Bonjour, mes amis!
The early French spring bursts into our editorial office and all because it was from those wine and cheese regions that a package with wonderful contents came to us. Moreover, it seems to me that this will be one of the most interesting new products of the year - in-ear monitors with the intriguing name Blade from the French brand EarSonics.
Most recently, the company introduced the world two new IEM models, two brothers Blade and Stark. Both models have a similar appearance and hybrid design: Blade (2BA + 1DD) and Stark (4BA + 1DD).
Despite the rich experience of many years, the EarSonics Blade and Stark were the first hybrids, and the company approached the development of these IEMs with all responsibility. I can’t say anything about my elder brother, I haven’t had a chance to meet with him yet, but the younger one is stately, handsome and extremely vociferous. In my opinion and hearing, he deserves the closest attention.
I allow myself to take a short excursion into the glorious history of EarSonics, in case any of our readers are not familiar with it. ES engineers are the founding fathers who were at the forefront of creating IEM based on BA drivers. It was they, along with brands such as Westone, Shure and UE, who were the first to manufacture in-ear monitors and custom monitors based on 2, 3, 4 or more BA drivers / receivers.
My acquaintance with the products of this brand began a long time ago, about nine years ago, when I had the opportunity to listen to their models SM2 and SM3. A bit later, I used SM64, SM2-IFI, EarSonics Velvet and about a year ago S-EM6 V2. I already wrote reviews about the last three models.
From model to model, the company invariably retains its signature, intimate French style: a warm, musical and extremely comfortable sound with a light, like perfume aroma, charm. The exception, perhaps, was the model S-EM6 V2.
The hero of our review today, in my opinion, also has a number of noteworthy advantages regarding both the exterior and interior, which distinguishes him from his brothers in the brand. Moreover, I would even say that this art object with a strikingly beautiful voice is one of the best offers now in the audio market in terms of price / quality / design / sound ratio.
Well, let’s end now with a protracted introductory word and move on to get to know these brilliant in every way IEM!
Text: Alexey Kashirskey aka Hans Barbarossa
Sensibility: 125 dB/mW
Frequency response: 10 Hz-20 kHz
DCR: 18, 5 ohms
Drivers: 1 DDynamic, 2 BA drivers with 3 way crossover.
Appearance, kit and ergonomics
These IEM are delivered in a neat black box, on the front side of which the brand name "Earsonics" is briefly and essentially in one line, its logo, the contents are indicated - "monitors" and a small French tricolor is placed. I agree, if the thing is “made in France”, sorry, “fabrique en France”, then sticking out is not necessary at all - and so everything is clear at a glance. Wow, little devils know how to make candy out of practically nothing.
From this package we fish out the “book” in which the heritage of the Fifth Republic is stored. We open it, and - voila! - already through the round windows they look at us, like the two metal eyes of a music lover robot, IEM themselves. Thanks below are written thanks and good wishes from Franck Lopez - a musician, sound engineer, founding father, as well as the CEO of EarSonics! Yes, French gallantry and charm are literally at every turn.
In the box, in addition to IEM with a nice silver-white cable, there are two pairs of foam tips of different sizes and a round hard case with a zipper, inside which we find four pairs of silicone tips and a brush for cleaning sound pipes. A brand manual and warranty card are also included.
With a complete set figured out, go to our Blade. These IEMs, as I mentioned above, are completely made of metal. As far as I know, designers used anodized zinc and magnesium. The textured IEM shell on top is similar to the contours of intergalactic alien ships from old sci-fi films. Moreover, the inner black-matte side of the case was cut in a semicircle by three lines emphasizing the bending of the shell.
I will not limit myself to fantasies and I will assume that this is a triple triumphal arch, announcing to us the glorious deeds that three drivers capable of skillfully hidden inside these IEM are capable of. Well, perhaps I should at least temporarily restrain my fantasies; otherwise, we will accelerate so far away.
The outer side of the shell is painted in “Gun metal” and in the very center, among the elegant stepped forms, contains a convex logo of the brand “ES”.
On top is a 2pin connector for connecting a cable. On the back of the IEM, we can find two compensation slots designed to properly configure the dynamic emitter, and just below the screw, one of those that fastens the two halves of this intricate art object.
Inside the metal structure is an acrylic 3D core, specially designed for the new IEM hybrid line with three emitters (1 DD / dynamic 8mm fulfills Lows and 2 BA: one is responsible for Mids, the second is for working out Highs). Each driver has a separate camera, which allowed engineers to carefully tune the sound of each of the emitters. In addition, the new impedance crossover corrector created by EarSonics, in combination with EVS and FUSION technologies, allows these IEMs to sound without any phase distortion, clearly, precisely and at the same time extremely musically.
