Alpha & Delta AD01 In-Ear Earphone Review

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Brief: First offering from Lend Me UR ears’ new house brand

MSRP: $98 (manufacturer’s page)
Current Price: $91 from lendmeurears.com; $98 from Amazon.com
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 9Ω | Sens: 102 dB | Freq: 10-25k Hz | Cable: 4.3′ L-plug, detachable w/ 2mm DC plug
Nozzle Size: 5.5mm | Preferred tips: Stock single-flanges
Wear Style: Straight down (preferred) or over-the-ear

Accessories (4/5) – Single-flange silicone tips (3 sizes), Sony Hybrid-style silicone tips (3 sizes), short double-flange silicone tips (3 sizes), foam tips (1 pair), and spacious zippered case with detachable wrist strap
Build Quality (4/5) – Thanks in large part to their size and heft, the metal housings of the AD01 feel very solid. The cables are detachable, with replacements available via Lend Me UR ears’ website. The earpieces are sold separately as well – always a big plus with detachable-cable earphones in case one is lost or damaged. Cable quality is nice enough – the stock cable is internally twisted and then covered with a smooth sheath. A more premium upgrade cable is available as well
Isolation (3/5) – Good for an earphone of this type
Microphonics (4/5) – Easily tolerable even when worn cable-down
Comfort (3.5/5) – The AD01 is a large straight-barrel earphone and fits similarly to most others. The smooth housings help prevent sore spots but the housing size, together with the strain relief length and angle, is less than ideal for over-the-ear wear

Sound (8.7/10) – The AD01 is the first earphone from Singapore-based headphone shop Lend Me UR ears’ new house brand, Alpha & Delta. It is a dual dynamic driver earphone with an interesting sound tuning – a mild v-shape with a bass bias. As a result, it falls somewhere between V-shaped and warm-and-smooth on my sound-o-meter. This is a pretty versatile signature that makes the AD01 a strong alternative – and potential upgrade – to some of my favorite sub-$100 earphones; the now-defunct SteelSeries Flux, for instance.

The bass of the AD01 is moderately enhanced, with impact and quality similar to the popular Sony MH1C. Both of these earphones can be a touch boomy compared to higher-end, less bass-heavy sets, but the bass also gives them a warmth and richness that, when combined with good clarity, makes for a very likable listening experience. Compared to the rather bass-heavy RHA MA750, on the other hand, the AD01 is decidedly more balanced, with tighter bass and a slightly more neutral tonal character.

Despite its v-shaped sound signature, the AD01’s midrange is not thin-sounding or significantly recessed. In this way it reminds me of the JVC HA-FXT90, another mildly v-shaped dual dynamic that doesn’t sound very mid-recessed. The slightly boosted upper mids and lower treble give the AD01 an advantage in clarity over the Sony MH1C, which has similar bass quantity and warmth. Clarity is on-par or slightly better than with the pricier RHA MA750, though it is impressive that the MA750 can keep up at all considering its greater bass emphasis.

In addition to the midrange being more full-bodied and prominent than could be expected, the AD01 sets itself apart from more conventionally v-shaped earphones with treble that’s neither harsh nor sibilant under normal conditions. Sure, it is brighter and less smooth than the golden standard of the Sony MH1C and HiFiMan RE-400, but compared to other v-shaped sets, especially those in the sub-$100 range, the AD01 strikes a good balance between “lively” and “overbearing”. At the very least, treble quality won’t be a constant caveat with every mention as it is, for instance, with VSonic earphones.

The AD01’s presentation maintains a pretty good sense of depth and width, sounding dynamic and engaging. It’s good for the type of warmer, more bass-biased sound it delivers, but naturally not as out-of-the-head compared to brighter, more airy-sounding sets such as the Ostry KC06, VSonic GR07, and DUNU DN-2000.

Mini Comparisons

SteelSeries Flux In-Ear ($50)

With a warm, clear, and relatively smooth sound, the Flux immediately became one of my favorite sub-$100 in-ears when it was released in late 2012. However, its durability left something to be desired and it was discontinued two years later. The Alpha & Delta AD01 is the most suitable Flux replacement I’ve come across so far, though it places a bit more emphasis on its bass and treble for a more v-shaped sound. The extra bass results in a slightly more full-bodied sound, yet the AD01 is still clearer than the Flux on the whole.

