The in-ear monitor maker from Poland, Spiral Ear, is known with its silicone-based monitors. The company’s SE5-way lines takes top places in the score lists of reviewers for a long time.
Grzegorz Baran, the founder, has now decided to retune again the legendary SE5-way monitor. The new monitor’s name is ‘’Nebula’’. There are still 5 drivers in the new one.
I like that kind of retuning, rather than adding more drivers to the monitors. That approach reminds me the stereo loudspeakers, which are generally retuned via changing dimensions, crossover designs and materials used. In that regard, I believe that Spiral Ear is one of the milestones.
Let’s find out how the Nebula sounds, briefly. As always, it is not an initially ‘’wow’’ monitor. We need some listening time to understand it.
The Nebula has a slightly full-bodied low-end presentation. The notes are not very dominant, but the monitor has the typical Spiral Ear presentation approach in terms of the quality.
The sub bass section is natural, tight, fast and resolved. The hits are now less stressed and slightly more technical; they come from an airier and bigger area compared to the Nebula’s successors, which results in a more resolved presentation. The hits are a bit smaller in size than the older models, but they are much cleaner.
The Nebula articulates the mid-bass notes in a very balanced tonality and amount; it sounds somewhere between being natural/romantic and technical.
The midrange position is tuned very well and spaces between instruments are now much clearer in order to maintain an impressive focus to the overall presentation.
The Nebula betters the older models in terms of a resolution and transparency. The midrange of the monitor is natural/organic and calm, just like it is in the previous SE5-way models. Switching to any other monitor in my inventory would provide an unnatural sound or too colored notes, most probably. The average note thickness can be considered as neutral/slightly thick.
The Nebula also sounds quite detailed by using the slightly lifted upper midrange as well. Per contra, the upper midrange seems a bit more sensitive to bad recordings compared to old models.
The treble presentation is a bit prominent with a slightly lean note articulation. The note structure is very similar to the old models, but the Nebula provides a bit more treble energy without being harsh. Depending on the source and the track quality, the resolution and the speed is top notch. It is also a lot more detailed compared to old models.
Soundstage and Separation:
The some of the biggest changes in the Nebula, compared to its successors, are the space clarity between instruments, the layering and the separation ability. The stage is significantly deeper compared to its successors and the background is now cleaner.
The stage dimensions are also ideal to provide an excellent coherence. Indeed, the coherency, the focusing, the layering and the separation levels are very high and that combination results in a presentation that is enjoyable as well as easy to follow. Lastly, the congestion problem of the SE5-way Ref in crowded passages does not exist in the Nebula case and the Nebula slightly betters the Ultimate in terms of the separation as well.
Spiral Ear SE5-way Nebula can be easily evaluated as an upgrade over its successors. For listeners who want to hear a legendary SE5-way monitor with better soundstage, separation and resolution and a bit more treble energy, the Nebula would be a perfect choice in connection with a good source and quality tracks.
The Nebula is priced at 1579 EUR (export outside) and 1943 EUR (export within EU). According to Spiral Ear, the new monitor will be only in custom.