Like many companies journeying into and through the world of earphones, starting with a range of custom in ear monitors before releasing a line of universals is becoming the norm. Singaporean Advanced AcousticWerkes or AAW for short are no different in that regard. AAW started back in 2014 with a partnership with cable creator and store Null Audio and two years after building their custom monitor range to something broad and inclusive they have turned their effort to some universal fit models… three in fact. But here is where they differ from the rest of the world. They have not just re-released their existing models in a shell that looks like a store demo. Instead they have gone from the ground up making brand new shell and driver configurations especially for the new Nebula collection. I know that may not sound that special but it shows the passion and energy poured into these new products to make them something new!

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I have received two of the three Nebulas, the cheapest two consisting of the Nebula One and Nebula 2, costing S$149 and S$199 respectively. For us Brits that means about £80 and £100! I don’t know if it is just with my pairs that may not be production or just an oversight but I do find it annoying that the “One” is using letters and the “2” a number.  Maybe its just me….

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Zip & Tie

AAW’s website does show a cardboard packaging but my samples come in some cute little zip tie packets. You know the type electronics such as op amps come packaged in. You get the usual flight adapter and 1/4 inch jack to start things off and the clamshell cases are nice on top of that. When it comes to tip collection, oddly, both pairs have a slightly different set. They both have the “ultra flex” tips in common, a very long silicone tip. They seem like a good idea but are quite flimsy, one tip actually breaking on removal. I am not actually sure if that is the fault of the tips or the sound bores as I have ripped other tips when removing from these earphones, something I have never done previously. Then the ‘Ones’ have 3 pairs of standard tips while the 2’s have 3 pairs of foams instead. Not sure why they both can’t just include, flex, super flex and foam tips….

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The build of both monitors is 95% identical, with the only tell between the two being the Ones silver and the 2’s black faceplate. Build difference is limited to the 2 having metal bores compares to the Ones plastic! Visually they look very much like RHA’s MA750, to the point I had to check there was no team work involved. That is not the case by the way, this is all AAW’s work, 18 months of it in fact. Obviously due to their form factor they can only be worn over the ear, which I am usually a fan of but these seem to be prone to very shallow insertion and it tends to be a bit harder to get a great seal. Consequently with some tips these can sound much worse than they actually are!

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They both have a housing made up of a metal front and plastic back, which I can’t find fault with. The cable however has been a bit annoying to me. They actually seem to have put a lot of thought into the cable with it being oxygen free copper stranded in a type 2 litz construction, nothing to laugh about. Regardless I find it very thin and prone to tangling. Longevity should be all right though since they opted for a kevlar core so that puts my mind at rest a little. I am also disappointed to say this is only available with a 3 button controller, something that will cause issues with some audiophile DAPs and really does single out phone users. I don’t mind it being an option but that is exactly how I like it, as an option!

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To help the short bores and being prone to shallow insertion, have found denser and longer tips to work better (super flex or triple bore) in aiding seal and isolation. Comfort wise though they feel light in your each due to the semi plastic construction, non intrusive and the cable is also low profile. Isolation is really underwhelming, these are basically an open design.

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Dynamic & Hybrid

The biggest difference between the two models that is not literacy related would be what going on inside. Both have 10mm titanium dynamic drivers that are mounted in the housings but the 2 steps things up by mounting a balanced armature in the sound bore, likely why it is made of metal. The idea is that the BA is working as a super tweeter, allowing the earphones to extend to an alleged 40kHz… the Ones only manage 23kHz! Apparently the super tweeter was a project between a BA developer and AAW to be optimal for the products needs.

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For the 2 there is also a big focus on the crossover between the two driver technologies, doing without the usual high order RC crossover network and going for a simpler and more coherent approach. I think positioning of drivers is vital for this and while not done as cutely, it seems very similar the bullseye driver technology from Dynamic Motion!

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Turn the Page for Sound

Sonny Trigg
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  • Michael Gunin

    Great review, thanks! Speaking of isolation, do you think 2 is suitable for using outdoors? I mean not subway, but on the street.

    • Cheers Michael! I think unless you are going to be frequenting the under ground or air travel isolation should still be up to scratch.

      • Michael Gunin

        Cool! When do you plan to review Lear AE1-d and Oriveti Primacy? Really interested in both.

        • The Lear are with Josh. With him working full time he moves a little slower but he will be getting a review out at some point! As for the Oriveti they were DOA and I am long awaiting a replacement!

          • Michael Gunin

            Oh, I see. Hope you guys move forward successfully, really like the work you do!

  • Nikit

    Hello!
    Do you think the Two’s would be an upgrade to Vsonic’s GR07 BE? I’ve heard they are much better, but only while using amp/good player. Will they sound good through the phone?

    • I never actually heard the BE and last heard the GR07s years ago. They were a much drier and sterile sounding monitor compared to this. These are more exciting that is for sure. Sadly it is not as easy as saying through a phone as like DAPs all phones sound different, some are in fact amazing, others quite poor.

      • Nikit

        I have LG G2 smartphone, but it’s kinda irrelevant already, as I’ve bought the Dragonfly Black and am waiting for it to arrive.
        However, I don’t think I’ll upgrade my earphones quiet yet as it exceeds my budget already. I’ll stick with Vsonic for now, as I’m sure the DAC will bring an improvement to the sound as well.

  • Mardae

    Hi! Love the review… makes me feel good about purchasing the nebula 2 recently. I’m also interested in the dunu 2000j…is it worth having both these iems? Maybe they’re too similar in sound quality. I’d be using a dx90 as my dap. Do these two iems work well with the dx90?
    Thankyou

    • Unfortunately I have yet to hear/own the DX90 so cannot really help on that front. As for the Nebula 2 and DN-2000J they are two more similar IEMs but certainly have some different traits. The Dunu having less bass and more treble being the more apparent differences, with both having awesome midranges. I would probably recommend just enjoying Nebula 2 for a while and then saving up for something a bit pricier such as one of the true top tier IEMs or even a custom. It would probably make more sense than having two similarly performing products. You will probably prefer one and just stick to using that if I am honest.

      • Mardae

        Thankyou 🙂 that sounds like the right idea. I’ll check out some customs sometime down the road.

  • shreyans

    Hey do you recommend One for 35 bucks.
    Null-audio is giving them fir a steal rn this black friday, is the bass to overpowering? Or is good enough to not destroy the clarity and separation
    I will be using them on my OnePlus 5.
    How about other options like the infamous zs6, balanced e50 , and rest.
    I don’t have any such preference, and would prefer to rock anything which sounds good and gives a great bang/buck, just not be very overpowering.

    • I think these would be a great option at that price!