Soranik IEMs Impressions and Discussion

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by Bill-P, Apr 14, 2020.

  1. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    So... the other day, @FlySweep asked me if I knew Soranik, the Vietnamese IEM maker.

    Well, yeah, I know the company. In fact, they just sent over two IEMs for me to check out. One of them I actually bought with my own money because I really liked Soranik's DES Reference IEM, and I was liking the direction they were headed in with regards to their electrostatic offerings. The second was "tagged along" as a demo loaner because they wanted to get my impressions, so... here we are.

    I'm not going to say much on the other IEM for now, as that one seems like it'll eventually go on a loaner tour. Will talk to "the Council" on how to proceed with a loaner for that IEM. But what I can talk about now is the IEM I bought. Here's how it looks:

    [​IMG]

    It's alright. :bow:

    Soranik calls this one QES, which apparently stands for Quad-Electrostatic or something like that.

    As for how it sounds... well, it's basically a pretty neutral IEM. Bass lays it on pretty thick, typical of most IEMs I have heard (I have pretty much given up on the notion of "fast IEM bass"), but it doesn't seem to overshadow the midrange. The trick seems to be that this IEM has a healthy dose of upper midrange boost for Asian female vocal lovers, even more so than the bass boost. And yet it's also not exactly bright either, as the treble range is pretty smooth. I don't get that "prickly" effect that I got when I first put on PP8, and... I'm not sure if it's the e-stat drivers, but this IEM sounds pretty airy. Overall, I'd say it's a pretty tasty IEM with bass and upper mid emphasis for those who are looking for something like it.

    Here's FR measurement for reference:

    [​IMG]

    Compared against my Solaris and UE18+: (please note I'm matching at 2KHz because that's more indicative of what I'm hearing)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My Solaris is on a loaner with @brencho so I couldn't do a comparison, but... based on his comments, I think this one will be a better fit for him. It has that "snappy" effect to vocals and string instruments that I think... sometimes Solaris kinda glossed over. I mean... a direct comparison would be nice, but I think this IEM overall sounds like a slightly less laid-back Solaris, for what that's worth. Solaris to me always sounds like a downward slope with some rebound in the treble extreme. This one... sounds like a slight V-shape over what "neutral" would be.

    Compared against UE18+, the difference is "stark". If QES is "neutral" then UE18+ basically sounds like it's all about lower mid and a very even midrange-head response that gradually rolls off at the furthest extremes. Also in direct comparison, UE18+ sounds a bit... intimate and slightly compressed compared to QES. But UE18+ wins hands down if I'm listening to sibilant recordings or when I don't want head-bashing bass.

    So I'm not going to proclaim this as the best thing ever. But it's certainly something I'll have no qualm owning and listening to on a regular basis. It certainly compliments my other IEMs well, and while none of them truly is quite "my taste" per se (UE18+ actually gets pretty darn close but... too warm!), each one does some things so well on their own and are basically unique enough to share the stable.

    Oh, one last thing: QES doesn't seem as dependent on output impedance as Solaris is to me. It sounds pretty decent out of my iPhone and AK120 (3.5 ohm OI?). GOV2+ also sounds pretty decent as a source. UE18+ is still king when it comes OI independence, though, basically sounding the exact same regardless of source device.
     
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  2. Augmentin

    Augmentin MOT - DUNU IEM Company

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    Nice comparisons! I really liked the DES on the dead neutral switch setting; only wished it had a little further bass extension for my tastes. This one seems to have turned up the fun a little more.

    Do you have measurement comparisons against your DES? Is this done one 2cc tubing BTW?
     
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  3. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Oops, sorry, I did not notice this. Yeah, it was with tubing. I actually just cut off a milk tea straw (literally a straw that came with my wife's milk tea) and used it for measurements. Seems to work well so far. \/

    I'll see if I saved the DES measurements somewhere on my computer. I've since switched computer (13" MBP to 16" now) so things are still... going missing.

