dooxty's In-Ear World
Sep 9, 2021 at 9:09 AM Post #31 of 37

dooxtypoox

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Tanchjim Tanya


Things to like
  • From a big picture perspective, a very pleasing sound that won't offend
  • Mids have a safe level of forwardness in the centre-mids (neither too forward or recessed)
  • Upper-mids have a good level of vibrancy for a laidback IEM - sounds natural and strays far away from shouty territory
  • Ideal for casual listening - very easy-going
  • Very affordable safe gift for non-audiophile friends who'll probably love them to bits (safe tuning and bullet-shaped wearing style)

What could be better?
  • Prominent mid-bass is markedly one-note
  • Upper-bass bleed creates a slight veil
  • Classic single DD lower-treble dominance
  • Resolution and imaging could be better even for twenty dollars, as the sub ten dollar TRN MT1 and CS1 have these beat in that aspect
  • Inoffensive sound could leave some people wanting more (e.g. bass rumble and slam, cleaner mids, more vocal clarity, better treble extension, better technicalities…)
  • Very safe tuning plants it in the category of "nothing special"

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Sep 16, 2021 at 10:12 AM Post #32 of 37

dooxtypoox

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KB EAR Robin


THINGS TO LIKE
  • I'm quite into the faceplate design and blue-copper complementary colour combination with the cable.
  • Warm and laidback sound that doesn't sound veiled with just enough energy in the higher registers
  • Midrange timbre resembles that of the Lark without the shoutiness or sibilance. I liked the Lark but this is definitely nowhere close to how intense the Lark sounds

WHAT COULD BE BETTER?
  • The treble only brings out surface level details to an adequate standard but doesn't do anything that makes cymbals and hats enjoyable to listen to.
  • Doesn't sound dark but with this "big warmth" tuning, the mild bass bleed will always be audible especially when listening to something very vocal centric with single or dual instruments.
  • Strings and higher pitched vocals sound a little blunt

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Dec 27, 2021 at 6:49 AM Post #33 of 37

dooxtypoox

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Audiosense DT600 Review
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The Audiosense DT600 (6BA) was provided by Audiosense at a 60% discount.
Price: USD248 from Audiosense Aliexpress

Audiosense is one of those companies that don't release products all too often… but when they do, I daresay that they're normally something worth a little more attention than say… the hyper budget 10-$20 monthly releases from some chi-fi companies which tend to throw different iterations of the same product at us consumers, and seeing what sticks.

Accessories
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The box comes loaded with plenty of accessories worthy of its price tag. This whole set can easily be someone's new stage monitoring kit as it is out of the box. They've provided:
  • A sturdy pelican style carrying case; it's got a transparent lid which is pretty neat.
  • 3 x foamies
  • 3 x standard black silicone tips
  • 3 x coloured bore tips with grippy texture
  • 3 x green bore "spinfits"
  • 80 ohm impedance adaptor
  • Wax cleaning tool
  • MMCX connector tool for removal (SO USEFUL)
They come with way more tips than what anyone needs but hey, if I were to be paying $248 I wouldn't complain. I'm not one to tip roll that much for an ideal sound so I tend to do so only from a comfort perspective. The standard round black silicone ones are fine, if these were the only ones provided I would've had no complaints. The ones that look a bit like final audio type E/Sony tips have got a bit of a grippy texture which causes a suction effect when sitting in the ear. I don't like them very much. I don't think they're official Spinfit tips but the green stem ones have got the Spinfit style rotating stems which I find works really well with the semi-custom fit.

Fit & comfort
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These fit… really snug, they feel 70% of what a CIEM feels like just because the nozzle attempts to model after the 1st bend in the ear canal, for my ears at least. Here's a comparison with my CIEMs which may indicate why the DT600 fit my ears SUPER well. I might add that these have a somewhat similar fit to Vision Ears "VE Line" UIEMs, which I consider to be the best fitting UIEMs on the market (for my ears, again).

On the cable...
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They've got an MMCX connector, love it or hate it. I'm not one to cable roll that much unless the stock cable is uncomfortable so that's fine to me as well. I just don't like that the ear hooks are stiff and float in place. It doesn't have the same sense of security where the cable rests on my ear but this could be good thing for some people since it doesn't place any pressure on the ear and it gives room for the spectacle frame to sit.

