Switches – D2X has 2 switches which allow sound modification and I hear these actually making a significant difference, unlike some other IEMs whose switches bring in a relatively smaller change.
- Original (0,0 | Default tuning)
- Equalisation (1,1) – I hear this boosting the bass as well as all of midrange.
- ACG (1,0) – This has the biggest bass boost, around 4-5dB more than Original.
- Pop (0,1) – I hear this boosting the midrange and a bit of treble to create the best balance between the 3 frequency bands out of all the modes.
Its signature can not only be tweaked by the tuning switches but also using the different stock ear tips. My favourite sound mode is actually ‘Pop‘, as I perceive it having the best balance between bass, midrange and treble, even more with the Balanced (Red bore) ear tips. Balanced ear tips sound the cleanest and clearest with the least bass boost and lower-midrange fullness, making D2X sound the best as per my personal preference of a more neutral-balanced signature.
I’m going to stick with D2X’s Default Original (0,0) tuning and default Orange bore ear tips for the sound analysis and add pointers wherever necessary.
Sound summary – D2X has a warm and musical signature with a bass boost of around 10-12dB affecting the whole bass region below 250Hz, fuller lower-midrange body, not that forward an upper-midrange, smooth and balanced lower-treble and laid back upper-treble. Its default Original signature with the stock Orange bore ear tips’ main USP is the bass boost and fuller instrument body, which isn’t the most accurate, but will appeal to people who like a fuller and more romantic sounding signature than reference/tonally accurate one.
Bass – Because of the substantial bass boost, bass guitar as well as kicks have dominating presence but are mostly in control. Bass overall has good low end extension and strong impact, punch and low end rumble. Since the mid-bass and upper-bass are boosted too, bass tonality is affected and notes sound fuller than they actually are. D2X reaches bass head levels of bass with the ACG mode and sounds the cleanest in Pop mode. It has softer attack with the Orange bore ear tips, which take it away from sharp bass precision. Relatively, Balanced ear tips have better and more neutral bass note presentation and sharper and more precise transients while keeping the original punch and impact intact mostly.
Midrange – D2X with the stock Original mode and Orange bore ear tips has a fuller lower midrange presentation as the 250-1kHz region is boosted north of neutral along with the bass boost and does not have as forward an upper-midrange presentation as Harman Target based IEMs like Moondrop KXXS/Blessing2 or Etymotic Diffuse Field IEMs like ER4SR. As a result, vocal body as well as snares sound fatter than what I consider neutral and D2X has an overall fuller and slightly more intimate presentation. The extra added fullness around 250-500Hz in Original mode with stock Orange bore adds a bit of bloom and muddiness, which isn’t to my liking. I like the midrange presentation more in Pop mode with the Balanced ear tips as I perceive a better balance between bass, lower-midrange body and upper-midrange forwardness with it. This combo particularly helps the lower-midrange sound cleaner and clearer, with better separation between layers.
Treble – D2X has good lower-treble and mid-treble balance which ensures good clarity and definition while keeping everything sounding smooth and vocals non-sibilant but its upper-treble is a bit laid back and not that well extended. Its upper-treble starts a gradual roll-off past 12kHz and as a result, D2X lacks good air presence and comes off a bit rolled off up top. Again, I find Pop mode with the Balanced ear tips to have the best balance here too. In Pop mode, D2X still doesn’t sound airy, but upper-midrange and lower-treble balance along with lesser bass boost and lower-midrange fullness ensures an exciting listen. Still, I find vocals and guitars missing the required upper-end finesse, sparkle and zing to sound their absolute best tonally.
Technical Performance – D2X has a decent soundstage for the warm and fuller bodied sound signature it has. It has best depth and width in Pop mode with Balanced ear tips but sounds a bit more intimate in rest of the modes, with the order of feeling of intimacy being – Pop<Original<Equalisation<ACG, with Pop mode sounding most open and ACG, the most intimate. Even with a bass boosted and fuller bodied presentation, D2X actually has good resolution and detail retrieval but imaging and horizontal separation between panned instruments is not its strongest suit in Original mode and Orange bore eartips. Again, Pop mode with the Balanced ear tips has best separation and is the cleanest and clearest sounding of all modes.
BGVP VG4 – VG4 has 4 Balanced Armatures and 3 tuning switches. With both in their Default tuning modes, VG4 has a more neutral and clarity driven signature compared to D2X’s warm, bass boosted and fuller bodied presentation. D2X has much more sub-bass rumble as well as mid-bass punch but VG4 is more neutral. VG4 also has faster and sharper/more precise bass notes and transients. D2X has a much fuller lower midrange presentation whereas VG4 is more neutral in comparison. VG4 has more accurate forwardness/ear gain in upper-midrange and thus better and more accurate instrument tonality and timbre. VG4 is slightly brighter in lower-treble but has better and more extended treble balance, and better clarity, sparkle, resolution and detail retrieval as a result. VG4’s soundstage is not just wider and deeper but also cleaner and more open in comparison. VG4 has better technical performance; better overall clarity, detail retrieval and separation between instruments. One would prefer D2X more for its fun, musical, easy to listen to and fuller bodied romantic presentation and VG4 for its well done tonal accuracy and technical performance.
Tansio Mirai TSMR-3 Pro – 3Pro has 3 Balanced Armatures and 3 tuning switches. D2X has a warmer and more musical signature whereas 3Pro has a cleaner, more detail retrieval and definition oriented signature. D2X has a much stronger bass boost and fuller lower-midrange body compared to 3Pro. D2X has more bass rumble as well as impact but 3Pro has quicker bass transients and character. 3Pro has a much more forward upper-midrange presentation which results in stronger and sharper instrument definition but D2X with its lesser ear gain is easier to listen to at louder volume levels, where 3Pro can come off as shouty. 3Pro has brighter lower-treble but it too starts a gradual roll off in upper-treble past 11-12kHz. 3Pro’s soundstage is cleaner but both have similar width and depth. 3Pro is cleaner sounding as well as more clinical and resolving whereas D2X is an easier, more fun and musical listen.
D2X has impressive build quality, design, packaging and accessories for its asking price and extremely snug and comfortable fitting shells that almost disappear in the ears and remain comfortable for hours together without any discomfort. Overall, it has a nice, warm and musical signature that will interest people that like a bass boosted and fuller bodied presentation without compromising on clarity, detail retrieval or resolution much for its asking price. Plus its signature can further be tweaked as per liking with the help of 2 tuning switches and 3 types of stock ear tips. Of course, it does have some shortcomings, particularly laid back upper-treble which starts a gradual roll-off past 12kHz and not the sharpest imaging or separation. But besides that, D2X is quite an interesting musical listen, even more once you’ve found your perfect combo between the switches and ear tips, which was Pop mode and Balanced ear tips for me. Well, it may not have the best treble extension or technical chops to become the segment king but if this is the kind of fuller bodied, musical signature and overall package you’re looking for, definitely give it a shot!
Gear used for testing and review.
- DAPs – Hiby R6 2020 | iBasso DX160
- Laptop – Apple Macbook Pro 15″
- Phone – OnePlus 7 Pro
Reference Songs list.
- 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