Soundz In-ear monitors (Impressions thread)
Aug 18, 2023 at 3:10 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 21


Reviewer at hxosplus
Jun 30, 2018
I guess that most of your don't know Soundz.

Soundz is an in-ear manufacturer from Greece where they handmade all their products.
They expertise in the field of audiology and professional in-ear monitors for studio and stage use.
Now they are expanding with earphones for the audiophile market.
They have various models that start at €390 and go up to €1390 for their flagship.
All models are available both in universal and custom editions.

I had the pleasure to review two of their previous earphones for hxosplus magazine. The Ultra and the Nova that are now discontinued.

Lately the company send me the Avant, their flagship 10-driver in-ear monitor in a custom edition for review.

You can read the Soundz Avant review in my website.


All the earphones that I have reviewed where good but this new flagship is truly very, very good.
These guys are progressing really fast, they have a vision and I am sure that sooner or later they are going to attract great attention from the community and be the talk of the town.

Soundz are exhibiting their earphones at the London Can Jam this weekend.
If you have the chance to test the earphones please share photos and impressions here.
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Aug 22, 2023 at 3:18 AM Post #2 of 21

Canjam London 2023 show impressions​

**All impressions done using JVC Spiral Dot tips and Lotoo PAW6000 DAP running happened with my own review playlist**

It’s always fun coming across a new audio brand at a show like this. It’s even more fun when that brand produces one of the most surprising and just downright enjoyable tunings of the day. I spent a decent chunk of the day in three separate sitting with Alexis and the team at Soundz, getting an interesting potted history of their growth from a brand focusing on stage IEMs to where they are now, launching a full line of balanced armature designs aimed squarely at the audiophile market. They focus on all-BA designs, taking pains to point out they are using the latest generation armature designs from Sonion in their IEMs, allowing them to take advantage of the relative maturity of the BA designs and the rapidly advancing capability of the new drivers to produce in-ears that sound more like the sort of thing that could only be produced from a seriously beefy dynamic driver two or three years ago.

All the designs are based on a pseudo-custom shell, and are all pretty compact for the number of armatures they pack in, feeling quite reminiscent of the shell designs InEar use, but note quite as “custom”. most of the designs also offer a tiny bass switch on the bottom of the main faceplate, allowing for a serious bass boost when engaged, or a more linear (but not anywhere near flat) bass response with the boost turned off. My preferences lie firmly in basshead territory, so while I tried all the IEMs with switch both up and down, my core impressions with be with boost engaged, as that’s where maximum engagement and fun lays for my particular preferences. All models also come with a nice metal carry case, and a silver premium cable in a choice of connection as well.

It should also be noted that Soundz core market is custom IEMs, so all universal models are also available as customs for a few hundred euro more, in a variety of shell designs. Their custom models also offer an ambient porting option, which acts as both pressure relief and allows the listener to hear noise from outside, which is essential for stage musicians – it apparently makes the IEMs sound more like open back headphones, but as they didn’t have any “custom demos” with them, I can’t confirm or deny that assertion. They also have some other pretty interesting technology involving flexible resin nozzles on the customs, which are supposed to dramatically enhance comfort and fit. Again, not something I’m able to comment on directly.


Flame – 8 BA with tuneable bass boost switch

Kicking off the demo tracks with Emile Sande, the sub bass on “Heaven”is substantial, with her vocal cutting through a little crisp and sharp. There is plenty of thump coming from the all-armature design, which sounds a lot more DD than BA in terms of physicality and slam. Soundz apparently use newest generation Sonion quad-BA stack (presumably vented) for lows, and it’s a beauty. The quad-BA does another fantastic job on “Disc Wars” – the soundscape is thick and thrumming, with plenty of dynamic swing as the timpani start pounding.

Sticking on Daft Punk, the “Get Lucky” mid bass punches pretty damn hard, with the flame definitely moving some serious air with very good low extension. It’s not stereotypically dry like a lot of BA designs, with lots of liquidity and roundness to the bass guitar notes of “Hello, It’s Me” by Sister Hazel. Despite the liquidity, it still retains a good texture, feeling thick, but still letting the listener hear the strings resonating. Going for another texture test, the “Bad Rain” bassline is dirty and aggressive, just as it should be. Guitars crunch with very good definition and bite. This is not a relaxed or laid back monitor, erring far more on the side of being very lively and engaging. It produces some BIG sounds for something that is barely the size of a normal single DD shell.

