VE - A New and Impressive Earbuds Brand
Mar 16, 2015 at 1:13 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 3,324

ClieOS

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Prelude: A few weeks ago I was contacted by a mutual 3rd party on whether I will like to give some Chinese made high-Z earbuds a review. Immediately I recalled a review article I read awhile back in erji.net that comes with fairly high praise (and subsequently get knocked around a few times, see reason below). We don’t see a lot of high-Z earbuds around so I was fairly certain they should be the same things. I don’t keep high hope for earbuds these days but I am still an earbuds lover in heart, so I agreed to give them a look, and indeed they turn out to be the same model I saw earlier. They are made by a small Chinese company called VE (52VE.cn, with a Chinese name translated to ‘micro wing’). No sooner after I agreed, the news spread out on some Chinese forums, which in turn came back to HF, and I received some ‘friendly suggestion’ that, perhaps it might not be the best of idea to do a review on VE. It would seem that there are a lot of heated discussion (or controversy?) on whether VE is a genuine company or just a quick DIY job for money. Even more so is whether VE actually makes TOTL earbuds as they and their Chinese supporters have claimed. Different from the international market where IEM rules, earbuds still hold a high esteem among Chinese audiophiles and they really don’t mind paying for premium earbuds – mixed that with the fact that there are a lot of shady companies employing shill marketing tactic, it is understandable on why people are always skeptical and will act defensively when confronted with such a bold claim. If there is anything I learned from reading Chinese audiophiles forums over the years, it will be the bad ‘SNR’ that often ruins the days. You can never quite sure whether you are reading genuine impression, shill marketing, over-enthused writing or maybe some other types of hidden agenda. So I decided not to take things written on a those forums too seriously but instead let the products speak for themselves, which I kind of glad that I did.  Nevertheless, I think a prelude is needed to shine some light on the unusual circumstances surrounding VE. Regardless of what have been said, it will be a mistake to dismiss VE – that much I am sure.
 
VE-01.jpg

It said: "torture one-self, reject mediocrity, all for our sound."
 
Spec
Asura
Transducer: Open Dynamic
Sensitivity: 108dB
Frequency Response: 10Hz~25kHz
Impedance: 150ohm
Cable Length: 1.2m
MSRP: US$48
 
Zen
Transducer: Open Dynmanic
Sensitivity: -/-
Frequency Response: 20Hz~20kHz
Impedance: 320ohm
Cable Length: 1.2m
MSRP: US$112
 
VE-02.jpg

Zen (left) and Asura (right)
 
Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality
The Zen and Asura comes in one single white box with no model name on the outside. I assume it is one of the ‘early bird’ pack for those who pre-ordered the Zen, which also get a free Asura. The 320ohm Zen is pretty much the flagship earbuds for VE, and Asura is the previous flagship. According to what I have read, Asura is more of a bang-for-buck model meant to be Hi-Fi yet not breaking the bank where Zen is meant to compete with other top-of-the-line earbuds in the market.
 
Accessories wise, there really are not a lot to talk about. Beside the decent hard case, all you’ll get are some foam pad. Then again, that’s pretty much the standard for most other earbuds, so nothing to complain about.
 
Build quality is decent. They are not Sennheiser MX895 so there isn’t any flashy metal or unique design to speak of. The earpiece housing is just the generic type, though the cable do look better than decent - with weaved cable on Asura and the straight silver cable on Zen. Can’t really say what is the material used though, as VE doesn’t list out detail spec on both models. Needless to say, I don’t think you should use them on rough situation (i.e. sport and such). Otherwise I don’t see a problem.
 
VE-04.jpg

Asura
 
VE-03.jpg

Zen
 
Sound Quality
It isn’t easy to describe the sound signature of Zen. If MX985 is about immersion and warm where TM7 is about lush and liveliness, then Zen will be about PRaT. If you don’t know about what PRaT means, well, it is basically the ‘toe-tapping’ factor in music. The kind of factor that makes a certain headphone more ‘danceable’ than other on the same music. One of the reason is perhaps Zen has one of the best bass impact and attack I have heard on any earbud. It is not purely a quantitative matter as Zen isn’t exactly what I’ll refer as bass heavy, but the transient is certainly excellent. The vocal range is actually slightly further away when compared to TM7 (and even more when compared to the very sweet MX985), though it holds on to its own and doesn’t sound thin at all. If anything, I’ll say Zen’s vocal range is still pretty good. It gives a sense of depth while still keep a good amount of texture. In contrast, I’ll say Yuin PK1 sounds much thinner in the mid-range. Treble is quite good as well. Not as sparkly as TM7 but I don’t sense any darkness or dullness either. Soundstage is somewhere between TM7 and MX985 - not the widest, but still above average.
 
Asura pretty much share the same sound signature as Zen, with a similar emphasis on PRaT, but feels a bit more compressed on overall dynamic and a bit grainier on the upper vocal. Still, it is good enough that I think it will give PK1 a good run for its money. One thing to note is that, because of the 320ohm vs. 150ohm impedance between the two earbuds, Asura can sound better than Zen when they are on weak source. For example, even though they are both loud enough on my Sony A15 (10mW @ 16ohm), I can definitely tell the Zen has lost its edge and feel rather lifeless. Asura on the other hand still rocks on. But once I have A15 feeding into iDSD micro (as DAC) and O2 (as amp), the situation reversed where Zen comes up on top. So a word of caution is to consider what kind of source you will be using with these two earbuds as it can kind of turn things around.
 
All and all, I’ll place Zen as one of the best three earbuds I current have, among TM7 and MX985. Asura on the other hand is just a few steps down, at the middle of my top ten list, perhaps right around where PK1 will be.
 
