Friday, 23 June 2017

HIFIMAN RE800 Earphone Review by mark2410

HIFIMAN RE800 Earphone Review by mark2410


Disclaimer: I work with HFIMAN so feel free not to believe me if you so wish.

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First Impressions: Well this isn’t really my “first” impression. It technically is with an actual retail set but…. Well yeah that working with bit I mentioned. I’ve been playing with these for basically the last 6 months and unsurprisingly, I like them. I like them rather a lot. Okay so I’ve liked every IEM from HIFIMAN I’ve ever heard so this is not likely news to anyone. These are in keeping with the RE262 – RE600 vein and it matches up more or less perfectly with my personal tastes. They are bit warm, bit bass boosted, bit middy and a little gently sloped in the highs. So if you’re a treble junky these may not be for you but…….. for me and for all day listening. FCUK yeah!!! So easy on the ear the RE800 is like they took the RE600, dipped it in magic sauce then sprinkled pixie dust on it. Particularly with the big Comply’s on, it further just dampens the treble for my treble sensitive ears yet has hidden depths of resolution in there. It’s so nonchalant, casually presented which is just how I like it. If I want to listen out for micro details I can, or I can stop and just listen to the big picture, the entire grandiosity of it all. Oh and if you were in doubt, they do a glorious rendition of cello’s. There will be much Elgar this coming week.

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Source: HIFIMAN 901S with Minibox Gold card, HIFIMAN Supermini, HIFIMAN Megamini, Nuforce uDAC 3 and Hifiman 901s + Dock into the Graham Slee Solo Ultra Linear, lastly my Google Pixel.

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Lows: Well its rather glorious. The natural thing I’m going to compare it to is its sibling, the RE600. The 600 was a tweaked evolution form the RE262 and thus when you first hear the 800 its seems in the same vein. It is, sort of, it feels like the natural next step up and then you stick the 600 in your ears and wonder what happened. The 600 sounds so nasal and mid focused, no breadth, no spaciously open smoothly rich low end. The deepest reaches are a bit boosted yeah but it seems to cling on a with a ruthless yet utterly natural feeling tenacity. I mentally get its boosted. I know it is but to know what’s in a lasagne you look at the ingredients list but it doesn’t in any way describe what the combined sensation is like in your mouth. These, they do that but in your ears. These are good in such a non-attention-grabbing fashion, they lull you into it ever so smoothly. While I’ve been playing with these for about the last 6 months which is dramatically longer than I usually spend with an item to review. These are so sumptuous and controlled like some hyper control freak yet like a swan effortlessly and gracefully gliding across a lake, its melodiousness is pure perfection.

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Kicking into artificial bass lines like those form Enya, “Even in The Shadows” to “The First of Autumn” they just grip on to the note so incredibly tightly yet go with it in perfect sync, like some perfectly synchronised figure skating. They sweep, they swoon, they shrink to almost nothing then they roar and thunder. “Your Father And I” comes barrelling out at you like a force of nature, you can practically touch the articulation of the notes. These remind in me in same ways of a well amped and impedance added IE8 yet when I try the IE8’s they feel so, grey. That spark has gone, the clarity has fuzzied and they just feel like a lesser product. Mars the bringer of war, seems more like Mars the bringer of slightly unhappy but can’t be bothered. The lows are just so vague, soft and flabby in comparison and those are not things the Senn is normally thought of as, but side by side it is. The RE800 takes what was once thought of as the best by far, single dynamic IEM and solidly spanks them.

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The quantity, while so far these may have been coming across as a bass monster but they are so not. Not only because they so clean in their articulations but that they are not really that bass boosted. Sure they are bit, these are in the RE262>RE600 line, not the RE0>RE272 more neutral line. These are not strictly ruler flat, but what is, still the bass, is boosted but not ever present like on the IE8 which is my go too bass IEM. It does tail off in the furthest depths but that’s really what should happen. It’s the natural timbre of it all. The lower end ranges of a cello and into that of a double bass, I can practically touch the strings. Good god they feel so alive and natural for an IEM. It’s so unspeakably nuanced for an IEM. This is more heading in the direction of an open backed headphone and yet unlike the IE8 and IE7 they haven’t done it at the expense of giving sod all isolation.

