Penon Audio Thread. Post your impressions here.
Dec 4, 2021 at 11:11 PM Post #3,796 of 4,327

ehjie

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Serial first impressions + quick comparison with UM 3DT

Haven’t had time to burn in the Serial yet but I fully expect it to improve (as Volt did).

Both are very musical and coherent with great timbre. Serial for vocals; 3DT for classical, jazz and acoustic instruments.

B7357E25-EFF4-4D61-9C23-3BF0516A4CB5.jpeg

Serial (left) all the way for fit and comfort. No contest.

Bass - Serial. Already extremely listenable out of the box.

Neither has the last word in sub bass extension or rumble though Serial does it better between the two. It’s not that fast or detailed atm but I expect it to tighten up and possibly extend better with burn in.

Mids - Serial

Mids aren’t that thick and lush by Volt standards, but they are more versatile to me. Vocals especially sound very natural. But 3DT aims for a more “reference” tuning in general.

Treble - 3DT

It’s what makes the 3DT so vivid without being fatiguing and gives it the edge in detail retrieval, and this is where the Serial loses ground. Serial does have greater lower treble energy than say Volt, but I really could use more air on top. I need to add the caveat that I was a bit of a treblehead in a past life and still tend to notice these things more, so YMMV.

Cable

Penon obviously believe in cables (duh) and it shows. The CS819 stock cable is pretty damn good. After rolling through 8-9 cables up to the $150 mark, I was about to conclude that the stock cable was still the best fit.

But I noticed that the cables with more silver in them were among the more successful pairings.

So I threw my old pure silver Leo on it and… WOW. Threw open the treble just like that. It extended the low end a bit as well and all that, but treble air was really what the Serial was missing and the Leo brought it in.

It might be a bit crazy to pair the Serial with a cable that costs almost as much but it speaks to the quality of the Leo that it made such a difference to the sound (since the budget XINHS 8-core pure silver didn’t do the same favours for it).

(Oh and the 3DT cable? It’s not bad sonically but the less said about its ergonomics and earhooks, the better.)

Here's a suggestion for the Serial.
Did very well on the Volts...
sedna-earfit.jpg
 
Dec 5, 2021 at 3:11 AM Post #3,797 of 4,327

ehjie

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Here's a suggestion for the Serial.
Did very well on the Volts...
sedna-earfit.jpg
and using this on the NEWLY ARRIVED STAR!!! lol
Fantastic Treble resolution, it breathes, a lot!
IMG_20211205_115316.jpg
 
Dec 5, 2021 at 3:24 AM Post #3,798 of 4,327

rawbine

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and using this on the NEWLY ARRIVED STAR!!! lol
Fantastic Treble resolution, it breathes, a lot!
IMG_20211205_115316.jpg
The one thing I like about Penon’s execution, tiny detail like more reds on the right side of the shell.

Time to exchange notes.

*Oh I’ll reserve the Flow pairing for you after you had a firm impression on the Serial.
 
Dec 5, 2021 at 3:47 AM Post #3,799 of 4,327

ehjie

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The one thing I like about Penon’s execution, tiny detail like more reds on the right side of the shell.
Smart, isn't it? The veneering is well made, very modern and really pretty in person!
Time to exchange notes.

*Oh I’ll reserve the Flow pairing for you after you had a firm impression on the Serial.
For now, I'll keep on using the excellent stock cable - as it is already bright and bodied in my set.

On the 240 (amp1 mk 3 - the stock amp module only), the Serials tipped with the Korean Sedna earfit, is treble head qualified.
Lots of upper treble air, Fantastic detailed Mids - I have no other superlative description lol, just keeping it simple as it is ootb impressions only.
and that cleverly tuned bass - sub and mid bass marriage made in heaven.
Overall, lots of detail retrieval for the money!
Large sound field.
Keeper, it is...
 
Dec 5, 2021 at 1:54 PM Post #3,800 of 4,327

-rowan-

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EDIT: Update! The Serial won this one hands down. Final verdict:
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/penon-audio-thread-post-your-impressions-here.934523/post-16763717

Thanks for your impressions! I see that you have the Timeless - how does the Serial stack up against one of the biggest hype train of 2021?

Ok here we go!

