The Watercooler -- Impressions, philosophical discussion and general banter. Index on first page. All welcome.
May 14, 2024 at 12:16 AM Post #89,176 of 91,334
I spent the weekend letting the new Penon Voltage burn-in for 100 hrs (tho Penon suggests as much as 200) and figured it would be a good thing to report some first impressions on this soon-to-be-released "flagship" from Penon (it's not really the flagship, which is Impact, but it is the flagship tribrid in the Penon line, now). It has been awhile since Penon released an iem at over a kilobuck (aforementioned Impact, all BA/EST, was over $2000), but this one has arrived with an MSRP of $1199 (meaning those who are on the Penon email list, or those who ask Penon directly, will be offered a nice discount). I got an early shot at a set at the discounted price, which I'm not allowed to reveal, but let's say, you will not be disappointed by it!
1000026566.jpg

Here, Penon tries and succeeds in stepping up to compete with their brethren by releasing Voltage, a new tribrid with 2xDD, 4xBA and 4xEST in this very crowded price category. I have not given this much listening time yet; I did check-in on it over the burn-in and heard the subtle changes occurring and I think there still are some happening, but it seems to have stabilized, so first impressions! It's a gorgeous, red with gold accented, resin shell that is light and pretty small for 10 drivers. Fit is easy and I find the Penon liqueur orange tips to have a good synergy, but will try others. It comes with a "Penon Obsidian" cable, a 4w Copper/Gold plated-copper cable that itself retails at $149. A very solid cable which I listened to for a couple hours before trying a little cable rolling. Actually, most cables I tried sounded great, and stock does not need to be switched, but I found a particularly good synergies with Penon Renata and EA Code 24c that got me pretty happy; but good on Penon for including a great stock cable!
1000027221.jpg

The shocker for me arrived when I started really listening to Voltage having heard and owned several other Penons. I listened thru both my L&P P6Pro and Sony NW-WM1Z, and also with both DAPs amped by my ibassso PB5 whose stock interconnect cable I recently switched for a Penon Totem i/c (this produced a beautiful difference from stock, making PB5 sound more punchy and even deepening an already deep soundstage - inexpensive and much recommended for any PB5 owners!!). These sources tend to make a lot of good stuff sound great, some great stuff even epic, and the Voltage, just amazing!!!
1000027180.jpg1000027173.jpg

Penon came to compete! This is by far the most mature sound and tuning I've heard from a Penon iem, outclassing every single other of theirs that I've tried as well as some other bigger names (for example, in a few hours, I could tell that I liked Voltage more than the similarly tuned FF MSE by a longshot and I liked MSE!). Now, tuning here is a bit of a moving target, which some of you will (like me) love and some will not (I see you, Todd!) because, yes, there are the dreaded tuning switches! Voltage has 2 switches and each does something specific, so there are 4 potential alterations to the stock (both switches down) tuning, which does remain prevalent throughout regardless of switch position. While I've not heard the Impacts, Voltage has, without question, the best mids I've heard in a Penon and maybe period. The mids seem least affected by the switches, remaining perhaps the star of the show, but actually, it's the overall balance, from deep sub-bass, to mid-bass, upper mids to trebles, everything matters and is the star with the stock switch (down) position offering the most W-shaped sound where switching them both up yields a slightly more U to V shape. Switch 1 increases or reduces bass, and switch 2 does the same for treble. I ran thru all of the switch positions and found that, while not basshead level, with switch 1 up/2 down, the Voltage has terrific, loud but still balanced bass. With the bass switch down and the treble up, you do get an amazing treblehead tuning that still includes nice, tasteful bass. I think I'm preferring the stock setting, but that could change.

In a nutshell, I'm hearing these 10 drivers come together with very impactful sub-bass, clear and forward mids, and massive, detailed, sparkly treble. I'm no treblehead, and bright, sharp treble can be the first thing to kill an iem for me, but here, Penon have executed upper mids and treble as well as I've ever heard it with details for days. It rivals Anni 23 treble to me, but it's overall tuning is more balanced and I prefer Voltage bass, as well. Note weight is thick and wet, but the soundstage is still huge and holographic with airy upper mids and treble again trying to steal the show. The sub-bass here reminds me of the Penon Quattro, but where Quattro has a very odd, but satisfying tuning, Voltage is a true all-arounder that should work with any kind of music. It's a very straightforward tuning that should offend no one and likely to surprise everyone.

We recently had a Watercooler poll that asked for under $2k favorites; this new Voltage would have taken either the Quattro or CFA Black Star off my list. It's uber competitive at its price and sounds like a lot of other TOTL on the market that cost double or triple this price. Nicely done, @Penon, Voltage is your best iem yet, I think! I'm looking forward to digging in deeper with it over the coming weeks, and will be comparing it to Elysian's new Noir when I get that.
1000027231.jpg
Thanks for this! Lovely impressions! Great work!
 
