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
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.