You may remember at the end of September we done something out of character and announced a product because we were that excited about it. Well, since then we have got the finished product over and have spent some *cough* strenuous *cough* time testing it even further than we did when had the prototype in our ears. Consequently, we have learnt a bit more about the German brand’s fancy new flagship. It was already common knowledge that it was another attempt at reference sound and that we also had two tuning switches to play with but with it now being a purchasable product, we know how much it will set you back. The price for us UK folks seems to be a whopping £1,239 while the rest of Europe will be asked €1,279. That is a serious price no doubt, one that will rival most universal AND custom fit in-ear monitors, bar some of the more delusional products like Obravo and 64 Audio’s new models. Before the big release of ProPhile 8 , InEar were known for both their universal and custom fit products, with dual, triple and quad armature designs available in both their StageDiver (universal) and LivePro (custom) series. I think they had a bit of a trend where the universal would release first and then the custom would drop. If you really are set on this model but prefer custom fit, I’d wait until say… April! Trust me.
Adding a Box
When I reviewed the SD4S it was a bit of surprise to have such a minimalistic approach when the earphones still cost over £600. When under £200 you get such epic bundles from the likes of Dunu and Trinity it did seem a little uneventful. After a visit from the delivery man, I was a surprised to see this big box that had a window flashing a peek at the goodies lying inside. While it is clear that with the price increase and momentum behind this product they did try and make receiving this a little more special I can’t help but feel the packaging is something that would be much more fitting with a plastic figurine or something. Lots of fiddly plastic and tacky cardboard didn’t feel as minimalistic as Campfire nor was it as lavish as my jewel like Final Audio Piano Forte X-CC. I appreciate the effort but they could certainly make improvements stepping up the overall experience for this kind of money! Once inside things to look up a little. We get an even bigger branded peli case than with the last outing and some nice little touches such as the wipes to keep hygiene up. The big padded case is going to offer golden protection although it isn’t the most on the go orientated but I would take their health over pocket-ability!
Tip selection is a little downhill again. It seems to be an area they have generally put the little thought into. They have this amazing sounding earphone (spoiler) but it only comes with 4 sizes of generic silicone tips that are the flimsy type and then a range of different sized Comply if foam is you’re thing. I mean Comply is cool and everything but a varied range of silicone never goes negatively and with me not finding much joy with stock, I went to town with my tip selection and ended up favouring Trinity’s Kombi tip.
My God I am sorry InEar, it looks like I have gone to town with the smack talk on this earphone but now we have that all out of the way we are going to start the hype train. The last accessory comes in the form of the user replaceable filters. These aren’t the sort that RHA, Kennerton and Trinity among others provide for tuning the sound either. These are for protecting the pristine components of this IEM from the junk that may or may not be building up in your ear. The colour coded cerumen filters are on the fiddly side but I think it is a nice safeguard for the longevity of these.
A Shareable Custom
InEar’s StageDiver series varies as to sizes of shells. As a development of the series, they added a smaller size to compliment the standard size that was seen on release. What is ridiculous is that all 8 drivers of this were almost able to be squeezed into the StageDiver shell… and some housing that is! This is basically the same dimensions just a little taller. Josh who has small ears actually preferred this to the small and me… well, I just love them both. This is a shell that they used over 500 ear scans to develop and is often praised for fooling people with its custom looks and fit! This does separate itself from the StageDivers for having a very cool matte instead of shiny but it 100% shares the amazing comfort.
As I wrote this I hand on heart sat there trying to work out what universal IEM I have ever found more comfortable. Compared to the rest of the big driver flagships these are lightyears ahead in size and ergonomics. It doesn’t end there though as even scrolling through my expansive inventory of universals I have owned over the years none seemed to offer the same level of ease when listening for hours on end, yes some have matched it but with much less inside. Research really does pay off!
In reality, the build is probably not to dissimilar to most products of this style design. By that I mean an acrylic custom styled universal. However, there is just something about the powdered matte finish of this that makes it feel more premium and durable. Maybe it is, maybe it just gives that impression but regardless I wouldn’t want to drop these from any real height to any hard surface. Just in case you know, these are expensive little gems! I also like the additional touch of the engraved model and serial number, I love little touches like that!
Of course, we must talk about on of the more exciting features of this earphone and that is the ability to tune this earphone to make it fit your reference. It has both a 2dB treble boost and a 3dB bass boost, that can be used on their own or in combination. Basically, we have 4 sound signatures to choose from here! They are implemented akin to Hidition Viento-R with them sitting on the inside of the shell so they cannot be touched while listening as is the case with M-Fidelity’s SA-43. Bear in mind they are a little finicky, with you probably wanting to use the included tool when adjusting these.
The cable is as generic an affair as one would come to expect….
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