Coffee Break 2

AAW Canary, a work of art

This time’s coffee break posts will feature 4 earphones. I realise that while I can pack more into a single post, it ends up becoming too wordy and “short reviews” become more of abstract summaries.

So grab a cup of coffee, sit back and read on.

Iems reviewed this round:
JH Angie
ibasso IT04
AAW Canary
Earsonics Grace

Disclaimer: I do not currently own any of the earphones mentioned in this post, and demoed them at Zeppelin & Co. I was not requested in any way to write this review.


Jerry Harvey Angie

I’ve had largely good experiences with JH earphones. The Roxanne and Rosie are both lovely iems that I find well-tuned and great to listen to.

There is just something about universal JH iems, with that huge shell body that sticks out for the world to see, that makes it all the more desirable. The Angie is also tunable, allowing you to vary the bass quantity.

The Angie packs good bass presence when fully tuned-up, which can otherwise sound lacking and anemic. Decay is quick, with great detail retrieval and a smooth yet juicy texture.

The lower mids sound thicker, while upper mids lean towards being neutral. A combination which I find pleasing a slightly more relaxed, but retains its musicality and accuracy.

The treble has a noticeable lift in the upper region, whereas the lower trebles feel dampened. This makes it feel thin as it extends up but also tames the brightness. Energetically the Angie does sparkle but isn’t considered very sparkly.

As a whole, the Angie feels relatively balanced overall, with a lower mid and upper treble boost.


Ibasso it04

Well, I’ve heard raving reviews about this pair, putting it on my to-demo list.

The beautifully crafted cable with slick shell definitely looked premium. Though what matters is how it sounds. Well, it gave me mixed feelings.

Starting from the good. The IT04’s highs extend effortlessly and sparkle, simply opening up without a touch of constraint. The sub bass is clear and audible, preventing the more prominent midbass from overwriting it.

However, the highs get sibilant at times. This is worsened by recessed mids that leads to a thinner sound overall.

Overall, it sounded kind of V-shaped with bass emphasis, as well as a high focus on details but lacked sufficient body.


AAW Canary

A new flagship from AAW. I didn’t really have a good impression of their previous W series, which made me skeptical about this. The Canary is one of the latest releases, packing 2 Isobaric Dynamic Drivers in a push-pull arrangement (Like in Audio-Technica’s CKR9 ) to eliminate non-linearities. Electrostatic drivers are also present, which made me worried for a moment as I’ve had bad experiences with it so far.

Simply put, the Canary blew my mind. The bass is balanced with meaty thumps with great decay speed and a lovely texture.

Mids form the core of the Canary, where it simply sings. An incredible separation between vocals and full of character, with the lower mids simply coming alive while upper mids fill up space easily.

The highs extend comfortably, with the only drawback being a lack of energy.

Detail pickup is great across the board, and the Canary simply leaves little to desire. If I were to nitpick, then I guess something I’d desire more is a thicker bass and more natural highs. But otherwise, it simply hits all the spots.


Earsonics Grace

The last iem to round up the reviews would be the flagship from Earsonics. I didn’t have prior experience with their iems, so I didn’t have any expectations about this when I got to demo this.

Personally, I would still like to think I’ve set the bar too high. But ultimately it simply wasn’t up to par.

The bass has quick detail pickup but falls flat when trying to reduce congestion due to poor decay speed.

The mids are aggressive towards the upper end, with a detailed and more relaxed lower end. Overall it feels pressuring and too forward, though it may just be my own preference.

The highs are slightly clipped, with an average amount of energy. It does feel slightly stuffed and has a lack of air.

Overall, I would say I was kind of disappointed. The Grace has many areas that require improvement, and honestly Earsonics’s lower-tier iem, the Purple, sounds significantly better.


Conclusion

My personal favourite from this list is without a doubt the Canary, though the Angie from JH is also a strong performer. IT04 feels too sibilant, though otherwise, it is good all around. The Grace by Earsonics was too underwhelming and improvements are definitely desired on it.

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