A Little Technical Stuff:
· Sensitivity: 119 dB/mW
· Frequency response: 10 Hz -20 kHz
· DCR: 26,6 ohms
· Driver: 10 balanced armature drivers, HQ 3-way passive crossover with impedance corrector.
-MRSP: Custom fit $2000 EUR
I want to thank Max from EarSonics he provided me the EM10 in exchange for my honest thoughts. Thank you to Max, and EarSonics.
There was a lot of excitement on my part to have the opportunity to review the EarSonics EM10. EarSonics SM64 was one of the first IEM’s, when I was becoming immersed in this hobby, that really made me realize there was a whole new realm of sound available in an in-ear. Having dabbled with a couple of Westone models first, and then purchasing the SM64, I found the sound really agreed with my musical tastes and the SM64 was one of the few IEM’s I have regretted selling. My second experience was with the EarSonics Velvet, different from the SM64, but there were some similarities in the signature and I found the ability to adjust the sound via switch a welcome addition.
Given the opportunity to review the EM10 I was looking forward to a reunion with an old friend. Quite a bit of time and new releases have passed since owning an EarSonics. I would read the reviews, especially S-EM9, and ponder purchasing them. I even went as far as having them in my basket for checkout but never pulled the trigger. I was curious if this new flagship model would have the same house sound I had grown to enjoy from EarSonics or if it would deviate and deliver a totally fresh sound. Once listening, there was a realization that the EM10 was more of a fresh sound from ES, a sound that was focused in delivering an all-around smooth tone for the individual wanting to immerse themselves in music, this would truly satisfy your audiophile cravings. The sound is clearly designed for the critical listener and would veer from a stage monitor utilized by musician’s. The guru’s at EarSonics have fabricated an IEM that stands as their TOTL custom offering and the audiophile is the benefactor of their hard work.
A Little Marketing Hype:
3 WAY / 10 DRIVERS
After waiting two years, we finally offer you a custom model deriving from our fantastic S-EM9.
This time allowed us to let this project go, which was to build the world best custom in ear monitors available.
The EM10 is the fruit of all our partnership and experience acquired in recent years with audio professional actors as well as the audiophile technical culmination of the s-em9.
More than a simple concentration of our knowledge, the EM10 goes further with the development of new 100% proprietary drivers as well as the exclusive use of our 3-channel asymmetrical output channel profile, always with the aim of improving sound quality and musicality through an ever more realistic sound scene.
The EM10 is defined in term of sound rendering by two important adjectives in the eyes of passionate audiophiles, that are musicality and stamps respect. Light motiv of EarSonics since its creation.
The EM10 becomes the ultimate monitors of our knowledge and passion manufacturing custom high end products with the best musicality experience.
If your are looking for the best, the EM10 is your tool.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
· EM10 with is detachable cable
· Comes in a luxury ES packaging
· 1 cleaning tool
· Carrying Case
· 3.5mm jack adapter
The packaging is different today than of EarSonics in the past. I have always found the EarSonics to not focus on packaging and accessories but more on their monitors. This time their redesign of packaging is definitely noticed and welcomed. The top of the box flips open to reveal the monitors through two small windows and to access the monitors you would need to slide out a drawer, the type of drawer found on a drawered jewelry box. The EM10 is a custom earphone and so you will not find many accessories, kind of the standard ES fare, an included 6.3 mm adapter, a cleaning tool, and the black ES carrying case. Their cable is the same black cable that ES always packs-in and is a 2-pin type of connector that terminates into 3.5mm, anyone owning ES products will find familiarity.
My review was written utilizing two sources, Opus #2 and LG G6. Obviously, being a CIEM no ear tip rolling was necessary and I solely listened using the stock cable for review purposes, but since it is a standard 2-pin connector cable swapping would be simple. Since I am finished with the review I will begin to try some of the different cables I have so that I can utilize a balanced setup. I will be happy to respond to comments on various cable pairings.
Build and Quality:
The EM10 comes in one color, black. It is a piano black, glossy shell with the ES on one ear and 10. on the other ear. There is no intense design page on the EarSonics webpage and your customs will come as described above. The look is understated, discreet yet classy to me. Not being a flashy person, the subtle look is exactly what I was looking for. Those wanting the more nouveau design of the S-EM9 will be disappointed.
