The VSonic GR07 in-ear monitor has been a big part of the portable Hi-Fi scene for the past four years, thanks to sound that’s quite neutral, yet not lean or lacking in bass. At the time of its release, there wasn’t much that could touch the GR07 in price/performance at its $179 price point. In 2012 the earphone underwent an cable update, giving rise to the GR07 mkII. An enhanced-bass version, the GR07 Bass Edition, was released that same year.
Since then, the in-ear headphone market has steadily grown more and more competitive, with both seasoned manufacturers and newcomers stepping up their game. The lines between entry-level, mid-range, and high-end have never been more blurred. VSonic’s more recent releases – the VSD1S, for example – by the company’s own admission offer a large chunk of the GR07’s performance at a fraction of the price.
Now, however, there is a new GR07. Dubbed the GR07 Classic, it is available in three new colors and carries a much more attractive $99 price tag. The Classic uses the same 11mm bio-cellulose drivers that propelled the original GR07 to Head-Fi stardom and shares the sonic characteristics of my original mkI GR07 from 2011 – for the most part, at least.
Like the original GR07, the Classic provides a balanced tuning with a slight bass bump—not so much as to make it sound bassy, or even particularly warm, but enough to create a more full-bodied sound and deliver better punch and impact compared to reference earphones with single- and dual-balanced armature designs. The low end is accurate, tight, and well-extended, and the tone is still rather neutral.
The midrange is not forward, but it is clear and detailed. Treble is prominent but somewhat peaky, at times resulting in a slightly hot, occasionally sibilant sound. This is mostly an issue at higher listening volumes and on records already prone to sibilance, but the GR07 is has never been one for the treble-sensitive. The presentation is quite wide and airy for an in-ear earphone, but lacks some depth compared to higher-end sets.
Nonetheless, the GR07 Classic is not an exact match for the sound of my GR07 mkI – the differences are slight, only noticeable in an A:B comparison. The Classic sounds a touch more full-bodied, with greater note thickness throughout. It is also smoother through the upper midrange and treble, again only just. The GR07 mkI, on the other hand, is a touch clearer and more crisp, and a hair brighter than the Classic as well.
The differences are small enough that they will not be noticeable to someone who doesn’t have an older GR07 for comparison. Considering that my GR07 is 3 years old (and quite well-worn), there could be a number of explanations for the differences from simple unit variation to three years worth of earwax collecting in my older unit.
One thing is clear – at $99 and with a sound signature 98% similar to the original GR07, the GR07 Classic is a great value.
Lastly, a warning for potential GR07 purchasers – it has been brought to my attention that some sellers on eBay and other marketplaces are selling the GR07 Classic as the GR07 mkII or “GR07 Classic mkII”, complete with the mkII’s higher price. Examples on eBay here and here.
There are no silver/red/blue GR07 mkIIs, so with these particular listings you’re simply paying $50-70 above the suggested retail price for a GR07 Classic. Don’t.