IEMs Discovery & General Discussion

Hey everyone, since I see this picking up a bit of steam in some places, here’s my impressions/review of the Tin HiFi P1 Max if anyone was interested:


Quite a while ago, Tin HiFi sent me the Tin P1 Max out of the blue. At the time, I didn’t even know what I was getting or that it would somehow turn into the BIG PANDA but I guess we’re here. The P1 Max is a 14.8 mm planar IEM from Tin HiFi. I think it costs $169 for early bird pricing though I don’t really know as Tin HiFi hasn’t mentioned where you can buy it. While they’ve produced a few other planars in the past, it seems like this is a totally different driver, one in-line with recent successes like the Shuoer S12 and 7Hz Timeless. This post will be some impressions, some graphs, and a bit of comparison to the Timeless. I won’t do a full review of the P1 Max as my unit is a sample unit. Tin HiFi let me know that “the sound [of my unit] is similar” which I will assume means the same while “the appearance [of the production units] is more beautiful”. You can consider this article as half impressions, half review.

Please read my 7Hz Timeless review over at before reading this one because I will heavily reference it throughout and will be the comparison point.


Tin HiFi went for a straightforward build here. It has an ergonomically shaped resin shell, one that is commonly found among recent ChiFi releases. No complaints on comfort. On the faceplate is a shiny hexagonal pattern on a black background, perhaps trying to suggest at the P1 Max’s planar driver? The cable included in my sample unit is a silver 2-pin, 2-core braided cable. This is a similar cable to something found in the 7Hz Timeless though it feels slightly different. Works fine, no complaints.


It sounds pretty good. A little on the generic side, not particularly “hi-fi” in the sense that I’m wholly satisfied with its resolving ability but otherwise could be a lot worse. Basically, a marginal step below the 7Hz Timeless. I like it.

Frequency response of the Tin HiFi P1 Max. Measurement taken with an IEC-711 clone microphone. Comparisons can only be made relative to other measurements taken by this specific microphone. A peak at about 8 – 10 kHz is likely an artifact of the measurement rig and may not exist as depicted here. Measurements above 8 kHz are not accurate.

Bass is on the boomy side. Drum notes aren’t super tightly defined and textured, there’s some bloom here. There’s also less rumble in the subbass compared to the Timeless. Bass guitar however is nice. There’s note definition and clarity and rolls fluidly. Really, the drums is where the P1 Max loses most of its points in my eyes. It’s not bad in the grand scheme of things but it’s where it sounds its weakest in terms of technical performance.

The P1 Max’s upper mids aren’t nearly as pushed forward as the Timeless. While some might like more recessed mids to impart warmth, I personally think the upper mids are needed to balance out the bass intrusion into the lower mids. As such, I prefer the Timeless’ midrange but honestly, I can see some people liking the P1 Max’s instead. The difference isn’t as great as the graph may indicate. Other than that minor difference in the upper mids however, they’re quite similar with a similar-ish timbre. Vocals are natural sounding and sibilant free to my ears.

Tin HiFi P1 Max vs. 7Hz Timeless frequency response aligned at 1 kHz. It largely matches my impressions above.

Like the Timeless, the P1 Max has an airy quality to it. However one notable difference is in the upper treble. The P1 Max doesn’t have as strong an upper treble peak. On the Timeless, it causes hats/cymbals to pop up with a tizziness to it and causes them to be more prominent. On the P1 Max, its less apparent.

The staging experience is largely similar. That is to say, pleasant to listen to and non-fatiguing. I don’t think it’s as open feeling as the Timeless was however. As previously stated, the P1 Max is a little less technical overall I feel but it could very well all be in the upper mids difference.


To be completely honest, I think I would have been a lot more impressed with the Tin HiFi P1 Max if it came out before the 7Hz Timeless. But with the Timeless as a measuring stick, its hard to not be a little blasé with the P1 Max. Looking at it more objectively, the P1 Max is worth a buy. I don’t know the price but if its around the $170 mark it makes sense given the slightly weaker performance compared to the Timeless. A/Bing them side by side, while I preferred the Timeless, it wasn’t like the P1 Max was really behind. The other IEM to consider is the Shuoer S12. That IEM costs $169 (at the time of this writing). In Antdroid’s review, it looks very very similar to the 7Hz Timeless.

So let’s talk product differentiation since ChiFi companies don’t know how. Why SHOULD you buy the P1 Max over the 7Hz Timeless or Shuoer S12? For starters, the shell. Maybe you like a resin shell better. Probably won’t have any paint chipping or faceplate falling issues and will be more comfy. Maybe you hate MMCX IEMs with a passion. Maybe you want a milder sound: less subbass, less upper mids, less upper treble peak. Totally fair, I did note in my original review that the Timeless can sometimes be a little overbearing.

At the end of the day, the P1 Max is yet another option in the ultra competitive ChiFi IEM market. It’s probably the best IEM that Tin HiFi has done (?) even if it does go against some of the uniqueness that made Tin HiFi a notable company in the first place aeons ago. Don’t expect miracles as the P1 Max is not it. Just enjoy your music.


Another truly Excellent review @Fc-Construct. Great stuff.

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I am currently on a business trip and while I am here, @antdroid (of has very kindly loaned me multiple sets of IEMs to try out.

First, I must apologize for the lack of photos, and the poor quality of the photo that I have included, but I am stuck in a hotel room with just a cell phone and very limited light etc.

My intention with this “Mini Review” is to share my impressions of the various IEMs after using them for approximately one day only. I usually spend at least a week with an IEM before I create a review, as I find that more time spent can sometimes make certain flaws more obvious or can also make something grow on me. Therefore, please take these “Mini Reviews” for what they are, impressions after using the IEMs for only a brief period of time.

