Quality carrying case, Comfortable and highly isolating shell design, Nicely balanced yet vibrant sound tuning, Excellent dynamics and general bass performance, Tasteful tuning switch
Treble extension leaves to be desired, Midrange may be too vocal-forward for some, Plastic shells don’t feel as premium as many competitors
The Avant offers sensational bass performance and a vibrant, engaging and toe-tapping sound that still upholds excellent balance with a functional tuning switch on top.
About Soundz –
Soundz is a Greek audio company founded in 2016. Alexios, the founder initially started his career in audio with Ear Medical 5 years prior which gave him the tools and experience to create high-quality music-focused products too. Soundz began life making custom earplugs but transitioned into in-ear monitors. The company adopted the latest 3D printing technology alongside professional recording and measurement equipment and software. The company now makes state-of-the-art IEMs intending to provide ultimate quality at reasonable prices.
Soundz has released 6 new models as part of their second generation of IEMs. This ranges from updates to their legacy 3 and 4-driver models all the way up to their new 10-driver Avant Flagship being reviewed today. Each suits a different purpose and carries a different tuning to match. The Avant is suitable for live performers, studio users and audiophiles, promising an accurate and high-fidelity sound. It utilizes the latest drivers from Sonion dubbed SoundzCore2 including custom-tuned woofers. Soundz includes a mini-switch bass boost called Immersive Mode. Their custom-fit models are now offered with Flex-Fit Pro which is a temperature-activated resin placed only on the nozzle that helps to aid seal during active use and with changes to ear anatomy over time all the while preventing heat buildup.
The Avant is available for 1390 EUR. You can read all about it and treat yourself to a unit on Soundz’s website here.
I would like to thank Apostolos from Soundz very much for reaching out to organise a review of the new Avant. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.
- Drivers: 10 Sonion BA Drivers Per Side, 4-way Electrical Crossover
- Configuration: 4 Bass/Low-mids, 2 Mid-high, 4 Super-high
- Frequency Response: 5 Hz – 24 kHz
- Impedance: 16.2 ohms
- Sensitivity: 105 dB
Behind the Design –
This involves the adoption of the latest Sonion BA drivers. The Avant is a 10-BA design with an advanced 4-way electrical crossover. The Avant has a 4-BA woofer/low-mid array and the drivers have been customized by Soundz to provide their desired sound. Soundz promises weighty, impactful bass that rivals a dynamic driver while surpassing them in speed and articulation.
Impact Resistant Shells
The Avant sports 3D-printed shells with a unibody fully sealed design. The shells are 1.4mm thick all around with internal reinforcement, offering enhanced impact and shock resistance perfect for professional use. Depending on ear shape, custom models can be equipped with Edge filters that function like Atom and Apex from competing brands, offering ear canal pressure relief. Universal shells are fully sealed.
An adjustable bass boost that functions using a mini switch on the faceplate, immersive mode offers around 2-3dB of additional presence below 900Hz and a subtle 1dB upper-midrange and treble attenuation. This provides a slightly warmer and smoother leaning sound albeit the effect is quite subtle which means both on and off settings are very viable for listening. Intriguingly, going by the tonality chart on Soundz’ website, the sound is balanced with the bass boost on and I would be inclined to agree on subjective listening.
The Avant has a clean unboxing experience similar to the Nova I reviewed before. A matte plastic outer sleeve makes way for a card box with Soundz branding. Removing the lid reveals the metal screw-lid carrying case containing the earphones alongside a separate accessory box that contains additional ear tips, two guitar picks and a cleaning tool. In addition to standard silicone tips, Soundz also provides foam-filled silicone tips that provide additional isolation. The accessory set is relatively minimal but about what you’d expect from a product that shares both professional and audiophile aspirations. The select set of ear tips is congruent with an earphone that was meticulously tuned and, therefore, wasn’t designed to be further tweaked by the end user.
Headfonics did a great write-up on the custom-fit Avant but today we will discuss only the universal model. With that said, the inspiration from Soundz’ custom fit options is clear as the uni shell provides a smoothly formed 3D printed form factor alongside surprisingly slender proportions considering the driver count. The Avant comes in a svelte gloss black with blue Avant print on the faceplates. They are a unibody design free of seams or joins. I could see a small join on the faceplate of the left earpiece; however, it was imperceptible by feel and didn’t affect comfort at all.
The shells have a good sense of solidity due to the thick wall design but aren’t resin-filled and lack the weight of those options. For a stage monitor, the lightweight nature works to the Avant’s advantage as it aids fit stability during active use. In a market where most competitors are using more premium metal materials and artisan designs, the Avant feels a lot more like function over form with a basic but reliable and hard-wearing shell design. Like previous models, the Avant uses the ubiquitous 0.78mm 2-pin removable cable system with huge aftermarket support.
That said, the factory cable is quite good, offering a very soft jacket and internal braid. It has a two-wire twist beneath the y-split and single wires above. Despite this, microphonics are minimal due to the over-ear fit. The connectors are metal with good strain reliefs and a white carbon motif. The cable has no memory and comfortable pre-molded ear guides. Soundz also offers an upgrade cable from Null Audio at extra cost and due to the common connector, other options are abundant.
Fit & Isolation –
The inspiration from Soundz’ custom in-ears is very clear as the universal shell design is highly sculpted to accommodate the natural folds of the outer ear. It delivers a comfortable experience and excellent fit stability due to the snug articular fit. Rounded edges avoid hotspots though the housings are a bit larger than average meaning they may not suit those with especially small ears. On the flipside, they are relatively slim and low profile, especially considering the huge driver count. I had no ergonomic issues during my testing and was able to wear them for hours without discomfort.
The nozzles are also well angled which further contributes to an excellent seal and, in my testing, perfect fit stability. This meant I was able to tip roll without worrying about affecting the fit and seal. The design is also fully-sealed meaning passive noise isolation is fantastic, especially when combined with the thicker shell walls and ear-filling design. On the flipside, they do produce some wearing pressure due to the sealed design so those sensitive to this may want to look into the vented custom-fit variant instead.