Sound Analysis, Pair up, and Comparison.
I analyzed VE Megatron with VE earbuds (Asura 3.0FE and Sun Dice) and ATH-R70x headphones, connected to my laptop and 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”.
With Megatron, I approached Sound Analysis by combining Pair up and Comparison sections together. And as always, I prefer to describe the sound of the source based on the comparison to other sources and pair ups with different earphones/headphones since the source by itself doesn’t have a “sound”. What we hear is how the sound characteristic of a source shapes the sound signature of connected earphones/headphones or the difference in sound relative to other sources using the same pair of earphones/headphones. Of course, this is my subjective opinion, describing how I hear it, and in this case, how it compares to W2, S2, and RU6 dongles.
A few things to keep in mind, for consistency I was using my laptop as a transport, playing a selection of test tracks using Win10 Groove Music player with the volume of the player set to max (100). Connected to Megatron, I was only varying laptop volume which I noted in every pair up example with “V”. With other usb dac dongles, I set High Gain and varied a local volume on the dongle, also noted with “V” since laptop volume was not available for adjustment in those pair ups.
- Open back, full size, 470ohm impedance, 109dB sensitivity, 3.5mm stock cable termination.
- These are my hardest to driver headphones, thus make a great pair for testing.
Megatron (laptop V15) – wide soundstage with more depth/height than width. Natural smooth tonality with a balanced signature. The sound is tight and punchy. The bass has a good balance between textured sub-bass rumble and faster mid-bass punch. But overall, the bass has more punch than weight, meaning a strong articulate well controlled mid-bass. Mids/vocals are clean, detailed, more neutral in coloring, and a little more forward in presentation. Treble is also very clean, clear, and moderately crisp. I hear a little extra energy in lower treble but still zero harshness.
L&P W2 (laptop N/A, local V81) – had to push the volume of W2 pretty high to get to the same listening level as with Mega which required a much lower volume setting on my laptop. Relative to Mega, the soundstage of W2 has more width, the mids have more coloring in lower mids, and the sound is more layered. But at a fraction of the price and if you want a more neutral coloring, Megatron is a great alternative.
Lotoo S2 (laptop N/A, local V72) – also, had to push volume higher in high gain to bring R70x to a louder listening level. Relative to Mega, the soundstage of S2 is not too far off, but the imaging of S2 more holographic. Bass response is slightly different, having similar deep sub-bass rumble as Mega, but S2 mid-bass punch is slower and softer. Mids/vocals are about the same in coloring and retrieval of details, with S2 having some improvement in layering/separation of the sounds. Treble is a bit smoother in S2, while having a slightly better definition in Mega.
Cayin RU6 (laptop N/A, local V73) – again, had to set it to high gain and push the volume high. Relative to Mega, the soundstage of RU6 is more expanded and imaging is more holographic. The tonality is different, RU6 being brighter and more revealing. Bass is actually not too far off from Mega, having a similar balance between deep sub-bass rumble and punchy mid-bass slam. Mids/vocals are brighter and more revealing in RU6 while being smoother and more musical with Mega. Treble is noticeably brighter in RU6, especially its lower treble which is very energetic in comparison to Mega treble being smoother and more natural.
VE Asura 3.0FE
- Gunmetal finish with a new slim metal PK-style shells, 150ohm impedance.
- Absolutely love the look of the new shell, the fit is perfect even for my picky ears, and it works great with donut foam covers.
- Brand new design dual insulation Copper Slim Edition audiophile grade cable with an option to select either 2.5mm, 3.5mm, or 4.4mm termination.
- The cable gives Asura 3.0FE a professional look, to show you this is not just another budget pair of earbuds. The gunmetal finish of the slim metal shells is complemented with a matching color plug housing and y-split. Then, above the split, a clear insulation on each side to showcase twisted copper wires, and a clear rubber chin-slider short tube. Below the split, you have a tightly braided black cotton sleeving over the cable going to the plug.
Megatron (laptop V6) – For a relative comparison and consistency, I kept music app volume at max thus laptop volume was pretty low; for a regular use, I usually lower the music app volume so I can raise laptop volume to have a wider range for adjustment. The sound is smooth and organic, I hear a decent bass punch with more emphasis on sub-bass. Vocals sound natural and detailed, still smooth and with a better retrieval of details in comparison to pair up with W2/S2/RU6. Treble has good natural definition, not too bright or too muted. Also, improvement in soundstage expansion and imaging, being wider than with W2/S2/RU6.
L&P W2 (laptop N/A, local V58) – the sound is smooth, organic, with a softer bass impact, and a thicker lower mids which contribute to some veil in lower mids/vocals. The soundstage was wide.
Lotoo S2 (laptop N/A, local V51) – the sound is smooth, natural, a bit more revealing in comparison to W2 with some improvement in retrieval of details, but still missing some clarity, and treble is still a bit muted. The soundstage had a good width.
Cayin RU6 (laptop N/A, local V58) – the sound is smooth, natural, with a soft bass that lacking a punch, and a thicker lower mids that create some veil in sound, especially vocals. The soundstage expansion here was worse than in other dongles, here being just above the average.
VE Sun Dice
- Probably my favorite pair of VE earbuds with 15.4mm DD, 180ohm impedance, and 109dB sensitivity, 4.4mm copper cable termination.
- Reviewed in details here.
Megatron (laptop V6) – For a relative comparison and consistency, I kept music app volume at max thus laptop volume was pretty low; for a regular use, I usually lower the music app volume so I can raise laptop volume to have a wider range for adjustment. With these, I hear a natural clear detailed tonality, tight well controlled bass with a fast punch and deep sub-bass extension, neutral lower mids, clear detailed transparent upper mids, crisp airy treble. Wide soundstage expansion.
L&P W2 (laptop N/A, local V61) – had to raise the volume up, soundstage is similar as in Megatron. Bass still has a deep sub-bass, but the mid-bass lost its punch due to a slower attack. Lower mids are fuller and thicker now, added a bit of bloat to the mids/vocals, taking away sound transparency. Treble was as crisp.
Lotoo S2 (laptop N/A, local V49) – soundstage is narrower; the tonality is still natural, sound sig is balanced. Bass has a deep sub-bass with a decent rumble, but mid-bass lost a bit of a punch. Lower mids are warmer and thicker, upper mids are natural and detailed. It was actually not a bad pair up, except for the softer bass.
Cayin RU6 (laptop N/A, local V42) – soundstage is narrower; the tonality is still natural, sound sig is balanced, but the bass got a bit thicker and slower. Lower mids have more body and upper mids lost some clarity, making the sound a bit veiled.