EarSonics Velvet V2

37

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.

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.

37 Comments

  1. cfranchi on

    Hello flinkenick and all

    I’m hesitating between Velvet V2 and S-EM6 V2, I’m listening mainly rock and pop: which one do you recommend ?
    Don’t know if Velvet V2 would be good for rock compared to S-EM6 V2

    By the way do you plan a review of the S-EM6 V2 ?

    Thanks for all your great reviews !

    • flinkenick on

      Hi there, Velvet V2 is a favorite for pop, it kinda depends on what kind of rock you listen to. If it’s a more energetic type like punk rock or metal with higher pitched guitars, the Velvet will equally shine. Unfortunately I haven’t heard the S-EM6v2, I just know it’s tuned to be very neutral, almost reference-like if I’m not mistaken. So that will probably also work nicely for pop and perhaps rock, but you would need to check other sources.. Also no plans for review unfortunately.

      • cfranchi on

        How fast you are to answer! Thanks!

        The rock I listen is Springsteen, Dire traits, Stereophonics, …

        Would you say the Velvet apply well for these ?

        • flinkenick on

          No problem 🙂 Well Velvet’s strengths don’t necessarily lie in its midrange. For bands like these I might prefer a warmer, more bodied midrange. Velvet has quite a V-shape, so it sounds more fun and exciting, and very detailed. So S-EM6v2 might be a better option, but I can’t say for sure..

          • cfranchi on

            Hello again

            I finally go with the Velvet, I think it should be more my taste than EM6, I should receive it this week.

            Actually my DAP is an iPhone 6s Plus, which from what I have read have a good/very good DAC.
            Do you think the Velvet would greatly benefit from an external DAC/AMP such as OPPO HA2 or Chord Mojo (but this one is expensive…) ?
            Previously I had the Dunu 2000J and I cannot tell any difference between my iPhone and my old Hifman HM601 !

            Thanks

            • flinkenick on

              Hope you enjoy it! I haven’t listened to iphone 6 extensively, but my impression is that it is a pretty good source. The Velvet doesn’t need a better source per se, but you can always expect some incremental increase in sound when you upgrade some part of the chain. I would say if you get the Velvet and are happy with it, just enjoy the music. If you want to take another step in sound quality, you can consider getting an amp/dac or separate dap. But that really depends on how serious you want to take this stuff, and what your budget is like. Mojo specifically will sound warmer and smoother, and give more body to the sound perhaps.

              • cfranchi on

                Hi again!

                So here we are, I received the Velvet and… I didn’t like!

                With the Earsocics biflange the sound was way too thin and distant, with Compy tips it was far better.

                In fact It is was a sort of love / hate listening: when only instruments are on the scene, it really shines, but when vocal appears… brrr! to harsh, digital, distant, etc

                Compared to my Dunu 2000J, the Dunu sound is way fuller and vocals have more body (Comply tips, otherwise Dunu is really harsh)

                In fact I didn’t think that vocals were so important for me! we learn every day!

                I’m going to return the Velvet but now I don’t know, I need some advise!
                Should I stick with the Dunu (it seems that you have them) or finally should I go for the S-EM6 V2 given my musical preference?

                Again thanks for your experience!

                • flinkenick on

                  Hi yeah, I understand man, the midrange and vocals specifically aren’t the Velvet’s specialty. Its V-shape lends itself for different genres. Before you return them try some electronic music for kicks like trance or progressive. Like try this for size 🙂
                  https://soundcloud.com/worakls/worakls-live-act-2013

                  Dunu DN-2000j is also a brighter tuning. For the genres you suggested I would personally go in a completely different direction altogether, a warmer, more midcentric tuning. One of the most extreme examples is the original S-EM6, it had incredibly full-bodied vocals, really a ‘lush’ sound. If you still prefer a detailed sound, the new S-EM6v2 might indeed be an option, as I hear it has a more neutral, analytical tuning. If you can buy and return like the Velvet, might as well try it right. If you do so, let me know how it is 😉

                  • cfranchi on

                    I have placed an order for the S-EM6 V2…

                    Having read your S-EM6 review on headfonics (and listened to Dunu 2000J and Velvet) I feel S-EM6 would be what I’m searching for (I hope!)

