In-Ear Fidelity

Cliffnotes (Dated June 11, 2018)

Day one of being back in the game. Here’s some first impressions of all the new stuff (emphasis: FIRST IMPRESSIONS) because I’m in a writing mood. I’ll rank when I get more ear time of these earphones, I have plenty of time.

NOTE: I will not be analysing the technical nitty-gritty stuff. This is more of a “stream of consciousness” kind of thing, nothing too serious.

Audio Genetic AG2 (decent): dual driver setup, was very surprised by its performance and would gladly recommend it at SGD$300. Unfortunately, it was double that.

Hyla Nerva X (good): very realistic and diffuse soundstage, good balance in sound. Sounded a little off in instruments and vocals for some reason.

EE Legend X (not bad): Gobs and gobs of big bass, good treble presence, slightly recessed midrange. A little too imbalanced, not my cup of tea.

EE Phantom (good): My instant impression was how similar it sounded to an Andromeda (out of low OI), which is a huge compliment for any IEM. Loses out on the soundstage front though and I preferred the Andromeda’s last octave sparkle as opposed to the Phantom’s 6.5k/7k emphasis.

Jomo Haka (bad): muffled, congested and lacking air in the upper octaves. Definitely ain’t for me.

Jomo Jazz (meh): tuned by Joseph to be catered to the tastes of “Singaporean audiophiles”. It’s an interesting experiment but it didn’t do it for me; it’s warm with an upper midrange boost, almost like a merge between the European and Japanese styles of tuning. I’ll hand in my Singaporean ID in the morning.

Jomo Tango (good): lots of bass, lots of warmth, lots of richness but also not lacking in the treble department. Perhaps a little too warm for my tastes but definitely has its strengths in male vocals.

Jomo Quatre (very good): A lot better balanced compared to the Legend X with the added option of tunable filters. My personal favourite was on black (can’t remember what it was) and presented a solid take of the whole “neutral with bass boost” signature.

Note: The new Jomo lineup was auditioned during the launch event at Euphoria Audio. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to try out the Deux and the Salsa had channel imbalance issues.

UE UE6 (good): I was expecting a lot of mud and bloat based off the 2DD1BA configuration. Fortunately not so; the UE6 was very well balanced and reserved its power for the lowest octaves of bass, keeping the midrange relatively clean.

UE Live (bad): I was expecting so much from the Live from my love of the 18+. It was muddy, had tons of bleed, smeared transients, unforgivably low resolution and narrow staging. It’s a no from me.

64 Audio Trio (very good): The usual problems from the Fourte are reminiscent in the Trio, but lessened to a good degree. It doesn’t sound quite as hollow and disjointed but still has that wide and spacious feeling, though not as wide as the Fourte. Tonality was better though and for that reason I would choose the Trio over the Fourte.

64 Audio N8t (amazing): I want more ear time on these. I need more ear time on these. The N8t hits nearly every checkbox on my preference list: sub-bass focus, dynamic bass, treble in line with the midrange, near-neutral tone (slight lean towards warmth). My own personal search for a hybrid endgame might be here.

EarSonics EM10 (meh): After everything I’ve heard so far, the EM10 was equivalent to a speed bump. It sounded like it had no energy and dynamic range, making everything sound almost dead. Reminds me of the old Noble K10.

Warbler Prelude (not bad): This unit was @Kozato‘s (of Music Sanctuary) force fitted to my ears, so the usual disclaimers apply. Honestly, it’s better than what I expected out of a single driver. However, it didn’t exactly defy my expectations by a ton. The typical criticisms are in the extension at both ends of the spectrum. With the other multi-driver and dynamic TOTLs lurking in its shadow, it’s too apparent to ignore.

SAF-issued freebie (terrible): SAF-issued torture It’s a joke don’t arrest me thanks

Singapore Airlines freebie (disgusting): Paraphrased from a friend: “Have you ever gone to the toilet in the middle of a concert before?”

Delta Air freebie (horrible amazing): You know how a joke can be so bad that’s it’s funny?

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