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Perfect Seal Custom in-ear monitors

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  1. MIke M
    They came in Tuesday afternoon...... Unfortunately delivery services (ups) don't count Saturday and Sunday as delivery days, I hate to be bearer of bad news but you won't get them until Monday, still, that's blazing fast :wink: if you want a pict, I'll see if I can send you one tomorrow. Right after I got yours packaged I headed out to Colorado for some snowboarding (just got here).
     
  2. rjwwrx
    A picture would be great if you have the time. Too bad they don't deliver overnight on Saturday.

    Enjoy the snowboarding. I'm looking forward to my skiing trip next weekend. Living in Montana has its perks.
     
  3. rjwwrx
    I received my Sportbud Silver Monitors today and they are everything that I was looking for when I decided to purchase a CIEM. Here's my thoughts on them.

    First, a little about working with Perfect-Seal and Mike M. Everything was handled professionally and promptly. From the initial email contact straight to the invoice and finally the heads up in this forum that It would be a couple more days until I should expect my overnight delivery of the product. He received my impressions on a Tuesday and had them out the door on Friday. That's some great service! The fit is absolutely perfect from what I can tell so far, and the finish is quite good as well. The soft canal on the left monitor has 2 or 3 bubbles showing, but is otherwise very nice. (Pics to come when I can get them up)

    My First concern when I decided to purchase a CIEM was to have something comfortable enough to wear for 4+ hours a day. My Sony XBA-2's would start causing my ears to be sore after 3 or 4 hours.
    The fit is fantastic and I hope it continues to be. I've had them in for around 6 hours today and I don't have any sore spots yet. The soft canals are great and definitely help get and keep a great seal. Without having had a full acrylic canal I can't give pros and cons but I will say the soft canal is very comfortable to me.
    So far I can check off that concern as handled.

    Next, I was wanting something that would be the next step up in sound quality. My XBA-2's were my first Balanced Armature iems and also the most expensive pair i've had (I know they're only ~$80 but my audio enjoyment budget is rather tight)

    I use my cell phone(Galaxy S5) for output, mostly 320kbps mp3s and FLACs and utilize the JetAudio music player. My XBA-2's I had to EQ quite a bit to get a sound that I could enjoy, especially the bass. In contrast, the SS was almost exactly to my liking straight out of the box. I like a little bit more forward bass so I slightly boosted it at 40 and 80 hz and happily left the rest flat. What I have now is a fantastic sound signature that I can enjoy all of my music with. I'm by no means an audiophile or reviewer, but from a humble consumer here are my thoughts.

    Treble:
    I'm finding myself finally understanding some of the terms I've heard in reviews, like decay, and note sustainment. I listened to Alter Bridge's "Cry of Achilles" and was amazed how well the SS handled the cymbals. The sibilance on this track with my XBA-2's made it almost unlistenable. The way the cymbal crashes naturally decay makes this song pure joy now.

    Bass:
    On the other end of the spectrum, listening to Lorde's "Royals" was amazing as well. The bass dug plenty deep enough for me once I EQ'd the slight boost (again this is just my preference) and I was able to sit back and enjoy the track in a much higher quality than I am used to.

    Mids:
    As average_joe pointed out in his review the Mids seem to balance out nicely with a great forward presentation. Lyrics sounds amazing from both Male and Female vocalists. I listened to Pentatonix "Run to You" and was able to pick out each individual voice throughout the track. Also Paramore's live "The Final Riot" album sounds fantastic. I've heard Hayley Williams live and I wasn't dissapointed in the reproduction through the Sportbud Silver. I get a much wider soundstage than I do with my XBA-2s and it makes me feel like I'm right in front of the band.

    I know this is just the rambling/gushing of someone that has never heard any of the more expensive high-end gear, but I imagine there are plenty of people in my same scenario wondering if it's worth it to take the leap into custom in-ear monitors, specifically with Perfect-Seal. I say with conviction, absolutely. I couldn't be happier with my purchase. I don't think I could have gotten a better price/performance ratio from anywhere else with my budget.

    A big thanks to Perfect-Seal and Mike M. for their service and great product.
     
  4. MIke M
    I'm honored you chose Perfect Seal for your first CIEM, so it's I who should be thanking you, thank you :)
    Nice write up btw
     
  5. gyx11
    This is my extremely long overdue review of Perfect Seal Sportsbud Silver. It is my maiden review, and still probably littered with a handful of errors which I have neglected to omit out. There are also some important sections which I've likely neglected to mention, and for that I seek the understanding of those who read this.
     
