Bubble-free clear shells, Super comfortable fit-depth, Very well-balanced signature, Exceptionally natural midrange presentation
Bass extension below average in class, Some may want for a more open top-end
The EST-6 is a monitor you can enjoy all day long, there isn’t anything that instantly gratifies nor anything that wears on the ear over time. It simply sounds right.
Founded in 2017, Avara is Indonesia’s first CIEM manufacturer who have gained rapid international traction with their unreal value. Their cheapest custom offering comes in at just $99, essentially unprecedented pricing for a custom. The company uses SLA 3D printing enabling quick turnaround as little as 3 days and high-precision. Enter the EST-6, a genuinely high-end CIEM with an $1100 USD asking price. Implementing 4x BA drivers and Sonion dual electrostatic tweeters, the EST-6 promises sensational performance. Avara went full out with this model with no expense spared, even investing in a GRAS measurement rig that meets international standards. What differentiates this setup is its especially accurate representation of human ear anatomy, making it highly cost prohibitive but also the best tool to ensure the listener perceives a perfectly flat frequency response. Avara’s flagship is such a creation.
The EST-6 is available for $1100 USD. You can read all about Avara’s development process here and build/purchase into the EST-6 here.
I would like to thank Alvon from Avara very much for his quick communication and for providing me with the EST-6 for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.
- Driver Setup: 2x low, 1x mid-low, 1x mid-high, 2x estat tweeter
- True crossover with triple-bore design
- Connector: 1/8”, gold plated
The Pitch –
Sonion EST Tweeters
I think a lot of readers will be familiar with this technology by now. These tweeters implement an ultra-light membrane driven by electrostatic force, offering one of the cleanest and quickest transient responses of all driver types. In turn, distortion is very low into the ultra-sonic frequencies delivering strong extension and resolution. They are, however, difficult to implement given the need for a high-voltage transformer that lowers their sensitivity, making pairing with other driver types difficult. Alvon mitigated these shortcomings with a custom crossover circuit and bore design to ensure phase coherence between the drivers while minimising destructive interference.
As aforementioned, Avara invested in a GRAS measurement setup that offers one of the most accurate in-ear simulations available. The goal was to produce an accurate and revealing monitor that remains faithful to the source material. Their measurement rig ensures accurate feedback of their tuning in-house and gives the team a faithful representation of what will be perceived by the end listener. Once the final prototype was completed, the earphone was measured by a GRAS HD ear-sim coupler in Denmark to ensure it met IEC standards.
Avara offers an intuitive IEM builder on their website that gives a good interpretation of what the buyer can expect from the finished product. The experience is quite usual, working from the base up. There are colour options for the shell followed by faceplate customization and, finally artwork in the form of Avara branding/model number or a custom file uploaded by the buyer. Special mention goes to the prestige faceplate designs that enable the buyer to choose up to 3 different styles on one faceplate. The options are very affordable, and you can contact the company if you have specific ideas in mind as with most custom earphones.
As with most CIEMS, the EST-6 has a fairly minimal unboxing experience as most the nature of their designs means a slew of accessories is not necessary. Nonetheless, the outfit here is good. There’s a nice hard box containing the IEMs within a very portable yet protective hard zippered carrying case. Next to it is a leather cable clip and Avara tag, a very nice touch. Your usual papers and warranty info is included alongside a personalised card.
Where I’ve been very hesitant with transparent CIEMs before, the new crop of 3D printed shells are impressing me more and more. Alvon, the man behind the operation, was very enthusiastic to go with an all-transparent design to showcase the leaps and strides they’ve made minimising bubbles and imperfections. The results speak for themselves. My EST-6 is essentially flawless with only a handful of microscopic bubbles visible upon very close inspection. The level of transparency is terrific, showcasing the stunning 6-driver array inside alongside the eye-catching high-voltage transformers. The shells are also of a solid-body design, with a dense, quality in-hand feel.
Up top is a 0.78mm removable cable system. The connectors are tight and the included cable is in a charming transparent/silver which complements the transparent shells and silver logos well. Otherwise, the quality of the cable itself is representative of a typical plastic cable as seen on the majority of other CIEMs. It’s soft and pliable, not microphonic but also on the thinner side and, in turn, slightly more prone to tangles. Nonetheless, it is comfortable and low-profile, the memory-wire ear guides also aid a comfortable and stable wearing experience.
Fit & Isolation –
Due to their solid-body design, the EST-6 offers superlative passive noise isolation, especially of low frequencies. Of note, I do have an abnormal left ear canal which has provided a challenge for many CIEM manufacturers. In order to circumvent this, I suggested to Alvon that the fit depth should be slightly altered and he was happy to work with me on a refit when the seal was slightly loose. After building up the nozzle by half a millimetre, the EST-6 achieves a perfect fit both in terms of comfort and seal. As requested, my particular model has a medium, almost shallow-depth fit, though not quite like that seen on Campfire Audio’s customs. They still lock-in confidently to the ear and retain a strong seal during movement. However, they deliver perfect wearing comfort, disappearing over time with zero pressure. Safe to say, these are some of my favourite customs yet in both design and ergonomics!
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