Details: Oversize ceramic in-ear
MSRP: approx. $57 (manufacturer’s page)
Current Price: $53 from fischer-products.eu; £70 (approx. $120) from amazon UK
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 16Ω | Sens: 99 dB | Freq: 20-20k Hz | Cable: 4.1′ I-plug
Nozzle Size: 8mm | Preferred tips: MEElec CC51 single-flanges
Wear Style: Straight down
Accessories (2/5) – Single-flange silicone tips (2 sets), cord wrap, and small leatherette carrying pouch
Build Quality (3/5) – The hefty ceramic shells and metal driver enclosures are solid but for an earphone that weighs as much as the Ceramique the cable thickness is disappointing. The cord is reminiscent of stock Apple earbuds, just more rubbery. The lack of strain reliefs on the cord is cause for concern
Isolation (3.5/5) – Above average with well-sealing tips (not included)
Microphonics (3.5/5) – Fairly average in the thin, rubbery cable; over-the-ear wear is difficult
Comfort (2/5) – Large, heavy housings are problematic, as are the wide nozzle and single size of hard rubber eartips. Getting a seal proved impossible with stock tips and some may not be able to fit the Ceramique at all. Physical activity is out of the question – the earphones are easily dislodged by their own weight
Sound (7.9/10) – Despite its significant ergonomic shortfalls, the sound of the Ceramique is impressive, provided a seal can be maintained. Since stock Ceramique tips won’t seal for me, this review was done using tips from MEElec’s ceramic earphone, the CC51, which will fit the Ceramique without too much trouble. As expected, a poorly-sealed Ceramique sounds bright and lacking in bass. A properly sealed one is much more balanced, with well-measured bass response and prominent treble. The bass is soft and mellow – compared to the more v-shaped CC51, the Ceramique is less forward and less punchy at the bottom end but still manages slightly better bass depth. It also avoids the mildly mid-recessed profile of the CC51 but yields to the MEElecs in control and dynamics.
Mids are a definite strength of the Ceramique – balanced well with the low end they are slightly warm and very smooth. While the midrange is not recessed, the Ceramique is a laid-back earphone overall and those who prefer an intimate vocal presentation or in-your-face guitar aggression will want to give it a pass. The mids are clean, liquid, and well-detailed, reminding me more of the Spider Realvoice than the CC51. The treble transition is smooth but, in contrast to the pricier Tandem, the Ceramique loses no emphasis at the top. Treble extension is good but the top end is not too high on sparkle – the CC51 again shows off its comparatively v-shaped nature with more sparkly treble that is also crisper and edgier. For its livelier sound, the CC51 is slightly more fatiguing than the Ceramique.
The presentation of the Ceramique suits the balanced signature nicely – the soundstage is spacious, with decent width and depth, and good clarity and detail levels work towards a clean, nicely separated sound. The earphone tends to be quite laid-back on the whole and doesn’t deliver great imaging, especially when a track calls for intimacy, partly due to the mediocre dynamics. Compared to the CC51, the Ceramique sounds distant at times but also easily wins in terms of sheer soundstage size.
Value (5/10) – The Fischer Audio Ceramique is a textbook lesson in form over function. While it combines balanced sound and a spacious presentation with smooth, polished looks, it makes too many usability sacrifices to be a viable alternative to the established segment leaders. The biggest issue is that the large, heavy housings are tricky to fit and even more difficult to keep in place. Add sub-par eartips in only one size and thin cables with no strain reliefs and it becomes clear that some of the sound quality and aesthetics probably should have been sacrificed for better usability.
Pros: Solid sonic characteristics
Cons: One size does not fit all; large and heavy; thin cable lacks strain relief