Aurisonics ASG-2.5 Review
Thanks to Hifiheadphones for the loaner.
First Impressions: Whoops. Silly me thought I had but I clearly didn’t make notes at the time so I going by what I recall of my first encounter with the 2.5’s. The box at stuff, are nothing particularly interesting or exciting. I do rather like the little case, Pelican like but small enough that you could actually use the thing. Comes with a lanyard too in there, can’t see many consumers using that but these are custom like, so live musicians are probably just as much the target audience. Anyway lets have a listen.
Oh my god!!! I had turned the bass to max to see what sort of scale we were working with and I just about threw up. There was so much bass, so much air movement it was not in the “bit much” it was into the oh my god its physically making me queasy. Jesus Christ, that’s insane. How or why could anyone human stand that much let alone enjoy it. Oh dear god I can feel the back of my mouth watering up just thinking about it. Oh god that’s getting turned to min bass and it’s probably going to be staying there. I think we likely have a super high end for bassheads here.
Source: FiiO E7/E9 combo, Hisoundaudio Studio V 3rd Anv., HiFiMAN HM-650, 1G Ipod Shuffle, Nexus 5 and Graham Slee Solo Ultra Linear.
Lows: Usually with tuneable things I will try to say a bit about the variety offered and usually have to battle past my own preference for one of those sounds. Yeah I know I should be doing that, letting you know a bit about what it’s like with the bass at max but suck it, it’s not happening. At max bass these move so much air it was more than I could physically stand. I should probably do a in the middle but that’s not happening either. Even on minimum bass these are still what a think of being pretty bassy. I know I’m not a bass head and many like more bass than I do but it’s not min is at RE-0 levels. It almost reaches that “natural” level but comparatively there is still so much energy in the bass that there just isn’t in the mids and highs. The bass is tightly controlled but there just feels like there is an endless supply of power behind it. Not so much that it’s being driven by a little driver but by a piston out of the crushing press in Terminator. Endless power like it could cave your skull in if you accidently crank the volume dial.
In its abilities though I will admit it’s quite masterly. Tonality and grace are highly accomplished. The death and linearity too are exemplary, the depth especially going horrifyingly low (probably what I find so queasy inducing) it’s got a sense of limitless reserve on which to draw upon. I just don’t want so much of it.
Mids: A little reticent for my tastes but otherwise it’s rather excellent. BA’s can so often sound so direct, like vocals ore being hurled at your face. The huge dynamic here sounds so much more reserved. It’s so relaxed and gently lingering stylistically. Even in quicker brighter vocals its still has that dynamic hint of softness. It’s not lacking in any detail, I want to say it feels like a nicely smooth sinusoidal waveform whereas BA’s can often feel more like a square waveform. There is a feeling of being more natural than you tend to get with armature based stuff. More naturally relaxed and more like a performance rather than the examination you can get from hyper detail revealing BA’s. Not to say that detail retrieval isn’t excellent, it really is but don’t expect it be an analytical listen. You want the most minute details you will have to listen out for them. The 2.5 is far more about telling you to just shut up, relax and enjoy the show.
Quantitatively, even at minimum bass the bass is still the star of the show. Mids are rather broad and have plenty of space but I could do with being pushed up to the front of the stage a bit. They are a genteel and relaxed listen. Mostly warmed but with a goody airy dash that you get from high end dynamics.
Highs: The quality is exemplary, it is pushed right the way back but no way am I questioning its quality. While I may have liked maybe a tiny bit more treble its tonality and style are just what I like. Faintly clean metallic impacts and with a smooth decay away. It’s a little fast in the decay so I’m presuming it’s a BA at work. Could it be that there are two BA’s both doing the treble? That could explain the gently diffuse shimmer they can do, its edging towards how high end dynamics can do treble. There is a touch of brittleness somewhere and despite its being really laid back presentationally and quantitatively it’s not very kind to crap recordings. I’m looking at you Mr Buble here. Tracks that should otherwise be perfectly sumptuous pairing with the 2.5 are scratch fests. They are just so badly mastered and dynamically compressed its offensive to the ear.
However the big take away about the treble is yes it’s good but please sir, may I have some more?
Soundstage: Large. These with their humongous dynamics feel suitably humungous too. Not endless open space but like you’re in a huge hall, closed darkened, worm and with a huge wall of speakers scarcely breaking a sweat while they float music your way. Most of those speakers are big 16 inch woofers. Vocals are in the midst and a widely diffuse origin that’s rather pleasant. Treble is even more nebulous than the vocals. It’s just sort of there in the background trying to have anyone look at it.
Fit: There is no way to not notice that the 2.5’s are F ing huge. As IEM’s go they are just massive things but I slapped on a pair of Comlpy’s and then into the ear. With that I was done, yes that simple, no issues at all.