My intention was to first post a Mini Review of the Shouer S12, a set of IEMs that has impressed me quite a bit, however, Shouer have informed me that they have sent me a set to review, which I should have by the time I get back to Spain. Therefore, I am going to wait and post a complete review of the S12, as I feel that they deserve it without doubt.

As I have already tried the S12, a lot of what I am going to mention about the Timeles is in comparison to the S12, which may not make a lot of sense due to the fact that I haven’t posted a review of the S12 yet, but once I get to posting my review of the S12, this mini review will probably make a lot more sense.


As these are on loan, I can’t say that they include all of the packaging and contents. In fact, I know that all contents are not included as there is only one set of tips and I know that these include more, therefore I am not going to really talk about presentation.

I will say that they do include a carry/storage case that is basically a full metal box, which is a few milimeters thick and is way too heavy to use to carry these IEMs around. However, the box is quite impressive and I must give 7Hz bonus points for originality.

Build and aesthetics…

The shape of the Timeless is quite original also, definitely a break from the norm. They are a large circle shape that fits just outside the ear, with a nozzle that is quite long but makes them quite comfortable. Personally I find the S12 more comfortable but the Timeless are not bad in this regard either.

The IEMs are metal and seem to be well built, with no obvious signs of wear, although I don’t know exactly how long Antdroid has had them, nor how much he has used them.

The included cable is a bit basic but uses nice hardware and to be honest, I prefer the lightweight of it over the thicker cable included with the S12.


In the subbass department, I find that there is less quantity than with the S12. It is not rolled off enough for me to complain but if given the choice, I would prefer to have a little more presence in this region. I found tracks like “Bury A Friend” enjoyable but would choose to add a little more subbass if possible.

In the midbass range, I must say that I find them to be very similar to the S12 and really don’t have any complaints. The low end of bass guitars and other instruments have enough presence to be enjoyable, at least to me, without being overly done and becoming too warm.

The mids are also very similar throught the lower and middle ranges, however, reaching the higher end of the mids, I find that the Timeless are not quite as forward in the vocals as the S12. I mean, the S12 are not exactly very vocal forward but the Timeless are even less so. Saying that, I cannot say that the vocals are recessed, they are not, they are still present enough for me to not complain, just that the S12 has that little bit more.

I also have no issue with the treble areas of the Timeless. The treble is not quite as smooth as on the S12, which does sometimes make it seem a little more detailed (only on specific songs). The extension and sensation of air is also good, and while it is not as smooth as the treble on the S12, it does seem to extend a little further, or at least that is the impression that it gives me.

The detail I would say is also slightly better on the Timeless in comparison to the S12, although there is very little in it. The S12 seems to be a little more smoothed over in the treble department, which does affect the sensation of detail, but I still think that the Timeless has the edge here.


This has been a bit of a strange comparison to the S12, a set that I haven’t reviewed yet, but to be honest, they are both excellent IEMs in my opinion. There is very little difference between them as far as sound qualities but I have found myself preferring the overall tuning of the S12. Again, it is very close and it is minor things that only really stand out when comparing them side by side, but I must say I am more of a fan of the S12.

But personal preferences aside, the Timeless are an excellent set of IEMs for their price and I would be more than happy to have them in my collection, probably getting more use than the majority of other IEMs I have.

I think that anyone buying the Timeless is making a very good purchase and will not regret doing so (if they fit their personal preference as far as tuning of course!).

As alaways, this is also available in Spanish both on my blog (here) and on YouTube (here)


7Hz Eternal


Todays mini review is of another set of 7 Hertz IEMs, the 7Hz Eternal.

If you don’t know what these mini reviews are, I suggest you check out the Timeless mini review (here or just read the post above this one :wink: ), where I explain why I am doing these mini reviews. Again, I apologize for the lack of photos and the poor quality of the single photo I have included.

I would like to shout out to Antdroid and Audio Discourse once more for sending me these IEMs to try out, it is much appreciated.


All I can say here is the same as I said with the Timeless, I can’t speak about the full presentation as I am not sure exactly what was included.

The box and the contents I have received are the same as with the Timeless, the only thing that has changed is the colour of the packaging (and the colour of the contents).

Build and aesthetics…

Again, these IEMs are almost identical to the Timeless except for the colour and one small aesthetical change. The faceplate of these IEMs is transparent and shows what looks like a driver through the glass (perspex?). However, this is not the actual driver, so it is really only a gimmick and I can’t say that I am overly fond of it.

The colour is a bronze colour instead of the black on the timeless, which I do quite like but I wouldn’t call them spectacular, in fact, I prefer the basic black of the timeless.


I actually thought that these IEMs were another set of planar magnetics, an update to the Timeless. While I was listening to these, I was comparing them in my mind to the Timeless and I must say that I am not a fan. However, they are actually a set of dynamic driver IEMs but I am still not a fan.

The subbass is almost identical to the Timeless on paper, however, it sounds like it is less present, due to another part of the tuning that I will get to in just a second. This makes it seem like the subbass is quite rolled off and I found myself wanting far more than was given.

The midbass is the same story, it is almost a clone of the Timeless, yet the Eternal seems to have less to the ear. Again, I found myself wanting more. Yes, the bass boost on the Gryphon can remedy this but in a fair comparison, the Timeless wins and the S12 wins by an even larger margin.

The biggest problem with these IEMs, in my opinion of course, is the huge peak they have at 5kHz. I have said in the past that I seem to be quite sensitive to 5kHz peaks and the Eternal to me just sound harsh and even quite painful on occasions. I must say that I found this part of the frequency to be irritating at best and it really stopped me from enjoying these IEMs.

