This week we reviewed the Earsonics Purple earphones, a high-end model at €1190 that features 5 drivers per earpiece, is entirely made in France, and features settings allowing you to customize restitution.
Earsonics Purple: the brand
Founded in 2007 by Franck Lopez, a professional musician and sound engineer, Earsonics is a French brand that enjoys worldwide success. Initially, the brand was a pioneer in the production of hearing protection products such as the Earsonics Earpad Universel earbuds, a patented model with an integrated loudness corrector. Earsonics then used its expertise to answer the needs of audio professionals, becoming the first French designer and manufacturer of custom in-ear monitors. Earsonics earphones are used on stage by renowned artists such as Charlie Winston, Bernard Lavilliers, Renaud, Jean-Louis Aubert, Johnny Hallyday, David Guetta, Julien Clerc, IAM, Indochine… Earsonics has extended this range to cover the audiophile and consumer markets. It now includes a slew of different models: the Earsonics ES2, Earsonics Velvet V2, Earsonics ES5, Earsonics S-EM6 V2, Earsonics Grace and the latest addition, the Earsonics Purple.
Earsonics Purple: design
Like all of the brand’s products, the Earsonics Purple earphones are 100% Made in France. They use a nozzle with Truewave technology to optimize phase control. This nozzle is attached to an EVS (Ergonomic Versatile Shell) shell composed of two parts created using a highly complex mold.
Each shell incorporates a proprietary two-pin connector to connect the removable 3.5 mm mini jack cable of the Earsonics Purple in-ear headphones. The latter features twisted conductors, the upper part of which is coated with a shape memory polymer that fits around the ear perfectly and retains the curvature of the user’s ear so they are easier to put on and so that they stay in place. However, this cable could have had a more sophisticated design to be on par with the Purples. Its external sleeve and angled jack connector are made from a rather fragile plastic that isn’t ideal for blocking out interference.
Identical to the Velvet V2s, each Earsonics Purple earpiece features a potentiometer in the form of a screw that lets you alter tonal balance using three positions (cold, normal and warm), as well as adjust the impedance from 25 to 45 Ohms. Thanks to their ability to change their sound signature and color, the Earsonics Purple earphones can be easily adapted to match the various smartphones and DAPs on the market.
Inside the EVS shell, each Earsonics Purple earpiece has no less than five transducers: one to reproduce low frequencies, one for high frequencies and two for the mids that are loaded in a bass-reflex enclosure. They are complemented by a 3-way filter that distributes the different frequencies to each dedicated transducer. Thanks to this configuration, the Purples boast a wide frequency range from 10Hz to 20kHz and a sensitivity rating of 127dB.
Earsonics Purple: listening impressions
For our review of the Earsonics Purple earphones, we initially paired them with the Encore mDSD USB DAC connected to a Mac computer to listen to Hi-Res files (24-bit/96Hz and 24-bit/192kHz) via a Qobuz Sublime subscription. The Earsonics Purple in-ear headphones are instantly captivating thanks to their excellent handling of the entire frequency range. With America’s A Horse With No Name, the tone of Dewey Bunnell’s voice was perfectly highlighted and placed at the center of the soundstage. The notes of the acoustic guitars that accompany the vocals were exceptionally smooth, and each microvariation was precisely reproduced. With Jamiroquai’s Summer Girl, the Purples delivered surprisingly intense lows. Although deep and powerful, the bass never overshadowed the vocals or the other instruments. The Purples’ high sensitivity ensures a powerful and dynamic sound delivery, even at low volume. Better still, we found ourselves turning the sound up to reveal the many subtleties that were hidden in music that we had listened to many times before.
The Earsonics Purple in-ear headphones are instantly captivating with their excellent handling of the entire frequency range.
Still using the Encore mDSD USB DAC with Hi-Res files, we then analyzed the impact of the tone settings. With Ibrahim Maalouf’s True Story and the potentiometer set to “warm”, we noticed a slight amplification of the French musician’s trumpet, which was restituted more smoothly and with more warmth. The opposite setting was slightly drier.
Lastly, Clément from Son-Vidéo.com Nantes tested the Earsonic Purple in-ear headphones with the iBasso DX120 DAP in DAC mode and connected to a computer. Here are his listening impressions: “The foam tips ensure excellent acoustic insulation and provide a listening experience that is completely free of any noise. With Deftones’ Minerva in lossless format (FLAC 24-bit/96kHz) and Yob’s Beauty in Falling Leaves in CD quality (WAV 16-bit/44.1kHz), two tracks where the subtleties of the guitar playing can quickly get lost if the restitution lacks rigour, the experience was particularly immersive. The soundstage was spacious, each instrument was precisely restituted, and we were able to hear exactly what the artists wanted to create. The Earsonics Purple earphones never tried to embellish the music or emphasize a particular frequency range. The work of the artists and sound engineers was appropriately showcased, and we found ourselves gradually turning the volume up to fully enjoy what the earphones had to offer. However, these in-ear headphones will be merciless with lower quality recordings, which is a trait of audiophile-grade components. With the album You’re Living All Over by Dinosaur Jr. in MP3 quality (320 kbps), we found the same spacious soundstage mentioned above, but all of the flaws present in the original recording were also restituted and the highs were so aggressive that we found ourselves dreading each guitar solo.
We were able to hear exactly what the artists wanted to create.
The sound signature adjustments are a plus, and are noticeable in the grain of the guitar and the impact of the bass drum, which sound warmer or drier depending on the chosen setting.”
Earsonics Purple: compared to…
Shure SE846: the most interesting feature of the Shure SE846 earphones is their ability to produce deep lows, but the Purples can dive even lower and provide a soundstage that is more balanced overall.
Earsonics Grace: with a total of 20 transducers, the Earsonics Grace ensure ultimate precision. Immersion is also slightly superior with the Graces.
Earsonics Purple: conclusion
The Earsonics Purples are clearly meant for audiophiles looking for a pair of in-ear headphones that faithfully reproduce music and do their job flawlessly. Whether you listen to rock, pop, jazz, metal or any other kind of music, the Earsonic Purples reproduce each instrument with a great deal of precision and provide a soundstage bursting with details. Icing on the cake: the tone settings and their high sensitivity rating mean that they can be easily paired with any source featuring a headphone output. That said, it is recommended to use quality audio files as the Purples’ extreme precision will highlight the flaws of low quality file.
What we liked:
- The comfort.
- The tonal accuracy.
- The gain settings.
What we would have liked:
- A higher-quality cable.