I analyzed Phoenix sound performance paired up with LPGT 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”. The sound analysis was done after a few months of extensive use, so it has a lot of hours on it.
I found Phoenix to have a balanced sound signature with a warmer fuller body natural tonality. The sub-bass extends deep with a tastefully elevated and textured rumble that gives the low-end its weight and deeper presentation. The mid-bass has an average speed attack and slightly longer decay, packing a nice articulate punch. Bass feels more like it’s coming from DD rather than BA, so while not exactly on basshead level, you can still feel its weight and impact.
Mids are also tilted toward a warmer natural tonality with a fuller body smoother lower mids, adding warmth to the overall tuning. Upper mids are more neutral and natural, just slightly pulled back relative to the bass and the mid-treble, and surprisingly being very clear and detailed considering organic nature of the tuning. Treble has more presence in lower and mid region, with a polite upper treble extension and moderate amount of airiness. Treble is also clear and well defined without any exaggerated peaks, packing plenty of natural clarity.
The soundstage is relatively wide, but not very wide, with more focus on depth and height. Imaging is actually pretty good, making it easy to pinpoint every sound, every instrument, and nuances in vocals, but it is not 3D type of holographic imaging. Especially with a stock cable, I hear Phoenix to have a slightly more intimate soundstage expansion with a more natural imaging without any holographic exaggeration.
The warmer organic tonality of Phoenix and its natural treble extension results in a more controlled layering and separation of the sounds. Still keeping everything nicely separated without any congestion or veil, but with slightly less air between the layers, making sounds blend in more naturally and all drivers working in a perfect unison of coherency, typical of full-size headphones with a single large DD.
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.
Stock to PWA FirstTimes – I hear lower mids being a little thicker and lower/mid-treble having a bit more sparkle.
Stock to Eletech Aeneid – widens the soundstage, gives the sound a more holographic imaging, keeps organic tonality of the mids, and brings more crunch to the treble.
Stock to PlusSound PPH8 – widens the soundstage which is noticeable, gives more clarity to the mids, actually making mids to be a bit more revealing, still natural but not as warm.
Stock to EA Leo II Octa – widens the soundstage, gives the sound a more holographic imaging, keeps organic tonality of mids, and brings more crunch to the treble. Very similar to Aeneid.
I liked Aeneid and Leo II Octa pair ups with Phoenix. But in this case, I don’t think it is necessary to go ahead and spend more kilo-bucks on the cable upgrade. If you have other cables, go ahead, try it. But in my opinion, Phoenix already pairs up nicely with its stock cable.
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. I’m just describing what I’m hearing with mine.
Azla Crystal (stock) – balanced sound sig with a warmer fuller body tonality.
SpinFit CP145 (stock) – these bring out more crunch in lower treble, still not harsh, but definitely more crunch and brighter tonality up top.
Final Type-E – very similar to CP145, bring out more crunch to the lower treble, even pushing it a bit higher than CP145. Here, to my ears, the treble energy was a bit overwhelming.
Symbio F – similar to Crystal tips, brings a more balanced natural tonality to these iems, with a fuller body and more natural treble. Actually, with insertion being not as deep, I’m hearing a bit of an improvement in soundstage depth and imaging as well.
To my ears, Symbio F had the best pair up synergy with Phoenix, with Crystal being my 2nd favorite.