With each model in the Vision Ears VE series, I’ve grown more accustomed to what these IEMs are actually about. Vision Ears presents a balanced sound signature that’s clear and detailed without appearing colorful. Not exactly reference, but so unapologetic about its analytical response. The VE5 is the next IEM up to bat. As always with the Vision Ears custom series, you get to design either a custom fit or universal fit to your liking. The base price for the custom edition is $1486.56, while their signature universal fit universal design sits at $1281.51. Let’s dive into what the VE5 has to offer.
What You Get
Each custom made IEM from Vision Ears comes with carrying cases, exchangeable cables, cleaning tools, cable clips/strips, plus more unmentioned goodies.
Look and Feel
For the custom designed pair I received, the main mold has a transparent red coloration, with a polished wood styled faceplate. This is the most unique look out of all the other VE series IEMs I’ve covered so far, not only because it lacked that sparkly surface the past models have had, but it’s the most simplistic aesthetic I’ve seen from them yet. None of that is to say the VE5 is scarce in the beauty department, but I appreciated the more solid aesthetic. It’s a nice change of pace for this series as it brings a wider variety of designs to these earphones. The body shape on the universal fit version is identical to the rest, and I’ve been pretty clear about my issue with them so far.
The housing is big, takes up a good portion of your outer ear. It’s nothing like the Audeze ISINE 10, but the issue with it is the width. Ear tips matter a lot here, as the wrong pair can prove to be ineffective in keeping a secure fit. I started out in my reviews not really minding the fit too much since getting a custom fit fixes this issue, but now that there are universal designs available I have more doubts. I can’t get over how much they stretch out my ear canal. Most of the time I need to adjust the lobe part of the body to make sure the VE5 is sitting in the right place, not going too far in my ear, and not too loose either. There’s a sweet spot you need to hit to make the VE5 fit just right, and combined with finding the right combination of ear tips, you might think these models are more trouble than they’re worth.
Getting into the technical aspects of the VE5, the driver unit utilizes a four-way system with a total of 5 drivers. One driver is dedicated to bass output, while two are relegated to mid-range information. The highs then get the last two drivers, as one delivers high-mid frequency content and the last unit delivers the rest of the highs.
For high-end IEMs such as these, it’s always a good idea to use a DAC, especially with the analysis-driven sound signature of the VE series. However, that doesn’t make the VE5 any less easy to drive. With 21 Ohms of Impedance, this IEM will pair well with most 3.5mm inputs, and you should receive a plentiful signal no matter what device you use. Vision Ears IEMs house a good amount of power in their driver units, so make sure your volume is adjusted accordingly before playing your first track.
So far the VE series has been all about the unfiltered presentation of the sound spectrum, but the VE5 accomplishes this with superior balance and finesse. This is mostly done through the use of the VE5’s impressive soundstage, which is highly accurate and layered masterfully. The stereo image appears full and wide, and tracks that make good use out of using the entire sound field will benefit from the VE5’s redistribution of output. Genre’s that sound the best when utilizing the proper stereo space will work great on the VE5, such as progressive rock, classical, ambient, and jazz. Tracks from Omnipotent Youth Society sounded clean and articulate, which the VE5 delivered perfectly. It’s no easy task to have an IEM be so well balanced in its soundstage, but Vision Ears accomplishes this with the VE5’s sense of layering and detailed expression.
A completely natural response if there ever was one. The lows very rarely call attention to themselves, yet still appear clean and never distracts from the timbre Vision Ears is going for on the VE5. If you’re looking for a bass with a heftier gain you won’t find it here, but you will find smoothness and clarity. The accuracy here isn’t to be ignored, as the lows exercise the most natural qualities in this sound signature.
The biggest showcase for the VE5 is centered in the midrange. This range of frequencies at their very best letting instruments and effects almost speak for themselves. The mids aren’t colorized in any specific shape that makes any performance sound lush and detailed, but rather they offer a natural timbre that supplements the performance with the right amount of space. They’re also pushed noticeably forward over the lows and highs, giving them the extra resonance that makes the music feel enveloping and rich.
The treble tops off a natural sound signature with an even amount of resonance and volume. To me they appear more forward than the bass, but are still much softer than the mids, making for a well-balanced range of frequencies that play their part well. The better resonance may appear bright for some, but the textural difference really separates the highs from the lows. They give the VE5 the illusion of a broader space and a more fulfilling range depending on the track.
In the sound signature department, Vision Ears accomplishes their most natural sounding IEM, with excellent midrange clarity, and tonal balance. However, the universal fit is becoming a bigger issue than I originally perceived, and unfortunately, I’m stuck with it. I definitely recommend customizing them for yourself, as the level of comfort will be greatly improved. Other than that the aesthetic for me this time around was a lot more streamlined, which I welcomed for its originality. If you’re looking for a custom IEM, and prefer a more natural timbre then look no further because I don’t know how a pair of earphones can get more natural than this.
Pros and Cons
Pros: Natural timbre, crisp mids, aesthetic design
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