    I have yet to use this as an official product review because I'd like to iron things out completely and also provide a dozen amazing photos, but unfortunately at this time is not high up in my priority of things-to-do. I'll make sure to complete this one day. In the meantime, do free to ask me any questions you might have!
     
    Prelude:
     
    I enjoy a decent variety of music: predominantly bands such as Muse, Coldplay, U2, Arcade Fire e.t.c, but I do enjoy mainstream pop offerings, and from time to time, a small dose of classical music as well. Lately, I also find myself rather into movie scores and soundtracks. The likes of Hans Zimmer, James Newton Howard and John Murphy rank among my favourites.
     
    Generally speaking, I prefer a flatter and more neutral sound signature. I dig my bass to be tight and with good rumble, without obscuring any part of the higher frequencies. I like my mids to be slightly thick in presentation, and anywhere from neutral to forward. Recessed mids, and by extension v-shaped sound signatures, are not really my cup of tea. I have a rather good tolerance to sibilance. Good treble to me constitutes the right mix of extension, sparkle and smoothness.
     
    Thus far in this hobby, I don’t consider myself experienced enough to pass definitive opinion of any single piece of gear. I am a believer that a certain amount of exposure, and more importantly, a greater grasp of technical knowledge is required to write a qualified review which covers all bases adequately. I am at present quite some way off.
     
    For reference sake, I have so far owned/ tested at length the following IEM/CIEMs: JH Audio JH16Pro (Freqphased), Shure SE846, Shure SE535, Ultimate Ears UE10Pro, Etymotic Research ER4S, Aurisonic Rockets, Rockit Sounds R-50, Havi B3 Pro 1, Zero Audio Carbo Tenore. I may have omitted a few from memory.
     
    I avoid terming myself as an audiophile; because at heart I’m all about the music, and sound science and all the other stuff that comes with it, while interesting, is just secondary information to me. Hence, I can only comment so far as what my ears take in, and what my mind perceives, according to my subjective preferences of course.
     
    As a footnote, I do acknowledge that the nature of the hobby entails accepting the possibility of placebo and other psychological effects affecting one’s perception of things. My humble impressions should definitely not be taken as a be-all-end-all kinda thing –  it should ultimately just be regarded as a structured compilation of my own personal thoughts and musings.
     
    Introduction:
     
    I first heard about Perfect Seal through Average_Joe’s (superb!) work on all things related to CIEMs. It wasn’t the Sportsbud Silver which caught my eye initially, but rather the Fusion 11 Silicone, which was Perfect Seal’s flagship of sorts by merit of being the world’s first silicone hybrid CIEM. With additional research however, it became apparent that the Sportsbud series was unique in its own way – as it’s name suggests.
     
    Eventual budget constraints meant that my search for a higher level CIEM had to be put on hold. The Fusion 11 Silicone soon dropped out of the short-term running, but my interest in the Sportsbud Silver only grew stronger – Ever since I broke my Klipsch S4, I no longer had a pair of cheap IEMs to use for exercise. In my mind, a majority of IEMs aren’t even durable enough to withstand sweat and tugging in the gym or on the road. And even for IEMs which are built like tanks, how many are actually ergonomically capable of delivering good comfort and decent sound?
     
    $300 is no small change to a university student like me. But $300 for a CIEM which claims to satisfy all of the above? Seemed quite good a deal to me if pulled off successfully. So when AJ’s released his positive preview/review of them, coupled with Treoo.com offering a nice introductory special on them, I decided to jump in and order the Sportsbud Silver.
     
    Perfect Seal: Sportsbud Bronze, Silver & Gold:
     
    The Perfect Seal Sportsbud series is, to my knowledge, the first CIEM designed with the specific purpose of sports use in mind.
    As of the time of writing, there are 3 models to choose from: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Bronze is the most basic one-driver model; Silver adds in a separate woofer for a more prominent bass; Gold includes an additional woofer for a really hard hitting low end.
     
    The Sportsbud series differs from most conventional CIEMs in two main ways.
    First is the offering of a canal shell option, which is sort of a low-profile ‘half shell’ where the CIEM is built in a way such that there is almost zero protrusion out of the ear cavity. This was the option which I selected, and you can view the attached photos to understand what I mean. Standard full shells are available as well, but as I will discuss later in the review, the canal shell option is more ideal in the context of the Sportsbud series.
     
