Panther Audio, even though they are not new in the market, most of us haven’t heard about them. Based in Hongkong Panther Audio started operation in 2018 and have an healthy set of IEMs under their portfolio. They start with the Aura D2X, which is a dual BA single DD hybrid IEM and is priced at $254 or 1980hkd going as high as 22500 hkd or around $2900 for their Flagship Aura 2LVE.
They have an EST based IEM, Amethyst 132, priced at around $1550 or 11900 hkd.
What I have with me here is their only all BA based IEM, Legend K8. As the number suggests this houses 8 BA drivers on each sides and is priced at around $860 or 6688 hkd. All of their IEMs can be ordered in custom form with various customizations but universal models have their set color scheme and the K8 only comes in clear shell. I love this type of shell. The naked loom is unique and interesting.
I am comparing the K8 with the Campfire ARA and DUNU ZEN.
Get one for yourself from here:
Get in touch with Panther Audio:
It’s interesting to see some retail packaging from an boutique IEM maker. K8 comes with a shelf ready black box with a Panther face on the box. Unboxing is very straight forward. First thing to greet us is a envelope with the warranty card on it while an welcome note is placed inside it. Under that are the earpieces stuffed in foam but strangely the cable’s are attached to them and wound under the IEMs.
Under the foam are the faux leather carry case and a couple of paper boxes which contain 6 pair of ear tips, a cleaning tool, a quarter inch adapter and a cleaning cloth.
I will like Panther audio to put some of the accessories inside the carry case and reduce the size of the package.
HOW IS THE CABLE:
Compared to other European boutique brands the K8 comes with a decent cable. It’s an 8 core OCC copper cable with silver plating on it. Not only does it sound good it looks nice too.
The good thing about this cable is its supple and soft feel. It’s supple like the Smokey litz cable but is softer. It doesn’t have any memory problem. And even when it’s supple and soft it doesn’t feel weak or less durable. Components used here are of good quality, I definitely would have liked a slightly lighter cable splitter though. The cable guides are reasonably supple and aren’t harsh on the ear.
Even when mine has 3.5mm termination one can opt for balanced termination when placing any order. Just PM them!!
BUILD QUALITY AND ERGONOMICS:
Panther Audio is using clear resin (imported from Eggar Germany) shell on the K8 and it looks beautiful. There is no weak point to the shell as the half filled shell feel very sturdy and stable. It definitely will not survive a drop on solid floor but it won’t break apart like acrylic shells. For an 8BA IEM the K8 has a considerably small shell and should fit all ear sizes. The 4 bore nozzle though can feel a bit short and doesn’t go much deeper into the ear. It can fit anything in the T400-500 sizes but I prefer wide bore tips with it.
Ergonomics of the K8 is fairly comfortable. It doesn’t have a very ergonomically designed shell but does have a winged design which gives it a fairly good feel inside the ear while the resin shell provides excellent grip. Unlike most of the BA based IEMs K8 has a pressure releasing vent near the 2pin socket.
PAIRING AND MATCHING WITH SOURCES:
The K8 is from one of the most unique set of IEMs which barely care about the source it is being driven from. It just simply do not feel bas ev5 when driven out of weak sources like mobile phones. Yes, the stage and air between instruments take a hit but that’s it, it doesn’t get moody or sharp. Giving power and better sources definitely helps with better stage, cleaner notes and more defined finishing definition. I definitely will recommend a decent dongle like Qudelix 5k for this.
The slightly fuller and organic kind of tonality pairs very well with analytical sources like Qudelix 5k and TR-amp.