Astrotec AM-800 Review

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Astrotec AM-800
Added Mar 2013

Details: Beautiful wood-and-metal earphone from Astrotec
MSRP: est $65
Current Price: $40 from amazon.com$45 from ebay.com; $47 from mp4nation.net
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 16Ω | Sens: 112 dB | Freq: 8-27k Hz | Cable: 3.9′ I-plug
Nozzle Size: 4.5mm | Preferred tips: stock single-flanges
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear

Accessories (3/5) – Single-flange silicone tips (3 sizes), foam eartips, and soft carrying pouch
Build Quality (4.5/5) – The housings of the AM-800 are an extremely handsome combination of brushed metal and lacquered wood, with fit and finish deserving of a much higher price point. The cable is more plasticky and memory-prone than the excellent rubberized cord used on the AM-90 model but still resists tangling well and feels sturdy. The strain reliefs, too, are supple enough to inspire confidence in the construction
Isolation (2.5/5) – Average due to the shallow fit and vented design
Microphonics (4/5) – Decent when worn cable-down; nonexistent otherwise
Comfort (4/5) – The wood-and-metal housings are surprisingly lightweight and designed for a shallow fit. Comfort is very good with both silicone and foam tips

Sound (7.8/10) – While the cheaper DX-60 is a passable-yet-forgettable entry-level headset, the AM-800 leaves the lasting impression of a solid all-around performer. It pursues a mildly v-shaped signature with punchy bass and bright treble. The low end is similar to that of the VSonic GR06 – slightly above neutral in quantity, but far from overbearing. There is less impact and subbass depth compared to the VSonic GR02 Bass Edition but better control compared to the Brainwavz M5 and the lower-end Astrotec DX-60, with the latter sounding downright sloppy in comparison to the AM-800.

The bass is quick enough that midrange bleed is a non-issue, and the overall balance is better than with many competing sets. The AM-800 is less mid-recessed than the GR02 Bass Edition and MEElec CC51, for example. The mids are clear and open-sounding, making competitors such as the Brainwavz M5 appear a little veiled and congested in comparison. The treble of the AM-800 is smoother and less sibilant compared to the GR02 Bass Edition but can still get a touch harsh next to some higher-end sets. There is more treble energy than with sets such as the Brainwavz M5—a good thing in my book—and top-end extension is good as well.

The presentation of the AM-800 is on the large side, with an airy, out-of-the head feel. It is a little wider and more spacious than the VSonic GR02BE and similar to the GR06, albeit with a touch less depth. The treble extension helps, as does the lack of congestion typically caused by mid-bass bloat. Overall, while the AM-800 doesn’t quite have the imaging of higher-end sets, it is more than capable enough for its price bracket.

THL Recommended Badge 2014Value (9/10) – The Astrotec AM-800 is one of the best-looking earphones I’ve come across in a long time, but it’s more than just a pretty face. Average isolation aside, the AM-800 is the total package – well-made, comfortable, and plenty good-sounding. The clear, mildly v-shaped sound puts the performance of the AM-800 in good company with the likes of the ECCI PR401 and VSonic GR06. All in all, there’s really not much to complain about here – the AM-800 is a great mid-range earphone for both first-time IEM users and those seeking to upgrade from an entry-level model.

Pros: Great aesthetics; well-built; impressive sound quality
Cons: Mediocre isolation


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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.

7 Comments

  1. iguana on

    These are the only earphones to have lasted me more than a year with daily use. The durability is amazing.

  2. OnePotato on

    Are these your favourite headphones for 50-60€?
    I mostly listen to electro, so yeah 🙂
    Pretty new to higher quality IEMs

    • ljokerl on

      Tough to name a favorite. They are close but when I wrote the $50 Buyer’s Guide I went with the VSonic VSD1S and SteelSeries Flux as my top picks instead: http://theheadphonelist.com/holiday-buyers-guide-best-earphones-under-50/ .

      The AM-800 does have a very nice signature for electronic music – bright and crisp, with a wide soundstage. As long as you don’t need tons of bass it’s a great choice.

  3. Soulfusioner on

    Thank you for answer! I don’t mind a bit less bass that much, I really liked the general “warmth” of S4s but I can agree that it’s good deal for these advantages that you have mentioned. Especially that my previous IEms was totally analytical Head-Direct RE2 😀 Hopefully I will find my golden mean with Astrotec 😉

    • ljokerl on

      I hope so too. Have fun!

  4. Soulfusioner on

    Hey,
    Thank you for awesome review, I am currently trying to choose between am-800 and VSD1S. Definetely Astrotec looks much better, though I am not so sure about the sound quality…
    What would you recommend for someone who was using Klipsch Image S4 for few years (and really enjoyed them)?

    I am a bit concerned that in case of astrotec I will have a big problem choosing the color ^^ I have recently seen on ebay third one – blue (only one seller has it so far).

    • ljokerl on

      Choosing between several colors of a great-looking earphone is probably not the worst problem to have 🙂

      The AM-800 and VSD1S aren’t far apart in sound quality. I tend to prefer the VSonics by a bit but the AM-800 is great for a slightly brighter sound. There will be less bass compared to your S4 but a wider soundstage and better accuracy overall. Unfortunately it’s been a while since I’ve heard the S4 so I can’t make a direct comparison but from memory, as long as you don’t mind giving up some of the Klipschs’ bass boost, the AM-800 should be a good upgrade.

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