The details and soundstage I feel are just as good as on the Timeless, however, as I found the overall sound to be irritating, I wasn’t really paying much attention to the detail.


So far I have tried three sets of IEMs in a row and I have to say that these have been the least enjoyable by a large margin. I found that I had to really make an effort to keep listening to them to make these brief impressions and in the end, I just gave up. I spent around a day with each of the other two sets yet the Eternal only managed to stay in my ears for about a couple of hours and that was enough for me to call it a day.

I’m sorry to say that I have not enjoyed the Eternal at all and would blindly pick either of the other two (or many many other IEMs) before choosing these.

That doesn’t mean everyone will hate them, we all have different tastes, but these are certainly not for me!

As always, this is also available in Spanish both on my blog (here) and on YouTube (here)


Great write-up as always!

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Fiio x Crinacle FHE: Eclipse


In the collection of IEMs that Antdroid (from Audio Discourse) sent me to check out, there are a couple of collaborations with Crinacle. The ones I am going to “mini review” (I explained more about these mini reviews in my post of the Timeless, 2 posts above this one or here) today are the Fiio x Crinacle FHE: Eclipse.

This is a hybrid set that uses 1x DD and 2x BA drivers, with the tuning done by (or at least in collaboration with) Crinacle. These are actually also the first set of Fiio IEMs that I have ever tried, so it was interesting to give them a whirl.


As with the other sets, these are on loan so I can’t really be certain about what is actually included in the package. I will say that there is both a Pelican style hard shell storage/transport case, along with a soft case, which is a nice touch.

Build and aesthetics…

The IEMs are a generic shape that works very well for my ears, with a simple but elegant aesthetic and they seem to be very well built. As far as build and aesthetics of the IEMs, I have absolutely no complaints.

The included cable is a good quality cable but is a little bulky for my personal tastes. It is not terrible, I have had much chunkier cables, but I would prefer slightly less weight if possible.

All in all, they are a good set in this regard, my only complaint would be the use of MMCX connectors, something I am not fond of.


As mentioned in my other mini-reviews, I have not spent more than a day with these IEMs so I have formed brief impressions but these could change (for better or for worse) if I was to spend a more extended period with them.

Starting with the subbass, I find them to fit my tastes quite well in this regard. There is enough subbass rumble for any of my music selections and it still stays pretty well controlled, giving the low end enough power for me to be happy.

The midbass is a little north of my preferences but I do not find it offensive, I find it fills out the low end well and gives a nice warmth without being overpowering. The low end also avoids bleeding into the lower mids and is generally quite a pleasant listen, which is quite a bit of praise for someone who does not like a lot of bass.

The midrange is pleasant, most of the time. It is a little recessed, with an overall tuning that is quite V shaped, but sometimes there will be certain vocals that appear as quite harsh. This is not really a regular occurrence but on certain tracks, the upper mids will be a little too violent, creating that harshness on certain voices and higher ranges of mid centric instruments. Again, it is not all the time, just certain tracks and artists that seem to clask in their tonality with the tuning of the Eclipse.

The treble I find to be very pleasurable and to have a good extension, with a nice sensation of air and openness for a set of IEMs. The soundstage isn’t huge, they are IEMs, but listening to things like “La Luna”, which is a binaural recording, is very enjoyable.


I had no idea how much these IEMs cost (I really haven’t taken much notice of Fiio) but after listening to them all day and finding them very easy going and pleasurable, I checked the price. I was very surprised to find that they are around 130€, a price that I feel is very reasonable for what you get,

They are not my favourite IEMs ever, but I have enjoyed listening to them and I think that they are a very valid option for a vast amount of people, offering a better than average sound for a price that is by no means overly inflated.

I must say that I have been pleasantly surprised by the Fiio FHE Eclipse.

This is also available in Spanish both on my blog (here) and on YouTube (here)


SeeAudio x Crinacle Yume Midnight


The last mini review I posted (more about what these mini reviews are included in the Timeless review which is 3 posts up or here) was of the Fiio collaboration with Crinacle, the FHE: Eclipse. Today I am going to give my impressions on the other Crinacle collaboration that Antdroid has kindly loaned me, the SeeAudio Yume Midnight.

This is another set of 1x DD + 2x BA, as with the FHE, with a price that is a little higher than the Fiio option, but still not crazy expensive, coming in at under 200€


Once more, I can’t comment on the whole contents of the Midnight as they are on loan, but I will say that the box is huge, there is a rigid storage case included and what seems to be plenty of anime related stuff.

Build and aesthetics…

The IEMs are a very generic and comfortable shape, at least for me, with shells that are finished in a carbon fibre type style.

I don’t think they are anything special in this regard but they are not offensive and do not stand out from so many other options, except for a logo on one side and the name “midnight” on the other.

The cable is the simplest I have tried so far this week but it is also the lightest, something that I find a plus for my tastes.


Starting with subbass, there is quite an elevation, very similar to the FHE Eclipse, which provides plenty of rumble in the lower registers when the track calls for it. In my opinion, the quantity is not excessive and fits my tastes quite well in this regard. I feel that it is enough for most people to be happy unless they are all out bass heads.

As with the Eclipse, the midbass is a little more than I would choose but it is decent and gives a nice warmth to the low end without becoming overly bloated or muddy, keeping the transition into the lower mids fairly clean. It is not something I would consider amazing in the bass range but it is a sound signature that should please most people, however, I do find it to be a little simple in this respect. I don’t find that the bass provides all the details that could be presented.

