Sound quality: (Mahogany with FFS)
Alula houses a single Liquid Silicon Driver which sounds much different than what a single DD IEM should sound like. This mahogany wood uses Frequency Filtering System which reduces resonance at 3.5 kHz and 13.5 kHz. Copplinn has done their homework, kudos for that. It has deep and thumpy bass, some of the cleanest mids while the treble has excellent clarity but is not much aggressive.
It doesn’t have much coloration to it. It sounds very natural and neutral.
I am using my Qudelix 5k, Tr-Amp with the IEM and Sony tips on the IEM for this review.
The only part of the spectrum which can feel a bit less serious is the lower end. Alula has a bit fun oriented lower end which delivers an fuller, rumbly and thumpy feel. Sub-bass extension is very good, it is as good as the DUNU Zen but the cheaper ISN D10 does better, then one has to keep in mind that the Alula is not tuned to be a bass head IEM. Thar said the rumble across the lower end is very good. The mid bass is a bit more volume as usual and it feels much closer to what DD are supposed to deliver but it still is not as heavy and doesn’t move a lot of air. The biggest reason for this lack of weight is the decay speed, it is faster than what DD are supposed to deliver. This lower end is tuned to be fun yet accurate and don’t miss out on details while having very good texture. The upper treble is slightly less energetic and calmly merges into the lower mids.
What impressed me the most is it’s dynamic abilities. While the Fiio FD5 was good it didn’t had this much of flexibility or dynamics. Alula is capable of having two bass notes on layers which is simply excellent and is something not seen in this price point.
Ohh, you might have wondered, this is a DD with good bass body, it must be a bit V shaped. The answer is No. Alula is aptly balanced, especially the vocal are aa forward as anything else. Both male and female vocals are exceptionally accurate. I would have liked a bit slower decay but this faster decay really shows the level of technical abilities this IEM possesses. Male vocals do sound slightly less thick than usual while female vocals are bang on and both have excellent texture and definition.
Instruments around the vocals are slightly less forward giving Alula its W shaped sound signature. These instruments still have very good transparency and clarity, it’s just that they do not have a lot of attack or aggression. There is no problem with edge definition or notes body either. Yes i definitely would have liked a bit more balanced feel as the vocals sound forward while guitars are slightly in the back, but since this doesn’t affect the clarity, I am fine with it. It doesn’t sound jittery or agitated like the FD5 while having better air between instruments. There is no problem at the upper mids since this Mahogany version is using FFS to filter any anomalies.
I have to give it to Copplinn. They have done an excellent job with clarity, details and accuracy. Excellent work.
This the region where I felt Alula has owned the competition.Most of the time brands struggle to balance the treble and that really upsets me. And I feel if you can’t control the peaks or unevenness please nerf it down.
Surprisingly Alula has a treble region which has plenty of sparkle, details and transparency but doesn’t really get aggressive. It delivers some of the best clarity and details with a very composed demeanor. Copplinn has tuned this perfectly. There is a drop in the upper region but it is so late in the spectrum that it barely affect its extension or clarity.
Let it be pianos or cymbals, Alula’s accuracy with the note’s body is excellent. I barely have seen an IEM with this much of accuracy and definition under $500, even BA based IEMs do not manage to deliver similar accuracy.
What’s really impressive is this IEM doesn’t struggle with any kind of music what so ever. Let it be pop or R&B, soul or House, it just simply aces all the music genres.
STAGE and IMAGING:
From this review you might think.. this IEM sounds perfect!! Yes, it nearly really is. It doesn’t struggle with imaging at all. It’s dynamical abilities let’s it place cues further than the usual stage expansion. Bass do take a bit more volume with bassy tracks but that shows how dynamically capable this IEM is.
The only minor weakness Alula has is in the stage department. It’s X-axis width is not very good which doesn’t let it to have a rounded stage as the height and Z-axis are very very good.
The CFA IEM is a more V shaped IEM but does a few things better than the LSD driver IEM.
It has deeper and more rumbly sub-bass. Mid bass are similar but the whole lower end is more satisfying on the Honeydew. Alula has slightly tighter notes and has better details and texture. Mids is where the Honeydew is beaten easily. It lacks finishing as well as edge definition while lacking much of the accuracy with both vocals and instruments. It does the job, but it’s not exactly upto the mark. Ut gains ground with instruments in the upper mids with better transparency and clarity and carries this energy forward. Treble is where both the IEMs feel similar but the Honeydew has a bit more energy at the upper treble region giving it a more complete feel. Stage size of the Honeydew is bigger than the Alula as it has more volume with the treble notes.
It’s a no brainer, the Alula is a more technically capable IEM with much better accuracy and precision.
Very recently I managed to grab one of these excellent sounding IEMs and these are the main reason one should not consider chi-fi IEMs under $300.
First thing first the FD02 is a bit more technically capable while the Alula is more accurate and precise. FD02 has slightly better sonicality as the stage size is nearly 30% bigger and the X-axis width is much better on the FD02.
Bass of the 02 is more controlled and less voluminous but moves a bit more air. Mid range has both vocals and instruments on the same level and the male vocals are more accurately throaty. Edge definition are slightly better here but body texture is better on the Alula. Treble of the 02 is slightly less attacking but the guitars and cymbals are more vivid and natural. Treble extension is better too even when it can cause some discomfort after half an hours.
The biggest plus for Alula is, it is more versatile as the FD02 doesn’t have similar control over bass or treble notes.