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ISN Audio Neo 3 review : Very Good Bass Head IEM

It’s raining IEMs left right and centre. No one wants to miss out. There is a fear of missing out and one of the brands that is giving FOMO to other brands is Penon and its sister brand ISN.

Penon started by making some high quality cables. When Penon arrived with their IEMs they were already high quality. I still remember the Orb, its cohesive timber and tonality was addictive. Their ISN H40 and D10 were some of the most loved bass head IEMs till date. Soon after that Penon decided to jump into EST and flagship IEMs. They too were received well. I do remember trying the EST50 couple of years ago but that wasn’t that impressive sadly. Then Penon showed us their tuning capabilities with multi DD IEMs. In came the Serial. It was one of the best IEMs for texture, timber with cohesive decay and reverb. Very recently they launched the Quattro and that houses 4 DDs, which is getting a lot of attention.

Penon and ISN are not afraid of experimentations and the ISN NEO 3 is a good representation of it. It has 2 6mm DD paired with a 5.8mm Planar. Interesting isn’t it? Do we still get the usual Penon timber and cohesion? Priced at $200, available in orange shell, this is priced to intrigue and attract DD lovers mostly because of the fact that Penon has mastered the bass tuning.

I will compare this with QoA Aviation and Oriveti OD200. I don’t think this IEM tries to be accurate like Falcon Ultra or Simgot EA2000 so I will try not to include them in my comparisons.

Get one from here: Penon Audio



There isn’t a lot of info about the build but they have used medical grade Resin shell. I love this semi transparent design but this color might not be intriguing to all. We get rounded corners which are fairly comfortable inside the ear while the inner shell is ergonomically designed to provide good stability inside the ear. Even with a slightly thicker shell, Neo 3’s light weight build helps a lot. It barely has any heft to it and thanks to the size it will fit most ears without any issues. There is little to no pressure on the ear and it’s longer than average nozzle helps with stability. We have a small vent on the shell to let the DDs breathe.


We get an 8 core OCC cable with 19 wires inside each core. We get a decent looking cable with decent behavior. It’s not the supplest or soft cable we find at this price but this cable doesn’t have cable guides which add to the comfort. There is no microphonics to worry about either. The 4.4mm jack, y splitter and 2pin jackets looks decent but I feel the jack a bit on the larger side.

Quality wise, I will suggest everyone to ditch this and get something decent. Even a good quality $20 cable will do better than this cable. It clearly limits the dynamics and stage size.


I tried a handful of sources with this and I didn’t had any issues with most of them. The planar was not mid behaving and the DD were not looking for more power either. I was able to drive it out of lower mid range dongles like Simgot DEW4X without much to be desired. Use a decent source and we are good to go.


Okay, here are two things I want to have our attention at. Neo 3 is a bass head level IEM. Doesn’t make a lot of sense if you don’t a lot of bass and if you aren’t a bass head, you might be reading about the wrong IEM.

In any case, Neo 3 is an excellent IEM for a bunch of us. I know, I am not a bass head and this much of bass tires me out after a while but those who love bass will enjoy this a lot.

Notes have the extra bit of reverb and cohesion. Mid range and vocals are very good too. There are no issues with timber or tonality. What we get is a L shaped signature where the bass dominates while the rest of the spectrum plays supporting acts. Neo 3 is not all about the bass thankful, there is a grandness to it’s mid range notes too, making it standout of the competition.

I am using stock cable and tips for this review.


Penon is known for its high quality bass. They know how to make a DD dance and Neo 3 is a perfect example of that. It won’t be wrong to state that bass runs the show here and this 6mm DD is tuned to perfection. It has the weight, vim and vigor behind it yet is fairly soft. Movement of air is well controlled. It’s like the notes are big and powerful but will not be overpowering the rest of the spectrum. What I like a lot is its lack of excess wooliness. I won’t go as for to say that its control is excellent but it’s good.

