- Lush bassy W shape sound
- Beautifull vocal
- Natural timbre
- Very wide and enveloping soundstage
- Average imaging and clarity
- Average bass separation
- Inferior construction than VS7 metal version
- Poor packaging and accessories
NO BS RECOMMENDED!
VSONIC are in the audio industry since 1980, they are one of the first serious Chinese earphones company to produce great sounding budget earphones and they always follow their own path, without compromise, with a unique vision for housing design as well as an obsessive passion about the potential of dynamic drivers.
The legendary Vsonic GR07 put this company on audiophile radar since at least 5 years now and they are now a well respected brand that inspire trust when it come to sound quality.
After a rather long hiatus where they mostly launch different style of their best selling GR07, Vsonic finally come with an all new earphones serie call the VS.
From what I know, this series have 3 models coming in different housing material which is the VS3 and VS7 I review before and the flagship VS9 I will review here.
Priced at 300$, the Vsonic VS9 is the more expensive Vsonic earphones ever made. Still, the information about type of driver are rather elusive. They even call it themselves ‘’new mysterious driver’’. Other info about it is rather similar to the VS7, which have a 11mm composite diaphragm dynamic driver as well. As we can see trough the front housing of both VS7 and VS9, I can confirm they aren’t the same looking, VS9 having a different type of metal grill above the diaphragm.
As well, Vsonic stated to burn-in for 100H the VS9, wich I do. Now let’s see in this review if it’s a worthy upgrade from the nice VS7.
DISCLAIMER: I wanna thanks LEND ME UR EARS for giving me the chance of reviewing whole Vsonic VS serie by sending me free reviews sample. I’m neither affiliated or paid by them to promote their product. As an independant reviewer, I only share my unbiased subjective hearing impressions here. As always, price value is objectively reviewed too.
INFO & SPECS:
VS9 Iceberg Series — flagship IEM.
New Mysterious Diaphragm.
Aluminum-magnesium alloy, Built by pure CNC technology.
24Ω ,Better representation of tone quality.
99.99% sterling silver cable
with 2 Pin 0.78mm Connector Detachable Cable
Humanized Auricle Structure Design
Conforms to principle of ergonomics to make each earphone more fitting to ears and have more comfortable enjoyment of music.
* After 100 hours burn-in, VS9 (with dynamic driver, composite diaphragm) will have better sound quality.
Driver: 11mm (CCAW High dynamic Drive units)
Rated impedance: 24Ω ± 10% ( at 1000Hz )
Diaphragm:Internal number “DBL ”
Sensitivity: 109 ±3 dB /mW (at 500 Hz, 1mW 20μpa )
Frequency range: 10Hz-28,000Hz
Distortion: ≤ 2% ( at500Hz 1/3oct 94dB 20μpa )
Rated input Power: 10mW
Maximum input power:30mW
Plug size: 3.5mm Gold plating dual-track plug
ACCESSORIES, CONSTRUCTION & DESIGN:
UNBOXING from the nice and unique cylinder box is a very pleasant one. And an handy one too as you will not struggle to open the package like with some other (too) boxed product. Its like a Pringles box, you pop it up open and enjoy the audiophile snack! What you have with all VS model is the same whole package that include 3 pairs of silicone ear tips, a basic earphones pouch and good quality 4 cores silver plated cable. Just enough, but one or two pair of foam ear tips would have been welcome as well as a more serious carrying case. Unlike VS7 or VS3, I admit I feel a little underwhelmed by both packaging and included accessories for a flagship earphones selling at 300$.
CONSTRUCTION is a mix of the two VS7 version, one was all thick translucent plastic while the other was all thick anodize alloy, so with the VS9 we have half plastic half metal construction. I think Vsonic choose this type of construction to show the very big fancy dynamic driver that differ from the VS7 version, which is sure impressive to contemplate. As well, the weight is rather light for an earphones with big housing. At this price range, it’s neither impressive or underwhelming construction, but i feel an all metal body would perhaps be more appropriate as it feel more robust and resistant. The cable too is the same than VS7, and as stated before, I’m not a big fan of this cable.
CABLE isn’t the best one, and this is due to multiple reasons. Firstly the ear-hook is intensely thigh which can create long term discomfort. The solution to this issue is to get rid of ear-hook. 2Pin connection is thigher than with VS3 model, so its more secure, but it still feel a little loose. As well, the cable separation is wide and do not have cable slider, this is very annoying. Honestly: I just don’t use the stock cable at all.
DESIGN look like a polished comet or a precious rock from other space. For a single dynamic driver, housing is on the big side but the universal custom organic shape is really well done and offer high level of fitting comfort. Nozzle is quite long with an angle that make it easier to stay still in ear. As said, the ear hook being quite thigh can be problematic for big ears but its easy to solve by taking off rubber around cable hook. If you search for ultra small iem that you can sleep on, the VS serie isn’t for you, otherwise the housing design is well done.
