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VSonic GR07 Classic - Blue

Brief Review: VSonic GR07 Classic (plus warning for GR07 buyers)

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.

VSonic GR07 Classic - Blue
VSonic GR07 Classic – Blue

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.

Legitimate GR07 Classics can be purchased from authorized VSonic distributors such as lendmeurears (in all three colors), or via Amazon.com (in blue, maroon, and silver)

[su_spoiler title=”Accessories & Manufacturer Specifications (click to expand)” anchor=”#specs”]

Accessories:

  • single-flange (3 pairs) and bi-flange silicone tips
  • foam tips
  • padded spring-clasp carrying pouch
  • cable guides (pair)

Specifications

  • Driver: 11mm High Dynamic CCAW Drive Units, Bio-cellulose diaphragms
  • Impedance: 50Ω +/- 10%
  • Sensitivity: >105dB (@ 500 Hz)
  • Frequency Response: 7Hz- 30kHz
  • Channel Balance: <1dB @ 500Hz <1.5dB (at 20Hz~12.5KHz)
  • Distortion: <0.2% 105dB
  • Rated Power: 10mW
  • Maximum Input Power: 50mW

[/su_spoiler]

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ABOUT AUTHOR

ljokerl

ljokerl

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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59 Responses

  1. Where did you buy it from? You can actually ask Vsonic to recable the IEMs. I think it was about $20 for them to do that plus shipping back to China if you’re out of warranty.

  2. Dear ljokerl – Another update after 2 years – My GR07 classic is performing well. However the cable rubber cover has started to fray and break at multiple places exposing the wires. I am a bit disappointed that a flagship product will come undone so easily build wise. Unfortunately there are no headphone cabling service on my area. As an alternative I have used 3M transparent plastic tape to layer the entire cable. On the positive note this has addressed the entanglement issue of the wire. Sound wise it is as good and crisp as ever before and I am very fond of it and want to preserve and enjoy it as long as possible. The sound signature has slightly changed over the years. It now seems that the music plays a bit slow. Not volume wise but almost like hearing a music in slow motion but only very slightly. I do not know may be I am wrong and just hearing things. I do need a suggestion on earbud with good comfort and isolation for this IEM. Any suggestions pls. Thanks in advance.

  3. Hi there, thanks for the thorough and informative review! Do you know anything about why they removed the tip rolling function in the new Gr07’s? I had one from years ago and loved how they rolled to fit my ears. I bought the new classic in maroon from amazon and the buds are just stuck in one place.

  4. Some reason I’ve never been a fan of any of the VSonic house sound signatures. They always sound a bit muddy with the recessed mid range. Still don’t really understand all the hype. Considering you can get the Vivo XE800 for $20 on alliexpress and it uses the same Biocellulose driver in the GR07 I’d recommend these to see if the signature is for you.

  5. Not too many options for this, but it’s less because BAs are taking over and more because neutral-sounding earphones just aren’t that common/popular. The few I’ve tried under $200 that are reasonably close to “balanced” sound and missing from your list are the Philips Fidelio S2, MEE audio Pinnacle P1, and Brainwavz R3 (although this one is a dual dynamic it sounds pretty similar to a HiFiMan IEM, not sure if it even has a crossover). Otherwise you’ve pretty much got the top recommendations already – HiFiMan IEMs and the Rockets are great for sibilance-free, cohesive sound.

  6. Hey joker

    I realised that the iem scene is getting more focused on making BA iems more than DD ones. I do enjoy DD mores more due to its more cohesive signature. I’m wondering what other choices of iems do I have for a as far as possible neutral sound signature iem other than aurisonics rockets and hifiman re400. I was considering a vsonic gr07(concerned about the sibliance stated in reviews) or a ath im02 if there ain’t any other choices.

  7. You definitely don’t risk breaking your earphones if you use them without an amp, you just might get a (marginal, in this case) improvement in sound quality with an amp or amp/dac. The GR07 is not very picky and honestly I wouldn’t recommend investing an amp or dac for it. You’re better off trying to roll some aftermarket eartips to reduce the sibilance – it’ll cost you less and is a more targeted approach for this particular problem.

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