There is a bit of unique delivery here. We get excellent layers and they don’t move in but move away from the head with a lot of rumble while fading, keeping things clean as making way for newer notes. So where do the bass notes go? They move up and over the ear. Basically, the whole spectrum is placed inside a semi-circle created by the bass note. You can imagine the magnitude of the area of impact. No mud or wooly feeling but yes, the decay isn’t the fastest and notes do have reverb that last long. This affects the dynamics as its upper bass notes aren’t that clean but this is not tuned for accuracy so it’s fine.

Needless to say but Neo 3 has very good sub-bass extension and rumble while the mid bass is slightly loose but fuller and meatier.


This mid range is tuned like safety wheels. It provides much needed balance of power. Overall balance is still in favor of bass but the mid range does put its powers on display. The 2nd DD does a good job of keeping things clean and clear while delivering very good definition and resolution. There is a slight bit of W shape here as the vocals pop a bit more than the instruments around them. There is no blunt or extra sharpness to be wary about but they can feel a bit sharp in comparison.

I am happy with the vocals too. They are a bit taller with very good body and texture. We get a bit more finishing energy with both male and female vocals. Timber and tonality are on the neutral side but can feel crispy, this enhances the technical aspect of the Neo 3. Instruments on the other hand play in the background and play the 2nd fiddle. The do have decent transparency and clarity but can feel a little less emphasized. They lack a bit of height too. What’s good is the speed. There isn’t much energy in the upper mids to worry about so that’s a good thing.


Bass is excellent, mids are very good, how are the highs? Neo 3 has a 5.8mm planar to take care of this but it’s a bit on the softer side. This lack of definition and kind of veiled presentation reminds me of the OG 7hz Timeless but that was super bad, this isn’t. I was expecting a bit more attack and spark nevertheless. Treble notes aren’t much transparent or tall either. Extension isn’t bad but I definitely was looking for a bit more upper treble energy. Layering and separation are just average. There is distance between instruments but that space isn’t very clean or clear. It doesn’t have much air to talk about. Of all the things, surprisingly this slight lack of treble clarity and details isn’t bothering me. This IEM is not about treble and I have to respect that.


Last time I worked on an ISN IEM, I was kind of unpleased with its very tall yet closed in stage. Thankfully Neo 3 is much better than that. I am relieved that the towering stage is now converted into a well spread one. We get very good height, decent width and nice Z axis depth too.

Bass notes are placed inside the head. Same is true for majority of vocals too. Only taller and background vocal notes escape the head. Treble notes are evenly distributed with presence both in and out of the head. Imaging though is very good with very good accuracy, and instrument placement. I like the sonics too, we get very good reverb and nice transient effects.


Simgot LC7:

I like this pairing but you might not. LC7 is a bit V shaped and tightens the bass notes. Neo 3 retains the rumble and layers but the sub-bass body is not that big while the mid bass is a bit more pronounced. Mid range and treble enjoy a bit more air between instruments while the treble notes sound a bit cleaner while the extension is slightly better too. One of the best things is the bigger stage, it doesn’t get taller but the width is improved.

If you like bass this might not be the best cable but I like it.



I know this is not an IEM for everyone but there is big “BUT” here, this IEM is so cohesive and filled with texture that it’s hard not to like it and for a bass heads, they will feel like home. It’s weighty, full bodied soft attacking layered bass filled with rumbles should put a smile on anyone’s face.

One very good thing is Neo 3 barely has any issues with tuning. Yes, some might feel this is not very smooth or may feel it’s slightly energetic at some points but they are far from uncomfortable. If you don’t have a very sensitive hearing, this IEM will not induce any discomfort.

I would have liked it even more if it had a bit more extension and energy into the upper treble but that’s fine because this is for pure hearted bass heads who want good definition and resolution without a lot of energy, except in the right areas.



Picture of Suman Sourav Meher

Suman Sourav Meher

My humble audiophile journey started in 2010, when I was in college, where I fell in love with the elements, nuances, and variations of this mesmerizing world. The ability of tiny earphones to recreate amazing sounds made my bad days tolerable and good days better! Now I am a full-time audiophile with a preference for musical tracks, especially vocals and engaging ones. I must admit I am addicted, but not to drugs or alcohol, but to earphones. Come join me as I share my experiences, bad or good, and let’s have some fun!


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