SE12 vs GT12
The vented BA bass of the both SE12 and GT12 works for me in both quality and quantity – it is not the most plentiful in the subbass region, giving up a bit of depth and rumble to sets such as the IER-Z1R and GS Audio’s own SE11, but it has a nice, healthy, balanced punch akin to the VE Elysium (also BA bass) and Fiio FD7. The GT12 is definitely not an enhanced-bass earphone like the SE12 but there’s a lot to like about the clean, natural low end. Their low end is similarly full and natural sounding with a decent definition and pace. Bass decays quite naturally for BA as well contributing to the naturalness.
The midrange of the GT12 is quite balanced and more neutral in tone. Whereas SE12 sound a little upper mids tilted and appears a bit more female vocals emphasized as a result. Next to the smooth, dynamic and liquid-sounding FD7, the midrange of the GT12 and SE12 are more transparent and has a “raw” quality to it. The midrange is also where the SE12 and SE11 differs most from mid-tier GS offerings such as the neutral ish GD5 and warm neutral GT12 can’t match the clarity of the SE12. Note thickness and clarity always make for a precarious balancing act and the SE12 performs as well as any other earphone I’ve heard on this front, making the Audiosense DT600 sounds a touch thin without yielding to it in clarity.
Moving through the upper midrange, the GT12 remains very smooth and pleasant. It has a little less upper midrange presence than SE12 but overall the sound is very close. In fact, out of all the universal monitors I used in my comparisons, the GT12 was closest to the SE12 in tone and balance. The GT12 has very smooth treble, too – it definitely isn’t lacking in treble energy but also isn’t as revealing of harshness or as critical of recording quality as the SE series. The DT600 sounds quite splashy in comparison while the Elysium is more similar, but still a touch brighter than the both GT12 and SE12. The presentation of the SE12 is open and airy whereas GT12 is a bit narrower and intimate. Soundstage size is good on SE12- about on-par with the DT600 and FD7 and more spacious and open compared to the less expensive GT12 - and overall imaging is just short of the Elysium and Z1R.
Timbre is very smooth yet distinctive with the SE12 and slightly smeared on the GT12. Time to try the SE8 next