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Mids: Taking those low cello notes and going the other way, well, if you like a cello (and I do) then these are not just good but breath-taking. Not so mid focused as the 600 is, the sound staging here takes on a breadth but doesn’t then layer on breathy dry, stripping any liquidity away from it. Elgar and his cello concerto is just magnificent. It really is the way these can move from the simple and humble, focus on a delicate and almost trembling solitary cello. So meek and unprepossessing, then it symphonically rises up and becomes this staggeringly full bodied cacophony of power. I know part of the intention in the creation of these was to give the listener a presentation that aims toward that you might find, sat in a concert hall and…….. while a big open can can do that semblance of authority and majesty better…… these are tiny itty bitty things which fit in your ear.

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The flavour of the mid-range means that it’s not so focused and in your face. Moving to a broader spatial presentation they are a smidge of distance back and lack that dash of extra fluidity I like. Vocals aren’t as smooth and creamy as I often like but these feel more realistic. I know I like things a little too creamy and buttery and while these give the impression they might go that way they never quite do. You see doing that starts to obfuscate their clarity and they can’t bring themselves to do so. The clarity and natural timbre, while I hate the term “organic” they do have that feel. There is something real, non-artificial, might I say, no artificial sweeteners. Both male and girly vocals are so persuasive. Tracy Chapman feels like you’re in the studio with her. Everything so clear, natural sounding, every inflection, every note, that sadly mournful, yet clinging to that last lingering ounce of hope for the future. So emotively alive and real.

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In strict quantity terms, they aren’t as mid stand out as most other reference type products, these have nudged the bass up a smidge and the mids are only a teeny bit. Just the slightest of nudges yet they have so much clarity and detail that I don’t care. Vocals aren’t that Shure like, hyper fluid and smooth like, better than the actually vocalist sort. These are aimed at a natural reproduction, tone, body, air and breathy nuance. Be it Barbara’s “Papa Can You Hear Me” or Michael Ball’s “Tell me There’s a Heaven” Or Barbara’s “Send In The Clown’s” good lord that woman can sing, these do her so well. Either belting a note out or as softly delicate as you can imagine. There is a reason these have been the IEM I’ve been using most days for the last 6 months. They do all the things I care about supremely well.

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Highs: So if there could be anywhere these may not find fans it could be here. These are not bright, in your face and if you wanted a new RE272 you’re not getting it here. Flicking back and forth they haven’t that, “neutral” treble, it is like the old 0 , being ever so gently tapered off. While this may not make for the most sparkling presentation its one that is so easy on the ear. Again, there is a reason this has been my default thing to pick up for the last 6 months. These are not the most wild of trebles, its’s tamed, its nudged gently in the direction of polite. The detail levels it can do are every bit as good as the RE272 ever was and these actually surpass it if you listen close and have the right pairing. These are very VERY detailed but it’s not in your face detail. So much so that you can completely get away with so so recordings. I don’t know about you but a lot of the music I like is not well made, mastered or recorded and here I can enjoy the finest of recordings and still like the badly made stuff.

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The treble though isn’t all completely forgiving, due to the thing being so very VERY highly detailed it means that it’s got the clarity and speed to hit notes hard. You feed it a hard-edgy treble, looking at you Owl City, and it will impact hard, a little too hard my ears. I mean I can’t fault the RE800 for accurately playing back what they are being fed but…. This is the danger with super high-end audio stuff, you find music you like isn’t well made so once or twice I was tracking skipping I liked on lesser things because it was just to clean and hard edged. The actual quality is when you find some really fine recordings which unfortunately all seem to be classical the mellitic clash of a cymbal comes across with a refinement and natural delicacy to it that is unspeakably real. It is superb and comes the closest in an IEM to truly being real yet it’s hard to focus on it alone. The coherency you get from this being a single dynamic means everything is so well integrated nothing artificially stands on its own. Great for listening to, a pain in the behind for reviewing and even more so given the lack of superbly recorded treble happy music. Still the Chesky demo disc with “sweet Georgia Brown” has a morass of treble notes all splashing in from every direction and its hugely impressive. The detail and refinement these display is so great and yet so casually presented it really isn’t until you go back to something lesser that you fully apricate the difference.

