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Announcing the Da Vinci Series IEMs

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  1. Clear Tune Monitors
    Don't worry buddy, we will make a tour for the Da Vinci.
  2. Libertad
    As a owner of a CT-6E vanilla tune how much of a step up are the IX and X to the current CIEM flagship in your line up?
  3. Clear Tune Monitors
    Well, we still haven't met the first person that doesn't love them at first listen, we kind of interpret that as a great step, although as always it comes down to personal preference.
  4. Libertad
    :p thats great news to me but horrible news for my wallet!
  5. Cinder
    I was lucky enough to listen to the entire CTM lineup at RMAF. I have to say, I was blown away. I used two sources for my testing: a personal HiFiMAN SuperMini and their AK DAP. I listened to a large variety of songs on each IEM, ranging from Alive by Pearl Jam to 1993 by Approaching Nirvana. My notes are as detailed as I could make them given the very noisy environment and the limited amount of time I could spend sitting down at CTM's booth. Someday I hope to write full-length reviews on their entire lineup, given how much character each IEM possessed, but alas, today is not that day.

    In this post, I'll be commenting specifically on the DaVinci 9 and 10. Some of my points will be copy and pasted from the IX to the X section since they share a shell design.

    DaVinci IX
    • Good bass performance. More prominent mid-bass than sub-bass, though the roll-off didn't get too bad till about 25Hz.
    • Incredible soundstage. Both wide and deep, though more deep than wide. Combined with its airy treble and excellent layering ability, music comes alive.
    • Refined treble that expresses itself without becoming harsh or sibilant. Not too analytical while still remaining a paragon of clarity.
    • Vocals are brought forwards in the midrange via a 2KHz peak.
    • Another peak in the treble near 6KHz.
    • Cymbal and high-hat presentation are on-point, natural attack and decay.
    • Aluminum construction yields a very high-quality fit and finish. The chromed decals on it give it a mirror-like reflectivity that catches the eye as well as the light.
    • Heavier, but the weight doesn't generate discomfort for my average-sized ears. The ear hook is perfectly suited to dispersing the weight of the metal.
    • Tuning filters. I only got to listen to the "neutral" filter that doesn't modify the frequency response at all, but given how much I enjoyed the IX's "flat but fun" sound signature I don't feel the need to actually use a tuning filter at all.
    DaVinci X
    • Brighter than the IX
    • Excellent textural articulation due to a more prominent lower-treble
    • Excellent bass articulation, more linear bass response
    • Features an uncolored midrange that doesn't sound particularly recessed
    • Catches a ton of nuance and intricacies of well-mastered songs, particularly Alive by Pearl Jam (the vocals sounded incredibly life-like)
    • Excels at staging live tracks
    • Very cohesive crossover, no obvious disconnects or flaws
    • No audible distortion or disconnects, even when playing back very complex songs
    • Aluminum construction yields a very high-quality fit and finish. The chromed decals on it give it a mirror-like reflectivity that catches the eye as well as the light.
    • Heavier, but the weight doesn't generate discomfort for my average-sized ears. The ear hook is perfectly suited to dispersing the weight of the metal.
    • Tuning filters. Not sure which one I used, but it looked to be darker (possibly black colored) when compared to filter on the IX. I'd be very interested to see how the X changes with its tuning filters.
    I must say, the DaVinci lineup is incredible. Both IEMs qualify as "TOTL-grade", even when compared against similarly specced and priced IEMs. I listened to a lot of IEMs at RMAF (including the entire lineup of several other brands) but the DaVinci series stood out in my mind. Here are some pictures I snapped of the units that were inside CTM's lit display case. Please note that the units that I took pictures of were very heavily worn and are not representative of the condition in which you would receive a new DaVinci IX or X.

    *Apparently I the insert images function doesn't work with my images. Here is a link to the ones I took until I can get them properly embedded in this post: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AhIiI64PI-dzg9xYdOh-HMuTOGWVcw *

    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
  6. Layman1
    Thanks for these great impressions! These sound like something I potentially would really like (annoyingly, BOTH of them do, haha!).
    I like Pearl Jam a lot. Was wondering if you listen to any particular edition of the album? There was an HDTracks 24 bit 'Legacy' edition of their debut album. I have that. It's remastered, but I'm wondering if you've heard it and how you rated it compared with the original? :)

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, you said of the IX: "More prominent mid-bass than sub-bass, though the roll-off didn't get too bad till about 25Hz".
    I'd be interested to hear a bit more of your thoughts about this (if you have anything else to add)!
  7. Layman1
    @Clear Tune Monitors
    Hi and congratulations on the very positive feedback you're getting!
    Cinder mentioned in his impressions above that there were tuning filters?

    I didn't see this mentioned in the main product description anywhere. Can you confirm whether this will be a permanent feature (including with the models on the review tour)?
    And if so, can you describe the effects of each of the filters? This is *very* interesting :)
  8. Clear Tune Monitors
    Hi @Layman1 . Indeed the filters are a permanent feature, it allows you to further tailor the high end to your personal preferences. Specs have been updated on our website ( https://cleartunemonitors.com/shop.php?tip=16 ), thanks for pointing it out.
  9. Cinder
    You are welcome! I feel similarly. Both IEMs were very intriguing to listen to. I wouldn't be able to tell you which one I liked more since they both excelled in so many ways.

    I can't recall which edition I was listening to, only that it was in a Hi-Fi format and that the album art was the original album art. Maybe @Clear Tune Monitors can ask the guys that went to RMAF to see if they know? I was using their source for that one. My DAP has the original version in MP3 format a concession to my limited storage capacity.

    And regarding my comment about the bass, let me elaborate: The IX's bass is more mid-bass dominant. That is to say, you get more impact that rumble. Given that the IX and X both use exclusively balanced-armature drivers, it is very difficult for them to maintain a strong bass presence deep down into the sub-bass region of their frequency response. They do an admirable job from 30-ish Hz and up though, especially when compared to other IEMs that target a similar sound signature at this price-point. Of course, take this with a grain of salt since I had been listening to a ton of different IEMs with a wide variety of sound signatures that day, and I was also in a loud room. Those factors could have easily thrown off the more subtle parts of the IX's and X's sound signature, especially since I wasn't using foam eartips (and subsequently not benefiting from their excellent isolating abilities).
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
    Layman1 likes this.
  10. Layman1
    Did you ever hear the UM Mason v3? If so, wonder what similarities/differences you can remember between that and these?
    I was on their review tour, and I really liked that. There was something about the way the bass was tuned that I thought they did really really well.
    I think it may have been more mid-bass centric as well, but I'd have to check back on my notes to see!
  11. Layman1
    You're very welcome! I used to run my own proofreading business which may help to explain :)
    Do you have any photos of the filters? I'm a bit confused. The website measured them in Ohms, implying an electronic functionality? Is it something built in and activated with a switch?
    Because the few filter systems I've come across previously were all screw-in external mesh filters that modified the frequency.
  12. Cinder
    Unfortunately, I have not.
  13. Clear Tune Monitors
    Although confusing or misleading, the Ohm is also the measure for acoustic impedance. Our filters are of the screw-in type, there will be more pictures of the product including all it's accessories soon, for the time being here's this one:

    Layman1 likes this.
  14. Niyologist
    Wow. That new look is great. Earlier this year. It was a very heavy unibody of metal.
    Clear Tune Monitors likes this.
  15. Layman1
    Thanks for the explanation; very clear now!
    And that's an impressively comprehensive package you've put together :)
    Clear Tune Monitors likes this.
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