Firing up “Palladio” by Escala, this is one of my usual test tracks to check both weight in the low and mi ranges, and also masking in the bass / mids transition. There is a click in the lower eft half of the soundscape around the 20 second mark (some room noise from one of the orchestral players), which can get lost quite easily on gear that blurs the bass to mids transition, or beefs up the low end too much. On the Flame, there is fantastically clear detailing on the click, surrounded by lots of texture from the cello and strings. Sage positioning is fairly close on these, with the listener being placed close to the instrumentation, which spreads out around the head rather than sitting the listening position further back. This has the added benefit of giving the Flame a notably large note size, which is always a good indicator in my book that I will enjoy the sound.

In terms of timbre, piano tone on these IEMs is rich but fairly realistic – it leans more towards warm and euphoric than cold and accurate. Other technicalities are also at a pretty high level for the price tag, with “We Shall not be Moved” by Mavis Staples showing fantastic detailing in the chorus and just general instrumentation. The baritone vocal in the chorus is clear as a bell but quite low in the mix, as it should be. It’s overall very good with choral vocals full stop, leveraging the technical benefits of armatures without needing to resort to analysis.

Listening to more guitar based fare, “World On Fire” by Slash comes through the nozzles as crunchy as you like, actually bordering on harsh. i’m not usually a fan of brighter signatures, but this doesn’t actually bother me, so it’s just on the right side of the line to give zest without being unpleasant. As with most things, I suspect this could probably be toned down with tips, most likely foamies. Again, difficult to tell from a few short auditions, but I imagine this has the possibility to get fatiguing if you pair the IEMs with a naturally bright source, but for the energy and anima the tuning imparts, it’s definitely worth the “rush” for me. “Shadow Life” from Slash is similar – staccato and crunching, but with a razor sharp edge. Not unpleasant though.

The last Slash track in the random Slash rotation is “Starlight” – the dissonant harmonics that pepper the start of the track are off the scale pinpoint and crystalline but not hard to listen to at all. Hats off to Soundz here – they have pulled off a classical V-shaped tuning with plenty of bass and a bright treble, but it’s very well done. Similar results occur with Chris Stapleton and his sibilance masterpiece; the thickness of the vocal notes are good enough to fill out the air around the edges of each word in that problematic chorus and make them pleasant but audible, in a very gritty and emotive rendition.

Switching up top “Go” sounds suitable booming. The swirly synths swoop and glisten where they should, and listeners feet also tap when they should. “Omen” by The Prodigy again sounds very high energy, with the warbling synth in the top right of the stage wending in and out behind the wall of noise very clearly. They have obviously designed the upper frequencies to be robust enough to cut through the wall of bass being produced underneath, and it works pretty damn well here.

Overall, these are a V-shaped bass-prominent (with the switch on) masterpiece of engaging and fun tuning. The latest-gen armatures in use allow a lot more technical proficiency to underpin the fat bass and crunchy upper end, giving a sound that feels like it’s turned up to 11, but without losing that sense of detail and clarity that you get with a proper high end in ear. This was the IEM I came back to most in my day at Canjam, and the other IEM I managed to arrange to take home with me at the end of the day. As with the Twin Pulse mentioned above, a full review will be coming on this one in due course.


Wave7BA with bass boost switch

Despite spending a fair bit of time on the Flame, I thought I’d better try some of the other models as well, just in case I was missing something different in the Soundz lineup. The Wave is the next model down in their current line, and shares a very similar design, sporting one less BA in a practically identical shell. It also has the selectable bass tuning switch, with a similar level of boost.

So, where is the difference? In simple terms, the Wave is slightly more linear than the more V shaped Flame. This manifests mainly in a slightly more forward and flat midrange – listening to “Heaven” by Emile Sande again, the vocal is definitely a shade more forward in comparison, and consequently feels a little sharper in the ear. It has the same sense of power and weight as the Flame, but not quite the finesse. Paradoxically, by flattening the mid and not pushing the treble quite so far up, it draws an almost more more raw and edgy sound out in the mids by highlighting them a bit more. For my preference, the Flame is the better (in both tuning and technicality), but only by a very small margin in both.


Avant10BA with bass boost switch

Unsurprisingly, Avant is also similar to the 8BA Flame, but this time packing two more armature drivers as the top model in the line in a slightly thicker shell. In fact, it’s packing slightly more of everything – for me, it’s just the smallest shade clearer in the detailing and smoother in the highs (marginally). It’s basically more of the same excellence, but with an extra 400 euro tag on top for subtle hints of extra refinement.

