EarSonics Grace Platinum
A Little Technical Stuff:
- Sensitivity: 119 dB / mW
- Frequency response: 10 Hz -20 kHz
- DCR: 26.6 ohms
- Driver: 20 drivers with 3-way HQ filter with impedance corrector
- Weight: 336 g
- Furnished Cables: HR 8C cable(symmetrical) 4.4mm & HR 4C cable (silver
- Adapter: 6.35 jack adapter
- Packaging: Brushed platinum color carry case 18.6cm x 5cm x 14.5cm
-MRSP: Universal fit 1899 euros
EarSonics, a French company that came into existence in 2005. It was started by Franck Lopez, who himself is a musician, a bass player. I wrote a comprehensive review of the original Grace HD, the OG Grace. I am providing the link because it contains company history and more fluffy info Earsonics Grace HD. After spending a few days with the Grace Platinum, the differences in sound between the OG and this new release are evident. This review can be combined with the first Grace review. I plan to highlight the differences between the original and 2.0 so please refer to the first review as well. I will also include excerpts from the original review to highlight differences.
A Little Marketing Hype from their site:
Grace Platinum represents the best of Earsonics. It is the culmination of our range, designed and assembled in our laboratories by hand in France.
Based on the extraordinary electronics of the Grace HR, the Grace platinum goes one step further in transcribing sound and details.
It dress has also been completely revised with the addition of high-quality components.
The Grace Platinum’s 20 drivers allow it to deliver high acoustic performance over a wide bandwidth ranging from 10Hz to 20 KHz.
It 3-way impedance corrected HQ filter is capable of reproducing extremely faithful sound rich in details
20 balanced armature drivers, including 4 specific to vents, specially designed for Earsonics.
A zinc and magnesium alloy shell covered with an exclusive platinum foil.
Acrylic Heart ® technology offering sound rigor and phase control.
TrueWave ® technology allowing optimum work on phase control and a top quality “magnitude”curve.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
- The GRACE Platinum
- HR 8C cable (symmetrical) 4.4mm
- HR 4C cable (silver)
- 2 pairs of memory foam tips of different sizes
- 2 pairs of mono flange silicone tips of different sizes
- 2 pairs of bi-flange silicone tips of different sizes
- 1 cleaning tool
- 2 disinfectant wipes
- 35 jack adapter
- Carry case
Unboxing and Accessories:
The box was adorned with a Platinum colored sleeve surrounding a black box with the ES initials in the lower right corner. Once you flip open the lid, there is a thank you note, in French, from Franck Lopez the CEO. Above the note are two circular windows which showcase the Grace Platinum monitors.
Laid out in a foam tray beneath the Thank you note are the accessories. The packaging has been almost identical since the EM10. All of the inclusions are listed above, but I would like to point out that there are two cables included, one balanced, the other not. I had mentioned in previous reviews a wish would be for EarSonics to include upgraded cables and VOILA! A win for the non-cable rollers out there.
Build Quality and Fit:
I am not going to belabor this. The Grace Platinum is built like a tank. It is a heavy IEM. The IEM is made with a zinc and magnesium alloy shell covered with an exclusive platinum foil. Along with the added weight the Grace also gives you the feeling that they are indestructible. Like the last 2-3 releases for EarSonics, the Grace is well-built, with a metal outer shell. I like the direction and applaud them for building them as if they could stand the test of time.
Size-wise, if you have small ears there could potentially be some fit issues. I have large earholes and the Grace does not give me any issues. That said, their weight does cause me to occasionally push them back into my ear as they seem to work their way out of a deep insertion.
I can only imagine that building these by hand is a labor of love from the EarSonics team. They feature an acrylic heart shrouded by this metal facade. Each monitor has vented shells and utilizes True Wave ® technology which allows for phase control and a top-quality Magnitude curve.
The review was written utilizing the Astell & Kern SP2Kt, which I did a drive-by of here Sp2000t. I listened using the stock cables, primarily the 4.4mm balanced cable My sample music consisted of 320kb, FLAC, 24bit as well as streaming Tidal and Amazon Music HD.