    But I can tell you this much: this is a lot more bass compared to my DES R (probably it's a bit less bassy than the "neutral" bass switch?). It has better slam, extension, control, tightness and solidity to the sound. The mid to high range seem to have been retuned to sound even more airy than before.

    It basically sounds like a Solaris with slightly more upper midrange to lower treble.
     
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  4. Augmentin

    Augmentin MOT - DUNU IEM Company

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    Good ol' milk tea!

    Soranik is sending me something to listen to (not exactly sure what's inside) --- will report back when I get a listening.
     
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  5. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    Im confused calling it neutral then saying it has bass and upper midrange emphasis ie not neutral :confused:
     
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  6. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Yeah, sorry. My terminology may be a bit confusing. I should keep them consistent.

    Basically, I'd describe my IEMs as...

    Solaris - U-shaped, slight upper midrange scoop.
    QES - V or W shaped depending on source. Maybe more W shape than V?
    UE18+ - warm. Inverted U or N shaped essentially. Sounds pretty dang close to my HD650.

    None of them is truly "neutral" per se. All of them get close but are off by just a little bit here and there.
     
  7. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    Awesome response. Just a pet peeve of mine. The word neutral is holy :bow:

    crazy to see an electrostatic iem.
     
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  8. Augmentin

    Augmentin MOT - DUNU IEM Company

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    So for the last few days, I've been listening to two Soranik models that, it turns out, are not the QES, not the DES, and not the Ion-4/BMT. So this is kind of off-topic. @Bill-P should we have a dedicated Soranik discussion thread?

    [​IMG]
    Obligatory shot; most listening done with Fender/Aurisonics oval 'Clementine' tips or Comply T-500 foams.

    Anyhoo, I'd been in contact with Soranik a few weeks ago, telling them that I was in the market for a personal neutral reference. I was getting bored with what I had and wanted something new and more interesting. My target for 'neutral' has gradually skewed downward over the years, with my tolerance for peaky treble very much lowered than before, but with my desire for gobs of microdetail, good spatial presentation, linear bass response, and a large center image retained. It's also been years since I've gotten a CIEM, so I wanted to go custom again. I also wanted to do away with budget concerns and focus solely on getting as close to my preferred sound signature as possible. (So I have not asked at all how Soranik is planning to price these two new models --- they might be quite affordable, or they might be exorbitantly expensive)

    Soranik then told me about an interesting development. They were working on a series of completely tubeless, damperless, and passive component-less IEMs, i.e. completely tuned via acoustic resonators and chamber design. This is certainly not a completely novel idea; 64 Audio and FiR Audio take a similar route in their product development, but Soranik seemed to take the idea to an extreme by completely doing away with any Zobel network, any cloth filter, etc. Basically, the only passive componentry, electrical or acoustic, in the signal path, are the internal wiring, the cable, and the amplifier. The 'Revolution' series, as Soranik is calling it tentatively, is meant to be the ultimate in revealing the effects of upstream components.

    Last week, Soranik let me know they they were ready to send some things over to me for listening. It turned out that the two items I received were a part of the new Revolution series. The one pictured is the Versailles, a 3 BA model. The other one is the Bastille, a 3 BA + 1 DD model. Soranik is claiming about 90% completion in tuning and design.

    After I received them, I was somewhat busy and only took an extremely quick listen of the Versaille out of the stock tips (which didn't fit me all that well), the stock cable (which is rated at around 2 ohms resistance), and straight out of my MBP13's 3.5 mm port. I wasn't particularly enthusiastic about it at first listen.

    This is what I told Soranik (gold logo w/powder is the Bastille, silver logo w/o powder is Versaille):
    Soranik told me there was not as much of a difference between the two models as what I was reporting, so I decided to tweak my fit, switching to Comply foams and using my BTR5.

    Okay, first this for now. Gotta go get a haircut. More reconstructed stream-of-consciousness impressions to fo come.
     