                    I listened to your proposed track, and for this stuff the Velvet shines

                    I keep you informed…

                    • flinkenick on

                      Ok but keep in mind the v2 is very different than the v1.. The original was very warm, emotional, and thick sounding. They retuned it to something completely different. But it’s nice you can try and send it back, let me know what you think of it!

  2. René on

    Hi!
    I finally bought Velvet from Germany!
    Its sound is amazing, according to my imagination and expectation.
    By the way…you have a mistake in your review.Inside Earsonics Velvet isn´t TWFK driver.
    In any case..thanks a lot for review and recommendation.
    Sorry for my english 🙂
    René

    • flinkenick on

      Hi René, thanks for your comment and correction. I remember reading it somewhere, but maybe the information was wrong. I will check it out and correct it.

      Glad to hear you’re enjoying the Velvet!

  3. ian on

    Can these keep up with the likes of the JH 13 and CA Andromeda in terms of details ?

    • flinkenick on

      Hi Ian, due to the prominence of Velvet’s treble as well as its treble extension, the Velvet has a great deal of clarity and resolution. It can easily keep up with most (even more expensive) monitors when it comes to detail retrieval, including Andromeda. I haven’t heard JH13.

      • Ian on

        Nice , looks like what I’m looking for , fun musical with good detail retrivial which match higher end IEMs’ treble . Waiting for demo units to arrive here . Thanks nick !

        • flinkenick on

          No problem Ian, you’re more than welcome.

  4. Nicolas on

    hi nick

    can you recommende me the best iem all rounder with a 600 usd budget.
    cheers.

    • flinkenick on

      Hi Nicolas,

      To be honest my knowledge is not very extensive or up to date in this section. Velvet V2 might drop in price in a bit, the older one used to sell for $600. Something like Sony XBA-Z5 might be good too. There’s prob a ton of good iems out there, but I don’t really know what’s hot at the moment around that price range.

      • Nicolas on

        mmmm
        thanks nick

        but i think the sonys are too bassheads for me :P, the valvet seems a good option.
        what about noble, campfire, ibasso, etc?

        • flinkenick on

          They might have great models, but like I said I’m not the best person to ask 🙂 I usually review more high-end iems, so I’m a bit out of touch with this segment. My apologies.

  5. René on

    Hi flinkenick!
    I´d like to upgrade my old Sennheiser IE80…
    What is difference between IE80 and Velvet? (soundstage,sub-bas etc.)
    Thanks. René

    • flinkenick on

      Hi Rene, to be honest I only heard the IE80 for about 5 minutes over 4 years ago, so as you might imagine I wouldn’t feel comfortable making an apt comparison. However, I think it’s safe to say the Velvet’s stage is considerably larger, and I would imagine it to have more raw sub-bass impact – these are two things the Velvet excels in.

  6. Cameron on

    Hi there, thank you for your review! I’m excited to see the V2 released. I’ve had the Velvet in the back of my head for some time now, but it was hard finding a pair.

    I currently have 1More duals and Sony XBA-A3. The 1More’s are great for low volume listening as the bass doesn’t disappear as much, but at high volumes the highs become too “splashy” and unnatural sounding. The A3’s bass can be great with EQ (ok without, would expect more from a 16mm dynamic), and the highs are really special I think – much more forgiving and natural especially at higher levels.

    How do you think I’d feel about the Velvet V2 given that? I’m looking for bass that I can “feel” and I love sub-bass. I’ve found 1 Chinese IEM (not sure if I can mention it here, but it looks similar to a SE846 and has a dynamic driver plus some BA’s) that fits my needs quite well but had some fit issues so I had to return them. The sub-bass on them was insane.

    Thank you for your time.

    PS: I listen to a lot of metal type music. Like… Northlane – Rot – Instrumental

    • flinkenick on

      Hi Cameron, If you want to feel your bass, you’re definitely looking in the right direction here. When it comes to treble, keep in mind that the Velvet has a V-shape so the treble is more forward and brighter in tone. I’ve heard that some of the Sony’s have a warm and natural treble response, I wouldn’t necessarily classify the Velvet as such. The treble is more prominent so it adds some energy and excitement, but it isn’t the most natural as a result – pros and cons to everything.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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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