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Soundstage: It like the treble seems so natural, so beguiling, it’s just sort of there and you don’t really have the typical awareness of the tiny speakers in your ears that most do. Even whipping out those IE8’s which were once spoken of as a miraculous achievement in terms of their soundstage and the vastness of it. These don’t feel huge, they just don’t but they don’t feel enclosed. They capture that quality the RE252 had and I never felt I could really quite describe. The audio seems to come into existence rather be “created” just a fraction of an inch from your ear drum. It is somehow magically just present as though it had happened though some space/time portal. I realise it doesn’t really quite make sense as a description but if I could find the words I’d use them. There is a quality whereby things just are, not enclosed, not distance, things just are. It’s a very “natural” sound like listening to the real thing but coming form an IEM, I can’t help but feel it to be a peculiar sensation.

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Comfort: Great. Nothing particularly notable or eventful about them. They are round, universal in ear things like many others and I could wear them happily up or down and for many hours at a time with no problems. A little more bulbous than the 600 before it so a bit bigger but I never had any issues in the slightest.

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Fit: Super, shoved in ears and was done. Given its me I went right to the included Comply’s because when reviewing find silicon’s just give that little bit of suction when removing. These are vented so I wouldn’t expect anyone to have any real issues with them.

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Cable: Well….. its actually pretty nice. It’s not blowing me away but it’s back to the kind that were on the RE2x2 range and not, the clothe weave ones from the RE0 and 400 and 600. While I know that cable on them was selected for its acoustic properties and yes they did sound great but……I still never liked the feel of them. This however is, I think, a considerable improvement. Its rubbery coated and feels very flexible though I do strangely like the metal Y splitter and the chin slider, while I’m sure a plastic one would have done the job just as well, I like that it, the jack and the buds are all matching metal.

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Microphonics: Worn up none. If you insist on wearing down then yeah there was a little but the cable does a pretty good job of absorbing the vibrations and you can use the chin slider to remove the issue entirely if you want.

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Aesthetics: Well, on the whole I like but….. I’m not wild about the gold. I’ve never been keen on gold and if I’m super honest, I’d rather they were just plain brass as there would be a certain honesty and purity in that. Mind you I’m hoping that we might see some limited editions in the future with more colours, not that the colour really matters but you know. Yet weirdly while I don’t love the gold buds I rather like the golden Y splitter and chin slider, maybe it’s that they are next to the black cable? It least it’s all a matte, sand blasted gold finish so it’s not super shiny.

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Accessories: You get the standard, bunch of tips which now includes some Comply’s so yey! Then you get the little plain black case and less commonly, some ear guide things, if you like that sort of thing. I don’t use the guides but I’m pleased to see them included as it always pains me when I see people using a high quality IEM and then are just wearing them straight down.

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Amped/Unamped: They do have an impedance of 60 ohms so, don’t expect any old thing to do super amazing things with them but…..my itty bitty 1G Ipod Shuffles actually sounded bloody good driving them. The hiss of the Shuffle got in my a face a couple times with the brighter tonality and more brittle nature of it, it made tracks that were hissy, seem extremely so. Still, for a thing so ancient it did a hugely fun attempt at high end audio. Seriously, the slightly warm slant of the 800 took on a liveliness that really worked for mainstream pop music. Dancing in your chair, mouthing along to the words, it really was impressively and surprisingly fun a combination. Not the most grown up pairing obviously. Flicking to the Pixel and…. Well the background was much blacker and arguably of a more mature tonality and style. While it was really very very listenable for a phone I don’t see me retiring separate DAP/s anytime soon. Still the impedance rating really wasn’t the nightmare it could have been, not having a crossover in it meant there wasn’t any wild swings (cough Westone, cough) in their tonal balance. Ditto with adding the Ety impedance adapter, which you know I love to do. That that pushes the impedance super high for an IEM, so your phone or so so DAP wont probably like it if you do.

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Isolation: Well in most regards these are hitting it out of the park by most IEM standards but…. These are dynamics and they are vented. Only a little bit vented so while for a dynamic their isolation is actually really good but it still won’t hold a candle to a pair of deep seating BA IEM’s. It is the same argument you get with headphones, open vs closed. Open has generally considerably superior properties but they don’t block out anything so they are not as useful in all situations. While its less extreme as these do isolate pretty well and I have been absolutely using them on a bus and on flights, if I had a daily Tube commute, probably not so much.

