Today I wandered into the office to find the EarSonics SM2-iFI waiting for a review. This earphone rocks two drivers and retails for a solid $299. Straight out of France, EarSonics has popped up on my radar before – but mostly in relation to their custom offerings. But, Mon Dieu!, the stock SM2 delivers fantastic sound, too!
EarSonics SM2-iFI Review
These earphones come with a small, minimalist case and some eartips. No bells and whistles. No extraneous stuff to lug around.
The design is ergonomic – and decently comfortable, too. There’s a thin plastic-rubber-ish tube that hooks over the top of the ear to keep them in position. Although they can be a bit uncomfortable to adjust at first, once situated the earphones feel natural inside my ears.
Cabling strikes me as fairly robust, utilizing a 2-pin connection type and braided design. The stock earphone cable ends in 3.5 mm connection, but the universal 2-pin connection means the cable is easily swapped for third-party offerings.
Frequency Range: 20-19,000 Hz
Impedance: 44 ohms
Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 116 dB
As we can see from the specs, the SM2 sticks to a fairly standard frequency range of 20-19,000 Hertz. Impedance stands at 44 ohms – low enough to work with a low-output device, but high enough to still benefit from amplification. Finally, sound pressure level tops out at 116 decibels – more than enough to deliver adequate volume.
Yielding solid detail, the low end of the SM2 more than holds its own. Bass is lively with ample impact, but not too overpowered or overwhelming. In general the whole low end strikes me as being lifelike and relatively immaculate.
In the midrange, the SM2 offers fidelity in spades. The slightest bit of compression shows up at times, but this still doesn’t kill the mids; all-in-all, this part of the frequency range remains accurate and contrasting and stands out as a model midrange for the price.
The SM2’s high end seems somewhat relaxed, but in a good way. You still get the details, but with smooth highs that never verge on piercing or uncomfortable. Admittedly, vocals seem slightly less accurate because of this, but the sound remains decent and particularly sweet where instrumentation is concerned.
Soundstage comes across as a mixed bag on the SM2 – EarSonics delivers good depth in this earphone, but placement seems a tad bit off. A common failing of most earphone designs, the soundstage should still be considered decent for the price.
Comfortable design. Usually my eyes roll at the mere mention of an ergonomic earphone. Everyone’s ears are different, and I rarely get a decent fit because I’ve got gigantic elephant ears. That being said, the SM2 delivers on the claim, and I could rock this natural fit all day long.
Cabling is no joke either, with braiding reinforcing the basic construction. I’d feel very confident putting this earphone through the ringer, getting the cable caught up in zippers or wrapped around door handles aplenty – it just seems that strong.
Built like a tank and offering a decent sound, the SM2 provides clear benefit to those who want decent lows and mids with a relaxed high end. For folks who need that high end, I would recommend the Westone W20 – retailing at the same price point for $299, but skimping on the lows in favor of more mids and highs. If you’re looking for detail and you’re flexible on the price, though, you would do well to consider other models in the EarSonics lineup.
While the smooth high end won’t be for everyone, the overall sound and excellent build quality make the SM2 an easy choice for anyone seeking a superior performance earphone for under $300.