    Second is the Thermaflex coating at the tips, expands once inserted into the ear cavity due to the natural body temperature. The expansion of the material hence allows for a tighter fit over time which ‘hugs’ the sides of the inner ear, and this translates to a better (perfect?) seal as well.
     
    Review Information:
     
    First and foremost, I’d like to make it clear that I am in no way affiliated with Perfect Seal. The Sportsbud Silver was purchased via Treoo.
     
    I have owned the Sportsbud Silver for approximately 2 months and used them on an almost daily basis, certainly more often than the niche purpose it was supposed to fulfil. For this review, I utilized the following:
     
    IEMS:
    Perfect Seal Sportsbud Silver
    Aurisonic Rockets
    Perfect Seal Fusion 11 Silicone
    CustomArt Harmony 8 Pro
    Source/Amplification:
    Laptop
    Sansa Clip Zip Rockboxed
    Hidizs AP100
    Astell & Kern AK120
    IBasso Hibino HDP-R10
    Tracks:
    Hayley Westenra – Who Painted The Moon Black
    Calvin Harris - Blame
    Ariana Grande - Break Free
    Coldplay - A Sky Full of Stars
    Muse – Hysteria
    Foo Fighters - Best Of You
    Liquid Tension Experiment – Paradigm Shift
    Hans Zimmer - Mombasa
    Hans Zimmer - Gotham’s Reckoning
    Mozart - Requiem in D Minor
    Mozart - Serenade No.13 For Strings In G Major (Allegro)
     
    Comfort and Fit:
     
    The Thermaflex material has somewhat of a silicone feel, meaning that unlike hard acrylic, it is very slightly flexible. If you make any vigorous action short of intentionally trying to dislodge the CIEMs, the Sportsbuds are virtually impervious to losing its fit and seal. Anyone who has owned a CIEM before can attest that yawning or talking while wired-in can lead to slight discomfort because the tip of the CIEM exerts some pressure on the moving walls of the ear canal. *When I put on the Sportsbud Silver and open my mouth as wide as I could and shift my jaws to the ends, there is zero discomfort and a perfect seal throughout. Smiling, yawning, laughing or cringing has no effect either.
    (*In the privacy of my bedroom)
     
    The half shell option which I opted for effectively reduces the Sportsbud Silver to half the volumetric size of conventional CIEMs. It is so light and inconspicuous that, when coupled with the sublime fit and comfort, I can put on the Sportsbud Silver for 3-4 hours in one stretch and literally not realize that there’s anything inserted in my ear. It might seem like somewhat of an exaggeration, but I can assure you that it is not. I feel confident enough to say that I could wear the Sportsbud Silver for over 10 hours and not have any complaints.
     
    If it isn’t apparent by now, the Sportsbud Silver is quite easily the most comfortable and most fitting of any IEM I have owned thus far. 
     
    Aesthetics:
    Well, as it goes without saying, this is a really subjective matter. Mike offers two unique options: swirl and fusion patterns (check the Perfect Seal webpage for examples), and some of the combinations that I’ve seen on display look quite amazing. Since I handpicked my own design, it is only natural that I find the design of my Sportsbud Silver to be really nice.
     
    More than just colors however, the exterior finish of the Sportsbud Silver is certainly above average. The whole outer shell is very smooth and polished, and the coloring used is vivid and vibrant, giving it a refined and posh look as opposed to something DIY-ish. It is absent of any major irregularities, and it only upon close examination that I can detect tiny blemishes such as small pockets of bubbling underneath the outer surface, and ‘sealing’ lines where the faceplate is attached to the main chassis. (please pardon my lack of suitable description here. I’m not exactly competent at commenting on aesthetics).
     
    Cable:
    This area is of particular relevance to the Sportsbud series. On top of all the usual factors which define a good cable, additional pre-requisites for a sports IEM cable include the need for it to be sturdy enough to withstand punishment during sports usage (tugging, moisture), of suitable material such that weight is not bothersome and that microphonics are kept to a minimum.
     
