Vision Ears VE4
- Driver count: Four balanced-armature drivers
- Impedance: 20Ω @ 1kHz
- Sensitivity: 120dB @ 1mW
- Key feature(s) (if any): N/A
- Available form factor(s): Custom acrylic IEM
- Price: €1270
- Website: www.vision-ears.de
The VE4 is undoubtedly the most fun-sounding of the bunch. It carries a V-shaped response and excels through dynamism, impact and articulation. Generous bumps along the VE4’s mid-bass and upper-midrange create an instantly dazzling presentation – filled with clarity, thump and energy. However, listeners accustomed to more balanced signatures will find the VE4 mercilessly fatiguing after long sessions. This is not because of sibilance or bass punch; rather, it’s because of a muted lower-midrange. This attenuation does increase the IEM’s effective dynamic range – capable of serving punchy transients – but instruments and vocals may get grating after a while. There’s an unsubstantiality in instruments that automatically associate the VE4 with genres like EDM, while fans of vocal-driven music should look elsewhere; i.e. the VE5.
The VE4 has a voluminous, accentuated bass. Especial focus on mid-and-upper-bass energy equips the VE4 with excellent impact and breathless punch. This is truly a basshead’s low-end, in every sense of the phrase. To achieve this dynamism, however, the VE4 willingly trades in technical performance. Extension is decent, though sub-bass isn’t as guttural or textured as one would expect from such a presentation. Bass layering and separation aren’t at all on the VE4’s list of priorities, nor is organicity or speed. Unlike the transient-led nature of its top-end, the VE4’s low-end bathes in overtones. It decays at length, permeating a dark warmth that lingers throughout the stage. An accentuated upper-midrange and lower-treble prevents any sort of veil from existing, but the VE4’s bass has a palpable weight that makes its presence undeniable in the VE4’s overall signature.
As I suggested at the start of this review, the VE4 has a brutally top-heavy midrange. Although lower-midrange energy is still present, it doesn’t at all become a part of the VE4’s signature; electing instead to implement upper-bass energy to produce instrumental harmonics. Vocals have great articulation and admirable clarity, but they’re never allowed to shine; neither a radiant beam nor a dim glint. Transients are king in the VE4’s midrange, and neither instruments nor voices feel complete as a result. Although this may suggest an unfavourable response, that’s only true if singers are all you listen to. The VE4’s midrange is an EDM connoisseur’s dream. Synthetic snares and sampled hi-hats sound crystal clear; cutting through the mix with a clean, surgical knife. Bass lines are the star of the show in every track, but cymbals gleam just as well. The result: A dynamism circus act, where transients follow punches follow transients, and you’re left bobbing your head along a black-and-white, contrast-y fireworks display. Absolutely fun stuff, if you have the right stuff.
Where the midrange goes, the treble follows. The VE4 is equipped with a crisp top-end, sizeably focused towards the lower-treble. Designed to pierce through the VE4’s bellowing and atmospheric low-end, its treble is packed with zing; energetically crackling through with undetectable levels of sibilance – an impressive feat. Stage stability and ultimate transparency are decent; compromised by tenacious mid-bass energy and okay top-end extension. But, despite its target audience, the VE4 layers fairly well. Treble sparkle allows finer accents to come through with admirable clarity, and small humps along the upper-treble inject air and openness into the stage – preventing bass warmth from fully saturating the stage. All in all, the VE4 has a technically-competent treble, sticking to theme with a crisp, transients-first presentation. It is neutral in tone, and it rolls off past an okay distance, but it adds crucial cleanliness to the VE4’s overall signature; complementing its brave low-end with excellent zeal.
Who Is It For?
The VE4 is an IEM tailor-made for bassheads and EDM enthusiasts. Although you won’t find tons of sub-bass rumble, it will make dance tracks absolutely come to life. Punch and impact are similarly abundant, simulating the booms and claps of a German nightclub to an uncanny degree. Contrasts between crisp, precise fundamentals and stomach-churning, bellowing bass notes create an infectious energy that invites movement and fuels rhythm. Though, if powerful whole-range vocals and commanding instruments are your thing, then the VE4 isn’t the one to get. Its decidedly modern pop signature won’t mesh with genres like classical, jazz or acoustic music. But, if you’re in the market for an IEM that takes the stereotypical basshead signature, and infuses it with clarity, precision and finesse, the VE4 shall reign supreme as the prized jewel of your collection.