Chord & Major Tonal Earphone Information and Impressions Thread
Jan 16, 2021 at 8:53 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

ezekiel77

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[Chord & Major]
Chord & Major are an IEM company hailing from Taiwan. They've been making IEMs since the early 2010s for budget-minded music lovers. Driven by dynamic drivers, their line-up caters to a wide range of musical genres, and hopes to reward listeners with a rich, fulfilling experience.

A new listening paradigm
Chord & Major have created an entirely new way to appreciate music that introduces ideas from appreciation of the finer things, such as wine, coffee, chocolate, and art. This pursuit now comes to the music world.

Chord & Major Tonal Earphones can be analogized with wine glasses. Using Tonal Earphones is like enjoying wine with just the right glass, just the right temperature, just the right preparation. An earphone which matches with your music taste will conduce to present the most details and characteristics of music, so listening music will be not just a symbol of fashion but also an elegant delight.

More than just earphones…
Chord & Major Tonal earphones are designed to express the genius behind different types of Music. Each model is tuned to beautifully articulate the sound of your favorite type of music. Combining exquisite design with an attention to detail and function, the Tonal earphones bring you an entirely new way to appreciate music.

[The Major Series]

Major 01’16 Electronic

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The Major 01’16 has a full yet even bass response, highlighted textures, a crystal clear mid-range and no limits to its top-end thanks to dual drivers. It is sensitive and dynamic, fully expressing the genius behind different types of electronic music.

They express each sound with utmost clarity and present all the subtle nuances contained in electronic music, from cut and sampled textures, to prepared sounds, unorthodox scales and challenging melodies.

Specifications:
Impedance:
28Ω
Frequency Response: 5-40,000Hz
Sensitivity: 103dB at 1kHz 1mW
Wood Wrap: Carbon Fiber
Connector: 3.5mm (golden plated) & 6.3mm
Cable Length: 1.2m
Max Power: Input8mW
Price: USD230


Major 9’13 Classical
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Chord & Major, the Major 9’13 Classical are specially designed and constructed for the appreciation of classical music from any era. Carefully tuned driver, gold plated body and rosewood wrapping yields an intensively dynamic earphone with precise imaging and soundstage, allowing true enjoyment of classical recordings

The Major 9’13 Classical Tonal Earphone is the proud recipient of the prestigious DIAPASON D’OR <Outstanding Product of the year> award.

Specifications:
Impedance:
28Ω
Frequency Response: 20-20,000Hz
Sensitivity: 96dB at 1kHz 1mW
Wood Wrap: Rosewood
Connector: 3.5mm(golden plated)
Cable Length: 1.2m
Max Power Input: 8mW
Price: USD150



Major 8’13 Rock
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From clear, natural highs to weighty, powerful lows, the Major 8’13 brings out the best in each instruments. It metes out the finest details of muscular bass that hits deep and hard, scorching electric guitars, and sonorous drums.

Incredibly versatile, the Major 8’13 is just as at home doing justice to Hendrix, bringing new fire to Appetite for Destruction, or taking on challenges from new genres like djent and neurofunk.

Specifications:
Impedance:
16Ω
Frequency Response: 20-20,000kHz
Sensitivity: 94dB at 1kHz 1mW
Wood Wrap: Sandalwood
Connector: 3.5mm (golden plated)
Cable Length: 1.2m
Max Power Input: 8mW
Price: USD125



Major 7’13 Jazz
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From the smooth saxophone, walking bass lines, passionate vocals and resonant oscillations of the drums, each element is delightfully rendered. The deep bass overtones and velvety vocals that define the intimate space of a jazz club are the Major 7’s forte.

Specifications:
Impedance:
16Ω
Frequency Response: 20-20,000Hz
Sensitivity: 94dB at 1kHz 1mW
Wood Wrap: Sandalwood
Connector: 3.5mm (golden plated)
Cable Length: 1.2m
Max Power Input: 8mW
Price: USD125


Major 6’13 Ballad
1610847431188.png


Enhancing warmth and capturing the nuance of the singer’s voice, the Major 6’13 expresses the feeling behind the ballad and makes a connection between song and listener. It articulates vocals with clarity, grace and emotion.

