Driveability, Hiss and Source Matching:
Just like most multi-BA IEMs, VX is easy to drive and it doesn’t need powerful sources to be driven to its full potential. Just a smartphone is sufficient. Of course, it goes without saying that with better DAPs and DAC-Amps, you are going to get better sound quality/fidelity. Despite being very easy to drive, VX is not a hissy IEM. Not even close to hiss monsters like Zeus or Andromeda. As for synergy, I would recommend smooth or laidback sources such as AK380. Sources like LPG or Hugo 2 might be a bit intense for people sensitive to treble. But such sources might actually work for people preferring an aggressive sound.
Vs Zeus: VX’s presentation actually reminds me of the Zeus in many ways. A cube sized stage with excellent layering and imaging, combined with a bodied midrange and a detailed treble section. Zeus’s weakness was the bass and the mid-centric tuning, made the IEM more of a specialist than an all-rounder. VX has a more impactful bass region, it is more even-handed in its frequency balance and is also a more versatile IEM.
Vs U18 (with M15 Module): This is an interesting comparison. U18 and VX tunings come across as reference neutral types. Yet they are quite different. U18, presents a slightly stronger, deeper and warmer bass. In the mid-range, VX is more bodied and not as dry as the U18. In the treble, U18 is brighter, but is not as aggressive as the VX. U18 also retrieves more details in the treble, but the VX is more transparent in the mid-range. U18 has a considerably wider stage than the VX, while the depth is almost the same. This gives the U18 the advantage to separate the instruments more effortlessly. Layering and imaging is more of a close call between the 2 IEMs.
Vs Legend X: Legend X is a very different IEM from the VX. LegX is more of a bass-centric, fun-oriented and laidback IEM. VX on the other hand is a neutrally tuned, serious sounding IEM. VX’s bass is no match to LegX’s thunderous bass. LegX has a more laid-back and a smoother midrange, where as VX’s midrange is more transparent and revealing, despite having more overall body than LegX’s midrange. VX presents a brighter but a more linear treble. LegX’s treble is slightly smoother but is not as linear as VX’s treble. VX presents a more realistic timbre. LegX has a wider stage, but VX presents a deeper stage. VX gets the cake for separation, layering and imaging.
Full-Size Headphone References:
While there is a crowd that accepts HD800 and HD800S as neutral, to me, those 2 are lean and bright sounding headphones. So VX is far from a stock HD800 or a HD800S. VX isn’t like the Audezes either. I would say its signature is more akin to the HD600/HD650 and Focal Clear/Utopia. Now, between HD650 and HD600, it is more close to the HD600, because it is not as warm and smooth as the HD650. Between Utopia and Clear, it is more close to a Clear, because it is not as aggressive and bright as the Utopia. And between the HD600 and the Clear, it is more close to the Clear. This doesn’t mean the VX is a Focal Clear in IEM form. But considering those 4 headphones, Clear’s signature is what it would resemble the most with.
VX is a monitor tuned for accuracy and transparency with respect to its neutral and linear tuning, and would make for an excellent reference monitor. Flipping the bass switch up to improve the bass impact means it has the potential to be an IEM that can be used on stage as well. As for audiophile use, VX is a very versatile monitor even without considering the switches. But with variations you can achieve using the switches, you can push its versatility further and make it work for almost all genres out there. If there is one thing that the VX can’t do, it is that it cannot be neutral and laidback at the same time like the Audeze LCD-i4+Cipher Cable. Last month I reviewed the Dita Oslo cable, which is a laidback sounding cable. I did not get a chance to try my Oslo on the VX, as the terminations are different. But I can’t help but imagine that the Oslo would be a great pairing with the VX in case you would want to infuse some warmth and laidback character to the IEM.
Leaving the sound aside, VX is kind of a whole-package IEM. It doesn’t hiss easily, is very comfortable to wear, has fantastic build quality and finish and comes with all the necessary accessories. So the decision regarding whether the IEM would suit you or not, is mostly dependent on the sound of the IEM. When it comes to sound, I could safely say that VX is one of the best multi-BA IEMs I have tried to date. But that would be a subjective statement. But what I can say for sure is, VX’s tuning gets very close to what a correct neutral can sound like. What I admire about the IEM is, it strikes a good balance between tonality and technicality, without either dominating over the other. Unlike my LCD-i4, which is a natural-neutral, VX is more of a reference-neutral. Which means, it would be a great monitoring tool for studio use as well. The fact that it is neutral, works really well for genres involving acoustic instruments. The energetic character makes it work for genres like pop and synthetic. Bass heads and treble heads need not apply though. Also, if you are looking for a laidback sounding IEM, I would advise you to try the VX before pulling the trigger. Otherwise I would highly recommend the VX for anyone looking for a neutral sounding, genre versatile, TOTL IEM. And if you are someone who likes an energetic sound, VX would be a treat.
Purchase Link: MusicTeck.