The Flux still has an advantage in overall balance/accuracy and maintains slightly tighter bass. However, its upper mids and treble, despite being less prominent, are a bit grainier compared to the smoother AD01. The AD01 is also quite a bit more efficient.

HiFiMan RE-400 ($79)

The RE-400 and AD01 fall on different sides of “neutral” in sound – the RE-400 is focused on the midrange while the AD01 is somewhat v-shaped, with boosted highs and lows. The AD01 has quite a bit more low-end power than the RE-400. Its bass is more boomy and intrusive, and the overall sound is warmer. The stronger highs of the AD01 are a little more metallic but at times can seem a touch clearer compared to the more laid-back, smooth, and dull RE-400.

The RE-400 has tighter bass, less full-bodied mids, and more neutral overall tone. Surprisingly, though, despite its brighter tone and thinner note presentation, it is not significantly clearer than the AD01. On the whole, while the RE-400 may offer a more refined and smooth sound, these two earphones are similar enough in performance and so different in sound tuning that each makes the other sound quite “off” in an A:B comparison.

VSonic VSD3S ($50)

Thanks to VSonic’s accelerating product release cycle as of late, the VSD3S is just one of several latest-gen, sub-GR07 models in the company’s lineup. However, to date it rates among my favorite sub-$50 IEMs. The AD01 offers a warmer, smoother, more full-bodied sound compared to the brighter VSD3S. Clarity is generally similar between the two earphones but on tracks with more bass the slightly more controlled low end of the VSD3S pays dividends. The VSD3S is more sibilant, however, and on the whole appears to be a touch more v-shaped. This is also mirrored in its slightly wider presentation, which puts more distance between listener and performance than does the more intimate AD01.

VSonic GR07 Classic ($99)

The GR07, in one form or another, has been around for nearly five years now and remains the IEM to match for admittance to the high-end IEM caste. At first listen, the GR07 compares to the AD01 just as the VSD3S does – the AD01 is again the warmer, bassier, and fuller-sounding earphone. It is smoother and less sibilance-prone than the brighter GR07, but also more intimate and not as out-of-the-head in terms of presentation.

Where the difference come in are the little details – the GR07 is just that little bit more balanced, poised, and refined than the VSD3S, which really shows when comparing both of the VSonics to a highly capable set like the AD01. The bass boost of the AD01 – and the slight boominess that comes with it – is much more noticeable when pitting the AD01 against the more balanced GR07 than against the VSD3S. The bass of the GR07 is tighter and more controlled. Clarity is better, too, though the difference is natural considering the AD01’s higher bass quantity – in fact, for such an impactful earphone the AD01 keeps up surprisingly well here.

Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear ($99)

Sennheiser’s latest and greatest factors into any conversation where v-shaped ~$100 earphones are involved. It is a great example of the breed, combining deep and powerful bass with a slightly withdrawn midrange and crisp treble for a textbook example of a v-shaped sound profile. The AD01 is slightly warmer than the Momentum and remains more full-bodied and rich through the midrange. The bass of the AD01 is a little boomier while the Momentum’s is tighter, but otherwise the Alpha & Delta unit tends to be a little clearer. This surprised me as I was expecting the thinner-sounding Momentum to pull ahead here, but the more recessed mids don’t do it any favors. The Momentum does have a slightly wider presentation while the bassier and more upfront AD01 has slightly better depth.

Value (9/10) – The first earphone from Lend Me UR ears’ Alpha & Delta brand offers a desirable sound tuning and very strong performance at a mid-tier price point. The mildly v-shaped sound delivers good bass punch and warm tone while avoiding most of the caveats of inexpensive v-shaped earphones. Additional perks include replaceable cables and a nice accessory kit. In many ways it reminds me of a 1st-gen HiFiMan release – not in sound tuning, but in the way that the sound and a few other selling points make an earphone that’s a bit rough around the edges recommendable over many established brands.