Comfort: Again they are vast but they slotted into my ears just fine and they never bothered me once. Not even once. Though they are massive so they stick out a bit, I don’t sleep in IEM’s but if you are I don’t see it working with these.
Cable: Nothing visually particularly fancy. It’s a black braided cable that like all braided cables are highly flexible and pleasant to use. Oh and they are removable too so if you don’t like or you break it, you can just swap it out. Personally I’d have preferred the silver cable the 1.5 comes with, but that’s just about looks.
Isolation: Well it’s okay, it’s not up to BA levels but then that’s what happens if you have a great big dynamic and bass tuning vent. It would be fine for your typical out and about use, on a bus or walking around. Not flight or Tube commute worthy really bit you know, would be better than nothing. As ever though, easily enough to make you a road stain if you forget to use your eyes when out.
Build Quality: They seem to be rather excellent. The IEM shells are great big moulded lumps of plastic. They seem very well put together as you would really expect from such a product.
Aesthetic: They come in red as I have here or black. If you are willing to pay more you can also get the in nickel for US$200 more. Or if you’re feeling super flashy, gold for just US$400 over the price of red or black. They say 24k gold but surely it would be too soft to make the shells out of? Personally I don’t like gold anyway, I’ve always much preferred silver, so for me the nickel ones actually look great in photos but not sure I’d pay US$200 over red or black to get it.
Amped/Unamped: Given these are clearly aimed at a groups that will have access to high quality sources you could easily think that they might be hard to drive or fussy. They are not. Even out of the mediocre Iphone 5 they sounded good. If anything they were better out of weak puny sources. Eh you might be thinking, yes the bass, that crushing behemoth bass, well it didn’t have that endless scull smashing power behind it so it was rather more pedestrian. I could honestly go so far as to say maybe it was the source they used as a reference frame when creating the 2.5’s. Even the Lumia 735 felt waaaaay more powerful and punchy with the 2.5’s. I realise that all that bass and all that power isn’t my thing and there will be those who love it all, still it’s curious that the most amenable signature and presentation I found (for me anyway) was out of a roundly meh source but a highly common one. Curious.
Accessories: You get a little case, a lanyard, a bunch of tips and a little screwdriver. The screwdriver is for tweaking the bass ports. I very much like the little case as it feels like it would survive a real battering but is still useably small. The other bits, I mean the lanyard? Either way there it is.
Value: So there are what US$700 in Americaland, that’s £451 and that’s before you dutifully declare to HMRC so you can give them a wad of cash too. So as “universals” go these are very expensive. For customs it’s more middling but in theory you could always sell them and recoup something. Where these area a bit more value enhancing is if you want head exploding, dynamic driver power at your disposal.
Conclusion: The ASG-2.5’s are a product that if nothing else, it makes an impact. In every possible sense you can think of these make an impact. An impact to your wallet first of all and then on getting them. Imagine if you will that you were in an aircraft hangar. Yes just hear me out, and in that aircraft hangar you have placed thousands of sub’s, covering the entire floor, stacked them all the way up the walls too. Then you place in the middle of the hanger a pair of quality speakers. Then you hook it all up to behave like a 2.1 system. That is something like what the 2.5’s are like when you crank the bass on them. It’s not just raw power, its scull crushing, lose control of your bowels levels of bass. I have not heard anything like it, it’s insane, completely insane, just outrageously insane. Anyone who uses these at max bass, I, I have no words.
However if we take that little bass dial and turn it all the way down, you still get a pretty bassy IEM, with a rather tame treble to boot. It becomes a much more realistic and entertaining proposition. There simply are things that dynamic driver can do that BA’s simply cannot capture. A certain sense of smoothly effortless nature is one such aspect. The other obvious one is in the furthest depths. They make a much, much more speaker like bass. With these you have power and depth that would only otherwise be achievable with a mountain of sub’s at your disposal. The tightly enclosed nature of an IEM makes for such violently, potently, spectacularly, insanely incredible bass.
Bugger me, these things are just mental. Aurisoncs themselves say “The ASG-2.5 has an unrivalled soundstage and legendary performance. The sound is incredibly raw, visceral, and energetic with a massive bass response that you can tune. Be prepared for music that will move you.” Lol, they weren’t joking. Massive bass, lol and Hitler was a naughty chap. Talk about comedic understatement. These things shift so much air, it’s like one of those cars that drives by and everyone on the streets windows vibrate with the bass. That, that is what these do, but inside your skull. It’s epic and stupendous. It’s amazing but it’s just so insane, waaaaaaaaay too insane for me. This is to date, the most amazingly abundant bass cannon I’ve encountered. It also has good mids and highs, but if you buy this you buy for the most skull smashing bass you’ve ever heard. It’s fun like the most wild night out ever, incredible, fantastic but oh god, I couldn’t do it every day. The Aurisonc’s 2.5 is a most insane IEM, mental and awesome, I’m not sure I could use them every day, but wow they are crazy fantastic / fantastically crazy.