Ortho iem Review Roundup (10 iems compared)

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by rhythmdevils, Aug 2, 2022.

  1. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    Ortho iem Review Roundup

    This has been an exhaustive review to write, so I’m going to post it a bit brief so we can get the loaner tour going. But I hope it’s enough to give you the idea.

    There will be a loaner with all 10 of these iems, along with a roll of micropore tape to mod the ones that need it (S12, GL12, PMV PP).

    ortho iems in this roundup
    • Audeze Euclid
    • Tin Hifi P2
    • TRN Kirin
    • TFZ Balance 7
    • Gold Planar G12
    • Gold Planar GL20
    • PMV PP
    • Letshouer S12
    • Timeless 7hz

    There are a few more out there I did not buy because they cost $1,000 and I have no idea how they sound, or they are ortho/DD or ortho/BA hybrids which is just stupid. Ortho drivers have plenty of extension on both ends and have no problem reproducing the entire FR range with perfection. Theres’ no need for moar drivers. It kind of just defeats one of the great benefits of a single ortho driver which is coherency.

    Gear

    1) Yggdrasil A2 -> Liquid Gold X -> iems
    2) Yggdrasil A2 -> Vali 2+ -> iems
    3) iphone -> iFI Hip Dac/ Nano BL -> iems
    4) iphone -> RU6 -> ems
    5) ipod touch 7 -> iems

    Tips Used
    All iems listened to with Azla Crystal tips except the 7hz which won’t seal with those tips for whatever reason and winds up bass light and trebley. So I used generic Penon tips for those.

    TLDR;

    Stock Ranking (unmodded)

    1) Timeless 7hz
    2) Audeze Eucliid
    3) Gold Planar GL20 (but fit and loose MMCX connecctors are a serious issue that may set them down the list further, this is only based on sound)
    4) TFZ Balance 7
    5) Letshuoer S12
    6) PMV PP
    7) Gold Planar GL12
    8) Tin Hifi P2
    9) TRN Krin
    10) Audeze LCDi4


    Modded Ranking

    1) Letshouer S12 with micropore tape covering 60% of the front nozzle
    Perfect FR and tone across the spectrum with fast transients and good resolution. Beautiful, gorgeous midrange.

    2) 7Hz Timeless (stock)
    Great tone and balanced FR, great resolution, softer transients and slightly loose bass

    3) Audeze Euclid (stock)
    Nicely balanced, beautiful treble, with good but not the best resolution of the bunch, powerful driver, a bit thick sounding and veiled in the upper midrange (very similar to a stock LCD tuning)

    4) Gold Planar GL20 (stock)

    5) PMV PP with micropore tape covering 60% of front nozzle
    Great FR balance, gorgeous vocals, but slight plastic tone in the higher frequencies that others don’t have. Too bad because everything else is very good with the mod.

    6) Gold Planar G12 with micropore tape covering 60% of front nozzle
    Fixes slight treble emphasis, tone and FR are pretty good. The driver sounds technicalliy better than the S12 but the tuning is off. The S12 with micropore tape has a more beautiful midrange while the G12 has a recession in the mids causing vocals and guitars to be a bit recessed. S12/micropore doesn’t have this. G12 has bigger soundstage than S12/micropore.
    Great FR balance, but slight plastic tone and lacking in resolution compared to the others

    7) TFZ Balance 7 (stock)
    Great driver with incredible bass response- by far the best bass of any iem I have ever heard and I’m guessing any iem on the market, and balanced treble with good tone but hard to drive and slightly recessed, hazy midrange. Since the treble is balanced, there’s no way to mod these without opening them up. Fit is challenging, but if you can find tips that stick in your ears to hold them in, they fit fine.

    8) Tin Hifi P2 (stock or modded)
    Great bass to midrange with snappy transients and equal resolving ability to the S12 but way way way too much treble. Incurable with mods, they need a new driver or perhaps just a new enclosure with some serious acoustic changes. I don’t know who designed these but they must be deaf or 80 years old.

    9) TRN Krin (stock or modded)

    10) Audeze LCD-i4 (stock)


    iem reviews

    Audeze Euclid

    [​IMG]


    Great build quality, and an amazing fit that snuggles right into my ears but doesn’t touch the concha anywhere. One of the best fitting iems I’ve ever worn, and they stay in my ears really well. I’m not a fan of carbon fiber decoration, I wish these were just black, but some people like it. Very study and well made, probably the best build quality of all these iems.