Build & look
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Audiosense uses 3D printing to create this solid hunk of resin where the 3 sets of twin BAs can be clearly seen. With such an awesome fit and the accompanying high levels of passive noise isolation, I don’t have much to complain about except for the fact that purple just isn't my colour and I would have preferred to see some other design options.

Sound
Sound testing was primarily done via my Schiit IEMagni X Modi 3+ stack with Spotify desktop. These are fairly easy to drive, comfortably reaching about 10 o clock on my IEMagni's volume pot on negative gain.

Tuning wise, the DT600 is a warm IEM that focuses on delivering a natural, pleasing presentation. Bass extension is excellent into the sub-bass with fairly clean mid-bass impact. Since it uses double BA bass woofers don't expect too much rumble. But FOR a tubed all BA setup, I think many will like that it is just a tad bit more physical and satisfying than what they may expect. With more time spent with the DT600, I find that the bass tends to fall more toward the realistic decay side of things as compared to the weightless plasticky bass of something like the KZ AS10. The bass decay is a little quicker than I'd like (when pit against proprietary Sony BAs used in IER M7/9) but this plays into one of its strengths which is coherency in the decay across the spectrum.

The lower midrange seems very mildly elevated which lends the DT600 its warm, but not overly syrupy character. The upper mids then have just a bit more of a bump to it but it is very conservative. As a result, the midrange is very smooth but some may find it too liquid (textureless) in nature. The DT600 does sound fairly natural which is amazing for its price but that mild lower mid thickness focuses holds it back from absolute midrange transparency. To sum up, the DT600's mids focuses more on a pleasing tonal quality at the expense of raw detail.

The treble is the DT600's biggest weakness. Feedback from two out of three non-audiophile friends indicated that these seemed to be lacking that extra zing on top - and I agree with them. The DT600 isn't a dark set but… I feel that there is certainly room for a little more attention to be given to the treble. I like that the lower treble is at a safe, non-shouty level that adequately brings forth surface level detail but the DT600 seems to be missing everything from the mid-treble and upwards. It's missing all the sparkle and air… and speaking of air, the lack of treble extension up top is normal for a relatively inexpensive all BA setup but it adds to the feeling of being closed-in and claustrophobic. There is a tiny vent just below the MMCX port but the DT600 still feels like an unvented IEM. The combination of the ultra-snug fit and lack of perceived air makes this worse and causes listener fatigue to set in early.

Again, as expected of a tubed sonic design, the sound feels closed-in and well within the head. But within this stage, the DT600 does an "okay" job of imaging - not bad but not great either, nothing outstanding about imaging and it strictly does not perform beyond its price tag. Layering is just "not bad" for the price. The smearing of notes can be heard as indicated by the slight thickness in the lower mid tuning. This is another aspect where the DT600 focuses on the more pleasing aspect of tonal quality, which is does well, but at the expense of highly refined technicalities.

All this "at the expense of…" talk doesn’t sound good from a value POV? Well I agree. The USD99 I paid for this discounted sample is perfectly reasonable because it's still a well-tuned set in the bass and mids. However, the DT600 hasn't got that Audiophile "Wow!" factor in its staging and imaging which are my top priorities. Not that its utterly lacking on the technical aspect… but this, coupled with the fact that there could be more attention to the treble in its stock tuning without the 80 ohm impedance adaptor leads me to conclude that I'd be hard-pressed to fork out the full USD248 for its sonic qualities alone.
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Oh what's that? The 80 ohm impedance adaptor? Alright SO - with the adaptor the DT600 becomes a completely different IEM. If the DT600 without the adaptor has an L shape response, the DT600 with the adaptor is a reverse L shape one. Just imagine a one way tuning switch that is just… more inconvenient. With the adaptor, I can comfortably reach 1 o clock on my IEMagni's volume pot on negative gain. The bass shifts its focus to be only in the sub-bass. It is now more clean and concentrated, adding a spice of fun to the mix. The mid-bass extending through to the lower mids becomes super lean which effectively "cleans up" any of the slight bloatiness previously lying around.

