Penon Sphere

Design.

Sphere shells are very comfortable, a small universal-custom design with an ergonomic shape.  This is not a generic universal type of shell, even though Sphere is “universal” IEM with eartips.  As already mentioned, the size of the shell is small, very compact, and has custom-like fit inside concha area.  The shells have a very dark smoked color which makes it hard to see what’s going on inside.  The left shell has Penon and the right one has Sphere labels on the faceplate in blue.  As already mentioned, it uses 2pin connector, the socket is non-recessed, and the nozzle part is on a shorter size and has a lip right at the tip for a more secure eartips grip.

This is a single BA driver design with a single bore opening at the nozzle.  Not sure which brand/model BA driver was selected here, but for sure it’s not a cheap generic driver since it covers the full bandwidth, unlike other BAs in multi-driver designs.  Sphere spec indicates a low impedance of only 6 ohms and higher sensitivity of 118 dB.  In the follow up sound analysis and pair up sections of the review, I will go into more details how this spec translates into the sound performance.

The fit.

penon_sphere-26

Sound Analysis.

I analyzed Sphere sound paired up with LPGT while playing a variety of 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”, Alan Walker “Darkside”, Galantis “Hunter”, Iggy Azalea “Black widow”, Indila “Boite en argent”, Counting Crows “Big yellow taxi”, David Elias “Vision of her”, and Michael Jackson “Dirty Diana”.  Even so the burn in of BA drivers is not necessary, by force of habit I let these play for a few days before starting my critical sound analysis.

I found Sphere to have a neutral-balanced sound sig with a natural musical tonality.  It has a good low end extension down to a velvety sub-bass rumble with just a slight lift, well controlled slightly laidback mid-bass with an average speed punch, clear detailed natural vocals with a neutral body and a slightly more forward presentation, and well defined non-fatigue natural treble with just enough sparkle and airiness to give sound a good level of definition during extended listening.

I also found the soundstage to have above average width, actually with more depth than width which leads to mids/vocals being positioned a little more out of your head.  The imaging has a convincing placement of instruments and vocals.  Not bad layering and separation of sounds which never get congested or muddy, making sound details to be easily distinguished.  Of course, it’s not on the level I’m used to with multi-BA kilobuck IEMs, but for a single BA driver budget IEM it was quite impressive.

I’m more used to single DD iems with a v-shaped less coherent tuning which has a deeper low end extension with more lift in bass and extra emphasis in treble.  With single BA iems, the tuning is usually more coherent, but often they don’t have enough bandwidth to cover the bass and the treble extension, thus ending up having more focus on mids/vocals.  Here, you have a single BA design which has coherent balanced tuning of BA with a low and upper end extension of DD.

penon_sphere-10

Page 3 – Comparison, Pair up, and Conclusion.

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