The newcomer Warbler Audio enters the market with a unique single driver CIEM
Turkish Delight: An Interview with Warbler Audio
Who are the people behind your company?
Tahsin is a Mechanical Engineer. He works in the Turkish Scientific and Technical Research Institute. He has been in this hobby for many years, and has built and created many IEMs, even taking special acoustic lessons during his university days. Apart from this hobby, he is also into special and unique pens, whiskey and cigars.
Baran is an admin of a forum website about audiophile equipment in Turkey. He has also been in this hobby for many years. He is in charge of Warbler Audio’s market relationships and supplying goods for the company. Baran was also one of the chief testers/ listeners for their first IEM.
Hasan is an Electrical Engineer. He is also an admin for the aforementioned website. He is in charge of customer relationships.
How did you guys get started?
The story of our Prelude starts when this squad got together all into this hobby. Our engineer friend Tahsin had a big curiosity about how to build these kind of monitors and started to search every available information about them. He studied what he found on internet theoretically for a long time and also spent huge time on head-fi thread about home-made IEMs. Eventually he starts the preparations to build what he has in his mind. His first results were actually created in his university dorm and they were his own words “big disappointment”. However he never called the white flag and worked continuously on them. He never gave up and started to improve the design. Hasan and myself were aware of his efforts but we didn’t actively join in the process, yet. Then Tahsin created a prototype that he was satisfied and wanted us to give it a listen. After listening to it, we as friends started to work on this whole idea seriously and gave our focus to the job. They were the first steps of what Warbler Audio is right now.
Why a single BA design?
The first design was 3 BA and the shell was a silicone one. Through time we changed it to acrylic shell and the driver count was reduced to first 2 then 1. I was the one who is responsible about market relations and I was strongly against the idea of making it a single BA design since it will face bias unfortunately. Also marketing a single BA in the world of many multi BA monitors will be a difficult job. However the end result was much better in terms of sound quality so we all eventually accepted the fact that it will be a single BA design. We think when people see our Prelude and they would prejudice it and say it is an empty shell or design. We would like to let people know that through this 5 years, literally thousands of cross-overs were tested and eliminated in all 3-2-1 BA designs. There are thousands of components that were tested during R&D stage. The components that were end up NOT being in Prelude has a reason for it. After 5 long years, the design is optimized and shaped this way and everything in it or not being in it is on purpose.
OK, so the sound is great. What are your thoughts on crossovers now, having tried so many?
Especially on 2BA designs, we tried both extremely difficult and extremely simple cross-over solutions. Some of the solutions we found were used in other companies’ innovations, though it has no connection with us. Some other solutions of course stays in our hands at ready.
Working on those prototypes made us realize the secret things that has an effect on how balanced armatures work and their performance level. One of the most interesting cross-over we had with 2BA was working like 5-Band EQ, 7 elements and had 2-Way. Obviously we returned back to simpler cross-overs 🙂
We wouldn’t want to be misunderstood though, when we stated that a cross-over leaves a negative impact. We tried seriously a big number of prototypes and different cross-over setups. Through this we had noticed that while we are making changes on cross-overs, we were just simply taking one positive thing and relocating it to some other area. This way of solutions were destructing the coherence of the sound. We didn’t want to build something without integrity through whole FR. Moreover we think you already see that the Prelude has completeness, all of the frequencies are in harmony with each other.
The stuff other manufacturers talk about can be found in textbooks. For example some may be seen in “High Performance Loudspeakers” by Martin Colloms. Multiple crossovers are explained in books, but to give an example, the Spiral Ears SE5’s performance isn’t determined by just multiple crossovers, rather by the tweaks and the quality of the components. So, there’s no rule that “more crossovers=better”, just as there’s no “less drivers=better”. An earphone is made great by its engineer 🙂 In the single driver design, the tweaks we apply contribute to the performance. Likewise, if we say the fewer the crossovers the better the sound, it wouldn’t be necessarily correct.
If I put the same BA driver into an acrylic shell, will it sound the same as yours?
It is impossible for others to get the same sound we created with the very same BA. We are actually very comfortable about this. People who seen the CIEM may think it is creatable, however there are really too many unseen and sensitive parameters that remains hidden. Just like we stated earlier, the Prelude is no random made CIEM. It has 5 years of R&D behind it. Actually the production stage is a lot more difficult than a multi BA design thanks to its extremely sensitive structure. You can compare it to Patek Philippe watches. Every detail has a sensitive, thin setting to it. Even in some standard procedures we went out of the standard ways to get the better sound. One of the reasons that we trust our R&D so much is that it is filled with “non-standard” applications. Many of our idea were found ridiculous by some people actually.
What are your future plans?
We want to create a universal IEM that will has a killer price/performance ratio. This will be in our plans for future. We already got some work done about it. Apart from this, we are also interested in building a DAC and cables too. We have some units that are only a prototype at the moment. However the whole process goes slowly so don’t hold your breath right now.