The upper mid presentation is now more assertive which makes previously textureless vocals and strings now well textured. BUT… *sigh* the mids hop over to the thin side of things aaand they also manage to sound nasal. The treble also sees a big change, it is now way more aggressive which renders the soft cymbals in their full detail. The upper mids and treble may be more aggressive but I feel that it is still well within tolerable margins, and the feeling of claustrophobia is alleviated too.

To add on to that, the impression of technicalities is better, notes aren't as thick so they have more room to breathe. In that new breathing room, it is almost as if a fog has lifted and imaging sounds way more precise. I like the way the DT600 sounds with the adaptor from an analytical point of view but the mids… they just lose their organic natural sound which was what I liked most about the stock DT600. Everything else is great but those mids are the dealbreaker of the sound with the impedance adaptor. If you're considering the DT600, consider your purchase decision based on its organic stock form, WITH the option to go a bit more technical once in a while. There are so many options out there - I haven't had the chance to audition the latest Moondrop Aria or KATO but based on what others have been saying, you probably don't have to spend USD248 just to get a slightly more technical tuning with a clunky adaptor.

So pros:
  • All the accessories you'll ever need
  • Snug semi-custom fit
  • Coherent warm organic sound (highly easygoing yet engaging)
  • Can go from warm easygoing to technical with the adaptor
And cons:
  • Hint of BA timbre (cos I've been spoilt by what is possible by the SONY's proprietary BAs)
  • Lacking treble extension in stock form without adaptor
  • Requires clunky adaptor (and subsequently an adequate source) to sound more technical, which ends up sounding more thin and nasal :frowning2:
The thin and nasal mids with the adaptor is truly a waste given how competitive the DT600 can sound. It becomes more technical but loses out on its charm of relaxed, natural-sounding mids. Regardless, I still enjoy having the DT600 in my rotation and it has become my benchmark when looking out for my next big purchase. Alright, that's it folks.
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Dec 29, 2021 at 10:05 AM Post #34 of 37

dooxtypoox

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In-store demo: Campfire Holocene & Mammoth
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Holocene (3BA), tested on Sony ZX300
Addicted To Audio demo unit, AUD949
When given a tiny space to work with, one of my favourite IEM innovations in recent years is the use of acoustic chambers within the IEM chassis. In the Holocene's case, I love the implementation of the "3D Printed Interior" acoustic sound chamber. It gives a fairly spacious sound-field which is supplemented by its clean bass tuning. A tight wide-band bass bump for warmth, yet pristine enough to give some breathing room for instruments in the mix. But to address the "elephant in the room" - the Holocene did sound a little "off" on first listen due to the lack of the usual pinna compensation that my ears are accustomed to. To better describe my experience with the Holocene's mids, humour me as I use this analogy: Imagine staring a beautiful portrait of Mona Lisa… but someone erased her forehead. There's no other way for me to put it. As we try to imagine what the "erased" portion of the painting looks like, trying to listen through that gap in frequencies felt very similar.
mona lisa.jpg
I often felt tempted to turn up the volume just to "hear through" that gap because the Holocene painted everything else wonderfully. Seriously, the Holocene was very very close to achieving a near spot on tonal balance but that was how my ears initially perceived that upper mid and lower treble "suck out". Snare drums sounded wonderful but the violin just lacked that breathy quality and vibrancy. I can't help but wonder the motive behind CA's intentions for tuning the Holocene as such, without a proper pinna gain. Whether it was done to prevent the "safer sounding" Andro 2020 from getting "upstaged" by a lower end model… or just to offer a distinctly different flavours in their lineup... or both hahaha. Regardless, I still liked the Holocene a lot (as a whole) based off first impression and it'll compete with other IEMs on my wishlist. Keep in mind that these are just my first impressions from a 30 minute audition. It would be interesting to hear how the Holocene performs with brain burn in.

