EarSonics Velvet V2

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Sound Impressions

Presentation
The Velvet has a U-shaped signature – a powerful sub-bass and lifted treble. While the stage isn’t overly deep, it is very wide, even surpassing many high-end monitors. The Velvet relies on its width for separation, combined with its airy and open sound due to its lifted lower treble response and excellent extension. Similarly, due to the brighter presentation, this combination of a high level of clarity and wide stage allows for a detailed presentation.

There are different ways to tune an iem, since there are different preferences to keep in mind. The Velvet isn’t an ‘audiophile’ iem by any means – and it’s very clear it wasn’t designed to be. The Velvet does not only have a ‘fun’ tuning by design – it possibly is one of the most successful in this category. A powerful sub-bass fuels the music with energy, it can fill your headspace with music, whil a brighter upper midrange adds to the sense of excitement – the Velvet provides the closest resemblance to going to a club or a festival. You keep your classy jazz or classical ensemble – the Velvet is a party animal.

v5

Bass
This is where it all begins – the Velvet’s bass is undeniably one if it’s most discerning feats. The Velvet has a significantly enhanced sub-bass, powerful on impact. Even with the dial set on ‘balanced’, the bass verges into basshead territory, while adjusting it leaves room for more. The sub-bass has good extension, easily reaching low when necessary. But this is a bass that loves to be amped. Providing more power results in just a little bit more impact, control, and sub-bass extension. Driving the Velvet on high gain on the LPG for instance makes the bass go just a little bit deeper with more impact for those that really enjoy bass.

As the emphasis is on sub- over mid-bass, it remains a tight and punchy bass, despite its significant quantity. Importantly, the enhanced sub- rather than mid-bass allows it to be a big and meaty bass, without overpowering the stage with warm air. On the other hand, the lack of mid-bass air takes a bit out of the warmth from the midrange. The S-EM9 for instance can’t match the Velvet in sheer sub-bass impact, although its relatively more pronounced mid-bass creates a warmer and effectively more natural tone. However, as mentioned the Velvet comes with a tuning dial. The switch primarily affects the quantity of the bass. Dialing the bass down results in a cleaner, more analytical signature; dialing it up results in a more bass-heavy sound, which gives the midrange a little bit more fill. However, this setting might be most applicable for bass-enthusiasts.

Midrange
While the Velvet’s signature is best described as a U or V-shape, the general presentation isn’t distant or thin. Due to a 1 Khz bump, midrange notes have good body and forwardness, allowing the presentation as a whole good ability to fill your headspace. However, as the center midrange bump is followed by a 2-3 KHz dip, the vocal presentation on the other hand is somewhat laidback and thin. This isn’t an iem you put on to listen to a grand vocal performance by Pavarotti or Elvis, as it misses inherent warmth, as well as vocal size and power. It’s here where the Velvet forms the greatest contrast with the midcentric S-EM6, its bigger brother that on the other hand can be considered a vocal specialist.

While vocals might not be its strong suit, the Velvet’s midrange has a lot to offer. It’s clear, detailed, but most of all very energetic. It’s this high energy that makes electric guitars in punk rock or metal stand out. This is partially due to its lifted treble response and brighter upper midrange. This is an upper midrange that loves synthetic melodies. Whether it’s hip-hop, pop, or electronic music, melodies stand out and capture your attention. This is further accentuated by the laidback vocal positioning; instead of centering on vocals, there’s a shift in the spotlight of attention towards the bass and melodies, making it an enticing specialist for these genres.

Treble
The Velvet has a lifted lower treble response that gives the Velvet air and clarity, while boosting its soundstage. Due to its enhanced treble, the Velvet has a very airy presentation; an almost analytical cleanliness that combined with its stage width contributes to its separation. While there is a peak around 7 KHz, the Velvet’s remains fairly smooth and free of sibilance, despite its brighter sound.

The treble is slightly forward in the presentation, and brighter in tone. While it isn’t necessarily as refined as a TOTL flagship like the S-EM9 in tone or definition, it’s a treble that captures your attention by adding to the excitement, as well as to the high level of detail. It’s the final ingredient for an exciting package, and EarSonics has implemented it well – besides the lower treble peak, the treble is fairly linear. And in line with EarSonics’ tradition, the treble has excellent extension.