Specifications:
Impedance:
30Ω
Frequency Response: 20-20,000Hz
Sensitivity: 96dB at 1kHz 1mW
Wood Wrap: Maple
Connector: 3.5mm (golden plated)
Cable Length: 1.2m
Max Power Input: 8mW
Price: USD150



Major 5’14 World Music
1610847492396.png


Expands soundscapes, enlivens atmospheres, and extracts essential details giving the listener the experience of a live performance. Sensitive to space, air and the musician’s every touch, the Major 5’14 captures the essence of world music.

Specifications:
Impedance:
20Ω
Frequency Response: 20-20,000Hz
Sensitivity: 96dB at 1kHz 1mW
Wood Wrap: Beech
Connector: 3.5mm (golden plated)
Cable Length: 1.2m
Max Power Input: 8mW
Price: USD150
 
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Jan 16, 2021 at 8:54 PM Post #2 of 14

ezekiel77

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Chord & Major 01'16 Electronic Impressions/Capsule Review

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Hi guys, today I kick-start a series of mini-reviews from Taiwanese company Chord & Major, not to be confused with high-end British DAC makers Chord Electronics lol. Around a decade old, C&M focuses on budget-friendly, DD-driven IEMs with genre-centric names like Jazz and Rock. I've seen them in audio shows and was always attracted to their classy wood boxes. Today we venture further.

I am covering the Major series, consisting of 6 IEMs with prices ranging from USD125-150 (and a lone standout of USD230 for the flagship). They are bullet-shaped and can be worn straight down or over-ear, with a standard set of accessories. Though mostly similar in price and appearance, what differentiates one model from the next are the housing and box materials. Build quality is solid and dependable, while the fit is snug and comfortable. The biggest caveat are the non-detachable cables in this day and age (they were released from 2013-2016 after all).

Today I look at their flagship, the Major 01'16 Electronic. The most expensive at USD230, it is the only dual-dynamic of the lineup, with striking carbon fiber shells, stored in a piano-black box. Tuned with (duh) electronic music in mind, they possess a U-shaped signature with technical mastery at the forefront. The presentation is dynamic, spacious and airy, with brilliant transient response and micro-detailing. Extension at both ends are satisfying, while notes typically have a sharp, precise leading edge followed by a smooth finish.

The sub-bass has a bit of audible rumble, while the midbass is warm and full with just the right quantity. Bass decay is quite nimble, and remains free of bloat and bleed. I wish for a bit more punch and slam, but this will do. The mids are neutral in position and body, boasting excellent definition and layering. The tone is good overall but not stellar, sounding slightly thin sometimes. The technical slant means that vocals lack some euphony and allure, having slight grain in their delivery.

The treble though, is good news all the way. Airy and detailed, they display superb crystal-clarity, breakneck speed and palpable texture. They sparkle and shimmer without sibilance and peakiness, and don't skimp on micro-details either. The soundstage is wide and deep, with good imaging capability. Spoiler alert, Electronic is easily my favourite in C&M's lineup, marrying a tuneful signature with technical prowess.

Does Electronic stand out today, in a world of cheap and cheerful Chi-Fi? Value-for-money stalwarts like Moondrop's Starfield and Tin HiFi's T2 Plus seem to suggest that C&M are outpaced, outshined and out-priced. But thankfully, Electronic possesses a charming tuning that is both addictive and accessible. All the same, C&M better update themselves because the bar is set very high.

I'd like to thank Chua Tuan Hean of Neo Audio/Sound Linear for arranging the review units. It's been a pleasure dealing with you. The Electronic, and the rest of C&M's range, are available from Stars Picker Audio Malaysia. Stay tuned for part 2 coming very soon!
 
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Jan 16, 2021 at 8:55 PM Post #3 of 14

ezekiel77

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Chord & Major 9'13 Classical Impressions/Capsule Review

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Hi guys, this is the 2nd part of my Chord & Major IEM capsule reviews. The Major series deploys dynamic drivers in a bullet-shaped casing, and all six of them share similar accessories and packaging, differentiated by housing, box material, and tuning choice. Today, we look at the award winner of the bunch, the 9'13 Classical in handsome rosewood. What did it win? Pardon my French, but it was the Diapason D’OR "outstanding product of the year" for the Nov-Dec, 2014 edition of Diapason, a French audio magazine.