    Sound
    They basically sound like an LCD-2 or LCD-X but in iems. they have balanced treble with the best treble tonality of all of these iems stock or modded. Airy and very accurate tone. the upper mids have the classic Audeze scoop causing the to sound a bit dull. Below the midrange the sound is a it thick, including the bass, just like the LCD-2 and LCD-X. Resolutioni is not as good as the modded S12 and maybe on par with the Timeless, but I get the feeling, like with the full size LCD’s that this is the best driver of the bunch, just crippled by poor acoustics and tuning. But if you want an LCD like sound in iem form, look no further, these have it and fit great and are built like a tank. Soundstage is the same as the others, nothing special.

    Audeze LCDi4

    [​IMG]

    I’ll keep this short because this is from memory from a loaner. Build quality is good but the fit is just mind boggling. They definitely made a better iem with the Euclid. I guess I would try to wear these if they sounded amazing, but I thought they sounded terrible.

    Sound
    Just all over the place. Wonky, weird ups and downs in the FR, tonality issues. these are the worst sounding of the bunch. No I didn’t try the cypher cable, but I’m not interested in an iem with such poor acoustics that it needs eq to sound half way decent. These are just a real failure and I don’t know why Audeze even released them. These seem like gen 1 prototypes that need like 20 more revisions or more to be good. Sorry Audeze, I love you.

    Tin Hifi P2

    [​IMG]

    The fit is the best of any iem I’ve ever worn. The combination of the shape of the housing, and the proprietary connector that bends followed by a nice cable hook makes the cable go around my ears really nicely and they stay in and feel very secure.

    The bad thing about the build is the connector, which I’ve never seen before and I don’t know if it is a propietary thing or available elsewhere but it’s very annoying to not go with MMXX or 2 pin. This is a reversed 2 pin, so the prongs are on the iem, in other words the male part is on the iem and the female on the cable connector. The fact that the cable comes in 2.5mm connector by default makes this even more annoying because it requires (included) bulky adapters to use another connection. But at least they include the adapters.

    Sound
    Great bass and vocals, though the vocals are just a tad bit recessed. Bass is tight and textured and goes very deep without breaking a sweat. tonality is very good though ruined by what I will say in a second. These are very fast sounding with great transients and resolution. But they completely ruined them with the tuning of the treble, which is peaked way up to the point of being needly and giving me a headache. Cymbals are just needly sounding rather than being brassy. There’s really no excuse for tuning an ortho driver this way, they can have the resolution without treble peaks and it’s’ not like DD where it’s hard not to have peaky treble. This seem intentional. Otherwise they are great though. Good sense of space and soundstage as well.

    TFZ Balance 7

    [​IMG]

    These are large iems and pretty heavy, but the Crystal tips hold them in my ears somehow. They are designed sort of like the Audeze iSine or LCD-i4 series. Open back, with a very large driver that funnels down to a nozzle. They come with some sort of plastic ear hook but i don’t know how it attaches, it’s not like the Audeze iems which attach to the housing. Maybe it goes on the cable i don’t know. Build quality is really good.

    Sound
    These probably have the best driver of all of these iems. the bass response is stunning. It’s incredibly solid and controlled, it sounds like a full size Audeze ortho. Treble is balanced and has good timbre. The problem is that the midrange is sucked out and really clouded. To an extreme that ruins them for me completely. Such a shame because if the midrange was good these would be incredible iems. I want to take them apart and see if I can fix it. But i don’t know i it’s coming from the driver or the acoustic environment. Again, the bass on these is the best of any iem I’ve ever heard, rivaling the best bass in full size TOTL headphones. These might be great iems for music that has no vocals and is bass heavy. Techno or something.

    Power
    These are very power hungry iems. Out of the Liquid Gold X, the midrange recession almost completely goes away. There is still a bit of a haze over the midrange that makes them sound a bit boxy and congested. But it’s much better. Techno or vocal-less music lovers should find a pair of these and put a desktop amp behind them. Good things will happen.

    TRN Krin

    [​IMG]

    They are built nice and look nice. I can’t tell if they’re open back or if they have a fake open back pattern on the back of the body. They seem to isolate so I’m guessing it’s fake and they’re closed. They have a stupid recessed 2 pin connector that makes new cables a pita or impossible. There’s just no excuse for putting some weird ass connector on your iems. I don’t want the stock cable.

