The VSonic GR07 and GR07 Bass Edition Page 2

VSonic_GR07_Photo_joker

Sound
The original GR07 grew in popularity quickly, being one of the few higher-end dynamic-driver earphones to pursue a balanced sound when it was released. The tuning provides a slight bass bump—nothing drastic, but enough for the earphones to sound fuller and more impactful compared to most single- and dual-armature sets, such as the Etymotic Research ER4 and the Ultimate Ears 700. The bass can still be considered accurate, however, and is tight and well-extended. The midrange is free of bass bleed but not at all forward. The tone is fairly neutral—the bass emphasis provided by the GR07 doesn't quite give the earphone the warmth and thickness of many of its competitors.

The treble is nice and present as well—in fact, one of the GR07's strengths is how well it covers the entire frequency spectrum. The top end does give one thing to complain about—a mildly uneven response that results in a slightly hot, at times sibilant, sound. This is rarely an issue at low to moderate listening volumes, except on records already prone to sibilance, but the GR07 is clearly not for the treble-sensitive.

The presentation of the GR07 is competent, with a wide soundstage and good stereo imaging. Compared to higher-end sets such as the Ultimate Ears 900 and most of my custom-fit in-ears, the presentation of the GR07 lacks some depth and layering, but it still sounds clean and uncongested. Plus, as with the Philips Fidelio S1 and S2 earphones, the dynamic-driver GR07 is a consistent performer across different sources, including smartphones.

As for the GR07 Bass Edition, its sound is quite close to the vanilla version but provides a weightier low end for a fuller, more impactful bass presentation. The disparity is only a few decibels, so the Bass Edition still won't do for proper bassheads. Other differences between the two earphones mostly stem from the more prominent bass of the GR07 BE. Especially noticeable is that the extra bass makes the mids sound a touch more recessed on the BE compared to the more balanced GR07.

The top end of the Bass Edition is very similar to my old GR07 except a touch less prone to sibilance, which is said to be the case for the newer GR07 mkII as well. The treble is still not as smooth as, for example, that of the Philips Fidelio S1 and S2 earphones, but it's tolerable. The presentation, likewise, is largely unchanged compared to the original GR07, boasting good width and average depth for a spacious sound that lacks a bit in the way of layering compared to some higher-end earphones.

Wrap-up
VSonic's flagship dynamic-driver earphones deliver some of the most versatile sound on the market courtesy of their 11mm bio-cellulose transducers. The GR07 model offers good balance and presence across the spectrum, while the GR07 Bass Edition is more consumer-friendly without devolving into a bass monster.

These two earphones are undoubtedly important, and easily worthy of recommendation, but are also interesting as a milestone both for dynamic-driver earphones in general and for their manufacturer. Having kept track of VSonic's direction over the past several years, it is clear that the company has an interest in reaching the top of the food chain, and the know-how to do so. Their products have been consistently impressive in terms of value for money, and if the company markets itself properly outside of China, I believe it will help shape the earphone landscape in the coming years. Personally, I am waiting with baited breath to see what they come up with next...and loving my two GR07s in the meantime.

Resources
VSonic home page and GR07 product page.
VSonic GR07 appreciation thread on Head-Fi.
VSonic GR07 Bass Edition thread on Head-Fi.

COMPANY INFO
VSonic
Shennan Garden A-27F
Shenzhen High and new technology Industry Park
service@vsonic.com.cn
86-0755-2650 0686
ARTICLE CONTENTS

COMMENTS
Argyris's picture

Nice to see this writeup here. I noticed that the charts for these were added to the measurements library a while ago and figured it was only a matter of time until they got a proper article.

I'm intrigued by how most of the measurements fail to highlight an obvious culprit for that sibilance issue. The 300 Hz square wave's top is relatively clean, and there's only a mild peak between 5-6 kHz in the response curve. The ringy impulse measurement indicates peakiness, but the other results aren't consistent with this. Weird.

ljokerl's picture

I am not sure why the measurements don't indicate it more clearly but the issue does seem to be in the 6k range - the slight peak there is even audible in sweeps. Perhaps a time-decay plot would be more useful in visualizing what's happening.  

It's really the only major thing holding the VSonics from ranking up with my favorite universals rather than just being an excellent sub-$200 buy, and of course how bothersome it is will depend on the listener. 

doublea71's picture

I've had these for about a year and a half and I think they're wall of fame material except they seem to have cable issues with a lot of owners. Mine started dropping out on the left side if the cable was nudged near the plug and it only got worse. However, I like these so much, I sent them off to Brian at BTG Audio and he re-cabled them quite nicely. If anybody can't bear to part with theirs, he's the guy to talk to.

thegunner's picture

I think they're close to wall of fame material, but not quite up there yet. As noted, the uneven treble can be harsh and sibiliant depending on the track. I also had problems with the cable and had them recabled by btg-audio. Still though, they're an amazing pair of IEMs for their price, SQ and ergonomics.

ljokerl's picture

While I am a long-time fan of the GR07s, I think they are a little too close in signature and performance to the Philips Fidelios that are on the Wall of Fame already. Usability-wise the GR07 wins, hands-down, and I slightly prefer its sound as well, but I have plans to put a different VSonic product on the WoF in the future. 

Tyll Hertsens's picture

Nice!

Long time listener's picture

I'm surprised that everyone seems to think sibilance isn't indicated by the measurements. The reviewer commented on the slightly "hot" treble and a trace of sibilance. The slight peaks around 5-6Kz--at the top of the "presence" region, where the ear is most sensitive (roughly 2-5 Kz), and in the lower treble--will obviously result in a slightly "hot" sounding treble, which will accentuate whatever tendency toward sibilance there may be. Whether this will be objectionable depends on the size of the peak and other factors, including distortion levels in that region, but for myself, when I see this in a measurement it makes me hesitate.

AstralStorm's picture

Ringy impulse response can also be caused by actual ringing. One that might not be visible in frequency response, but is there in CSDs.

GR07 has plenty ringing around 6-7k and small ring near 12-13k from what I hear. It's likely caused by the shell design. It's not just hotness - other IEMs with peaks there, e.g. Brainwavz B2, don't have anywhere near to as much of an issue.

markanini's picture

Where have you been all my life? I'm owning these for one month now and I love them to death. Finally a pair of IEMs with a reference sound that's useful for audio production. I use DRC on my studio monitors with a Harman/JBL house curve and the translatability is flawless! Why arent these on the hall of fame? The sibilance issue is only apparent on really really bad recordings.

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