Gaudio Nair & Clariden Reviews, Impressions and Discussion

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by shotgunshane, Sep 20, 2020.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    Gaudio Nair IEM
    Tube into UMM-6 (compensated - caveats apply after 8kHz)
    Frequency Response
    upload_2020-10-22_12-52-47.png

    Gaudio Nair IEM
    Harmonic Distortions
    Gaudio Nair L HD.jpg
    Gaudio Nair R HD.jpg
     
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    Last edited: Oct 22, 2020
  2. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    Gaudio Nair
    Impedance and electrical phase
    GRN = impedance
    upload_2020-10-22_12-47-7.png

    Impedance is bumpy like many other multi-driver BA IEMs, but quite benign with a low at 15-ohms and high just under 40-ohms. As I mentioned, I could use this from most anything under 10-ohms Zout and it wouldn't sound different.
     
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  3. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    Relative FR comparisons with other well known IEMs (noting FR only tells us one part of the story):

    Gaudio Nair vs InEar Prophile 8 (PP8)
    Frequency Response
    RED/GRN = Nair
    YEL = PP8
    upload_2020-10-22_13-1-7.png

    As I mentioned, the Nair did not sound like the PP8 to me. The PP8 was good, but just slightly too hot in the upper mids for my tastes / HRTF. As to why my measurements show differences here, I do not know why. Perhaps my measurement gear just happens to be set up so it reflects my ears. There could be factors other than purely FR though (distortion patterns).

    Gaudio Nair vs UERR
    Frequency Response
    RED/GRN = Nair
    YEL = UERR
    upload_2020-10-22_12-55-44.png

    Ultimate Ears went crazy with their UERM update, the UERR and decided to go full Audeze and roll-off anything.

    Gaudio Nair vs Ara
    Frequency Response
    RED/GRN = Nair
    YEL = Ara
    upload_2020-10-22_12-58-37.png

    The Nair is arguably a better neutral reference than the Ara. The Ara's got a hint of the HD650 or HD600 thing going on (depending upon rips).
     
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    Last edited: Oct 22, 2020
  4. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    Despite all the praise of the ergonomics of these Gaudio iems I have had the opposite experience. For my ears they’re the least ergonomic iem’s I’ve ever worn. And for multiple reasons.

    The biggest problem is that the casings hit my ear cartilage not too firmly but I guess it’s a sensitive area because it’s quite painful. Here’s a picture of where they hit my ears.

    [​IMG]

    It makes them a deal breaker regardless of anything else.

    They also have a very long nozzle which causes 2 issues. They wind up sticking out of my ears as far a the og Solaris which is ridiculous considering how much smaller the Gaudio iem’s are. This long nozzle also causes tips to move down the nozzle too far and the nozzle opening winds up being closer to the ear than the tips were designed for. For example, the JVC spiral dots sink so far down the nozzle that the nozzle opening is nearly flush with the opening of the tip. Which negates the spiral dots and isn’t how the tip is supposed to fit.

    this long nozzle is exasperated by the casing having a tube before the nozzle which makes the whole thing super long. Here’s a picture highlighting the two sections that are both too long.

    [​IMG]

    The section before the nozzle shouldn’t really exist imo or be much shorter and the nozzle should be shorter.

    for reference I can wear the og Solaris which is famous for fit issues for 24 hours straight with no pain anywhere. And I also have big ears. I’m surprised others praise the ergonomics so much.

    I’ve only listened to the Nair so far because it’s too painful. I might try to briefly listen to the Clariden but I know I won’t like it so I’m not sure that will happen. I don’t like colored headphones. Especially intentionally colored headphones.

    bruef impressions of the Nair which I may add to if I manage to put up with the pain. But my impressions match others here anyways.

    NAIR

    perfect frequency response, totally flat in the true definition of neutral ie it’s not bright lean and bass light. It’s very well balanced. One of my favorite FR of any iem. It’s reminds me of a Sony M7 without the rubbery tonality. Doesn’t need ieMatch which is nice. I’m surprised how tight and controlled the bass is considering it’s only a 3 BA iem. There’s no BA timbre at all in the bass or the rest of the FR. [edit: after listening to the Clariden and listening to the Nair more I should correct this and say there’s a little subtle plastic-y timbre but not very bad and mostly in the treble]

    They are not as resolving or nuanced as the TOTL CA iem’s. But they have flatter FR without ieMatch.

    hard to say more. Very cohesive. All parts of the spectrum sound right.

    Gaudio markets this as a “critical listening” iem but for me it’s a music lover’s iem. No HD800/K701/RS1 version of neutral. These are truly flat. At least in my brief listen with Azla Sedna Earfit light regular and short tips. Which seem to be a great match.