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Build Quality: If there is an area where HIFIMAN traditionally gets flack, it’s the build, okay specifically the cables on the 400 and 600. They rubbed many people the wrong way and while year they sounded great, I for one shall not be mourning the loss of that cloth weave on the outside. I’ve had no issues so far and I do like the jack. The jack is big and beefy that you will maybe want to keep away from your phones screen. I like it though, big chunky beast of a thing. Still the main improvement is the cable, it feels so much better in the hand than the one on the v1 RE600 and 400.

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Value: Well let’s face it, at this price we are into diminishing returns and these are not 20 times better than the RE00. However, nothing is, a Ferrari isn’t 20 times better than a Ford but if you go to a Ferrari show room and your thinking about which is the best “value for money” you have totally missed the point. If you want the highest reaches of performance, then you had best prepare your wallet for a beating. You know, while US$699 is a fair chunk of change, in terms of speakers it’s a drop in the ocean so you could say these are super awesome amazing value compared to what you’d pay to get this level of audio quality in a speaker set up. To date, these are, I think, my favourite IEM out there. If ever was there an IEM made especially for me and my ears, it is basically this.

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Conclusion: Right off the bat I can state with no equivocation that these are a magnificent work of acoustic art. I know bits of their design and construction and I realise that saying, oh we painted patterns on the driver sounds like, big deal, so what. However, it really actually is a monumental step away from what the industry has been doing for years. Instead of making diagrams ever stiffer to combat deformation and ripples HIFIMAN has said, okay so it’s impossible so let’s aim to control them instead. This is not unlike is attempted in BMR (Balanced Mode Radiator) speakers and despite being on teeny little IEM drivers, it works. Holy crap does it work too. It sounds like such a simple little thing, I mean how much distortion could there be on the driver anyway right?

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The tonal balance on these and the purity with which they are capable is a real feat of engineering, sure they are a hint warmed so treble junkies or those with high end hearing loss may want something more bright but good lord, sooooo much detail. If anything, these are well into the territory whereby the biggest problem they face is showing up flaws you don’t want to hear. So much music isn’t well made and while these are trying to be forgiving and not thrusting it in your face…… its so easy to notice if you have a keen ear. I did find that some tracks I just had to skip because they just aren’t well made and the 800 presents it all so cleanly its completely noticeable. It may not count as the worst flaw ever but it is a problem. However, once the music industry, as happened with TV when HD came in, they will begin to tidy up background rubbish that shouldn’t be there.

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So would I buy a pair? Well my wallet wouldn’t be thrilled but these are about as close to what I would make for me if I was making an IEM. The tonal purity, the clarity they are capable of, the expressiveness that strings and and brass instruments can portray is sublime. You can auraly melt into everything, not just hearing music but it speaking directly to your soul, washing over and through your senses. They are so accurate and detailed yet have zero coherency or timing issues which you tend to get with crossovers and multi driver setups. The more drivers, the harder it gets and with some things now having 14 drivers per ear, the scope there for anyone thing being just even the most tiny of hints out smears the audio. A single driver means none of that takes place and no crossover where either drivers have to work over each other, smearing as their performance will never be perfectly the same, or you dip them so they don’t shout over each other. Sure some multi-drivers are still awesome but I’ve not met one that sounds so completely integrated sonically.

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In short, the RE800 is a masterpiece of engineering and of audio art. It won’t be all things to all men but I would very much doubt that anyone who listens to one won’t give it the praise and respect it commands. There is so far, in my opinion, no finer audiophile IEM. Timing, coherence, tonality, timbre are all as fine as its sounds signature is sublime and beautiful.

HIFIMAN RE800 Earphone Quick Review by mark2410

HIFIMAN RE800 Earphone Quick Review by mark2410


Disclaimer: I work with HFIMAN so feel free not to believe me if you so wish.


Brief: Solid Gold.


