Saturday, 14 January 2012
Vsonic GR06 Quick Review
Thanks to Frogbeats for the sample
Brief: Vsonic once more slays all before it.
Specification: Impedance 24 Ohm, Cable Length 1.3m, Sensitivity > 108dB, Frequency Range 10 Hz - 20000 Hz, Driver 11mm High-Dynamic CCAW Drive Unit
Accessories: 1 Set Foam Ear Tips, 1 Set of Bi Flanges, 3 Sets of Hybrids with Foam, 3 Silicone Ear Tips (S/M/L), 5 Sets of Hybrids, Silicone Ear Hook, Storage Case, Warranty Card
Build Quality: Very good, excellent cable.
Isolation: It’s okay, it’s enough for normal out and about usage but nothing special. About average for a dynamic of this type. Still probably enough to make you road kill if you aren’t used to isolating IEM’s but not the one the pick for that flight to New Zealand.
Comfort/Fit: I’ll grant that its square shape may be off putting but like its siblings they gave me not the slightest hint of trouble. I can’t promise the same for all but I do not recall seeing anyone else having any problems either. Plus they come with so many tips I’m sure at worst you just have to try more till you get the one for you.
Aesthetics: I really rather like them, I like the bronzy colour particularly on the cable. It’s not garish and vulgar but still adds a little hint of colour to them. The buds are the same colour and again it’s nice that it’s something other than black.
Sound: I naturally want to compare these to their siblings the GR07 and in comparison the just fall short all over the place. They are just not anything like as good. Then I remember these just have stupid names and are priced a million miles away from the excellent and great value GR07. Sound wise though they are nothing like a million miles away. They are stylistically a bit of a departure for Vsonic, much more of a warm and thick sound than I’m used to seeing. I miss the air and transparency that they do so well. What you get here though is a thick, luscious sound that is full of power and yet still can do shimmering delicate treble. It’s not too unlike one of my favourites, Senn’s IE7. It’s a beautifully natural (okay maybe a little bass heavy) sound that flows over the ears. It’s still got the speed and agility though to spring to life and dance with a musicality that puts many costing vastly more to shame. Bass could do with better extension; mids could do with more transparency and be dryer. Highs could have more edge but really I cannot complain. These sound freaking fantastic. Bassy, warm and oodles of bounce with clear yet smooth treble. Vsonic are onto a winner here.
Value: Insanely good. These beat the poo out of everything near their price. Unless you have a very particular requirement them these can be bested but otherwise these are like their brothers. Excel nowhere but so good at everything no all rounder can touch them.
Pro’s: Freakin’ awesome sounding. Great cable. Stupid cheap.
Con’s: Won’t really suit treble heads, not something to use on the Tube.
Vsonic GR06 Review
Thanks to Frogbeats for the sample
First Impressions: Okay so I can’t help but notice is no case, some little baggie thing in its place and Vsonic, I do not think is a change that’s a good one. Please can the 6 come with proper hard case seeing as the 4 Pro Flagship does (still think that’s the stupidest name ever.) The buds do look really nice and they still have their strangely attractive bronze cable. It’s so nice to see something other than the typical black/gray that isn’t hooker red, not that there is anything wrong with any of those but the bronzy colour is gentle and muted yet still has a bit of colour to it. It’s nice to see the inclusion of about 3 million tips too, it pretty much ensures you’ll get a good fit, if not then you’ll just need to get new ears.
First listen I must say I’m disappointed. Now I’m just going off memory and that’s sometimes not always spot on but these aren’t close to the 7. I remember at the time thinking the 4 Pro Flagships did manage to get rather close and these from their name I’d expect to be close. Then again these do seem to be going for a pretty low price in comparison. They wouldn’t position these below the 4 pro Flagship’s would they? Still let’s send them off and see what a burn in does before I can really begin to properly comment on them.
Source 1G iPod Shuffle with a 75 ohm adapter added and an HM-601
Lows: Right what strikes me about the low end here is that it a little different from what Vsonic normally gives up. It’s a little looser, warmer and more expansive; this is particularly noticeable when going head to head with its sibling the GR04 Pro Flagship. It makes it feel a little slow and heavy but it’s not that either is the right way to do it, it’s a personal preference thing. That said it’s not like the bass can’t kick it up a notch if you want it to hit a little harder and be a little more punchy, it’s a more “consumer” orientated sort of bass. It also being tuned such isn’t quite so linear and feels as though it tails off a touch when you start sending it down low. You probably wouldn’t notice this and even if you did I’m not sure you’d care. I keep having to remind myself that while this isn’t the GR07 it also doesn’t cost anything like it. When you feed it some additional impedance it tightens it up nicely too and becomes what I’d call truly impressive. This price just should not sound like this. It has just great articulation and texture, the only criticism I can really offer is that it doesn’t have the spectacular depth of the GR07 but it’s a third the price, it super impressive. Quantity wise it is a touch elevated but not so much it’s what I’d really even call it bass heavy. I’m sure some would love more but then that’s what bass boosting amps are for. The quantity I think is pretty spot on for a consumer friendly product while keeping budding audiophiles happy too.
Mids: These again I’m a little torn as I want to compare them to the 4 and the 7 and in comparison they come up a touch short. I like the presentation they offer a little more. They are more focused on providing a transparent, open, and a touch drier sound. The vocals here are a little more rich and thick. It’s in that touch of thickness they can lose a little of the clarity you may be looking for but don’t mistake that for me saying they aren’t good. They are very good. They just suit a rich, liquid sound that wants to flow or perhaps ooze over your ear canals. They can swoon and sweep but hand on heart; I did feel them to be a little lacking when it came to Beverly Craven and her awesome vocals. Not that I have any right to feel that way but I can’t help feeling these just fall that little bit short of my expectations. However those expectations are absurdly high as I just keep bringing back the GR07 in my head. Yes I keep forgetting these cost £32 not £100.