    QUICK SUMMARY:
    1. Serious ergonomic issues for me causing pain and an awkward fit that doesn’t sit tips properly.
    2. No BA timbre throughput the FR range
    3. Great, tight, detailed bass. I was very surprised by this.
    4. Possibly the most neutral iem I’ve heard.
    5. Not as resolving or refined as the TOTL CA iem’s but plenty good esp for the price.
    6. If they fit better I’d want a Nair.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 10, 2020
  5. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    I agree. I think the Nair dethroned the Ara as the most neutral commercial headphone of any type I’ve ever heard. That includes out of production headphones.

    very impressive for a new company! Serious props to @zeed Gaudio.

    It’s also interesting you made the comparison to the HD650 because I also thought the ARA reminded me of the HD650 albeit not in terms of FR but tonality. I thought it was caused by over damping the BA drivers trying to eliminate any hint of BA timbre. I also think the HD650 sounds overdamped though I don’t know how that all works with electrodynamics.

    but maybe it’s an FR thing with both headphones and not related to damping. The HD650 and the Ara both have a dry tonality that ruins them for me. I hate dry tonality. Maybe you’ve just discovered the dry/liquid FR zone, same way there’s a “shout” zone and a sibilance zone etc.

    Or maybe I was right and it’s damping who knows.

    I sure wish they didn’t hurt so bad (it’s seriously painful I’m surprised how much so. The ear must be very sensitive there) because I’d love a neutral reference right now since I can’t use speakers. Not that I could drop 900$ anyways.
     
  6. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    @zeed kindly reached out via pm to try to resolve the fit issue I have. Very nice guy. So I tried them again and took a picture for him to see. I wasn’t going to post a picture of myself on the web but wtf this pixelated thing can do no harm. Besides I have very handsome ears. hopefully this helps inform perspective buyers. I would definitely recommend assuming they will fit great since I’m the only one and everyone else loves the fit.

    I used some cheap AliExpress tips I have a lot of so I don’t stretch out my good expensive tips. And they aren’t hurting now with these tips. But you can see how close the iem comes to my ear cartilage whatever you call this part of the ear. I drew a red line to make it obvious.

    [​IMG]

    Sexy iem’s!! I love the lack of a logo on one side. Just pretty aluminum.

    they sound so fucking good even with these tips I selected at random. I went from my Andromeda 2020 straight to these and I immediately preferred the Nair! They just nail every aspect of tonality and FR. And this is what happens when you have a truly neutral iem/headphone- you get a lot of wiggle room for different tips/amps/sources before they start sounding bad. When headphones are super picky about amps and recordings it’s a sign of coloration. With the rare exception of a few headphones that have specific power requirements.

    listening more the further refinement of the Andromeda becomes clear esp in the treble but there’s nothing off or bad sounding about the Nair.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 10, 2020
  7. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    Here’s a couple pictures that sort of show the nozzle length issue and how tips just keep sliding down the nozzle until the end of the nozzle is flush with the end of the tip.

    it’s worse with longer tips these are pretty shallow ones. I just don’t want to shove my Azlas on there again.

    This picture is about how the tip should fit except the nozzle should probably be a bit further retracted actually but it’s hard to make that happen with the Gaudio’s.

    [​IMG]


    this picture shows how the tip just keeps sliding down until the end of the nozzle is flush with the end of the tip.

    [​IMG]

    still sounds great this way but I can’t help but think they’d sound better if the tips fit right.

    maybe the stock Final Audio Type E tips somehow fit better I don’t know I don’t really want to use the loaner tips or stretch out my final audio tips.
     
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  8. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    Clariden

    I wasn’t even going to listen to this honestly because even just the description on the website is mildly offensive to me. Intentionally coloring an iem with wacky FR is kind a big fuck you in my opinion esp when there are so few headphones that are neutral or even natural sounding. But @zeed asked me to listen to them and he’s a nice guy.

    they’re not nearly as bad as I thought. Is this what other colored iem’s sound like? I have to believe there are a lot of iem’s that are far more wacky than this even when trying not to be. I’ve intentionally avoided them so I don’t have much to compare to. It honestly sounds pretty close to the Nair. It sounds like a Nair with a tiny EQ inside the housing fucking with the FR a little bit. Probably not colored enough for those who like that and for those who like neutral there’s the Nair. So I don’t really see this selling I’m sorry to say.

    tonality is good despite the EQ. Vocals and instruments sound realistic. It’s not harsh from the few problematic tracks I put it through. The biggest problem is too much bass that’s not controlled well enough. Moar BA bass isn’t so great. Kind of makes me feel sickish.

    it’s obviously designed by the same person/company as it really shares a lot of the tonality of the Nair. Just tweaked.