Pros: Very impressive warm, slightly v-shaped sound; solid construction with replaceable cables
Cons: Bulky and not particularly sleek; L/R markings can be hard to see in low light


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About Author

Living in the fast-paced city of Los Angeles, ljokerl has been using portable audio gear to deal with lengthy commutes for the better part of a decade. He spends much of his time listening to music and occasionally writes portable audio reviews across several enthusiast sites, focusing mostly on in-ear earphones.

42 Comments

  1. Ronn on

    Hi joker, bought these over a year ago and loved them however they died recently and looking for a replacement. I would like something with similar amounts of bass yet less recessed mids and preferably below $100

    • Ronn on

      If there is nothing else in this price range that can compete should I just get a replacement for these

  2. Cholo on

    Hi Joker. I’m looking for an alternative to fidue a65. Incase you haven’t tried it, it is quite similar to fidue a63 which you already have reviewed. It has a warm + smooth sound. Although it is better and more refined than the a63. Is the ad01 a good alternative? Its in my current list which includes the trinity audio vyrus, tennmak pro and tfz series 1.

    • ljokerl on

      The AD01 is kind of the opposite of the A63 – much less midrange-focused and with more bass and treble boost (more v-shaped). A good contrast, but not a great substitute in my opinion.

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  4. Kfm on

    Hey Joker,

    I’m looking to replace my beloved Klipsch S4i-II set that died on me. I mainly listen to progressive/instrumental rock/metal (Satriani, Vai, Dream Theater, Rush, etc.), and the S4s worked very well for that music. The bass had a good punch to it and the treble sparkled and shimmered while usually avoiding harshness or sibilance. Guitars were very clear without burying any of the keyboards or vocals. It was energetic and fun while remaining clear and fairly detailed. That said, I found the bass to be a bit bloated on some occasions when I really looked for it, and there’s much room for improvement in terms of soundstage width and separation/layering. Other things I liked were the isolation, the cable, which never got tangled, and the oval tips and thin nozzle, which made them very comfortable.

    So I’m looking for something in the $100 range similar sounding to the S4 but improves on those aspects I just mentioned. Originally I was looking at the Shure SE215 for its popularity, removable cable, and isolation, but I’m concerned its warm signature won’t provide the sparkling treble that I love. I’m also considering the Sennheiser Momentum, which seems to better suite my taste in sound, but reviews are saying that cable breakage at the jack is common (which is the cause of death for 99% of my in-ears, including the S4s). The AD01 seems like a good compromise between the two (replacable cable, v-shaped without the treble rolloff of the SE215). What would you recommend for me, either from these three or any other set in the same price bracket?

    Thanks!

    • ljokerl on

      I think your instincts are good – you won’t like the SE215 if you like the S4 and vice versa. In fact, there’s a good chance you’d prefer the $10 Philips SHE3590 to the SE215.

      Momentum is definitely better fit in sound signature, but not sure about long-term durability as I don’t use mine a whole lot.

      AD01 is kind of without competition here – it’s one of very few earphones in this price range that have detachable cables and the only one (out of what I’ve tried) that resembles the S4 in sound signature. Still not a 100% sound signature match – it has a thicker sound with smoother treble, which could be good or bad depending on what you value most in the S4. But definitely a good pick.

      You can also consider the JVC FXT90 if you’re not 100% sold on the replaceable cable idea – these have gotten fairly inexpensive lately and once you start factoring in the cost of the replacement cables for it’ll take several replacements before the AD01 becomes the more cost-effective option. The FXT90 is a slightly better sound signature match – it’s somewhere between the S4 and AD01 in tuning.

      • Kfm on

        Thanks for the reply! Where would you say the MA750 falls relative to the AD01 and S4?

        Also, if it helps at all, I also have the UE600 and I can’t stand how prominent the mids are. They’ve got nice detail, but the mids overpower the bass and treble and make it boring to listen to. I’d like to avoid any earphones that may have similar issues.

        One last question, is eBay trustworthy for buying earphones like these? Anything particular to watch out for or avoid? I’ve only ever bought my headphones from Amazon from the “official” listings, so I’m a bit unfamiliar with sites like eBay.

