EarSonics Velvet V2

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I would like to thank Max from EarSonics for providing me with a review sample in exchange for my honest opinion.

Introduction

Everyone can probably name a number of key items in their audiophile journey that really sparked the flame. When I first started seriously looking into this hobby, I drifted around for a while a bit, not knowing what I was really looking for. But when I stumbled on the Velvet, it hit me – this was exactly what I was looking for. A wide stage, powerful bass, and an energetic presentation. Perfect for all the genres I listened to, or at least the ones that mattered the most. After having lurked around Head-Fi for a couple of months, I submitted my very first posts on the Velvet thread. A short while later I wrote my very first review (or at least attempt at one), of the Velvet.

After my audiophile journey progressed to more high-end monitors, the Velvet started getting less playtime. So every once in a while I would put it up for sale, but kept taking it down again. Not for sentimental reasons, although I will say I considered framing it on the wall instead of selling it; but because I felt it could still compete with many of the higher priced iems I was listening to. But as is always the case with this hobby, there’s always more to buy than our wallet will allow us. So at some point it had to let it go in favor for some newly desired object, especially since EarSonics’ flagship S-EM9 shared some similarities. But with tears in my eyes, nevertheless.

There were some times where I seriously contemplated buying it back again. I had the frame sorted out and everything. However, EarSonics recently launched an updated version of the Velvet, and as you can imagine I was more than eager to try. Back to where I started.

EarSonics Velvet
-Drivers:                    3 BA drivers
-Design:                     3-way crossover, 3 sound bores
-Impedance:             31.5 to 41.5 (depending on the dial)
-Sensitivity:               119 dB
-Frequency range:   10 Hz – 20 KHz

PRICE:                          €699 / $699

Build and Design

The Velvet’s interior consists of large BA drivers for the bass and midrange, and a smaller driver for the treble. On the outer part of the body is the little gray dial to tweak its signature, containing two dots to determine its position. With the former V1, the dial tended to be a bit stuck upon first use, which could result in unwanted damage when too much force was used with the metal screwdriver. I had my original black Velvet reshelled to the crystal shell, but even fully aware of the possible danger, it was hard to keep the dial free of scratches upon first use. Luckily, EarSonics has now made the dial more pliable right out of the box, so the dial readily turns now. On the inner part of the shell body the three shiny BA drivers are nicely visible. The clear shell further has the advantage of visually disappearing in your ear, or at least not drawing so much attention. The black Velvet I initially had two years back looked a lot larger despite its identical size.

As the shells are not very large, I don’t see anybody having difficulties with the form. It’s a fairly compact square shape that tends to fit easily, without protruding too much out of the ear. The Velvet has an oblique nozzle that allows a deep insertion. The nozzle itself has a slightly smaller bore size than the common standard, so popular tips as Spin Fits or Spiral Dots will be too large. However, this is easily remedied by making an ‘adapter’; sacrificing one of the tips you won’t use by cutting of its stem to use for other tips.

Accessories

For as long as I can remember, EarSonics iems have come with the special EarSonics gray biflange tips. Not just any tip, because they play an important role in the EarSonics’ sonic signature. If they fit properly they provide a very tight seal, and accordingly, a warmer, enhanced bass response, which could be described as a ‘musical’ characteristic within the signature. EarSonics traditionally mainly provided a couple of pairs of these biflanges, along with a small and large pair of mushroom-sized tips. If the gray biflanges didn’t fit, the alternatives weren’t much to work with, and as the nozzle was an alternative size finding aftermarket tips was not easy. The peculiarities with the tip selection were always somewhat of a recurring theme on the dedicated threads.

However, EarSonics has remedied this by increasing their tip selection. They now offer a medium and large size of a conventional silicone tips along with two pairs of foamies. I was always a fan of the original biflanges, but I’m sure the improved tip selection will make a lot of people happy. The matte black box further includes the very classy-looking black carrying case that has always been my favorite for practical use. It’s just the right size, and looks very nice (although the Campfire cases are also a nice example). The accessory package is completed by a cleaning tool and 6.3 mm adapter. Finally, the Velvet comes with the same twisted OFC 3-wire cable with 2-pin connectors as the other EarSonics models. The cable is thin yet durable and flexible in use, while reducing microphonics to a minumum.

Page 2: Sound impressions
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.

60 Comments

  1. Zac on

    one think, nozzle are good for spin fits CP100, together it’s great sound.

  2. Zac on

    Hello,

    What is for you naturally upgrade of Velvet v2 ? ( if you find it 😉 ).

    • flinkenick on

      Hmm difficult, can it be a custom? The Hidition NT6-pro comes to mind.

      • Zac on

        Thanks, and universal ?, do you suggest cable to make full use of the potential of Velvet v2 ( balanced mode ) ?.

        • flinkenick on

          For some reason ES iems like the Velvet and S-EM9 tend to benefit more from cables than usual, in my experience. The stage becomes cleaner and more precise, the resolution higher.

          What are the strengths you’re looking for from the Velvet for a higher end model?

          • zac on

            If you can tell me about good cable for upgrade the Velvet V2 maybe it will be enough for me.i’m really addict with sound of velvet.

            • Zac on

              Maybe Effect Audio Ares II or Eros II, or Maybe i will buy both for compare 😅

              • flinkenick on

                Hi Zac, two nice affordable cables are the HanSound Audio Zen, and EA Ares II indeed. The Zen is lightly warm and smooth, the Ares II has a warm midrange but a crisper upper midrange. Both are $150.

  3. René on

    Hi all!
    I bought Astell-Kern AK300 for EarSonics Velvet V2 and the sound is amazing(superb synergy)!
    I tested AK70,AK100 II,Fiio X5(3rd gen),Pioneer XDP-100R,..but AK300 is best for Velvet.
    Cowon Plenue D is very good (worse stereocrosstalk)for its price too.

