Wavaya is a young audiophile company based in Nicosia(Cyprus), they produce custom iems made of fine glazed porcelain. In this moment they have five models in catalogue: Tria, Quadra, Exa and two electrostatic models Penta and Octa.
“The WAVAYA™ brand has been developed with private capital with the only purpose to obtain a valuable product of wide acceptance. Our company was born from passion, not from greed: our purpose was, since the beginning, creating the "Ferrari" of in-ears.”
WHY PORCELAIN? (what they claim)
Porcelain is definitely worth a try: you will be amazed by the extreme comfort of its smoothness conferred by the glaze, its total naturalness, it’s thermal adaptability and the absence of any allergene.
If you would never wear a plastic tooth, then you deserve porcelain in-ears!
As reported in an article about the middle ear infections by the Mayo Clinic (Arizona, USA): “Persistent infection or persistent fluids in the middle ear may result in more significant hearing loss”. Therefore excessive sweating with consequent increase in the secretion of wax will help the proliferation of bacteria or viruses in the middle ear canal. As we can read in the same article: “If there is some permanent damage to the eardrum or other middle ear structures, permanent hearing loss may occur”. This is why it is extremely advised to use in-ears made of a material that adapts to your body temperature thus reducing sweating.
Referring to a publication issued by WebMDMedical Reference and reviewed by William Blahd, MD on September 24, 2017: “The skin inside your ears can itch because of an allergic reaction. […] Plastic, rubber, or metal you put inside your ears, like earbuds or a hearing aid, can also cause a rash called contact dermatitis.”. Allergies may cause swelling of the Eustachian tubes blocking proper drainage from the middle ear and cause dermatitis.
For the reasons above avoiding plastic and rubber materials while choosing in-ear monitors or in-ear earphones will also help preventing allergies.
MY EXPRERIENCE WITH PORCELAIN:
after one month of use, i can certainly claim that porcelain custom iems have some advantages over standard resin ones: first and most important thing is that this material adapts better to body temperature and gives on long period, a more natural and comfortable fit. The glazing process gives to the shell a smoother feel in contact with your ear skin. Plus, i noticed less sweating compared to standard resin iems. About allergies / dermathitis, i have never had any type of issues with standard acrylic iems assumed that they were using medical grade ones (like my Inearz Euphoria or LarkStudio LSX) except in a couple of cases with some “made in China” brands where I got itching and excess wax in my ears for a while.
Are they more fragile? During this time of use, i have not noticed any type of scratches or damages, they feel sturdy and premium in the hands. I would not say that they are fragile, maybe more delicate compared to plastic resin just in case of hard impact on a very hard surface like marble. I don’t feel they can just chip or break with normal use. On the other hand porcelain will never become yellowish and look permanently “dirty” after heavy use like transparent plastic models.
My Penta (5ba) is a bit heavier than other custom 6ba iems i have, but nothing that can compromise the overall use and experience.
Today i am going to review their electrostatic model Penta, this iem comes with Linum Bax cable as standard, with possible upgrade to Linum SuperBax( with 2pin or T2 connectors).
This unit was sent me as a sample, i am not affiliated with the company and all observations and opinions will be my own. Would like to thank Wavaya team for sending me this unit.
Price: 1190 USD/EU
Official Site: https://wavaya.com
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/wavaya.audio/
SPECS: 3 ba drivers engineered with custom crossovering, band passing and dampening and 2 electrostatic tweeters separately powered. They use a proprietary tubeless outlet system too, most probably to reduce resonance.
Frequency response: 5Hz to 22kHz
input sensitivity: 99 dB @1kHz, 1mW
impedance: 7.8 ohm at 1Khz
All Wavaya iems comes in a quite premium box. In the box you can find a warranty card, a case made of genuine calf leather that is naturally hygroscopic and will reduce the moisture that normally accumulates in ciems without the use of chemicals. My Penta has a premium and sturdy build quality, it uses a standard 2pin connectors, givng me the opportunity to switch to other aftermarket cables like Pwaudio or Rhapsodio ones.
SOUND: all my sound consideration has been made with different DAPS such as Opus 2/3/1s, ak Kann, fiio x3,x5, iFi XDSD and my iPhone 6s/ Tidal HIFI.
