Phonak Audeo PFE 232 Measurements

Compensated frequency response plot shows a headphone with a warm tilt up to about 5kHz with a modest bump at 10kHz, which is typical, and a peak at about 15kHz which is not usual. I would expect the overall impression as being a "U" shaped response, which is what ljokerl heard.

30Hz square wave shows good linearity of the top of the waveform indicating a tight bass response, as does the low distortion figures in the THD+noise low frequencies. ljokerl echos this impression in his listening tests. The "humped up" nature of the beginning of the 30Hz square wave typically indicates a punchy, impactive midrange.

300Hz square wave shows the leading edge of the square wave going negative initially, which indicates the high frequency driver is out of phase with the low frequency driver. This is not necessarily a bad thing depending on the nature of the cross-over network. This is similar to the competitively priced Shure SE535 300kHz response in that regard. This initial edge response appears to be quite quick, which would indicate an airy high treble. The subsequent rising slope of the waveform top would tend to indicate the treble transitioning to a stronger mid-range response.

THD+noise response shows low distortion throughout. The slight bump at 600Hz appears to be in the cross-over region and may be related to the hand-off between the two drivers. The 100dB plot essentially overlays the 90dB plot indicating fairly good power handling. These headphones should play loud cleanly.

The impulse response appears a bit troublesome with significant high-frequency (about 14kHz) ringing. I suspect this is actually one of the ear canal resonances and may be nothing to worry about, but I'm surprised to see it ring for so long.

The isolation looks fairly good at -36dB. ljokerl expressed average isolation, but measurements seem better than average.

The impedance plot shows a typically 40 Ohm headphone, but, typical of balanced armature in-ear phones, has a significant dip to 15 Ohms at 10kHz, which may cause some interaction between portable player and cell/smartphone output amps. The efficiency is quite low for an in-ear monitor needing 65mVrms to achieve 90dBspl. However, I had no problems reaching solid listening levels on my Galaxy Nexus and iPhone3.

Despite these cans being a bit on the bright side for my personal listening tastes, I found them very engaging and enjoyable, and think people with a taste for fast sounding phones would enjoy them. My impressions seem to gel with ljokerl's fairly well.

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13mh13's picture

"-at $599, the PFE 232 is at least three times dearer than its predecessor, and those looking for a balanced sound signature are better off with the $169 model anyway."

So ... at that $$, might as well wait for the Senn IE800, putatively being released in few  mos. 

Okay, can I go back to defecating, now?

(picture removed. Too big. Keep it under 600 wide. Tyll)

.....aahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tyll, add that to your rose garden. Who says shit HAS to stink?

|joker|, please don't forget  to add kitty-litter to your shopping list.

John Grandberg's picture

Because I have no idea what is being said. 

13mh13's picture

Here you go ...

 MEOW ... translate : "What a crappy day THIS was ELEVEN years ago!" 

ultrabike's picture

Dunno about the IE800... The linky you provided says it's £599 ~ $960... And not sure how it will sound either as lately $$$ IEMs don't always give you quality sound for the money.

Haven't heard the PFE 232, but one problem I had with my PFE112 (aka PFE 121 in black and minus the controls) was that it could come across bright with certain songs, which may still be a problem with the 232. It may be the peak from 7kHz - 10kHz shown in the compensated FR curves:

On the plus side, from the FR plots, the bass is also more pronounced and deep on the 232 than in the 112 which is a good thing ... I think... I always felt the 112 where somewhat bass lean (though undistorted).

From the article I get it is a good cute tip (i.e. not necessarily cat dung), but may be not on par to the quality for your money ratio that you get from a PFE1xx... I guess.

ljokerl's picture

The PFE 232 retains most of the treble intensity of the 112/121. Personally I've always preferred Etymotic's BAs when it comes to treble. The bass quantity of the PFE 232 is increased significantly over the 1** PFEs.

wilzc's picture

So you've also had a taste of the VSonic GR07???!!

These are my all time fav recommendations to others!!!

What do you think of them?!?!?

ljokerl's picture

but I did review the GR07 in my long head-fi thread: multi-iem-review. I'll see if we can get them measured in the near future.

wilzc's picture

Was replying to Tyll

Your review of the GR07 was great.

But I think Tyll's aural preferences/tastes are more  aligned with mine.

One has to take to account the slight 'reviewers bias' don't we?  spite of how neutral one tries to be :P



Alondite's picture

The GR07 (preferably the original Mk. I model) is the headphone I want to see measured more than any other in the world. I have an idea of what I think it would look like on paper, but I really want to know if it measures as good as I think it sounds.

I do agree that it sounds wonderful, and is not only my go-to IEM, but generally my go-to headphone period. 

13mh13's picture

WTF ever happened to the much-touted Cardas IEM project, anyway?

ultrabike's picture

You need to be more "Irrational but Efficacious" dude...

That said, the latest scoop on Cardas stuff might be found here:

And ah... errr... "your are welcome to your uninformed opinion" cheeky (

13mh13's picture

CONFUSED  ... In none of your provided links are there immediate answers to my query. Why post such unresearched links ... uh ... "dude" ... "cheeky"?

ultrabike's picture

LOL!!! I'm being sarcastic. I'm not a Cardas fan...

As far as your query, I can narrow it down a bit... This is the last official post about them AFAIK:

Lawk's picture

I would like more video reviews :( Last one must have been the Noontec....