    Sound
    I listened to these out of the Vali 2+ then the iFI Hip Dac as i thought that would be the best reference after hearing them on the Vali. I think the results would be much worse on the Liquid Gold X.

    These are treble happy even with the "reference" nozzles (they come with 3, the reference having the least treble) so I applied micropore tape over 60% of the front of the nozzle and will review them that way. Otherwise it’s just a non starter. Too much treble. Fail. Not as much as the Tin Hifi P2 though, Jesus.

    These sound pretty fast and resolving, one of the best of the bunch. They make the PMV PP sound dull. But they also just don’t sound "right". There’s a wonkiness to them, I’m guessing some ups and downs in the FR or weird distortion. They lack cohesiveness. Timbre seems off even while the FR sounds correct. Bass is bloated. They have a "super hyper reality" sound effect going on like they’ve got a sharp leading edge that is making them seem faster than they are. They sound sharp, and it hurts my ears. I’m guessing @purrin ’s attack bursts would show some weird overshoot.

    And there’s still a treble peak somewhere that comes out in cymbals and vocal "s" sounds on certain tracks and makes them go "sssssssssss" when they shouldn’t. I’m going to return them if I can. Ahhh I gotta take them out of my ears. Low’s "White Horses" is fucking hurting.

    Gold Planar G12

    [​IMG]

    Nice build quality. They stick out of the ears quite a bit sort of like a half way version of the Balance 7 or Audeze open back ortho iems. But they stay in my ears nicely with the Crystal tips. The nozzle is huge and barely fits these tips. It also has no grill on it, it’s just an open hole. There is a nozzle in the box with a grill, but I have no idea how it fits onto them. The nozzle with no grill doesn’t come off and the nozzle with the grill doesn’t fit onto the attached nozzle. I bet these would sound better with a grill because the treble is just slightly lifted. These are semi open back with holes in the back covering about half the back of the iem.

    They come with an annoyingly huge Penticon plug with included pigtail adapter for 3.5mm which makes it really bulky.

    Sound
    These are technically very good, but the tuning is worse than the S12 and they do not surpass them technically while having much worse ergonomics and a much higher price tag. They come with 2 nozzles, one for less treble and one for moar treble. The moar treble is just open with no grill, and is just way too much treble. The lesser treble nozzle is still too much treble, it’s a bit tizzy sounding still, and it recesses the midrange in an unforgivable way. Bass is really good with these, but not better than the S12 or GL20 and the TMZ walks all over their bass quality. They are pretty spacious, but not more spacious than the S12 despite being open back and much larger. They have a kind of etch or sharp transients to the sound that gets worse out of the LauX and the Valli 2+ just smears the already recessed midrange. I think most people would find these sharp sounding.

    With micropore tape covering 60% of the driver
    Along with the less treble nozzle, this mostly fixes the treble emphasis thouigh it’s still a bit sharp sounding, and they sound much better, but the midrange is still a bit recessed and clouded. And the midrange is very amp dependent. The only amp i can get good midrange with is the Liquid Gold X and it’s still not great (iFI Hip Dac to a lesser extent, it’s at least better than the RU6 and Vali 2+), everything else sounds recessed. These are not worth the price tag or lesser ergonomics compared to the S12. They do nothing better. And the mod does not fix the sharp tonality mentioned above,

    Gold Planar GL20

    [​IMG]

    These are hard to find or some reason, I think I got mine on Aliexpress. they have a much better stock tuning than the GL12, though possibly slightliy worse technical abilities and a much worse fit. They are a large round disc housing the driver, with a conical nozzle that is long enough to keep the driver housing from touching your ears. You’ll need tips that realliy have holding power for these iems. The Azle Cyrstal tips actually work for me and hold them.

    There is a critial problem though, at least with my unit. The MMCX connectors are very loose, and my Lunashops cable falls out all the time. I haven’t tried the stock cable, but the Lunashops cable fits all other iems so I don’t think that’s the problem. Maybe it’s just my pair I don’t know.

    Sound.
    Very balanced with good treble tonality that’s not exaggerated at all. Nicely open soundstage, maybe the best of the bunch along with the GL12. Vocals are a bit hazy or smeared, not as clear as I would like, but not bad and not recessed. There’s kind of an echoey, blurred affect in the midrange. It gets annoying quick. Bass is very good, tight, punchy with good depth.