    • flinkenick on

      Thanks for the suggestions René!

  4. cfranchi on

    Hello Flinkenick,

    I have received my S-EM6 V2 and… I TOTALLY LOVE THEM !

    Sound is accurate and balanced, vocal are superb, all is here when needed (bass, trebble, etc) with no exageration.
    It is really “neutrality and fineness” as Earsonics said.

    As I didn’t have any “reference” iem before, I was afraid that it would be too flat or chirurgical but it is nothing like that.
    In fact it is really as music should be presented, no need to exagerate stuff: hello Velvet 🙂
    So I don’t know if I am in the category audiophile (vs musician) but .

    Also, like I want to take the road of TOTL iem (but not for now, I really want to enjoy my new toy) would you say that EM10 would be a better upgrade than S-EM9 ?
    My feeling is that I would enjoy EM10 better (I hope for an S-EM10 in a near future!) : I discussed with Aerosphere from quantumears.com
    (he has done reviews of S-EM9 and S-EM6 V2) here is what he told me:

    “I found my perfect balance with Ortofon + Superbax combination, I use it with BiFrost 2 DAC + Gustard H10 Amp.
    I can easily say that this combo beats my S-EM9 – Hugo 1 rig in terms of resolution, detail, separation and stage related sections (width/depth, layering etc)
    Ah sorry, missed the vocal part. I prefer S-EM6v2 with a good cable.”

    • flinkenick on

      Ah, that’s really awesome glad to hear it worked out. EarSonics has an iem for every listener these days, just need to find the right one. I’m getting a better image of the S-EM6v2 now, glad to hear it’s not sterile. For your music EM10 would indeed be better, but ask me again when you’re serious so I can check. Unfortunately I can say with some degree of certainty there will be no universal, EarSonics really designs them differently. Personally, I was hoping for a custom S-EM9 but that also never happened 😉

      • cfranchi on

        Always a pleasure to talk with you
        For now I will enjoy my S-EM6 V2, maybe in a future I would take the road of custom IEM or wait for an S-EM9 V2 🙂

    • Julio Orrillo suarez on

      Hi i’m julio from peru ; can you tell me what kind of cable is better with s-em6v2?the cable in stok of the s-em6v2 is bad? And you consideret that sem6v2 is better than sem9? Thank you for your answer my friend

      • flinkenick on

        Hi Julio, I’m afraid I can’t help you there buddy I never heard the S-EM6v2..

  5. 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!

                    • Winicius on

                      Please, can you tell me more about the differences between velvet V1 and V2? I really enjoyed your review and want to buy a earsonics velvet soon, but I’m in doubt about which version i should buy.

                    • flinkenick on

                      Thanks buddy, is the Velvet V1 still for sale? Honestly it has been quite a while since I heard the V1. I would describe the V2 as maybe a slight variation of the same, but the differences weren’t large to me from memory. Maybe the V2 has slightly more balance, and the V1 is even more treble-oriented. But I’m only guessing here. If this is the type of sound you’re looking for, I think both would do. If you have to choose, I would just get V2, unless you can get V1 for a much better price.

                    • Winicius on

                      I asked this because, in recent months, i found some used V1’s for $ 350 to $ 400, while v2 costs $ 700. Anyway, i’m grateful and happy to know that the difference between the two versions of velvet is small to me and inversely proportional to the additional value charged by the V2 new sealed. I had 1 SM3 V1 that broke after 2 years and 1 SM3 V2 that unfortunately was stolen last year. So, i saved money for months and now i decided to buy one of the best earphones from the earsonics because i really enjoyed the warm sound with great midrange from my old SM3. By the way, can you compare briefly the velvet with the Westone UM 50 Pro or Shure SE535? I also listened these two headphones and i think the sound of UM50 Pro much more engaging and realistic than SE535 sound. In addition, i didn’t like the sound signature of SE535 for many musical styles because i think it has the treble a little retracted and obscure despite the emphasis on the midrange. Thanks for the quick and helpful answer and sorry for my bad english.

                    • flinkenick on

                      Unfortunately I have tried neither the UMpro50, SE535, or SM3. But I do know the SM3’s reputation, and I think it’s very important to understand that if you are looking for something similar, the Velvet won’t be it – the Velvet is more like an exact opposite. It’s decisively V-shaped with powerful bass and lifted treble, so it has a brighter tuning which results in a dynamic, energetic, and detailed sound; but not a warm, natural sound. So if you’re looking for a warmer tuning, my guess is the ES2 would be the way to go, or the SM64 if they still sell it (beautiful sound).

                    • Winicius on

                      Thank again for help me and tried explain some differences between velvet and SM64! Actually, i’d want to buy both, but i do not have the money for that, so i’ll read about those earphones for a while. Also, I’ll be able to test an EPH-100SL yamaha next month and maybe it will also help me a bit to choose my future earsonics in-ear. However, although i really like a lot the sound of SM3 and SM64, i will probably choose a used velvet V1 if I find it at a good price because it appears to be a better earphone overall.

      • Julio Orrillo suarez on

        Hi my friend ;can you tell me what is the best in ear that you have heard? Please i need your help ;i considerate this in ears top what is the best for you : andromeda oriolus mk2 ; jh audio(roxane2;layla or lola) ear sonic s-eme6v2 or s-em9 and noble kaiser katana ; i hear all of kind of music specialy pop rock…etc;my kind of sound is a big sound touch; vocals(near) melodies transparents and clear;perfec imagen like a supeer velvet v2 o sem9 tank you so much for your answears and your time

          • flinkenick on

            No problem buddy, what’s your budget roughly?

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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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