Timeless comparison

I did think of comparing it with the Timeless earlier but thought it would be a bit unfair without any burn in, since the Timeless’ inherent strengths as a planar (clean, fast transients) are also the Serial’s current weaknesses as a bunch of DDs fresh out of the box. Then again, I hope and expect the Serial to improve with burn in (just for comparison, the Volt DD was frankly hilarious before burn in, like a large slobbery dog loving you to pieces. The Serial’s DDs in comparison were more decorous even out of the box and listening to them again now with only about 13 hours’ burn in, they are definitely already waking up).

The flip side to the Timeless though is it sometimes lacks a bit of note weight if you’re going for realism (to me, anyway; it might not be so obvious at first but emerges when you’re A/Bing it with a good dynamic like 3DT). So this is the part to watch if the Serial continues to improve.

Bass - oh boy, this is where the Timeless shines. Its sub bass set a new reference for me, for an IEM its price, in terms of not only how low it reaches but also its visceral rumble. Listen to the thuds in the first 15 seconds or so of Massive Attack’s Man Next Door. You might not even notice them on lesser IEMs but there are a few slabs of unadulterated sub bass there and the Timeless revels in whupping other IEMs’ asses with it.



Listening to how the Serial is doing with a bit of burn in, I think it could potentially come close.

Mids - this is where the Serial already pulls ahead. They actually sound quite similar in tuning and to this mids-head here the Timeless is really very good, but the Serial already does voices better - vocals across the register are harmonically richer, wetter and more complex. Same with instruments - the overtones are just rendered better on the Serial.

Treble - stock everything, Timeless. But I can already hear how different cables and tips and a bit of burn in are helping dig up more treble detail and open up the Serial so I’m going to have to get back to you on this. I’m leaning towards handing it to Serial but we’ll see.

Both have good stock cables that were very clearly chosen to synergize well with the monitors.

I guess I should say a thing or two about soundstage as well. I bought the Timeless round about the time it was getting roasted for its pancake-flat soundstage, before the hype train started gathering momentum, and yes, it is wide, and much wider than it is deep, but it was never really flat to me. It is shallower, nearly flat at the edges, but has some (not much depth) nearer the centre and things sound generally in the right position within that stage but not vividly well defined in terms of depth.

The Serial has a proper bit of air although its soundstage currently doesn’t sound particularly wider or deeper than it should be, but it’s also opened up a bit since yesterday and I’m keen to see where it goes.

I’m already digging it more than I did yesterday.
 
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Dec 5, 2021 at 2:05 PM Post #3,801 of 4,327

-rowan-

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Here's a suggestion for the Serial.
Did very well on the Volts...

Oh yes! I tried them with white Sednas and those were good. Slightly better with the short stems than the long ones, at least with the fit I got. Remind me, do the black ones sound different? I also had good results with the Xelastecs - in fact I’m listening to the Serials with them as I write this. They really amp up the musicality factor somehow (it was the same with the Volt - with them on, I always end up listening WAY longer than I intended to) and it’s the pairing I’m enjoying most atm, but… they’re just so hard to keep clean.

I should add that my impressions were with the stock green tips which worked very well IMO. The stock blue ones didn’t do it for me - made the bass too loose and echoey.

The one thing I like about Penon’s execution, tiny detail like more reds on the right side of the shell.

I’m handing Penon the award for best use of design to differentiate left and right. It’s such a basic thing but so many others neglect it (looking at you, Etymotic) or even get it wrong (Earsonics, I still haven’t forgotten). This is the cleverest use of those wood chips yet.

*Oh I’ll reserve the Flow pairing for you after you had a firm impression on the Serial.

After hearing how well the Leo paired with the Serial, I now have the Flow on the way… can’t wait.
 
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Dec 5, 2021 at 2:12 PM Post #3,802 of 4,327

Dsnuts

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Been busy reviewing the Fiio FH9 so I haven't been listening to the Serial as much as I would have liked. I did take a listen last night. Just been letting them get their hours of play. Sound is definitely expanded since I started listening to them.

Balanced out on my DX300Max and really I couldn't ask for better female vocals. Listening to Adele 30. The entire album is absolutely fantastic using the Serial. The more burn in they get the more natural and open they sound. To be honest these are what I wanted the Penon Fans to sound like. Another superb earphone by Penon.
 
Dec 6, 2021 at 1:33 AM Post #3,803 of 4,327

ehjie

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Oh yes! I tried them with white Sednas and those were good. Slightly better with the short stems than the long ones, at least with the fit I got. Remind me, do the black ones sound different? I also had good results with the Xelastecs - in fact I’m listening to the Serials with them as I write this. They really amp up the musicality factor somehow (it was the same with the Volt - with them on, I always end up listening WAY longer than I intended to) and it’s the pairing I’m enjoying most atm, but… they’re just so hard to keep clean.
The original grey stem gives off more air and treble detail.
1638768525432.png


Time to exchange notes.