    I can’t really recommend these due to the weird fit and the loose MMCX connetors, I wish Gold Planar got this sort of tuning with the GL12 housing.

    But these have a lot of potential and are among the best stock tuned ortho iems I’ve heard (almost all on the market)

    PMV PP

    [​IMG]

    Great build quality, good fit and very pretty blue color. Ergonomics lags behind the S12 since they sick out much further. They come with a really nice occ copper cable that has an 8 core braid which is my favorite.

    Sound
    These probably have the 3rd best stock tuning after to the Timeless and Gold Planasr. They are very neutral but the midrange is a bit recessed. Bass is as good as the Gold Planar, S12, Euclid and P2 but behind the TMZ. They are all pretty similar in quality and quantity. Treble is perfectly balanced, not exaggerated at all. Soundstage is average, not the best of the bunch but not bad at all. Resolution seems behind all the others here.

    My biggest problem with these is a slight plastic-y timbre ala the cheaper Hifiman orthos but not as bad. It’s pretty slight but it’s there, the others don’t have this at all.

    Modded with micropore tape covering 60% of the front nozzle
    This brings the midrange up and it is absolutely GORGEOUS with spot on tone, reduces the plastic tonality almost to zero, and increases bass quantity. These not become really good. They might be the most spacious sounding of the whole bunch. Tonality is better than the modded S12 in some ways but they still have this smidgum of plastic tonality that keeps them from being best in class. Still, the great tone, beautiful vocals, and spacious sound makes me really like them. They sound best out of the Vali 2+ which mitigates the plastic-yness to near zero. Whenever I test these I wind up just listening to the music, a good sign as you all know.

    They sound best out of the Vali 2+. The Liquid Gold X sounds great too, but exacerbates the plasticy timbre. The RU6 does well too tonally, but the bass becomes a little wooly.

    Letshouer S12

    [​IMG]

    Solid aluminum shell, feels very good. Feels more sturdy than the Timeless if anything. Normal iem shape too, so it will fit more people better . Stock cable is much better than the Timeless, its a pretty nice braided OCC silver plated copper cable.

    Sound
    They are just as resolving as the Timeless, but I can see how people would say they are more resolving. They have sharper transients, but I don't think they are actually more resolving of information.

    They are also tuned higher, with less bass and more treble for a much brighter, airer sound. I find them too bright for me unfortunately, but I think with tight sealing tips some will like this presentation. It woks well for acoustic, jazzz and classical. They seem kind of like the HD800 of iems to me. They are in fact quite resolving. When there are no cymbals to be splashy in classical or instrumental music, I really like them, they sound spacious and airy for an iem. I could actually see people listening to classical music on these and really enjoying it due to the extra presence in the air region and spacious soundstage.

    Bass is tighter than the Timeless with more texture and definition but there is also less bass than I would like, and less quantity than the Timeless by quite a bit.

    The other downside is a slightly stealy timbre in the lower treble that can be heard in vocals sometimes or cymbals or anything in that FR range. Instruments that shouldn't sound metallic take on a metallic sheen. I'm guessing there is some resonance causing this.

    Link to full review

    Modded with the 60% of the nozzle covered in micropore tape.
    Modded, these are the best sounding of the whole lot. It’s incredible the transformation this simple tweak make. Bass comes up, midrange comes up to netural, and treble becomes completely netural. They are pretty much dead on neutral and have excellent tone and fast transient repsonse with great resolution. I’d say the Gold Planars have equal transients and resolution, but with micropore tape, the S12 has better FR balance. With micropore tape, these are my favorite iems on the market and they are also the cheapest of all of these at only $150. If I have a nit picky quible it’s that they are a bit thin and could use a tiny bit more body. The modded PMV PP is better in this way.

    I bought an extra used pair for the upcoming loaner tour and will include one with micorpore tape and one without, along with a roll of micropore tape in case it comes off.


    Timeless 7hz

    [​IMG]

    All aluminum shell feels nice. They’re very very light iems. Much lighter than the Zen Pro and Solaris, maybe 10% of the weight of those iems despite having strong ortho driver magnets inside. The stock cable feels shitty but at this price I can’t complain. they use MMCX connectors which is awesome so I can use my better cables without ordering something special, and they swivel (I hate 2 pin connectors). I’ve heard rumors about these falling apart, but they feel solid to me. i think the Zen Pro and Solaris would stand up to abuse much better, I wouldn’t want to step on these, but they seem durable enough for normal use.

