A bunch of Canucks posting our reviews and having a most excellent dialogue EH!
My first Vid this one featuring the GS Audio SE12
GS AUDIO SE12 - The Electronic Flagship
- No expenses spared with a full compliment of Danish Sonion & Top End Knowles BA & Sonion EST drivers.
- Gorgeous Shells build quality is top notch you can see the nicely polished clear resin shells helps show-off the tech that went into the design build.
- 3D Printed sound tube chambers amazing design and thought went into the construction of the SE12 and you can hear the effort.
- BA Bass Slam very fast.
- Not a Treble Head IEM OR Bass head just lots of both with good extension on both ends. I would call this more like a U shape than a V Curve. Starting from the Sub bass with a very gentle glide down to the pina gain that climbs at 1K - 2.8K
- Sub Bass hits with authority when notes are present and nicely transitions into Mid bass
- Vocals are well done with the extra note weight of the lower mids and bass makes male vocals a carbon copy of a very well done Studio Recording very clear and clean. Female vocals have amazing micro-dynamics in how the SE12 reproduces the voices with the correct pitch of the singers voice to make that happen in elevation and tonality is funky cool!
- Every Album played on the GS Audio can give you the sense of the space the song was recorded in. Large Studio, Small Studio, Open Air concert or Jazz club this is very hard to do in a IEM.
- Stage on the GS Audio SE12 is surreal in all aspects best I have heard with something stuck in my ears. Great sense of space without making you feel overwhelmed. Not only the width is very, very good but sounds extend from that with a depth way outside your head.
- Vocal/ Instrumental Mix is well balanced , Vocals don’t over power the music and is neither recessed or forward.
- EXPENSIVE $1000.00 ish
- As a OEM manufacture not a lot of exposure to reviews and sound impressions.
- BA Bass - Note weight is very fast not a lot of decay so Male vocals are clean and clear but also present themselves a tad thin. I prefer DD Bass and its added note weight and decay that makes Male vocals more husky and less edgy but again this is my subjective observation and shows more of my preference.
- The nozzles are ginormous not all tips are going to fit or work. A narrow bore tip stretched over this nozzle will make a very narrow funnel. Bass will be enhanced but stage will suffer.
- Tips OMG good luck. Because the IEM’S are chonky boys so are the ends. For me I had a very unique issue that I have never come across before with any other IEM. My normal selection AZLA Crystal, BGVP W01, KBEAR 07, all didn’t really work and the size was all wrong. A 14mm tip would be 16mm by the time it gets over the nozzle and did seal but that’s where the problem was for me. A AZLA ML 13.3 tip would fit in my ears but the seal so well that if you breathed or moved your jaw the sound would change from the ear tips changing shape.
- After much trial and tribulation I found my happy place still using a wide bore tip and a very soft walled double flange tip. $1 ear tip from Alix. But I was almost ready to give up on the GS Audio SE12 because of this and something you should be aware of in case this happens to you as well.
- Sounds muddy and quite poor. Only some outputting some mid vocals with no clarity at low volumes.
- Needs power and higher volumes to start bring to life anything the SE12 can do.
Now let’s get into it a bit deeper with some techy spec stuff.
12 Drivers per side are used.
2 Sonion 38D Series for Subbass
2 Sonion 37 Series for Bass/Lower midrange.
4 Knowles Upper Mids/Treble
4 Sonion EST65QB02 for Ultra Highs
Slightly recessed 0.78 2 Pin port for a stronger connection with a matching cable.
Hello all: I hope my subjective audio impressions help you determine if this IEM might be for you.
I share my impressions as I hear them with my ears.
As all our ears are different shapes & sizes so what I hear as bright or bass heavy -you might hear as dull and Vise-Versa; just something to be mindful of.
What makes my ears happy as a sound signature is slightly more aggressive U shape. I love my Bass Sub and Mid Bass love it all actually; and in large quantity. With the Bass I prefer a faster decay the faster the better as to not bleed into the mids., I am treble sensitive and prefer a darker warmer replay with good extension and a more relaxed high end with enough sparkly details for fun.
I prefer the fast speedy bass of the Beryllium Coated Driver of my Xenns Mangird UP and KiwiEars Cadenza. Of course there are exceptions in the market - as I also find the bass of the Bio Diaphragm used in the Yanyin Canon special - has some special sauce like a 8" subwoofer that feels like a 12" Has the slam and some serious sub bass! And the super cool Copper Alloy Shell IKKO Obsidian OH10 does some magic to the bass.