For eartips, I found that the Final E tips and the Spinfit CP360 gave me the best sound quality. The only comment I want to make about tips is if your Final tips are older and have some use, be prepared to fish them out of your ears upon removal of the IEM. The CP360 stayed in place. Tips do make a substantial difference in the case of the Grace Platinum. I have found it is not only about bore diameter it also depends on the composition of the tip. Experiment to find the sq you want.
Moving on to the sound section….
For the sound portion of the review, I will show the previous review portions in normal font and write any new, additional thoughts I had beneath in blue.
If I were to characterize Grace in a couple of words, it would be balance and tone. The Grace is most certainly a departure from the bass bold, animated, house signature of EarSonics past.
I feel the overall signature is still relatively balanced but I am hearing some more forward tuning particularly in the mid-range and the upper mids more specifically.
The bass of the Grace is satisfying in all of its technical glory. You will not find a ton of quantity in the bass but what you will find is adept and offers a clean, non-muddy bass. The sub-bass is not the fullest, but as the bass frequencies head north, there is a pervasiveness to the bass. To my ears, it sounds stronger in the midbass. There is not much in the way of any coloration to the bass, it is natural, but what minimal color is there creates a bit more engaging personality in the Grace. It does not extend incredibly far south, but it is designed to be a quality vs. quantity type of listen.
This still holds and knowing Franck, the CEO of EarSonics, is a bassist it makes sense. I love the quality of the Grace Platinum’s bass, BA or not.
This is not DD bass. I feel that the DD driver bass adds a bit more snap and fun, for the most part, but what Grace brings to the table is technical, clarity in the bass transitions, and allows the listener to decipher the differences between the bass ranges easily. Do not expect a tooth-rattling rumble because that isn’t what the Grace is designed to do, partly due to the nature of the BA and partly due to tuning. It is a quick bass without any lingering notes, so the decay is perfect.
Check! Natural and realistic bass appears to be the standard now with EarSonics in their TOTL Audiophile offerings.
Any more bottom floor to the bass would more than likely create a blanket of bass that interfered with its technical ability to perform as bass aficionados would expect. Balance is alive and well in the Grace, and the bass clarity has a melodic tone. It is captivating and fun to listen to.
It is a natural-sounding bass with realistic tonality. There is some heft to the bass and think EarSonics walked on the edge without sticking their toe across the line. Again, I feel if there was any more quantity to the bass it could have had a negative effect on the total signature.
The mids are perfectly balanced with the upper bass region and create a seamless transition. The mids do not steal the show. None of the frequencies take the spotlight, it is shared, as it should be in a balanced signature IEM. In all genres of music, the Grace excelled. Female vocals are correctly placed in the presentation and stage. My preference was female vocals during listening sessions, quite an experience.
Mid-range is one area I need to reflect on from my OG Grace experience because I feel this is the area of the most change in the 2.0 Grace.
Listening to Cecile McLorin Salvant, Thunderclouds, her breaths at the mic are so sensual and seductive. Female vocals are front and center but so natural sounding. I like a little forwardness in female vocals as long they don’t hit the eardrums as sharp.
To my ears, the mids have received a touch of a tuning revisit in the upper mid-section. Grace Platinum has more air than the original. Increased detail and air are very much welcomed. OG Grace had more air and a sense of space relative to the EM10(custom) which shared its DNA, and EarSonics upped the game again with the Platinum. This difference in the upper mids is because of new filtering and increased. Because of these enhancements there is more sparkle and transparency when comparing it to the original Grace.
The timbre of instruments is mesmerizing there is an ambiance to everything Grace offers. There is transparency and air between the notes, which is one of the most significant tuning differences when compared to the EM10. The EM 10 sounds a bit more in the head, and closed, whereas the Grace has a more open and airy sound. I feel the air not only adds to the stage width and depth but also the emotion behind the music. The upper mids in the Grace have a beautiful tone, and if fullness exists, it is in this frequency.
