Vision Ears has unleashed a swarm of custom IEMs with a selection of six earphones from their new VE series. Each of these earphones is completely custom, with choosable faceplates, colors, and logos. They can run quite pricey, starting with the VE2 at $929.95, all the way to the VE8 at $2,799. It’s an exciting new line, and Major HiFi is going to take you through each one, starting with the VE2, their cheapest model. Let’s see if Vision Ears makes a good first impression.
What You Get
Now, this is strange. Because of the heavily customized nature of the VE2, you won’t receive a conventional IEM packaging. There are virtually no other accessories that come with your Vision Ears earphones. I did not receive any additional ear tips, but some packages might.
Look and Feel
You’ll find a lot of similarities in most of the Vision Ears IEM models. Of course, you can customize the aesthetic of the VE2 to your liking, but the demo on its own has some unique design choices. Firstly there’s the demo color. My earphones came in a glittery pink, translucent shell, and a sparkly faceplate. It takes on a teardrop style shaping that aims to fit within your concha like a puzzle piece. This is a company that also molds custom earplugs, and they’ve brought that craftsmanship to their IEMs. These IEMs are made from solid acrylic, thoroughly lacquered with biocompatible lacquer.
While the VE2 sports a pretty and alluring design, the fit is a bit more complicated to get around. It was a little troubling at first getting the stem to sit comfortably in the right place. Once you get the VE2 to find that sweet spot, the housing is shaped perfectly to go along with your concha. However, it can be a bit troubling when you haven’t pushed the earphone as far as it can go in your ear, as the housing can feel a bit big. This is solved with customization options, but for the demo, it’s hard to tell how far the stem is supposed to go into your ear. The initial insertion is a bit uncomfortable and takes getting used to, and different ear tips only help to varying degrees of success.
The VE2 implements a two-way system. A single driver is dedicated to bass, while another is devoted to highs. For an extra cost, Vision Ears will apply an ambiance system to your IEMs. The standard experience for these earphones is very self-isolating, barely letting any ambient noise in and building up a ton of sound pressure. Those who prefer that type of experience may want to do without the Vision Ears ambient system, but if you need an IEM for stage monitoring then it’s a must. The ambiance system opens up the earphone, inviting outside sounds into your listening space via an extra sound-canal. The strength of the opening is determined by three different sound dampeners, all of which change up the sound signature in distinct ways.
For the breed of IEMs these are, I usually prefer a DAC, but with a low impedance of 28 Ohms, the VE2 provides an ample signal level for most 3.5mm headphone outputs. I mainly used the iFi XDSD for most of my listening, which I found to be a solid fit with the VE2.
This is a fairly decent stage for an IEM, with considerable depth and width that keeps the sound field clear. Imaging appears natural in both size and spatiality, with the stereo response willing to go well beyond linearity. Sounds have the ability to extend and separate well into making the stage feel immersive in the music. Tracks like “Starless” from King Crimson feature a waft of instrumentals from different sources that are instinctively defined on the VE2, like a saxophone towards the beginning of the track that approaches from behind you. Cymbals travel across the left and right channels with finesse and strong clarity, laying a strong bed for most percussion on the VE2.
In terms of the bass, the VE2 packs some ample punch and drive. I wouldn’t consider this a bass-heads sound, but it illustrates a dynamic low-end response that will match the timbre through a multitude of genres. It travels to a respectable depth that keeps the music constantly engaging. Although it never takes center stage, the bass provides enough separation that makes the tone feel bloated. It hits this feeling of just being enough to make a significant impact on the sound signature.
Although the lower and upper mids have some of the best resolution and clarity in the VE2, something feels like it’s missing from the fundamental mid-bands. They aren’t completely recessed, but you can tell that the other bands are pushed more forward, and given more of a focus. The upper mids especially provide a unique crispness that showcases some of the VE2s best qualities. Accentuation in instruments and vocal ranges are a big highlight of these earphones, as female performances have a more sweet and intimate response. Tracks like “Our Day Will Come” by Amy Winehouse feature these pleasant vocal melodies that the VE2 turns into a transparent, fulfilling listening experience.
You may assume that the VE2 has some hefty treble extension, but some may like to hear that the highs actually smooth out nicely toward the top-end. That’s not to say the highs don’t have other qualities like reverb tail and some sharp sibilances, but the VE2 tapers off a bit faster. However, it never sacrifices that bite that gives the treble it’s sparkly, airy textures.
They may take some getting used to, but there are a lot of things to like about the VE2. Vision Ears has crafted an IEM that uses subtle details in its sound signature to engage the listener. Your own customized pair might fare better than the universal, but they still present a unique look that’s definitely an eye-catcher. If this is their cheapest model in this series, then Vision Ears is off to a great start.
Pros and Cons
Pros: Soundstage, crisp upper mids, custom appearances
Cons: Universal fit takes a while to get comfortable with.
The Vision Ears VE 2 Custom is available at Audio 46.
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