Sunrise Audio Charm3 and Dragon2 review:
I would like to thank Sunrise Audio for sending me these for review, I will write as honest a review possible. Both received over 50hrs burn-in prior to reviewing, differences were noted, so don't judge these straight out of the box.
IPod classic 160gb (rockboxed) > Charm3 (with foams)
IPod classic 160gb (rockboxed) > pure silver LOD > JDS Labs O2 > Dragon2 (with foams)
Packaging, build quality and accessories:
Packaging is the same for both, a plastic box with a window showing the ear buds, with information and specifications on the back.
The box folds open and inside you have the carry pouch and other accessories, very simple, but also easy to open and attractive.
Build quality on the Charm3 is great, metal housing with flat cables that are sufficiently thick and look like they should last, strain relief is fine on the jack, albeit a little hard. I have no problems with the build quality and they feel like they should last.
The only problem is the L and R markings on the earbuds, they are very hard to see so I used some nail polish to mark them,and also use the coloured foams to tell L and R apart.
Dragon2 has plastic housing, but high quality plastic with an intricate design on them, the cable is a bit thin though. The y-split is metal and the jack also, again build quality is good but the cable lets these down, as for the price I would expect a better quality cable.
Accessories are similar for both; you get a semi-hard clamshell case, foam pads to put on the ear buds, for sound and comfort. With the Charm3 you get 2 red, 2 blue and 2 black normal foams + 2 foams with a hole in the middle, also included is a cable clip and spare rubbers which hold the mesh filter in place.
Dragon2 includes 1 blue, 1 red and 2 black standard foams, also with 2 foams with holes in the middle + a cable clip.
I found the included accessories to be great, and included all the essentials.
Comfort + cable noise:
Comfort is standard for ear buds, very comfy especially with the foams, if you’re used to ear buds these will be fine.
Cable noise on both is not a problem either.
Lows: Quick and punchy, the extension is good but you can only just hear the sub-bass. The lows are good for rock music, but I fell they lack a little presence when listening to more bass oriented music. The bass definitely does not dominate, and never bleeds into the mids, it is well controlled and separated with good detail and very articulate, especially when listening to music with double-bass.
Mids: I feel the mids are slightly behind the lows and highs, not recessed, just not upfront. But the mids have excellent clarity and separation, both male and female vocals sound very natural, electric guitars have power and the mids just hold the sound together. No sibilance can be detected in the upper mids.
Highs: Very impressive up top, these have well separated highs, with all round good clarity and extension. The highs presentation gives the sound a sense of space and air. The highs again, are not bright and in your face but are not at all recessed, they are where they should be and in good measure.
Soundstage is good, but these are ear buds and don’t isolate, the slightly behind mids, with airy highs gives these a good sense of space and also air between the instruments. Instrument separation is excellent too.
Conclusion: These are a fairly balanced sounding pair of ear buds, not as dark as Hisound PAA-1 Pro, with better clarity and tonal balance. These do have a little warmth but the lows still lack some presence when listening to bass oriented music. These are very versatile and play most genres well, but excel when listening to acoustic and rock music. A good ear bud for the price considering the whole package as well as sound.
Lows: These are slightly on the leaner side of neutral, the bass lacks real sub-bass presence, but the lows are very fast and tight. I think that these do need a little bass boost, and using a JDS Labs C5 with bass boost on these sound better and fuller bodied. If these had the same quality lows but in a little more quantity (sub-bass boost) they would be stellar. Nevertheless these have articulate lows which have excellent quality.
Mids: Here is where these excel, the mids are possible the best I have heard in terms of clarity and detail. They just come out with not the slightest hint of warmth from the lows, crystal clear so you can hear every little detail, male and female vocals sound perfect. Acoustic guitars sound very natural, and electric guitars can be a little harsh sometimes. Some sibilance can be detected in the upper mids, and these are very unforgiving of bad recordings.
Highs: Also excellent, airy highs, with lots of detail and shimmer. The highs extend effortlessly and I never find them too birght, but with the quantity the overall sound does become a little thin. Listening to Tchaikovsky – Violin Concerto in D, Op. 35 – 2 Canzonetta: Andante, the violins sound spectacular, and the whole song is just a pleasure to listen to, so powerful and moving.
Soundstage is large and these have a very convincing placement of instruments within the soundstage. Instrument separation is also superb because of the airy sound of these.
Conclusion: Well these are real audiophile ear buds, they are a little on the leaner side of neutral, but when fed with some good quality lossless recordings, especially classical music, these will impress you with their honest sound, their detail retrieval and clarity throughout. I am impressed by these little ear buds, and if only they had a little more sub-bass. I do not have any tube amps to test them with, as I think one may tame the slightly bright nature of these.
Overall I think Sunrise audio have proved that they can make some very competent ear buds for the price, and they do hold up extremely well against the competition. I am impressed by the sound quality and they are also built well, I can see Sunrise audio doing very well in the future if they keep up this level of attention to detail and sound with good build and accessories at a reasonable price.
Thank you for reading, comments are welcome.
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