Price: US$699 or £649


Specifications: Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz, Impedance: 60Ω, Sensitivity: 105dB, Topology Diaphragm, 9.2mm Dynamic Driver, Brass Housing, Silver Coated, Crystalline Copper Wire


Accessories: You get a handful of tips, though I still find them a little on the small side. For small Chinese ears maybe? Whatever but the ones I’m really interested is the inclusion of a couple pairs of Comply’s so they are what I go to right off. Oh, and the ear guides and the little case.


Build Quality: Rather nice, the cable is a great big step up on the original RE600 one, the jack too its some great lump of metal so phone screens beware. The buds are solid metal too so short of putting them in a vice they should be pretty sturdy.


Isolation: For a dynamic, very good but…. not quite up to BA levels so if you have a Tube commute they wouldn’t be my first option but I repeatedly used on buses and on a couple flights quite happily. Should be enough for most people in most situations.


Comfort/Fit: Excellent on both counts. Nothing unusual, rounded symmetrical buds that went in the ear with a shove and that was that. No venting issues and I wore for several hours at a time with not issues at all.


Aesthetics: I have mixed feelings, I don’t love gold but I do like the matte sandblasted type finish. I would just prefer they were black or silver rather than gold but in fairness, I’ve just never liked gold.


Sound: If I had made an IEM for myself, it would be more or less this. They have a slanted sound signature to the bass and a little subdued in the treble but that works perfectly for me. If you’re going to listen to for hours on end you need something easy on the ear and these are. They are rich and mellow, so smooth and with such clarity they make everything look effortless and easy. The bass is superb, so sculpted you can practically reach out and touch it. The mids are a little touch back in comparison but have such a broad scope, such an incredibly natural texture and tone to them. Male or female, oh good god and strings, strings are so fantastically good. The timbre, the tactility, I cannot just feel the strings vibrating in my hand but I can feel what it is to be the string like I’m staring into its soul. It’s strange and freaky that you can just lose yourself into what is nothing more than a harmonic wave. Granted you need some extremely good quality music to really abandon the outside world and create your own mini heaven as you trundle into work or wherever.


Everything sounds so real and dreamy and captivating yet it makes it all look so completely effortless. It feels so relaxed and confident in its paragon like virtues you really need to spend time with it and explore what it can do as it’s so completely non-attention seeking in its presentation. It is simply wonderful sounding.


Value: Wallet ouch yeah but have a listen then it won’t seem so much.


Pro’s: Sublime. Sonically capable to such a degree, tone and coherence it puts others to shame.


Con’s: Won’t have enough treble for some tastes. Isn’t very aggressive.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Accutone Gemini HD Earphone Review by mark2410

Accutone Gemini HD Earphone Review by mark2410

Thanks to Accutone for the sample.




First Impressions:  Hmm, I am still not loving Accutone’s strange naming system.  Looking at their website I’m not sure what these are supposed to have in common with the normal Gemini but whatever, these are the HD one.  Now I see in pic’s that they look fantastically pretty.  I mean damn they look bloody good don’t they!!!  Getting the things in my hand and whipping open the box and err, what.  Okay this is just weird, the shiny metal bits in the pics are covered in a layer of rubber.  Erm well that’s different.  I presume you’re just supposed to peal it off right?  Oh and there are some of the audio filters, erm where is the silver one?  Oh Accutone seriously???  So while you show silver filters, only silver filters on your website they don’t actually have silver filters.  Honestly Accutone you need to find whoever authorised your website, punch them repeatedly in the face then fire them and then all the marketing interns you turned the consumer audio division over too.  I mean why only show silver filters when you don’t do a silver filter????   I mean who thought that was a good idea and then who okayed it???  Seriously even a double face palm doesn’t come close to how much face palm is here.

So they came with the red filters on, giving those a try and hmm, bassy.  I’m not wild about this nor am I seeing that this is deserving to be called Clarity as you website states is their default tuning.  The manual however says the red is the bassy, so let’s nudge in the middle option, the err greenish yellow one.  Okay now that is much better, good god that is an improvement.  I’m still in a bad mood, that website needs to be killed with fire but these filters, ugly colour aside and actually pretty damn good.  Finally Accutone seems to be getting its audio on. 



