Alclair Electro 6-Driver Electrostatic Hybrid Custom In-Ear Monitor

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  1. rantng
    https://alclair.com/monitorshop/electro-electrostatic/

    Alclair Audio has produced the first in-ear monitor that features electrostatic drivers with an internal transformer. The Electro six driver electrostatic hybrid in-ear monitor is built for dazzling clarity with four balanced armature drivers and a dual electrostatic tweeter. While designed for studio and audiophile customers, the addition of dual low end drivers provides plenty of headroom for stage applications.

    Alclair Electro.jpg

    Actually came across these by accident while looking for a website with a decent CIEM designer. Haven't been able to find any information about it. @Deezel177 had mentioned he had contacted Alclair about it, but so far no luck.

    ~edit - I contacted Alclair and they quickly responded that there is one out for review and it should be appearing here on head-fi in the next weeks. Additionally, they did state that their main market is studio & live musicians who don't usually post reviews, but the response so far has been positive.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
  2. Deezel177
    Thanks for starting this thread, man! I've kept quiet since my initial post, but long story short, the lone Electro review unit that Alclair Audio sent out does indeed belong to me. I was supposed to receive it 2-3 weeks ago, but very, very frustrating issues involving Indonesian customs and taxes got in the way. The monitors are currently on their way back to Alclair Audio, after which they'll send it to Singapore where the customs offices don't charge you taxes totalling up to 33% of the product's retail price even though the product was a free sample to begin with. :D

    In any case, I should be able to deliver my first impressions by mid-September, so be on the look out then. :wink:
     
    IneffableMusic likes this.
  3. rantng
    Customs charges suck, glad Alclair was able to sort it out. Looking forward to your review.
     
    Deezel177 likes this.
  4. Deezel177
    Agreed. Andy from Alclair is a class act and I too look forward to hearing what this new tech has to offer. Thanks for the anticipation! :D
     
  5. IneffableMusic
    Have you heard them yet? I have the Empire ESR and am wondering how the 2 compare.
     
  6. Deezel177
    Not yet, unfortunately. Though, if the massive buzz from CanJam RMAF is any indication, the Electro's are a wonderful pair worth watching out for. :D
     
  7. IneffableMusic
    Agreed. They have the dual lows for the headroom, and the dual electrostatic tweeters plus a third BA tweeter which should also bring tons of clarity and headroom. I think they'll punch well above their price with massive soundstage and details with this particular driver setup.
     
    Deezel177 likes this.
  8. Deezel177
    Hey guys, I have a small update to share. The original Electro's that Alclair shipped to me arrived back at their HQ much earlier than expected, so no rebuild was necessary. I just got word that they've just shipped to Singapore, and I should be able to hear them by early November. Look out for pics and first impressions by then! :D
     
    IneffableMusic and rantng like this.
  9. Deezel177
    @Hansotek recently heard the Electro's this weekend and I hope he doesn't mind me reposting his impressions and photo onto the thread. His full CanJam RMAF 2018 write-up can be seen here: http://www.enjoythemusic.com/CanJam_RMAF_2018/page2.htm

    Alclair
    Another company that usually sticks to their pro audio roots is Minnesota-based custom IEM maker Alclair. It always surprises me that these guys haven't caught on more in the high-end personal audio world because their stuff is just so damn good and comparable gear often costs twice as much. Alclair's sub $1000 Spire and Studio 4 are neck-and-neck with almost any high-end in-ear monitor in the $1000 to $2000 range, yet they are still relatively unknown in the Head-fi world.

    [​IMG]

    This year, Alclair caught a lot of people's attention with the introduction of their new flagship, Electro ($1,499). This hybrid design features four balanced armatures and two electrostatic tweeters. The clarity and detail is absolutely remarkable, and this IEM was a favorite among many people I talked to at the show.

    The Electro was pretty close to flat neutral with maybe just a tiny smidgeon of extra warmth in the deep bass. Transients had a super crispy front edge, giving the sound a nice sense of immediacy, transparency and strong imaging. The upper midrange is maybe a tiny hair forward, which makes these IEMs especially great for those who want to listen at lower volumes, as detail and edge clarity remains nicely upfront.
     
  10. Hansotek
    I don’t mind at all. :)
     
  11. lithrai
    Did you have a chance to listen to RSM Quad? I have this model from Alclair. I'm curious how the sound improved.
     
  12. Hansotek
    That's a nice one. I actually recommended that one to a musician friend of mine when he needed a stage monitor w/ a little flexibility for mixing (and he loves it). Unfortunately, it's been about a year since I last heard it.
     
    Deezel177 likes this.
  13. Deezel177
    Wood on wood. Impressions to come soon. :wink:

    Box-1 (S).jpg
     
  14. Deezel177
    Well, I promised impressions, so let's go! :D

    Alclair Audio Electro - First Impressions

    IEMs-1 (2).jpg

    The Electro has a distinctly clear and level-headed tone. It's highly reminiscent of in-ears like the Lime Ears Model X, Kumitate Labs Meteo, Rhapsodio Eden and Vision Ears VE6X2 in that its clarity doesn't come from treble peaks or lower-mid dips - rather, it's the relationship between the top-end as a whole and the mid-bass.

