Alambic Ears - Impressions thread - Mentawai, Mavericks, Mundaka, Noosa
Feb 9, 2021 at 7:48 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 313


Headphoneus Supremus
Dec 26, 2012
Down the Rabbit Hole
I have been meaning to start this thread for a while, to share the good stuff happening at a new brand from our shores in France - Alambic Ears.
For now the website is in french but I am pretty sure the english version is coming up soon.

Produits et Services | Alambic 2021-02-10 01-46-23.png

Alambic Ears has been gaining traction in the french community, first with excellent reshell services but now with a growing lineup.
Some of you here at headfi might have read some of @Aldo40 post in the DIY section.

@Aldo40 has a very interesting background that all caters to craftsmanship over 25 years : he has been building music instruments professionally and also... surfboards with quite a reputation over the years. As a DIYer speakers, amps, DACs and 4 years ago started building IEMs. He did quite a bit of re-shells in the french community and one thing leading to the other a year ago, people started asking him to build IEMs and that's how the Jaws model was born.

Since then, he has started a full lineup :
  • BA lineup
    • Bali (350€)- a 3 way 3 drivers - which was my first listen and I was mightily impressed at how coherent and fun the Bali was.
    • Jaws (750€) - a 3 way 5 drivers - has been improved and is now Jaws II.
    • Noosa (990€) - a 4 way 11 drivers
    • Mavericks (TBD) - a 4 way 7 drivers
  • Hybrid
    • Mundaka (850€) - a 3 way 4 drivers featuring a DD, a full range BA and 2 EST
    • Some other exciting stuff is coming as well I'll keep this thread updated :)
Feb 9, 2021 at 7:52 PM Post #2 of 313
Let me start the impressions with a preview of Alambic Ears Mavericks... @Aldo40 lent me a preview sample for a couple of weeks, impressions are that from a prototype but still very further along I'll update these impressions with the final product in my review :)


The Mavericks is quite an interesting IEM : it features visceral, toe tapping, bass head level bass presence combined with a balanced midrange with excellent bite and an understated but refined treble.

Bass is definitely one of the highlights of the Mavericks signature and a fundamental of its physical and even visceral character. It's a deeply seated powerful and punchy bass with a snappy attack but it lingers a bit so while decay is not slow per say it's not a dry and purely clean bass with a reference take but rather a richly textured bass with a soulful presentation. This makes for a very engaging bass and with great speed it’s imparting strong pace, rythm and timing. Mavericks are toe tapping kind of IEM and there is a sub bass tilt that will rejoice bassheads.

Sub bass extension is excellent with a prominent presence when called for. My usual test tracks Aphex Twins "Ageispolis" and Sohn's "Falling" were so enjoyable with the Mavericks and I went on to L'impératrice "Erreur 404" and and Billie Eilish "Bury a friend" as I really enjoyed the Mavericks subs so much I took my sweet time. It's really one of the best BA subs I have experienced along with my custom FIBAE7 (I am betting custom Mavericks will be something to behold!). You almost feel like the BA is moving air like a dynamic driver it's quite rare.

Mid bass is superb with great slam and control, the snappy attack means the Mavericks delivers a lot of punch on the leading notes on percussions and Lucy Dixon "Stormy weather" was a pure joy to listen to I actually cycled twice for good measure. Nenad Vasilic "Lupafte" is another example of super portraying of the percussions and the weight of the notes is one of the most impressive I have heard. The mavericks clearly excels at this. Yom "Une épopée" is another example. In a totally different genre, Marian Hill "Differently" was such a treat.

Given how visceral the presence of the bass is, the Mavericks midrange risked being shadowed and it's a balancing act that Aldo managed brilliantly in my opinion. The Mavericks might provide basshead level bass it also can provide plenty of excitement and refinement via its midrange.

Lower mids are fairly accurate with good body but not dipped for clarity. Instruments fill the space but separation is excellent. Male volcals have plenty of grit and power while remaining uncolored and packing a lot of nuances... Pete Alderton "Malted Milk" and Buddy Guy "Born to play the guitar" were both very enjoyable with the Mavericks.

The Mavericks upper mids are quite outstanding in my opinion, very few IEM manage to provide great bite while never sound harsh. This shows on brass instruments and I have enjoyed saxophones, trumpets and horn greatly with the Mavericks. Female vocals are soulful and quite accurate as well and Freya Ridings "Lost without you" and Vaiteani "I'm ready" or Juliette Armanet "L'accident" sent shivers down my spine without ever becoming harsh or sibilant. Camelia Jordana "Berlin" revealed the Mavericks ability to portray Camelia unique tessitura with great timbral accuracy.

