- Type: In Ear
- Connection: 2 Pin
I got a copy early. It’s really excellent. Here is my review:
It’s a modern world, where we need to find value and technology in which we buy. I personally don’t want to buy a rebranded iem but something special. We live in a world of a race to the bottom really exists meaning that iems are getting better and cheaper as manufacturing becomes more efficient.
Not long ago I found a particular iem on a particular reviewer’s list. It was ranked fairly well for the price, and I seem to trust this reviewer. I took a gamble, and it paid off as it instantly became a benchmark and favorite for me.
This iem was the Aful 5, and I still find it an incredibly tuned iem with great retrieval, a major benchmark for the price, but not only that they were releasing the Aful 8 soon. I really enjoyed the Aful 5 and reached out to Aful about the 8 itself to learn more. I now have the Aful 8 in my hands, and I have paid for my copy of the Aful 8 and my opinions are my own.
You can buy this on Hifigo as of right now, it is also on Amazon. This link is only listed here for convenience only. (I recommend waiting until the official price is released, I expect it to be around 340 to 450, this review will be updated when the price is updated)
There are recently been some rumors about more iems from Aful, and I can confirm one of them, a Single Balanced armature driver IEMs based on S&E-math technology is also in the pipeline. I would expect more from Aful in the future but that is the only thing that I can currently confirm. Award-winning technology just gets me out of bed. Paying some guy with a magic ear who says an iem good, just feels like I’m paying for a guy to repaint my house when my house is fine. It isn’t enough for me for a simple color retuning, I need to see value, technology, and quality. Hifi is a world of charging a silly amount, to have actual technology is insane and refreshing. The company has a few patients and a strong vision of what they want to do. Aful wants to achieve high-performing iems at a reasonable price. I encourage you to read up on the company.
Aful was founded in 2018 and this is their second international release and their fifth overall. There are graphs and videos floating around on Band 5 and Band 8, but they are tuned differently. Aful is a unique company name. I love their iems, and think this is a company to put on your radar.
I’m going to try to summarize the information on the patents in a short less technical manner and what they mean to me. They have three different patients. The first is High-Precision 3D Printed Acoustic Tube Structure. Which seems to help harmonize and eliminate peaks caused by resonance. I find that the iem takes EQ really well, and everything sounds alive from this iem in particular. From my personal experience, many iems and headphones won’t take eq well for various reasons.
The second big tech is RLC Network Frequency Division Correction Technology. It gives their Balanced armature a smooth treble frequency that rivals EST units. This is interesting to me because I really feel this iem has an EST in that it delivers an airy and detailed sound.
The third Technology is High-Damping Air-Pressure Balance System. It balances the air pressure in the canal. It is supposed to reduce discomfort and fatigue. It is supposed to enhance the low-frequency texture, depth, and elasticity as well. I do find the Aful to be easy on the ears and I don’t want them out of my ears. They also provide a fantastic sonic seal. This iem is one that I can wear for hours, not just for intensive listening sessions.
While I’m no technical expert, I do appreciate the patients that they have and find this iem unique and special.
The shell is even more beautiful in person than it is in the picture. I am really enjoying the look of it. I find the shell to be small but ergonomic. Its nozzle is easy to fit in my ears and I can wear it for long sessions without issue. The angle or size doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t add additional pressure to my ears. I like the nonrecessed nature of the connectors as it is easy to swap with other cables as needed, and it is really light to use.
(This has the CP 145 Spinfits, not the stock tips.)
At first, I thought that this was the exact same case as the Aful 5, but it’s not, It’s MUCH better. There is a company that sells iem round cases for 10 dollars on Amazon. This case is not that it is fully pleather feeling with a great texture. I find great value in this case and would value it at nearly 25 to 30 dollars. It looks classy and feels premium.
(On the far left is the Meteor case, followed by the Aful Performer 8 case in the middle, and lastly the Dunu SA6 MK2 case.)
This cable is a different color and quality than the cable on the Aful Performer 5. It feels nice and has a nice shine to it with a subtle two-color finish. It has a good thematic feel of Autumn and goes with the faceplate very well. It has red and blue easy-to-read connectors which make maintenance easy. My favorite cable is the Symposium Meteor cable. But the added color gives this the win here, despite the texture of the Meteor cable being a little better, and having a nice shine to it. The Aful cable has a neck slider and doesn’t seem to get unruly. I find the cable of the Peformer 5 like 20% stiffer, and not nearly as attractive or premium.
(This is the case that I keep my Meteor in, as I’m just not a fan of the stock case it comes with. Notice the color of the cable goes well with the faceplates.)
