There are plenty of Chinese language manufacturers within the fanatic audio scene, and AFUL Audio at all times stands out in my head due to its identify. Anyway, the model makes use of plenty of customized tech in its earbuds, and the Performer 8 are simply its second IEM, following on the heels of the Performer 5 that launched final 12 months.
The Performer 8 are a hybrid IEM that makes use of an 8mm dynamic driver mixed with seven BA drivers, and it has a putting design. However what makes these IEMs stand out is a singular acoustic tube system that makes use of three tubes to channel sound, and this makes a giant distinction to the steadiness. The Performer 8 debuted for $369, however they’re now available for $329 on HiFiGo.
I need to begin with the packaging, as a result of AFUL put plenty of thought into the equipment. You get a complete of six pairs of silicon ear ideas bundled with the IEMs, a very good monocrystalline copper cable with 98 strands, and an honest carrying case. The IEMs join utilizing the usual 2-pin connector, and you may get the Performer 8 with a single-ended 3.5mm or balanced 4.4mm, and there is a bundle that features each.
Coming to the IEMs, the Performer 8 have an attention-grabbing design on the faceplate that jogs my memory of Thieaudio’s Monarch MKII. Just like the Monarch, the design does not lengthen to the whole ear shell — you simply get a shiny black shell — however that is okay. The design is simply as daring and attention-grabbing, and the general design of the shell is on par with different merchandise on this section. Certain, it is not made out of titanium just like the LETSHUOER Cadenza 12, however then once more, it prices a sixth as a lot.
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The one quibble I’ve on the design entrance is the branding. You get the AFUL branding on the faceplate, and that appears good — the gold accent contrasts nicely with the design. However you additionally get Performer 8 scribbled on the facet of the shell, and that appears somewhat cheesy — AFUL may have used a greater font, or moved the identify to a different location.
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Minor annoyances apart, the Performer 8 get quite a bit proper; they’ve a snug match, do not jut out an excessive amount of from the ear canal, and the design of the shell means they do not exert a lot stress on the ear. This makes the Performer 8 extremely snug throughout prolonged listening periods, and I did not see any fatigue in any way. Additionally, the sound nozzle is on the smaller facet, so there are completely no points with the match; AFUL did all the fitting issues on this space.
The objective with utilizing so many balanced armature drivers is to tailor particular person frequencies to a larger extent, thereby resulting in a greater total sound signature. Within the case of the Performer 8, two BA drivers are assigned to the bass, two to the mid-range, and three to the treble frequencies.
AFUL is understood for its impartial presentation, and that is the case with the Performer 8 as nicely. The bass is concentrated on the sub-bass area, the place you get plenty of rumble and vibrancy. You get a mid-bass with plenty of element, and whereas at no level does it get overbearing — these aren’t geared toward bassheads — you get a dynamic sound with loads of presence.
The mids are clear and have plenty of readability, and vocals come via with plenty of power. Devices are detailed as nicely, and also you get glorious decision throughout the frequency vary, and that makes a distinction should you like listening to classical music. In the same vein, the treble is executed flawlessly, and also you get airiness and depth that you just simply do not discover in most different merchandise on this section. What’s notably nice is that the treble is detailed and clear with out being sibilant, and that makes these IEMs shine.
Driving these is simple sufficient; the sensitivity is low, so you may simply join the IEMs to a telephone, however a greater wager could be to get a DAC. I used it with the Fiio BTR7 and the M15S player, and it did an excellent job with each sources.
In the end, the Performer 8 are awfully good (I simply needed to). They mix a sexy design with customized tuning and modern sound tubes that make a real distinction, and so they’re snug to put on all through the day. However what makes them actually stand out is the tonality; the impartial sound together with the dynamism make these IEMs an incredible total selection.