1638769437729.png

My tough crowd Playlist was eaten alive even before dinner time by the Serials, lol!
There is NO point to search for a tougher list atm, they're simply formidable! I resumed playing back Some of my ALL TIME fav albums:

1638769117052.png
1638769172421.png
1638769206621.png
1638769251879.png

and here's what I found out:
1. Mids - Penon reigns Supreme as ever. Tuned as Neutral yet not sounding thin, not thick either. Albeit both male and female voices handled equally very well, but I hear the Female voices are ethereal, sublime. Very detailed, engaging, very clear, very distinct.
2. Treble - using the Sedna Earfit grey stem long, this is where @ least from the Penon stable, improvements are very noticeable. There is NO difficulty hearing air, transients, sparkle coupled with its accompanying adsr / prat. The same are very audible, most on the level of the mids. It is not excessive or exaggerated energy, I hear only the right amount to avoid being bored. This is very fluid and active same as the mids
We departed from the pure analogue sounding in ear headphones on this pair.
Please note that + hours of my playlist #1, there was just about an hour of rest, then resumed playing the Serial.
3. Bass - Here concludes the Serial's tuning shape as W, equally on the level of both the Mids and the treble, the marriage of both sub and mid bass has excellent rumble, texture, impact and very good punch. There is NO bleed through onto the lower mids - very cleverly tuned, seamless connection to the mids.
4. Timbre - those (3) dynamic drivers did very well. Very hi-fi indeed! Nothing artificial with the exception of synth instruments. Percussion lovers will have ENDLESS pleasure here, as well as vocals, instruments, etc.
5. Staging - by default they are not Deep - say Not as deep as the Volt (just a reference). But there is a very good distance of mid, vocal space between the face, ears and the projection of the sound. However, height is very remarkable - they are very high and that width! Approaching shoulder level width, superb.
Yes, there is holographic imaging on select tracks, including those from the playlist and from those albums illustrated above.
6. Properties - physical, I did not feel nor hear any kind of flexing drivers. The Shells are very well made, both artistic plate and the shell itself. Shell dimensions are not large. That is why I can use the grey long stemmed Sedna earfit due to the relatively medium sized shells. Connectors are premium. There is an abundance of tips, cleaning tool and a lovely leather pouch. The Penon case is improved! very soft, supple, seems to last longer than the previous cases. The cable is excellent and this is what I have been using for this less than 24 hour play time impression.
7. Source - this set is not picky, the dx240 (Gain: Med., V=60 ; concert level loud) has deeper bass, extended highs, larger sound field, more holographic than the 229 due to slightly deeper stage. the dx229 (Gain: Med., Tube amp out: High, V=76 ; concert level loud) Tube reference sound - both front ended by the Serials amazingly well. But i noticed, IT is a masochist - it loves to be driven hard, loves more power, but NOT extremely demanding. I'd say Medium efficient.
 
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Dec 6, 2021 at 2:24 AM Post #3,804 of 4,327

rawbine

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Smart, isn't it? The veneering is well made, very modern and really pretty in person!

For now, I'll keep on using the excellent stock cable - as it is already bright and bodied in my set.

On the 240 (amp1 mk 3 - the stock amp module only), the Serials tipped with the Korean Sedna earfit, is treble head qualified.
Lots of upper treble air, Fantastic detailed Mids - I have no other superlative description lol, just keeping it simple as it is ootb impressions only.
and that cleverly tuned bass - sub and mid bass marriage made in heaven.
Overall, lots of detail retrieval for the money!
Large sound field.
Keeper, it is...

On my petite 9038sg3 though highly neutral and transparent, it didn’t do justice to staging particularly depth. I can see where the 240 shines in your case, at a considerate expense of course.

The Serial has a proper bit of air although its soundstage currently doesn’t sound particularly wider or deeper than it should be, but it’s also opened up a bit since yesterday and I’m keen to see where it goes.

I’ve had well over 100 hours by now and soundstage did open up quite a bit particularly when paired with M6.