The quality of the build is perfectly smooth and without flaws, as I searched to find even the slightest of imperfection. The nozzle ends with three bores, one larger and two smaller and the overall fit of the customs was comfortable.
This is one smooth, easy listening IEM. The sound veers from the house sound I may have remembered from ES but there may be some slight similarities, but from recollection it is mostly new, fresh. A summary of characteristics would be, the overall tone is warm, never spikey or peaky, never fatiguing with a wonderful smooth tone. The bass is not boomy in the sub regions but yet it is smoothly abundant in the mid bass region. The treble is never harsh, yet always evident in the mid treble range. It is a warm, yet clear sound that can be enjoyed when just chilling and relaxing. The warmth of the tone never casts a shadow over the entire signature but fills the sound with a full bodied smooth richness. The sound appears subdued at both edges of the spectrum while adding to the range in the mid bass and mid treble frequencies.
The stage it presents is not the largest I have encountered but I would say it is a “broad square” as opposed to a rectangle. It provides equal height, depth and broadness but it is not congested, thus describing it as a broader square. Its stage is narrower than the Dream by Dita and probably closer to the Vision Ears VE-8 in width but without the incoherent layout. The instruments are not easily placed with distinct borders but it all flows effortlessly with its coherent layers.
The bass provides an overall warmth, that is north of neutral, which makes the signature engaging and musical. The bass is not the punchy dynamic driver type of bass such as displayed in the Dream(Dita) or even the DK-3001, and the sub bass does not really wallop you with the deep boom. The bass is delivered in the mid bass frequency and supplies the listener with a polite yet aware coloration. The overall tone of the bass would be showcased here. It is mature and polite, yet very present in its presentation. I think that it complements the overall smoothness of the signature. If the bass was boomy and strong it would create an inharmonious balance with the smooth treble. Engaging, musical and fun.
The midrange of the EM10 provides a special tone as well. It is a very smooth listen that I wouldn’t describe as pushed forward or recessed. The signature of the mids would be classified as warm and smooth without any sharp, bright harshness. It is not the most detailed or clean sound but it is not muddy either. Instruments in the midrange sound smooth and present a fairly accurate tone for having an overall warmth. The listener will not ever feel fatigue and can enjoy long listening sessions. With this type of midrange delivery, you are allowed to just sit back and enjoy the harmony, kind of a scotch and cigar type of listen. Refined and mature thanks to the frequencies being boosted in all of the right areas. To my ears it is more coherent than the Vision Ears VE-8 but your mileage may vary…and probably will. Female vocal lovers will rejoice when listening to Norah Jones, Sade or Diana Krall.
The treble follows the trend of the EM10 and provides a wonderful smooth tone minus any hint of shrill. There is a blending among all of the frequencies of the EM10 and the treble folds in with the signature on the whole. The cymbals, such as found in Rush YYZ, have a perfect chhh sound, precise yet reserved. Because the treble blends so well with the rest of the frequencies it might lead you to believe that it has a stale or boring sound. Not true! It just blends in so well to create a wonderful harmony. Never sharp or shrill, it is best described as warm, clear and harmonious. I think this type of treble makes music such as Foreplay or The Rippingtons sound their best. Jazz has an overall smooth, silky ambiance when the treble is presented as it is in the EM10.
Would I recommend the EM10…without hesitation…YES, even in a crowded market! I am so pleased I had the opportunity to review and revisit an old love affair with a company that has helped develop my listening skills along the way. I loved the Velvet and the SM64. I love the EM10, albeit different, with only a hint of house sound remaining. The sound is artistically beautiful, smooth, rich and easy to listen to. If you are looking for teeth rattling sub bass or extreme brightness, look in another direction. If you want a smooth presentation that requires zero effort to enjoy, look at the EM10. I have other IEM’s/CIEM’s that excel in certain areas more so than the EM10 but they also don’t provide me the flowing, effortless smoothness that the EM10 is capable of. Mature…with a smooth, piquant bouquet.