    The cable of the Sportsbud Silver is white/translucent in color, although Mike has mentioned that a black cable is available as well. The material itself is quite unique, and very different from any other custom or stock cable I have ever seen so far. It is a ‘one-piece’ cable without any braiding, and while I’m not too sure exactly what material the sheath is made from, the texture is smooth and slightly rubbery.
     
    The cable is of decent thickness, definitely enough to inspire confidence in terms of usage in the long haul. However, it is still thinner and lighter the majority of standard 4-braid cables. The straight sheathing brings about a surprising amount of flexibility, but also a great level of rigidity for it to remain virtually tangle resistant and free from any memory effect. The smooth coating also causes nearly zero friction when it rubs against the fabric of my shirt or even against my cheeks.
     
    On the overall, stock cable is actually one of the best stock cables I have come across, if not the very best.
     
    I have only one issue with the cabling of the Sportsbud Silver, but I do believe it is down to design problem – I selected the non-
    detachable cable option mainly because I did not want moisture to seep into the sockets and I wanted as little separate parts as possible. I’m not too certain if Mike offers different configurations of a non-detachable cable CIEM, but I do believe the standard version is a straightforward straight-down cable which is fixed close to the bottom end of the faceplate (It is reinforced with a sturdy strain relief to offset any worry about tugging damage ).
     
    I’m not sure how to provide the exact reasoning, but in my experience of using IEMs, wearing it looped over the ear usually reduces microphonics to near zero because any cable movement ceases around the ear, whereas in cable down configuration, the movement of the cable directly affects the earpieces, and hence nearly always translates to noise.
     
    If you’re getting the impression that the Sportsbud Silver suffers from unbearable cable noise, well let me reassure you that it’s not what you might think. Even when at full sprint, the microphonics though noticeable is still bearable enough to not inhibit the ability to listen and enjoy the music. Needless to say, working out in the gym or jogging at slow pace gives no such problem.
    * I clarified with Mike, and he mentioned 2 very important things worth taking note. For those who are particular about their cable choices, it’s cause for rejoice because Mike does offer an ‘over-ear’ configuration, which I believe is achieved by simply placing the wire at a different location, and to angle the wire strain in a way such that it loops around the back of your ear. Mike also offers a rotating connector option for $30 which would be hugely beneficial to those who want more flexibility and ease of use.
     
    Sound:
     
    Now onto the most important segment. How do the Sportsbud Silver fair in relation to the rest of the competition? Well, before I get into the specifics, the short answer is this: It sounds very nice. It is a forward sounding, musical CIEM that has powerful deep bass, forward and engaging mids, smooth and well balanced highs. The level of detail and clarity are on the higher side, the soundstage has a very nice 3D-esque effect, and there is no listening fatigue so it is suitable for long listening sessions. At the basic price of $250, you’ll be hard pressed to find another IEM of any type which will give you a higher, let alone comparable, level of sonic performance.
     
    Bass:
     
    Bass is excellent. Quantity is clearly on the north side of neutral, and the obvious ‘dominant’ frequency range of the Sportsbud Silver. It is textured, full-bodied, and possesses a great sense of rumble which caps it off spectacularly. The balance between sub-bass and mid-bass is done just right – I perceive the mid-bass to be slightly emphasized. Crucially, although there is significant weight to the mid-bass, there is little bleed into the lower midrange, and that is regardless of volume level. One of the first tracks I always put to the bass test is ‘Gotham’s Reckoning’ composed by Hans Zimmer, taken off the soundtrack for The Dark Knight Rises. Deep bass is reproduced with aplomb and hits thunderously. The reverberation is tremendous. Most BA IEMs are unable to reproduce the sheer bass weight required to capture the essence of the track. Other IEMs with enhanced lows but without refinement are simply overwhelmed and the entire bass line becomes muddy and convoluted. The Sportsbud Silver manages to do this track justice. It starts to lose a bit of control near the climax at around the last 0:30 where the requirements are most demanding. This is where the mid-bass starts to slightly become intrusive to the mids. It has to be stated though, that from my recollection, the Shure SE846, JH16FPs and Harmony 8 Pro are the only IEMs which have perfectly handled the entirety of ‘Gotham’s Reckoning’.
     
