Summary – Pola39 with foam ear tips (for best fit) is certainly a very interesting and exciting sounding earphone, and definitely worthy of flagship status for Shozy. It is tuned with good enthusiasm giving it a very exciting, open and airy presentation; something that makes music sound extra special. Shozy certainly didn’t tune it to be flat and boring. The bass is well present and defined. Mids are fun but have a leaner body, sounding very open with a natural character. Treble is open and airy with some sizzle on top. Keep in mind that Pola39 needs good volume power. It can be driven easily by most DAPs but a good pairing will have it sounding its best.
Let’s dig in deeper with some song examples.
Bass – I started testing the Pola39 right around the time Coldplay released their new album Everyday Life. So, I plugged in the Pola39 to check the record out, playing their first single ‘Orphans’. Boom! I was immediately taken aback by how good Guy Berryman’s Fender bass sounded. Bass had good presence, body and the notes were fairly quick and clear. Pola39 presented the bass so well that I could easily identify the bass model by just listening to the song. Majority of it goes to the song’s mix but Pola39 surely helped present the bass for its true self. In general, bass has good body and presence, and can perform as per the song’s demand well. Sub-bass is well present as Pola39 can go pretty low. Mid-bass has very good presence too, with good authority and tonality.
Mids – Since mids are done by the same dynamic driver, the relation of bass and midrange is very natural and as a result sounds very coherent. Mids have a leaner presentation with natural tonality, lots of energy and excitement. They have very good clarity and sound highly musical which immediately catches your attention. Since the body is leaner, it also helps Pola39 sound very open in the mids and not like how some IEMs end up sounding too full and claustrophobic. Snare have good attack and body. Vocals have great isolated clarity and zing which helps make good singers like Chris Cornell, Chester Benington and Bryan Adams a joy to listen to. Pola39 also works very well for acoustic genres, with acoustics having great clarity, openness and precision.
Treble – Treble is where the dual EST driver kicks in. Now, I’m sure you would’ve come across reviews of multiple underperforming EST-hybrids this year, but I can say with utmost confidence that Pola39 is not going to be one of them. The EST driver has been implemented very nicely and its character truly helps in making Pola39 a very exciting, open and airy IEM. In the first listen you may need some time to adapt to its character since it’s a bit unique and different from standard BAs or dynamic drivers but once you do, it sounds very good. It is not harsh at all, just different, though I’m always skeptical about people who are extra sensitive to treble. So maybe treble sensitive people should always tread with caution with everything. Haha. Well, Pola39’s treble mostly helps the other frequency bands with some excitement and openness. It adds nice sizzle, making orchestral instruments, acoustics and cymbals sound life-like-lively. My test song for checking sibilance threshold is Gavin James ‘Always’ and if an IEM makes Gavin’s vocals in this song sibilant, then I declare it sibilant. But well Pola39 does not and is hence safe from sibilance. Also, if a song has some niggles, Pola39 is going to be honest about it and not hide it from you. This character is what makes it special as it clearly represents a song in its true form.
Soundstage, Imaging and Separation.
Soundstage is wide! It is wider than it is deep. The clarity and openness in Pola39 makes for very nice listening experience with every song’s ambience. Imagining is also pretty good but separation throughout the spectrum is commendable for the price and usage of simple 1DD + 2EST combo.
BGVP EST8 ($799) – EST8 and Pola39 are starkly different with EST8 being warmer and smoother, and Pola39 being open, airy and exciting. EST8 has decent bass presence, meatier mids and controlled clear treble whereas Pola39 has better refined and defined bass, leaner mids presentation and treble with nice open clarity and air.