Source: FiiO E7/E9 combo, Hisoundaudio Studio V 3rd Anv., HiFiMAN HM-650, 1G Ipod Shuffle, Nexus 5, Lumia 735 and Graham Slee Solo Ultra Linear.



Lows:  Good, well just skip the red filter I don’t want it manages to do but just skip it, it makes things so muddy that I can find no reasonable explanation for.  The bile coloured ones, now those are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better.  Better that I’m looking at the price tag and thinking yep, I’d pay that.  Nooo, seriously, an Accutone that I’m liking, liking rather a lot.  Not only do the look super these actually have audio that’s as accordingly decent.  The bass it’s the biggest, nor is it the deepest but its super clean.  Its practically BA clean, hard, unyielding and lithe.  Now they do want a bit of power to be their best but when you de they toughen up like granite.  Weeeeeeeee!!!!  Firing up, well anything really and they are fantastic.  Yey!!!! I was beginning to think Accutone was a bust but turns out they’ve got some audio chops after all.  Super clean, hard unyielding and well sculpted bass.  Now I might like a smidge more but stay away from the red filter, it sucks.  The blue one, while super pretty it’s a bit light for me, tbh I suspect for anyone without out hearing loss issues. 

Quantity wise these are verging towards reference level, a tiny sliver over and they don’t quite have the extreme linearly as they go down like on an Ety but there are so much more eager to rise up when called upon and the have a wonderful degree of articulation when driven well.  So much agility for dynamic, like a Bernina sculpture its flows effortlessly yet retains a marble hardness beneath.  Wooo yey there are gorgeous sounding and playfully beautiful in their renditions.



Mids:  Fantastic.  That same quality as with the bass, so cleanly sculpted and finely detailed, it’s exquisitely beautiful.  Ahhh so pretty, so so much pretty.  Firing up Beverly Craven’s “Promise Me” and she is awe inspiring.  I’m a big fan of her vocal talents (even though her last couple albums weren’t so great) here she is on farm and the HD’s flow with such effortless melody and intonation in the vocals that its al just such a joy to listen to.  Honestly after the Pieces these are just so fantastically different, these can’t have been made by the same team.  Time and gain vocal heavy tracks would come on and their performance would be just so perfect.  Neither creamy nor dry they are just so damn well spot on!!!  Even stuff with mediocre vocals such as Reliant K’s “Lost Boy” I find I’m having a hard time not bursting into song.  They have that not quite definable awesomeness something that just captures the essence of vocal joy in abundance.  Every vocal just has some magical glaze upon it, everything sounds so wonderful, everything.  From Fiona Apple’s angry yet soft “Limp” to the tear inducing “Papa Can You Hear Me?” from Miss Streisand the HD’s do them all so wonderfully well I want more and more.

Quantity wise with the bass being not super heavy they may come across are being a bitty middy, bit mid centric which well maybe isn’t technically true but there are relatively middy to most things.  Vocals are so good, so well rendered while with such tonal brilliance that I have no complaints, the mids are so well done why not have lots of them.



Highs:  Hmm.  Well tbh I almost forget about the highs with the mids being so nice as they are the treble is, well it’s a bit behind the treble and with it by smidge a good dynamic it’s rather refined.  It’s not edgy, in your face detail and the more power you throw at them the better behaved and refined the treble becomes.  However I really had trouble playing things with heavy treble.  The mids were so well done that I constantly found I was skipping any track that wasn’t heavily vocal.  Making myself fire up “Cave In” and even well amped there is some treble detail loss.  These are more about the pleasing ear friendly shimmer than they are about the sharp edge of a treble note.  Super great for me and its being not too reduced in abundance this style is more easy on my treble sensitive ears.  There is a reason why I love treble as displayed by a good dynamic and these here, are a very good dynamic.

So despite it’s not hard edgy bight they are stupid agile on the bass and glorious in the mids so even fast treble centric songs like “Cave In” They can fire everything with spades of alacrity and never does it even hint at breaking up the treble and getting scratchy.  Super behaviour, exactly how it ought to be done.



Soundstage:  They are pretty good.  They do a nicely rounding sensation, not gobs of distance yet I don’t mind.  They are a pleasing encompassing rendition side to side and a little bit fore and back depth.  The can do volume really well but scale and grandeur not so much.  Vocals can be a little upfront and in wile not right up in your face, they are right in front of you.



