Xears Resonance Review

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Reviewed May 2011

Details: Angled-nozzle earphone from Xears slotting in below the TD-III in the product line
MSRP:  €24.95 (est $34) (manufacturer’s page)
Current Price: €24.95 (est $34) from xears.com
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: N/A | Sens: N/A | Freq: 6-28k Hz | Cable: 4’ I-plug
Nozzle Size: 4mm | Preferred tips: Sony Hybrid
Wear Style: Straight down

Accessories (2.5/5) – Single-flange silicone tips (3 sizes) and padded carrying pouch
Build Quality (3.5/5) – The Resonance features tubby angled-nozzle housings with an aluminum rear chamber and plastic at the front. The slightly stiff rubbery cable is shared with TD-III and other Xears models and lacks a sliding cinch
Isolation (3/5) – The design of the resonance prohibits deep insertion but the isolation is still quite good with well-sealing tips
Microphonics (3.5/5) – Tolerable but the Resonance is difficult to wear cable-up so the cable noise cannot be eliminated completely
Comfort (4.5/5) – The angled-nozzle housings of the resonance are wider at the front than the rear, preventing deep insertion. The form factor is reminiscent of the Denon C710 – over-the-ear fitment can be difficult and larger-than-usual tips may be required for a good seal

Sound (7.2/10) – The sound signature of the Resonance falls fairly close to that of the now-defunct Xears TD100 and the higher-end Xears TD-III – emphasized mid-bass, smooth mids, and competent treble with some sparkle. The bass of the Resonance is powerful but controlled and sounds cleaner and crisper than that of the TD-III on sparse tracks. However, the TD-III is generally quicker and maintains composure better as things get busy. The bass of the TD-III also carries slightly more emphasis overall compared to the Resonance, though low-end extension is similarly impressive on both.

Not surprisingly, the Resonance is not quite as warm, full-bodied, or forward in the midrange as the TD-III. Its midrange is leaner and a bit crisper, with similar clarity and slightly more aggressive detailing. The upper midrange and treble are less laid-back with the Resonance, making it a touch less forgiving of sibilant recordings. On the whole it is still a very smooth and non-fatiguing earphone. Treble sparkle is low-to-moderate in quantity and top-end extension is decent – similar to the Brainwavz M2 with its gently rolled-off treble. The balance of the Resonance is undoubtedly better, however, with the slightly recessed midrange being far less distracting compared to the powerful, forward mids of the M2.

The presentation of the Resonance is solid as well – the soundstage is smaller than that of the TD-III but the feel of the earphone is, in general, less intimate, putting a greater amount of space between listener and music. Sonic cues are laid out in a convincing manner and the superior treble presence of the Resonance adds a bit of air as well. Separation lags slightly behind the higher-end model but isn’t too bad on the whole. An interesting note – the Resonance is generally a touch less sensitive than the TD-III, achieving lower volumes at the same output level, but still works far better with ‘clean’ sources such as portable amps and players.

Value (8/10) – Giving up a couple of points here and there to the higher-end TD-III model, the Xears Resonance nevertheless holds up quite well in its price range. Though the TD-III stays cleaner when things get busy and provides more of a ‘wow’ factor in casual listening, I actually prefer the slightly less bottom-heavy signature of the Resonance and its more distancing presentation. In terms of usability, the angled-nozzle housings give up a bit of isolation for a comfortable, shallow-insertion form factor and allow the Resonance to exhibit less driver flex than any of the other Xears models. In conjunction with the lower price tag, that makes it well worth a look in my book.

Pros: Solid sound quality with a popular signature; ergonomic form factor
Cons: Difficult to wear over-the-ear


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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.

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