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Sunrise Audio Xcited Review

  1. mark2410 Contributor
    Sunrise Audio Xcited Review
    Thanks to Frogbeats for the sample
    First Impressions:  Well it’s been a long time coming, I’ve waited a while to hear this (its sibling too, the Xcape Impressive Edition) since the headphone world had a hissy fit at the Xcape becoming the Xcape v2.  If you’re unfamiliar with it, in short they changed the sound significantly and people didn’t realise they bought it.  It all stemmed from a big hoo haa about sound signatures and their differing popularity in the East and the West.  Turns out that the West prefers a cleaner, lighter sound and the East a more Sony esq, thicker, warmer sound.  I’m telling you this because its why we have the Xcited.  Sunrise wanted something to appeal to those wishing a clean and crisp sound. 
    Visually there is nothing terribly note worthy about the Xcited’s, the buds are a very pretty silver though.  The case is rather nice too.  Listening to them though is where these come alive; I can tell right off these are step up on the old Xcape.  Their names however are giving me a head ache.
    Source 1G iPod Shuffle with a 75 ohm adapter added
    Lows:  The low end here is all about the clean and articulate.  It has a nice even balance between the ability to hold a low note and the force behind a quick hitting punch.  It’s not going to do either in the quantity that some will want given peoples proclivity for massive amounts of over inflated bass but what’s here is close to exactly what amount there should be.  Listening to Shakira’s “Something” the low end holds itself with great composure.  It’s very well mannered and polite and suits the song well, in fact it really suits anything that isn’t bass centric or at least where the bass isn’t supposed to be overwhelming.  It’s funny I realise its technically extremely proficient but it’s not the most dramatic low end ever and it may be a touch on the too polite, too composed too evenly handed.  It’s like driving along a motorway, as opposed to taking the old and winding road that runs parallel.  The motorway is technically superior in every way but sometimes the less controlled option is a little more fun.
    Mids:  Rather lice the low end these are all about the clean and articulate, faultless really.  Once more I find myself not being wowed by the drama but I am quietly impressed by the technical ability of them.  Everything sounds very, very good and so perfectly composed.  These still just aren’t exciting me or making me fall in love with them like I may want but I cannot actually find anything they fail to do.  They are arguably faultless for their price but I find myself yearning for more drama, more emotion, perhaps any drama or emotion.  It’s actually quite reminiscent to me of Spendor speakers, all technical skill but not really pulling at the heart strings.
    Tonally they sit bang in the middle; neither dry nor liquid, cold nor warm etc etc.  They are just so middlingly middle.  I cannot really fault anything they do (trust me that’s actually a huge compliment) but I can’t seem to provoke an emotive response with them either.
    Highs:  For the money extremely impressive in their technical ability.  Stuff in this kinda price range has no right to be this good.  A few years ago it would have cost vastly more but the flood of things from the Far East has meant sound quality has rocketed while price has plummeted.  The result is that the treble clarity here is fantastic, while not the best in the class it’s still a bit of a stunner.  Its clean and crisp edgy treble stands out well, if I’m honest a little too well in very treble happy songs, otherwise it’s very close to spot on.  I might prefer a touch less forwardness and a little more gentility but part of that is I’m using an arguably brighter and edgy source and I’m a touch treble sensitive.  The treble is a touch out in front from the mids and the bass, just a smidgen though; on the whole it’s pretty evenly balanced.  Assuming your fine with the quantity then there is nothing more you can ask for, certainly not as this price. 
    Soundstage:  Very good.  They have a grand sense of space and air and the instrument separation is impressively good too.  It’s quite noticeable on well recorded stuff but on things less so well done things get a little mushed up together.
    Comfort:  Absolutely fine for my ears.  Naturally YMMV but I could have them in my ears all day long and have nothing to complain about.
    Fit:  Absolutely fine too.  I actually expected to have a little bother with venting or the lack there of but no.  I don’t really know what Sunrise did as they didn’t strike me as being super open but whatever it was I approve.  I could just stick them in my ears and that was that, perfect fit every time.
    Cable:  Very nice.  Nothing I’d say you’re going to write home about but it’s perfectly functional, looks nice, feels sturdy as do the Y splitter and the plug.  It’s all very nice.
