Kotori Audio Vampire – Into the Twilight

Synergy

Impedance: 50 ohms

Gear used:

  • Dita Navigator
  • Colorfly CDAM1
  • Tanchjim Space Lite

Minimum pairing recommendation: Dongle Amp/Dac

The Vampire has a 50-ohm mechanical impedance: a high load that requires above-average current to maximise its performance. However, balanced armatures do not displace much air in the lower registers.

In most reviews, I tend to harp on the importance of synergy and pairings when it comes to achieving the ‘right’ damping factor. Here, I wouldn’t place as much emphasis on this fact. Nonetheless, the Dita Navigator’s neutral-but-warm presentation assisted with uplifting the Vampire’s lasciviously dark signature with added top-end sparkle and detail retrieval.

I recommend ‘neutral-warm’ and ‘neutral-bright’ sources or DAC/Amps for optimal performance.

A Brief Comparison

Kotori Audio Vampire

Price: $104

+ Beautiful design, aesthetics and build quality

+ Excellent seal and comfort with superior isolation

+ Class-leading cable with superb ergonomics

+ Relaxed and laidback signature with engaging lower-treble and separation

+ Dynamic-like driver bass ‘warmth’

– Average transient performance and micro-detail retrieval

– Dark ‘upper-treble’ sabotages top-end clarity and energy

– ‘BA’ timbre

Drop X Etymotic Research ERX

Price: $199

+ Sleek, tough-as-nails metal build with Estron T2 connectors

+ Excellent seal and comfort with superior isolation

+ Fast transient performance with agile attack and immediate decay

+ Etymotic house sound with excellent midrange clarity and realism

+ Neutral/warm signature with strong linearity and coherency across the whole frequency band

– Even more prominent ‘BA’ timbre – metallic, hollow and soft in dynamics.

– Flat bass with negligible slam or sub-bass rumble

– Moments of sibilance in poorly-mastered tracks.

Conclusive Remarks

The Vampire is a bold and possibly ‘provocative’ IEM in a tight market dominated by a select few flavours and tunings. Its immersive and novel presentation is especially complementary to ‘forgetting life’s struggles’ on the bus ride to work – the EDC option for people who want a set-it-and-forget-it IEM.

Because of its average technical performance, this would not be the pair I’d recommend to first-time buyers dipping their toes into IEM waters: this is a set for IEM lovers in search of new pastures.

The Vampire is, indeed, a new pasture: one that is worth exploring. This is especially true for listeners who enjoy slower dynamics and male vocal richness. However, whether this pasture is greener is dependent on your individual preferences.

One thing’s for sure: this is a set that I am happy to circulate within my collection.

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ABOUT AUTHOR

Picture of Kevin Goh

Kevin Goh

Raised in Southeast Asia’s largest portable-audio market, Kevin’s interest in high-end audio has grown alongside it as the industry flourishes. His pursuit of “perfect sound” began in the heydays of Jaben in Singapore at the age of just 10 years old. Kevin believes that we live in a golden age of readily accessible, quality audio.

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