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Mammoth (1DD 2BA), tested on Sony ZX300
Addicted To Audio demo unit, AUD799
I really, really wanted to like these (knowing they are a hybrid configuration) after giving the Holocene a go. I love a well-executed V-shape response; hard-hitting DD bass, natural mids and crispy highs… But the Mammoth's tuning is just… highly generic. The bass doesn't really hit that hard and sounds kinda "pillow-ey". The mids also sound honky (as if someone is singing through a cupped mouth). I personally don't mind a tad bit of honk as it can give that coloured, big room ambience as demonstrated by my VE Asura 3.0 earbuds (writeup for another time). But the honkiness is a little overcooked in the Mammoth which, at the same time, also happens to sound tonally masked by a soft middle to upper bass bleed. The presence of the "3D Printed Interior" acoustic chamber is there on paper but the stage felt constrained and didn't sound anywhere close to the Holocene. This, combined with the bass bleed, thickened notes and exacerbated the feeling of congestion.

Lastly, surface level detailing seemed to be lacking - possibly due to the highs from the lower treble and up sounding rolled off. The mids were already taking the backseat in this V-shaped IEM; without the fundamentals in the mids giving cymbals their body, there's just a semblence of crashing… which leads to poor imaging when there is much nothing to image… and so on. The Mammoth isn't a complete ear-sore but I strongly feel that its lacking value in its performance to justify its price tag as someone shopping for a new IEM. I didn't mean for this to be an attack on "overpriced boutique products" but the Mammoths simply just aren't to my liking based off my 20 minutes with them. Some reviewers who have spent way more time with their review samples seem to love the Mammoth to bits so it may be worth seeing what others say too.
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Jan 5, 2022 at 8:11 AM Post #35 of 37

dooxtypoox

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Venture Electronics (Part 1/2): Monk Plus MP5 VS SPC
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Monk+ MP5 (smoke): USD5 from Venture Electronics
Monk+ SPC (clear): USD20 from Venture Electronics

Got my first Monk+ SPC last year and fell down the Venture Electronics rabbit hole. Needless to say, I would like to share a two part series of impressions of their products to kick off the new year. Following a recent revision, all Monk+ orders shipped from 6th November have been the MP5 version. The MP5 variant can be distinguished from the original with a VE logo on the earbud cap as pictured above. I don’t have the original Monk+ but I do have the SPC version for comparison.

For the Monk+ MP5's sound as a whole, it's got a very warm wide bass bump with a larger focus on the mid and upper bass. The open nature of the earbud makes this "bass bleed" more forgivable without a proper seal. In fact, I'd say it benefits the Monk+ by "compensating" for the lack of seal to still provide a pleasing audible warmth with the buds. The warmth applies a tinge of colouration to vocals but they're still highly on the natural side of things and pleasant to the ear. The treble is just nicely laid out and inoffensive.

MP5 VS SPC
Keep in mind that both sound very similar, but audible differences with A/B testing are as follows:
MP5's bass presence is slightly more prominent and boomy. SPC sounds a little more lean and tight, but just as hard hitting.
MP5's warm mids are more intimate and organic. SPC is more "V-shaped", with more clarity in the upper-mids.
Almost no difference between the SPC and MP5 treble.

Differences in stage size and imaging capability are negligible but… I had to go back and forth at least 10 times just to make sure I was hearing the following aspect correctly. My conclusion was that the MP5 is one (small) step up over the SPC in the articulation of micro details.

This could be due to the MP5 being more forward in the lower and centre-mids as compared to the SPC's larger focus on upper-mids, allowing the MP5 to bring most instrumental fundamental frequencies out to a greater extent. For instance, both earbuds have almost no difference in the treble tuning alone so surface level details are the same; but within these surface level detail, the tinier details of cymbals and hats is more apparent in the MP5 as compared to the SPC solely because the midrange fleshes out these tiny nuances even more.

Conclusion
To conclude, I prefer the MP5 over the SPC. The SPC does not reach shouty or sibilant levels but I can still see myself using the MP5 for a little longer due to its warmer laidback tuning. Also, the MP5 is slightly more detailed than the SPC possibly because of the midrange tuning difference (and maybe the use of an updated newer driver).

