Welcome to our first Measurement Monday of many and this is something we are really excited to bring you. Now as I mentioned in the Veritas introduction article, we are going to be bringing you just a few measurements of models we never actually individually reviewed and this is one of them.
Around the beginning of the year we was sent 4 models from start up Apollo Audio Lab, the two Bolt models Josh reviewed were solid, the X1 I looked at was harder work being so bass heavy with such a big price tag but with the knowledge the odd person would enjoy it, I reviewed it (with some heavy criticism mind you). The Viper 8 was actually the most expensive model ($780) they gave us and the one we originally contacted them for, it sadly turned out to be the worse. At this price range they just did not fit, not even down to sonics alone. Ok they package was nice, but nothing more than you got with the $370 Bolt models but the rest just oozed tacky and cheap. The housings were the most awful feeling acrylic I have come across and considering these cost more than the Campfire Lyra and its lovely ceramic housing, I was disappointed to say the least. The shell has an ugly seam where it is glued together and the logo is a sticker that you can peel off… ugh. Then you get to the cable they give that Josh got maddened by in his review of the Bolt models. It is actually marketed as a 8 braid silver plated copper cable but it is still very thin and flimsy. I love the Oyaide jack it implements but other than that it is just a pain, although at the very least I hope it helps the sound. The only glimpse of hope with these is that they actually are quite comfy, fitting fairly shallow but fitting the contours of my ears very nice.
After all of that there is the sound and that is by far the hardest pill to swallow. I have recently reviewed the Earsonics Velvet and Aurisonics ASG-2.5 in this price range and will soon be looking at the Campfire Lyra and while most of these are bassy, the opposite of this, they are much better, and I am not exactly all of their biggest fans either. They get mentioned before you even get into the customs you can get at this price etc. Before I even speak about the sound, have a look at the frequency response graph.
Light Blue – Left Dark Blue – Right
I must say just looking at the specs things feel a bit off about this, most people call out an earphone with 122dB of sensitivity but this has a whopping 137dB, looking at that I am already a bit cautious and even though that shouldn’t mean anything about sound this clearly wasn’t smartly designed. Now I am not sure if they are measuring their products but if they are something looking like this should not be released. It rolls off heavily at both ends, has poor channel matching and has a wonky midrange. While 100 to 1000hZ actually is the most even area of the earphone, it still raises 5 dB in that range and then chaos ensews. We get a huge peak at 1.6kHz and then at 3kHz the earphone seemingly calls it a day, by 6kHz its dropped 20dB?! I hope you can see why I struggled to review this now.
Moving away from the graph and to what my ears hear and it is pretty much what you would expect. The bass is very weak, the only sound it is capable of is a pew pew pew, it is like a pathetic laser gun being shot, no texture, body or anything you would like. The midrange is forward and fatiguing, shouty in a sense with some additional harshness. It is thin and and just sounds tonally off, the timbre is not something to shout about either. To finish off the treble just seems detatched, it’s not with the rest of the music, I think you can work out why. That is the thing with these earphones, they just dont sound near good, not top tier nor mid tier, these wouldn’t see a reccomendation from me at £100. They get overwhelemed easily and they have zero coherency, nothing works together. The best feature would be the soundstage but even that is easily dismantled by other models in the price bracket such as the Velvet or ASG-2.5.
I have said it before about this company and that is that they may have potential (this is my least favourite product), but they really need to work on refining their designs because as of now, this just is not cutting it… in the slightest. The worst IEM I have tried this year and there has been a few, I know they have a mark 2 planned and also a 10 driver and hopefully they get the sound sorted this time around, I know the build is going to be a lot better (metal housings?) and they really do seem to be postivley trying to improve their products and taking feedback seriously, write this product off but not the company as a whole, lets see what happens next.