Somic v2 Headphone Review by mark2410
Thanks to GearBest for the sample.
First Impressions: Hmm, box looks it took a beating a little on the way over. Oh inside its all good it seems but there is a ear pad container that seems to have been dislodged. It also seems that said item has double sided sticky tape on it and it’s now glued itself to part of the headband. Hmm, after a little effort it came off but it did scare me and left glue residue. I presume the ear pad container was just put in the wrong way but why even have the separate container? Surely they would have fit under the headphones. Hmm the headphones look alight, though I’ll be changing those pads quick, they’re open so might as well have the softer velvety ones.
On the ears and they feel really nice. A bit plastic for sure but they very nicely fit my ears, being oval shaped rather than round. Pretty sure I could wear these all day just fine. Big sturdy cable on the buggers too, look at that jack when it’s got the 6.25mm adapter on it. It’s practically some medieval weapon. Really good and sturdy cable on theses.
First listen and rather nice. Somewhat warm and inclined to the bottom end as you’d expect but they have a quite monitor esq like polite tonality. Sure a bit warm and rich but easy on the ear and very easy to listen to, no brashness or hardness at all to the treble. Something that you kinda want if you’re having to listen to something all day long. Quite impressed with the detail too, god a big open can, can make this stuff look easy. Burn in time.
Source: FiiO E7/E9 combo, Hisoundaudio Studio V 3rd Anv., HiFiMAN HM-650, 1G Ipod Shuffle, Lumia 735, Nexus 5 and Graham Slee Solo Ultra Linear.
Lows: From something of its price I would expect there to be very heavy bass, somewhat overblown and flabby. However these really aren’t, they are acoustically much more level than I’d expect and dare I say….. more monitor like. A/B’ing back and forth with the HD515 and the V2’s are impressively capable. They are slightly bigger, richer, more assertive just a tinge in the bass too. The HD515 isn’t available anymore and I don’t know how close it is to the HD518 but the Senn’s are circa £90. The Somic V2 is circa £32. The bass quantity isn’t going to be loved by all as its approaching towards natural, you know that slightly bass boosted level that sounds more natural on the ear. Now yes it’s still boosted but that boost isn’t huge. These are almost exactly at the level of the HD515, just a tiny bit more and tiny bit more heavy in presentation. In the bass you don’t really notice that it’s slightly less nuanced due to that thicker bass presentation. Then you sit back and realise these cost a third of what their Senn based competition does. I love Senn, they do great stuff as a rule especially their higher end stuff but lower down they do trade a little bit on their name. Somic hasn’t the ability to do that so they are all value for money. These are superb.
Tonally they are a tiny, tiny bit greyish brown, there is a hint of darkness but not a particularly chocolaty one. There is just that shadow like greyness providing a little dash of darkness. That makes for an overall darken feel acoustically.
Mids: Firing back to those HD515’s then to the V2, the Senn is more open and airy but these are so cheap. The mids are a little more suited to a thicker, perhaps a more pop like vocal. It’s not best suited to the most open and breathy, they have a slight thickness that wants to add a dash of cream. Nevertheless being a big and open backed can there is still plenty of feeling of air and space. They just aren’t the lightest, there is ever a bit of a weight and body to vocals. Still these are so bloody cheap, they may have things I could tear apart acoustically and that’s is very, very large part down to just how good they are. How close they get to lots more expensive stuff. Firing back and forth with the HD515 and there really isn’t a lot in, acoustically they have slightly different flavours but god the Senn isn’t pulling away ahead like something 3 times the price ought to. I’ve got stuff way more than that too and still I find I’m enjoying these, not just thinking they are good for the money but good. They are nicely balanced and they by god are something you could use as a real life monitor too I’d bet.
Quantitatively they are more middy than may be expected for the price, they are however that “natural” gently sloped sound signature with the bass being that touch greater. Still the mids are only a smidge behind and their pleasingly good clarity despite the fractionally creamy tonality, cleanly come through. A really quite impressive showing for a brand I’d never heard of.
Highs: These are a little spikey though there is a spike that seems to come forward in the lower treble that is noticeable it seems to bother me more greatly than is relatively slight (for a peak) outburst. I’m not running a signal generator because I don’t believe in doing so but I’m quite convinced there is another spike which is actually causing the discomfort. I believe it to be very high up however, above where music normally sits so I’d not expect most to notice it and I believe it’s there to give a slightly more open feel to another wise more weighty sound. Think what some companies tell you a super tweeter is for. Highs so up there you are not particularly aware of them directly but you can “feel them.” So for me, Owl City and their treble heavy songs, when thrown power and volume got rather wearing. Impressively capable and detailed for sure but gosh it could wear out my delicate little ears in no time. This however was only really the case when I had the big cans hooked up to the Solo and its considerable power output. Plugged into a phone with their more weedy power outputs, this rather worked in the V2’s favour. The phones just can’t provide the power to hurl that driver back and forth the same so the treble peak melted away.
The overall quantity of the treble is around the same level as the bass. Hmmm maybe it’s more in between the bass and the mids at times I can’t quite decide. Flicking round from sources the acoustic balance swerved all over the place. The E9 and Solo had them more balanced, the P8 had at times the bass exploding out of nowhere.