Taking these IEM in hand, you understand that manufacturers did not save on materials. I immediately remember the main postulate of Boris The Blade from the Snatch movie: “Gravity is good. Heaviness is reliable ... "And despite the relative weight, they sit in the ear of Blade very easily and comfortably. Seriously, with prolonged wear I even forgot that I have two small graceful weights in my ears.
The build quality, in my opinion, is almost impeccable, which is not surprising, because these IEMs are assembled by hand and exclusively in France! Yes, Blade is truly a work of art.
The four-core cable is braided; it is unusually light, soft and elastic. TRS 3.5mm L-shaped connector with gilding, 2pin connectors, which make it easy to pick up another cable with the same connectors for IEM, if necessary. The cable is called the HI-RES 4C Silver cable - and this is another innovation of Earsonics, which, without a doubt, is beneficial to the sound.
Well, we figured out the external data and the Blade design, now let's move on to the main thing, to the sound!
Blade was burn-in for 50 hours before use.
Listening was conducted with: MyST DAC 1866OCU V.2, Lotoo paw Gold, iBasso DX200 (AMP7), iBasso DX160, QLS QA-361, iFI xDSD, xCAN & iFI micro iDSD Black Lable.
With all the devices, these IEMs played out well.
I recommend a responsible approach to the process of selecting tips, as this makes a significant contribution to the creation of a sound picture.
It should be noted that EarSonics once again demonstrated their responsible and thoughtful approach to configuring their IEM.
I would describe the sound of ES Blade as well-balanced, comfortable, with excellent refinement of micro- and macro-nuances, a slightly forced section in the low-frequency register, smooth detailed Mids, a light and elegant accent in the mid-high frequency range and a refined, harmonious-sparkling, with a slight light accent, comfortable high-frequency range. Due to these correctly placed accents, any music plays out in a positive, vigorous manner, with a good rhythmic foundation and a worthy transmission of the emotional part.
The overall musical canvas emerges quite integrally, in contrast, with accurate and naturalistic transmission of sound tones. This is unusually “juicy”, massive, clean and at the same time melodic sound. Blade show a rather sprawling stereo panorama, with a good study of depth and accurate placement of sound images in space.
Frequency response Blade resembles a smooth W-shaped wave, where one register harmoniously flows into another. The result is unlimited drive, bubbling emotions and even interweaving of one frequency range with another. This sound falls in love with itself, intoxicates and charms from the first minutes of listening. You get extraordinary pleasure.
The beat is quite powerful, going to the very bottom, the bass parts sound rich, clear and distinct. Lows harmoniously cooperate with the mid-frequency range, not blocking it in any way, but only competently filling it with depth and a lively substantial substance. Bass elegantly and unobtrusively create a light velvety background and add mass to the overall sound.
The dynamic emitter is set up very intelligently, there is density, and peppy pace, and bumps, and a bit of sophisticated mannerism.
Mids are smooth, clean, detailed, with a light “tasty” color at the mid / high junction, because of this the vocal parts are conveyed especially expressively, and the stringed sounds sound so realistic that sometimes it seems like you can touch it yourself fingerboard or instrument deck with your fingers. The tones and reverbs are beautifully conveyed, in detail and at the same time with a touch of monumentality, musically, deeply and tirelessly. Blade show good detail and amazing visualization of sound images in space.
Treble is clear, precise and natural, without a hint of scattering or distortion. They, like stars in a clear night sky, flash beautifully, and then, fading, with after-tones merge into the general musical Milky Way. This register has a delicate accent, but it is served so beautifully and refinedly that it delivers nothing but pleasure. Highs are served cleanly and distinctly, without sharpness or any obvious artifacts.
This is a high-quality, comfortable and sweet-sounding sound that you can enjoy for hours.
In terms of genre preferences, EarSonics Blade is not very capricious: they play very interestingly both classical music, instrumental, jazz, new wave, electronica, rock, and brutal genres.
ES Blade is a wonderful IEM with its charm and graceful, extremely rich musical flavor. I admit, I did not expect another result from these Frenchmen. Everything here is worthy of praise: sound, chic design, highest performance (manual assembly in France!), Ergonomics and a good set.
Without a doubt, the new product from Earsonics will be as revered and beloved among audiophiles as their earlier models. And yes, ES's pricing policy also remained unchanged. In the earsonics.com online store, the Blade can be purchased for 549 €. What can I say, Europeans know the value of their creations. From myself, I will finally add that the "blessed trio" of Blade will definitely not disappoint you.
Sound, ergonomics, design, workmanship.