Oh yes! I tried them with white Sednas and those were good. Slightly better with the short stems than the long ones, at least with the fit I got. Remind me, do the black ones sound different? I also had good results with the Xelastecs - in fact I’m listening to the Serials with them as I write this. They really amp up the musicality factor somehow (it was the same with the Volt - with them on, I always end up listening WAY longer than I intended to) and it’s the pairing I’m enjoying most atm, but… they’re just so hard to keep clean.

I should add that my impressions were with the stock green tips which worked very well IMO. The stock blue ones didn’t do it for me - made the bass too loose and echoey.

I’m handing Penon the award for best use of design to differentiate left and right. It’s such a basic thing but so many others neglect it (looking at you, Etymotic) or even get it wrong (Earsonics, I still haven’t forgotten). This is the cleverest use of those wood chips yet.

After hearing how well the Leo paired with the Serial, I now have the Flow on the way… can’t wait.

Ditto with you ear-tips rolling experience. Do you have either ePro or Spiral Dot? I’m curious how Xelastecs would compare.

I totally dig companies that exercise creative thoughts with their products. Just like Serial’s other siblings, the right identifier has always been their model handle.

Super! Another Flow owner! I loved mine on the Globe! If its not too much of a trouble, would you able to do a brief pairing with Volt?
 
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Dec 6, 2021 at 2:38 AM Post #3,805 of 4,327

ehjie

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IMG_20211206_113307_1.jpg


I have to be sure the eq's off, lol, but that bass! #Awesome...
1638775771973.png
 
Dec 6, 2021 at 3:12 AM Post #3,806 of 4,327

ehjie

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On my petite 9038sg3 though highly neutral and transparent, it didn’t do justice to staging particularly depth. I can see where the 240 shines in your case, at a considerate expense of course.
IMG_20211206_120357.jpg

Compared to the pc (no dac inside) M0 performs very well,
the bass heavy asus pc, M0's a little warm from neutral...
 
Dec 6, 2021 at 5:37 AM Post #3,808 of 4,327

ehjie

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I brought the Leo Plus, an 8 core OCC-SPS&C "import" and a some tips, including the inverted 00.
Will roll tonight or tomorrow...
IMG_20211206_143357.jpg
 
Dec 6, 2021 at 2:25 PM Post #3,809 of 4,327

-rowan-

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The original grey stem gives off more air and treble detail.
1638768525432.png

Thanks! I need to check those out then. Do you have the Xelastecs as well and how does their air and treble compare to it?

My tough crowd Playlist was eaten alive even before dinner time by the Serials, lol!
There is NO point to search for a tougher list atm, they're simply formidable! I resumed playing back Some of my ALL TIME fav albums:

1638769117052.png1638769172421.png1638769206621.png1638769251879.png
and here's what I found out:
1. Mids - Penon reigns Supreme as ever. Tuned as Neutral yet not sounding thin, not thick either. Albeit both male and female voices handled equally very well, but I hear the Female voices are ethereal, sublime. Very detailed, engaging, very clear, very distinct.
2. Treble - using the Sedna Earfit grey stem long, this is where @ least from the Penon stable, improvements are very noticeable. There is NO difficulty hearing air, transients, sparkle coupled with its accompanying adsr / prat. The same are very audible, most on the level of the mids. It is not excessive or exaggerated energy, I hear only the right amount to avoid being bored. This is very fluid and active same as the mids
We departed from the pure analogue sounding in ear headphones on this pair.
Please note that + hours of my playlist #1, there was just about an hour of rest, then resumed playing the Serial.
3. Bass - Here concludes the Serial's tuning shape as W, equally on the level of both the Mids and the treble, the marriage of both sub and mid bass has excellent rumble, texture, impact and very good punch. There is NO bleed through onto the lower mids - very cleverly tuned, seamless connection to the mids.
4. Timbre - those (3) dynamic drivers did very well. Very hi-fi indeed! Nothing artificial with the exception of synth instruments. Percussion lovers will have ENDLESS pleasure here, as well as vocals, instruments, etc.
5. Staging - by default they are not Deep - say Not as deep as the Volt (just a reference). But there is a very good distance of mid, vocal space between the face, ears and the projection of the sound. However, height is very remarkable - they are very high and that width! Approaching shoulder level width, superb.
Yes, there is holographic imaging on select tracks, including those from the playlist and from those albums illustrated above.
6. Properties - physical, I did not feel nor hear any kind of flexing drivers. The Shells are very well made, both artistic plate and the shell itself. Shell dimensions are not large. That is why I can use the grey long stemmed Sedna earfit due to the relatively medium sized shells. Connectors are premium. There is an abundance of tips, cleaning tool and a lovely leather pouch. The Penon case is improved! very soft, supple, seems to last longer than the previous cases. The cable is excellent and this is what I have been using for this less than 24 hour play time impression.
7. Source - this set is not picky, the dx240 (Gain: Med., V=60 ; concert level loud) has deeper bass, extended highs, larger sound field, more holographic than the 229 due to slightly deeper stage. the dx229 (Gain: Med., Tube amp out: High, V=76 ; concert level loud) Tube reference sound - both front ended by the Serials amazingly well. But i noticed, IT is a masochist - it loves to be driven hard, loves more power, but NOT extremely demanding. I'd say Medium efficient.