So this is a 7-year-old sound in a 7-year-old product, but as I always say, a good tuning is forever. The Classical, based on marketing speak, evokes "mood and atmosphere", showcasing the "unique voice" of instruments. What I hear, mostly, is a W-shaped signature with equal and balanced emphasis in bass, mids and treble regions. The overall presentation however, is a tale of two halves, a Jekyll and Hyde of sorts. Notes are rich, smooth and tuneful from the lower to middle areas, but morphs toward sharp and edgy at the upper ends, with a clear fondness for clarity and macro-detail.

This can be a good thing, a yin/yang of signatures if implemented correctly (à la 64 Audio's Tia Fourté), but Classical makes a mess of things at times. The bass is full-bodied and boomy, with poor definition and texturing. Notes punch with gusto and fervour but at a low resolution, like a mighty hammer swung by untrained hands. Worse still, the heavy midbass bleeds into the mids, congesting the stage and affecting overall clarity. Big oof here.

The mids are lush, wholesome, and placed forward, with a skew towards clarity and brightness in the upper mids. The "Classical" part of the tuning finally rears its head, with a realistic timbre and rendition of strings and woodwinds. For other instruments however, it's not too good a deal. The overall tone is unnatural, making it hard to sink into the music, while vocals are throaty, raspy and lack soul. And as for the treble, it's intense and vibrant, perhaps even violent, with peaks, unevenness and sibilance caught out on occasion. No doubt it's detailed as hell, but it gets too bright and tizzy for comfort.

The soundstage performance is quite average in this day and age. Classical came from a more straightforward era, before multi-drivers and hybrids pushed the envelope for IEMs. The dimensions boast more width than depth, and little height, barely making the grade. Imaging is adequate along the left-to-right plane, but not so in depth and layering.

Overall, the Classical is a clear miss from me, with many unsavoury, unredeemable features like the bass bleed, unnatural tone and harsh treble. It's also my least favourite IEM of the entire line-up so, things can only go up from here. How did it win the award again? Hoo boy.

Once again I thank Chua Tuan Hean for the opportunity to review the Chord & Major lineup. The Classical is priced at USD150 and are available from Stars Picker Audio Library.
 
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Jan 16, 2021 at 8:56 PM Post #4 of 14

ezekiel77

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Chord & Major 8'13 Rock Impressions/Capsule Review

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Hi guys, following some major (ahem) slacking, this is the 3rd instalment of my Chord & Major IEM capsule reviews. The Major series are 6 bullet-shaped, single-DD IEMs differentiated by housing material and tuning preference. Today we look at the cheapest offering at USD125, the 8'13 Rock, made with sandalwood housing.

The Rock, not to be confused with Dwayne Johnson, possesses an L-shaped signature with emphasis towards the lower end of the spectrum, followed by a zing at the treble so things don't get dark and murky. Following the hiccup (or reflux) of Classical, I'm glad to say that Rock puts us back on the path of budget-minded goodness with a fun, dynamic and bold presentation. Notes are full-bodied, yet snappy and impactful, akin to a sawed-off shotgun if you will. Moreover, what won me over with Rock are the coherence throughout the spectrum compared to Classical's disjointedness; and balls-to-the-wall fun factor, compared to Electronic's technical tendency.

Starting from the lower end, the enhanced sub-bass thump is physical and authoritative, carefully sculpted so the rumble is felt and heard. The weighty midbass, however, takes their fun a little too seriously, hitting too hard at times and bleeding into the lower mids. This affects clarity, precision and layering. A good track to try midbass is with the live version of (yet again yeah) Hotel California. When the bass hits after the lengthy guitar intro, you feel full and fulfilled, but are left slightly unsatisfied with the lack of resolution and detail levels, not to mention a wee bit of stage congestion.

The mids though, when not bothered by the midbass, rings clear and true. Anchored by a clean and even response, the neutral mids sound effortless and accurate, especially on acoustic guitar. The dynamism of the signature helps the most here. And while I can't say Rock has excellent technical ability, it's not too shabby and very easy to get lost in the performance because of its overt tunefulness. Overall timbre is realistic, complimented by male vocals that have swagger and bravado. Female vocals are articulate but throaty however, punctuated by a rise in the upper mids. So you might enjoy AC/DC and Motley Crue more than Heart and Joan Jett here.