    Mids:
     
    The mids of the Sportsbud Silver are presented slightly behind the bass, but should still be considered as being projected from a forward perspective. The Sportsbud Silver has rather long note sustainment, and hence the mids have quite a nice thickness about them. As a result, both male and female vocals are reproduced with good level of intimacy, weight and emotion. I also specifically ran several tracks by Liquid Tension Experiment/ Dream Theatre to see how they coped with speed metal tracks. A favourite of mine, ‘Paradigm Shift, happens to be one of their most uptempo tracks, and whilst the Sportsbud Silver didn’t excel in particular, it was able to keep up to speed nicely without sounding congested. The mids of the Sportsbud Silver aren’t spectacular, but they fit nicely in the scheme of the overall sound signature.
     
    Treble:
     
    At the high frequencies, the Sportsbud Silver is smooth sounding and non-fatiguing. It doesn’t have the most extended of treble, and only with careful listening to certain instruments like cymbal crashes may perhaps hint at very slight roll-off right at the end of the spectrum. As compensation, and very importantly in the context of the Sportsbud Silver, the treble is polite and always under control. I personally wouldn’t want a workout session with a harsh sounding IEM (I would know because I once took the Rock-it R50 for a 5km run and had to yank it out halfway because I spent more time wincing at the sibilance than focusing on my running). A particularly problematic track is ‘Iris’ by The Goo Goo Dolls, on which some of my IEMs in the past have had sibilance issues during the instrumental solo just before the final chorus. The Sportsbud Silver has absolutely zero piercing highs during this passage, but it doesn’t lose any noticeable sparkle either. Putting Mozart’s ‘Serenade No.13 For Strings In G Major’ to the test yields also favourable results. The violins sound energetic, lively and shimmery. On a more mainstream track like Coldplay’s ‘A Sky Full of Stars’, the bridge before the final chorus features the densest cascading of crashes of the track, and the Sportsbud Silver continues to remain polite, though detailed, clear, and maintaining a nice shimmer to it. Overall, the treble region is quite prominent and is only slightly less present than the bass.
     
    Detail, Clarity, Resolution:
     
    Transparency and clarity of the Sportsbud Silver is really good when taking into consideration that the thick note presentation can sometimes lead to some impression of muddiness and obscurity in the music. As a CIEM, the blockage of ambient noise also directly leads to the perceivable detail level of the Sportsbud Silver being very good.
    Detail articulation is well-defined and still on the smooth and rounded side.  This is probably linked to the average resolution, which gives consistency to the music regardless of the nature of the source. The difference between 128kbps MP3, 320kbps MP3, FLAC or even DSD formats won’t be as apparent as when using a TOTL DAP such as a DX90 or AK120. This is important since the Sportsbud Silver is primarily meant to be fed from a basic DAP (e.g smartphone, Sansa Clip Zip, e.t.c) playing workout tracks, most of which are contemporary mainstream music that isn’t exactly always well recorded. In my opinion, out of all the music that I have in my library, Foo Fighers has the absolute worst album mastering/recording quality (shame for such as kickass band). Their music is so compressed that it is almost unlistenable when using a highly resolving IEM such as the Custom Art Harmony 8 Pro. Fortunately however, the Sportsbud Silver doesn’t shred the poor Foo Fighters into pieces, also it’s still clear that there’s something way off.
     
    Instrument separation is only slightly above average, which is somewhat expected for a thick and forward sounding IEM with a linearly intimate presentation. Consequently, the soundstage size also isn’t the biggest. However, it is re-created with a 3D-esque effect that I have rarely come across in IEMs.
     
    Tonality and Timbre:
     
    There is a slightly warm tilt to the sound spectrum. The overall signature has a very slight v-shaped character due to the emphasized bass, and to a lesser degree, the treble as well. Whilst v-shaped signatures are a usual no-no for me, the Sportsbud Silver is different because the mids are neutral rather than recessed. They just happen to be upstaged by the lows and the highs. But because the lows and controlled and highs are polite, they give the mids enough room to shine in its own way. The Sportsbud Silver has a slightly coloured sound with the enhanced bass and shaved off highs, but the timbre of instruments still sounds accurate and rightly done.
     
    Amplification and Source Selection:
     
    The entirety of this review was conducted using my Sansa Clip Zip as my main source. The rationale behind this is simple. Nobody in the right frame of mind uses something like a DX90 or an AK120 for outdoor activities. A small compact player like the Fiio X1, Ipod Nano are a couple of natural partners for the Sportsbud Silver, but in my case, the Clip Zip is my go-to DAP for working out or any strenuous outdoor activity.
     