Page 3: Comparisons and concluding thoughts

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About Author

Nic is currently in pursuit of a PhD degree in social neuropsychology, while trying not to get too distracted by this hobby. In pursuit of theoretical knowledge by day, and audiophile excellence at night. Luckily for him, both activities are not mutually exclusive which helps to lighten the workload. Always on the go, Nic's enthusiasm for hi-fi is focused on all chains of the portable system: iems, cables and daps.

12 Comments

  1. Zariff on

    Hello

    I hesitate a lot between the SM9 and the velvet V2. Is the SM9 really expensive really worth the difference?
    Possibly the Bayerdynamic XELENTO, I hope you will test it out soon.
    Thank you for your opinion

    • flinkenick on

      Hi Zariff, it’s always hard to tell when something is really worth the difference, especially since the S-EM9 is twice the price of the Velvet. But the S-EM9 is better in almost every way. For starters, it has more mid-bass emphasis, resulting in a more natural bass tone, and overall warmer tone. Furthermore, it has more forward, denser, and fuller vocals, which are kind of the weak point of the Velvet. It also has a more linear treble, and greater resolution. The S-EM9 is a ‘TOTL’ in this regard, competing with other flagships, where the Velvet is a tier below. However, I will say that for certain genres that I’ve mentioned as pop, EDM, hiphop, etc.; the difference becomes much smaller in terms of enjoyability, and you could easily go with the Velvet without making serious concessions.

      • Zariff on

        Thank you for your answer
        I listen mostly to the Blues. I like powerful and dynamic bass. I thought a lot about EM32; But it may be a little more professional and less hot color Earsonics.
        Will you test the new XELENTO from Bayerdynamic? (Ex Astell & Kern AK T8iE can be improved). I really want to wait until March 15; An exemplary finish and its promise. A test of your part would be genial and welcome by the community 🙂
        What do you think?
        cordially
        Zariff

        • flinkenick on

          Well if it’s about Blues, have you considered the S-EM6 from EarSonics? It’s a bit of an acquired taste since it’s pretty warm, bassy, and midforward – but for vocals and instrument-based music like Blues it would be my top pick.

          Thanks that’s very nice of you man 🙂 But for now, I have to hold off on new reviews because of the shootout starting soon. That’s going to keep me busy for the next couple of months, but who knows, maybe after.

  2. ryankid on

    Great review! Velvet has to be one of my all time favorite iems, the tuning is spot on! I am currently eyeing the Campfire Vegas, could you quickly comment on the signature difference between the Velvets and Vegas?

    • flinkenick on

      Thanks Ryan. If we look at the coarse similarities, Vega and Velvet both share a significantly enhanced bass response and lifted treble. Both iems fall within the ‘basshead range’. But while the Velvet focuses primarily on sub-bass resulting in a quicky, punchy yet highly impactful bass, Vega adds a good scoop of mid- and upper- bass on top. This doesn’t only result in a larger bass, it creates an overall fuller sound with thicker notes and vocals. Velvet really has a predominantly ‘fun’ tuning that I would use for EDM, pop, or some energetic rock. Vega on the other hand sounds more heavy and serious, and I would use it for heavier, grungy, alternative kind of rock.

  3. casper3127 on

    Thanks Flinkenick for your review. 😀

    What about the cable? Does it still go with two pins’ connectors to the Velvets? Microphonics?

    Best regards.

    • flinkenick on

      Thank you Casper 🙂 The Velvet comes with the same twisted 3 wire OFC as the other ES iems, as well as iems like the Custom Art 8.2, Lime Ears Aether, Perfect Seal Deca, etc. It’s somewhat of an industry standard for 2-pin iems. It is very flexible with minimal microphonics, comfortable in use. I should update that in the review, thanks for pointing it out.

  4. oldschool on

    I am quite surprised you don’t compare to the original version since you have it.. What is different in v2?

    • flinkenick on

      I don’t have the original Velvet anymore, and I haven’t heard it for quite a long time. So I can’t make a comparison unfortunately.

  5. akild on

    “…consists of two large BA drivers for the bass and midrange, and a smaller TWFK driver for the treble…” Wouldnt’t that make it 4 BA IEM?

    • flinkenick on

      Well two drivers = 1 for the bass + 1 for the midrange. I edited it a bit, hope it’s more clear now.

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