality mp3s. No microphonics effect was detected either.
Overall, I think VSonic raised a bar to another level with their new VSD3S release where they paid as much attention to a sound quality as to a design details borrowing popular elements previously found in more expensive headphones. Everything from a comfortable earpiece fitment to removable cables (though, proprietary connector), and a great balanced sound with a rich detailed bass and clear bright mids/treble is an indication of a hard work put into this release. Of course, we all have our own sound preferences and some might want to tame down brightness or to boost mid-bass quantity, but if you are dealing with a poor fitment design and stuck with low quality attached cables - nothing could be adjusted to fix that. Here, you have a great in-ear fitment and flexibility of removable cables to extend longevity of these headphones. I'm sure VSD3 model will have a slightly different sound signature, and I'm looking forward to review it as well, but at the current moment VSD3S will hit a sweet spot with a lot of people who value a quality sound and want to have headphones that look as good as they sound!
Here are the pictures.
Pros - Nice Form factor, detachable cables, precise bass response, affordable price, balanced sound without been boring
Cons - Somewhat unnatural sound
This is a work in progress, everytime I listen to them with a different source, there's always something new emerging and changing the overall perspective someway.
Sources used: Macbook Pro, iphone 4s, Fiio e10, Schiit Magni, Ipod Classic
This is a personal Unit: Bought at LMUE during pre-sale (excellent customer service btw)
Burn-in time: I don’t believe in huge differences, but in order to avoid a debate, I’ve been using it extensively before posting this.
Some songs I used: (320kbps and some of them are lossless)
Pistol Shrimp - Heart (RoboCLIP Remix)
Disclosure - Help Me Lose My Mind (feat. London Grammar)
Saux - Fortunate (feat. Timantti)
Fever Ray - If I Had A Heart
Our Mother - Lion OS X
The Maneken - Обратный Билет
Kaiser Chiefs - Ruby
Joe Satriani - Always Me Always you.
Presidente - Live Sushi
Sarah Jarosz - Annabelle Lee
Hayajan - Fish Majal
Beirut - Nantes
Tame Impala – Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
There’s a few things I would like to write first.
Shure came democratizing detachable cables for budget friendly IEMs and I'm happy to see other manufacturers following the tendency.
I broke many cables in the past, most of them on my daily commute. I remember the time I broke my lovely Fischer Audio I bought in Russia: I was so mad that I couldn’t just replace the cable and keep using them... Some people claim it makes no sense doing it when a cable cost almost the same as the headphones, but from a manufacturing standpoint, the most common source of problems are cables. So instead of replacing units they can just send you a new cable or blaming you for negligence leaving up to you to buy a new IEM or buy a replacement cable. In any case, it's a good thing considering planned obsolescence and all wasted resources: A conscious movement and should be praised. I highly admire Vsonic to take a step further in the industry.
About the VSD3S
The Vsonic come inside a small but nice package, the earpieces look sturdy especially the nozzles, form factor is astonishing, the cable is similar to the Vsonic GR06 , it takes some time to get used to I have to admit but it's good. I can't comment about durability right now but I haven't seen anything better within this price bracket. Time will tell but again, it does look pretty nice and better than the competition. I advice you all to get a hard case for your IEMs.
I noticed one of the connectors wasn't rotating when I was "installing" the ear hooks: it wasn't properly inserted and the sound kept coming without issues. I'm really surprised regarding the vsonic connectors against the Shure mmcx. The shures even completely inserted and cleaned gave me some troubles. I hope Vsonic keep pushing these connectors and to be able to find more cable options in the future. Some people reported having some shorts but it's early to declare failure. When you compare the mmcx with the Vsonic connectors you can clearly see how they tried fixing the issue extending the male connector to give a more stable fit and the internal pin is also longer, a bit thinner unfortunately. My pair is short free (knock on wood)
Comfort is a very personal thing. The Shure se215 were far from ideal for my ear canal despite the fact that I love the over/behind the ear fit, the Westone are extremely comfortable but not entirely perfect and I don’t feel comfortable taking an expensive IEM out all the time with me (call me paranoid). The VSD3S on the other hand are perfect for my ears. At least the first and subsequent impressions exceeded my expectations. Because I know how picky I am with tips (I have a bag full of them for that matter) I was so surprised to put them on and immediately get a wonderful seal and feel.
I'm not a strong supporter of burn-in but these ones improved a bit with time (I still claim it's more a psychological thing) but still.
The overall impression is good, the bass response is somewhat similar to the W4R, powerful without been annoying or distracting. I think that’s the best area of the vsd3s. Regarding the mids I don’t hear anything wrong (maybe balanced should be a good way to put it) mids are not overpowering anything and they are not trying to been the center of the stage.
The clawhammer in Saraz Jarosz - Annabelle Lee, raised my concerns about the tonality and put the vsd3s treble under the lights. Artificial is a bold and unfair statement for this IEM, however this is not a completely natural sounding headphone, at least not the upper treble region. Some people might disagree but the sibilance some head-fiers reported is IMO the unnatural treble response.
Update: I'm using the vsd3s with medium Sony hybrid tips I got with my xba3. They're a bit shorter than the stock ones and the vsd3s now rest a bit farther from the eardrum (I can only assume the not so deep insertion allow high frequencies to run smoothly inside my ear canal and the results are really pleasant: Treble tamed and good isolation without been disturbingly uncomfortable.
The sound started to grow on me because of the perfect fit and I think I can live with such a minor issue.
To put an analogy is a like a teenager dressed like a grown-up man: Clothes don't look bad on him but there's something awkward about the whole combination without been scandalous. It is a bad thing? Not at all, it's just not fair.
If you ask me: I would definitely recommend the Vsonic without a doubt. There's still room for improvement but I think Vsonic made an excellent job creating a good looking and decent sounding IEM for a good price.