Vision Ears has recently revealed that their VE series of custom IEMs are going universal. I previously reviewed the VE2 here at MajorHiFi, which I was lucky to test out for its fit. The next reviews for Vision Ears will be of the universal fit custom design versions of these earphones. So, now I have the next Vision Ears IEM in the next numerical edition to the VE line. I was impressed with the Custom VE2, and while I’m expecting some differences, I expect some similarities in build and interior design. What I do expect is slight differences in the sound signature that make it unique compared to the previous model. The Custom VE3 also increases in price a bit, to $1,117.48.
What You Get
With the majority of reviews for this Vision Ears custom design line, I will have not received any additional accessories. Whether you buy the custom or universal versions, the extra items should be the same unless specified. Most of the accessories supplement the earphone cable. Along with a storage case, the VE3 comes with a detachable 2-pin cable, cable strips, clips, and cleaning tools. You may also receive other content like extra ear tips, but it isn’t specified.
Look and Feel
A common theme you’ll see with the VE series is that they all have very appealing designs. Each pair consists of a translucent molding with a different color selection for each model. The VE3 I got sports a slightly clear, blue shell with a special copper carbon faceplate, which will be different for you after you design your own Universal or you go with their slightly cheaper Signature Design (at $922.69). The copper is woven into a pattern that gives off a metallic glow, creating a striking aesthetic. Each model is shaped like a teardrop, for the ease of matching the inside of your Concha.
Of course, the custom fit version will be a lot more precise with your specific ear mold, but the universal fit does its best to give a swift and comfortable insertion into your ear canal. It’s still not a perfect fit for my ear, and I still find some confusion on how far the nozzle is supposed to go. Thankfully the nozzle size is reduced a bit which lessened the pressure on my outer ear.
Each Vision Ears model in the VE line gets a little more complicated with their interior build as the price increases. The main configuration of the VE3 is made up of a 3-way driver system. The individual drivers deliver frequency information separated by each range dedicated to lows, mids, and highs. Vision Ears aims to accomplish a natural distinction between each frequency range, showcasing intricacies in instruments and effects. If you choose the custom-fit version, you have the option of adding a special ambiance system that makes the earphone useful for stage monitoring.
I found the VE3 to be incredibly sensitive, and it should be noted how damaging listening at higher volumes can be. The VE3 features an impedance of only 18 Ohms at 1kHz, making for a high gain output that doesn’t need much power to drive. The earphones blast sound into with relative ease, making high volume levels unnecessary.
From listening to the last model, I was expecting a stage on the same level with some slight possible improvements. Compared to the VE2, the VE3 holds most of the same qualities that gave the former model a satisfying sense of depth and width. It’s not the most expensive IEM available, but it communicates its stereo image with a much broader linear sound field. Spatiality corresponds through detailed intricacies in specific effects, such as very forward vocals, and a more natural-sounding separation of instrumentals. It lacks that “wow” factor, but the VE3 features this all-encompassing stage that gives the image a respectable appearance for a multitude of mixes.
All of the elements become more analytical in their inward headspace, rather than a semi-holographic, outward one. It embraces its depth without looking out beyond the limits of a stereo image, and I was more appreciative of it with more nuanced, easy listening genres. It gives the sound field of the VE3 time to show off its more dynamic features with softer percussion and tighter effect heavy guitars. Track selections from artists like Pavement bring a bouncy, busy image that never ceases to become unclear, and is instead presented with a sharp precision on the VE3.
The previous VE model proved to have some punchy bass that features just enough grip to be constantly engaging. I feel like the VE3 puts in just a little more lift into its bass, as there appeared to be a more present accentuation in the lows. Bass tones have a bit more growl to them, and a more colorful richness, that made this range even more gripping than the last model. Distorted instruments have a significant low-end crunch that fit perfectly when paired with tracks like “Perhaps Vampires Is A Bit Strong But…” by the Arctic Monkeys. Bass instruments can really dig deep as well, subjecting your throat to some sub-bass rumble.
The most distinctive feature about this mid-range is how vocal performances are portrayed. I actually feel that the mids are the main showcase of this IEM, as the amount of added presence compared to the VE2 is greatly increased on the VE3. There are a lot more fundamental mid bands that get boosted here, and it puts elements like vocal ranges up to the front of the mix. The vocals on the album “Musick To Play In The Dark” by Coil features a dark narrative performance that is heavily prominent on the VE3, as the voice echos and reflects outward revealing the spatiality of the mid-range.
The VE3 doesn’t leave much in the way of the vertical top end, but I don’t believe the treble suffers for this. Aside from some coloration in the upper mids, the highs aim for a more accurate response. I don’t feel like it offers much airiness or another specific tonality, but their presence is still perceivable and helps gives tracks a complete voice in the VE3.
The VE line by Vision Ears is gearing up to be a series of IEMs to really look out for. The VE3 provided me with a spacious mid-range timbre that grew on me more with each listen. I looked forward to testing out new tracks with them, which is a huge goal for any pair of earphones. I’m excited to see how these models continue to improve upon each other.
Pros and Cons
Pros: Deep soundstage, strong mids, lows, aesthetic
Cons: Universal fit not as comfortable
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