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  9. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Oh yeah, I totally understand. I think... IEMs are the hardest to claim "neutral". In fact, my FR preference for IEMs has shifted slightly over the years as well. It's hard to tell.

    Something that fits me may not fit too many others, even when they have the same full-size headphone tastes as I do. There are too many variables.

    I'll just rename this thread. Cool impressions!

    Here's the promised QES vs DES measurement:

    [​IMG]

    The DES is the "Reference" model. This one sounded exactly as it measured: nice, but the bass could use a bit more authority. The QES turned the fun up quite significantly, as you can see, but it mostly kept the midrange and the treble is a bit smoother. I think the DES is a bit more lower midrange-centric, even, but it just sounds so very anemic in the bass, and the overall sound of the DES tipped up quite a bit. In contrast, the QES is... a bit more dynamic sounding to my ears.

    Also, this is still QES but I'm re-measuring using a different pair of ear tips that fit me better. The tips seem to have smoothed out the upper mid slightly, but this should still be representative.

    Please also forgive the different black background. I'm setting up the new computer and I'm still trying to figure out this beta version of REW.

    P.S.: oops, couldn't rename the thread. Haha. Well, I guess we can keep discussing. No sense in opening up a billion threads.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2020
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  10. Tchoupitoulas

    Tchoupitoulas Friend

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    I hope Soranik makes a giant-killer IEM and calls it the Guillotine.
     
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  11. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    Thread title updated to incorporate all Soranik iem discussion.
     
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  12. tranhieu

    tranhieu MOT: Soranik

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    Fine idea! I will consider it next time ;)
     
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  13. IUONA

    IUONA Friend

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    Holy shit... Did you ask for those faceplates or did they just pick it & surprised you?

    That is the most amazing faceplate design/art that I’ve ever seen. Maybe I’m biased because I’m into aquariums & fish, but it is stunning. If it were a piece of art, I’d absolutely want to buy it.

    I can’t decide if it’s just a depiction of koi on some neat textured backgrounds, clownfish (though the anatomy would be slightly off), or if it’s just a generic fish thing they did that’s just supposed to look cool. But, it seems like too big a coincidence to not be inspired by real reef fauna - it really looks like clownfish swimming in the tentacles of a fiery orange bubble tip anemone (it’s rare, but some are that color) on the right, and one passing over montipora, coralline algae or photosynthetic plating sponge on the left.

    Regardless, I’m smitten.
    :bow: :rolleyes: :pirate07:
     
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  14. boredpanda

    boredpanda Almost "Made"

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    I agree - absolutely gorgeous. Made me think of this (fairly expensive) keyboard wrist rest - picture ;)
     
  15. IUONA

    IUONA Friend

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    Sexy as fuck. lol The wood is beautiful, and the use of epoxy/resin/acrylic or whatever is was done well.

    I’ve got a thing for nice wood. Partially stemmed from being a musician, I guess. I suppose one could say beautiful wood gives me a woody. :rolleyes:
     
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  16. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    @Bill-P, which Soranik did you send to me?
     
  17. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    It's probably the same thing that was sent to @Augmentin, I think? Bastille or whichever it's called.

    Do you have any thoughts on them?

    Soranik said they'd like to know if the IEMs were decent or if they sucked even more than PP8 or something like that. They seem to want to collect feedbacks before finalizing the sound signature.
     
  18. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    I kind of did ask for koi faceplates, but the design was completely up to Soranik. They certainly surprised me. :bow:
     
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  19. Augmentin

    Augmentin MOT - DUNU IEM Company

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    Whelp --- a haircut turned into babysitting, gardening, and Mother's Day preparations... I haven't had time to listen this week, but once I get some time I'll update with more thoughts.

    @purr1n Bastille is the 3BA/1DD hybrid. Should be silver logo and plain black shelled. If it's got a gold logo, and black shells sprinkled with gold powder, it should be the Versailles, a 3BA design.
     
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  20. Mochill

    Mochill Rando

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    Soranik sent me the BMT and ion-4 ,love them both
     

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