        • ljokerl on

          MA750 is more smooth and gentle than the S4 and AD01 – not as v-shaped and aggressive. Don’t have to worry about prominent mids with it because it sounds nothing like a UE600, but it’s a not a spot-in match for the S4 either. For the average listener it’s better, but you seem to have quite liked the energetic highs of the S4 so it might not be deal.

          eBay can be hit or miss, depends on what you’re looking for. I wouldn’t buy a high-volume earphone that’s likely to have knockoffs (e.g. Xiaomi Pistons) unless I was buying from a known seller of genuine Xiaomi products. I also wouldn’t buy anything I might need a warranty on. Other than that should be safe – the AD01, for instance, is probably sold only by the manufacturer, if it’s on ebay at all.

  5. Sophie on

    Hi joker,
    Would this be a good upgrade to Sony mh1c? I really quite enjoy the mh1c. I know the you’ve generally recommended the eph100 and the ma750 but these are harder to come by for me.

    Also, what would u recommend for an upgrade with less bass than mh1c?

    Thanks!

    • ljokerl on

      It would be a minor upgrade at best, partly because it’s just not the same sound tuning. I personally wouldn’t bother unless you really hate the form factor/design of the MH1C. The MH1C has a smoother sound that’s overall more balanced from the midrange upwards.

      An upgrade with less bass than MH1C would be something like an Aurisonics Rockets or Sony MDR-7550. Maybe the Brainwavz R3 if on a budget.

      • Sophie on

        Thanks! I’d consider them.
        How about what would be a good complement to mh1c? Something v different but yet still sounds good.

        • ljokerl on

          Could try a good balanced-sounding in-ear like the Final Audio Heaven II or Phiaton MS 100 BA. Or one that’s a little more v-shaped, like a Xiaomi Piston 3 or JVC FXT90. These are all under $100, but very good for the purposes of trialing their specific sound tunings.

  6. Eguardos on

    Im coming from the cx 3.00, and was not disappointed with their quality, however they are falling apart. I was looking at either these or the rha ma750. Both will run from a smartphone (mp3 files). Im confident these will provide me with enough bass (recommended by bassheads as a top unamped iem). So, how does the midrange on the AD01 compare with the ma750? Any other comparisons of soundstage, isolation, etc would be amazing. Finally, are these too large to sleep comfortably with, on my side? Thanks for your time

    • ljokerl on

      Either one would be good coming from a mid-tier Sennheiser IEM. The AD01 is a bit clearer overall and has fuller mids. The RHA is a little warmer and its bass is a bit less controlled (tiny amount more bloated), but midrange clarity is still very close to the AD01. Soundstaging is similar, I feel like the MA750 has a slight upper hand in size but the AD01 is more crisp and precise.

      Isolation is a little better on the RHA and there’s no way you’ll be able to sleep on your side with the AD01 – its earpieces are probably 70% longer than those of the CX 3.00. The MA750 might be possible if you have large outer ears – its housings aren’t super long, but they’re wide.

  7. DarkCandyz on

    How do these compare to the Yamaha EPH-100?

    • ljokerl on

      These are more v-shaped. The EPH-100 has a warmer tone with slightly deeper bass, slightly less recessed mids, and smoother upper mids/lower treble.

      • Darkcandyz on

        So which would you recommend me? I listen to edm and modern music mostly and would good bass but not overlooking vocals.

        • ljokerl on

          If you can afford the extra $$, I’d go for the EPH-100. Just about the only downside is no replaceable cables, but if you’re relatively careful with your IEMs that shouldn’t matter much.

          • Darkcandyz on

            Thanks for the quick reply man! However, i still have some questions
            1)I can afford the extra money but will the difference be alot?
            2)will ad01 be good for vocals or will it be too heavy? Read somewhere that modern music already have alot of bass and might affect their vocals
            3)Which isolates better? I know that the ad01 provides foam tips and was wondering if their isolation would be good compared to the eph100
            4) which has better bass? I need it for edm music
            Sorry for asking so many questions… and thank you for replying them all 🙂 great man!