May 14, 2024 at 12:38 AM Post #89,177 of 91,334
I bumped into someone in discover thread, and his or her signature has 50+ KZ and 50+ CCA IEMs

So basically he's new, having only bought the past three weeks of KZ releases? :stuck_out_tongue:
 
May 14, 2024 at 12:46 AM Post #89,178 of 91,334
I bumped into someone in discover thread, and his or her signature has 50+ KZ and 50+ CCA IEMs, with 25+ different DAPs, numerous chifi cables. That's absolutely belongs to compulsive purchase.
As if there wasn’t a flood of users in this thread posting their 10+ TOTL/Flagship IEMs not 2 weeks ago lol probably still a fraction of the cost on their part 😂
 
May 14, 2024 at 1:27 AM Post #89,179 of 91,334
This one was a collaboration with another artist who left the project without notice and so this is what I ended up with back in the day.

sunsethalvedhalvedx2.png

Sunset
 
May 14, 2024 at 1:49 AM Post #89,180 of 91,334
I have 9 KZs and 5 CCAs in my collection, each having their own personalities. I upgraded the stock cables along with trying countless ear tip variations to optimize the performance. Speaking of ear tips, I continually find it absolutely astounding how a simple ear tip can have such a profound impact on sound well beyond getting a good seal. I just received my set of Hydros - just had to, you see 🥹 - and after going through my collection of tips to achieve a good seal, I then selected ones that adjusted the quality, attack, impact and balance of the bass.

I would never have guessed just a few years ago I’d have such a large collection. I faced the sober reality when I passed 10 pairs: the truth is its an addiction in search of the next fix, metaphorically speaking, of course, to satisfy my craving for the illusive goal of musical enjoyment with something new and different 😂. This is our world, the glue that binds us all…

With IEMs, I started with a pair of KZ-ZEXs and never looked back. 😎.
 
May 14, 2024 at 2:01 AM Post #89,181 of 91,334
I was watching TV this past weekend when I came across a bit of news that may be of interest to those in the audio community: a sneak peek of a new dongle was unveiled at a large music show in Sweden, setting off a firestorm of critical appeal.

“14,000 out of 10”
- John Oliver, Last Week Tonight

Hailing from Finland, the packaging is unusual and spartan: adorned only by a t shirt and a hat with an retro Windows 95 logo …. and not much else. There is not much information about its performance - but it should be noted that it appeared powerful enough to shoot fireworks from ropes attached to adjoining jean shorts. Needless to say, it appears to drive most anything well. There is still a lack of clarity as to its size, but it appears to be portable. As with most technologies, early prototypes appeared to be larger. Chuck Berry hinted back in 1972 that once he was climbing a garden wall that he slipped and had a terrible fall and that he fell so hard he heard bells ring, but required both hands to hold on to his - suggesting it was more transportable back then.
Some may be dubious about about the user interface, but much like landing a plane, it’s not about the start but all about the Finnish.
 
May 14, 2024 at 2:17 AM Post #89,182 of 91,334
You would pick Heiloo over London??? Good grief...

This is a music post. I just wanted to share some upcoming show
Talking about London: During CanJam weekend there's concerts of Christian McBride, Patti Smith, and Linda Thompson, mentioning but a few. Nothing special for classical music though.

Just seeing Massive Attack is doing a dozen performances over the next few months!

drftr
 
May 14, 2024 at 2:23 AM Post #89,183 of 91,334
to satisfy my craving for the illusive goal of musical enjoyment with something new and different 😂. This is our world, the glue that binds us all…
Guess I'm not a part of 'all'. I don't search for new and different, but for better.


With IEMs, I started with a pair of KZ-ZEXs and never looked back. 😎.
I'm curious if you ever looked 'forward'- beyond a KZ ?
 
May 14, 2024 at 3:00 AM Post #89,184 of 91,334
I spent the weekend letting the new Penon Voltage burn-in for 100 hrs (tho Penon suggests as much as 200) and figured it would be a good thing to report some first impressions on this soon-to-be-released "flagship" from Penon (it's not really the flagship, which is Impact, but it is the flagship tribrid in the Penon line, now). It has been awhile since Penon released an iem at over a kilobuck (aforementioned Impact, all BA/EST, was over $2000), but this one has arrived with an MSRP of $1199 (meaning those who are on the Penon email list, or those who ask Penon directly, will be offered a nice discount). I got an early shot at a set at the discounted price, which I'm not allowed to reveal, but let's say, you will not be disappointed by it!
1000026566.jpg

