I analyzed Advar sound performance paired up with LPGT and N8ii 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”, Bob Marley “Jamming”, David Elias “Vision of her”, and Michael Jackson “Dirty Diana”. To make sure DD driver is properly conditioned, I let it burn in for about 100hrs before starting sound analysis.
I found Advar to have a balanced sound signature with a clear revealing tonality. The sound has a vivid presentation, but in a natural rather than analytical way. So, with a right selection of eartips, you get a high level of clarity and detail retrieval with a bit colder tonality and overall airy open presentation of the sound which is still surprisingly natural and no-fatigue to my ears.
Bass goes deep with a nicely textured and a bit elevated rumble, mid-bass punch is not as fast but has a tight impact and good control due to a faster decay. Overall, bass has a nice solid weight with a relatively tight articulate presentation; it’s above neutral but not too exaggerated. Lower mids are more neutral, one of the reasons you won’t hear as much warmth in the sound, and upper mids have a natural revealing tonality, with lots of clarity and great retrieval of details. Treble is where eartips selection going to play the most crucial part. The lower treble can go from harsh and piercing if you have a poor seal, to vivid and naturally resolving when you hit the sweet spot with the right set of eartips. Once I found the right pair of eartips for my ears, the level of natural clarity and airy extension was just perfect.
The airy open presentation of Advar tuning results in an excellent layering and separation of the sounds, literally with air between the layers and great expansion of vertical dynamics. Also, the soundstage expansion is big, spreading wide, deep, tall in every direction, creating 3D holographic imaging with a relatively accurate positioning of instruments and vocals in space.
But again, to achieve this level of sound quality you will need to invest time into tip rolling to get a perfect seal and balance between lows, mids, and highs. The short nozzle, shallow insertion, and a bit of heft in a shell weight requires the user to spend extra time going through different eartips to find a sweet spot for a tonal balance.
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, you are welcome to skip this section.
Also, please keep in mind, I have a very small selection of mmcx cables because most of my cables are 2pin. Furthermore, I do have a number of EA cables with ConX connector to exchange between 2pin and MMCX tips, but I don’t think it makes sense to pair up IEMs with cables that cost 3x-4x more than IEM itself. I mean, I strongly encourage you to cable roll as well, but I can’t suggest with a straight face to buy a cable 4x the price of IEMs just to finetune the tonality.
Stock SPC to Dita OSLO – I hear a very similar tonality as with the stock cable, nearly identical sound.
Stock SPC to DDHiFi Sky – I hear a very similar tonality as with the stock cable, just being a touch brighter in lower treble.
Stock SPC to ALO Super Litz Cu/SPC hybrid – I hear it being not too far off, having a more balanced sound with a deep bass and natural clear mids, but lower treble is a touch smoother, fine-tuning the tonality.
Stock SPC to Linum SuperBax – SuperBax pushes the changes of ALO Super Litz cable even further, the same balanced tonality with a natural clear detailed mids, but lower treble is even more natural, finetuning it to perfection now.
Up to you if you want to upgrade the cable, though I would just get a balanced version of a stock cable as a minimum. Eartips rolling gives you a bigger change in sound finetuning.
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. Also, please keep in mind, eartips impressions are subjective and will be based on anatomy of your ears.
Final Type-E (stock) – the tuning balance is shifted toward upper mids and lower treble with a rather piercing lower treble peak. This is due to a poor seal I get even with LL size eartips because of their soft silicone cap material. It doesn’t mean these are bad eartips, but they were definitely no-go for me. And I spoke with a number of people who attended CanJam SGP and had similar impressions because they only tried it with stock Type-E eartips.
SpinFit CP100 – the tuning is more balanced but lower treble still has too much energy. It gives me a better seal then with Type-E, no longer as piercing, but still sounds rather bright in lower treble to my ears.
Symbio F – the bass gets a little deeper, and I hear a more natural tonality in upper mids/vocals, plus treble has more control.
Azla Crystal – a more balanced sound with a deeper bass and more natural clarity in upper mids, along with a crips and still well controlled treble.
Symbio F and Crystal eartips did the best job and worked better for my ears.