Audio Genetic AG2 Review – Voice of Reason

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Sound –

Tonality –

The AG2 is a very mature example of a mid-forward sound signature; well balancing intimate vocals with more engaging instruments. Its sound is slightly bright, stemming from a modest lower-treble peak in addition to a slightly brighter midrange tilt. As such, the AG2 reminds of earphones like the Rose BR5 MKII and Meeaudio Pinnacle P1, though it is more balanced and linear than both of these earphones. Of course, it does fall into some of the same pitfalls as other mid-forward IEMs by nature of its tuning. However, as price creeps higher, it’s all about refinement, the extent of its downfalls. In this regard, the AG2 excels, delivering a revealing sound without coming across as overly articulated.

 

Bass –

The AG2 delivers quite a natural bass presentation, and it does so despite being relatively neutral in quantity. Sub-bass extension is just average, lacking the physicality down low of higher-end models and dynamic driver IEMs. As such, it lends the impression of greater speed though the AG2 actually has more natural decay than most BA earphones. This produces more detailed, richly textured notes and the AG2 sounds quite dynamic without compromising separation. In addition, to achieve greater fullness and punch, mid-bass has a touch of additional emphasis.

This introduces a hint of warmth and body into their low-end, though no bloat is apparent. Upper-bass is also fairly linear, producing an accurately bodied midrange; where some brighter earphones tend to sound quite thin. What most impresses about the AG2’s bass response is its tightness, with terrific control throughout. This is most clearly highlighted by tracks with double bass drums where the AG2 remained composed and focussed. So, though not explicitly warm or engaging down-low, the AG2 lays the foundation for a transparent and well-controlled sound while maintaining pleasing dynamics.

 

Mids –

The midrange tends to draw attention on the AG2 through a combination of excellent clarity and a vocal forward presentation. Its brighter signature puts greater focus on female vocals though male vocals are also a little forward in the mix. In addition, the AG2’s lower-treble aggression prevents vocals from dominating instruments; so though the earphones aren’t neutral, they achieve a comfortable balance. I grew to love the AG2’s transparency in particular, which really aids background detailing and separation. They can sound a little raspy due to that aforementioned treble aggression, though both vocals and instruments remain well-bodied and devoid of excessive sibilance or stridence.

Upper-mids are the star of the show, both through their forward stage position and enhanced clarity. What separates the AG2 from most mid-forward earphones is their linear bass/lower-midrange transition that creates natural, even slightly full-bodied vocals. Resultantly, female vocals are flattered with natural body in addition to pleasing extension. The AG2 does appear to have a small dip between its upper-midrange and treble, aiding separation and granting vocals with a slightly smoother texture. Resolution is also a standout, contributing to the AG2’s resolving nature without resorting to excessive signature colouration. As such, though the AG2 is clear and revealing, it also doesn’t fatigue.

 

Highs –

The AG2’s top-end forms a continuation of its emphasized upper-midrange. As such, though certainly aggressive and a little peaky within its lower-treble, notes don’t sound overly thin. In addition, the AG2 retrieves a high amount of detail and its more aggressive nature brings those finer nuances to the fore. This emphasis sustains into the AG2’s middle-treble before gently falling off, serving to enhance air and shimmer. The AG2 doesn’t have the cleanest background as a result, but I found instruments to sound fairly accurate if pushed forward. This was conveyed most notably through realistic decay to cymbals and tastefully enhanced attack that contributes to their high-end clarity.

These comments extend to strings and high-hats that can sound slightly over-forward at times, but refrain from harshness or tizziness. Another aspect of the AG2 that thoroughly impresses is its top-end extension. Their excellent extension delivers very pleasing resolution which complements the earphone’s layering and background detail retrieval. So while the AG2 isn’t especially linear up top, it also isn’t excessively bright or peaky to the extent that instruments sound artificial or vocals raspy. As such, I find the AG2 to find a harmonious balance between revealing and precise.

 

Soundstage –

The AG2 delivers larger stage dimensions than most in-ears, stretching beyond the head, but they do lack the expansion of vented models and some earphones with a more laid-back presentation. Its stage is fairly well-rounded, with a slight focus on width over depth. Still, the AG2’s sound has defined layers with nice intermediate density and detail, producing accurate instrument placement and precise directional cues. Separation is very nice, especially within the AG2’s tight, controlled bass and layered, neutrally toned midrange. Highs can get a little messier due to that lower-treble peak that occasionally overshadows the finer details lying higher up.

 

Driveability –

The AG2 requires a little more voltage than most high-end IEMs but it isn’t overly source sensitive overall. Though Audio Genetic don’t provide any precise specifications, I measured a modest 32ohm impedance. Through a lower gain source like the iPod Nano 7G, the AG2 still sounded nicely balanced but it didn’t possess the end to end extension or resolution provided by something like the Fiio X7 MKII.

Fiio X7 MKII (AM3A): Relatively neutral signature, tight low-end combined with clear vocals and a slightly crunchy high-end. Slightly more forward upper midrange. Extended top-end, great resolution. Nice soundstage, lacking a little space compared to the DX200 and R6. Slightly too bright overall but a transparent pairing nonetheless. No audible hiss on low-gain.

Hiby R6: Nice synergy, slightly darker with more robust bass producing a more balanced sound. Great resolution with more defined midrange layering. Female vocals are slightly pushed back, lacking some intimacy but subjectively more balanced. Wider stage with enhanced separation. Highs are smoother yet extended, producing more natural instrument timbre. No audible hiss, higher output impedance didn’t overly affect the AG2.

iBasso DX200 (AMP5): Well-balanced, very controlled low-end combined with slightly fuller, smoother vocals. Sounds a little more natural but also very resolving. The DX200 provided the most detailed pairing by a fair margin. It produced a more linear high-end with excellent resolution and large stage dimensions. No hiss audible on low gain.

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About Author

Avid writer, passionate photographer and full-time student, Ryan's audio origins and enduring interests lie within all aspects of portable audio. An ongoing desire to bring quality audio to the regular reader underpins his reviewer ethos as he seeks to bring a new perspective on the cutting edge and budget dredge alike.

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