This is not really a complaint as such, I mean, it does handle the bass well, but when listening to things like Miller, Clarke & Wooten, the three bass guitars do seem to blend together a little, losing some of the separation that I would expect to hear.

The mid range is also similar to the Eclipse, at least until we hit the upper mids. This means that there is a slight recession in the mids, due to the overall V shaped tuning, making some vocals not stand out as much as I am used to on other sets.

The upper mids and lower treble is smoother on the Midnight than on the Eclipse, with less presence around the 3kHz mark, adding to the sensation of the vocals taking a step back. This is not bad but is not my preference as far as the presentation of vocals and mid range instruments are concerned.

The treble has good extension, better than what I am used to with IEMs in these price ranges, and I feel that there is a good sensation of air, however, I again feel that it is a little lacking in the separation of layers, even in these high ranges. Don’t get me wrong, the sound is by no means bad, just not really exciting.

The details are present but as with the bass, they do seem to blend together a little, making it seem a little boring on occasions. This is good for general relaxing and listening to music but if you want to focus on details, then I feel that other sets do it better.


I don’t really have any complaints about the Midnight, but I am not really thrilled by them either. They are a good set of IEMs, they don’t really do anything wrong. They could be a little more exciting and they could do a better job of separating details, which I feel are there, just that they are not spaced out between themselves, making it a little more difficult to enjoy the nuances of certain instruments.

I feel that this set could make a lot of people very happy but I also feel that the Eclipse is similar enough to suit just as many people and comes in at a lower price. The extension of the treble is better on the Midnight but I think the Eclipse presents details in a better way.

Both sets are good for their price but I don’t feel that the extra cost of the Midnight is worth it over the Eclipse.

Just to not lose the habit, this is available in Spanish both on my blog (here) and YouTube (here)


Unique Melody Mest Mk2


As we get to the end of the mini review series (to know more about these mini reviews, check out the Timeless mini review, a few posts up or here), did I save the best until last?

Todays mini review is of the Unique Melody Mest 2, a set of IEMs that uses a quadbrid combination of dynamic, balanced armature, EST and bone conduction drivers, coming in (at the time of creating this mini review) at around 1100€.

As these do not come in their original packaging, due to them being kindly loaned to me by Antdroid (of Audio Discourse), I am going to skip the presentation and move straight to the …

Build and aesthetics…

The Mest 2 are a lightweight set of IEMs, using a fairly normal shape with nice smoothed edges and generally a very comfortable result, at least for my personal ear anatomy.

At a simple glance, they are a dark and simple colour with a few gold flecks, however, looking at the closer and in better light, they do have a lot more going on. The left side has the UM logo in silver lettering, while the right side sports the word Mest.

They seem to be very well built and I find them to be pleasant looking although nothing extraordinary, they don’t stand out and scream “look what I have in my ears”.

In general, I have no complaints at all in this department.


I am going to get straight to the point and say that I expected more from the Mest 2. Now, they are by no means bad, in fact, they are very good, but I haven’t had any “wow” moments while using them. They are very capable and have a good overall sound to them, I am just not blown away.

Again, let me make it clear that they are not bad and I am certainly not going to complain about their sound (or capabilities), I just do not find them exciting, maybe because I had hyped myself up to expect more, preconceived opinions do that (sometimes for better and sometimes for worse).

In the subbass region, they have plenty of subbass to keep me happy and they are very articulate in the way they present it. Listening to test tracks like my typical “Chameleon” test, there is really nothing I can complain about in the low end.

The midbass is also very good, both in presence and in substance. There is enough to keep me (and probably most people) happy. It is also very controlled, like the subbass, without it seeming to lose control at all and it doesn’t invade the mids. In comparison to the Helios, another 1k set of IEMs that really did impress me, the midbass is possibly the only part that I feel the Mest 2 does a little better, at least in quantity.

The mids are very balanced and although on paper I would have thought that the reduced upper mids would make things sound a little recessed and pushed back, it is not the case, at least to my ears. I was surprised to find that things were smooth yet easily identified and at no time deid I find myself straining to enjoy vocals.

The upper frequencies are well extended, with a nice sensation of air an spaciousness, while still remaining smooth and not presenting any unexpected peaks or harshness.

The details are also good, although not excellent in my opinion. This could be due to the smoothness of the tuning tricking my brain into thinking it is not retrieving as much detail, as there really isn’t anything missing, I haven’t come across any tracks that I found to be lacking in detail in comparison to other IEMs, it is just quite a bit smoother.


As I said at the beginning of the sound section, the Mest 2 are a very good set of IEMs, maybe even excellent, but they just haven’t wowed me.

There is two possible reasons for this, one is that I was spoiled by the fact that the first >1k IEMs I heard were the Helios, a set of IEMs that really did wow me, and since then things have just been not quite as impressive.

The other option is that I have created a memory of the Helios that is better than they actually were, meaning that even the HElios would possibly be a let down if I were to listen to them again.

The only fair comparison between the Mest 2 and the Helios would be to actually listen to them side by side and compare. However, even though that gives me another excuse to finally purchase a set of Helios (as if I needed more excuses), I will be returning the Mest 2 to its owner and I have no intention of purchasing a set.

I guess all of this is to say that the Mest 2 is great. I have no complaints. I just expected more excitement for 1000€. This is possibly (probably?) not even the fault of the IEMs, rather it is my own brain, but I can only share what I feel. It is also possible, as I have said in my other mini reviews, that spending more time with something will sometimes make me appreciate it and like it more (or sometimes less), so this should be taken as what it is, my personal take on a set of IEMs after only spending a day or two with them.