    There’s definitely BA timbre in this iem. Ok there’s a little in the Nair after listening to it more- mostly in the treble - but I hear a substantial amount in the Clariden. Kind of a plastic-y timbre. Not as bad as many other iem’s though.

    I don’t know what else to say I just don’t see the point of this one. Sorry! :oops:

    ps. I’m literally the worst person to have reviewing an intentionally colored iem. My whole time in this hobby has been spent searching for neutrality.

    pms. The most interesting thing about the Clariden to me is that it has 3 holes at the end of the nozzle one bigger than the other 2. And the Nair has 2 equal size holes. I’d love to know why and what affect they have on the sound, how Gaudio used them in the tuning process.

    thanks again for the loaners, very generous of you @zeed
     
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    Last edited: Nov 10, 2020
  9. tommytakis

    tommytakis MOT: E.T.A Headphones

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    As always, thank you SBAF and @zeed for making the loaner tour happen, was curious about this iem since @YMO liked it so much. Not really an iem guy, but I'm glad I got to check out the nair.

    **none of the stock tips really fit me right, closest I can get these to fit my ears was the CA marshmallow tips i had laying around the house. Man this sounds good, but the fit is just not working for my ears.

    - Tonality wise, probably the most "neutral" sounding iem I've heard in my limited experience. Really wish my UERR sounded like this... ugh still regret getting UERR customed like an idiot. I hear a smidge of treble peak surfacing with some of my music, but I think it's because the fit is pretty bad in my ears (nozzle too thick for my small af earholes). I think the tonality is on point, because sometimes I wish my FDX1 had a bit more treble presence and air.
    - timbre is not bad despite BA drivers, i think FDX1 still has a more natural, life-like timbre, but not bad for BA.
    - really, REALLY good microdynamics, very lively and engaging af. If the fit was better, I would be listening to this non-stop.
    - macrodynamics is also behind FDX1 imo, but probably due to it being a dynamic driver while BA for nair.
    - clarity is good, didn't hear any veil.
    - Really good microdetail/plankton. I haven't really tried that many iems so I have no idea how it stacks against its competitors, but I think it's slightly ahead of CA Andromeda from memory. Ahhh who knows, don't quote me on it LOL
    - headstage layering is impressive. There's tons of air and instruments are well placed/separated in my experience. I think it definitely pulls ahead of FDX1 in this area and maybe comparable to the Andromeda? Still not as expansive or immersive as my full sized headphones, but still good for iem.

    If I was looking for a good all rounder IEM and the fit was better for my ears, I think this would be a serious contender for me. Very impressive @zeed !
     
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  10. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth SBAF Poopsmith

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    I'll be honest; I was quite curious about Gaudio stuff, but was a bit nervous when @zeed wanted to send us the IEMs for loaner. Nico seems like a nice guy, and honestly the story of the creation of the IEMs on the original thread is quite cool. I definitely didn't want to have that case where I thought the Gaudio stuff has no sonic merit; however, upon receiving the IEMs, I think it's safe to say Nico has succeeded in creating a good product in Nair (and Clariden having potential, but maybe not quite there). Do note that all following impressions comes from someone who generally doesn't use or like IEMs too much (although I do own an OG CA Solaris that I enjoy).

    Nair Impressions:

    The biggest compliment to the Nair that I can give is that I seriously would consider keeping the Nair over the OG Solaris, which at MSRP costs almost twice as much. Before anyone freaks out, the Nair is not better than the Solaris necessarily; it lags in technicalities and bass tactility, as well as being behind in layering and stage. In fact, the Nair is not what I would call TOTL, or class-leading, in any single sonic aspect (and at its price you shouldn't expect it to be).

    No, the reason why I'd consider Nair over the Solaris is its holism; it simply gets out of the way of the music. At no point, with any song I threw at it, did the Nair call any attention to itself. Sure, it's recognizably a BA sound, but the sound is cohesive and consistent up and down the spectrum. All the parts of the sound add up to being special in the way where it sounds very put together, very composed. In terms of being holistic listens, the Nair is up there with some of my favorite over-ear headphones.

    If I were to compare the Nair to over-ear headphones, I'd say that it most reminds me of my JAR HD600; very neutral, and doesn't get in the way of the music. Neither HD600 nor Nair are class-leading in any way, but as holistic listens they are both very good and allow you to forget about critical listening. In that sense, the OG Solaris is kind of like the ZMF Verite; incredible technicalities and layering, but while beguiling to listen to, you never really quite forget that it's there.

