The Velvet has a U-shaped signature – a powerful sub-bass and lifted treble. While the stage isn’t overly deep, it is very wide, even surpassing many high-end monitors. The Velvet relies on its width for separation, combined with its airy and open sound due to its lifted lower treble response and excellent extension. Similarly, due to the brighter presentation, this combination of a high level of clarity and wide stage allows for a detailed presentation.
There are different ways to tune an iem, since there are different preferences to keep in mind. The Velvet isn’t an ‘audiophile’ iem by any means – and it’s very clear it wasn’t designed to be. The Velvet does not only have a ‘fun’ tuning by design – it possibly is one of the most successful in this category. A powerful sub-bass fuels the music with energy, it can fill your headspace with music, whil a brighter upper midrange adds to the sense of excitement – the Velvet provides the closest resemblance to going to a club or a festival. You keep your classy jazz or classical ensemble – the Velvet is a party animal.
This is where it all begins – the Velvet’s bass is undeniably one if it’s most discerning feats. The Velvet has a significantly enhanced sub-bass, powerful on impact. Even with the dial set on ‘balanced’, the bass verges into basshead territory, while adjusting it leaves room for more. The sub-bass has good extension, easily reaching low when necessary. But this is a bass that loves to be amped. Providing more power results in just a little bit more impact, control, and sub-bass extension. Driving the Velvet on high gain on the LPG for instance makes the bass go just a little bit deeper with more impact for those that really enjoy bass.
As the emphasis is on sub- over mid-bass, it remains a tight and punchy bass, despite its significant quantity. Importantly, the enhanced sub- rather than mid-bass allows it to be a big and meaty bass, without overpowering the stage with warm air. On the other hand, the lack of mid-bass air takes a bit out of the warmth from the midrange. The S-EM9 for instance can’t match the Velvet in sheer sub-bass impact, although its relatively more pronounced mid-bass creates a warmer and effectively more natural tone. However, as mentioned the Velvet comes with a tuning dial. The switch primarily affects the quantity of the bass. Dialing the bass down results in a cleaner, more analytical signature; dialing it up results in a more bass-heavy sound, which gives the midrange a little bit more fill. However, this setting might be most applicable for bass-enthusiasts.
While the Velvet’s signature is best described as a U or V-shape, the general presentation isn’t distant or thin. Due to a 1 Khz bump, midrange notes have good body and forwardness, allowing the presentation as a whole good ability to fill your headspace. However, as the center midrange bump is followed by a 2-3 KHz dip, the vocal presentation on the other hand is somewhat laidback and thin. This isn’t an iem you put on to listen to a grand vocal performance by Pavarotti or Elvis, as it misses inherent warmth, as well as vocal size and power. It’s here where the Velvet forms the greatest contrast with the midcentric S-EM6, its bigger brother that on the other hand can be considered a vocal specialist.
While vocals might not be its strong suit, the Velvet’s midrange has a lot to offer. It’s clear, detailed, but most of all very energetic. It’s this high energy that makes electric guitars in punk rock or metal stand out. This is partially due to its lifted treble response and brighter upper midrange. This is an upper midrange that loves synthetic melodies. Whether it’s hip-hop, pop, or electronic music, melodies stand out and capture your attention. This is further accentuated by the laidback vocal positioning; instead of centering on vocals, there’s a shift in the spotlight of attention towards the bass and melodies, making it an enticing specialist for these genres.
The Velvet has a lifted lower treble response that gives the Velvet air and clarity, while boosting its soundstage. Due to its enhanced treble, the Velvet has a very airy presentation; an almost analytical cleanliness that combined with its stage width contributes to its separation. While there is a peak around 7 KHz, the Velvet’s remains fairly smooth and free of sibilance, despite its brighter sound.
The treble is slightly forward in the presentation, and brighter in tone. While it isn’t necessarily as refined as a TOTL flagship like the S-EM9 in tone or definition, it’s a treble that captures your attention by adding to the excitement, as well as to the high level of detail. It’s the final ingredient for an exciting package, and EarSonics has implemented it well – besides the lower treble peak, the treble is fairly linear. And in line with EarSonics’ tradition, the treble has excellent extension.