The Chemicals are high on my playlist as well and they’re so much fun on the Serial. I agree with all your impressions here. Mine hasn’t even had that much time to burn in but its stage is opening up beautifully and the drivers work so well together. No driver flex whatsoever on mine either.

These are going to be keepers.

Ditto with you ear-tips rolling experience. Do you have either ePro or Spiral Dot? I’m curious how Xelastecs would compare.

WOW. Thank you for reminding me I have Spiral Dots kicking around. They just shot to the top of the pile alongside the Xelastecs for breathing spades of air and treble in the Serial.

To my ears (and this is only after repeated A/Bing), I’d say the Spiral Dots have a small edge in treble extension and clarity, while the Xelastecs are the more musical of the two and sound a bit more hi-fi. They also have a bit more bass. I’m very, very happy with both of them though.

ePros are close runners-up IMO. They help the Serial extend very well but don’t bring that very last bit of clarity or musicality for me to put it above those two. They also have a bit more bass so it’s a good compromise for anyone who doesn’t need the last ounce of treble.

Current setup: Serial + Leo + Xelastecs + N5ii + VE RAP5. No it doesn’t actually need amping but that extra power sounds glorious.

Super! Another Flow owner! I loved mine on the Globe! If its not too much of a trouble, would you able to do a brief pairing with Volt?

Sure! FedEx just needs to hurry up and bring me my Flow. Though I wouldn’t deny that the real trouble lies in getting the Serial out of my ears first… :)

IMG_20211206_113307_1.jpg

I have to be sure the eq's off, lol, but that bass! #Awesome...
1638775771973.png

Your Serial has so much red! Was it a special request or did they just do it like that?

15E03DE6-B1E8-40E5-9157-7DF3DFE92821.jpeg

For some manufacturers, they could well be different models…
 
Dec 6, 2021 at 3:07 PM Post #3,810 of 4,327

ehjie

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Thanks! I need to check those out then. Do you have the Xelastecs as well and how does their air and treble compare to it?



The Chemicals are high on my playlist as well and they’re so much fun on the Serial. I agree with all your impressions here. Mine hasn’t even had that much time to burn in but its stage is opening up beautifully and the drivers work so well together. No driver flex whatsoever on mine either.

These are going to be keepers.
:beerchug: From the very 1st minutes of listening to this set, I know they're gonna be keepers. They're very fluid without any hint of exaggeration on any / entire frequency range.
They even tuned the Mids to be as neutral as possible, without ever getting thin!
Sounds like a difficult tuning process, reserved for the kilobuck level sets.

WOW. Thank you for reminding me I have Spiral Dots kicking around. They just shot to the top of the pile alongside the Xelastecs for breathing spades of air and treble in the Serial.

To my ears (and this is only after repeated A/Bing), I’d say the Spiral Dots have a small edge in treble extension and clarity, while the Xelastecs are the more musical of the two and sound a bit more hi-fi. They also have a bit more bass. I’m very, very happy with both of them though.

ePros are close runners-up IMO. They help the Serial extend very well but don’t bring that very last bit of clarity or musicality for me to put it above those two. They also have a bit more bass so it’s a good compromise for anyone who doesn’t need the last ounce of treble.

Current setup: Serial + Leo + Xelastecs + N5ii + VE RAP5. No it doesn’t actually need amping but that extra power sounds glorious.



Sure! FedEx just needs to hurry up and bring me my Flow. Though I wouldn’t deny that the real trouble lies in getting the Serial out of my ears first… :)



Your Serial has so much red! Was it a special request or did they just do it like that?

15E03DE6-B1E8-40E5-9157-7DF3DFE92821.jpeg

For some manufacturers, they could well be different models…
LOL, no idea, really. Re: more Red colour on the right...
 

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