    Microphonics:  Well it largely depends on how you wear them, up you get none, down you will get plenty.  A lack of a chin slider ensures that but you do get a shirt clip to help with the issue.
    Amped/Unamped:  Given the price these go for (as opposed to the quality) they aren’t really all that likely to see big grown up amps in the wild.  Still if you do they do get noticeably better.  Not different planet, omg you must buy an amp sort of difference but enough that you’ll benefit if and when you get one.  Actually where you’ll benefit most is using the line out into the amp as that usually cleans up big time the treble and with these being a touch treble happy any clean up there will be most noticeable.  I’m particularly thinking about my Ipod 5G, its headphone out has awful treble, its line out is vastly better in that front.
    Isolation:  Given that they gave me no venting issues I expected they would be much more open and accordingly isolate much less.  They don’t.  I don’t know how they did it but they did.  Still, these aren’t Ety challengers so you may not buy a pair for that flight to the Antipodes but it’s still enough for normal use.  Fine for on the bus etc and probably enough to get you run over by that same bus because you didn’t hear it behind you.
    Build Quality:  Very good.  Nothing here that’s OMG wow amazing but everything is nicely put together and both look and feels very solid.  I should expect them to survive very successfully out and about.
    Accessories:  As I have already mentioned there is the shirt clip and the case, along with the obligatory variety of tips.  So nothing amazing but I would like to praise the case, it’s changed since my last pair of Sunrise’s and I greatly approve.  It looks great and feels very nice in the hand.  Cases are wonderful things and these are a nice example.
    Value:  Crazy good.  There isn’t any way you could actually argue anything else.  Now these aren’t the be all and end all of everything but they do everything very well.  That I can presently see these for sale for £44.50 is a little mad.  A handful of years ago you could have easily tripled that and they would have still been a bargain.  There is simply no way anyone can say these aren’t fantastic value for money.
    Conclusion:  As I sit listening to these and swap over to the Brainwavz M3 (its prime competition if you ask me) and I look at what I’ve written about them both I find myself a little confused.  I really loved the M3 and all it could do and comparing them the Xcited sounds so very much bigger and more expansive.  Its lows sound more enveloping and its highs sizzle and shine so much more.  Its mids sound fuller too.  However I find the in theory bigger and usually more dramatic sounding Xcited to not be capturing my attention.  Is it that in comparison its mids tend to sit a touch behind where the M3 tend to sit that bit forward.  I think for me personally the M3 is clearly what I prefer but that’s really down to personal preference rather than anything being really that much better than the other.  The M3 is but it’s also proportionally quite a chunk more costly too.  It’s funny really; a few of years ago either could have come to the market and at this price been so head and shoulders above everything else.  Now there are so many truly excellent IEM’s out there and this is one of them. 
    What differentiates it a little is that the Xcape feels so much larger sounding and is more capable at portraying distance.  Things like the M3 or PL-50 are far more close in and intimate.  Listening to Susan Wongs “I Wish You Love” the Xcited really fill out the stage and give the impression that the instruments are physically separate and all around you but the M3 brings everything so much more upfront and close to you.  For me and that song I think intimate works better but frankly it’s not like it sounds bad, just not what I want.  It’s like wanting an Earl Gray and getting a Black Coffee.  I may like them both but they are not the same.
    I feel I’ve been a little hard on the Xcited as it’s not playing to what I love but I cannot deny it is excellent at what it does.  It can turn its hand to anything and do it well so long as you like a large sound field and crispy highs.
  2. mark2410 Contributor
    Sunrise Audio Xcited Quick Review
    Thanks to Frogbeats for the sample
    Brief:  A new name for a new product.
    Price:  £44.50 pre discounts (Head-fi’ers 10% students 20%)
    Specification:  Impedance 32 Ohm Cable Length 1.2 meters Sensitivity 116dB +/- 3dB Frequency Range 16Hz - 24,000Hz Driver 9mm Neodynium 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 on both fronts.  I don’t know why (I suspect sound signature) but these sat more happily in my ears all day than their siblings.  Their apparently physically identical siblings.  Potentially it was hay fever influenced but these gave me no trouble.
