The VSonic GR07 and GR07 Bass Edition
VSonic GR07 and GR07 Bass Edition (both priced at $179)
It would be very surprising if China, the world's largest exporter of headphones and earphones, did not cultivate several audio brands of its own. Indeed, there are quite a few, some specializing in assembling ready-made components into generic $5 earbuds and others offering remarkably faithful Beats by Dre knockoffs. On the opposite end of the spectrum, however, are companies producing some of the best-value audio products on the market.
VSonic is one such outfitthough still far from mainstream, the company has been on the Chinese Hi-Fi scene for nearly a decade and, in recent years, has been making waves across audiophile communities worldwide. Much of VSonic's momentum is due to the success of the GR07the company's dynamic-driver flagship that first gained prominence in 2011. Last year, the GR07 underwent an update, becoming the GR07 mkII, and an enhanced-bass model, dubbed the GR07 Bass Edition, was released to supplement it.
Having kept a close eye on the IEM scene in the past few years, it is apparent that the GR07 has stood the test of time better than most other earphones in its price bracket. To try and see what makes it special, I decided to take a look at the original 2011 GR07 and the newer GR07 Bass Edition.
Both of the GR07 models are priced at $179far from cheap, but still well below what a top-tier product from Shure, Westone, or Ultimate Ears would cost. Admittedly, all of those utilize several pricy balanced armature drivers per earpiece while the GR07s use more conventional dynamic transducers. The VSonics are far from low-tech, howeverthe performance of the 11mm bio-cellulose drivers used by the GR07s makes it tough to justify the extra spend on many pricier earphones.
Cosmetically the, GR07 and GR07 Bass Edition differ only in cable colorwhereas the regular GR07 has a gray cord, the Bass Edition boasts a more striking red-and-tan twist. Still, there is little panachethe GR07 uses neither fancy materials nor eye-catching curves to broaden its appeal to the average consumer. The earphones do boast a rather distinctive form factor with plastic housings in the shape of beveled rectangles, and are designed for over-the-ear wear. They are lightweight and quite ergonomic, and the unique swivel-nozzle feature makes them suited for a variety of ears. VSonic also includes a generous selection of eartips13 pairs of silicone ones in various shapes and sizes, plus a pair of foam tips.
Aside from the eartips, the accessory pack includes a pair of over-the-ear cable guides, intended to keep the cable securely behind the wearer's ears, and a soft carrying pouch. Passive noise isolation is average to slightly above average, depending on the eartips used, and cable noise (microphonics) is very low. The cable cinch and ear guides can be used to fix the cord in place for active use.
Overall, the GR07s are solid earphones, though perhaps a bit more demanding of the user than the average in-ear. They do not offer headset functionality and definitely don't make a fashion statement, but that's fine with me. Indeed, the fact that nothing is done for the sake of appearances is one of the things I like best about VSonic.
Thus far, the two GR07 models are not very different from each other at all, but all of that changes with a careful listen...