Here, Penon tries and succeeds in stepping up to compete with their brethren by releasing Voltage, a new tribrid with 2xDD, 4xBA and 4xEST in this very crowded price category. I have not given this much listening time yet; I did check-in on it over the burn-in and heard the subtle changes occurring and I think there still are some happening, but it seems to have stabilized, so first impressions! It's a gorgeous, red with gold accented, resin shell that is light and pretty small for 10 drivers. Fit is easy and I find the Penon liqueur orange tips to have a good synergy, but will try others. It comes with a "Penon Obsidian" cable, a 4w Copper/Gold plated-copper cable that itself retails at $149. A very solid cable which I listened to for a couple hours before trying a little cable rolling. Actually, most cables I tried sounded great, and stock does not need to be switched, but I found a particularly good synergies with Penon Renata and EA Code 24c that got me pretty happy; but good on Penon for including a great stock cable!
1000027221.jpg

The shocker for me arrived when I started really listening to Voltage having heard and owned several other Penons. I listened thru both my L&P P6Pro and Sony NW-WM1Z, and also with both DAPs amped by my ibassso PB5 whose stock interconnect cable I recently switched for a Penon Totem i/c (this produced a beautiful difference from stock, making PB5 sound more punchy and even deepening an already deep soundstage - inexpensive and much recommended for any PB5 owners!!). These sources tend to make a lot of good stuff sound great, some great stuff even epic, and the Voltage, just amazing!!!
1000027180.jpg1000027173.jpg

Penon came to compete! This is by far the most mature sound and tuning I've heard from a Penon iem, outclassing every single other of theirs that I've tried as well as some other bigger names (for example, in a few hours, I could tell that I liked Voltage more than the similarly tuned FF MSE by a longshot and I liked MSE!). Now, tuning here is a bit of a moving target, which some of you will (like me) love and some will not (I see you, Todd!) because, yes, there are the dreaded tuning switches! Voltage has 2 switches and each does something specific, so there are 4 potential alterations to the stock (both switches down) tuning, which does remain prevalent throughout regardless of switch position. While I've not heard the Impacts, Voltage has, without question, the best mids I've heard in a Penon and maybe period. The mids seem least affected by the switches, remaining perhaps the star of the show, but actually, it's the overall balance, from deep sub-bass, to mid-bass, upper mids to trebles, everything matters and is the star with the stock switch (down) position offering the most W-shaped sound where switching them both up yields a slightly more U to V shape. Switch 1 increases or reduces bass, and switch 2 does the same for treble. I ran thru all of the switch positions and found that, while not basshead level, with switch 1 up/2 down, the Voltage has terrific, loud but still balanced bass. With the bass switch down and the treble up, you do get an amazing treblehead tuning that still includes nice, tasteful bass. I think I'm preferring the stock setting, but that could change.

In a nutshell, I'm hearing these 10 drivers come together with very impactful sub-bass, clear and forward mids, and massive, detailed, sparkly treble. I'm no treblehead, and bright, sharp treble can be the first thing to kill an iem for me, but here, Penon have executed upper mids and treble as well as I've ever heard it with details for days. It rivals Anni 23 treble to me, but it's overall tuning is more balanced and I prefer Voltage bass, as well. Note weight is thick and wet, but the soundstage is still huge and holographic with airy upper mids and treble again trying to steal the show. The sub-bass here reminds me of the Penon Quattro, but where Quattro has a very odd, but satisfying tuning, Voltage is a true all-arounder that should work with any kind of music. It's a very straightforward tuning that should offend no one and likely to surprise everyone.

We recently had a Watercooler poll that asked for under $2k favorites; this new Voltage would have taken either the Quattro or CFA Black Star off my list. It's uber competitive at its price and sounds like a lot of other TOTL on the market that cost double or triple this price. Nicely done, @Penon, Voltage is your best iem yet, I think! I'm looking forward to digging in deeper with it over the coming weeks, and will be comparing it to Elysian's new Noir when I get that.
1000027231.jpg
Has a man paired the Totem with the XE6 before? 🙂
 
May 14, 2024 at 4:56 AM Post #89,186 of 91,334
You would pick Heiloo over London??? Good grief...


Talking about London: During CanJam weekend there's concerts of Christian McBride, Patti Smith, and Linda Thompson, mentioning but a few. Nothing special for classical music though.

Just seeing Massive Attack is doing a dozen performances over the next few months!

drftr
I am partial to anyone who likes Linda Thompson. She couldn't perform live for decades. But what a beautiful voice...
 
May 14, 2024 at 6:00 AM Post #89,187 of 91,334
I spent the weekend letting the new Penon Voltage burn-in for 100 hrs (tho Penon suggests as much as 200) and figured it would be a good thing to report some first impressions on this soon-to-be-released "flagship" from Penon (it's not really the flagship, which is Impact, but it is the flagship tribrid in the Penon line, now). It has been awhile since Penon released an iem at over a kilobuck (aforementioned Impact, all BA/EST, was over $2000), but this one has arrived with an MSRP of $1199 (meaning those who are on the Penon email list, or those who ask Penon directly, will be offered a nice discount). I got an early shot at a set at the discounted price, which I'm not allowed to reveal, but let's say, you will not be disappointed by it!