However, the SPC's ability to cut through more of the bass warmth with better upper mid presence between the Monk+ variants is refreshing… so the SPC would be a nice "different flavour" to have if you absolutely love the Monk+ sound. But at USD20, the SPC isn't an upgrade but more of a side grade to the USD5 MP5. If you don't have either of the two, I think the USD5 MP5 would do just fine over the USD20 SPC.
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Jan 6, 2022 at 9:39 PM Post #36 of 37

dooxtypoox

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Venture Electronics (Part 2/2): Asura 3.0FE (ft. Monk SM, Plus & Lite)
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Asura 3.0: USD148 from Venture Electronics
The Asura 3.0 is Venture Electronic's (VE) new 3rd generation of a mid-tier earbuds, which aims to combine the "big headphone-esque" experience into a tiny earbud (that VE achieved in their 2nd generation of buds), with the level of detail we can find from IEMs.

Tl;dr
Asura 3.0 is highly mid-centric with a "big sound". More spacious, more fun and safer sounding than the Monk SM but does not do the technical aspect like layering that much better.

Build and Fit
Absolutely loving the cable, it reminds me of the Plussound Apollonian Series and feels highly premium. The buds fit nicely, just like the Monk SM. But these earbuds feel kind of heavy being weighed down by that Y-split and cable sleeving especially since there isn't a proper fit like an IEM. I use the provided ear-hook in the included "Ex-Pack" to keep these in place.

Sound
Sound testing for all earbuds was primarily done without foam covers, and they were driven via my Schiit IEMagni X Modi 3+ stack with Spotify desktop. At comfortable listening levels, I could get to about 11 o clock on my IEMagni's volume pot on medium gain for the Asura 3.0.

I've never had the chance to listen to their Zen 2.0 buds, and I was certainly excited to give these a shot after Lee mentioned that they are on the same tier as Zen 2.0. On first impression - these had a large instrumental presentation which attributes to its huge initial wow factor. New toy syndrome was strong with this one so I gave the Asura 3.0 plenty of time to ease into my gear rotation.

How can such a tiny piece of equipment produce such a big sound? Although IEMs and earbuds don’t have the same kind of space to play with as with near-field monitors, these tiny things can make use of clever "tuning tricks" to create the illusion of space. Though this may impact the product's tonal balance, for better or for worse. After gaining an understanding of what makes these earbuds tick for me, I feel that two of the biggest factors which played into its "spatial presentation" is the combination of a so-called "tuning trick", and the fact that these have an open housing for much airflow to occur. I'm not an acoustic engineer of any sorts but that boundless, unrestricted soundstage that some IEMs achieve with acoustic chambers might be less tricky to achieve with earbuds due to its open-ear design.

With the Asura 3.0, the perceived soundstage extends just beyond the peripheries of the earbud shell when listening out for lateral images. The centre image is also well defined and quite a bit upfront/intimate. Not in the same way as its younger brother, the Monk SM, which forces a sharp centre image forth with an assertive upper mid presence. Instead, the Asura 3.0 concentrates more energy in the centre-mids, just between the upper and lower mids. Neither quite full from a bold lower mid presence nor sharpened from an upper mid dominance - right in between and hence a good balance between bodied mids and adequate upper mids for the articulation. Also, one of the things I heard which solidified my opinion was the slight hint of honkiness (as if the singer is singing through cupped hands) to the mids which stems from a sprinkle of extra energy in that centre-midrange.

The "honk effect" has a negative connotation in audio since it disrupts tonal balance and pulls the music away from outright realism. This, again, hint of honk on the Asura 3.0's does two things.
1. Positions the mids closer to the ear.
2. Adds some colouration to the music which gives somewhat of a "big room ambience" effect.
This is not an attempt to justify a "bad tuning" but when judged with the big picture in mind, this colouration is precisely what gives the Asura 3.0 its unique character. It artificially widens and enlarges the notes which plays in very well with the Asura 3.0's excellent staging and imaging to add to the immersion. This is one of those products that make me go beyond my usual test tracks and relisten to many songs which are dear to me. Indeed, "VaRiEtY iS THe spIcE oF LifE". Not everything in my collection needs to be drop dead neutral and this is exactly where variety can be appreciated.
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The bass and treble? Oh boi I really did get carried away didn't I. The sweet mids and big notes are the main attractions and make up the bulk of the Asura 3.0's presentation. The overall mid-centric sound is just so cohesive that I often get lost in the music and forget that I'm trying to do a thorough analysis of this piece of gear. With that I might add that background instruments tend to sound a little softer than the mids. I'm getting carried away talking about the mids again aren't I? Alright so -

Surprisingly, an even sounding treble response can be heard with adequate top end extension, probably due to open nature of the buds. It isn't the standout feature of the buds since they are projected behind, and softer than the mids at the forefront.