I really was impressed at how mature the mids tuning was for the Mavericks. Carlos Henriquez "Chuchifrito" is a very good example of how the Mavericks lower and upper mids are balanced. You get great body on Carlos Henriquez double bass but at the same time Michael Rodriguez trumpet reflect on the great upper mids bite that is spot on to my ears. A similar balance can be found in Blue Mitchell "Na Ta Ka" where the Mavericks provide a vibrant Soul Jazz grooves.

The mavericks treble is quite balanced, it does feature energy and good presence in the lower section but it's a safe delivery with no excess. A good thing in my opinion given how visceral the Mavericks are down low and how energetic its upper mids is. Upper treble is a bit understated in terms of presence but shouldn't be underestimated in terms of extension which is very good.

As hinted, the lower treble is delicate and refined in its restraints, almost a counterpoint to the exuberant nature of its bass and a balancing act to avoid making the Mavericks a fatiguing IEM (yeah original Vega, I am looking at you!). Don't mistake this for a dull lower treble, as it packs good energy but with restraint. Piano notes are lively and engaging but they won't take you to the edge that treble heads will crave. Electric guitars have good bite and energy but similarly they are safe. For example The Pixies "Where is my mind" was delightful and enaging but some IEMs might take you further up the ladder to the edge.

The Mavericks upper treble is not very prominent in terms of presence but details retrieval is excellent if you pay close attention. This helps the Maverick provide excellent resolution and separation, as well as precise imaging. The Mavericks are viseral, energetic but refined as well.
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Feb 10, 2021 at 3:48 AM Post #3 of 313
Thanks @davidmolliere for starting this thread & feedback on Mavericks, as a happy former owner of Jaws CIEM, I'm currently waiting for my universal Noosa !

I will share some pictures & impressions soon.
Feb 16, 2021 at 5:21 AM Post #4 of 313
My Noosa just arrive this morning :relieved:


Couldn't talk about sound right now, I need few hours with them but they are quite light and the shell is really well shaped for a 11 ba iems and the quality of the build is top notch!
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Feb 16, 2021 at 8:12 AM Post #7 of 313
But are the used BAs proprietary or of other brands? (Knowles ... Sonion ....)?

From my knowledge, no proprietary driver but from well known brand like Knowles, Sonion, etc... @Aldo40 will give you more inputs about it!

Aldo is really doing a great job! And he's french cocorico! :smile:
Looking forward to hear the Mundaka during a tour :sweat_smile:

Quite curious about his hybride line up after earing Bali, Jaws & Noosa! When do you plan to test Mundaka?
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Feb 16, 2021 at 8:36 AM Post #8 of 313
I would also like to listen to the mundaka.
With 3 way, 4 drivers, 1 DD, 1 BA and 2 EST, they seem to be very interesting :beyersmile:
Feb 16, 2021 at 1:11 PM Post #12 of 313
Hi Fabio,
The configuration of the Noosa is:
-4x sub Sonion accupass
-4x mids Sonion
-1x high Sonion
-2 ultra high Knowles.
crossover 4 way

Aldo :wink:
If you have the desire and time .... could you dwell on how it sounds more accurately? I am very interested in the project you described.
If it's not a nuisance of course .....
Feb 16, 2021 at 2:48 PM Post #13 of 313
I would also like to listen to the mundaka.
With 3 way, 4 drivers, 1 DD, 1 BA and 2 EST, they seem to be very interesting :beyersmile:

I'll write up detailed impressions or better still if I have time a full review when I get the chance to audition them :)
Feb 16, 2021 at 3:02 PM Post #14 of 313
If you have the desire and time .... could you dwell on how it sounds more accurately? I am very interested in the project you described.
If it's not a nuisance of course .....
So not to influence the judgments too much, I would rather leave the floor to the users, there are already on the French forum reviews on the Noosa,
but we expect future review of users here I think in a few days :wink:

Feb 17, 2021 at 4:01 AM Post #15 of 313
If you have the desire and time .... could you dwell on how it sounds more accurately? I am very interested in the project you described.
If it's not a nuisance of course .....

I just have my paire of Noosa for no more than 2 days, I can give a more accurate feedback in a week (need to get use to them and compare it to my other CIEM/IEM) but I can already says, those Noosa focus really on 2 things : Sub-bass impact and soundstage technicalities (depth/width, layering & placement). They really shine with great producted track (couldn't work with them because they attract too much my attention :sweat_smile:). they are coherent, they are like a gentle L shape with a small added warm in the mids to gave texture to male & female voice.
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