VE-05.jpg

From left: MX985, TM7, Asura, and Zen.
 
Sum-up
I don’t usually get goosebump when listen to earbuds , but I do when I heard something that of exceptional quality. The last time I got one is from Blox TM7 some 2.5 years ago. Since then, I have picked up Hifiman EX100, Obique ES903, a few Dasetn, Sidy (also known as BGVP) DX1, some Tingo, Audio-Technica CM707, a very cool Chinese made Dual-Driver-Matrix based earbud and last but not least, the hybrid DUNU Alpha 1 – none is bad per se and a few are actually quite good, though they never approach the top-tier level – but then comes the Zen, and in fact Asura as well. I got two goosebump in a day and it is golden.
 
Now we just need someone to bring these out of China.
 
Mar 16, 2015 at 1:52 PM Post #2 of 3,324

jant71

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Ooohh, forgot you have the A15 as well so good to hear we have that in common. Nice impressions. Interesting but I am still waiting on the KC08. Still don't like the high impedance stuff. They seem to be reasonably priced though. That housing and my right ear don't get along so well. Plus the power requirements(not looking to amp radios and some devices at times I would use them) probably don't mind skipping these.
 
I was gonna ask about donuts on them, esp. the Asura(to bring back some life) but the caps have the middle covered.
 
Still an interesting find!
beerchug.gif

 
Mar 17, 2015 at 7:28 AM Post #5 of 3,324

zhibli06

Member of the Trade: Venture Electronics
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The site address is written on them,  52ve.cn , though still under construction
H:\qq\554912433\Image\C2C\3(0$A3RQGD8TS`S9CAE5%4N.gif
.

We will start our aliexpress store very soon, and for ppl at Indonesia and Singapore, hopefully, very soon Zen can be available locally.

Cheers
Lee
CEO of Venture Electronics 
P.S. Thanks for reviewing them under such unusual circumstances.

 
Mar 18, 2015 at 8:40 AM Post #9 of 3,324

jant71

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  ^
Got these in but haven't listen to them as much as i should. Pretty impressive outta' the box.............. for some earbuds. Esp. their bass quantity/ quality.
 
But i am still biased against 'em though since i am mo' of an IEM guy and buds just don't do deep/textured/visceral bass justice. : P

 
How do you get one??
confused.gif
Instead of me or kjk1281 or Zelda etc. who actually like buds and have had dozens of them. You don't even listen to them, lol!
 
I'm biased against buds too!! 
wink_face.gif

 
Mar 18, 2015 at 12:19 PM Post #10 of 3,324

sfwalcer

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How do you get one??
confused.gif
Instead of me or kjk1281 or Zelda etc. who actually like buds and have had dozens of them. You don't even listen to them, lol!
 
I'm biased against buds too!! 
wink_face.gif


^
Shhhh it's a "trade" secret. Plus i ain't on Zelda's shillin' level yet. : P
 
Am not worthy compared to the MIGHTY Z!!!
 
Mar 18, 2015 at 10:10 PM Post #11 of 3,324

gandroider

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I'm a bit surprised that the time ClieOS reviewed this earbuds a few days ago, my friend in local community already ordered small sum of VE Asura. 
 
Of course I'm already in-line for this earbud (the price is about US$42 only). Can't wait to receive it in 10-days to come, and compare them directly with my M2C, PK1 & MX980..
 
(too bad I don't have the MX985.. LOL) 
 
 
PS: I lived in Indonesia, and if the result satisfying.. my friend will consider to order the Zen.
 
Mar 19, 2015 at 6:32 PM Post #12 of 3,324

waynes world

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Nice review ClieOS!
 
I've only had the Zens in my ears for approx 3 hours, but I concur with your high praise of them. They are really good. Gorgeous SQ off of my Xuelin Ihifi 770 (120mw+120mw @ 32ohm).
 
I am loving them right out of the box, but I'm looking forward to seeing how the sound changes after the prescribed 200 hours of burn in, and also off of my computer setup. I'll also see how the sound changes with the different earbud covers (I think the one that covers the bud completely increased bass and smoothed out the highs, but I'll have to check that further).
 
Anyway, my initial impressions are that these things rock.
 
Mar 20, 2015 at 8:30 AM Post #13 of 3,324

zhibli06

Member of the Trade: Venture Electronics
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Hey guys, thanks again for all your interest in Venture Electronics Zen and Asura.
 
As one head-fi member was asking about this "early bird" deal via a guy by the name of tony on taobao.com.
(This is a head-fi member exclusive kind of deal, so I know that the buyer who contact this guy tony must be a head-fi member)
 
Maybe it is better for me to clarify it here.
 
"The question was if VE Zen comes with a free VE Asura (it used to before)"
 
All zen still comes with a free VE Asura , but all Asura now will be replaced by a final retail version in less than a month.
 
Therefore the free VE Asura is actually a Beta version, the same as the one being review by ClieOS.
 
The new Asura will be better than the current one in pretty much every way other than it is a tiny bit harder to drive.  But when paired with proper gears , Zen is still miles ahead of the new and current Asura.
 
Therefore , the free beta Asura actually make a bit more sense to Zen owners. And this early bird deal will last till the New VE Asura come out.
 
For any further questions about Venture Electronics products, please just PM me here directly.
 
Thank you.
 
Cheers 
 
Lee
 
Mar 20, 2015 at 8:38 PM Post #15 of 3,324

waynes world

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I don't know if any of you guys have the C3/BH combo, but they synergy between it and the Zen is rather fabulous. (Dire Straits approved :)
 

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