At the Headphone List, we typically discuss the overall sound of an earphone and not the driver(s) involved, but sometimes there are exceptions. With four custom in-ear monitors that use the relatively new Sonion 1723 AcuPass driver, a quick comparison/contrast prior to the full reviews was in order. The 1723 combines a woofer and tweeter in a true 2-way configuration using AcuPass technology with a single sound tube. The AcuPass Application note from Sonion explains the details, and cymbacavum.com’s article Sonion’s AcuPass Technology: Making Things Easier for Everyone puts the information into a bit more digestible format with some additional commentary.
Without further ado, here are the competitors:
$525/£375 $835/£499. The Artist Pro is quite similar to the P250, with a balance while still having a V-shape, but there is less emphasis on both ends for a shallower “V.” Performance in resolution, clarity, and space doesn’t quite stack up to the P250, but dynamics are better and there is a better feeling of immediacy with fast music. Deep bass note sustainment is the lowest among the group. Considering the new pricing, the Artist Pro leaves much on the table compared with many similarly priced competitors.
The Sportbud Silver has a rotating cable option so the cable can be worn over-the-ear or cable down. There is a pin inside the shell to prevent the joint from rotating a full 360 degrees, which will prevent the wires inside from continuing to rotate and possibly ruining the wires. The joint works well, but the Y-split was a bit too close for my preference when wearing them in the over-ear position. A detachable cable is also in the works.
The Perfect Seal Sportbud Silver is 15% off, bringing the price down to $212.50 for the month of May using coupon code THL15May.
|Make/Model||Shell material||Shell size||Cable||Sound sig||Price|
|Perfect Seal Sportbuds Silver||Acrylic with soft canal||Canal||Fixed; rotating option||Bass oriented||$250|
|In EarZ IE-P250||Acrylic||Full||Detachable; recessed||V-shaped||$295|
|Minerva Mi-Performer Pro||Silicone||Full||Fixed||Mid-forward||$500 (£375)|
|Minerva Mi-Artist Pro||Acrylic||Full||Detachable; flush||Slight V-shaped||$525 (£375)|
The Sonion 1723 AcuPass driver has helped manufacturers offer more price-competitive products, and the Perfect Seal Sportbud Silver and In EarZ IE-P250 are some great examples. The Minerva Mi-Performer Pro offers better performance at a higher price point with a different sound signature, but the value is still good. There are other opotions such as the Custom Art Music Two and a few universal fit IEMs. If you want an exceptional price/performance ratio CIEM, grabbing the Sportbud Silver or P250 will get you there thanks to the Sonion 1723.
You may want to also view:
average_joe’s Multi-custom in-ear monitor list (with headphones and IEMs)