But is there anything the Asura 3.0 could do better? Yea for sure, it has a warm wide band boost that doesn't offer low end instruments much definition. Putting on foams only serves to increase the quantity of bass but not the quality. While cymbals and hats are rendered well to my preference with its even treble response, the opposing end with drums… not quite. Snares and the kick drum are blunted and don't give a satisfying snap or thump. The same thing applies to the orchestral double bass or the hip-hop bass rumble where it sounds diffuse and lacking authority. In essence, the Asura 3.0 lacking definition in its bass, relative to its mids and highs. While layering ability is not lacking, the Asura 3.0 did not impress as much as I hoped in that department.

Did I ramble too much? Here's a summary:
Pros:

Large notes and big "headphone-esque" stage for such tiny buds
Good balance between fun and articulate in the mids
Even-sounding treble response rendering cymbals and hi-hats with good tonal quality and detail

And cons:
Bass lacking the same definition as mids and highs
Bass just offers some warmth but not anything special like the mids which are the main attraction
Slight honky nature of the mids may deter those chasing outright realism
Layering not much of a step up from the Monk SM

I do not have the similarly priced Zen 2.0 but here are some comparisons with all the affordable VE buds I have access to before finishing off.
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(Pictured from left) -
Asura 3.0: USD148 from
Venture Electronics
Monk SM: USD20 from Venture Electronics
Monk Lite SPC: USD20 from Venture Electronics
Monk Plus Standard: USD5 from Venture Electronics
Monk Plus SPC: USD20 from Venture Electronics
Monk SM
How does the Asura 3.0's younger sibling stack up? For starters, the shell and hence the fit is exactly the same. Both Asura 3.0 and Monk SM are mid-centric buds to my ears, but in different ways:
  • Asura 3.0 - More focus on centre-mids, with equal balance between lower and upper mids (upside down V-shape signature)
  • Monk SM - Bright mid-centric sound with mildly boosted mid-bass, lean lower mids, boosted centre mids and upper mids, accompanied with a highly energetic middle to upper treble boost. (W-shape signature)
The SM immediately sounds a little less "rich" than the Asura 3.0 with its brighter tuning with lesser lower mids but it doesn't quite sound thin as some may expect. This stems from the fact that the SM focuses on both centre and upper mids which collectively brings forward and sharpens the overall image to a greater degree than the Asura 3.0. That upper treble boost does wonders for making this sound EXTREMELY detailed (surface level), sharp and sparkly but this also makes the SM more fatiguing to listen to over extended periods depending on your listening volume. YMMV. This in turn reduces dynamics since all the tiniest sounds in the recording are blasted in your face, not natural but very fun!

When accustomed to the SM on lower listening levels for longer listening, these are a blast. My favourite aspect is how the SM avoids sounding tinny (despite its tuning) and can sound highly transparent; the mids are still genuinely good and it scratches that "clarity-itch" with its textured mids. Lastly, it's interesting to note that the SM does seem to have a clearly boosted bassline over the Asura 3.0 which offers just a bit more definition in the low end.

The SM's shares almost the same stage size, with the SM's lateral imaging extending just beyond the earbud shells like the Asura 3.0 although the Asura 3.0 still has a larger note size filling up the stage. On further listen, differences in micro detail aren't very noticeable. It seems that the Asura 3.0 just offers an upgrade in a very specialised big-sounding mid-centric tuning over the SM, but not so much on the technical aspect.

Considering how VE always pushes the standards for products in the budget segment, is it fair for me to expect the Asura 3.0 to outdo everything within its mid-tier price bracket? Its instrument separation is almost equal to that of the Monk SM - adequate separation but little space between layers. I was initially disappointed since I was hoping for a significant upgrade but that in itself is hardly a dealbreaker at all, both sound great. And this doesn't stop me from reaching for the Asura 3.0 over the SM on most days.