My music Library is widely varied on my mood from; Poncho Sanchez, BB King, Jimmy Smith, Metallica, Great White, Cowboy Junkies, Pink Floyd, Adelle, Melisa Ethridge, Hania Rani, Vivaldi, Fleetwood Mac, Five for Fighting, Manskin, Poncho Sanchez, , Chopin, The Crystal Method just to name a few.
That dripple being said:
Now for a Completely Subjective Audio Review - And as such here is my take on the: GS Audio SE12
Sources: E1DA SG3 (ES9038), Shanling UP5 (ES912), TEMPOTEC Serenade X (ES9219) Geshelli JNOG J2 with AKM4493 chip. iBasso DX160 (Cirrus Logic CS43198)
DAP/TRASPORT: From Lenovo Laptop with Amazon Unlimited ULTRA HD, iBasso DX160 ,Samsung S22 Ultra with DSD Files.
Amps: XDUOO MT-604 tube amp and Topping A90D ( Final thoughts and comparisons )
I use all my gear with balanced cables and Input/Output from my gear.
- Vocals are clear a tad thin on Male better on Female.
- Sub Bass goes really low and very clean but not pronounced or exasperated.
- The SE12 graphs with tons of lower and mid bass but because of the BA vs DD there is no excess of bloat to fast to give it a good thump. Kick drums sound not exciting to me.
- sounding to be sibilant but darn close. I think I am treble sensitive and sometimes the SE12 makes me turn it down not Up.
- Jazz and instruments sound natural but I still prefer more note weight on more tracks and kick drums for my tastes
- Sounds best on the warmer sources AKM J2 really brought out the stage , iBasso nice with the Cirrus Logic Chip
- Not great at all on the E1DA SG3 , The ESS on the TempoTec and Shanling ESS9219 chips a tad too resolving and clean - Subjective
- Not a fun listen at low volume levels at all and especially with lower powered sources! But turn it up and oh boy good times. So if you’re a low volume casual listener don’t bother with this IEM.
- Not a all rounder nor a endgame for me after spending a few weeks and back and forth with other IEM’s
- Gave the SE12 a 10 day listening break and went back and did more tip rolling / cable swapping with even less enthusiasm than initial impressions.
- Weird pressure build up ear tip thing kills me and makes we want to take them out. My ear shape? No idea but does not happen on any other set I tried and its really hard to describe.
LETSHOUER EJ07M Resin Custom Tuned w +3db Sub Boost.
- Instruments play further back in the mix less pronounced
- Male vocals have more weight
- Bass has more meat sub bass is BA tight but has more weight than the SE12
- Warmer than the SE12 for me vocals are more lush and the added weight of female vocals makes it sound more realistic
- Imaging is more intimate (Closer to the middle of your head) and the SE12 has the EJ’s beet on depth of stage
- Stupid Driver flex on the Ej’s makes it almost as annoying as the pressure thing on the SE12 Absolutly none on the UP’s
XENNS MANGIRD UP
- Male vocals even better than the EJ’s
- I can hear more clearly symbols and tings and bings in the highs over both the SE12 and the EJ’s
- Background vocals come through with better clarity on the UP’s FULL STOP.
- Wider than the ES12 but closer to the middle of your head (Not as much depth) as the ES12
- Bass has even more meat sub bass is still BA tight but has more weight than the SE12 and Ej’s
- All vocals are just so smooth on the Up over both the SE12 and Ej’s with more sparkle that enhances the vocals instead of competing with the singers defiantly this effect is more pronounced on the UP over the Ej’S and certainly the SE12
The GS Audio SE12 is a very differently V tuned IEM. The GS Audio SE12 does not follow your typical Harman curve tuned IEM.
In a sea of similar sound signatures the SE12 stands on its own with the large amount extra energy from 80-450 hz bringing male vocals and tons of mid-bass presence into its sound signature. With the dip at 4500 makes it a less fatiguing listen from others I have tried but still packs lots of high frequency energy with Knowles BA & the smooth Sonion EST drivers
The BA drivers taking care of the Lows does not have the same energy as a Dynamic Driver in this implementation.
Mid bass has energy in spades but overshadowed by the forward vocals and the pina gain and vocal presence ins predominant in the overall tuning mix.
For me as I prefer a warmer smoother listen the UP just does it for me followed by the EJ’s and lastly the SE12.
The SE12 just has too much energy for me in the overall tuning. EQ’ing the ES12 making it warmer worked for me and made me enjoy its worlds more and If your not shy about doing that you can get some of the special stage the SE12 can throw out still and have a incredibly detail monster set.