The treble highly competent too, with a crisp, airy, and speedy tuning, although the timbre skewed a bit bright. You can chalk that up to energy and excitement, and be mighty glad that the treble is sibilance-free on the whole. For soundstage, Rock is wide and not too deep, giving an average performance for the price range. Left-to-right imaging is good, marred a bit by the midbass bloat, while front-to-back layering is not prominent.

All in all though, the Rock is a good performer for today's standards, with an excellent form factor that I like, and robust build quality. The signature is accessible and suits many vocal-centric genres, but might be too slow for metal or electronic. Moreover, there is just too much competition at this price range, and for serious listeners, not being able to change cables or take advantage of balanced output is a step down.

I'd like to thank Chua Tuan Hean for allowing me to review the Chord & Major lineup. The Rock is priced at USD125 and are available from Stars Picker Audio Library 摘星知音.
 
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Jan 19, 2021 at 7:38 PM Post #11 of 14

monsieurfromag3

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Cool thread, at last some love for C&M on Head-fi! I wrote impressions about the Devil Head, released in 2020 as part of the new “Minor” line-up, here.
 
Jan 22, 2021 at 11:48 PM Post #12 of 14

ezekiel77

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Feb 20, 2021 at 4:36 AM Post #14 of 14

monsieurfromag3

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Chord & Major 8'13 Rock Impressions/Capsule Review

20210116_144422.jpg
20210116_144320.jpg

Hi guys, following some major (ahem) slacking, this is the 3rd instalment of my Chord & Major IEM capsule reviews. The Major series are 6 bullet-shaped, single-DD IEMs differentiated by housing material and tuning preference. Today we look at the cheapest offering at USD125, the 8'13 Rock, made with sandalwood housing.

The Rock, not to be confused with Dwayne Johnson, possesses an L-shaped signature with emphasis towards the lower end of the spectrum, followed by a zing at the treble so things don't get dark and murky. Following the hiccup (or reflux) of Classical, I'm glad to say that Rock puts us back on the path of budget-minded goodness with a fun, dynamic and bold presentation. Notes are full-bodied, yet snappy and impactful, akin to a sawed-off shotgun if you will. Moreover, what won me over with Rock are the coherence throughout the spectrum compared to Classical's disjointedness; and balls-to-the-wall fun factor, compared to Electronic's technical tendency.

Starting from the lower end, the enhanced sub-bass thump is physical and authoritative, carefully sculpted so the rumble is felt and heard. The weighty midbass, however, takes their fun a little too seriously, hitting too hard at times and bleeding into the lower mids. This affects clarity, precision and layering. A good track to try midbass is with the live version of (yet again yeah) Hotel California. When the bass hits after the lengthy guitar intro, you feel full and fulfilled, but are left slightly unsatisfied with the lack of resolution and detail levels, not to mention a wee bit of stage congestion.

The mids though, when not bothered by the midbass, rings clear and true. Anchored by a clean and even response, the neutral mids sound effortless and accurate, especially on acoustic guitar. The dynamism of the signature helps the most here. And while I can't say Rock has excellent technical ability, it's not too shabby and very easy to get lost in the performance because of its overt tunefulness. Overall timbre is realistic, complimented by male vocals that have swagger and bravado. Female vocals are articulate but throaty however, punctuated by a rise in the upper mids. So you might enjoy AC/DC and Motley Crue more than Heart and Joan Jett here.

The treble highly competent too, with a crisp, airy, and speedy tuning, although the timbre skewed a bit bright. You can chalk that up to energy and excitement, and be mighty glad that the treble is sibilance-free on the whole. For soundstage, Rock is wide and not too deep, giving an average performance for the price range. Left-to-right imaging is good, marred a bit by the midbass bloat, while front-to-back layering is not prominent.

All in all though, the Rock is a good performer for today's standards, with an excellent form factor that I like, and robust build quality. The signature is accessible and suits many vocal-centric genres, but might be too slow for metal or electronic. Moreover, there is just too much competition at this price range, and for serious listeners, not being able to change cables or take advantage of balanced output is a step down.

I'd like to thank Chua Tuan Hean for allowing me to review the Chord & Major lineup. The Rock is priced at USD125 and are available from Stars Picker Audio Library 摘星知音.
Spot-on review.

My footnote: the slow decay and physical heft in the bass mean the Rock could almost be re-named the Doom, they put on a world-class performance for doom metal.
 

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