It's a Headphones Thing

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REVIEW: EarSonics SM1 – Viva La France

EarSonics is a French IEM company. They’re famous mostly for their custom IEMs which are used by a lot of leading French artists and music producers, and also because of one of their universal IEMs, the SM3, which is considered as one of the best universal IEMs. The SM3 gets almost all of the fame, but they do have two more universals: the SM2, and the one which I’m going to review, the SM1. The SM1 is their lowest priced IEM and they call it “The best choice to taste our in-ears quality”.

I would like to thank Franck for the SM1 review sample.

Before we start, here are the SM1’s specifications:

Sensitivity: 109 dB/mW 
Frequency Response: 20 Hz -18 kHz
Impedance: 28 ohms 
Driver: 1 dual HQ balanced armature driver, 2 way crossover

 

Packaging: The SM1 comes in a small cardboard package with a nice little painting on it. On the package’s front side there’s a sticker announcing that it’s a “New Generation – Mini HQ Dual Transducer, 2 WAY with Cross-Over”. For my surprise, there’s a “Designed in France – Made in France” label on the back, well, I’ll check it later, in the building quality category. A thing I’ve found pretty weird is that there are no specifications anywhere on the box, although, I believe it isn’t really needed for the customers who buy the SM1.

 The tips and the cleaning tool

Accessories: The SM1 is packaged with a little fabric zipper case with EarSonics’ logo embroidered on it. In the case there is a small nylon bag which contains two white Medium and Large comply tips, two pairs of Bi-flange tips: one of them which has some kind of a tube, and another one without it, and also a small brush which is used to clean the earphones from earwax. A nice set of accessories, although it would’ve been nice to get some more tips.The rating it gets is 8.5/10.

The carrying case

Building Quality and Design: On the box there’s a “Made in France” label, which immediately made me to expect the SM1’s building quality to be top notch. And my expectations became realized. The shells are made of a very sturdy and durable feeling black plastic. On the shells there’s an EarSonics logo and Left and Right marks embedded. Out of the shells comes a short piece of memory wire, which a few centimeters later becomes a very solid and strong twisted. If it will get torn, there’s nothing to be worried about, because the cable is detachable, which means you can just buy an after market cable and plug it in easily, without all of the hassle when there’s a need to recable your IEMs. The cable ends with a big L-shaped 3.5mm gold plated jack. The building quality is really great! The rating it gets is 9/10.

Comfort / Fit: The SM1 are supposed to be worn over the ear.Because of its flat and tiny shells, the SM1 can be inserted very deep, without making your ears hurt. The fit looks a bit like a custom, because the shells cover all of the inner ear. The short piece of the memory wire is very useful – the cables don’t fall from the ears, and they are almost not felt because of their small weight. I can be with them for hours without feeling any discomfort at all. A small problem that is occurring when using the tubeless Bi-Flanges, they are left in the ear most of the times, although it’s pretty easy to pull them out. The rating is 9.5/10.

Isolation and Microphonics:  I would say that the isolation is pretty great with the tubeless Bi Flanges. Outside noises were rejected in a very good grade, although, in crowded places, some outside noises were leaking into my ears when there was no music playing. There are almost no microphonics at all, EarSonics did a great job in this category. 9/10.

Sound Quality: Prior to the review, the EarSonics SM1 were given at least 50 hours of burn- in. There were no noticeable changes detected.

The sound signature is pretty unique and special, not similar to any other IEM I’ve listened to. It’s neutral, natural and energetic, but it’s very hard to classify and describe the SM1’s exact sound signature.  An interesting thing I noticed is that they sound better in high volumes than in the low ones.

The Bass is very clear, clean and mostly, accurate and punchy. It’s very energetic and fun. It made chills inside me; it’s exactly to my taste.

 The Mids are very precise, clean, sharp and not recessed at all. Strings and Guitars are very well presented, which makes slow ballads very “intimate” and emotional sounding. Another very good thing in the mids is the basslines presentation, which is totally amazing.

The Treble is the frequency that gives the “WOW factor” to the listener the most. It’s very lush, full and rich. Vocals are very crisp and clear, although they do sound a little bit “hot”. There’s a little bit sibilance, but when amped, it mostly disappears.

The Soundstage is big. But the best part is the imaging. In songs where there are effects like bike riding noises, I felt that the bike is riding just to my right, and then it bypassed to the left lane. This is a thing I didn’t hear that good with some other IEMs, and I liked it very much. 

The SM1 doesn’t need to be amped, but it does benefit very much from it. When I connected it the Hippo Box + that was bundled with it, I felt a fuller and richer sound. For the best experience, the SM1 does need to be amped.

The sound’s rating is 8.9/10 in ratio the SM1’s price.

In consideration, the SM1 is great for those who search for an energetic and fun sound, but at the same time for a balanced and precise one too, with great comfort and isolation. The overall score is 9.1/10.

Pros: Great Sound, Great Building Quality, Great Isolation.

Cons: The price can be a one, but they’re definitely worth their price.

The EarSonics SM1 can be bought via Amazon for 200$ or for 200 Euros from EarSonics’ website. EarSonics’ offer a bundle of the SM1 and the Hippo Box + portable amp for 230 Euros, which can be bought via their site too.

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2 responses to “REVIEW: EarSonics SM1 – Viva La France

  1. ASIN 06/01/2013 at 10:55

    Would you say a basshead could enjoy these?

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