Here, Penon tries and succeeds in stepping up to compete with their brethren by releasing Voltage, a new tribrid with 2xDD, 4xBA and 4xEST in this very crowded price category. I have not given this much listening time yet; I did check-in on it over the burn-in and heard the subtle changes occurring and I think there still are some happening, but it seems to have stabilized, so first impressions! It's a gorgeous, red with gold accented, resin shell that is light and pretty small for 10 drivers. Fit is easy and I find the Penon liqueur orange tips to have a good synergy, but will try others. It comes with a "Penon Obsidian" cable, a 4w Copper/Gold plated-copper cable that itself retails at $149. A very solid cable which I listened to for a couple hours before trying a little cable rolling. Actually, most cables I tried sounded great, and stock does not need to be switched, but I found a particularly good synergies with Penon Renata and EA Code 24c that got me pretty happy; but good on Penon for including a great stock cable!


The shocker for me arrived when I started really listening to Voltage having heard and owned several other Penons. I listened thru both my L&P P6Pro and Sony NW-WM1Z, and also with both DAPs amped by my ibassso PB5 whose stock interconnect cable I recently switched for a Penon Totem i/c (this produced a beautiful difference from stock, making PB5 sound more punchy and even deepening an already deep soundstage - inexpensive and much recommended for any PB5 owners!!). These sources tend to make a lot of good stuff sound great, some great stuff even epic, and the Voltage, just amazing!!!


Penon came to compete! This is by far the most mature sound and tuning I've heard from a Penon iem, outclassing every single other of theirs that I've tried as well as some other bigger names (for example, in a few hours, I could tell that I liked Voltage more than the similarly tuned FF MSE by a longshot and I liked MSE!). Now, tuning here is a bit of a moving target, which some of you will (like me) love and some will not (I see you, Todd!) because, yes, there are the dreaded tuning switches! Voltage has 2 switches and each does something specific, so there are 4 potential alterations to the stock (both switches down) tuning, which does remain prevalent throughout regardless of switch position. While I've not heard the Impacts, Voltage has, without question, the best mids I've heard in a Penon and maybe period. The mids seem least affected by the switches, remaining perhaps the star of the show, but actually, it's the overall balance, from deep sub-bass, to mid-bass, upper mids to trebles, everything matters and is the star with the stock switch (down) position offering the most W-shaped sound where switching them both up yields a slightly more U to V shape. Switch 1 increases or reduces bass, and switch 2 does the same for treble. I ran thru all of the switch positions and found that, while not basshead level, with switch 1 up/2 down, the Voltage has terrific, loud but still balanced bass. With the bass switch down and the treble up, you do get an amazing treblehead tuning that still includes nice, tasteful bass. I think I'm preferring the stock setting, but that could change.

In a nutshell, I'm hearing these 10 drivers come together with very impactful sub-bass, clear and forward mids, and massive, detailed, sparkly treble. I'm no treblehead, and bright, sharp treble can be the first thing to kill an iem for me, but here, Penon have executed upper mids and treble as well as I've ever heard it with details for days. It rivals Anni 23 treble to me, but it's overall tuning is more balanced and I prefer Voltage bass, as well. Note weight is thick and wet, but the soundstage is still huge and holographic with airy upper mids and treble again trying to steal the show. The sub-bass here reminds me of the Penon Quattro, but where Quattro has a very odd, but satisfying tuning, Voltage is a true all-arounder that should work with any kind of music. It's a very straightforward tuning that should offend no one and likely to surprise everyone.

We recently had a Watercooler poll that asked for under $2k favorites; this new Voltage would have taken either the Quattro or CFA Black Star off my list. It's uber competitive at its price and sounds like a lot of other TOTL on the market that cost double or triple this price. Nicely done, @Penon, Voltage is your best iem yet, I think! I'm looking forward to digging in deeper with it over the coming weeks, and will be comparing it to Elysian's new Noir when I get that.

Very nice impressions, thank you for that. I am so close to pull the trigger 🤣
I guess I already would have - even blindly - if I had not bought (and meanwhile received) this little and - to my mids focused ears - very promising and due to 3 switches versatile shiny....
20240513_195600.jpg

Needs to burn in though before judging, but kicks ass ootb... 😃
 
Last edited:
May 14, 2024 at 7:49 AM Post #89,188 of 91,334
They sure do, I actually mean on the termination. On the hooks its no issue for me
 
May 14, 2024 at 7:59 AM Post #89,189 of 91,334
image.jpg

Speaking of VE Aura! This beautiful piece of art damn near broke my soul this morning with its gorgeous sound quality 🌅🎶
 

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