    Despite their large size due to the large ortho driver, they are super comfortable. The large part of the iem is all floating just above the concha of your ear. And they aren’t actually totally round like the faceplate implies, they are round with a flat part, which is only fully round on the faceplate. The lightness and not touching any part of my ears makes them super comfortable. The tips fit well onto the nozzles as well. The nozzles are the perfect length and width to fit all the best tips and not let them slide down too far.

    Sound
    I somehow lost the ability to get a good fit with these. I’m quite confounded by it. The same tips I used before (generic Penon tips) when they sounded great now the iems just fall out of my ears and the sound is bass light and treble happy indicating a bad seal. And the Azla Cystal tips won’t get a good seal so they become bass light and treble happy too, even though they work on all the other ortho iems here. So I’ll just link to my previous review and include some short notes from memory.

    Link to full review

    These iems might be the most balanced stock. They have a very natural tone that sounds effortless. Transients are a bit soft, and some may prefer the modded S12 which is snappier, but the softer transients make them a more relaxing listen and add something intangibly natural to the sound. They’re very balanced from treble to bass. Tonality is very good, they nail everything from cymbals to violins to brass. The only real problem is slightly loose bass, which I didn’t notice in my full initial review because I was so amazed by how good they sounded (I was expecting them to sound like shit coming from the $2,500 LCDi4).

    The FR and tone of these is really great though, and something to 7hz should be really proud of. Almost all the other ortho iems went for a bright tuning, which defeats the point of an ortho iem, we already have bright as fuck electrodynamic iems why make a bright ortho iem? The advantage is that they can have such balanced FR and great tone while being very resolving and fast.

    I prefer the modded S12 for it’s faster, more resolving sound that when combined with a warm source like the RU6 or Vali2+ is near perfect with much tighter bass and great tone, although a bit on the lean side if I’m nit picking. The 7hz probably has better tonal balance even when the S12 is modded.

    After hearing all these other ortho iems I will add that these have the weakest bass response of all of them. I was so enamored with everything they do so well coming from BA iems when i first got them that I looked past this, but the bass is a bit loose and soft sounding as others have pointed out. They also have softer transients than the S12 and all the others which are much snappier. But some will like this softer presentation.


    Conclusion

    the potential is great for ortho iems that much is clear. Fast, resolving as hell, completely cohesive, great tone and timbre. Not the best soundstage size compared to something like a Solaris but not bad.

    What we need now is better tuning. Almost all of these are too bright. So at this point we’re kind of where we are with full size orthos. Tons of potential but no one has taken the time to tune them properly. I think we’ve got some great ortho iems to come.

    I haven’t heard the CFA Supermoon but they’re sending us a universal version very soon.

    cheers
     
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    Last edited: Aug 2, 2022
  2. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    YOU @rhythmdevils are an ortho rock star! while I don’t have time to demo 10 pairs on loan, please sign me up for the CFA Supermoon universal version loaner ASAP. :D
     
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  3. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    A couple of corrections due to this review being written over the span of like 2 months or more.

    1)
    I said I couldn't' figure out how to change the nozzles on the GL12. I wound up figuring it out, I just had to twist on them harder, they just unscrew. And I preferred the nozzle that had vent holes in it instead of the nozzle that was just a big hole. And with micropore tape on top of that. I also tried shoving various damping materials into the chassis but it never worked that well.

    2)
    I said that both the TMZ and the Audeze had the best drivers. I'm not sure which are better, they are both marred by some acoustic issues. The bass on the TMZ is better than either Audeze iem, but I imagine the Audeez drivers are technically doing better things if the acoustic environment was taken out of the equation.

    3)
    The modded ratings were difficult because most of them have acoustic environment issues or tuning issues. I did my best but they're kind of juggalable depending on your priorities and music preferences. Like if you listen to techno, the TMZ would move up the list for sure.
     
  4. james444

    james444 Mad IEM modding wizard level 99

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    Awesome comparison! I'd like to add one entry here if I may, the Monoprice M350. Unfortunately, they're no longer in production and I got my pair for $80 only shortly before they were phased out.

