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Sunrise Audio Xcape Impressive Edition Review

  1. mark2410 Contributor
    Sunrise Audio Xcape Impressive Edition Review
    Thanks to Frogbeats for the sample
    First Impression:  Don’t get me started on the name and the “Impressive Edition” over v1 and v2 and then “Impressive Edition” it’s stupidly confusing for no reason, just give different things different names.  Grrr.  Anyway since I believe only the v2 and “IE’ (yeah cause I’m not writing “Impressive Edition” every time) are available with the v2 being warmer for the East and the “IE” for the West.  Otherwise it’s a nice little package, nice small box and a very nice little case.  The case may be different but they look exactly like the v2 I have.  A little listen and I’m not hearing a great big difference from how I remember the v2 to be.
    Of course I had to go grab the v2 and a cursory listen makes me wonder if they are actually the same thing.  Yes as you can imagine this is doing the confusing naming thing a world of good.  I thought the IE was supposed to be much brighter sounding?
    Source 1G iPod Shuffle with a 75 ohm adapter added
    Lows:  Large, voluminous and expansive.  I don’t really want to say they are soft but they are a touch.  It’s not what I would say was in a bad way, the rich gentility of the low end makes them sound huge.  It’s not a close in, hard hitting low but a rumbley, powerful low end that gives a very impressive sense of scale and depth.   Think “Lord of the Rings” vast epic sense of scale.  It’s not what I always want but it is very pleasant to listen to and that’s what I think Sunrise Audio have gone for here.  There is no pretending they have gone for anything other than a big, fun sort of sound.  It walks a fine line but it manages to come across as being both full and bassy but never actually overwhelms or overshadows anything else.  It’s a dangerous road to go down as you risk trying to please everyone one and end up managing no one but think they have just about got it.  I might at times want things a little bit tighter, a little bit more controlled and little more hard hitting.  The inverse though is more important.  I never find it to be too warm, too soft, oppressively thick or suffocatingly warm.  Given the actual quantity of bass the IE offers that’s pretty good going.  It isn’t what I’d call a bass monster but clearly it is on the bass heavy side of things.
    Mids:  They err on the warm side but have a distance to them.  Don’t mistake my calling the mids distant for meaning they are recessed (they are not) I mean that they sound distant.  Distant as in far away.  This makes for a bit of a weird sound if you are listening to something that is actually very upfront and intimate as the IE will add space.  I know its a little paradoxical but it does actually work and can produce a very relaxed sound.  Something you can gently just listen to and not be forced to sit up and pay attention to.  Their distance with the warm tonal balance works very nicely if you find anything that tends to be vocally dry and upfront.  Specifically I’m thinking Relient K “Beaming.”  Distance is the key here, listen to stuff that works with it and you’re really on to a winner.
    Quantity wise they are pretty much in the middle, they may be a rather heavier in the bottom end than elsewhere but not vastly so.
    Highs:  Good, they have a bit of an edge to help define them but otherwise have a nice level of detail.  Actually at times I find the slight edge they have to be a fraction much but they do an admirable job for their price range.  Quantity wise they sit a touch behind the mids which in turn in a touch behind the low end.  It’s a very slight and gentle slope so if you’re a treble junky then this isn’t what you’re looking for and without doubt you can get better treble elsewhere.  Not that it’s bad but it’s just doesn’t decay as smoothly as I would like to hear and the edge is a little scratchy when you pair it up to hard and edgy trebly songs.  Its good but others do it better.  (The Xcape for one.)
    Soundstage:  Huge.  These have a vast and expansive quality to them.  As I said earlier it’s a very “Lord of the Rings” epic vastness feel to them.  Yes I realise that may make no sense what so ever to you but I’m not entirely sure just how to put into words.  Sometime this huge sense of scale works so well but not always, if you’re after a close in, intimate feel then you want find it here.  I’m not going to try to tell you expansive is better than close in and intimate because I don’t believe it inherently is.  Like sound signature it’s a personal preference and sometimes one is more suited to a song and sometimes it’s the other.  Whatever you prefer these are about as big sounding as you can find.
    Comfort:  Pretty good.  They did get a touch tiring in my ears after after several hours but nothing I’d call sore.  That their identical siblings the Xcape didn’t bother me may just be that my ears are feeling particularly sensitive today.  YMMV
    Fit:  Absolutely fine.  I did honestly expect to have venting issues with these but it never really manifested.  Just a case of stick in ears and done.
    Cable:  Pretty nice cable, nothing amazing going on here.  It seems perfectly good and functional with both the Y splitter and jack looking pretty sturdy.  Should survive normal wear and tear pretty well I’d think.
    Microphonics:  As with so very, very money IEM’s, wear them up and your fine, wear them down and not so much.  They have no chin slider too so that options removed.  You do get a shirt clip but I don’t see why you would just wear them up to begin with.
    Amped/Unamped:  Honestly there was a reasonable difference when I amped these particularly when things got busy.  Given their price they aren’t likely to see big grown up amp in the wild but you do gain by amping these
    Isolation:  Pretty reasonable.  It’s a dynamic so nothing earth shattering but it’s likely to be enough to get you hit with a bus because you never heard it behind you if you aren’t used to wearing IEM’s. 
    Build Quality:  Very nice actually.  These don’t leap out at you and scream substance and quality but they are very solid little buds.  I dare say they should stand up to a fair amount of abuse.
    Accessories:  Shirt clip, bunch of tips all af which are pretty standard fare.  There is also an excellent little case included, I have said many times before but I think everything should come with a case and this one feels great.  It’s a nice size and both looks and feels great.  Kudos.