    I can confirm that the Sportsbud Silver does not scale up significantly with better sources. I used my Hidizs AP100 and HDP-R10, as well as a friend’s AK120 to play my test tracks, and there were noticeable but marginal improvements up the DAP scale. The R10 seems to have the best synergy with the Sportsbud Silver. The overall presentation is more spacious, the soundstage increases in all directions, and the bass and treble in particular sound more textured (and extended in the case of the treble) than with the Clip Zip. My time with the AK120 was short, but as someone who somewhat shuns overly warm sound signatures, I’ve never quite enjoyed the AK120, and I do not quite like it with the already slightly warm sounding Sportsbud Silver. I would actually pick the AP100 as a better match!
     
    Select Comparisons:
     
    Perhaps if there’s some reprieve to having delayed this review for such a long time, it’s that I’ve been able to compare the Sportsbud Silver with several other IEMs at different points in time. I’ve selected the Aurisonic Rockets and UM3X primarily because their sound signatures have certain similarities to the Sportsbud Silver, but also because they are in a similar price bracket and hence should be considered ‘competitors’ of sort.
     
     Sportsbud Silver vs Aurisonic Rockets:
    This is actually a no-brainer comparison given that both IEMs are very much geared towards sports and outdoor usage. The Sportsbud Silver, being custom, provides the better isolation, comfort, and low-profile fit.
    Build wise, the Sportsbud Silver is very solidly constructed, but there is really no comparison with the Aurisonic Rockets, which is probably the most sturdily built IEM in the world. A good part of the reason why I absolutely adore the Rockets is that it affords me the laziness to simply chuck the Rockets in my pockets (nice rhyme scheme) or my bag without any protection or case – the only audio gear where I’ve ever done that! The Sportsbud Silver is a CIEM, and that naturally makes it more fragile, and the consequence of build failure necessitates much more careful handling.
    In terms of sonic ability, the Aurisonic Rockets matches the Sportsbud Silver at a pound-for-pound level way beyond anything I’ve owned so far (maybe the Havi B3 in some aspects as well). In the bass department, the two are quite different. Both IEMs can reach the low registers quite well, but the Sportsbud Silver is obviously more plentiful and forceful in its rendition. The Rockets are not bass light enough to be termed ‘bass shy’, and it certainly versatile enough to handle all genres of music well. When it comes to pop, rock, EDM or even alternative music however, a weighty low end is mostly preferable, and the Sportsbud Silver delivers in spades what the Rockets sometimes fails to achieve. Going back to the ‘Gotham’s Reckoning’ bass test, the Rockets hit the bass notes well, but it is simply lacking in body to fully extract the grandeur of the track.
    The mids have to go to the Aurisonic Rockets. Forget the build quality… the smoothness and clarity of the mids are the absolute best part of the Rockets, rivalling even some of the most expensive IEMs. Clarity, smoothness, detail and also the rendering of detail are better than the Sportsbud Silver, which in comparison sounds slightly lifeless and less precise and focused. Putting Hayley Westenra’s vocals to the test by running ‘Who Painted The Moon Black’ sounds good with the Sportsbud Silver, but it just can’t match the lifelikeness and startlingly engaging performance of the Rockets. With Mozart’s ‘Requiem’, the findings are the same with choral voices. Similarly when turning to instruments, the Rockets also fare better than the Sportsbud Silver on pianos and guitars. The guitar strumming segment after the first chorus in ‘A Sky Full of Stars’ and also the entirety of Mozart’s Serenade showcases how the Aurisonic Rockets sounds a little more realistic and accurate than the Sportsbud Silver.
    Both IEMs have about the same thickness of note presentation, which translates to lushness of vocals, with the Rockets being perceivably more forward sounding and prominent with respect to the other frequencies, but the Rockets just about does it better between the two. I hope this segment is not taken as a stick with which to beat down the Sportsbud Silver. There’s no point in comparisons unless you compare it to the best, and the fact that I can switch from the Rockets to the Sportsbud Silver and not feel a significant drop off in quality is a testament that the Sportsbud Silver by no means not lacking in the middle frequencies.
     
    The treble region is where both IEMs sound similar. Both the Rockets and Sportsbud Silver are generally very smooth, polite, but with decent extension. The Rockets does seem to have a tinge more clarity in the lower treble (upper mids) region, but the difference is only discernable with careful listening. Apart from that, there really isn’t much to compare in the treble. Whatever was earlier mentioned about the Sportsbud Silver in the treble region can essentially be applied to the Aurisonic Rockets as well.
     
