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VSonic VC1000 Review

VSonic VC1000
Added Sep 2013
Details: VSonic’s second, more reasonably-priced dual BA earphone
MSRP: est. $159
Current Price: N/A (discontinued)
Specs: Driver: Dual BA | Imp: 50Ω | Sens: 105 dB (@500 Hz) | Freq: 20-20k Hz | Cable: 4.3′ L-plug
Nozzle Size: 4mm | Preferred tips: MEElec M6 Bi-flange tips
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear
Accessories (3.5/5) – Single-flange (10 pairs), foam-stuffed (3 pairs), and bi-flange silicone tips, shirt clip, and soft drawstring carrying pouch
Build Quality (4/5) – The VC1000 utilizes a slim, straight-barrel form factor similar to the dynamic-driver VSonic VC02 and the pricier GR01. It lacks the detachable cables of the VC02 and removable filters of the GR01, but both of those features were poorly implemented so their exclusion is no big loss. The cable is smooth but on the thin side and lacks a sliding cinch. A bump on the inside of the right strain relief differentiates the left and right earpieces
Isolation (4/5) – Similar to that of the GR01 – good, but not at the level of an Etymotic monitor
Microphonics (4/5) – Cable noise is bothersome when worn cable-down but becomes low with over-the-ear wear
Comfort (4.5/5) – The housings are very slim and the variety of included eartips should allow the fit to work for anyone. The cable exits at an angle so those with smaller ears may have trouble wearing the VC1000 cable-up. The inclusion of a cable cinch would have helped in this regard
Sound (9.2/10) – The VC1000, like VSonic’s pricier GR01 model, is based on the popular TWFK dual balanced armature transducer from Knowles, and offers a balanced sound signature and overall performance on-par with the GR01. Its bass is tight and level, about even in quantity with the Fischer Audio DBA-02 mkII. Both depth and punch are good for a balanced-sounding BA-based earphone.
The midrange is likewise level and not clouded or veiled by the bass in any way. The VC1000 sounds a little warmer and fuller than the similarly-priced Rock-It Sounds R-50 and is again more akin to the Fischer Audio DBA-02 mkII and the VSonic GR01. Next to the R-50 its mids are thicker and more filled-in. It is still less warm and thinner-sounding than the dynamic-driver VSonic GR07, however, presenting its midrange in a decidedly BA-like fashion.
The top end of the VC1000 is a bit more forgiving compared to the DBA-02 and Rock-It R-50, again reminding me of the GR01. The R-50 especially sounds brighter and harsher in comparison unless modified with aftermarket eartips and an inline impedance adapter. The treble of the VC1000 is also a bit smoother and less sibilant than that of my first-generation GR07, and more refined and extended than that of the single-armature MEElec A161P.

The VC1000 also sounds airier than the more intimate A161P. In general, its presentation is similar to other TWFK-based sets. It lacks a bit of soundstage width next to the Rock-It Sounds R-50 but sounds plenty spacious and well-rounded overall.

Select Comparisons

HiFiMan RE-400 ($99)

The RE-400 is a dynamic-driver monitor with a neutral-to-warm sound signature. Compared to the VC1000, its sound is warmer and fuller and its balance is more mid-centric. The VC1000 carries very similar overall bass punch but sounds a bit thinner in the midrange. It is also brighter, with significantly more treble energy than the RE-400. The HiFiMan set is smoother, but also a bit dull-sounding in comparison. In a way, the VC1000 sounds more balanced and complete due to the added treble intensity, but is also less forgiving and on some tracks less natural overall. The presentations of the two earphones are equally capable, with the VC1000 having a very slightly wider soundstage. The optimal choice between the more forgiving and mid-focused RE-400 and the brighter, more crisp-sounding VC1000 will definitely depend on the listener.

Philips Fidelio S1 ($99)

Another balanced-sounding dynamic-driver earphone, the S1 reminds me in many ways of VSonic’s pricier dynamic-driver sets. Compared to the VC1000, it boasts more bass, especially deep bass, and has a warmer overall tone. While less powerful, the low end of the VC1000 is tighter and a bit clearer and its midrange is more prominent in comparison. As the HiFiMan RE-400 sounds more mid-centric compared to the VC1000, so the VC1000 sounds more mid-centric next to the Fidelio S1. Interestingly, while the VC1000 boasts similar, or even slightly greater, treble energy, it actually does a better job of keeping its treble smooth. The Fidelio S1 appears a little harsher and more peaky in comparison and tends to be even less forgiving than the VC1000, which itself is not exactly smoothed-over.

Etymotic Research ER4S ($299)

Long-renowned for its accuracy, the ER4S remains the fidelity standard for many listeners. The performance of the more reasonably-priced VC1000 falls in the same ballpark, offering up a slightly less neutral – but still well-balanced – sound. The VC1000 has fuller bass, boasting a bit more impact, while the ER4S sounds thinner. The Etys have more forward upper mids and as a result appear to be a little clearer. The upper and midrange and treble sound a little more accurate and refined with the Etys, while the VC1000 is a bit more splashy and sibilance-prone. Overall, the two earphones really aren’t very far apart – those concerned with bass will be happier with the VC1000 but otherwise it’ll come down to preference – and budget.

Value (9.5/10) – Yet another competitive monitor from VSonic, the VC1000 uses the familiar TWFK formula, taking advantage of the drivers’ small size and capacity for accurate sound. Unlike the similarly-priced Rock-It Sounds R-50, which required some minor modification, I was impressed with the sound of the VC1000 right out of the box. It has more going for it than just the sound, too – the slim form factor is very comfortable and the construction is good as well. The earphones utilize a simplified design that gets away from some of the quirks of VSonic’s GR01 and VC02 models. All in all, the VC1000 is a lower-priced – but not less capable – alternative to the GR01 and a very solid earphone for those who tend to prefer a flatter sound signature.

Pros: Small, lightweight, and comfortable; balanced and articulate sound
Cons: Lacks cable cinch; subpar carrying pouch

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ABOUT AUTHOR

ljokerl

ljokerl

Living in the fast-paced city of Los Angeles, ljokerl has been using portable audio gear to deal with lengthy commutes for the better part of a decade. He spends much of his time listening to music and occasionally writes portable audio reviews across several enthusiast sites, focusing mostly on in-ear earphones.

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52 Responses

  1. That would be tough, and definitely wouldn’t happen in a similar price range – the VC1000 is among the most balanced and resolving earphones I’ve heard to date, and you invariably start to give some of that up when you start upping the bass unless we’re talking about one of the $1000+ top-tier custom earphone that actually manage to give you both (e.g. the Hidition NT 6).

    Keeping things reasonable, your best bet to keep the clarity and other strengths of the VC1000 while also getting more bass would be a top-tier “Hybrid” BA+dynamic set. My choice would be the FLC Technology FLC8, but there are other good options such as the DUNU DN-2000. DN-2000 probably won’t fit under a helmet but the FLC8 is pretty ergonomic (despite its unusual design) and should work.

    If you want to keep things under $200 then you might as well accept that you’ll be giving up some of the refinement and resolution of the VC1000 and get a VSonic GR07 Classic for $99.

  2. I’m looking for an iem in a similar price range and with a similar build but with slightly more bass compared to the VC1000s. Does such a thing exist? If so, what is it and where can I find it? Thanks.
    P.S. The build is a lot more important since it will be used with a motorcycle helmet.

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