As this is the last in the series of these mini-reviews, I just want to thank @antdroid once more for loaning me all of these IEMs, and to those of you reading, if you haven’t checked out yet, do it now!! :grinning:

This is also available in Spanish on my blog (here) and on YouTube (here)


Letshuoer S12

These IEMs are a set that I was very interested in trying out and while I was in Miami, Antdroid very kindly loaned them to me. I got to spend a day or so with them, with a very positive first impression, and was about to create a mini review for them when Letshuoer reached out to me, offering to send them to me for review. I was obviously very happy to do a full review of them and a few weeks later, here we are.

Therefore, these IEMs have been sent to me by Letshuoer in order to review them and give my detailed impressions on them. They have not made any specific requests (although I will share a non-affiliate link to them on my blog here) and my review will aim to be, as always, as honest and unbiased as possible, although you should always consider the fact that these IEMs did not cost me anything.


There has been quite a surge of planar magnetic IEMs lately, gaining quite a lot of popularity due to them having improved a lot since previous releases. Two of the most popular have proven to be the Timeless and the S12, the set I have here today.

I did get to try out the Timeless while away and published a mini review of them that you can find here. In that mini review, I compared them quite a bit to the S12, as I had tried them side by side for a day or two, and I mentioned that the comparison probably didn’t make much sense due to the fact that I didn’t actually publish the mini review of the S12. I just mentioned above the reason for not publishing the mini review and I am very happy I have got the chance to test these IEMs over a longer period so that I can share more detailed impressions.

I also mentioned in all of the mini reviews (unless I forgot to mention it in any of them) that when I spend a more extended time with a set of IEMs (or headphones), my opinions may change over that period. I may grow used to some of the things I find strange at first and learn to like them more than I do over a short period, but it can also go the other way, I may start noticing things that I didn’t at first and which make the IEMs not as pleasant for me.

In this case, my impressions from the short period I spent with them have not changed much, if anything, I like them even more than I did over the short period I spent with them. I said in the 7Hz Timeless mini review that personally I preferred the S12 (although both are great sets of IEMs) and although I haven’t had a chance to spend a longer period with the Timeless, I still maintain my decision.

Anyway, enough chit chat and let’s get on with the important stuff.


The packaging of the S12 is simple, with a basic white box and an image of the product on the cover. Inside there is nothing out of the ordinary either, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t come with everything that a set of IEMs should.

Inside the box we get the IEMs, multiple sets of tips (3x sets of foam in their own hard case and two types of silicone, 3 sets of each type), a nice compact carrying case that is smaller that what is usually included but is still big enough for the S12 to fit without issues, and a cable.

You can choose which cable you would like including when placing an order for the S12 (via the official page), choosing between 3.5mm and 4.4mm terminations, with an option of silver or nebula grey for the IEMs also. In my case, I went for the 4.4mm cable and the cable is of very good quality, although it is a little thick for my personal tastes. While it is not what I would pick personally, the cable has actually grown on me a lot over the past week as far as comfort, and there is no denying it is a great looking cable.

So, everything you need is included in the package, I cannot complain at all in this sense.

Build and aesthetics…

The build quality is good, there are no apparent issues that I can spot, and everything in the package seems well manufactured, including cable, IEMs and tips.

As far as aesthetics, these are quite simple. The shells are fully metal and are finished in a simple, no frills, silver colour (in my case). Obviously aesthetics are just as personal as comfort but they don’t strike me as anything that should offend the vast majority of people.

I just mentioned above that the cable is a great looking cable, so again, I have no complaints.

As far as comfort, I find them very comfortable, fitting my ears perfectly and although I would prefer a slightly lighter weight cable, it has also grown on me (possibly aesthetics taking a part in this). For tips, I had been using Xelastec tips for a lot of my listening time but I decided to try out the spring tips that are included with the Moondrop Chu (review of the Chu coming soon) and I have found that I not only find them to have great sound but to also be extremely comfortable without the hassle of the Xelastecs.

As I just said, comfort is as personal as aesthetics (or even more so), so everyone is going to be different, but I find these more comfortable than the Timeless and also less “attention seeking” with regards to aesthetics.


Just a reminder that all tracks mentioned in this section are clickable links that will allow you to open the song in the streaming service of your choice, allowing a direct reference of the song I am talking about.

Here is where I fell in love with the S12. Anyone who has followed my headphone reviews will probably already know that I am a planar magnetic lover, and in the case of IEMs, it seems to be that I am of a similar fashion. I have had the Audeze iSine for quite some time now and I like them, except for the fact that they need a ton of equalisation in order for them to have a decent tuning. The S12 does not have that issue. The tuning out of the box is great, in my opinion of course, and I have found that they are probably the most pleasurable set of IEMs for long listening sessions that I have spent time with so far.

Moving through the usual sound categories, starting with subbass as always, there is no roll off here, at least not that I can hear. Putting the S12 through my usual subbass workout which is “Chameleon”, there is plenty of presence to give me the sub rumble that this track presents, without them seeming to lose control at any point. There are many sets of IEMs that can get that low end rumble with this track but once the subbass starts to mix with the midbass, things can get a little hazy. That is not the case with the S12, they keep things nice and collected, offering a great presentation of this track which is better than the vast majority (almost all, especially at this price) of IEMs that I have tried.

Moving into the midbass, if we look at the graph of the S12 vs my target preference, there is a little more than I request.

(all my IEM measurements can be found and compared on

However, targets are just a rough guidance and we shouldn’t get fixated on things adhering to targets too much, as sometimes a deviation can actually sound better, depending on how that is presented and controlled by the IEMs in question.

