(not my pic)
I stumbled upon these Macaws randomly on eBay while looking for a lifelike David Hasselhoff mask. Decided to take a chance on them because they were tickling my spider-sense, and also I just really dig this form-factor(the VSD5 was my first, this is already my fourth). Aaaand the case kinda-sorta pushed me over the edge. They were already on headfi radar, and now that a few of us have them, with impressions being very positive, I figured they could use their own thread.
There are some useful instructions on the back for getting your new IEMs out of the packaging. If you don't want to resort to using a hammer.
Here's the GT100s with the Dunu Titan and Vsonic VSD5.
The in-line remote. It's nice.
And lastly, here's a pic showing the issues I've had with the accessories of this earphone so far.
They come with three sets of filters(balanced, trebly, and bassy) which can be easily swapped out by screwing them into the housings, and while installing the gold(trebly) filters, a piece of said filter sort of threaded off(it's the squigly metal bit in the pic) and got lodged inside the earphone. I was able to get it out with a bit of effort. Weird. So I can't use the gold filters; a bit bummed out about that. Also, one of the tips ripped apart while I was taking it off. Never had that happen before.
Build quality seems exceptional otherwise. I have my reservations now after my issue with the filter, but I hope that's just some sort of weird isolated incident. Even the zombie apocalypse Aurisonics Rockets have had at least one reported build quality issue. It's also worth nothing that the filters are not the same size; the black(bassy) filters are larger than the silvers(balanced) for instance, which could impact which tips you use.
These are heavy as far as IEMs go, but I've not had an issue once I have them in. One of the reasons I greatly prefer using IEMs over-the-ear is because I like to be able to take them out and leave them hanging - for me it's like the earphone equivalent of having a pair of cans around your neck. And heavier IEMs have a propensity to swing and slowly descend when you leave them like that while moving around a lot, but so far I haven't had much issue with these, although they don't stay put up there as easily as something lighter like the VSD5. And again, if you want the earphones to fit flush you might need a specific set of tips for each filter since they're different sizes(the black ones are, anyway). They'll probably be a little uncomfortable for some, as the belly of the earphone is hardly ergonomic:
Twister has stated in his review/impressions that these sound like a hybrid BA+DD, but to me they just sound like a straight-up BA. Using the stock silver filters they are very lean(some people will probably hear them as being "thin"), with excellent detail retrieval and clarity. I'd also consider them, at least using the silver filters, to be a little bass-light. I've only briefly used the black filters, so I can't really speak on how much of a difference they make. They sound to me almost like what I remember the Ety ER4S sounding like, but brighter. Even when it comes to the shoving-detail-down-your-throat and holy-macrel-these-are-clear qualities of the ER4. They also aren't very impactful, so they won't make you feel like you're getting whacked in the head during drum solos; whether that's a good or bad thing is gonna come down to personal preference. I enjoy getting whacked in the head, myself.
Soundstaging and instrument separation are both very good(especially the latter); but whether that has anything to do with the inverted dynamic drivers is tough to say. Anyone wanna take them apart, flip the drivers around and tell us what they sound like?
Another point of note, is that they aren't terribly easy to drive, which is a bummer. I'm not sure what the point is of designing an IEM with smartphone users in mind and making it tough to drive from a smartphone(looking at you, KEF M200). I haven't A/Bed them against anything yet, but plan to against the Titan and also the VSD5. Pretty sure these Macaws are gonna hold their own against both, easily. For $70 they're easy to recommend, but here are some other impressions:
Twister's review and impressions:
Excellent bottom and top end extension, 3D staging (soundstage expands both in width and depth). Sounds almost like a hybrid with a tight punchy low end and vivid detailed upper mids/treble (nearly analytical quality, can even get a touch hot with some recordings but never harsh/peaky/sibilant); also lower mids do lack some body. SS reminds me A LOT of Titan 1, a lot, except Titans have mids a bit more forward. I prefer GT100s over Titan 1, btw.
Sound is excellent all around. Treble sticks out for me. Reminds me of the Titan. I think twister also noticed this. Bass sounds a bit flabby to me but not boomy. Vocals are forward and nice. Overall this is one heck of a bargain. - DannyBai
The VSD5 is bassier, both mid and sub-bass. By a decent margin. The GT100s has better clarity, and not just clarity by way of a lot of treble either. The Gt100s is more detailed with better instrument separation. VSD5 has a bigger soundstage, but the GT100s has excellent, excellent depth. VSD5 is on the dry side, whereas the GT100s is more liquid. I find both to be very engaging, but damn if I don't prefer the Macaws.
Doing some back-and-forth with the GT100s and the KC06. They're priced similarly, and both IEMs are made by birds, so maybe a good comparison. First thing you notice is, as is becoming par for the course, the GT100s is clearer. It makes what is generally considered to be a very clear earphone(the Ostrich) sound a little bit on the stuffy side, exacerbated by the better instrument separation of the Macaws.
A few posts back I said "These things are just soooo clear and they have an almost audible black space between instruments, if that makes any sense", and in reading Twister's review I noticed he experienced the same thing but maybe said it in a way that makes better sense.
You literally hear layering airy effect between sounds.
The KC06 is warmer, bassier, and places vocalists much closer to you. The GT100s has a stronger treble response.
Excellent build quality
Very detailed, very clear, vivid and spacious sound
Filter tuning system
Somewhat difficult to drive from a phone(admittedly I like to use high volumes at work, the gym, the coffee shop etc., so YMMV)