For non-audio opinions and other eyecandy shots, refer to my unboxing post.
The EK3 is Simgot’s newest flagship IEM, also representing their first foray into balanced armature technologies. Simgot has traditionally built their IEMs with dynamic drivers so this is certainly an interesting though not unexpected direction they’ve taken.
Product details: http://www.simgot.com/en/products/detail/19.html#!/detail
Driver specifications: 3BA, 2 switches per side
Release date: 10th July
The EK3 will be released to US customers on Amazon. For those interested but outside the US, you’d have to contact Simgot at [email protected].
This EK3 was kindly provided by the folks over at Simgot for my honest opinion and full review.
The EK3 is tuned to be subjectively “neutral” (not by any scientific measure of the word), characterised by a mid-treble peak. It is a rather basic tuning common in many multi-BA IEMs.
The tonal (frequency) response is decent. Nothing sounds wrong, though I’d argue if my tracks sound “natural”.
Transients are adequate as a whole, quick attack and decay resulting a clean and well defined sound. The treble boost and higher leaning tonality creates good clarity and texturing, pushing surface level detailing in your face, almost demanding your attention at all times.
Probably the most obvious dealbreaker for some, the EK3’s mid-treble peak can be too much for some and may stray into their sibilance range. For me personally, it’s not quite sibilant but still makes for a rather fatiguing listen.
The usual caveats of BA systems still apply here of course; Simgot aren’t reinventing the wheel nor breaking new grounds. Bass response remains limp and unnaturally quick and its timbre still has that slightly plasticky quality to it.
You would think that one of the biggest selling points of the EK3 would be one that I would slot into the “Good” section of this review, but not so. In nearly every use case, the switches do very little. “Subtle” might be a good descriptor if I was trying to be nice, but if you’re paying for this “feature” then it’s practically useless for all intents and purposes. Don’t take my word for it though, just put in the data and see for yourself.
And now here’s my biggest problem with the EK3 and so aptly plastered upon the title of this review: it is uninspired. Average. Sometimes, it simply evokes the feeling of mediocrity. I have recently coined a term for this kind of performance: it is “white bread”; it is as plain as it comes and I feel almost nothing for it. That said, you could still take this kind of “white bread” performance and take it on an unquestionably high level, such as on InEar’s ProPhile-8. Unfortunately, the EK3 still needs a some refinement on the technical front and a lot more on the tuning side of things.
This is a new section that I shall be adding to future reviews as I believe it will be extremely informative for many of my budget conscious readers.
The pricing bracket that lies between $200 and $1,000 is an odd one in the IEM industry. At an MSRP of $370, the EK3 comes up against veterans like the ER4 and quite frankly, it can’t keep up. It doesn’t present anything new to the table nor does it provide a good price-to-performance ratio especially in today’s hypercompetitive market, making it a hard recommendation to anyone or at the very least, a very niche recommendation to very specific types of users.
As Simgot’s first attempt at a BA IEM they can certainly do worse. The EK3 not a bad IEM by any means, but its sound and asking price doesn’t do anything to differentiate itself from a highly saturated market. A noble effort for sure, but in this humble reviewer’s opinion it’s back to the drawing board.
Final rank: C
Thanks to all my readers who have supported me on my Patreon. Special shoutouts to my big money boys Denis, “McMadface” and Jonathan.
3 thoughts on “Simgot EK3 Review: Uninspired”
RE: value, it is true that the concept is entirely subjective and so dependent on one’s own perceptions. However, the hobby itself is also subjective and reviewers like us build our content on our own perceptions and opinions. The fact that that value is entirely in the eye of the beholder is (in my opinion) not relevant in whether or not it should be published, as long as I (or anyone else) isn’t ramming it down anybody else’s throats.
RE: being critical and accepting review units (I think that’s what you’re trying to say?), I try not to accept freebies whenever I can. Most of my rankings, subjective impressions and measurements come from physical store demo units (see the “Based on” column of my ranking list) and that removes a huge element of interest conflict in my case. However when it comes to things that I cannot readily obtain, looking for review units is a necessary evil as I only have a finite amount of funds and tens of requests coming in every day from my readers.
At any case, I think I’ve garnered enough of a reputation amongst manufacturers in that sending me freebies is no guarantee of a positive review. That already gives me a level of freedom that I think many other review sites would envy.
I have the Simgot EK3 ($360), the BGVP DM6 ($199), and the Monoprice MP80 ($80)… they’re all amazing for the price point… and yes, you do notice a difference.
The MP80 were a good intro into the IEM market, solid build, 3 tuning nozzles for different audiophonic preferences, work with multitude MMCX accessories… great sound and get pretty loud before you start hearing distortion.
And then I got to hear the BGVP DM6… better sound for sure than the MP80… more balanced, distortion free at a very loud setting, definitely better sound stage than the MP80. You cannot go wrong with these if your budget is <$200.
Then I got the Simgot EK3… Oh wow! With the tuning settings built-in, you have a combo of the above with the tuning preference, and the amazing soundstage. Each type of sound comes through in the music I listen to… stuff I didn't notice before as much even with the two above (but especially with something like airpods or mid-end Sony or something comparable). But like I said, it's a budget issue… I was lucky to get the right ones at the right price points to be able to tell the differences in each.