ISOLATION is above average, higher than plastic VS7 but inferior to the all metal version. When I listen music in subway, i do not hear anything else than music. Sound leakage is near inexistant due to back metal plate as well as venting hole being in front part of housing.
DRIVEABILITY is quite easy, with 24ohm of impedance and rather high 109db sensitivity, the VS9 will be drive at full potential with about anything.
Overall appreciation is a love at first sight (from my ears not my eyes) even if at first I find the VS9 sound quite similar to VS7: the sound stage was very wide, the bass was well extended and punchy, the mids was clear and treble sound both natural and enough detailed. More I listen to it, more i discover the difference wasn’t minimal, sure we talk about nuance, but their plenty of them that are different not just timbre for example. Bass is very weighty, super bodied with great control that gently embrace lower mids, biggest difference is in term of vocal, wich are thick, forwards, with enlighten presence, these lush vocal is most likely what hook me first. While the lush thick sound of VS9 is on the warm side, it still deliver a revealing listen with it’s organic layering and natural transient response. The tuning is very well done, very smooth yet muscular and lively, no harsh peak anywhere, no artificial flavor, its superbly balanced and soft in musicality with extra highs sparkle.
SOUNDSTAGE is very wide, tall, airy and out of your head. Not particularly 3D like because of a little lack of deepness, so your in front of your music band, not in the middle of it.
IMAGING is enough okay and natural, thanks to thick timbre that isn’t too opaque or grainy, the good level of transparency permit an appealing mix of fluid layering and stereo spaciality.
CLARITY is good, not mind blowing at all, it isn’t the goal of VS9 to offer clinical clarity. Sometime we have high definition and resolution that impress at first but tend to be less musical or more artificial. VS9 do not give you bat ears, but romantic music lover one.
TIMBRE explain why we don’t have highly detailed and resolve sound with VS9. It’s thick, smooth, natural, rightly textured enough to permit an appealing transparency. It make sound flow in a syrupy fluidity.
BASS is a luscious pleasure, it’s more elevated in lower mid bass and upper sub region, impact of slam is thick and weighty, rather lazy and it gently warm higher bass so the punch feel beefier that it really is. Even if a little slow, it do not veil the mid range, and bass bleed is keeped minimal surely due to a little dip in lower mid range. Texture and definition is soft and polished, not very detailed, for slap bass or acoustic bass this can be an issue but for synth bass, sub bass, cello and toms it’s quite enjoyable. As said, their serious bump from around 50-200hz region (i have no graph and their no graph anywhere of VS9 so this isn’t factual, it’s my hearing telling this), this do make the bass slightly boomy, but in a refined way, in a near bass-head kinda of way. Warm is the sound of VS9 until upper mid range where it begin to get sharper.
MID RANGE is lush and very present, while it’s forwarded, it do not sound aggressive or forced, the bass do caress lower mids in a sensual way. Clarity of mid range is average at best, you will not have ultra clear imaging with the VS9, but as timbre is enough transparent you have good layering that permit a natural sound flow. Piano sound weighty but the attack is softer in lower and mid mids than upper mids where it’s more snappy. Transient response is above average for a single DD, but still show it’s limit in very busy track, while it will not sound overly congested it will lack accuracy in instrument separation and attack. Now, the Vocal, those are excellent and among the best in sub-300$ to my ears. Female singer like Hope Sandoval have full bodied presence, no harshness, the presentation is wide and enveloping and take first stage unlike more centered intimate vocal presentation of more neutral iem. It’s not the type of super analytical vocal where you will hear lips moving and other micro details, its warm, lush, with rather thick transparency and soft edge to definition. Acoustic guitar sound better than electric guitar, Violin sound fuller than piano, Saxophone and wind instrument do very well too.
TREBLE isn’t flat tough it can feel it is until you hear the percussion brilliance and sparkle that sound very natural and full. We have smooth bump in lower treble and perhaps a more serious curvy peak in higher after a dip in mid treble (again, no graph here). So, the VS9 have this very addictive sound we can describe as W shape, the highs are crisp and sparkly but in a smooth way, still, it’s never splashy or too crunchy, and to me this is how good musical treble should sound. Not forced but enough revealing and lively. Cymbals extension is natural and quite long, while it’s stay in the back of music as it should, its very clear and easy to hear. One way to know if treble is well extended is playing solo Harpsichord music, and let me tell you Pierre Hantai ‘’Bach Goldberg Variation’’ sound great with those, it just have the perfect balance of crispness and fullness with good natural decay. Unlike too treble iem, it do not sound metallic or too aggressive, this is how i discover the VS9 treble.
SUB BASS: 8/10
MID BASS: 7.5/10
MID RANGE: 9/10
VS VSONIC VS7 (130$):
Let’s begin by saying the VS7 cost less than half the price of VS9 and biggest difference in term of sound is about sub bass, lower mid range and timbre. The upgrade in sound do exist but is very subtle and do not really justify that much of a price jump.
But let’s say too that i personally prefer lusher, fuller and slightly warmer sound of VS9.