In the case of the S12, the midbass is extremely well controlled, making things sound precise and clear, even when a track is busy in these areas. Even activating the XBass boost on the Gryphon, where bass becomes overpowering for me personally (depending on the track of course), they still keep control and definition of the notes.

Tracks like “No Sanctuary Here”, which have a strong bass presence but need cleanliness to sound their best, sound clear and, well, great on the S12. More “old school” songs, such as things like “Whole Lotta Love”, benefit quite a bit from the additional presence of the midbass, making the bass guitar of John Paul Jones become a little more present but without it sounding out of balance with the rest. The live performances by Clarke, Miller and Wooten (which is unfortunately not available on streaming services, at least as far as I know) are nicely presented with the separation of the 3 bass guitars being quite easy.

Moving into the mids, there is no bleed, no muddyness, just a nice clean transition. There is also no recess in the mids, keeping them from losing space to the midabass. The slap/pluck of “Elephants on Ice Skates” comes across as well balanced, without it being overpowering in the lower notes and without it losing in the mids to the brass section.

Listening to some of my favourite styles of music, such as acoustic and simple vocal/instrumental tracks, the mids are smooth, without anything sounding harsh or out of place. There is the usual hint of “coldness” that this kind of music can portray on planar magnetic drivers, which may sound a little different if you are used to dynamics but it is something that I have grown to enjoy from infinite hours spent with planar headphones.

A listen to “Diamonds on the Souls of Her Shoes”, which can be a little harsh on the higher mids and lower treble on many sets, still presents a little harshness to Paul Simon’s voice if volume is pushed but in general it is again well balanced and is not painful (unless pushed way above my usual listening levels). “Don’t You Worry Child”, another track that can easily become harsh to my ears, is much better than I expected and is quite listenable.

Hip hop, which is something that can suffer quite a bit in regards to vocals when the midbass is boosted and the higher mids are not overly present to compensate, actually sounds as it should. Or at least it sounds like I expect it to sound after many decades of listening on many speaker set ups and other headphones. As an example, “Make Noise” by Busta Rhymes and Lenny Kravitz, has the vocals quite recessed in the mix, which can either totally disappear or become boosted, depending on the system, seem to have the same presence as I have heard on many monitor and live set ups.

Moving into the treble, there is a nice extension and plenty of “air” to make it thoroughly enjoyable for me. As a sibilance test, using “Code Cool” as usual, there is a slight hint of sibilance on a few of the “S” by Patricia Barber, but certainly not enough to make the track painful or difficult to listen to. This is something that can be the case on many sets of IEMs and headphones, with her voice either being harsh and sibilant, or subdued and pushed back. Again, I would say that the S12 do a great job of keeping it where it should be.

While the detail of these IEMs is very good, I do feel that detrail retrieval may not be the strongest point of the S12. I only listened to the Timeless for a day or so, although I got the possibility to test them side by side with the S12, but I got the feeling that as far as detail retrieval, the Timeless did have the slight edge here. Neither sets are going to compete with something like the Helios (a set of IEMs that is 5 times the price) but both are very good, not just for this price bracket.

At no point do I get the sensation that details are missing, they are all there, just maybe not as apparent as they are on some other sets. Listening to the intro of “All Your Love Turned to Passion”, there are some details in the left channel from the acoustic guitar that can be extremely impressive when a set of headphones presents them well. In the case of the S12, the details are there but they are not something that stand out and make you say “wow”, something that does happen on certain planar magnetic headphones like the higher end Hifimans, but this is obviously not even a comparison that can (or should) be made.

Soundstage is also good for a set of IEMs but without being outstanding. I really don’t find many IEMs to have a large sensation of space in this regard and the S12 are no exception. I would say they are on the higher side of average but not something that give the impression of having a huge amount of space for images to spread out. For example, “La Luna”, which is a binaural recording, does give a nice surrounding sensation but it is slightly closer than on open back headphones (which is again, not a very fair comparison).

The placement of images is very good however, with pretty good precision inside the soundstage that the S12 do have to work with. As I just mentioned, “La Luna” is easily placed around you, and also things like “Strange Fruit” show nice placement of the different layers of vocals.


Well, I guess I have made it pretty clear that I like the S12, I don’t think there is any doubt about that. When I made the series of mini reviews, I got to spend some time comparing the Timeless and the S12 (I mentioned the comparison quite a bit in the TImeless mini review here), two sets that compete pretty closely with one and another, and I mentioned that I personally preferred the S12, at least after a day or two of use. I also mentioned that more time with a set sometimes makes me like (or dislike) something more and with the S12, I have grown to like it even more, making me very happy to use it as my daily IEM. I obviously haven’t had more time with the Timeless since then, but if I had picked the S12 out of the two based on the time I spent with them both, then I would have absolutely no regrets.

I read Antdroids review of the S12 and he said something that completely clicked with me and that I agree with 100%. I am paraphrasing from memory here but he said something along the lines of “ The S12 are like the Hifiman HE400se, they are maybe not the most detailed option and don’t have the fastest of planar speeds, but there is a decent amount for the price and the tonality makes up for it ” (or something along those lines :wink: ). I couldn’t agree more. The HE400se are a set of headphones that I just like, they are by no means the best performing headphones that I have but the overall sound is just pleasurable and is something that I can enjoy for hours of simple music listening. I feel the S12 are the same, I have come to not expect them to surprise me with things I didn’t know existed, but I have no doubt that they always perform well, no matter the track, and are a pleasure to listen to.

