Reviewer at Headphones.com
- Jan 21, 2020
Meetup Notes 4/3/20
Met up with @MRS today and got to hear some new stuff. As usual, these impressions were derived from quick listening sessions of 15-20 minutes each. Don't expect anything crazy in-depth, and this stuff is subject to change.
Thankfully, this is no Zen (or maybe that’s not such a great thing if you enjoyed the Zen). As a whole, the tuning here is solid if not a tad strident; I think 3-5kHz could have been dialed back some. There’s actual treble extension on the EST112 even if it’s decidedly lacking in some post-10kHz energy. Coherency is mostly an issue within the context of the DD contrasted to the midrange BA. The DD being used is poofy and a tad too uncontrolled. Imaging sounds more open than some of Dunu’s previous designs. While not to the level of refinement that the SA6 exhibits, I think this is a pretty solid package for what you're getting.
Earfun Oluv Edition:
Despite the sound demos in the promotional video sounding absolutely nothing like any of the IEMs that were showcased, I will be the first to admit that this IEM has a pretty decent tuning. It’s inoffensive. It reminds me of the ER2XR in some respects; however, minus any of the ER2XR’s technical chops to back it up. Along these lines, even by TWS standards, this IEM has really poor technicalities. Quality-control seems to need work too, as there’s an audible channel imbalance going on with the unit I heard.
If you’ve heard one of the Moondrop 1DD IEMs, suffice it to say you’ve basically heard them all. That said, there are small differences here and there between them. The Aria has the most bass quantity and the most relaxed upper-midrange; it’s even smoother, warmer than the Starfield. Terrific timbre as expected. There are more minute intangible differences between the Moondrop 1DDs, but I'd need more listening time to attest to them confidently. Nonetheless, it goes without saying that I like the Aria. It's difficult to complain when Moondrop undercuts themselves again, and the included KXXX cable is the cherry on top.
Well, here’s a doozy, and not the good kind. The Illumination’s tonality is pretty alright if not too upper-midrange oriented for my tastes. But the Illumination’s technicalities are lacking. And I mean really lacking for $800. Basic macro-detail sounds smeared with instruments colliding, mushing into one another like there’s no tomorrow. There’s something wonky about the imaging too with which it sounds like soundstage depth is being compressed. Moondrop’s own SSR giving the Illumination a run for its money in the technical department at a mere 1/20th the cost is, uh, not pretty. Seriously, I'd take any of the Moondrop 1DD derivatives over this.
Prisma Audio Azul:
This is the brainchild of Australia-based DIY-er “veebee” on Discord. Sporting a mere 2BAs, the Azul takes on a “less is more” approach. It follows a reference oriented curve that harkens to the Etymotic ER4XR. Bass is expectedly limp, the midrange is lean, and treble is fairly splashy. Technicalities, though, are surprisingly refined given this is a 2BA setup; perhaps less “flat” sounding in the macrodynamic department than the ER4XR and not nearly as dark. Like most reference oriented IEMs, sheer resolution is the Azul's strong point; on the flip side, I would point to a lack of center image distinction being the biggest issue here. In short? If you enjoy a reference curve and object to having the depths of your canals plunged by Etymotic’s infamous triple flanges, then you might want to give this IEM a listen.
|Dunu EST112: 5/10|
|Earfun Oluv Edition: 3/10|
|Moondrop Aria: 5/10|
|Moondrop Illumination: 4/10|
|Prisma Audio Azul: 5/10|