If your preference is faster bass with zero bleed and forward vocal sparkle over note weight you will very much enjoy the BA/EST Implementation of the GS AUDIO SE12
Those nozzles on SE12 are the same size as on QKZ Kahn and Zero.
I stretched a pair of Moondrop spring onto Kahn without splitting them. (On and off a couple times)
So that’s another wide bore option that should work.
Yeah that Khan nozzle was a tip battle too LOL
Jazz lovers Chill to Poncho!
My eyes are closed listing to the Xenns Mangird UP and Right now I am sitting at a little table in a little bodega in Havana called La Bodega Del Meda. Hemmingway is upstairs typing and drinking a Mojito.
Oh damn the UP’s are magical with Poncho on the Drums!
Glad to be here.
“Big things in a small package”
iBasso IT01x $119.00
Single DD (size n/a)
16 ohm impedance
108 +|- 2 sensitivity
10Hz - 40kHz frequency response.
Thank you again to Bman for loaning these to me for a chance to experience them.
The “In Tune” IT01x was released a couple years ago. Since it’s not a current release, I’m going to try and keep this a fairly brief overview rather than a full out detailed review.
I received the ear pieces only, no stock cable or tips.
iBasso website indicates the stock cable is an SPC mmcx terminated 3.5mm so I started as close as I could to stock with my cables on hand, an LQI, SPC mmcx 4.4mm balanced.
Then I tucked into rolling tips.
Wide bore tips present good sub bass extension and mid bass that is defined and detailed.
Mids and vocals that are not overly elevated or forward, and nice airy highs. Head stage is wide and spacious.
Narrow bore tips present more bass quantity, but less definition between sub and mid bass. Bass is also became more prominent throughout the head stage.
Mids and vocals are more elevated and forward.
Highs are still good, but less airy.
Head stage is narrower and less spacious.
Both are good, I liked the more intimate head stage provided by narrow bore tips for many acoustic, jazz, and vocal centric type tracks. But the openness of the wide bore I found better suited to busier, louder, and, more complex tracks like symphonic, classic rock, EDM, etc.
In the end I chose to stay with Sedna Xelastec wide bore tips. I like a wide, open, head stage.
Staying with the wide bore tips, I rolled a few different cables, pure copper and a precious metal blend.
All sounded good, choice would depend on personal preference.
Copper warmed up the signature with more bass presence and softened the details in mids and highs.
Precious metal kind of flattened everything out, attenuated bass a bit, and reduced the air in the highs.
I chose to stay with the SPC cable, iBasso did a good job pairing the IT01x with SPC cable (imo).
The ear pieces are very petite in size so fit is likely not a problem for anyone.
How small are they? About the same diameter as a dime. (Photo)
The nozzle insertion depth and angle work well for me, with the correct tips they seal and stay anchored well.
My initial evaluation starts with pairing the IT01x with my go to DAP, the Astell and Kern SP2000T in OP amp mode, 4.4 balanced out.
Within the first few minutes of my first listen the dynamic capability of the IT01x captured my attention.
The ability of this single driver to separate and individualize instruments and vocals across all three frequencies ranges, and, re-produce all with a very natural tonality, is exceptional.
Sub bass has good extension, not extreme but enough, it is well managed and stays in place.
Mid bass and lower mids are recessed resulting in a strong U or mild V shape signature. There is not a lot of impact or punch in the mid bass but sub bass has some decent thump which compensates to some degree.
Bass does fill and warm the head stage, but it doesn’t overwhelm or overpower the space.
Upper mids recover nicely and have very good clarity and detail.
Vocals extend above the mids and present somewhat forward, they are clear and precise and both male and female are accurate with natural tonality.
Highs are clear and detailed, lacking a bit in micro detail retrieval, but have nice extension and air.
I notice no hint of sibilance or harshness.
As I mentioned earlier, the dynamics across all three ranges is very good.
Head Stage is quite good overall.
Good sub bass extension and decent air provide good height. The width is between the ears. Depth is not excessive, but enough to provide some sense of dimension front to rear.
Stage is open and spacious with good separation between individual instruments. (Narrow bore tips compress the stage providing a more intimate presentation)
Imaging and instrument placement is precise and accurate.
I’m not going to detail every source I rolled. Just some quick comments on each.
Hiby RS6 warmer, fuller, richer, tonality with more bass presence in the head stage. Mids forward tune of RS6 elevated upper mids and vocals presented more forward. Highs remained clear detailed and airy, not problem competing against the additional bass presence.