I was also surprised to find that they work really well with the iFi Go Blu. Due to expectations, I thought that the Go Blu would not be able to drive these IEMs well, but I was mistaken. Using the balanced output, it performs very well and has become a very portable set up that I am more than happy to use all day while away from my usual set ups, meaning I don’t need to rely on the Gryphon for portable power with these IEMs. I think this is probably more of a praise towards the Go Blu than the S12, however, it is something that has made me very happy.

If I needed to resume this (very long) review into a TLDR, it would be “A set of IEMs that I enjoy immensely and while not the highest performers out there, a perfect solution for my EDC”.

As always, this review can also be found in Spanish both on my blog (here) and YouTube (here)


Glad you finally got to try the MEST 2 - you know I rave about them.

They very taste peculiar - some people will think they’re good or average, while others will be amazed.

You were also indeed spoiled by Helios :wink:


Do higher-end iems make sense when used wirelessly?

Since wireless is tradeoff between convenience and sound quality I’m wondering if there’s a point where the benefits of higher-end iem’s are lost or greatly reduced.

I’m finding wires increasingly annoying (and somewhat dangerous) so trying to sort out what range of iems I would look at.


I think that’ll depend on the iem. Some benefit greatly with source gear in mind some are more forgiving. It’ll depend…

Example: The Sony ier-m9 is pretty forgiving. It doesn’t really change much as I moved it up in source gear. The Senn ie900, on the other hand, does change and scale considerably well

Thanks for the info.

I’m looking specifically at the limitations of the wireless connection, since that is going to be compressed.

Could you guys suggest certain iems within $1000 that have some euphonic vocals and dont have any major drawbacks across the frequency spectrum?

Thieaudio Monarch II

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This was a fun shootout between two terrific IEMs! Hope you all enjoy the video and have a great rest of your weekend guys!


Seek Real Audio Airship

The Seek Real Audio Airship have been sent to me by Linsoul in exchange for the publication of this review. As usual, they have not made any requests or comments and I will do my best to be unbiased in this review. Saying that, it is always good to consider the fact that I have not had to purchase these IEMs with my own money.

I will leave a non-affiliate link to the Airship via Linsoul on my blog, something that I always do in these cases.


Let me start off by saying I have absolutely no idea who Seek Real Audio are. When I received these IEMs from Linsoul, I had seen the name a couple of times on forums but I really hadn’t paid any attention. They arrived in a box with a couple of other things that Linsoul sent me and it was pure coincidence that I picked them up first.

I did a quick search of the brand online and other than recent comments and a few reviews, I really didn’t find much. As usual, I refrained from reading any of the reviews as I try to keep any expectations (good or bad) at a minimum, when possible of course.

So, basically, when I started listening to the Airship, the only thing I knew was that they are available on Linsoul for $179 and that they feature a single 10mm CNT driver. That’s obviously not much info, which is actually just the way I like it, at least before I get to listen to them for a while and form some first impressions.

Since then I have obviously put them on the measuring rig, otherwise I wouldn’t be including a graph in this review, but other than that, I still have basically no information about these IEMs or the company itself.


The presentation and contents of the Airship is nothing to complain about. Ok, there is nothing unexpected inside the box but at the same time, the accessories that are included cover the necessities and are of good quality.

The box is inside a cardboard sleeve that shows a spaceship beaming people up, with the phrase “we can hear more possibilities” shown in the top corner. The artwork is lighthearted and original, it is not what I would call “elegant” but at the same time, it at least avoids some of the artwork found on many sets lately.

Upon opening the box, things do look a bit more elegant, with the IEMs sitting in a soft foam cutout, with a nice (faux) leather storage case below. The case is nice and large, without being huge, sporting a good quality finish in black.

Also in the box we get the cable, which I will mention in a moment, a set of foam tips, 3 sets of silicone tips, spare filters for the nozzle, the usual warranty card and other paperwork.

While I think that they could have included more tips, it is also true that usually people will only use one set out of the box, or maybe not even that, as many people will like aftermarket tips of their choice. Personally I found that the medium silicone tips included fit and worked well for me.

Build & Aesthetics…

The shape of the Airship is similar to that of IEMs like the Aune Jasper, although smaller. The nozzle is also not very long, which could prove to be a fit issue for some people. In my case, I find that they fit me perfectly and are probably one of the most comfortable IEMs that I have worn in a long time. The size is small enough to actually fit inside my ear, without anything sticking out, and the nozzle, with the stock medium tips, is exactly the correct length for them to seal perfectly and be very comfortable. Obviously this is going to be different for everone.

The aesthetics are simple but not boring, with a few geometrical shapes and lines that break up what would otherwise be a simple oval. For some reason, the aesthetics remind me of something I am used to seeing from Fiio, just in a different shape.

The build quality also seems to be decent. They are completely metal shells which are very light weight, meaning that (combined with the comfort) I can just forget that I am wearing them.

The included cable is simple but again it of decent quality, with metal hardware (except for the 2.Pin connectors) that are finished in a colour that matches the IEMs. It is a non-braided cable, with a white interior covered by a clear rubber finish. Based on the overall gunmetal grey finish, I would personally have gone with a grey coloured cable rather than the white but that is just a comment rather than a complaint. It is not a spectacular cable but it is more than adequate and swapping it would be a personal choice rather than a necessity.


(Note: As always, tracks mentioned are clickable links that allow you to open them in the streaming platform of your choice for reference).

My usual process for testing IEMs (or headphones) is that I just used them for 4 or 5 days almost exclusively (while at work), listening to all kinds of music, as my tastes change a lot depending on my mood. After that period, I will spend various hours listening only to my test tracks (which can be found here by the way) and form my detailed impressions, doing any comparisons at the same time.