Soundstage: For the most part not that big. They are big, open backed cans but they add a certain thickness to proceedings which encloses somewhat the presentation. Certainly a good sized room but even in more acoustic pieces there never took and the grand openness I might have liked still its in keepnig with their quite monitor like presentation. Things are a little more brought in and presented before you. All nicely integrated though, it’s there, before you with a slight spread, instrument separation is a little diffuse as is placement.
Comfort: Great stuff: The pads are just barely big enough to make it full around my ears but that the do. They therefore rest full on my skull and not my ears. Absolutely happy wearing these the whole day long just as you’d want in a monitor.
Cable: Great. It might have been nice if removable but the thing is a beast. What’s more its connected to both ears so no pulling at one side. I very much prefer cables that connect at both sides as it balanced the weight of them. On top of that the cable is a big thick beast of a thing. Nicely flexible too and then you get to the jack. It’s a mega beast of a thing too. Then what’s more you get a great 3.5 to 6.25mm adapter that screws onto the 3.5 end. Its great big metal thing. Top notch.
Isolation: Well for all the acoustic benefits you get from an open can, the down side is you get sod all isolation. So if you want something to use out and about or around people, yeah, think again. Of course if your using them as monitors or alone in your office then it’s all fine but for the love of god don’t use them around others.
Build Quality: Now I’ve seen some say it’s great however while its mostly rather good, they feel rather solid, they really do. What wasn’t was the headband slider mechanism. For whatever reason they were very loose so they would change with barely a touch at some positions. Once they were on your head this has absolutely zero impact on anything but it was mildly irksome. Honestly though for the most part it wasn’t something you noticed nor did it really bother me. Sure if these were way more costly I’d be irritated but it just didn’t. However it’s not something that they should do. Now aside from that they felt for the most part quite nice in the hand. Feeling quite firm, all plastic practically but it’s all solid enough.
Aesthetic: Err well they look okay. Nothing great, nothing bad, bit plastic looking but then they are plastic. Look fine to me.
Amped/Unamped: Playing about they gained detail and such from amping, the treble got more detailed and gained some energy too. Though for the most part it’s unlikely that these will run off a beefy amp and it would appear they have been made with moderate sources in mind. They ran absolutely fine out of anything, phones were all fine at powering them. They naturally weren’t as good, detailed, nuanced but arguably their acoustic balance may be more popular. There was a bit of treble energy drop thusly the bass felt comparatively enhanced a bitty. So despite being big cans you really don’t need an amp and honestly you don’t wildly benefit from one either. Still you might want to give a baby FiiO a go just in case you like the bit more detail.
Accessories: Good. I’m big on getting a choice of ear pads and I very much liked the 6.25 to 3.5mm screw on adapter. It looked really nice and all matched so well. You really don’t need anything else, I mean a baggy or case perhaps but these are big open cans they aren’t meant to be carted about the place. Oh and I almost forgot. You get a Velcro cable tie thingy that’s really handy for spooling up the rather long cable and keeping it at a more manageable length.
Value: Well take a wild guess. It’s been a long time nice I’ve seem something come from China that hasn’t been great value and there is no change here. Sure these have some issues, like the band size adjustment thing slipping. However you just can’t ignore one overriding aspect, their price. The things are stupid cheap. Right now they are coming in at a sliver under £32 or a touch over US$44. They are just so ridiculously cheaply priced. I cannot see anyone arguing these are anything other than superb value priced as they are.
Conclusion: Why had I never heard of these before the peeps at Gearbest offered me one? Now I’ll confess they have a stupid name. Somic to me just looks like they miss spelled sonic. Which if you’re going to do how can you not then at least one headphone the hedgehog? Anyway…… these are a brand that has little to no exposure in the western world and that is unfortunate. While there are aspects I’m not chuffed about, the super loose headband extending arm things is the big one. In use once they’re on your head it doesn’t matter but it’s not something I’d have put up with if they said Sennheiser on the side. These don’t really scream premium at you. Then you play something.
Acoustically they may not be quite perfect but holy poop!!! For 30 quid these are amazingly good. These are pushing towards proper monitor sound signature and their quality levels, the detail extraction level is good enough that you could use these a proper grown up monitor. Yet with its slightly warmed sound signature it’s so presently enjoyable and easy on the ear. These are not party beasts the likes of which Beats fans will like but they are just the sort of thing that should go down a storm on Head-Fi. Have Somic never been to a Canjam, if not why the hell not?? These priced as they are I am sure would create quite the furore.
Should you grab a pair? Well to put it bluntly, yes. These aren’t perfect but the sound to cost ratio is just silly. I just don’t understand why I’ve heard so little of these before? They are the exact sort of thing that any young/poor audiophile that are just dipping their toes into the water. Something that can give them a taste of what proper audio can sound like without giving their wallet a severe beating. Got a child or friend you want to have a taste of proper audio quality? Grab a set, even if you’re a hard core audiophile already with some great higher end stuff, give them a bash because really at 30 quid a pair is practically nothing, I mean that’s two packs of Comply’s. Seriously these people need to get their backsides to a Canjam and let a bunch of people at once have a go and kick up some noise. These are just outstandingly good priced so dirt cheap as they are.