A few weeks ago, I took a gander at the current Periodic Audio flagship, the Carbon. And today, I’m checking out the less-expensive but still-competitive Beryllium. This snazzy-looking IEM sells for a fair $249. But in addition to looking downright gorgeous, it also sounds incredibly musical. In fact, I’m not even going to use lead-in questions here. If you’re looking for quite possibly the most rewarding, magical, musically-engaging IEM under $300, read on. If not, back out now.
Periodic Audio Beryllium Review
The Periodic Audio BE or Beryllium comes in a slim cardboard box. Inside you’ll find the earphones, a carrying case tin, an airline adapter, and a 1/4” stereo adapter. You also get 8 pairs of eartips, included flanged and foam options.
Like the Carbon and every other Periodic Audio, the Beryllium uses a fixed-cable design. This can lead to a little anxiety if, like me, you’re coming from interchangeable MMCX or 2-Pin cables. However, once you put that anxiety aside, you’ll realize it’s no less resilient.
Likewise, the housings exude an air of craftsmanship and quality, too. A brass/copper faceplate flaunts the Periodic Logo on either earpiece. And the right nozzle mesh sports a red finish for easy identification of left and right sides.
Once popped into place inside my ears, they fit just fine. But thanks to that wide assortment of eartips, you can find the perfect fit in terms of snugness and isolation.
On the go or sitting at my review desk, the Beryllium does a good job of staying comfortable and staying put.
Inside each earpiece, a Beryllium driver handles sound quality. You could easily run this earphone from a cell phone and get most of the sound quality. However, there’s something special about the Beryllium amped. The lows seem just a little bit thicker, a little bit richer, warm and dark like molasses.
In the lows, the Periodic Audio Beryllium delivers some punch, backed by an overarching air of fidelity. You can peer into this low end and draw out detail after detail – when you aren’t feeling that thumping rhythm in your chest. Listening to Smashing Pumpkin’s opus Zero, bass guitars groan beneath their own weight and drums come roiling and rolling down like a thunderclap. But underneath this instrumentation rests a vein of vocals, contrasting and articulate in their own right.
On heavier vocal tracks, like Ed Sheeran’s A-Team or Beck’s Girl, the Beryllium avoids ever feeling too far forward (even when it probably should). Instead, this controlled midrange keeps pace with both the lows and the highs, leading to an incredibly balanced profile. With that being said, there’s no impression of lacking mids. As my ears zero in on the sound in the mids, I can still pick apart nuances and minutiae nestled in my test tracks.
In the highs, the Beryllium pulls back the curtain with a revealing sound. More than most other headphones at this price, the Beryllium focuses on a finely resolving and tempered listening experience. One where highs seem to approach the absolute limits of sounding incredibly defined without sounding terribly bright. No doubt helped along by the namesake material comprising its driver, this sound quality easily vaults the Beryllium above and beyond what one would normally expect from an earphone in this price range.
Here the Beryllium seems just a little hindered by its in-ear design. While a sense of space and depth remains present, the narrow staging does lead to some overlap. This results in passable soundstage for classical tracks, but more than enough room to do justice to rock, pop, jazz, hip-hop, and electronica tracks.
For my listening sessions, I paired the Beryllium with the new Cayin N6II bumping FLAC, my iPhone 8 running Tidal Hi-Res, and some ALAC material on my iPOD-amp stack. To be sure, giving this earphone a little bit of power will result in a lot of reward. However, regardless of the source device (for the most part), this earphone can pick up on the richest audio you can sling at it.
If you’re in the market for the most musical, engaging sound under $300 (and you’re not a basshead), the Periodic Audio Beryllium needs to be on your list. With it’s impressive low end and luscious highs, this earphone delivers fun listening in spades – while illustrating just how good a pair of relatively inexpensive earphones can cost. Honestly, demoing the $249 Periodic Beryllium reminded me a lot of the first time I heard the $3599 64 Audio Tia Fourte. And while the detail and fidelity scale exponentially with the price increase, the basic sound profile remains similar: rich, sparkling highs, solid if reserved mids, and a good, emphatic (but not overblown) low end.
Bassheads should skip this model and instead consider the Dunu Falcon C (for a moderate increase in bass at $219) or the largely-overlooked Noble Audio Bell (with WAY more bass at $199).
Still, fans of more mid/high emphasis (or fans of pop and jazz) would probably prefer the sound signature of the not-too-pricier AAW A3H (at $299). While just as detailed, this earphone’s distinct lack of bass may result in a better sound for genres with a heavier emphasis on other parts of the frequency range.
With a fair price of $249, the Periodic Audio Beryllium remains within reach of most audiophiles, and allows for some amazing sound quality. Stylish but substantial, this earphone sounds as good as it looks. Without a doubt, the Beryllium will put most other similarly-priced contenders to shame. And,while the lack of a removable cable still leaves a sour taste in my mouth, I have to admit this is one amazing earphone.
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