            • Darkcandyz on

              Will it be too Bass heavy*

              • ljokerl on

                Honestly, if you want deep bass and excellent isolation that pretty much screams EPH-100. Bass control is comparable between the AD01 and EPH-100 and you don’t get much of a clarity advantage with either, but for EDM especially the EPH-100 should be a better choice.

  8. Harold on

    Hey joker, how do these match up against the ATH-M50X? I know I’m comparing a pair of IEM to a pair of headphones, but how are the sound quality of these compared to the M50x? Considering getting a pair, but they are a new brand. The M50X are one of my favorite V-Shaped headphones, although I find them to have JUST a little too much bass.

    • ljokerl on

      Right, it’s tough to compare IEMs and headphones (especially in bass and soundstaging because of how differently those are presented between on/over- and in-ear headphones), but in the most general sense the AD01 is just a little more v-shaped than the M50X and has some slight disadvantages in midrange clarity and overall resolution. Keeping that in mind, in this price range I don’t know of anything that will do a better job of keeping up with the pricier M50X.

  9. Harijs on

    Joker, please help me decide between AD01 and Sony XB90EX for HQ lossless vinyl rip dubstep and EDM. ???

    • ljokerl on

      Sorry, don’t have an XB90EX to compare the two. But the AD01 is very good for this type of music!

      • Harijs on

        Thanks for reply.
        Wish You could try the XB90 because of the many positive reviews/feedbacks everywhere.

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  11. Eug on

    I’ll be upgrading to this from the XiaoMi Pistons 2. How is the ad01 compared to it?

    • ljokerl on

      Bass goes deeper on the AD01, mids are a bit less recessed, and the overall sound is a touch darker compared to the Piston 2. I definitely prefer the AD01, but it’s not a night-and-day difference for me.

  12. Egg on

    Hey Joker, another question. how does the upgrade improve on the sound?

    • ljokerl on

      I’m not real big on upgrade cables, especially for inexpensive earphones. I would say it doesn’t make much of a difference, but then it’s almost the same price as a replacement for the stock cable and it’s better quality/nicer to use, so if you end up needing a replacement cord I’d get the “upgrade” one.

  13. Egg on

    Hey Joker, are these for bassheads?

  14. Prashanth on

    Hi Joker. How do these compare to the KC06A?

    • ljokerl on

      Not sure, I only have a regular KC06 which sounds nothing like these.

  15. Faiz on

    Oh man I’ve been waiting for this review for days haha. I recently bought the gr07 BE after researching for a bit, since that was my first good quality earphones that I bought. However, I realised I’m not that much of a fan of the over-the-ear style of wearing the earphones as it constantly feels like it’s going to slip out over my earlobes. Furthermore, I love how balanced it sounds, with a touch of emphasis on the bass which I really love, but it is too sibilant to my liking. Plus, I find it hard to get a good fit with any of the ear tips provided. The best one was the foam ear tips and even with those, I am not satisfied. Do you think this earphones would be a good purchase? I would consider myself a bass head but I do appreciate having the other highs and mids to be good sounding as well. And so far this earphones looks like it best fit what I’m looking for. What do you think? Great website btw.

    • ljokerl on

      These do have quite a bit of bass and more of a v-shape so you give up some of the balance of the GR07 BE, but the sibilance is improved. Probably worth it in this case, especially as they’re also less expensive than a GR07. Plus, if you’ve had other conventionally-fitting earphones in the past that worked for you, chances are the AD01 will be fine as it’s really a very standard form factor, just a little bigger.

  16. Damon on

    Oh good. I was wondering how these were! 🙂

  17. Thierry on

    How does this compare to the JVC ha fxt90s? I have a pair of those and they’re among my favorite possessions.

    • ljokerl on

      These would be right up your alley, then. I wouldn’t say they’re an upgrade to the FXT90, but they do share many of the same traits, have the same general sound presentation, and can keep up in bass punch and quality, clarity, etc, while also providing slightly smoother (though less sparkly) treble. The one thing I’d still say the FXT90 does better is soundstage depth/layering.

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