Being honest, refinement isn’t why the Soundz range appeals to me – it’s all about that bombastic bass and raw, emotive upper end dragging you into the music and getting your feet tapping away unexpectedly. Make no mistake, this is a logical flagship for their range, but for me, the sweet spot is the Flame. Spot on (and impressive) technicalities for a c. $1k in-ear, and superlative engagement. Whatever Sonion are putting in the water for this new generation of balanced armature woofers is definitely working – the line between DD and BA has never been blurrier, even as the notes get clearer.
Aug 22, 2023 at 5:51 AM Post #4 of 21

Thank you very much for contributing your experience!
No worries - it was a genuine pleasure to talk to the team from Soundz, and the Flame impressed me enough to buy one, which is rare. Had a proper listening session with the Flame yesterday while I was writing up my show impressions, and with the included silicon tips the treble is slightly smoother, bringing the whole signature down into non fatiguing / long term listening territory without losing the energy. It's still vivid and very detailed, just a shade smoother overall.

Fit is also practically custom once you get the right tips locked in - will carry on experimenting to see what other tips bring to the mix, but right now I'm pretty happy.


Aug 22, 2023 at 1:26 PM Post #7 of 21
Thank you for the tag. I only heard the brand for a short time at CanJam London, the usual show caveats apply

That there were no obvious tonality or technical issues means this brand has a good working baseline and I wish them a bright future. My playlist always has brass instruments - within 2 seconds you can hear if anything is off tonally. Any honky sound or whatever is a deal breaker. There was nothing wrong here

To expand on my CanJam thread post, I concur the fit was easy and thought the bass switch had a subtle but pleasing effect. I am unable to comment on durability and cannot remember if the bass switch is recessed.

I did not notice any midrange congestion on the 3 models that I tried, which I have encountered with other brands that have tried at CanJam in the past

The rep made a point of highlighting the flexible tip on the custom example on the table. I have heard of this idea before but not seen it in person, of course it is all about wearing
Aug 22, 2023 at 2:49 PM Post #9 of 21
Can you guyz confirm that Universal shells are not available?

Edit : actually you can select universal once you start customization (-200€ on flame )
The Flame was definitely the one that grabbed me the most at Canjam (hence bringing one home) - the Avant is technically "better", but on a snapshot listen, the Flame packs that sort of immediate enjoyment factor that's hard to find. Spent the evening listening to them yesterday, and definitely not regretting my purchase.

Also, probably the best "pseudo custom" universal shell I've come across - arguably better fitting than the InEar StageDiver designs when you find the right tips.
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Aug 23, 2023 at 7:08 PM Post #11 of 21
I haven't been at the London Can Jam but I had the opportunity to see and listen to Soundz in-ears in Athens Headphone Show, a few months ago. Their booth was cleverly placed after the entrance in the reception hall so everyone could learn about this relatively new maker from Greece. The place was very noisy and I was eager to listen to flagship over-ears on the upper floor, but I decided to try some of the Soundz in--ears in the range of about €500 to 1000+ listening to one or two tracks with each. I remember that I liked very much a particular model (don't remember its name) designed for more balanced sound than "fun". The conditions were not ideal to judge accurately but I listened to my smartphone in-ears (Samsung-AKG) immediately afterwards and they almost sounded like a joke! I was also impressed by the possibility to tune the bass range with opening/closing a very small port. Fitting was really good and many tips of various sizes were available to try (that were taken for sterilisation immediately after use). I like the fact that the maker is a company with a strong base on audiology who also makes custom fit versions. I think that there is a very good future for Soundz!
Sep 3, 2023 at 5:42 AM Post #12 of 21
The Flame was definitely the one that grabbed me the most at Canjam (hence bringing one home) - the Avant is technically "better", but on a snapshot listen, the Flame packs that sort of immediate enjoyment factor that's hard to find. Spent the evening listening to them yesterday, and definitely not regretting my purchase.

Also, probably the best "pseudo custom" universal shell I've come across - arguably better fitting than the InEar StageDiver designs when you find the right tips.
Did you happen to audition the 'Symphonium Crimson' and if so what did you think of it compared to the Flame?
Sep 3, 2023 at 6:50 AM Post #13 of 21
Did you happen to audition the 'Symphonium Crimson' and if so what did you think of it compared to the Flame?

Ran out of time to demo that, unfortunately - went to the table area it was on twice and was busy both times, so ended up demoing the Nightjar IEMs instead.
Sep 19, 2023 at 5:57 PM Post #14 of 21

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