I have no issues in admitting that the Chinese IEM makers are dominating the budget and mid range market. They have been offering bang for bucks stuff at very good prices. Even though Shuoer has some expensive stuff under their belt they do make some highly popular lower end IEMs too. Their Tape got them the critical recognition and the EJ07M is making waves as of now. Very recently Shuoer introduced the D13. Its 13mm dynamic driver is something I haven’t seen in budget IEMs. This is one of the latest IEM from Shuoer and I have high expectations from it. Loaded with features thanks to its tuning nozzles and large dynamic driver D13 is priced at $109 and goes head on against Moondrop Aira, 7hz Dioko, Fiio FD3 and I will compare it with another similarly priced IEM, Tripowin Olina SE.
D13 ships in two color schemes, metal grey and metal blue. Get one from these links:
PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES:
Unlike most Shuoer is shipping this IEM with a reasonably smaller package. The first thing that greets us are the earpieces stuffed in foam. Underneath are some documentations and the rest of the accessories are placed inside the black carry case. D13 ships with two sets of rubber tips in S/M/L sizes and the additional set of nozzle ends the list of accessories out of the box.
D13 ships with a 4 core cable which contains 216 strands mono-crystalline copper strands. I find this cable to be supple with little memory issues. It isn’t bouncy or springy so one doesn’t have to worry about microphonics. All the components look sturdy and solid. The cable splitter is smaller than most while the cable guides are softer on the ear. No issues with comfort or usability. One rare thing about this budget IEM is the option to opt for 4.4mm balanced termination
BUILD QUALITY AND ERGONOMICS:
A lot of my friends feel that the D13 looks very similar to the Fiio FD3 and Dunu Luna and I won’t disagree either. It doesn’t have any fancy material, D13 has a CNC milled aluminum shell in an barrel shaped body with an off body 2pin socket design. It has a couple of vents, one on the back and another on the inner shell. Need not to say that the build quality of the earpieces is excellent and will survive drops on hard floors too. They feel sturdy and robust. D13’s interchangeable nozzle has very good depth the angled designs has a fairly comfortable and secure fit inside the ear. Thanks to a bit of textured shell design D13 has very good traction inside the ear. The light weight build makes these very stable and sturdier than most straight barrel IEMs.
PAIRING WITH SOURCES:
Just like most of the DD based IEMs D13 too doesn’t respond a lot to change in source but power is a different thing. I tried it with my mobile phone (Redmi Note 10 Pro), Shanling UA3 and Micro signature and guess what, D13 doesn’t change its stance but it opens up the stage and air between instruments with more powerful sources.
And the strange thing is, it gets loud without any issue, misleading the listener into believing that the IEM is getting enough power. Give it a good source with decent power and enjoy!!
I was really excited about this iem, mostly because of the size of the driver. 13mm DD is something seriously rare for an iem at any price. It has the potential for sure. We have seen what Fiio did with the FD3 but do the D13 out do the competitors? The short answer is yes but you are not here for the short answer, are you? Let’s explore this IEM in detail. Keep no doubt this IEM is highly capable and comes with tuning filters too but I don’t recommend the silver grilled nozzle as it lacks the much needed stage expansion and treble air.
It isn’t the soft and mushy type of IEM, it barely is colored and has a good tonality too. There is a slight bit of W shape to it as the vocals are slightly forward in the V but the good thing is no dip or rise in energy are aggressive.
I am using Shanling UA3 as source, narrow bore tips on the IEM and gold filter nozzle for this review.
The first thing we expect from a larger DD is more bass body adn weight and D13 doesn’t disappoint there. It delivers plenty of bass with good rumble without sounding overly heavy or slow. I have been reviewing a lot of IEMs in this price and I can tell you guys that D13 some of the best balance of body and speed as it delivers wholesome punch and its fast. They are definitely on the heavier side, they hit with weight and the impact is punchy but are not wolly or cushy. Another thing that delighted me is the dynamics of this sweet DD based IEM. There is the layered feel too, its not as developed as the Penon Serial or the more expensive Shozy B2 but is better than the S12. Lovely control for such an inexpensive IEM. Subs are deep with good rumble and feel while mid bass is marginally fuller with the meatiness. Upper bass is well energized with plenty of control and definition.
Most of the time there are two ways a DD based IEM goes. It either is V shaped like fiio FD3 and FD5 or W shaped and the D13 is W shaped. I do not find this IEM to be lacking with transparency or clarity. The only issue I can see here is the slight lack of energy around the vocal region. These instruments do not compromise with details or definition but they are slightly lacking with overall height giving some pop to vocals. Even after this, this IEM doesn’t have softer and delicate notes, all of them are high on transparency making the whole presentation a bit monotonous. I love the fore and background contrast, it has nice transparency and the cohesive decay makes the whole experience stand out.
Vocals on the other hand are robust and well developed and unlike the S12 these do not have extra energy or sharpness to worry about but yes, those looking for a smoother and less engaging notes might find this to be a bit more forward and transparent. Amount of texture on vocal notes is very good but isn’t as good as the FD3. Both male and female vocals are good but the accuracy of female vocals is closer to reality. Male vocals a bit less throaty. Instruments in the upper mids are slightly more forward providing extra resolution without any sibilance.
D13 has swappable filters and they only affect the treble region and I find this to be an excellent scenario. This makes the changes to the spectrum a lot more vivid. When I got the D13 I spoke with a couple of my fellow reviewers and they find this to be lacking with air and I know where the issue was with their unit, its the silver nozzle which restricts the treble for bad, I am using the golden filters and the whole treble region is a lot more expanded with very good air between instruments.
Once the golden filters are on the D13 is ready to sing. It delivers excellent treble sparkle and the level of engagment is simply admirable. Treble extension too is excellent, much better than competing IEMs like Fiio FD3 and Moondrop Aria. Layering and separation is top class too. Instrument placement is very good for the class.
STAGE AND IMAGING:
With the silver nozzle , the overall imaging is average since the treble stage feels restricted. With the Golden nozzle D13 delivers a well developed and complete stage which is a lot more 3D and holographic. It has very good height nice X-axis expansion and the depth too is very good. Most of the notes originate inside head and spread out thanks to the tall and open stage. Sonics are very good, it easily places cues dynamically but notes are not subtly placed. Good thing is I do not find the stage to be lop sided or busy at a region.
FD3 is the closest competitor of this IEM. They both look similar and are the entry level warriors with similar signature and tuning in mind. The biggest difference is the presentation. While the FD3 is inclined for musicality with more subtle and softer notes, D13 is more transparent and higher on clarity.
D13 is a bit more precise and sharper with the finishing while the FD3 is a bit more flexible with a comparatively milder and smoother notes. Both have impressive imaging and stage expansion.
VS TRIPOWIN OLINA SE:
Shuoer has been making some impressive IEMs and the D13 has to be one of them. It is an excellent contrast to the softer and milder Fiio FD3 with better control over bass. Yes, the silver filter isn’t exactly great but the golden filter is the real deal and it sounds good, really good. It has very good details, excellent transparency, good quality sonics and acceptable dynamics too.
The only group of buyer who might have to look the other way are those who want soft and smoother notes as I can clearly tell that Shuoer are not afraid of some extra bit of energy and aggression.