Hello everyone, time for another update! Things have been slower recently due the events in the Asia region. We are also affected in Singapore and we are our supply chain is strained, making it difficult to produce new units for testing. Please be patient with us in the coming weeks!
In this update, we would like to touch on the materials and crafting of our planar magnetic IEMS. The casing material is the interface with which we interact by touch with the IEMS and also plays a major role in altering the sonic characteristics of our IEMS. This is because our IEMS are designed like miniature speakers, we do not use acoustic tubing channel the sound to the ears but rather the casing itself acts as the channel. We believe we have a different design philosophy than other makers and we will reveal more on our approach in future updates!
We have been able to source small quantities of different woods from our friends all over! We have made sever new prototypes to study how the different wood variations affect the sound:
We heard some people prefer lightly colored woods while others prefer dark colored ones. Here are some close ups (from darkest to lightest) along with some comments on the sound.
This is the darkest of the bunch, it is a type of wood obtained from Africa which is used to make musical instruments. We found that this wood tends to highlight the high frequencies and it was especially good for music with stringed instruments. We particularly liked the sleek look this wood has, however it is really challenging to work with. It was a challenge to find a good cut which had pleasing grain and since it was already so dark to begin with. Lastly, we have had some difficulty choosing a finish which would best reveal its grain. Perhaps we will try a matte finish in future versions to see if it would give this dark wood more “texture”.
Next is a kind of hardwood sent to us from our friends from Indonesia. Acoustically, these gave an extra low end kick to our planar magnetic drivers. We found listening to tracks a little punchier and that the tracks had a little more body behind them. In terms of aesthetics, these are one of the really pleasant woods to work with. The pleasing grain pattern was easy to find and just varnishing it a little brought out its really beautiful and complex grain. Take a look at how the right side reflects in the light!
Here we have a reddish hardwood sourced from the Americas. These have an interesting look. The dark reddish hue reminds us of some premium stringed instruments. We think some violin enthusiasts might be a fan of such a wood. Sound wise these are pretty balanced, neither enhancing any particular frequency. We think that these might attract a lot of the audio purists out there.
We chose this wood mainly from recommendations from our friends on its use and special accentuation to the treble it gives guitars. In our experience, we found that the high frequencies were more pronounced and accurate. However this wood tend to take off some of the bass, which made these have a “colder” presentation.
We have sourced this wood from Europe and it has been used to make fine furniture. What attracted us to this wood is their characteristic straight grain. It gives a very striking and clean looking appearance. We used the heartwood part as we felt it had a slightly darker appearance. The straight grain was easy to work with and allowed us to make sets with good sealing quite easily. Acoustically, these can have a rather “echoic” feeling, which can sound spacious, but at times also making tracks with high frequencies sound more sibilant.
Stay tuned for more updates!