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7Hz x Crinacle Zero:2 IEM Review

Rate this IEM:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 4 1.1%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 10 2.7%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 39 10.7%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 311 85.4%

  • Total voters
    364
Feels like we've surely gotta be reaching peak IEM at this point? ASR only measures a small percent of them but there are now seemingly a gazillion different sub $50 models that look slightly different (this one is definitely not to my aesthetic taste), and have fairly slight variations in frequency response but basically hew pretty close to Crinacle's target, and no sign of the new product firehose stopping. Do people just collect them?
 
I ordered a pair of Zero:2's from China on December 9th, they arrived in the UK this morning, so they've travelled around 6,000 miles so far.

My house is 46 miles from Heathrow airport, but I think i'll be very lucky to get them delivered this week :(
Ahh the dreaded Langley HWDC I'm guessing? In my experience things either sail through instantly or spend weeks just sitting and doing nothing.
 
This is crazy cheap at $25. How would they compare to a pair of Westone Mach series?
 
Feels like we've surely gotta be reaching peak IEM at this point?

The great thing is that we're just getting started ! I personally see these decently tuned passive IEMs as "phase 1" of the "let's make IEMs not sound bad" process - and I generally prefer the active versions of these decently tuned IEMs already as they solve for a number of issues the passive versions can't (such as the occlusion effect or ensuring that the response is predictable up to around 500-800Hz). Right now some companies are working on trying to make the response at the eardrum more predictable past 1kHz or so, on average, but also for a given individual, which could possibly open the door to solving problems such as the insertion depth resonance.
 
On this point I'd really like to know what your take is on the impact of ear canal resonance?
Two problems:

1. I don't trust the measurement gear in those frequencies.

2. You shouldn't trust my hearing in those frequencies. :)

I did try to EQ out the peak in original Zero. I easily heard the lower treble. But wasn't sure if my eye adjusted EQ was just at that peak or not. And at any rate, that peak frequency and amplitude changes with how it mounts as you know.

This may be a problem that we can never solve objectively. People may just have to purchase, play with a bit of EQ and see if they like the results or not.
 
Feels like we've surely gotta be reaching peak IEM at this point?
I feel like IEMs share a distinct advantage with DACs and headphone amps: they are very light to ship. China will go after shipping anything at a lower price and higher performance.

They are made of injection molded plastic and you can fit literally a million on a shopping pallet. Western brands stopped innovating in entry level IEMs because unit margins are low and engineer time for development cost too high. I am glad that Chinese companies are going to eat their lunch.
 
Western brands stopped innovating in entry level IEMs because unit margins are low and engineer time for development cost too high
Not completely true: Knowles and Sonion are two western brands with quite a bit of presence in the IEM world. Maybe not the lowest (single-DD) entry-level, but as soon as a BA driver is added, they are right there…

Edit: I believe there is a German Company (don’t remember the name: EnvisionTEC?) who is also a big player in the 3D resin printing process used by multiple OEMs in China to produce the IEM housings.
 
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what's the "solution"
Choose one among these products:
Headphones_Preamp.png
 
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Is there a list somewhere that explains the differences between all these Crinacle IEMs? It's all a little confusing. I bought a pair of the reds after Amir's review and I think they sound excellent.
 
Clearly, this is a very good IEM for the price, but I am a bit dissapointed that EQ is needed to get the best performance. I have already so many IEMs, including the original Salnotes Zero, but it seems that the Truthear Nova, while more expensive, is stealing the show:
Truthear Nova IEM hugging the Harman2019IEv2 target with foam tips (Super*Review measurement).png
 
Clearly, this is a very good IEM for the price, but I am a bit dissapointed that EQ is needed to get the best performance. I have already so many IEMs, including the original Salnotes Zero, but it seems that the Truthear Nova, while more expensive, is stealing the show:View attachment 335315
That is a feature and not a bug for many folks - including Crinacle, who has been vocally critical of the Harman IE target.
 
That is a feature and not a bug for many folks - including Crinacle, who has been vocally critical of the Harman IE target.
While I applaud Crinacle for his measurement work, I disagree with him on this one (as I do on many of his clearly arbitrary choices of his subjectively curated tiered list). To me, neutral Harman matches a neutral sound experience. An IEM will sound more direct and perhaps bright, or less dispersed or diffused because there is minimal distance between the sound source and the eardrum. I feel the so-called Crinacle tuning is the same of how HD650 is to the HD600: one slightly warm and one veering neutral. I hear this especially in live recordings and all the Crinacle tuned IEMs sound ever so slightly to very veiled compared to true neutral. I prefer neutral and true-to-life over thick and gooey and tinted takes. I’ll use an EQ if something is mixed too bright or if I want to add spice to my life.
 
So a strange kink at about 150Hz is a feature?
I am not acoustically savvy enough to know what I'm looking at, but since it pretty reliably shows up in Crinacle's B&K measurements on most every IEM he tests, and not on his old clone coupler, I'd guess it's some sort of test fixture artifact, though I couldn't say how it correlates to something audible. But I'm speaking more about the overall tuning choices - more low mids and less energy in the upper half of the ear gain region vs the Harman IE target. But all of this has already been argued to death in the Truthear x Crinacle Zero Blue thread so I'd rather not open that can of worms again.
 
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