After 100hrs of burn in to make sure the dynamic driver reached its full potential, here is how I hear the Basic iem.
Basic has a unique sound characteristics where controlling earcanal seal using different size eartips will noticeably alter the sound. While I use Large silicone eartips with majority of other IEMs, here it yielded a tremendous bass slam, making sound very L-shaped with a warm detailed tonality. Switching to a Medium size eartips changed the sound significantly by lowering the bass impact and raising the upper mids presence, making sound more V-shaped, still with elevated bass, more neutral lower mids and elevated upper mids. After that, I decided not to go back to the extreme bass slam, but it’s very important to know that you can adjust the sound signature and the tonality just with a simple switch of eartips.
Also, switching from wire up (over the ear) to wire down helped to relax the seal more which resulted in sub-bass being more rolled off and reduction in treble, making sound signature more neutral. For my testing, I preferred a more relaxed seal with included Medium silicone eartips while wearing BASIC wire up.
In more details, I hear a nicely textured deep sub-bass extension with a decent rumble which is moderately elevated in quantity, but not exaggerated. Mid-bass has a nice punch, medium speed attack and decay, very typical of dynamic driver, but under control and with a minimum spillage into lower mids. Lower mids are neutral, adding a nice body to the sound without muddying it up, and upper mids have a nice upfront presence with a good level of clarity and details. They sound smooth and natural, not very revealing or layered, but still very clear. Treble is not too extended, but it’s not rolled off either, has a nice clarity and definition. Again, keep in mind, with Large eartips and a tighter seal, the sound was L-shaped with a dominating low end slam; switching to Medium eartips (or for others, just stepping down in one size) yielded sound results mentioned above.
Soundstage is wide, above average, and has a nice elliptical shape spreading around and in front of you. For a single dynamic driver, the separation and layering is not bad at all, nothing is congested and can be easily distinguished. With a selection of smaller eartips to relax the seal and with mids going up in quantity (not just a perception, but becoming louder with bass out of the way), it helped a lot to prevent the congestion, which I hear more when using Larger eartips.
Imaging and positioning is also not bad. Not the most accurate where you can pin point every detail, but it’s convincing and sounds natural.
Comparison was done using Basic w/Medium eartips (bass is not as intense), and volume matching every pair by ear.
Basic vs VSC3S – both have a very similar soundstage in terms of width/depth. VSC3S sub-bass rumble is more intense and elevated in comparison to Basic where sub-bass sounds leaner and cleaner. Both have a punchy, fast mid-bass, but VSC3S decay is longer which spills into lower mids, making them fuller and adding a little bit of muddiness. Basic lower mids are more neutral and cleaner. Basic upper mids have more presence and more clarity while VSC3S are a little duller and warmer in comparison. Both have a very similar treble extension and sparkle.
Basic vs IM50 – both have a very similar soundstage expansion in width/depth. Also, both sub-bass is under control, adding a nice extension with a textured rumble. IM50 mid-bass is stronger with more impact, but still under control. Lower mids in Basic are more neutral and cleaner, while IM50 lower mids are elevated which adds more body and warmth to the sound and at the same time takes some clarity away. Upper mids in Basic are more upfront, while IM50 pushed back just a little bit, but the biggest difference here is clarity and tonality where Basic has more revealing detailed sound while IM50 tonality is a little darker and more laid back. Also, even so both have a similar extension, I hear Basic having a little more sparkle.
Basic vs Pnew (NEW Primacy) – of course, not a fair comparison, but I felt like Basic was Pnew’s sidekick. Pnew soundstage is wider, bass is more controlled and not as elevated with Large eartips, lower mids are more neutral, and upper mids have more details and higher resolution. Also more sparkle in the upper mids. Obviously, Pnew cost 3x as much and it’s a more refined and premium tuned IEM. But, if you are on sub $100 budget, Basic is one great IEM to consider. Also, keep in mind 8mm DD (Pnew) vs 10mm DD (Basic).
BASIC next to NEW Primacy.
With 16 ohm impedance and 108dB sensitivity, Basic is very easy to drive. Below is how I hear it pairs up with various sources.
LPG – warm, smooth, detailed, expanded sound with a great low end impact. Vocals are clear and detailed, bass is deep and hits with authority, treble has a nice definition. Overall nice smooth v-shaped signature.
PM2 – warm, smooth, clear sound. Bass is more analog, typical dynamic performance. Vocals and upper mids are not as upfront, making overall sound more L-shaped, but still clear.
i5 – warm, smooth, detailed, expanded sound with fast low-end punch. Vocals are clear and detailed, bass is tighter and more controlled, treble has a nice sparkle. More balanced sound sig.
Opus#1 – warm, smooth, clear sound. Bass is deep, smooth, not as fast. Vocals are clear and smooth, very organic. Treble has a nice definition. Signature is somewhere between L-shaped and V-shaped, probably reversed J-shaped.
X7 w/AM2 – darker, smooth, clear sound. Bass is analog, smooth, slower. Mids/Vocals are smooth but not as detailed and pushed a little back. Treble is smooth and a little rolled off. Soundstage is surprisingly wide. Signature is more reversed J-shaped.
Opus#2 – warm, smooth, detailed, resolving sound. Bass goes deep, nicely textured, mid-bass has a fast punch, well controlled. Mids/Vocals are clear, detailed, smooth, organic. Treble has a nice sparkle. Sound is more v-shaped.
Note 4 – warm, smooth, clear sound. Not as resolving, a little congested, but not muddy. Bass has a typical analog dynamic driver performance with a nice impact but not so much speed. Mids/vocals are clear, smooth, organic. Treble has good definition, but I still consider sound to be leaning more toward L-shaped signature.
I know that many people will enjoy and appreciate the look and the build quality of Basic, but I want to mention it again – don’t jump into the conclusion about its sound until you try different eartips, where relaxing the seal made a big difference to my ears. I was very impressed by how much the sound quality improved once I switched from large to medium size tips. Also, don’t let its price (under $100) fool you because this is not some cheap budget IEMs. We are talking about a high quality aluminum shell with a premium detachable cable and a nice selection of accessories. Perhaps this is not TOTL flagship iem, but if you want something durable and lightweight with a comfortable fit and flexibility of replaceable cable, Basic with its fun sound signature is a perfect candidate for this task, either if you are at the gym, or somewhere outdoors, or just relaxing at home! And now after the release of NEW Primacy and Basic, I think we are ready to see the next flagship from Oriveti 😉