We have red and blue style ear tips that fit me great. I feel it’s a clever and thoughtful gesture. I have requested that Aful sell their tips separately, I would definitely buy them. This is a nice gesture for me. I personally find myself using Spinfit 145, as my go-to. But as far as presentation goes, this tip selection is strong, fun, and enjoyable. It’s a better selection overall than the Aful 5, and it’s overall a nice presentation that is thoughtful.
This Compares to Blessing 3, Blessing 2 Dusk, and surpasses the P5 handily. It’s a strong little iem with a taste of luxury that most can afford. The Blessing 3 is a fantastic iem, and I think that the Aful 8 fits better, and has a slight edge sonically. I think it competes with the more expensive Dunu SA6 MK2 and the Meteor which are 600 dollar iems. While I think other iems I have listened to rival it in technicalities and tuning, I do think this is my favorite iem over all that I’ve heard and is a competitive mid-fi iem to keep on your radar.
In this section, I’ll quickly compare the Aful 8 vs other iems.
Aful Performer 8 VS. Aful Performer 5 (220)
Overall Tuning: Aful 8
Details: Aful 8
Aful Performer 8 VS. Blessing 2 Dusk (330)
Overall Tuning: Blessing 2 Dusk
Details: Aful 8
Aful Performer 8 VS. TheiAudio Oracle MK 2 (589)
Overall Tuning: Aful 8
Details: Aful 8
Aful Performer 8 VS. Dunu SA6 MK2 (579)
Overall Tuning: Tied
Details: Dunu SA6 has a slight edge
Graph: Gizaudio has published a graph of this iem. It graphs very similarly to the Blessing 3 in the base, while the Aful 5 graphs are similar to Blessings 2 Dusk. While I was originally wary of this graph as it isn’t exactly like my preferred tuning, I find this sounds really good. I would recommend that you try it before you judge it too harshly.
The base of the Aful 8 is Deep-Hitting and technical. The graph makes it look lean, but it is far from that. There is a growl and a rumble on the base notes. It hits hard and sounds fast. Cymbal hits are strong and detailed. The midrange is clean and clear without bleed from the base. It is an unusual experience like an Electrostatic driver in which you feel the base as the iem seems to rumble.
There is a full sound that adds to the male vocals and everything sounds clear and vivid. It has a hard-hitting feeling that is tight with a nice timber Vocals sound supported and rich with great presence. There is no wisp or lack of clarity in the female vocals.
The midrange is very detailed and natural sounding to me. There is an expansive soundstage to me that is nice and present. Vocals have a natural timbre to them that ties me in. It really instantly drew me in. Podcasts and voices all sound natural to me. I feel like I’m there with the Performer 8.
The treble is natural, airy, and shimmers in this set. I feel it competes with other more end-game sets and sounds detailed, and has sparkle at the right places. It has good musicality in the 10-15k range which is really nice and gets me to quickly enjoy the music. It maintains a smooth and extended presentation that ensures instruments sound like I’m there and it’s magical.
I’ve tested the Aful performer and it sounds great on different styles with instruments sounding good especially. I don’t think this iem should be characterized by only doing one type of music or another.
Top 10 Tidal list here:
I listen to a wide variety of music. I pick the songs because of various reasons. But I picture myself locked away like Andy Dufresne from Shawshank blasting music and shut off from the world. It’s a blissful image.
The Marriage of Figaro -The opera song from Shawshank Redemption, terrible recording but fun and gets me in the mood to listen to music.
O mio Babino caro -This is a modern less operatic version but a song with great female vocals.
Video Rigoletto - “La donna e mobile” Sung by one of the three Tenors, great song for high-performing male vocals. Pavarotti is the greatest classic singer maybe ever. Fight me!
Iron man - The sound at the beginning is hard to make sound great, great drums, and cymbals, and if done right it feels like an old-school band.
I Will Survive (1981 recording, I like her voice, and the old vocals, the drums, and various natural instruments really make this a favorite for me.
There is a light That never goes out - Smiths ( A classic, I just love it. It’s mellow, and I can tell a lot of the tuning if this song is done right.)
Jump (I like how the sound effects are in this!)
Star Child Someone recommended this song to me, and I like how funky it sounds and has nice vocals and a mix of music and things going on.
Dicke Titten Ramstein The beginning is amazing and the bass hits hard. Great song. I love rock and metal. The German language fascinates me
Master of Puppets: Very fast song. Helps me determine if the driver can keep up.
I am going to share a larger list that I have of songs that I like in this review. 61+ songs Here
Value is subjective. But I feel this iem competes with my other iems well and is something to consider for those who want their first taste of hifi. It’s easily on par with the quality Symphonium Meteor, Blessing 2 Dusk, and Dunu Sa6 MK2. The packaging is very nice and unique with what is the most beautiful shell that I’ve ever seen in an iem. I find this a good value at the expected price of around 400 in that it is on par or better than most in that range, and competitive vs other items at the 600 dollar pricepoint. (This is hard to place without knowing the exact price, and this review will be updated later.)