I would only change that it is more of a forwardness in the upper-mids as opposed to a fullness.
The stage is wide and deep with extension to the furthest ends. I am not a Dave Matthews fan, but his music is very involved with lots of instruments and sounds coming at you from all directions. I like to test an IEM’s ability to provide ample air and stage using Dave Matthews music, and I am happy to say that the Grace reproduced the tunes wonderfully.
The stage is spot on and it is a rather wide rectangle stretching out on the fringe. There is not as much width in staging but there is some. The staging is spot on and accurate. Critically listening to a Snarky Puppy show that I attended I can tell you the instrument placement is accurate. Great job with the stage and tuning of Platinum’s mid-range.
The treble is smooth and never offensive and finalizes the balancing act that is the Grace. I am not a fan of bright or trebly sounding IEM’s, and the smoothness of the Grace suits me perfectly well in this regard. I think this aids in the versatility of being able to adapt to all genres of music.
The treble does sparkle but it is rather smooth, but not smeared. It is distinct and cymbals have a natural shimmer and decay. Lady Gaga’s voice takes you to the edge in the Tony Bennett duet, “I’ve got you under my skin”. What I noticed is that there is a definition to instruments that are sharing the range with her voice but the treble clarity allows for total distinction between her vocals and instruments.
The treble is nimble and features clarity and sparkle without ever being fatiguing. The treble blends so well with the entire balance of the signature. It indeed is nice to hear such nice amounts of definition while maintaining the velvety serenity of the tone. It is a different type of listen, without any of the signature outshining the other. The treble rounds out and completes the package.
The addition to the above statement is that the mids are more forward so they garner a bit more of the attention than they did in the original Grace.
Overall, the sound is balanced and defined with transparency, clarity. Details and layering are particularly noticeable in the quality of bass and mids.
Jazz, Rock, EDM, Vocal, Acoustic, everything I threw at it, never changed its delivery, all with a smooth tone and emotion to the music.
The Platinum is even more emotive than the original Grace.
You might want to own this IEM if:
+ You want a perfect tone and organic timbre to instruments
+ You prefer a smooth, balanced, non-offensive signature
+ You prefer a sound that is full of emotion and excels at long listening sessions
+ You are sensitive to treble peaks and sibilance as this is super smooth
+ You like a coherent stage with sexy female vocals
It is difficult to review an IEM a second time, especially when your feelings go into the review are that the changes are going to be strictly cosmetic. At least that is what I thought I was going to encounter. Grace Platinum is an all BA IEM that deserves attention and a listen. There has been additional mojo applied to the filtering and tuning and it is evident when compared to the original Grace HD.
I have lost count as to the number of EarSonics I have owned. Subjectively, the brand just matures with each release. I liked the old-school EarSonics and love the new generation.
The bass is perfect for a BA IEM and shows off its prowess with its natural tone and transparency. Franck should be proud because, rooted deep in his musical abilities is a bass lover at heart, and it shows in Platinum just as it did in the Grace HD.
Overall, the tonality and realism of instruments are the strongest abilities that the Platinum holds. Whether it is the bass, mids, or treble it is very evident that a musician had a part in the tuning. Emotive listening sessions are what you are in store for you. Each time I write a review I am listening to the gear I am reviewing, and I continued to be impressed with Platinum as I am writing.
At 1899 euros, roughly $2100, Platinum is still expensive but relative to TOTL prices exceeding $6000 in some cases, the Grace Platinum appears to be very fairly priced.
Grace Platinum is a TOTL offering that is fully BA and holds its and bests most of the other 10 driver configurations I have heard.
Also, the build quality is solid and built for the long haul, but with their durability comes added weight and size. The pack-ins and unboxing experience are average but the addition of two cables is welcomed, especially since EarSonics ditched the Plastics1 mentality.
All of my thoughts regarding the Platinum are mine and subjective. If you are afforded the opportunity, give the Grace Platinum a listen. I hope this is one IEM that won’t fly under the radar and receives the attention it deserves.