    The Rockets and Sportsbud Silver are also quite similar in soundstage size, depth and width. The Sportsbud Silver however, has more of the reverberating, 3D-esque effect which somewhat translates to a more engaging listening experience at times with certain genres of music.
     
    Sportsbud Silver vs Westone UM3X
     
    When setting out to do specific comparisons, one of the automatic selections was the UM3X. Before I embarked on this review, I first heard the UM3X very early on this hobby, and from memory, it had a very similar sound signature to the Sportsbud Silver. Eventually, I borrowed a used set from a friend of mine (I wanted to compare with the UM30Pro at first, but couldn’t find a loaner unit), and my followings are as such:
     
    Bass wise, the UM3X is quite neutral, perhaps a tinge strong, but in comparison to the Sportsbud Silver, it is definitely less prominent. The bass texture of the UM3X is very good, matching that of the Sportsbud Silver, but it doesn’t have the same midbass presence, although it certainly isn’t lacking by any stretch of my imagination. It boils down to personal preferences. The more toned down midbass gives the perception that the UM3X is slightly more open sounding. At high volumes and for very instrument heavy tracks like ‘Paradigm Shift’, the UM3X might appear to sound less congested as well. The Sportsbud Silver though still gets the nod for most of my pop music for its more meaty and yet non-offensive bass.
     
    The mids of the UM3X can also be termed neutral. It has roughly the same presence as the bass (maybe slightly less), but in direct comparison with the Sportsbud Silver, sounds further back in the overall presentation. The Sportsbud Silver renders vocals more intimate, partially also due to a slightly warmer tone, but I did actually prefer the timbre on the UM3X in a few cases, which to me was a hair more realistic. I do believe that the more spacious UM3X does allow for the small nuances in the music to be reproduced in a more refined manner, whilst the Sportsbud Silver aims for a more lush and more involving experience.
    The treble region is where the UM3X and Sportsbud Silver are strikingly similar, even more so than the Aurisonic Rockets. They are almost identical in how they sound. Basically, I could not distinguish any difference between how they sounded in the highs, even with tracks like ‘Iris’ or ‘Sky Full Of Stars’ which I usually use to differentiate how smooth and/or rolled of the treble of an IEM is. I don’t think there was an instant where either the UM3X or Sportsbud Silver displayed any sibilance at all when doing a direct comparison. Perhaps the UM3X is very slightly more rolled-off and less forward than the Sportsbud Silver, but I say this with little conviction since any difference is very minute.
     
    Conclusion:
     
    Before I end with my thoughts on the Sportsbud Silver, I have to deliver a large apology to Mike because of just how late this review is being posted. Since the start of the year I’ve told him on numerous occasions to ‘keep a look out over the next few days/couple of weeks’, only to find myself too busy (or lazy in a number of cases) to appropriately apply the final flourishes to my review.
     
    SORRY MIKE!
     
    Well I suppose if there’s one silver lining (no pun again), it’s that the review comes 3-4 months after I first received the Sportsbud Silver, and during this period I have used it extensively enough to know everything about it.
     
    The Sportsbud Silver is a fantastic CIEM in every aspect. From the most crucial perspective—sonic performance, it keeps up with even the best of similarly priced universals. When you add in the customization, fit, finish, comfort, build quality and versatility, it ends up being quite astonishing how everything is achieved for just $250 (not to mention that my ear impressions were FOC thanks to the wonderful Treoo.com (which I can’t recommend highly enough)).
     
    If anyone here reading this is looking for a first dip into the realm of custom in-ears, give the Sportsbud Silver very serious consideration. I’ve not heard any other CIEMs within this price range, and there are admittedly few manufacturers who offer CIEMs south of $300-400, but really, there’s just simply no way the Sportsbud Silver can be a bad deal for what it costs.
     
    ozkan, idonoach and hqssui like this.
  6. gyx11
    I just came back from a local IT show where a distributor (Treoo) had the range of Perfect Seal CIEM demos on display. I managed to audition the PS6 and PS8.
     