Recommended EQ: I find the sound profile strong, but I still recommend a +4 DB boost at 32 HZ, 64HZ, 125 HZ, and +2 at 250 HZ. This iem takes eq well.
Gifting/who is it for:
I think this is a quality product, and it is hard to justify buying it for others, but it’s a strong product that feels like a more expensive iem, and looks like one too. It’s an incredible set to gift, because of the great packaging and presentation. I think it’s a good all-day wearing iem as well. I think it is a good recommendation for many who are looking for a strong set with good staging. It is expensive, but as its comfort is so high I could see many people who don’t normally like iems enjoy this set, as Audiofiles who want to see what a mid-fi iem can actually do.
Should you Buy it:
It depends on what you are looking for and your budget. It is a great daily driver that I love to play loud. It hasn’t left my ears in three days for longer than a few minutes to do comparisons. I fully enjoy them. If you can afford it, buy it, take the blind, and you won’t be disappointed. If you can’t, try it when you can at the next Cam Jam, or local store. Or just wait for the inevitable budget Aful product to come out.
I used a Quidelix 5k and a Topping e70 dac through an SMSL SH-8s AMP. I also tested this with my new Schitt Piety (Solid state amp with tube qualities) which I found to be a delightful pairing. I also used it from my computer without a DAC, and at work with an Apple dongle. This iem is very sensitive and not a problem to drive by anything that I tested it with.
Thanks for reading. I’m still fairly new to writing reviews, and any constructive feedback is welcome. Also if you have questions or things that you think I should add in further reviews please let me know.
I think this iem is going to start a fire, I think it’s going to be relevant in years to come as a technical monster. We live in a world where technology has an impact, but it’s not always apparent. It’s going to take time for this fire to get going, but when it does, expect more to jump on the bandwagon. This is a fantastic iem with great relevance to the market. It’s not just a pretty iem, it’s the kind of iem you’ll want to shout to the world about. The Aful 5 was the starter, now we are onto the main course, and it’s delicious. Now I go back to listening.
Ok, for the TL;DR first of this iem, just buy it. It’s S class for Technicals and S for tuning. It’s fantastic. Just don’t spend 999 for it, wait until it drops to around 450 or less in a few days.
Technologies are evolving, but I’m not sure about the evolution of sound. Usually, IEMs that are packed with technology sound awful.
And another interesting thing - what is this variation in price - from 370 to 999 dollars for this “Technical Miracle”?
I have heard whispers of $379… Have faith
That is a placeholder $999 so people don’t buy it before release. They should make it $999999 so people get the gist.
I just saw Amazon updated the P8 price to $369. That’s a good price
I’m a little surprised to see Akros say P8 is a better IEM than Aür Aure. Didn’t see that one coming
Hmmm, it is very good apparently, but is it better than SA6 MK2 for vocals? The graph of the treble though <3
Would be available in EU for 370 EUR starting 06/06 - that is very tempting!
Ya it’s better than SA6 MK2 for vocals - not a high bar to pass since the vocals and mids are recessed on the SA6 MK2s to me. Overall SA6 MK2 still sounds cleaner and more resolving though. More airy if you will
Zeos: “Science make good thing happen.” Great review.
A most excellent write up and great review. Thanks for sharing your impressions. TDM
You make me excited for my set incoming.
How is compare Aful Peformer 8 vs Mangird Top?
I have ikko oh5 and Raptgo Hook OG. For me Oh5 destroy Raptgo in tonality and timbre, dynamics, layers and full sound with body. Raptgo has more trebble extension, subbass and soundstage.
I tested Mangird Top while ago. It has way more bass, lush sounding mids and smoother treble. P8 has insane detail retrieval and overall a more refined tuning with natural bass extension.
Confirm that P8 pairs very well with UTWS5. The onboard DAC/amp does not shrink the stage like my BTR5 2019 with AAC.
Based on the foundation of the internal DAC/amp, I can apply a EQ profile to fix the stage depth issue of P8:
- Drop the 1.25kHz between 1dB and 3dB
- Drop the 6kHz. It would stand out like a sore thump (sibilance) when the 1.25kHz is pulled back.
- Boost the 64Hz to taste. I think only 1 to 2dB is enough.
Will fine tune further, but this profile gives me enough staging that I stop whining about it now.
Just had P8 for a test run, and surprised with a bit too artificial treble expression, very high-resolution but I can see this treble approach may trigger some sibilance. Very unique sounding amazing IEM though, for acoustic tracks this level of treble serves very neatly.