So tonally these do suit a more liquid voice they are still fantastic at turning their hand to anything else. The separation they offer too is very good with the mids always standing out clearly. Its unusual at this price and even more so given these are maybe a touch mid recessed. It’s very slight but the low end is nudged out it front and I’d much more expect the mids to get a touch fuzzy but no, they always cut cleanly through no matter what.
Highs: Now normally I give some comment about highs are really hard to do and what not but Vsonic are really putting everyone else to shame here. They have got the highs here just so achingly spot on its frightening. Now I think it may not be quite as crispy and edgy as some would want but the quality is just outstanding. They have nailed it with a legion of fully automatic nail gun wielding nailers. It’s got just the perfect hint of edge and then a great, smooth natural decay as only ever a dynamic driver can quite do. Quantity wise it’s a tiny, tiny touch ahead of the mids but mostly like them it’s that they are so well separated and come through so cleanly. Nothing really getting lost when things start to get more complex and that is really impressive at this price. I should though really point out if its hard, crisp, aggressive treble your after then you’re probably wanting to look elsewhere. It’s not to say this is overly gentle but it’s more about being accurate and smooth. Okay so it could maybe extend better but saying that feels like I’m flying on Easyjet and being unhappy that I’m getting no complimentary Gin and Tonics.
Soundstage: Much like their siblings, it’s good but it’s not going to blow you away. They give a good sense of scale and power. They really do however score well on instrument separation, okay so they aren’t in UM3x territory but they do sooooo very much better than a product in this price range ought to. Everything does seem to be a little fixed in range though, nothing in too close and nothing too far away.
Fit: Like their siblings I had not the slightest trouble with these. The inclusion of at least 700 tips of course helps there. Get one that works for you and they are just a case of shoving in your ear and that’s it.
Comfort: See above really, perfectly comfy.
Cable: It seems to a be combo of the 7 and 4 cables, it’s the colour of the 4 yet seems as flexible as the 7 one. I really can’t think of anything more I could ask for in a cable.
Microphonics: None. However there is no chin slider if that matters to you.
Accessories: Full marks for the inclusion of just about every tip there is that would fit them. What’s not full marks is the bag they give instead of a real case. What’s worse it’s that it’s not some cheap stupid baggie it has some weird clasping thing that surely much have cost at least as much to produce. Please Vsonic, id really much rather the little hard case back.
Amped/Unamped: Now I recognise that products in this price range are not going to be encountering expensive amps. It does improve with one mind but what really helped was the addition of a 75ohm impedance adapter. I’ve pretty much yet to find a dynamic driver IEM that doesn’t improve with one and since they are only circa £10 I think it’s a much more realistic option than a £100+ amp. Impedance adapter and a little FiiO makes for a grand pairing with these. It’s like a baby audiophile set up for circa £50ish.
Isolation: It’s pretty decent. It’s a touch above what I’d think is average (or at least by what used to be average) perfectly usable for normal everyday usage and as a I always warn, enough to make you road kill if you aren’t used to it and aren’t looking when you walk out in front that bus you didn’t hear behind you. Not really long flight stuff though.
Value: Stupid good. £32 is insane. Not even the PR401 can come close to matching these. I do however see the 4 Pro Audiophile (I’m guessing that’s what they are calling now what I was told was the Pro Flagship) for £40. If it is the same then its pretty crazy stunning value too if perhaps a less consumer friendly sound.
Conclusion: I must admit when I first heard these I was not happy with them. They need a bit of burn in and their thicker, warmer sound wasn’t what I expected. Thickness and warmth obfuscates detail and makes them less immediately transparent. Given a little time though they are simply superb. They are so dirt cheap and so good sounding it’s a shame these are going to be hindered by Vsonics absurd naming. I have no trouble saying these sit below the 4 Pro Flagship, or at least what I know as the product called that. The 6 to me implies these should sit above them and just a hair behind the fabulous GR07, which they don’t. I don’t think it’s unreasonable of me to say I know more about the headphone world than most and I still find it confusing. Dear Far East friends, the higher the product number the better the product range, okay. Please have a look at how ATI does it for example.
Now if I can try for a moment to think of these as a £32 product all I can really conclude is that if Vsonic do a good job getting these out into the retail channel then they are going to move a lot of them. They are far better than anything at this price has any right to be. They are every bit as outstandingly and amazingly good as the GR07 was but at a different price level. The difference is these could cost double what they do and I’d still pretty much be saying the same. These are so good in comparison to others out there, the PR401 had been my cheap but a still really like and these are just on a different level, I’m thinking about 3 levels higher. Honestly I A/B back and forth and look at what I wrote about the poor PR401 which I did really very much like and I’m astounded at how far things have come. These are staggeringly good, for their current price and I cannot see how these with do anything but obliterate everyone else’s sales. A compare to the Vsang R03 / Brainwavz M2 and its like comparing Liz Hurly in Bedazzled to Devine Brown in her mug shot photo. Sure there must be someone out there that likes what Miss Brown has to offer but for most, there is just no competition. They just are not comparable.
In this price range and extending quite a bit upward too the GR06 beat everything. They don’t excel at anything quite in particular not unlike the 7’s but they do everything very, very well. Okay so they do have a flavour that may not appeal to everyone but they aren’t so flavoured I could see anyone hating them. Not even to the extent that I think anyone who hears them won’t pick these over something more suited to their tastes. Maybe, possibly the PL-50 which I adore but it cannot hope to match the GR06 in the low end. The GR06 is just simply about as good as I can imagine it ever getting at this price. It is awesomely good and I really think everyone else is going to have an extremely hard time coming up with something that can challenge this.