    Clariden Impressions:

    I've got to be honest; in comparison to the Nair the Clariden is a bit of a disappointment. This does NOT mean that I think it's a bad IEM by any means; more that I just think it doesn't stand up to its more neutral stablemate.

    I can hear why @shotgunshane called these W-shaped. The bass does definitely feel boosted, and the treble does seem to have some extra sparkle in there (which actually is quite nice and I really like the treble presentation of the Clariden). It's the mids that throw me for a loop; it definitely sounds like there's a dip in there somewhere since voices seem recessed in the mix, but at the same time there's this strange forwardness (maybe a bit of nasally quality?) that made it not exactly sound natural. I feel with a bit of extra tuning in the mids the Clariden could be made to fit my preference, but I'm not sure what exactly the solution would be since I know jack shit about IEM design.

    Build Quality/Fit:

    Build quality is nothing short of excellent. I'm not sure about other kilobuck IEM brands out there, but the Nair and Clariden feel better built than my CA Solaris. This is not to say that I think Campfire sucks in build quality, but rather I think is a testament to the attention to detail in the build that Nico has in the product. I also really liked the stock cable. Honestly, very well done!

    I believe the tips provided are the Final E tips (they look exactly like the Final tips that come with the Solaris). No complaints there; I actually like the feel of these tips and use them on my Solaris as well.

    I know fit comes down to personal preference (especially with IEMs), but for me the fit could only be better if I got them custom. Extremely comfortable; by far the best in this category that I've tried (well, that isn't saying much coming from me since I haven't tried many IEMs).

    Conclusion:

    With its build quality, the nice accessories/packaging, and its sound, I like the Gaudio Nair to the point where I want a pair for myself. It serves as an amazing reference and if other IEM loaners come around, this is the IEM that I'm going to be comparing them to.

    For the Clariden, I think that there's some more work that can be done. Again, my verdict is that it just isn't as good as the Nair.

    Overall though, very well done @zeed! The Nair is a home run and I look forward to seeing future products from you!
     
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  11. MrSheep

    MrSheep Rando

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    Since universal UERMs are impossible to find Gaudio Nair really picked my interest. How does the technical performance compare to the good old UERM? Crinacle (who isn’t my guru or anything but i respect his opinion) gave the Nair only B grade for technicalities (A+ for UERM).
     
  12. YMO

    YMO it's not drinking alone if you're on Zoom

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  13. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    @MrSheep There is a comparison with the UERM in the first post. I think the Nair definitely competes on the same level as the UERM, and if I’m not mistaken, @Marvey does too. While there are differences between the two, frankly,
    it’s as close as you’re going to get in today’s market.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 21, 2021
  14. purr1n

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    ^ This.

    Nair is on same level as UERM with respect to retrieval of low level information. UERM is better with headstage layering. Nair is clearer sounding.

    "Technicalities" with BA type drivers come down to measured distortion, levels of distortion, and ratio of second to third order, at least for me. A BA driver is a BA driver.

    Everything else is just a matter of different not betterer. Sharper transients, faster transients, etchy transients with "exotic" materials, hot highs. It's all masturbatory bullshit from kids who haven't lived long enough to realize that at the end of the day, it's just different - especially from mediocre sources, amps, and Japanese anime soundtracks. That Vampiric Azurewrath Darkblithe IEM so lauded for its "technicalities" will more likely send @rhythmdevils and I into a murderous rage.

    The only IEM which has made any kind of incremental step in technicalities (that is will scale with TOTL amps, DACs, and recordings) has been the IE900 and maybe IE800. However tone and timbre are issues.
     
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  15. MrSheep

    MrSheep Rando

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    Thank You guys for very informative posts. Well, i guess Nair is the way then. I will buy them and share my impressions soon.
     
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  16. YMO

    YMO it's not drinking alone if you're on Zoom

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    I tried IEMs that have better tech than the Nair on resolution and other factors. Nothing for me come close to the comfort and palette cleansing (@shotgunshane expression) of the Nairs.
     
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  17. MrSheep

    MrSheep Rando

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    @YMO That’s exactly what i am looking for - uncoloured and neutral reference. For casual listening and so called „fun” JVC FDX1 and Galaxy Buds Pro are more than enough for me :)
     
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  18. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    I haven’t heard the UERM but the Nair is by far the most neutral iem I’ve heard and nothing else comes close. It’s only plagued by some BA timbre which the top end CA iems -Ara, Andromeda, and og Solaris have much less of. But they are not nearly as neutral. I’ve got my Lokius knobs all over trying to make the og Solaris neutral. And no other iem except these CA iems I’ve heard has better timbre then the Nair. If I had an unlimited budget I’d own one.
     
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