    The Electro's low-end is very even-handed. This is a bass I'd comfortably call flat or reference. Now, over the years, those descriptors have unfortunately been stereotyped to mean lean or anaemic. How I'd define a reference bass is how much it alters from one track to another. If I play a Japanese acoustic track then switch to Kendrick Lamar's Alright and hear minimal changes in perceived bass quantity, then that in-ear clearly has a coloured low-end. With the Electro, that's not the case at all. When switching between genres - and even between songs within the same album - you can hear the shift in bass quantity and quality. But more importantly, I've yet to find a track where the Electro sounds dull. So, bassheads beware, but engineers and enthusiasts alike should be happy with the Electro's low-end - as long as your minimum is enough.

    Thankfully, the low-end as a whole is of high quality. The headroom the treble provides (which we will discuss later) allows the bass to rumble, reverberate and bloom whilst maintaining absolute control. Some would call this too much control - mid-bass decay is on the quicker side - but a very slight sub-bass lift does inject a bit of fun. The transition from sub- to mid- to upper-bass is well-done as well, so the low-end feels like a solid, singular unit rather than just rumble or just impact, etc. Ample extension imbues the low-end great physicality despite its middling presence; allowing it to cut through the mix very well. Pop and rock fans do not fret, it will make its presence and authority known. Warmth radiating from the mid-bass is minimal at best, but it isn’t recessed or sucked-out either - again, very even-handed; no more, no less.

    The Electro’s midrange is vibrant and engaging with a slight bias towards the upper-mids. It's forwardly placed, musical and immensely clear (we'll get to the treble soon, I promise :p). Instruments have caverns of space to radiate and render detail, so cleanliness is probably as high as it could get. It's a consistent-sounding midrange because of how evenly it balances the lower- and upper-mids, allowing it to sound pleasing and smooth with every genre of music. But perhaps, its safety is a weakness as well. The Electro's midrange echoes the A18t, the Model X and the Meteo; detailed, clean and well-balanced, but a bit two-dimensional - not in holography, but in emotional resonance and dynamic range. Instruments don't sound as enthralling or absorbing as they could possibly be. When listening to cellos or female altos, I tend to miss the bellowing thickness and beauty that the Phantom or Prelude can provide. But then again, those two don't deliver clarity and detail as readily as the Electro or A18t do either, so it's definitely a matter of preference.

    Opening-1 (1).jpg

    Now, onto the treble. :D The Electro electro-statically-charged treble is undoubtedly special. It renders detail in an unprecedentedly effortless and refined way. Much of it stems from how cleanly it performs. There aren't any brittle harmonics or bright hazes or resonances in any shape or form. Notes come and go with utmost authority, precision and speed. Of course, the natural comparison to make is against 64Audio's highly-acclaimed Tia driver. The two technologies perform with similar airiness and openness, but the key difference here is in lushness and finesse. The electrostatic drivers sound smoother and more effortless whilst rendering the same amount of detail. Treble notes sound larger, smoother and more holographic, so you get a breezier, more engaging listen with no compromise in technical performance or tone relative to Tia.

    The Electro's stage heavily benefits from this as well. The e-stat drivers serve dividends when it comes to stage structure and definition. The dimensions of the soundscape are expertly defined and unwaveringly maintained, so - for lack of a better term - bigger-picture-listening is easier than ever. You can appreciate both the small nuances and how those nuances are intricately weaved to form the final image. Consequently, stereo separation and imaging precision both excel. Expansion on its own isn't mind-blowing relative to the best the market has to offer - a touch less out-of-head than the A18t and Zeus, for example - but the air between each note is so clean, that the extra volume isn't necessary anyway. The space where the music takes place is so well-defined and well-lit, that locating and following instruments become second nature. But fortunately, this definition and clarity comes without brightness; simply by way of speed, authority and extension. Again, the overall tone is squarely neutral; just a touch brighter than what I'd consider natural. But, there's no denying that the e-stat drivers give the Electro some of the best headroom I'd heard yet - clear and precise, yet engaging and easy to listen to all the same.

    Overall, I think the Electro is a strong entry into the current landscape of TOTLs and a convincing case to how much e-stats can bring into the in-ear industry. Do I think it's a perfect IEM? Certainly not. The bass, while impressively transparent, isn't the most fun to listen to. Some would readily take the hit in spatial performance in exchange for a bit more warmth down low. I think the midrange lacks a bit of maturity and three-dimensionality. It nails evoking the fun and pop of instruments, but it lacks the warm, meaty beauty that I've gotten used to with my other in-ears. But considering how well the Electro works as I whole, I reckon my critiques are best reserved for an entirely new IEM. Nevertheless, I think the Electro is a noteworthy IEM - at its price point, especially - that many hi-fi enthusiasts will love. Audiophiles looking for a more affordable A18t or an upgrade to their Andromeda shall look no further than the Electro, and those looking to invest in a new dark horse should certainly look at Alclair Audio - these boys are in for a bigger splash. :wink:
     
    IneffableMusic and rantng like this.
  15. rantng
    Thank you, @Deezel177


    Just in time for their Black Friday sale. Now thru November 25:

    15% OFF
    Get 15% off on the Dual and Dual XB models.

    20% OFF
    Get 20% off on the Reference, Tour, RSM and CMVK models.

    30% OFF
    Get 30% (WOWZA) on the Spire, RevX , Studio3 , Studio 4 and the Electro models.

    Coupon codes are shown during checkout. With standard design & w/o extras that brings the price of Electro to $1,064.25.
     
    Deezel177 likes this.
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