In the case of the Airship, I took them to the office as usual and when I hit play, it just so happened that my test track list was playing. I must say that I was instantly impressed by the Airship and I actually spent all morning listening to my test tracks.

But I am getting ahead of myself, so lets start, as usual, with a graph of the Airship in comparison to my personal preference target:

(all my measurements can be found and compared on

I have said it before but I am going to repeat it again… My target curve is really only as a guidance and sometimes things that follow the curve may still not be enjoyable to me and other things that deviate from the curve will actually be pleasurable. The latter is the case with the Airship.

Starting from the lowest notes, as I always do, the subbass of the Airship is present in both quality and quantity. I know that I say that I am not a fan of overly present bass, although the mid bass is usually where I suffer, if the set does keeps the subbass clean and articulate, then I enjoy it. I have used the Airship for quite a bit of hip hop and have obviously also put it through the usual “Chameleon” test, finding that the subbass response is very good, not quite excellent but certainly above many other sets in a similar price bracket, managing to keep things clear and concise while still offering a large presence in the rumbling frequencies.

Moving into the midbass, this may be where I am most impressed by the Airship. It is not the tuning that impresses me, as it is quite a bit above the presence I like and enjoy in this region, it is the way it deals with this additional presence. While there are many IEMs that are slightly over my preferred quantity in the midbass region, giving a warmth to the low end of guitars and basses that I actually like for some genres, there are many more that are way too much for my tastes. This is something that I actually find tiring and I find myself literally having to either switch music, reduce the bass, or even just give up on the IEMs.

Looking at the graph, I would place the Airship in the category of “way overdone for my tastes”, yet I don’t find it to be the case when listening to them. This is one of those cases where the graph doesn’t always relate to the experience. Yes, there is quite a bit more midbass that I would prefer, of that I have no doubt, but it doesn’t come across as tiring or make me want to take the IEMs out.

There is a clarity and definition to the midbass notes, as with the subbass, that is very impressive in my opinion, making the majority of my music enjoyable, even with the extra bass. For example, “No Sanctuary Here” by Marian Herzog feat Chris Jones, is a track that needs a decent amount of midbass to sound impressive but at the same time is easily overdone and drowns out the rest of the frequencies, the Airship give it (more than) enough quantity to be impressive yet do not make the bass take control more than it should.

I find that the Airship goes from doing a great job of presenting EDM, such as “Sun is Shining”, without being overly bassy, to reproducing “Elephants on Ice Skates” with authority but without bloat. If I had to complain, it would probably be more related to the pluck of the bass guitar in “Elephants on Ice Skates” than the bass notes themselves, but that is higher up in the range.

Moving into the mids, there is not really a bass bleed as such but there are times when certain notes seem to carry over just a little too much. This is not a regular occurence but on certain tracks that are busy around the 200Hz to 300Hz mark, it can overshadow the mids a little, due to the slight dip around the 500Hz mark.

As we move up to the higher end of the mids, there is a nice smooth slope that reaches up to the 2.5kHz mark, keeping it’s presence up until another peak just below the 5kHz mark. Now, I have said many times that I am sensitive to peaks at 5kHz but as with the bass, I do not find it to be irritating on the Airship. It’s true that it isn’t really a sole peak at 5k, more of a general presence between 2kHz and 5kHz, and this may be the reason for it not affecting me as much as it does on so many other sets, but I find the upper mids and their transition into the lower treble to be quite smooth and without giving the sensation of being harsh.

A lot of the music I listen to has female vocals and I find that the Airship do a great job of keeping voices present but without adding any harshness or pushing them too far forward. Even with female voices that are often too harsh on many sets, such as Beth in “Don’t You Worry Child”, still remain fairly smooth and do not become shouty and, well, irritating (at least no more than usual :wink: )

Climbing up to the higher end of the frequency range, there is a good extension and a nice sensation of air and breathing space. Many single dynamic driver IEMs suffer from lack of extension in the upper ranges, especially in the lower price categories, the Airship is actually a set that is above average in this regard.

Sibilance is also kept in check, without it being eliminated, meaning that sibilant recordings will still show up but the usual “Code Cool” test does keep Patricia Barber within the range that I feel is normal for her vocals in this song.

Soundstage is also above average for a set of IEMs. Ok, it is not a huge space around you, like the sensation you will get from certain open back headphones, but it does create a nice space around you, with a good image placement and good details to go along with it.

Listening to live performances, such as “Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay” or “Free Fallin’”, the Airship give you a nice sensation of space on stage, making them a pleasure to listen to. The same goes for tracks like “Strange Fruit”, where the layers of vocals are clearly identified and easily appreciated. The same goes for “I Concentrate On You”, where the vocals are the center of attention yet the details in the background are still clear, giving the track the effect that it deserves.


I think that if you have made it this far, I don’t really need to say that the Airship are a good set of IEMs, not just for their price but in general. I have really enjoyed listening to them and would have no issues using them as my daily drivers. Do they replace my beloved S12, which are at a similar price tag, I have to be honest and say that I could probably be just as happy with the Airship for my general daily listening as I am with the S12. They are actually tuned very similarly and I do feel that the Airship have actually got more detail than the S12.

There is no doubt that I think that the Airship are worth their price tag and the only thing that I would be worried about when recommending them is fit. For me personally they fit fine, I find them extremely comfortable, but everyone is different.

I am going to leave it here as I feel I have made my opinion quite clear. As I mentioned in a previous review, I have a case that holds 6 sets of IEMs that are my usual go to sets and I think that I need to clear a space in it to award it to the Airship.

(As always, this review can also be found in Spanish both on and on


Coming up next from team DUNU…


What are the 6 IEMs that are currently in your “go to” case?