    Aesthetics:  You know given the only thing differentiating these from the Impressive Edition physically is their colour but I think the silver here looks far nicer.  Not of course that I think it matters at all but for me, these are the pretty ones.
    Sound:  A bit of this, a dash of that and a pinch of something else.  The Xcape’s sound like a bit of a mix of things.  They have a grand sense of scale but nothing too grand like the IE.  They have the same air and distance to them but again not to the same extent.  They aren’t so warm and thick either but neither would I deign to think of them as light and airy. I never really felt like they could really be pinned down to an accurate description they just did a bit of everything plus scale.  While I never found them once pulling at my heart strings I did actually prefer these over their more costly siblings.  They didn’t irritate me or push my limits in anyway and as such were a much more inoffensive listen.  Realistically my head is telling me they are accomplished and impressive but imp just not feeling the love.  Very capable all rounder’s but not the most exciting things in the world.  However I think they would make a good first step into the world of higher end audio.
    Value:  Excellent, there is little that comes close to this level of ability and for this price.  It’s not to say its unbeatable but it is up there with the best.
    Pro’s:   Scale, distance and a fairly even handed ability to do a bit of everything.
    Con’s:  Its scale sacrifices clarity and intimacy.
  3. kanuka
    from what i know it's 15% for "head-fier's"
  4. mark2410 Contributor
  5. mark2410 Contributor
    actually you were right, to quote directly from the chap over at Frogbeats "it's a 15% discount for all headfiers as a promotion with the code HEADFICROAK15"
    so there you go and apologies for the mistake
  6. ryanc23
    thanks for the review - just went on and used the buy 2 get 1 half price offer on frogbeats.  Will keep you guys updated with photos and impressions!
  7. ryanc23
    I received the Xcape and Xciteds this morning, safe to say I'm very happy.  I normally prefer a bassier signature so naturally I expected to go with the Xcapes, but these are really good.
    I've been listening to a lot of house and techno - everything is really clear nothing too overpowering, and they are comfortable.  Very worth the price tag (which worked out at about £40 for these
    and the Xcapes on the frogbeats site) :)


  8. mark2410 Contributor
  9. ryanc23
    I find the xcited more detailed and fun to listen to.  I feel the xcapes focus too much on the bass, so much so that it overshadows the highs and mids a bit
  10. kanuka
    say mark
    if i'm not mistaken, you didnt like the RE0 as much as the RE-ZERO.
    if so, how do you find the Xcited compared to the RE0? are the RE0 still the king of analytical sound in their price range or did the Xcited give 'em a good fight?
    and yeah, nice review. i always like the photos you take
  11. mark2410 Contributor
    well im not entierly sure i would say ididnt like the 0 as much as the ZERO.  the 0 is stunning but for me long term i could live with the tamer / less bright ZERO easier.
    comparing the 0 and Xcited the 0 is still the undesputed king of analytical at its price.  so if you want analytical then its unbeatable but (and its a huge but) lost of people dont want that kind of sound day in day out.  fine if you have many IEM's like crazys such as myself but not everone wants to.  id be pretty sure that if you tested 100 randoms off the street and asked what they liked more the Xciited would win over the 0.  not that its technically better but its just a more full and i think a more likely to pleas sound.  just look in the RE-0 thread to see how many people boughtt it and then hated it.
    the Xcited is more of a populist and fun sound with enough analytical to keep pretty much everyone happy i think.
  12. kanuka
    thanks for the explain
    i did listened the RE0, but (and its a huge but [​IMG]) defintetly NOT enough as they already broke within a week [​IMG] (sent back to the store). so, no burn-in was done and not a good amping neither.
    still i liked a lot a lot (twice) the detail. it beats the pl50 easily in detail IMO. i didnt tried 100 iems , not even 10 , not 5, and i dont intend to ,too.
    i own the pl50 (great mids). getting the m11+  (heavy bass) this week
    so,  if the micro-detail is close to the RE0,  guess i'd give the Xcited a try.
  13. NA Blur
    Thanks for the review.
    I would like to see a comparison between these and the Brainwavz M2.  If anyone is able to compare them could you post it here please?
  14. kanuka
    check joker's multi-review, he might have compared somewhere there
  15. mark2410 Contributor


    not a direct comparison but should give you an idea on how i felt about each

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