I personally like the SM with Pop, rock and metal with its high-clarity, fast paced energetic tuning but not so much for orchestral where tonal accuracy is the main priority (e.g. brass and strings can sound borderline strident on the SM). On the other hand, the Asura 3.0's unique tuning sounds AMAZING with pretty much everything I threw at it. USD148 is quite a big price to pay for a blind buy and if you want something that plays most things well, the Monk+ MP5 version is a very impressive, affordable, safer sounding alternative to your exciting Monk SM for USD5, and it seriously doesn't cut corners.

Monk+ SPC/MP5
SPC and MP5 are similar so I will treat them as a whole. Please look at my post history for part 1/2 of this series for an in-depth comparison between the two. Bass is boomier on the Monk+ even without foams on. Mids sound more conventional with the energy evenly distributed between the centre and upper-mids. Surface details are rendered the same but microdetails are clearly a step below the Asura 3.0. At the same listening volume, stage is comparable and only slightly smaller than the Asura 3.0 - Asura 3.0 extending just beyond the earbud shells while Monk+ extending to the driver itself. Presentation wise, the biggest difference lies in the note size where Asura 3.0 towers over the Monk+ at the expense of a slightly honkier tonal quality.

Monk Lite SPC 120 ohm
The smallest stage relative to the other VE earbuds, with the stage being well within the head and not even extending to the edge of the earbud shell like the Monk+. The Monk lite is also the most congested sounding. It just sounds… alright for the price. It's like a less intense version of the Monk+ in literally every aspect, less boomy bass, less forward mids, less bite in the treble, smaller soundstage… a lite version lol. There's nothing special yet nothing offensive with its conventional V-shape sound. However it does have the most comfortable fit amongst all the earbuds. Like these are literally the best things to grace my ears in all of 2021. I don't have the 40 ohm version to compare but I'd probably take the cheaper version purely from a comfort standpoint since the 120 ohm version already doesn't compete sonically with the Monk+ and Monk SM. The comfort makes these extremely functional, they would make excellent sleeping/chill buds for non-critical listening.

In conclusion, the Asura 3.0 has a unique flavour that will serve well in a collection. Personally, its coloured tuning leads me to use something else for video editing and work-related stuff but it sure makes for a hella fun listen all the time. I'm a big fan of VE's products and I'm totally looking forward to Zen 3.0 possibly coming in 2022.
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Jan 7, 2022 at 5:23 AM Post #37 of 37

dooxtypoox

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TRI Meteor Review (ft. BQEYZ Summer)
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The TRI Meteor (1DD 1BA) was kindly provided by Keep Hi-Fi
Price: USD109 from Keep Hi-Fi

This is my first experience with TRI products. Had my eye on the Starsea and Starlight for a while but didn't have a chance to listen to them. I am really excited to see how it goes with the Meteor.

Accessories:
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  • Carrying case
  • 3 pairs of black silicone tips
  • 5 pairs of tips with coloured stems
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Cleaning tool (not pictured because it was hiding in the case, oops)
That cable
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"Soft and pliable" are words that are often thrown around when people are happy with the cable. This is not about the words being overused because it does get the message across, my point is - these are "soft-er and SUPER pliable", even for an 8-wire braid. Almost to the point where it kinda feels cheap but that may be just me preferring a balance between rigidity and softness.

Fit and Look
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The semi-custom body seems to model after the first bend but it's got too conservative of an angle and a shallow nozzle which leads to just a slightly above average sort of fitting; not anywhere near the wonderful fit the Audiosense DT600 provides. But the lack of specificity to my ears means that it could potentially be more universal fitting to a wider variety of ears.

Sound
Bass response is just slightly north of neutral. The bass energy is concentrated mostly in the sub with a much milder mid-bass authority. The DD does this conservative bass boost in the sub and tapers off all the way down to a nadir in the lower-mids. If having a clean presentation is your priority then these do a great job at that. Personally, it's just a clean boost and I feel… neutral about it - more on that in a bit.