Good head stage.
Nice synergy with this source.
FiiO M11 plus ESS
Similar to RS6 warmer, “bassier”presentation, but mids and vocals remain less elevated in head stage. Highs are softened a bit with some loss of detail, clarity, and air.
Head stage is good.
Still nice synergy with IT01x, just a more relaxed listen.
iPhone 13 with Astell & Kern HC2 balanced dongle.
Bass is tighter, mids and vocals are clear and detailed, highs bright and airy. Overall tonality is brighter and a bit more clinical.
Nice open and detailed head stage.
Good synergy for those who like clarity and detail.
iPhone 13 with Colorfly CDA M1 dongle balanced out. Apple Lossless.
An overall “thinner” presentation, less note weight across the board.
Bass less prominent in the head stage.
Mids and vocals loose some natural timbre in the tonality. And vocals become very forward and prominent.
Highs oddly enough are less prominent, and less airy, somewhat buried under the mids and vocals.
Head stage is good.
Still listenable, but the least favourite source synergy for my liking.
iPhone 13 with FiiO BTR7 AAC Bluetooth connection. Apple Lossless
Bass is good, mids and vocals are forward, highs are clear with decent air.
There is an overall reduction in dynamics and sound quality. This source may fair better with higher codec connection.
Still a decent listen, but doesn’t do the IT01x full justice.
AK SP2000T, LDAC Bluetooth connection to FiiO BTR7, Apple Lossless.
Bass is tighter than AAC connection, vocals are less forward, highs gain back some detail and air.
Still an overall loss of detail and dynamics.
A better option for Bluetooth convenience.
I’m impressed with the capability of the IT01x, Good bass, good tonality in the mids, natural vocals, detailed and airy highs, open, spacious, detailed head stage presentation. And excellent dynamics.
I don’t have a 3.5 mmcx cable so I couldn’t try these straight off the phone, but suffice it to say they are easy to drive. I was typically around 30-35% volume on all sources, and seldom, if ever, over 50% volume.
They will drive easily straight off any phone.
Small, lightweight and comfortable in ear for extended listening sessions.
They work well with most genres, not perfect on all, but no IEM is. These
qualify as a good all rounder imo.
I have very much enjoyed the opportunity to experience the iBasso IT01x.
Great Review loved the different sources comparison. A worthy read for a worthy IEM a classic but timeless one by the sounds of it. Well don’t Krusty!
Just looked $59USD Amazon.US
And $65 CDN shipped. Smoking deal Some shops sell it at $249 so not sure how legit it was. Be good to know the original price it actually sold for ?
My question would be if it beats a KiwiEars Cadenza at $49? or a C3 ? Or should it sell for $39?
Definitely better than Cadenza imo
We get shafted in Canada $59 for the iBasso iT01 at Amazon.com add $16.55 to ship up to the great white north for Canucks EH!
iBasso IT01 Dynamic Driver Audiophile In-Ear Monitors/Earbuds (Black) https://a.co/d/iC9ZzRm
I always love the look of Effect Audio Cables but some gold plating and cool termination does not $1000 make for a purchase on a 1.2m chunk of wire.
For many people that is certainly a huge chunk of change and places the company in a very botique niche market.
But if $1000 is nothing to you damn cool looking.
But on a brighter note think I found my new headphone amp for those hard to drive ones.
Can double as a heater/footrest!
A snippet of a conversation on FB.
2022 was the race to ZERO. I think you bought the best reiteration of what planer could achieve at any price.
My first Planer IEM was timeless but after honeymoon phase it was easy to pick out its weaknesses.
I don’t think one ChiFi planer is radically different from another right now. Yes there are tuning differences but the limitations are still there.
IEM planer does not sound anything like Planer Headphones and Certainly not like my Martin Logan Electrostatic drivers in my media room. Planar drivers are famous for thier open spacious and transparency and the IEM versions can’t get there with their small size.
There is a reason the best ones are small walls and they need to be facing you and your sitting position dead center. Many observations note that planars don’t stage well unless those conditions are met. How are we expecting that to change with making the drivers a micro version? Are sticking them on either side of our heads?
2023 will be the year of the Hybrid I think and it’s exciting. Small Planar can do some things really well. Mostly in Midbass and High frequency but ultra highs and meaty sub bass not so much.
By combining DD/Planer/EST or bone conduction you will start to see some really nice results if the implementation is done correctly- hopefully.
Looking forward to it!