    I spent about 5 minutes with the PS8, and I felt it was quite decent. Perfect Seal's TOTL reference CIEMs. Instrument separation was very good. Bass had slightly too little presence for my liking, but it did hit quite hard. The bass extension was great as well. Overall presentation was quite neutral. Note thickness was slightly on the dry and thin side, but it did help to accentuate details nicely. Treble was well extended with good sparkle. For the $850, I would say it's a decent buy, but I wouldn't go for it unless I was into professional recording because it doesn't really suit my sound signature preference.
     
    The PS6, I spent approximately 10 minutes with it. It was unbelievably good. I would have stayed there for much much longer had the situation been ideal, but unfortunately I came 30 minutes before the fair was closed for the day, and I did not bring my DAP along with me as it was somewhat of an unscheduled trip down. For the retail price of $650, it's an absolute no brainer. I wouldn't put it as the absolute best CIEM I've ever heard simply because I don't have enough time to form a definitive opinion on it, but I can tell you that it does not give away anything at all to the best that I've heard (Noble K10, Custom Art Harmony 8 Pro, Shure SE846). When I learnt that Treoo offered a promo price of $799 SGD for it during Black Friday (that's currently about USD $580), I felt like kicking myself for not having heard the PS6 back then or I'd have surely jumped on it without hesitation
     
    The bass of the PS6 is arguably the best that I've ever heard. It was so good that I'm highly tempted to hijack the H8P from my girlfriend (I got the H8Ps for her) to bring it down for a 1-on-1 comparison. The bass is north of neutral, and it is clean, non-instrusive, highly textured, goes down really deep, has great reverb. If you asked me to name one thing about the bass that I would have changed/tweaked, I'm going to say that I can't.
     
    The bass was so good that I spent most of the 10 minutes just in appreciation for it. Impressions of the mids and highs will be shorter, but I can say that they do not disappoint as well. Mids were positioned in such a way that it allowed the bass to shine, but had still enough presence to give it authority. The treble was very smooth and yet detailed at the same time. The overall sound was very neutral with a tinge of warmth owing to the bass tilt. Soundstage was excellent for an IEM, one of the best I've heard so far.
     
    Compared to the PS8, the PS6 was definitely the more musical CIEM. Note thickness was noticeably denser. Bass was tons more satisfying. The PS8 was probably the more resolving of the two, but the PS6 had a much better cohesive sound to my ears. The PS6 reminded me of my Sportsbud Silver in many ways (3Desque soundstage, note thickness, bass rumble), but essentially does everything twice as good, if not even better. The PS8 was far different from either of them.
     
    Only a few people may get what I'm about to say next, but at the IT fair, there happened to be a kingly CIEM audio company having its range of CIEM demos available as well. I can't mention the name due to forum rules, but I did try its flagship 10 driver CIEM, and came away very impressed by it as well, but ultimately still thought that the PS6 was an effortless match for it, at about half the price.
     
    I'm broke at the moment, but I can tell you with assurance that if a similar promotion for the PS6 popped up tomorrow, I might just take a visit to the bank to secure a loan.
     
  7. rjwwrx
    Awesome to hear more great things about perfect seal. They deserve to be on the front page much more than they are. I know I'll be taking a look at the fusion and now the PS6 when its time to upgrade from the Sportbud Silver.
     
  8. MIke M
    I'm glad you had the chance to audition them, the PS6 has been up there as a personal favorite, I use them when mixing/mastering music I write.
     
  9. idonoach
    Does anyone ever tried the ps3/ps3xb? I already sent Mike impressions and thought going for the sportbud silver, but those looks great as well
     
  10. idonoach
    Just got my sportbud gold...
     
    First impressions are great!
    Fit is perfect. No need for a reefit.
     
    Soundwise- it sounds absolutely amazing- works perfectly from my LG Gpad 8.3, and nexus 4.
     
    Mike was very helpful and managed to build them in just few days...
     

     
    IMG_20150429_103430_11.jpg
    IMG_20150429_103513.jpg
     
  11. Panohm
    Any recent experiences with this company? sent them an email with a few questions and haven't heard back in a while.
     
  12. MIke M
    Please resend your email or send me a pm
     
  13. Panohm
    PM sent, Thanks Mike.
     
  14. cw68
    Sending out Impressions today for an order
    going with the PS4
     
  15. shotgunshane Contributor

    Looking forward to your take on the full custom. I'm sure there are many waiting for some sound impressions of this model in its full custom format.
     
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