H20 Surge IEM Measurements and Review (Quick)

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by purr1n, May 27, 2021.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Building Magnis part time because it's peaceful.

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    Well, probably more measurements than review. @rhythmdevils already covered this here: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/40-dynamic-iem’s-that-sound-good-and-are-waterproof-to-12-feet-indefinitely.9569/

    And I've finally gotten to this months after the fact. Thank you for your patience. The move from CA to TX was big and it took me months to move into a new place and get my measurement gear set up again. Anyway, not only are these IEMs neutralish, but also quite good sounding. Technically much better than their $40 price. The downsides are their rather non-impressive (but waterproof) construction and less than stellar channel matching. However from a clarity point of view, these are very good, better than some IEMs costing thousands and thousands of dollars.

    The lower to middle midrange sounds flat to my ears. The lows do sound slightly elevated. Bass texture is surprisingly evident. There isn't much pinna gain built-in, which is fine by me. On the other hand, the 2-3kHz region isn't depressed either. There is a dip around 5kHz (subjective and objective) that takes the edge off of snare drums and bite out of trumpets. The lower and mid treble are about right, but high treble, last octave air is missing. I really cannot complain for $40. Besides many single driver DD IEMs, even some high-end ones, lack air as well.

    H20 Surge
    Frequency Response (CS/SBAF comp)
    upload_2021-5-27_21-37-48.png
    The measured peak near 8kHz is a measurement artifact from my coupler.

    H20 Surge (BLU/RED) vs GAudio Nair* (GRY)
    Frequency Response
    upload_2021-5-27_21-39-20.png

    *Gaudio Nair IEM: consensus view by the Masters of the IEM Universe as the most neutral IEM evar. Note that Sean Olive does not belong in this club because he is deaf and actually a malign influence to good sound. Think of him as audio Darkseid. Then again, it's also been said in some circles that @rhythmdevils is deaf because he is white and lives in the USA.
     
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  2. purr1n

    purr1n Building Magnis part time because it's peaceful.

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    Obligatory photos:
    DSC01035 (Medium).JPG

    This low cost IEM comes with a ton of different tips. I usually do not like foam tips, but I ended up with them for the best quality seal while without too bassy or dark of a sound. I'm sure anyone can find a tip that works best for them with the included package. The AZLA tips worked too, but Imma notta gonna recommend expensive tips for this bargain IEM.

    DSC01033 (Medium).JPG

    It's getting late for me. I will follow up tomorrow with distortion measurements.
     
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  3. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    I concur with all your findings. These things impressed the hell out of me for 40$. They sound very fast. But you can read my review.

    I think more SBAFers should own these.
     
  4. purr1n

    purr1n Building Magnis part time because it's peaceful.

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    Distortion plots below. There a distortion spike around 900Hz which I do not think is a distortion artifact. Maybe a resonance in the housing. Otherwise distortion isn't great, but it's decent. We have a nice pleasant pattern with second order being higher than third order. The looks to be a DD. In general, the performance of the H20 Surge is pretty good at lower volumes. Second order distortion does fall apart when we crank it up. Third order distortion from the mids on up is low.

    H20 Surge
    Distortion vs Frequency per SPL
    upload_2021-5-29_20-39-11.png
    Note: 200Hz D3 spike looks to be a measurement artifact.

    The most time consuming part was finding the right tips, and even then, it didn't take me that long. I knew the AZLAs would work right away. I just didn't think the included foam would work. Agreed that SBAF members should just pick them up to at least experience what a DD with non-F'd treble sounds like. (I don't think I've heard a DD with non-F'd treble of some kind yet at higher price points*). This could be too laid-back or not bright enough for a lot of folks though.

    For comparison, Sony IER-M7 distortion (another good neutralish w/ low emphasis IEM) here:

    Sony IER-M7
    Distortion vs Frequency per SPL
    upload_2021-5-29_20-48-5.png

    I applaud Sony for trying to put their own spin on BA drivers to make them sound less BA, but more often than not, their experiments do not yield good results across the board.
     
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    Last edited: May 29, 2021
  5. purr1n

    purr1n Building Magnis part time because it's peaceful.

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    H20 Surge
    Impedance and electrical phase
    upload_2021-5-30_10-47-59.png
     
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  6. Alondite

    Alondite Acquaintance

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    I got a pair of these to use at work, but I have a hell of a time getting a good fit with any of the included tips (though mine never came with foam tips, and replacement packs offered by H20Audio don't include them either); only the largest ones stay in my ears, but I have to fiddle with them a lot to get rid of the "vacuum" effect. Its a problem I have with most IEMs I've used, but foam tips usually solve the issue.

    Any idea what size Comply foams fit these? I don't want to make any comments on how they sound until I can get the fit more consistent. Mostly because I'm hearing a nasty bit of sibilance and a lot of "shh shh" that doesn't seem to be corroborated by others' experience, so I want to rule out fit as a potential issue first.
     
  7. purr1n

    purr1n Building Magnis part time because it's peaceful.

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    Hmm, I don't know the exact size, but the Comply tips that came with Andromeda seem to be the same size and will fit. I used the largest size blue one (inside the bags of the photo above) with fairly shallow insertion. Deeper insertion was not possible for me given their design.
     
  8. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    The nozzle is huge. If you get Comply’s biggest size it might stretch and fit but I’m not sure. But that’s your only option for for fosm. Mine came with foam tips too. Though I use the silicone f
     

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