Spreading the Fire!
PROS: neutral balanced signature, revealing transparent tonality with a clear detailed sound, universal custom-like shell with a signature faceplate design, premium packaging.
CONS: basic stock cable, neutral bass and colder tonality is not for everybody.
The product was provided to me free of charge for the review purpose in exchange for my honest opinion.
In recent discussions with my readers, I noticed two dominating trends. Some are on a mission to find a flagship all-rounder IEM that ticks all their boxes with money being no object. Others prefer a variety, especially when they can get their hands on different and more affordable IEMs with complementary tuning. And if you look closer into this variety, you will find that many latest releases are leaning more toward either a warmer or a brighter tuning. It is not often you come across IEM that skips the coloring in favor of the neutral clarity.
Being more familiar with Vision Ears (VE) Premium Line of IEMs, Elysium and Erlkonig, I was always curious about their standard VE Line, especially after hearing so many great things about VE8. And while I’m still not familiar with VE8 sound, I just had the opportunity to spend time with another Handcrafted in Cologne pair of IEMs, their newly minted VE7. As a spoiler, it looks like VE went straight for that missing link of neutral transparent tuning. Now, after spending almost a month testing VE7, I’m ready to discuss my findings!
Unboxing and Accessories.
When it comes to VE products, regardless if we are talking about $1.5k, $2.5k, or $4.5k IEMs, their packaging always has a strong touch of Handcrafted in Cologne pride. They literally spell it out once you flip open the magnetic top cover of VE7 box and read this message above the skyline of the Cologne, printed on the inner side of the cover. There are a lot of little details you discover looking around and inside of this rectangular box, like a glossy black VE logo pattern printed around the sides or the way how they used cardboard cutouts for the case and the accessories instead of foam. The unboxing experience of their packaging is always satisfying.
As part of the accessories, you will find a metal puck-shaped storage case with a threaded top cover and a laser etched VE logo. Inside the case, there is a foam insert with cutouts for IEMs fitted like a jewelry in a box. The foam insert is removable so you have plenty of room to store VE7 with a cable, a good and secure storage when traveling, though not as comfortable to carry in your pocket.
The accessories are in square area with a cover that reads “stay clean”, and under the cover you will find just that, a spray bottle with in-ear cleaner and a soft cleaning cloth – both are a great companion to keep VE7 faceplate shiny. You will also find a set of SpinFit eartips (XS, S, M, L), a cleaning tool, 6.35mm adapter (for studio and desktop equipment), a small dehumidifier container, and a detailed instruction manual.
The included cable is very basic, featuring 4 twisted OFC wires. It has a single ended 3.5mm TRS plug, a very slim aluminum housing with a short strain relief, and a matching bullet-shaped aluminum y-split with a retractable plastic chin-slider. Moving up toward a standard 0.78mm 2pin plastic plugs with red/blue (right/left) id dots, you will find a flexible pre-shaped earhook formed using heatshrink which is always a plus since you don’t have to deal with metal memory wires.
There is not much to talk about the stock cable. This is a standard cheap cable intended for musicians and performers, rather than audiophiles. I will cover pair ups with higher end cables after the sound analysis, further in my review. But tbh, I was actually using this cable most of the time because it was lightweight, thin, flexible, non-microphonic, and easy to wrap around for storage.
As many would have guessed, VE7 model name refers to 7-driver design, all BAs in this case. It is actually a 5-way system, partitioning 7 BA drivers into: 2 Bass, 2 Low-Mids, 1 Mid, 1 Mid-High, and 1 Superhigh. This 5-way partitioning is grouped to come out of the 3-bore open nozzle design, no mesh cover so you can clean each bore easily with included tool or if you prefer to use one of those IEM vacs.
Despite 7BA design, the shell is very compact and rather slim with a custom-like shape on the inner side to fit better the concha area of your outer ear. I assume the material used is acrylic, very smooth, a dark blue semi-transparent shell finish with a non-recessed 2pin socket and a slim oval-shaped nozzle.
Despite of its oval shape, there are no issues using regular eartips with a round core. While Ely and Erl share a similar shell shape, I guess part of the Premium VE line with a bigger diameter round nozzle, VE7 has a slimmer design which is going to be more comfortable, especially for those with smaller opening earcanals.
But the focus of the shell is its limited-edition Fire Blaze faceplate design which looks layered and 3D. This multi-layered look actually reminded me of Odin faceplate, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was designed by the same company. And because of this multi-layered look, the faceplate design looks mesmerizing and 3D as you look at it straight or from an angle. With VE7 in your ears, it looks and feels like you are wearing CIEMs.
The pictures of VE7 faceplate I took with my phone don’t do it justice.