    [​IMG]

    Still, they deserve a mention, since they're simply excellent and best all my other IEMs (including $1000+ ones) in terms of linearity, resolution and headstage. Don't know why they've been so widely overlooked, maybe just because they're cheap, flimsy and challenging to get a good fit with. Oh, and they're somewhat hard to drive.

    But when it comes to sound quality, they're pretty much the epitome of accurate, diffuse field neutral goodness:

    (DF-compensated)
    [​IMG]

    Some excessive energy in high treble could easily be tamed with micropore. But honestly, I don't care, as they're not harsh to my ears and I love lots of air up top.

    TL;DR: If you come across a NOS or used pair of these for cheap, give them a try.
     
  5. Nash

    Nash Acquaintance

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    Really excellent compilation of most planar iems in the market, maybe missing a few more hyped stuff like Crinacle Dioko, Tin P1 Max, Raptgo Hook X, Musehifi Power. Interestingly most of these launches after Timeless seem to use a similar driver. Also Moondrop and Dunu are launching their planar iems too. Excited for the new releases but the product cycles seems too short lived typical of Chifi. Seriously following the IEM market makes me go crazy sometimes.
     
  6. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    I didn't buy the P1 Max because the tuning of both the P1 and P2 were terrible. I don't trust Tin Hifi anymore. And the Rapt Hook X is not a pure ortho driver, it uses a combination of a dynamic or BA as well I forget, which is just idiotic. I just saw the release of the Musehifi Power and bought one. :). Must. Own. All. Orthos.

    I don't know about the Crincle one, but I don't have much interest in a Crincle tuning because he likes the Harman lifted upper mids, which I do not.
     
  7. Nash

    Nash Acquaintance

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    Oh the Crinacle one is from the same brand as Timeless, possibly the cheapest at $100. Seemingly Dioko has reduced upper mids compared to timeless as per graphs.

    There’s Dethonray Tender which is pre-timeless ortho, not well reviewed though.

    Dunu seems to have a treble switch on their model. Also uses a different driver as per noise in few forums.

    Also are there any mods except the tape mod possible for ortho iems? Like the damping mods on HPs, I find Timeless and S12 bit lean and treble heavy even with tape mod.
     
  8. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    I'm currently working on some! :)
     
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  9. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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  10. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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  11. Senorx12562

    Senorx12562 Case of the mondays

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  12. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    Do you or have a link for more information? I can’t find anything via Google.
     
  13. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    Moondrop Stellaris hasn’t been released yet. They just posted the name out on twitter a couple of days ago. Supposedly to be released this summer, so should be soon.
     
  14. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    But can you play a Moondrop Stellaris on a DNA Stellaris? Some Stellaris on Stellaris action, if you will.
     
  15. Nash

    Nash Acquaintance

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    As SGS said Moondrop Stellaris is their planar and Dunu Talos is their planar with a treble switch as per few posts on discord
     
  16. Gazny

    Gazny Friend

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    I need a Planar IEM Manufacture x RD colab
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Agreed, ditto, +1 Agreed, ditto, +1 x 1
    • List
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2022 at 11:33 AM
  17. james444

    james444 Mad IEM modding wizard level 99

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    I can provide measurements and a few comments on the Crinacle Dioko and Raptgo Hook X, since I had both borrowed for a day from a friend, along with three differently priced cables.

    (DF-compensated; red = Hook cable A, green = Hook cable B, yellow = Hook cable C, light blue = Dioko driven at same DAP volume as Hook, dark blue = Dioko adjusted to Hook SPL)
    [​IMG]

    Comments:
    • I did not hear nor measure any noteworthy difference between the Hook's three cables.
    • I did not hear any incoherence from the Hook's dual driver setup (planar / piezo).
    • Both IEMs were a bit too bassy for my taste, but the Hook with more midbass sounded more natural to me than the Dioko with its subbass emphasis and somewhat "hollow" mid-bass.
    • Mids sounded great on both with realistic timbre and impressive resolution.
    • I heard the most significant difference in treble, the Hook sounding cleaner and smoother and the Dioko a bit wonky in comparison.
    • As seen in the measurements, the Dioko is significantly harder to drive than the Hook.
    • Overall, I felt both IEMs sounded impressive for their asking price (Dioko $100, Hook $240). But irrespective of price, I think the Hook is the clearly better IEM.
     
  18. Nash

    Nash Acquaintance

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    Thanks James! Along with RD also looking forward for your magic in these planars. Big fan of the fdx1
     

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