DISCLAIMER: Lark Studio loaned me the LSX in return for my honest opinion. I will send the unit back following the review. I am not personally affiliated with the companies in any way, nor do I receive any monetary rewards for a positive evaluation. I’d like to Lark Studio for their kindness and support. The review is as follows.
Lark Studio is an in-ear monitor manufacturer based in Chengdu, the capital of China’s Sichuan province. Although their 2018 debut haven’t given them much time to accrue renown in the portable audio scene, their history suggests a level of experience that should not be underestimated. Their core founding trio have 18 years of it among them, plus another 2 invested into this brand alone. And, all of that has manifested into the company’s debut IEM: The 10-driver Lark Studio LSX. Armed with a warm, full-bodied and syrupy sound, the LSX is sheer pleasure with commendable technique to boot.
Lark Studio LSX
- Driver count: Ten balanced-armature drivers
- Impedance: 20Ω @ 1kHz
- Sensitivity: 110dB @ 1mW
- Key feature(s) (if any): N/A
- Available form factor(s): Custom and universal acrylic in-ear monitors
- Price: $1699
- Website: www.lark-studios.com
- Buy the LARK Studio LSX on Amazon.com
Build and Accessories
The LSX comes in a rather sizeable package with a black outer sleeve. Removing the sleeve reveals the box, lined with a black, leather-esque material and the Lark Studio logo embossed on top. Unfolding the lid open reveals the LSX and all its included accessories recessed within foam cut-outs. The foam itself is dense and velvet red in colour, lending to both security and aesthetics. The add-ons include five extra pairs of tips (silicone, bi-flange and foam), a 1/4″ adapter and an airline adapter. Then, there’s a smaller box containing the final few accessories: A storage pouch, a microfibre cloth, a cleaning tool and two rubber bands for amp stacking. Presentation-wise, Lark Studio have certainly not skimped out.
The earpieces themselves are superbly constructed. The shells feel even and smooth, as does the lacquer finish on top. Cosmetically, they sport a simple, black colour scheme with metallic artwork on top. But, it takes a mere glance at Lark Studio’s social media to grasp the artistic complexity they’re truly capable of. From glittered and abalone-lined shells to wood-resin-hybrid faceplates, the sky is really the limit as far as customisation is concerned. I’m a huge fan of how Lark Studio have contoured their shells. For my ears specifically, the grooves fit really well, further aided by the shell’s small footprint. The tips do dig deep in the ear, so keep that in mind if you’re used to shallower fits with universal monitors.
Finally, the LSX also comes with a braided copper cable, as well as a leather-esque cable tie. As a whole, the shine of the conductors in tandem with the metallic and carbon-fibre elements are visually appealing. Ergonomics leave much to be desired, especially compared to aftermarket offerings. But nevertheless, it’s an added value to the LSX’s overall package.
Lark Studio also offer a Splendor variant of the LSX, which includes a PWAudio Saladin cable for a $200 premium. The Saladin is a copper-and-SPC hybrid cable, which I featured briefly in my CanJam Singapore 2018 coverage article. It also retails for S$439 via Music Sanctuary, which translates to around $325 at the time of writing. I can’t comment on synergy as I haven’t heard the pairing, but when you take into account the value proposition, improved ergonomics and ability to customise terminations, I believe the Splendor is a worthy option to consider when purchasing the LSX. Also, considering the leap in performance and treble presence I hear when I demo’ed the LSX with Satin Audio’s all-copper Griffin cable, I think an upgrade cable is something the LSX can really benefit from – especially if clarity and detail are what you’re after.