Moondrop S8 ($799) – Right off the bat, Moondrop S8 too has the signature Moondrop Harman Target style presentation. S8 is warmer of the two. Both Pola39 and S8 have good bass but Pola39’s bass is more upfront, impactful and exciting whereas S8’s bass is warmer and has a smoother presentation. Pola39’s lower mids are more natural and exciting whereas S8’s are smoother but slightly pushed back with S8 being V-shaped. S8 has more upper mids presence in comparison, like Harman Target earphones have. S8’s treble is smoother and starts a natural roll off whereas Pola39’s treble extends further and sounds very open and airy which makes Pola39 a very exciting earphone and S8 a more smoother and warmer earphone in comparison.
ItsFit Fusion ($900) – This is a tough one! Both Pola39 and Fusion have their own characteristic treble character which is their strength and also what makes them uniquely cool. Fusion has a magnetostatic driver for treble whereas Pola39 has a dual EST driver. Both have a very good bass character and presence from their respective dynamic drivers but Pola39’s is a bit more resolving and impactful. Both have good natural mids but Pola39’s mids sound slightly warmer and balanced whereas Fusion’s mids are slightly pushed back. Pola39 sounds slightly warmer till the treble as compared to Fusion and then both of them gain their characteristic treble character where Pola39’s is more open & airy and Fusion’s is slightly fuller and ever so slightly upfront in comparison. Both have a nice wide soundstage. Choice between the two is very tough as they both have a similar take on a ballpark sound but still quite different and cool in their own way.
Empire Ears ESR ($999) – ESR’s bass is flatter compared to Pola39 and has more of BA bass’ strengths whereas Pola39 flaunts its dynamic driver character with good speed. Lower mids in ESR are fuller whereas Pola39’s are more open and leaner. Pola39’s upper mids are again more open and natural where ESR’s are relatively flatter. Pola39’s treble is more exciting, open and airy whereas ESR’s remains flat till around 8kHZ, but has a sudden high peak post that which sadly brings out a bit of sibilance. Pola39 remains sibilance free mostly and has more air post 10kHz which allows for its unique open signature. Pola39’s soundstage is bigger and airier as compared to ESR.
Shozy with its Pola39 successfully shows that you don’t need a ton of drivers to achieve good premium tuning. It is a very fun and lively sounding IEM while still sounding relatively smooth without intrusive upper mids or treble. Good bass, natural character, open and airy treble and a big soundstage is what defines it mostly. As for its unique treble character, I can’t say how it’ll work for extremely treble sensitive people but most people who like open and airy treble will enjoy it well. Also, Pola39 comes with premium cable, case and overall rich looking packaging, which most IEMs in its segment and even above don’t. Pola39 sadly falls short in silicone ear tips options which makes it a bit tricky to get the snuggest fit but I was able to get a nice snug fit with the stock medium foam ear tips. So, if you prefer silicone ear tips, I suggest you keep your favorite ear tips handy. Overall, Pola39 is a very musical and highly exciting IEM, hits hard and brings very good value for its price point and so it gets a big thumbs up from my side!
Gear used for testing and review.
- Hiby R6 Pro
- Oneplus 7 Pro
Reference Songs list.
- Dave Matthews – Shake Me Like a Monkey
- Foo Fighters- The Pretender, Best of you & Everlong
- Coldplay- Paradise, Up in flames & Everglow + Everyday Life Album
- Ed Sheeran- Thinking out loud, Bloodstream & Galway Girl
- Chainsmokers – Somebody, Sickboy, This Feeling & Closer
- John Mayer- Slow dancing in a burning room, Stop this Train & Say
- Gavin James- Always & Hearts on fire
- Switchfoot- Meant to live & Dare you to move
- Our Lady Peace – Do You Like It & Innocent
- Linkin Park- Papercut, Somewhere I belong & Talking to myself
- Maroon 5- She will be loved, Payphone & Lost stars
- Lifehouse- All in all & Come back down
- Breaking Benjamin – Diary of Jane
- Karnivool- Simple boy & Goliath
- Dead Letter Circus- Real you
- I Am Giant- Purple heart, City limits & Transmission
- Muse – Panic station
- James Bay – Hold back the river