Having a clean signature leaves space for the mids and highs to take centre stage and captivate the listener… only that the Meteor is just mediocre in those regions. The single BA then seems to pick up from the higher end of the centre-mids and above. The relative lack of energy in the lower, and bulk of the centre-midrange causes both male and female vocals tread on the thin side of things. That single BA then focuses the bulk of its energy in the upper-mids and thankfully in a non-shouty way. Instead, there is just enough upper-mids to give that grainy texture and presence.

Since this BA fundamentally works on the upper end of the-midrange. It tapers down into a moderate, non-fatiguing lower-treble bump, followed by an acceptable level of extension into the mid-treble. Nothing spectacular but I'm not expecting more from a USD109 IEM. Possibly aided by the treble extension and use of double venting under the 2-pin connector, the only notable praise I can give is that there is a surprisingly larger than expected headroom for its tubed design.
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There's not much else to discuss, so the Pros we've gathered so far are:
  • Cleanly boosted bass
  • Acceptable treble extension despite a single BA handling the mids and highs
  • Surprisingly larger than expected headroom for a tubed design
Cons + technical aspect:
But the "Pros" listed above are merely good traits when judged on their own. As a whole, the TRI Meteor's signature is unengaging. Sure, there is an uneven skew away from the lower and bulk of the centre-mids which sucks the life out of music - totally not to my liking. But this isn't because neutral (neutral-ish for the Meteor) tuned IEMs are always unengaging without a fat bass and boosted treble… but because the "unfiltered" sound gives plenty of room for the flaws in the Meteor's technical chops to heard as clear as day. The Meteor suffers from the usual hybrid "bass slower than the mids & highs" incoherence despite its conservative bass boost. Perhaps this was exacerbated by the blatant BA timbre highlighting the difference in speed.

Although the single BA admirably covers a decent portion of the upper harmonics, the single BA struggles to perform any layering at all. Finally, that larger headroom is not an indicator for skill in imaging - you can give a band a great venue to perform in but that's not going to save the show if their skill is trash. Likewise, the Meteor's clustered layers make it difficult to discern any where things are coming from at all. Even my Venture Electronics USD20 BIE (not the pro version) does a way better job at imaging.

If the Meteor's was priced at USD50 or under, it would've done a good job for achieving a balanced tuning in that price segment, and also for its isolated tuning "pros" as described above. All the cons would've been forgivable since it still performs just slightly better with its relatively clean tuning as compared to products like the USD20 KB EAR KS1 (1DD) or the USD24 CCZ Emerald (1DD 1BA).

I'm not trying to be "hard to please" and dissing everything that doesn't live up to the very best products I have tried and been mind-blown over. But the Meteor simply doesn't compare well with what we can expect from its USD109 price bracket.

BQEYZ Summer comparison
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BQEYZ Summer, USD129 from BQEYZ Aliexpress

While the Meteor's bass response seemed like it wanted to be neutral with a tinge of fun at the same time, the Summer instantly had a more distinct, purposeful bass presence. Admittedly, the Summer has a distinctly V-shaped response which can immediately seem more appealing on first listen. However, the Summer uses its stage to the fullest extent with great imaging and layering - excellent value for USD129. While I'm here singing praises on why the BQEYZ Summer is a way better IEM than the Meteor, I might as well give you the full picture.

Pros:
  • Excellent imaging and layering
  • Punchy mid-bass
  • Highly energetic mid-treble from the piezoelectric driver fleshes out the tiniest surface level details
Cons:
Mid treble can be sibilant at times, it has a nice control to it but those sensitive to a mid-treble peak may find these piercing. I'm sensitive to the lower treble instead so it's like enjoying hot chilies (treble) without the actual spice (ear fatigue).
That hyper boosted mid treble is not realistic at all. It lends an artificial colouration to sound by skewing the upper harmonics of all vocals and instruments (basically anything that's not bass). It's distinctly different from everything else I have so it functions as a form of a "palette cleanser". Not for my main everyday use.

Conclusion
I really wanted the Meteor to be great - I dig its looks and you get a decent overall package. It's is a miss in my books purely from a technical standpoint so I just thought to throw in the Summer which performs well (although its flavour can be too niche to be an EDC).
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