Fit:  Good.  The Comply’s on and in the ears they went.  No issues.  Not very deep sitting but no bother.



Comfort:  Like the fit, fine.  I could wear up or down fine and despite their slightly sharp edged enclosure it was fine and I could wear for several hours at time with no problems.



Microphonics:  No chin slider but even wearing down they didn’t really have any.  Wearing up there was none at all, even deliberately hitting the cable.  Yey!



Aesthetics:  Well I’m still a little bit bitter about there not being a silver filter, because let’s face it the pics with it all in silver look awesome.  Though it does mean I can pick the filter based on sound and not feel like I must use the silver for aesthetic reasons.  Though I’d be lying if I said I like the bile coloured filter.  The rod and especially the blue look lush though, that blue, soooooo pretty.  The rest of the things in silver and white and they do look pretty damn good.  Well once you peel off that weird rubber coating, that’s just weird.



Cable:  It’s alright.  Tbh I wasn’t super loving it nor hating it or really having any feelings about it. Its fine, it’s not interesting.



Isolation:  They are dynamics and well they aren’t super high isolators.  A little bit of a shame as they are fine for out and about but pushing towards not so much for a bus.  I mean I would use them on a bus but they aren’t super great for it.  Flights and Tube, na I don’t think so.  Naturally they will be more than to get your accidently run over because you didn’t hear traffic.  Eyes people.



Accessories:  Hmm.  Yeah they still have the Accutone case that they don’t really fit in.  They will go if you shove them in but frankly I’m not pleased with that case.  The tips selection is strangely Spartan, no silicones.  However about the filters, they really need to take a life out of Trinity’s book and get those little metal tubes to keep them in.  Seriously though what’s with the no silicone tips?  I mean I’m fine with the Comply’s but it’s strange.



Phone Use:  Great.  Accutone have a background in headsets and it shows, again I was told they sounded particularly good and that was even wearing them up.  So if you’re on the phone a lot, bonus.



Amped/Unamped:  Well you don’t really ever “need” to amp things but these definitely responded well to amping.  Very well and if you buy a pair then you really ought to amp them.  Throw power at these little baby’s and they will take it all and spit it back out at you with oodles of audio loveliness.  Seriously, if you only ever run them out of your phone you will be missing out and the wonderfully midrange rendition that these are capable off.  Yes they will still sound good but not all they can be.



Value:  Yey!!! They aren’t the cheapest things ever but they really come to life and so deserve their US$130 price tag.  I’m not saying you can’t beat them and there aren’t other things better, especially if you want a lot of bass but I’m super pleased with these and their mid-range talents.



Conclusion:  Well I had been about convinced that Accutone had lost the plot, the Pieces and the Taurus, well they, let’s just maybe pretend they don’t exist shall we.  These, now I’ve no idea what the normal Gemini are like but these are cracking little wonders.  Get that bile filter on them and the balance is fabulous and the mids are sublime.  Sooooo scrummy that I just wanted more and more of it.  Every vocal on them got a dusting of audio crack.  So tonally pure, so clean and effortless.  Squeeee, just all so good!!!  Literally every vocal on them sounded good, even completely crap vocals.  Excellent stuff



Down side wise, well just silly little things, like the no silver filter, that case that’s too thin.  The weird rubber coating on the buds.  The lack of any reasonable way to store the other filters.  Frankly the only things it does wrong are things you can completely ignore and tbh, “accidently” losing the red filters isn’t something I’d shed a tear over.  Quite what they do to muddy everything so badly just to increase the bass, go buy a bass boosting amp if you want more bass.  Hell even EQ’ing more bass in would be better than that filter.



So would I / should you buy one?  Yep.  Yep.  Well for you, you have to like a reasonably middy signature, not vast bass and not hard brutal treble.  If you want a V shaped beast then these wont suit you but otherwise I can’t think of any other reason why you shouldn’t.  These are a fabulous showing from Accutone and shows that they can spit out some damn fine audio quality.  Though can I just suggest, maybe change the bile coloured filter to just a plain silver one?  Yeah seriously my biggest complaint is the filter is an ugly colour.  Love the sound from these little beauties.