Accutone Gemini HD Earphone Review by mark2410
Thanks to Accutone for the sample.
TLDR? Try here http://www.head-fi.org/t/828710/accutone-gemini-hd-earphone-review-by-mark2410#post_13079956
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.