When you look at the internal design spec of Grace, it’s identical to EM10 with the same 3-way partitioning of drivers into 2 lows, 4 mids, and 4 highs, the same mentioning of 3-way crossover which has impedance corrector which supposed to maintain the same tonality at different volume levels and be independent of source’s output impedance. They even have the same 119dB sensitivity and 26.6 ohm impedance. I can’t draw a conclusion if Grace and EM10 sound the same since I never heard EM10, but on paper they certainly do look very close.
Despite hosting 10BA drivers, the universal design of the shells is very ergonomic and compact, nearly the same as external design of S-EM9. A glossy piano finish of these acrylic 3-D printed shells looks very nice, but more on a generic side since you can’t customize the look and only have “Grace” in handwriting on each faceplate, and R (on the right side) and ES (on the left side) of the inner part of the shell. 2pin socket is flush with a surface of the shell.
Nozzle is short and has 3-bore opening corresponding to 3-way grouping of the drivers. If you prefer IEMs with a deeper in-ear insertion, these might not work for you. For my ear anatomy, this shell design was just perfect, and I was able to achieve a decent level of sound isolation and comfortable/secure fit, though instead of stock eartips I preferred to use Final Audio Type-E large size tips.
While Grace design is glossy, it’s not about being flashy, but rather having a comfortable fit and a humble look.
I analyzed Grace sound performance across different sources while playing a variety of my test tracks, such as Agnes Obel “The curse”, Sandro Cavazza “So much better” (Avicii remix), C-Bool “Never go away”, Ed Sheeran “Shape of you”, Galantis “Hunter”, Iggy Azalea “Black widow”, Indila “Boite en argent”, Robin Schultz “Oh child”, David Elias “Vision of her”, and Michael Jackson “Dirty Diana”.
I let Grace burn in for 100hrs (playing continuously in a loop) until I was ready to start with a more detailed listening. I did take periodic notes while going through burn in and didn’t notice any significant changes in tonality. During my sound analysis I switched to Final Audio Type-E eartips since they provide the best isolation and fit for my ears. I was using LPGT as my neutral reference source for sound evaluation.
The first thing that stands out with Grace is their wide soundstage expansion with more out of your head staging depth presentation, making the sound more holographic without being too exaggerated. I especially like the wide presentation of vocals where in some IEM comparisons I found the overall sound to be as wide, except for vocals being narrower, while Grace makes vocals spread wider, with a better stereo separation. The imaging is pretty good as well, with a convincing placement of vocals and instruments. The wider expansion of the sound definitely helps with imaging here.
The sound signature of Grace is somewhere between being L-shaped and W-shaped. While every frequency group is being well defined and represented, depending on pair ups in some cases I hear more bass impact, pushing it closer to L-shaped signature, while in other cases bass is more balanced and mids presentation is a little more forward, giving the signature W-shaped characteristics. The tuning is not necessarily coherent, there is a definitive distinction between bass, mids, and treble, not the smoothest transition with a seamless blend in.
The tonality is natural, especially in mids with a fuller body and more organic sound with good retrieval of details. Bass is more analog with a performance typical of dynamic drivers, going deep with a warm velvety rumble, and thicker, slower mid-bass. Treble is well defined, crisp, not harsh, with 6.5k and 12k peaks under control yet still resolving. The airiness and the extension of treble is under control, doesn’t extend too far, but improves once you try some of the lower impedance after-market cables.
The layering and separation of sounds is above average, aligned with its more natural organic tonality which is not as super resolving with air between the layers of sounds to drive better separation. But the sound is certainly not congested, just more natural, and more organic in mids.