The selection of eartips is crucial to any universal in-ear monitors and will affect the sound, especially the bass impact depending on the seal. Due to a large opening of my earcanals, I usually go for the largest size eartips to get a better seal, but with a bigger diameter of MKII nozzle, in some cases I had to step down to medium size eartips. Also, please keep in mind, eartips impressions are subjective and will be based on anatomy of your ears. Here, I was analyzing the sound using LPGT and stock cable.
stock Comply TSX-500 – very tight fit to get these on; balanced W-shaped signature with a smoother natural tonality, a deep bass, more forward mids, smoother natural extended treble. The foam filter of TSX dampens the upper frequencies extra sparkle which brings mids more forward. Sound wise they are good, but personally, I don’t like the comfort of Comply tips.
stock Silicone – seal here is a lot more relaxed; sound sig is U-shaped with more emphasis on bass impact and brighter lower treble, while the mids had a more pulled back presentation. Because of the more relaxed seal, treble sounds more piercing, and I noticed that wider bore opening of eartips also contributes to brighter upper frequencies of MKII. Of course, everyone’s sound perception is different.
AZLA Xelastec – I typically use larger size tips, and have another Xelastec ML/L set, but since the nozzle of MKII is bigger in diameter, M size was OK and I still had a good seal. The sound sig I hear here is between U-shaped and W-shaped with deep textured bass and strong mid-bass impact, natural mids with slightly more revealing tonality due to a brighter upper treble which is airy and crisp but not piercing or harsh.
Symbio F – I tried L and M size, both give a good isolation and similar mids/treble, but the bass was attenuated with M-size, thus I switched to Large for a better seal, though I did feel a little pressure. The sound sig with Symbio F is mildly U-shaped with an overall tonality being natural and revealing. Bass goes deep, has a nice textured rumble but the rumble itself is not as high as with TSX Comply tips and mid-bass punch is strong and articulate. I actually prefer the bass with F over TSX. Mids are natural, revealing, layered, with plenty of body and without any extra coloring. Treble is extended and airy, revealing, yet natural and well controlled, absolutely zero harshness.
SpinFit CP100 – with these SpinFits the sound sig is a perfect example of U-shaped tuning where bass and treble are more elevated and upper mids sound more scooped out. With these eartips bass is scaled up in quantity, I hear a lot more sub-bass rumble and overall bass has more weight and more presence. With mids being more scooped out and bass having more weight, mids/vocals sound thicker and warmer, losing some of the resolution. Treble is crisp and bright, but not harsh, though the tonality of treble was a bit off, sounding a bit plasticy. Wasn’t too crazy about these eartips with MKII.
Final Audio Type E – another pair of eartips with a narrow bore opening, similar to SpinFit where I hear a similar U-shaped sound sig tuning. Bass goes deeper, has stronger punch, and overall, more elevated. Mids/vocals are not as thick or warm as with SpinFits, they are smooth but with a higher resolution. Treble is crisp and bright, not harsh but closer to my personal borderline of tolerance. While I find the treble here better than with SpinFit, the tonality is a bit off as well. Perhaps, it is all due to narrow sound bore of these tips.
Xelastec and Symbio F were my favorite eartips with MKII, but keep in mind, it is very subjective and relative to my ear anatomy. Bottom line, sound does vary with different eartips so don’t jump into the final sound analysis conclusion until you experiment.
Cable pair up.
I’m aware that some people don’t believe in cables and have very strong opinion about it. It’s not my intent to change those minds. Instead, I’m just sharing what I hear during my testing. What makes sense to me, a metal wire is a material with physical properties of resistivity, conductivity, purity, and unique geometry, all of which put together act as a filter between your source and headphones. Variations of these physical properties can affect the conductivity of analog signal, resulting in a sound change, from a subtle to a more noticeable level. If the talk about cables upsets you, please skip this section. Otherwise, enjoy these short impressions.
stock to EA EVO10 – in this comparison I hear just a slight improvement in soundstage width and vocals being a little more forward. But overall tonality and signature are similar.
stock to EA Aries II – The main change I hear is mids being noticeably more forward, to the point where the signature changed from U-shaped to slightly mid-forward and as a result it affected the impact of the bass which now sounds lower in quantity. I didn’t like that change.
stock to PWA No 10 – I hear the signature to change slightly, being more U-shaped due to bass being slightly more elevated and lower treble going higher in quantity, making the sound brighter and more revealing.
stock to Eletech Socrates – very interesting pair up where treble sounds the same but the bass is more articulate and sounds a little faster and mids are just slightly more forward in presentation.
Btw, while testing Mest OG with new PWA UM Copper cable, I heard more elevated bass with a deeper sub-bass rumble and a little harder hitting mid-bass punch.
I didn’t go into cable rolling with my other higher end cables that cost more than MKII itself. If you have other flagship cables, go ahead, it never hurts to try, to see if you can bring more refinement to the sound. But considering a quality stock PWA copper cable and some other similar cables I compared it to, I don’t think you need to invest into a cable upgrade with MKII, though Socrates pair up was the type of refinement that I actually enjoyed.