The Be features a V-shaped signature with more prominent bass and treble than the C but also a less present midrange. Bass, in particular, stands out for its large sub and mid-bass emphasis before sloping into a recessed lower-midrange. The midrange itself is natural with an accurate timbre if laid-back on behalf of their large bass emphasis. A light warmth permeates throughout alongside accurate body and articulation. Lower-treble has slight emphasis but as sibilance region is attenuated, it has a delightful smoothness while retaining a nice amount of air.
I’m not usually a fan of mods, most of them add some sort of acoustic resistance to the port which I find to hamper resolution and extension, others just sound plain odd. However, the Be is a popular earphone to mod as it assumes such a simple design with easily adjustable variables. I will detail some of the effects of the mod below alongside comparisons to stock. As I preferred the modded Be to some degree and it is both easy and reversible for all users, most comments below will be with the mod installed. Credit where credit is due, see Crinacle’s full breakdown here.
Driver quality is also excellent on the Be and its signature is certainly more orthodox dynamic driver. Extension is terrific with physical slam and rumble alongside large emphasis giving their sound great boldness and power. The mid-bass also sees large emphasis, deriving large, warm and full bass notes. Meanwhile, the upper-bass is less present which contributes to a cleaner midrange and tone overall.
Driver control is outstanding, effectively mitigating any smearing of fine details. Decay is natural however, due to the sheer amount of bass emphasis here, there is noticeable bloat which means though the driver is resolving, some details are overshadowed. Otherwise, mid-bass is big yet defined and this is a textured and dynamic low-end for sure. Bass heads will love the Be, yet those wanting a bit more balance will want to look into the mod below.
Bass (tape mod) –
Covering the rear vent with a strip of cellophane tape works wonders for overall balance while a lot of the same driver quality is maintained. Bass is considerably attenuated and becomes impressively linear. Sub and mid-bass are most attenuated, bringing them more inline with the midrange. One caveat is that sub does become quite blunted, sacrificing solidity and power at the very bottom in return for greater balance. Conversely, basically all of the Be’s bloat is cleaned up while the decay and control of the driver is retained. The result is a punchy, very well-detailed low-end with a light, natural warmth and excellent definition through the mid-bass.
In its stock form, vocals are laid-back but with the mod, occupy balanced presence. There is good separation from the bass and minimal spill with a dip in the upper-bass and lower-midrange. Vocals have an alluring presentation, with good presence and a wonderful combination of natural tone and body. This is achieved by a natural climb to a 3KHz hump alongside a light warmth that permeates from the low-end. As there is a touch of upper-midrange attenuation, the effects of its lower-midrange dip aren’t felt due to an increase in density and smoothness. Furthermore, this signature mitigates the effects of its emphasized lower-treble, with the Be showcasing accurate articulation and a total lack of rasp. There isn’t any veil up top or chestiness down-low, this is simply a well-executed midrange, especially when the bass has been brought in line. As far as reviews go, the less said is often the better and this is exemplified here with the Be simply being a terrific performer.
The top-end is actually very similar to the C, with a modest 5KHz emphasis alongside a small bump in the middle-treble for air and headroom. Also similar to that model, there is a 6KHz dip that takes the hard edge off instrument attack, granting treble instrumentation an organic sense of body and warmth. There’s a nice amount of texture and great detail retrieval within the foreground. The Be sounds a touch smoother within the foreground to me, it also doesn’t offer quite the same level of extension and resolution as the C. As such, the Be doesn’t have as much air, but it does uphold a similarly clean and black background while also crafting a pleasing sense of air, distance and dimension. Transients are swift and well-realised, and treble is altogether a touch crisper than neutral but well-balanced and natural overall due to that enhanced note body.
The Be’s soundstage isn’t the largest either, but extends nicely just beyond the head in width. I hear a little more depth from the Be, granting it a more rounded presentation. The Be’s imaging is more accurate due to its greater linearity, especially through the midrange. It is well-organised with defined layers, strongly centred vocals and precise instrument location. Separation is strong throughout, not hyper-separated like the C, but more coherent overall.
The Periodic C has a standard 32ohm impedance and a low 98dB sensitivity while the Be is a touch more sensitive at 100dB with an identical 32ohm impedance. Both are a far cry from the efficiency demonstrated by most earphones in this price range that start to adopt BA or hybrid configurations. That said, though both require a bit more power to reach higher listening volumes and rein in bass control, they are also forgiving on other aspects of the source, being impervious to output impedance and resistant to background hiss. Both still sound just fine out of a smartphone or portable source, however, they do scale well with a bit more power from a dedicated source. Comparing between my Khadas Tone Board + JDS Atom reference setup and the Shanling UP2 for instance, revealed a more controlled, spacious and detailed sound from the desktop setup. That said, these are surely among the more source agnostic in-ears I’ve tested.
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