    Value:  Easily pretty good value for money.  They may possible not be the absolute best you can for the money but defining “best” isn’t something that can be measured in absolutes anyway.  These are still pretty near as good as you can find and they do particularly well in certain areas.  Namely in term of their sonic scale and there warmth.  While they may both be traits I may not clamour for there is no doubt it’s a very popular style.  It’s warm, slightly thick and an edge in the highs is not a million miles away from the Sony classic house sound.  This sonic signature goes down very, very well by all accounts in the Far East (especially China) and let’s be honest, Sony has done pretty well out of it too.
    Conclusion:  I hand on heart cannot say I love the IE’s.  Not that there is anything wrong with them because there isn’t but they are just playing to a market segment that is not me.  If I was going to a teeny bit snobby about it I could say that it’s a very “market orientated” sound.  You know, a sound for the little people who are so unfortunate they just don’t know any better.  I want a more “audiophile” style sound and for me that’s fine.  However, normal people would find things like the RE-0 (known for its near faultless technical ability) to be woefully lacking.  So many times on Head-Fi.org I have seen someone ask “what’s the best IEM for X amount of money?”  There was a time when they would likely get a flurry of RE-0’s and the occasional warning they may be a bit bass light.  So many times I’ve seen comments come back that they bought the RE-0 and how they had no bass whatsoever and ended up sending them back.  
    What I think sunrise have gone for here is to make something technically very competent but most of all they have set out to make something that the normal populous will like and enjoy.  I am sure most people will very much enjoy the IE, especially its voluminous, rich expansiveness.  It is very pleasant and I have no doubts it will appeal to many.  You know there is a but in there don’t you.  I found its bass and expansive sound to be too much for all the time and I would pretty much take the Xcited and its lighter, more neutral sound over it every day.  Both are very accomplished and I suspect have the exact same driver that’s simply tuned differently.  Arguably, of the two this the one I feel may cater to the general public’s taste more.
  2. mark2410 Contributor
    Sunrise Xcape Impressive Edition Quick Review
    Thanks to Frogbeats for the sample
    Brief:  What, no “Confusing Edition?”
    Price:  £55 pre discounts (Head-fi’ers 10% students 20%)
    Specification:  Impedance 32 ohm Cable Length 1.2 meters Sensitivity 118dB +/- 3dB Frequency Range 16Hz - 24,000Hz Driver 9mm neodymium magnet
    Accessories:  3 Silicone Ear Tips (S/M/L), Storage Case, Warranty Card, Shirt Clip
    Build Quality:  Very nice, both looks and feels very solid.  Everything feels very well put together and to be of a pretty high quality too.
    Isolation:  Reasonable.  It is a dynamic driver based IEM so it’s not the sort of thing I would recommend for flights to New Zealand but it’s still pretty good.  If you’re not used to it then I’m sure it would still be enough to get you run over by a bus you never heard coming.  Isolation isn’t its selling point tough.
    Comfort/Fit:  Good, nether aspect really gave me any trouble.  I did find them somewhat tiring with prolonged use but since its siblings didn’t I may put that down to my ears just being particularly sensitive that day.  Its hay fever season you know.
    Aesthetics:  Pleasing to the eye but these are fairly non descript.  While I found the buds, jack and Y splitter to be both reasonably pretty it’s not like any of them actually caught my eye and made me pay attention.  Still as they are earphones and not ear rings I don’t see the problem.
    Sound:  Big.  If had to encapsulate their overall sound and style that would be the word, or maybe expansive, same difference anyway.  The Impressive Edition more than anything aim to project a vast sense of scale in the musical portrayal and I know some are going to love that.  I found it a little strange to have so focused on something that doesn’t always work with everything.  For example if you’re a big fan of close up, intimate sounding music then the sense of depth and distance added sounds weird.  I’m not saying it sounds bad because it doesn’t, it’s just odd.  That aside its vastness and large expansive low end works pretty well in shifting a lot of air and a lot of people will just love that.  It’s got a big and powerful low end that can really rumble while just refraining from taking over.  Mids are reasonable so long as you like a lot of distance to them, lots of air.  Highs are good too with an added edge to make them cut through the warm airiness.  I found it a little too edgy but again I know a ton of people will love the hardness of it where a I prefer things delicate up top.
    Value:  I wonder if could get away with saying impressively so?  These aren’t the hands down best the money will get you in terms of refinement but when it comes to scale and an arguably very populist sound signature they sit near the top of a short list.  I’m sure if Sunrise Audio could get these into the ears of ordinary folk then they will have a big seller on their hands.
    Pro’s:   Soundstage, scale and rich epic vastness.
    Con’s:  lacks any real ability to do intimate, not the best clarity and detail for the money.
  3. Broodbeleg
    I got these from Frogbeats just when they started up and haven't looked back. Your review was spot on regarding the Xcape IE. I really like the sound signature from it; but it's a matter of preference and some will probably prefer the Xcited. Definitely a great deal at 15% off for all Head-Fiers.
  4. CloudyPear
    Yeah, I got them from Frogbeats due to mark's solid review. Cheers man, couldn't be happier.
    Great build quality and sound great. As Mark said, the soundstage is HUGEE. Loving them, not finding them too fatiguing as Mark described, but will keep my ears pricked! Will post more impressions as I go along listening to them [​IMG][​IMG]
    Took some of my own photo's too.
  5. Andori
    I've been looking for a pair of in-ears to go with my Galaxy S2 and have just bitten the bullet and ordered both a pair of Xcited and Xcape IEs from Frogbeats.  Took advantage of their "Buy One Get One Half Price" offer.
  6. marioman94
    Coming from a sennheiser cx400 the first thing I noticed was soundstage. There was just so much more air to it. They aren't up close at all like the cx400 and lack (just a little) quantity of bass. Since I listen to a lot of bass oriented music I sometimes wish my cx400s weren't broken. Trying to solder them is just too painful with the painted wires.

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