The Accutone Studio S2 is eminently smooth, warm, and natural. Not warm in a bassy way, but warm with linearity. It flows evenly from its low-end all the way upward. What hills and valleys exist are gentle slopes which feel coherent and right. Timbre is king, forsaking the aggressive tuning of detail monsters. The S2 avoids congestion, however, with brilliant balance and a determination to maintain a wealth of air.
There’s calmness in the treble, which possesses a silky, warm flavor. Clearly, brightness was rejected at all costs. Yet it extends rather far, and has a lower-treble bump, creating a thoroughly revealing, resolving signature. The atmosphere is tangible and smoky, like a jazz club. Notes carry through the upper registers with proper weight.
You hear but the subtlest sparkle in S2’s treble, a faint gleam to accent certain instruments. Notes have a rounded, fulsome dimension. Darkness dwells on just the other side of this, shadowing the background, for unassuming, yet substantial contrast and depth.
Vocals are soft and vaguely liquid. Clear and airy, but at the same time, sort of lush. They aren’t extremely dense, though there is a natural heft. For all its smoothness, the S2 renders an impressively detailed image. But understand, this is not a forward or energetic IEM. In fact, I’d say it’s almost laidback. So the details do not jump at you, but rest assured, they exist, and are easily heard.
Instruments hold a rich, tender manner, conveyed with proper harmonic overtones. There is no great bite or crunch to electric guitars, but they have real presence and power. Sound fills the stage, thick and sweet, as uniform, cohesive music. It all has a remarkably lifelike feel to it.
The Studio S2 wields a dynamic driver for bass response. Yet unlike many hybrids, the S2 seeks balance and accuracy, employing its DD not to dominate or WOW, but for timbre. Many of us think DDs sound more realistic than Balanced Armatures when producing the sub range. Not that BAs can’t have amazing mass; they absolutely can. I’ve just never heard one reach that same level of correctness as a dynamic. So when I see one used in this way, purely for voicing, I appreciate the effort. Reminds me of the UM Merlin.
So as you might expect from a DD, S2 delves far, into the deepest roots of audible sound. Lots of sub-bass, as they call it. Where the tonality comes from, however, is in the hefty mid and upper bass. This births a warmth which permeates the whole signature. Vocals get their lushness, instruments get their overtones. Everything becomes more musical and euphonic.
S2’s low-end transitions at a medium speed. It’s neither quick, nor slow. It’s not flabby, but it also fails to deliver the finest textural detail. There’s a bit, but we’ve all heard better. What the lows do absolutely right is, once again, naturalness. Accutone’s profile is such that your ears relax into the music, breathing a contented sigh. The chocolatey caress just feels right.
Soundstage is quite large, especially in width. Height is above average, though nothing to write home about. Depth is GREAT for this price range. Imaging is good. No complaints there. Unfortunately, where these earphones show their mid-tier performance, is in resolution and separation. The S2 sits right among the competition here. In other words, it does not shoot above its market. At least not on technical merits. Whereas the tuning of this thing is one of my very, very favorites.