SOUNDSTAGE is wider with VS9 while it have more deepness with VS7, which is evident when bass occur in music and give more airiness to VS7. IMAGING have better resolution with the VS7, but it’s mostly because of thicker timbre of VS9. BASS is fuller, beefier with VS9, it have more rumble and weight and better control, here VS7 feel a little sloppier as well as more tamed. The bass of VS9 is very addictive and even if little more juicy than flatter VS7, it sound more natural. MID RANGE is where the VS9 excel as it sound more forwards but have fuller vocal presence too, timbre is lusher, thicker, but keep good layering while the VS7 is very clear, transparent but with rather thin sounding vocal that do not caught your attention like the VS9 do. TREBLE is crisper in upper region with VS7, which offer more sparkly decay to percussion but make it sound a little more unbalanced than VS9. Highs of VS9 are more crunchy and textured and on line with rest of audio spectrum (aka not push forwards), while VS7 is more flat in nature until this treble emphasis that offer higher level of clarity and enlighten highs definition over mid range definition.
All in all, VS7 is more neutral sounding, airy and detailed while the VS9 have more sub bass and lusher mids with mesmerizing vocal performance.
VS UFOEARS UFO-112 (360$):
SOUNDSTAGE is wider and taller with the VS9, while the more intimate UFO have extra deepnest to it. IMAGING is sharper with UFO, but have a more intimate presentation which make instrument sound nearer to each other than VS9. TONALITY of VS9 is warmer and more natural, while UFO is a little dry and cold. TIMBRE is thicker and more opaque with the VS9, UFO is more textured, transparent and thinner. BASS have more rumble and slam, its weightier and thicker with VS9, we have more sub bass quantity too while the UFO is flatter, dryer, more textured and less weighty. MID RANGE is fuller sounding with VS9, vocal have great wide presence while they are very centered and intimate with the UFO which permit clearer separation but in a sometime unbalanced way that give a clinical and sometime artificial musicality. TREBLE have more emphasis in lower highs with the UFO, while the VS9 extend further in a smooth way, highs have more sparkle-decay with VS9 and dig more micro details, without making it feel unbalanced or too forwards. UFO in other end have thin highs that lack decay, making acoustic guitar sounding dull.
ALL in all, VS9 is slightly more U shape with lusher mids and highs and a more balanced tuning, giving a natural musicality compared to colder, thinner and more unbalanced UFO.
VS AUDIOSENSE T800 (300$):
Here, let’s see how a great single 11mm dynamic driver from Vsonic can compete against 8 great balanced armature. The result might be surprising cause VS9 sound incredibly revealing and balanced.
Now, for construction, I give the hand to T800 with is invincible resin body, but in term of comfort the VS9 is smaller and fit perfectly my ears, which isn’t the case with big chunky T800.
SOUNDSTAGE is slightly wider with the VS9 but lack the holographic spaciality of T800 as well as its deepness and tallness. IMAGING is more precise and dynamic with the T800, instrument separation have more space between them. BASS is weightier and more chunky-thicker with the T800, while the VS9 have better control and more balanced lower end with better transparency but less thumping impact, i think T800 bass is more boomier as well. MID RANGE is more detailed and richer with the T800 but have more recessed vocal especially when big bass occur, which do not happen with the VS9 that have some upper mids emphasis that can sometime create near audible sibilance but tend to make female vocal lusher than T800, still, mid range is more rich in layers with T800 which make him more revealing with multiple instrument playing at same time, compared to the VS9 that will mix them together, T800 will keep them all alive in their singularities. TREBLE is more extended with T800, giving more highs sparkle, more micro details, clearer percussion that can sometime can feel to forwards whileVS9 have a touch more natural cohesion but darker treble compared to vivid T800.
All in all, this was rather a fair fight, both advantage and disadvantage of dynamic vs BA being shown, still, the VS9 sound less spectacular and immersive than T800.
It’s a sincere pleasure to see the comeback of Vsonic, and with all the experience in audio tuning in their sleeve they sure do a great job with whole VS series. All models have slight difference in tonality and timbre but offer enormous soundstage.
While I consider that the best price value go to the VS7 model which offer tremendous sound performance as well as same accessories as VS9, I can’t lie about the fact my favorite model in term of sound alone is the flagship model.
But do this worth to pay more than 2 times the price of VS7? Simple answer would be: No. As well, who know, perhaps you would prefer clearer, deeper more airy and V shape sound of VS7. Still, if money isn’t an issue for you and you want to buy the more natural sounding and balanced Vsonic iem, the lush VS9 might be the one to choose.
Again, there so much offering in sub-300$ price range nowadays that the VS9 do not feel very competitive in term of price value, the lack of extra accessories, the rather unserious box presentation as well as the average imaging and clarity make it less interesting for people that search a budget end game or reference iem.
Still, if you are an audiophile that search for natural sound with lush vocal, warm weighty bass and enormous immersive soundstage, the VS9 will sure be your guilty pleasure with its smooth revealing musicality. For me, it’s the best Vsonic earphones I test yet and among the best single dynamic driver I heard.