In this Headphones in Pictures article we’er goona take a look at some interesting in-ear headphones: the Moondrop A8 and the Fearless Audio S10 Genie in the over-$500 range, and the KZ AS16 and the BGVP DMS in the sub-$200 range.
There’s a lot happening in the earphone space right now and the two most expensive earphones featured here seem to be representative of this as they really are worth their price (and some more). The other two are not less interesting, however, with good sound quality for the price.
On top of the ones featured here (the reviews of two of them are almost ready), a few more very interesting products are in the pipeline – including one network player and a powerful DAC-amp that can fit in a PC (hint hint). Also, from the 12th of July I’m going to be in London in the hope of fleeing the horrible hot weather that has been plaguing Italy lately – so if you happen to be around, let me know!
In the so-called Chi-Fi scene, the Moondrop A8 are a bit of a one-of-a-kind product. They are in fact not only really odd from the design perspective (in a good way, though), they are also quite unique in terms of packaging. It is unlike anything I’ve seen, with a solid bamboo box that holds the earphones, a (presumably faux) leather case, a cable, a few eartips and a leaflet (in Chinese). Everything is presented on a straw bed, for some reason.
The Moondrop A8 are not the usual earphones even when it comes to sound quality, as they offer an almost neutral signature with a lot of details. I have yet to try the A8 for an extended period of time, but it wowed me with the amount of detail it can deliver.
The Moondrop A8 retails for $666 (no jokes!) on Linsoul.
Fearless Audio S10 Genie
The S10 Genie sit atop the “S” line by Fearless Audio and, as the name implies, they sport 10 balanced armatures inside each channel. The faceplate uses the same design as the Fearless Audio S8 Pro, but the shell itself is transparent instead of blueish. The shell is also larger (well, it’s actually deeper) but uses the same overall design.
The Fearless Audio S10 Genie impressed me with their ability to deliver detail. They really are superior in this sense, all while delivering similar tuning to the S8 Pro. They seem to be especially good from a technical perspective.
The Fearless Audio S10 Genie retails for $699 on Linsoul.
The BGVP DMS is the heir to the well-known DMG. It’s a somewhat difficult position to hold, in a sense, as the DMS is the successor to the IEM that made BGVP famous. The new earphones sport a semi-open back and a lot of drivers (one dynamic, six balanced armatures). The look is practically the same as the previous earphones. The packaging is fully in line with BGVP style: there is a cardboard box which holds the earpieces, the cable and a few pairs of silicone eartips with one pair of foam tips.
The DMS are semi-open and therefore sound large and wide. From a tuning perspective they are U-shaped, with powerful lows and emphasised treble that encase slightly recessed treble. They’re pleasant earphones for sure.
KZ seems to be on a balanced armatures spree. After their first experiments with the KZ AS10 and the KZ BA10, and after founding a new company in the form of CCA with the purpose of developing more balanced armature-based products (e.g. CCA C16), KZ is back with new products. The KZ AS16 is a CCA C16 under the KZ moniker and with different tuning, but is otherwise almost identical. It is easily distinguishable in terms of design because of the “waves” on the aluminium faceplate.
The KZ AS16 retail for $125 on Linsoul.
The latter two are going to be featured soon in dedicated full-fledged reviews. So keep an eye on the blog for the coming updates!