Vision Ears VE 4.2 IEM Review

Vision Ears has been heavy on my radar for the past few weeks. So far, each pair has been unique in their own way, with inspired design and interesting sound signatures. However, I’m still not a hundred percent sold on the line as a whole just yet. The VE 2 and 3.2 were great IEMs, but this is also a series where the lowest price they offer is $809.92 (custom design). I’m not expecting to be blown away by each pair I hear, but I think I’m ready to be properly ecstatic about one of these IEMs. They have such a high-quality appearance, and I just want to see the richness they put into their outer design into their output. What I’ve heard so far hasn’t been terrible, but the past few models had very specific uses. Let’s see if the VE 4.2 can break the mold. The Vision Ears VE 4.2 start at the base price of $1,322.52, with their signature edition sitting at $1,127.73.

What You Get

Each pair of Vision Ears custom design may come with a variety of accessories based on your customization. You can get a carrying case, exchangeable cable, various cleaning tools, cable tips, strips, and more when you purchase a custom fir for yourself. My universal pair didn’t include these materials so I will not be talking about them in-depth, but they should be mentioned. 

IEM in hands

Look and Feel

Each and every model features a striking appearance. Not matter which version you go with, Vision Ears carefully crafts each IEM with beauty. The universal fit custom design version I received is no different. The past few models I’ve reviewed each had their own unique look, with different faceplate designs and coloration. This time, the VE 4.2 sports a sparkly gold plate on a glossy surface. The semi-translucent housing is given a light purple glow and revealing some of the inner components of the driver system. Aside from translucency, one of the other main aspects the VE 4.2 shares with the rest, is the teardrop-shaped body. 

This is unique to the universal fit models I received and so far they haven’t supplied the perfect comfort level yet. With the VE 4.2, I think I’m starting to realize that if you want the ideal comfort level from Vision Ears, it might be best to stick with a custom fit. The universal fit IEMs just never feel quite right. They feature these large spouts that don’t make them friendly to a huge variety of tips, and when you do find the right pair, the earphone awkwardly sticks out of your ear. The shape is right, but the width of it seems too large, and my ears kept feeling a lot of pressure coming against them. However, this isn’t a dealbreaker for me, and after hours of listening, the fit started to get less distracting over time.

IEM design

Design

The VE 4.2 implements a 3-way system with four drivers. Two are relegated to delivering bass frequency information, while the other two deliver the mids and highs. So far, the VE series has developed a mostly neutral sound signature with their designs, but I’m curious to see what this extra bass driver can bring to the overall timbre. As with every VE series IEM, you can add a special ambiance system that’ll open up the housing a bit with an extra sound canal and three dampeners.

IEM wrapped

Output

Signal flow from your system and out through the earphones can boast a pretty powerful sound. At first, I partially used the Dragonfly Black for this review, and the supplied output was so strong that I could barely raise the volume slider on Tidal without feeling like I was blowing my ears off. The VE 4.2 has a low impedance of 16 Ohms and is very sensitive to any loudness. IF you wanted to throw these guys right into your laptop or smartphone you’ll still get that same, strong signal that may even be more controlled. However, you can’t go wrong with using a good DAC with these IEMs to really get a sense of what it has to offer.

Soundstage

So far in the VE series, each IEM has brought a more neutral, naturalistic timbre to the sound signature. The VE 4.2 immediately changes things up with its bigger imaging and wider linear spatiality. My feelings towards the last few models were that they were deeply analytical, and aside from being great for specific applications, they didn’t offer much else in the way of a satisfying listening experience for the person just looking for good sound. The VE 4.2 provides that immediately meaty and layered image that provides clear resolution to sonic elements. The left and right channels see a considerable scope added compared to previous models with more exaggerated pan movements on some tracks. 

Low End

The extra bass driver really pulls some weight here, lifting the lows and adding some hefty gain and pleasuring textures. Some frequency bands in this range have fairly deep resonance, especially in the sub-bass. Listening to the lower piano tones on Max Richter’s “Andante Loops” adds such a significant presence to the track that is accomplished by the excellent low-end response from the VE 4.2.

Mids

While the midrange is mostly clear, there are a few notches that keep it from achieving a more crisp response. With a more prominent low-mid boost, the timbre establishes a warmer texture. This worked great for acoustic heavy tracks and intimate vocal performances, such as on the new Hayley Williams EP “Petals For Armor: Self-Serenades,” where the VE 4.2 produces a clear and forward image of the wonderful performance. 

Highs

The treble here is a little harsh at points, but most of the range is well-tuned and smoothed out enough to not be too sharp. Unfortunately, the response feels rather unexcited even when presenting some clean textures. 

Summary

The VE 4.2 sound wise is a perfect change of pace for the Vision Ears line. It tells me that there is more variety to come in this series and to not just expect a neutral, well-detailed IEM. I’m not sure if the ambiance system really fits for this model since it doesn’t really shoot for the accuracy of a reference sound, but the more customization options, the better. 

Pros and Cons

Pros: Powerful sound signature, good bass, clear mids, striking design, custom choices

Cons: Universal fit comfort, harsher highs

The Vision Ears VE 4.2 is available from Audio 46 as custom design (choice of custom or universal fit) and signature design (universal fit).

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