Penta shows a reference tuning, it sounds very neutral and controlled without adding any type of coloration or artifice. If you are looking for euphonic or fun sound, most probably this is not the iem for you. Penta was aimed to sound almost linear from bass to mids and treble, as Pasquale(CEO of Wavaya) told me, they worked hard and focused most on having a linear freq curve and a good dynamic.
BASS: even if not being the strongest point of this iem bass has good impact and decay with the usual weak points of balanced armatures. It has enough quantity to create a good balance with vocals and treble and without sacrificing musicality. Mid-bass has enough presence to give good body and presence to male vocals, without bleeding in mid area. This helps to have a natural reproduction of instruments in this frequency range.
MIDS: the quite neutral mid-bass presence and absence of strange and annoying peaks on upper vocal area, helps to have a linear vocal reproduction. It just feels neutral in both tonality and size notes ( not too much thin or weighty). Vocals have a perfect placement in the scene, never resulting too much recessed or upfront , this gives a great advantage for a correct instrument positioning in the scene. Penta never sounds fatiguing neither falls in the boring side (thanks to the right mid-bass presence).
TREBLE: treble reproduction is the strongest point for Penta, thanks to electrosatic drivers, it shows very good treble extension and detail retrieval. I don't have much experience with ET drivers, but for sure Wavaya implemented this new type of drivers very well, giving better treble extension and resolution compared to standard balanced armature and avoiding a splashy or fatiguing reproduction like my Noble KHAN. Penta works very well with string instruments, acoustic guitars, trumpets, this makes this iem ideal for blues,jazz or classical music, not the best choice for pop genre.
SOUNDSTAGE: the neutral bass presence and lack of strong peaks on treble area will not give an artificial or too much holographic stage. Penta has a good soundstage and instrument separation, but not necessarily an out-of-the-head experience. Everything is placed in the scene in a correct way, with the right space and air between vocals and instruments.
Penta is quite easy to drive, works good with my iPhone 6s too, but i would suggest to pair it with a good player( better if neutral or warm source) and with decent amping capabilities, to avoid harshness on treble area and gain better control and wider soundstage,
PENTA VS NFAUDIO 6I: 6i has a reference tuning, but compared to Penta has a bit more fun approach with a bigger bass presence( like InearSD5), on the other side Penta shows a more neutral and controlled approach, with a more neutral sub-bass impact and a bit more mid-bass presence giving a better vocal tonality and presence. Both share similar vocal positioning and size note, but on 6i vocals feels a bit dry, where on Penta shows a bit more warmth and organicity. 6I has slightly more treble presence, giving more sparkles to the sound, on the other side Penta has better treble extension, with a better and more refined reproduction of string instruments. Soundstage is more holographic on 6i, providing a better out-of-the-head experience, on the other side Penta has a more intimate stage, but with better and more precise instrument positioning.
PENTA VS INEARZ EUPHORIA: Euphoria has slightly more mid-bass presence, more recessed vocals and treble roll-off. Euphoria will give you a less fatiguing experience, but at the cost of sacrificing treble details and resolution. On the other side Penta is much more neutral and controlled, with a more linear reproduction from bass to treble. Penta shows better treble extension and detail retrieval on top end, overall has a more professional and less fun approach to music. Soundstage on Euphoria is wider, but Penta has more depth.
PENTA VS LARK STUDIO LSX: LSX has a totally different approach, sounding engaging, fun and euphonic, sacrificing some details to have a fuller reproduction. LSX has much more mid-bass presence, resulting in a weighter reproduction, but a bit muffled and congested. Bass on LSX has bigger impact( more like a dynamic driver). On the other side, Penta has a more neutral and refined sound signature, with thinner size notes compared to LSX, but with better treble extension and detail retrieval. Vocals on LSX are weighter with more euphonic presence, but are placed too much upfront in the scene, on the other side Penta uses a more neutral and correct approach.
PENTA VS AMBIENT ACOUSTICS AM6: similar bass presence, but Penta has better impact. Here, Penta is a clear winner with better resolution, treble extension, and more natural and refined vocal presence. The only advantage of AM6 over Penta is a wider soundstage.