Review: Advanced Sound M4

Firstly I would like to thank Advanced for getting in touch and sending me this sample for review, as always I will try and write an honest review. These received over 50hrs of burn-in, no real differences were noted.

Gear Used:
Audio Opus #2 > M4 (S grey silicone tips and Comply tips)

Tech Specs:
  • ·        Driver Unit-         Custom-tuned Single Dynamic Drivers
  • ·        Impedance-        16 Ohm+/-15%
  • ·        Sensitivity-          92dB+/-3dB at 1kHz
  • ·        Frequency Response-      20Hz – 20kHz
  • ·        Rated Power Input-          1mW
  • ·        Max. Input Power-           5mW
  • ·        Cord length-       1.36M
  • ·        Plug-      3.5mm Gold Plated
  • ·        MSRP-      $99 (On sale for $39.99 currently)

Packaging, Build quality and Accessories:
The packaging is very simple black box, with Advanced across the top, a plastic window through which you can see the IEM’s, underneath is written “Designed for musicians”. On the back you will find a frequency graph and a list of accessories. A smart and attractive box, the IEM’s are held in place by a foam inlay, and the carry case below with the accessories inside.

The build quality feels very good, the cable is twisted with a well relieved y-split and sturdy L jack, the housing is aluminium and well finished. I really like the build quality of these, and can see them standing up to everyday abuse very well.

Included accessories are very good, you get a clamshell case, a cable clip and a plethora of tips: S,M and L in Grey and White silicone single flange, S,M and L bi-flange tips, and a pair of Comply tips. With all these most people will find at least one type of tips fits them, a good amount of accessories and everything needed, although if they are designed for musicians, a 3.5 to 6.3mm adaptor could come in handy.

Comfort, Isolation, Cable noise and Driver flex:
These are very comfortable, I always find Comply to be the most comfortable tips, but not necessarily the best sounding. I found the slim housing of these allowed me to get a good fit easily, being comfortable for long periods of time due to the shape and weight of the housing. These do fit better with a slightly deeper than normal insertion depth, which takes some time to get used to but offers a more secure fit and better sound.

Isolation varies depending on the tips used, Comply offering the most and single flange the least, but even using the single flange the isolation is perfectly acceptable for most day to day situations blocking out the majority of outside noises effectively.

Cable noise is an issue unfortunately, but there are some ways of keeping it to a minimum. You can use the cable clip, or wear these with the cable routed behind your ear (most effective) which helps with cable noise and they fit more securely like this too.

Driver flex is not an issue on these, the housing is vented which I believe helps a lot.

Split in to the usual categories with a conclusion at the end, I will write the below based on using the single flange silicone tips.

Lows: The lows are quite full on these but well placed to not interfere with the mids too much. There is a slight mid bass hump which brings out the bass line in songs, kick drums sound real with the kick being backed up with good punch. They have good speed being able to keep up with faster metalcore, yet they can still be subtle when called for. I do sometimes find that the mid bass hump can slightly overshadow the mids during more complex passages, but for the most part they are articulate, full and well controlled.

Mids: The mids come across with minimal bleed from the lows, you can really hear the texture of the vocals, Chris Cornell’s voice in Audioslave come across with power and and are the focus of the song with excellent detail retrieval. Guitars come crashing in from all sides, again the speed here is very impressive keeping these sounding well controlled and separated. I find that vocals are where these excel, giving a very natural and neutral rendition of both male and female vocals, with no harshness of sibilance.

Highs: The highs are a little splashy but come across with good presence making them sound fairly well balanced. The placement of cymbals is very good within the soundstage, and you never lose track of crashes and taps, it’s just they are lacking in depth and definition. Some people may find these a little on the bright side, for me with the silicone tips it was perfect, and with Comply tips a little dull.

Comply Tips: The comply tips makes these sound a little warmer, the lows become a little more linear but they do take away some of the detail and sparkle from up top. They make them a warmer sounding IEM, whereas with the silicone tips they are more balanced, overall I prefer the sound of the silicone tips, although the Comply tips do get rid of the uneven low end.

Soundstage is limited and fairly intimate, but the separation is good, occasionally they will sound slightly congested during very complex passages but overall they fair very well.

Conclusion: In my opinion they are very good for the sale price but not quite worth the MSRP (I would choose the SoundMAGIC E80). These have very good build quality and a fairly balanced sound, with very good mids, but the mid bass hump makes some tracks sound a little off, and the highs are lacking definition. If you are looking for a pair of IEM’s you can shove in your pocket and go these would fit the bill perfectly, but if you are looking for pure SQ there are some better options at the price.

Sound Perfection Rating: 7/10 (Crisp sound, but with a mid bass hump, and the cable noise is an issue)