Cayin Fantasy

Design.

The exterior design of Fantasy shells has an elegant look, which according to Cayin was inspired by stringed musical instruments.  The shell enclosure is made out of high grade 316 stainless steel, and the surface is polished and reflective like a mirror.  And just like a mirror it is prone to collect fingerprints, thus you will find reaching for that cleaning cloth quite useful.  While the faceplate shape is a bit angled, the inner part of the shell that sits in your concha cavum area of the ear is rounded and smooth to the touch.

The right shell has “Cayin” name laser etched along the top facet, while left shell has “Fantasy”.  As already mentioned, shells are using universal 0.78mm 2pin connectors so they are compatible with many aftermarket cables, and next to the 2pin socket you will find red/blue dots to align with right/left sides of the cable.  Also, you can spot 2 vents on each shell, one by the connector socket and another one on the inner part of the shell.  Furthermore, the nozzle is relative long and has a threaded mesh cover at the tip which you can unscrew and replace.  I assume it was designed that way to have an easy access to clean the mesh, but I also think it would have been cool to implement a replaceable nozzle mesh filters to give users a chance to finetune the sound.

As far as what is inside the shell, according to Cayin you will find 10.3mm dual cavity with two-way magnetic driver structure that used 9.5mm Beryllium-plated diaphragm.  This Beryllium-plated bio-cellulose diaphragm was chosen due to its properties of reduced resonance, lower distortion, and faster response.  The dual cavity design also plays a very important role in shaping and controlling the sound tuning.

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The stainless-steel design contributes to each shell weight of about 12g.  It is not super heavy, but you will feel the heft in your ears.  It is a great looking design, inside out, and if anything, I would suggest to maybe offer optional interchangeable nozzle filters to give Fantasy a little tuning variety, especially when it comes to treble.

The fit.

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Sound Analysis.

I analyzed Fantasy sound performance paired up with a neutral LPGT source 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”, Dua Lipa “Love again”, Counting Crows “Big yellow taxi”, David Elias “Vision of her”, and Michael Jackson “Dirty Diana”.  I let Fantasy play for about 4-5 days in a loop before I started analyzing the sound.  I used foam eartips, the same as stock but large size, and stock cable in my analysis.

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Fantasy has a distinct mid-forward sound signature with a brighter revealing colder tonality.  The tuning is very eartips dependent and that can either make or break the sound, to the point where most of the silicone tips I tried made it too vivid for my personal taste.  Foam tips kept the upper frequencies under control and gave the bass more texture and slightly elevated quantity while also making treble less harsh and more natural.  And while these are beryllium coated drivers, to my ears they perform close to pure beryllium drivers [of A8000] with a similar level of clarity, transparency, no coloring, and fast transient response of notes.

In more details, bass has a rather neutral presentation.  It is not flat or rolled off, though I do feel like sub-bass is a bit attenuated down, just overall neutral in quantity.  I do hear it being textured and extended down to a sub-bass rumble which is audible.  The bass actually has a decent quality but lacking the weight and the body to bring more impact and quantity to the sound.  Basically, you hear the bass, but don’t feel it.

Mids, especially upper, are the focus of Fantasy tuning, being resolving, clear, transparent, and just effortless in delivering the sound.  Lower mids are neutral, definitely not thin, but just at a neutral level of quantity that gives the sound its transparency and zero coloring.  Upper mids are fast, layered, revealing, with close to micro-detail level of detail retrieval.  The 3kHz peak gives mids/vocals its presence and its colder revealing tonality.

Then, 6khz peak of lower treble gives vocals its higher definition and crunch.  And switching to foam tips attenuates down that peak, giving treble more control, making the sound less fatigue. Treble is extended, airy, and has a controlled amount of crunch when paired up with foam eartips.  The tonality of treble is on a brighter side, but foam eartips make it sound less exaggerated, more natural, and less fatigue (and I know, I repeated that many times already).

I found soundstage to be wide, with more depth and height.  It doesn’t quite reach the holographic level, but Fantasy does sound expanded and has a good imaging with a relatively accurate placement of instruments and vocals.  When you are dealing with more revealing IEMs, I expect them to perform well, especially when you have an airy treble extension that helps with layering and separation of the sounds.

This is definitely not one of those all-rounder types of tunings, and I’m not going to deny, I was missing extra bass impact and weight in my favorite EDM tracks.  But when it comes to instrumental tracks, vocal tracks, and even some pop and rock songs, Fantasy’s mid forward presentation and the ability to extract micro-details was impressive and actually addictive.  And even with EDM and Top40 tracks, the bass punch of Fantasy had no issue keeping up with a rhythm of the song, though impact was more neutral.

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Page 3 – Eartips selection and Cable pair up.
Page 4 – Comparison, Source pair up, and Conclusion.

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