GEEK WOLD GK10 Review: Or how to get Bat-like hearing on the cheap

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PROS:
Clarity and resolution, X-Ray Imaging, planar like treble, well-balanced enough tonality for a hybrid, analytical yet not too aggressive, fast edgy highs attack, good transparency, crisp mids, technical sound value, nice looking-feeling cable

CONS:
Weak bass extension-attack-weight impact-resolution-accuracy, thin slightly artificial timbre, not very musical tonality, the piezo treble can dig too much background noise, soundstage feel compressed, low impedance (8ohm) means it’s sensible-capricious about the source impedance output, plastic housing feels like a contradiction from the beautiful stable wood back plate

TONALITY: 7.8/10
TECHNICALITIES: 8.8/10
CONSTRUCTION: 7.8/10

SOUND VALUE: 9/10

INTRO

GEEK WOLD is quite an obscure Chinese (?) audio company for most of us but has already launched a couple of IEM of their own, including the ultra-budget triple DD GK3 and the intriguing Geekfly GF8S TWS IEM. On their Geekfly website, they say they are a ”United States high-end audio brand”(?) with more than ”20 inventions patent”. Very elusive yet…very productive audio company!
For more….”info”, you can go check their website here:
https://geekflyaudio.com/



PACKAGING, ACCESSORIES & CONSTRUCTION

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Nothing to write about the PACKAGING presentation, it’s as minimalist as it can get. Don’t even have a proper box cover, just transparent plastic that shows the IEM wooden backplate. The Packaging cost is kept to a bare minimum as well as accessories, but at least it means we have a decent quality 4cores SPC cable, I’m not sure about its durability but can say I just got a 300$ IEM that doesn’t even have a cable of this standard. We have as well 3 pairs of silicone ear tips, a carrying false leather bag, and a 1-year warranty card.

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CONSTRUCTION is all about the beautiful heart-shaped stable wooden backplate that have rich colors nuance in harmony with wood texture. This makes all GK10 IEM unique. But the rest of the construction is made of light cheap plastic, which ruins a bit the elegancy of the whole design. Something more shiny and sturdy would have matched better the glossy stable wood design, as well, backplate should have fully covered the back so it at least hides this ugly plastic part. Anyway, this means they are very light too and quite comfortable. The 2pin connector is plastic too but well embedded in the housing. Anyway, the GK10 doesn’t seem extremely durable so don’t throw them on hard ground.



CRITICAL SOUND IMPRESSIONS—-

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TONALITY is brightish W shape to analytical neutral with mid-bass boost. The GK10 is an extremely revealing sounding IEM with x-ray like treble, mostly in a balanced way apart from some overly excited ultra high that can pick up background audio artifact. The dual piezo used really digs every micro-details they can, so if you ever wonder what the public or even a fly whisper in a live track, this is it. In terms of balance, it’s quite cohesive for an exotic hybrid of this type but their some slight treble peak, mid-bass blunt, and mids can go wonky from time to time.
The GK10 is not natural sounding earphones, the unique tonality mash up a lot of different drivers timing and timbre which can deliver sometime an overly compressed sound, saturated with audio layers, yet thin and a bit ‘’multi-boxy’’ in its rendering. The upper treble can be distracting too, really hit or miss depending on the track you play.

TECHNICALITIES are god-tier for the price even if they aren’t perfectly balanced between each other drivers in terms of timing and expansion. Transparency of mids is great. Treble attack is lighting fast. Upper highs are crisp and snappy. The resolution is super sharp. GK10 can deal with the fastest busiest track until it put you K.O with it’s an infinite amount of micro-details. But I would say it’s a bit rough and heterogeneous too. And that the dynamic drivers (bass, lower and mid mids) are darker in micro-definition than BA and dual Piezo.

The BASS is the part I struggle the most to appreciate, it does have some boosted thump but the sub-bass lack natural extension and articulation. When you hear sub-line, it feels like it’s played from a defective sub-woofer, it’s boxy with compressed rumble resonance. It can go muffled too, so it’s slower than all other drivers in there, making the attack timing feeling off. But it doesn’t hollow the mids, neither thicken them, so here it’s perhaps the bass timbre that displeases me as it feels saturated and grainy a bit.

MIDS are crisp with great transparency and separation. It’s a bit intimate and not very open. The texture is a bit rough too. Male and female vocals lack density but don’t feel recessed, just thin. Clarity is very good but not very clean. While piano note lack weight, the definition, and attack is very good, well-articulated and fast. The result is more fascinating than musical, due to lack of lushness and naturalness. It feel like listening to a serious monitor with a clinical rendering of the music.

TREBLE is the most impressive part of GK10, and it’s impossible to expect this type of resolution in sub-100$ price range. The highs are everywhere with the GK10, even when there ‘’none’’ of them the dual piezo will extract something new in your music, like extremely subtle micro-details, a door squeak or background recording hiss. In term of tone, violin does sound realist but not very bodied. Harpsichord is crisp and the piezo doesn’t struggle with the speed of attack, but natural resonance-decay-sparkle isn’t there and the result is rather dry. I can’t rave enough about the tremendous amount of details the GK10 dig, sometime it’s literally overwhelming and you need to stop what your doing due to the distraction of all these sounds info your brain must deal with. I never live this type of experience with any IEM in this price range, even the Audiosense T800 can’t dig as many ultra highs details.

TIMBRE as said isn’t natural, but it’s not disastrous. Let say it sound like…hum, it has too much treble gain and gets a bit fuzzy-saturated in texture. You know when you put high gain with sensitive IEM and harmonic distortion highen? That’s how the timbre feels too me, peaky in texture, thin in density, and boosted in dryness. It’s not a smooth, organic neither lush or warm timbre. Its the GK10 timbre, unique, and excited in energy.

SOUNDSTAGE is average wide and tall, but not very deep. It feel a bit stuck in your head too.

IMAGING is out of this world for the price. Both in layering and spatial placement. And that, even if it feel a little compressed in term of deepness and instrument separation space.


SUBJECTIVE APPRECIATION

Psycho-acoustic biases are sometimes fascinating, in the sense, when you expect something to be great technically you can tend to focus only on this aspect before going critical about tonality, timbre, and macro dynamic rendering. This is what happens to me because tonally, the GK10 was neither shouty, sibilant or particularly spiky. I was firstly extremely impressed by the complex imaging, high resolution and tremendous amount of micro-details. And I’m still am. Their no other IEM I try in sub-100$ price range that offers as sharp and precise instrument placement with an infinite amount of sound layers and micro-details. The GK10 are unapologetically analytical yet it doesn’t put all its attention in the treble section even if it’s sure has sharp highs. When something peel your music like GK10, you can somehow feel a bit distant, as if you suddenly become a sound producer analyzing its track with monitor speakers that aren’t mean to enjoy music and this is where GK10 lose me a bit, in terms of pure musical enjoyment. Its dry, serious tonality makes you listen to music as if it was a speech, not a singing. As well, the biggest drawback of GK10 being it’s bass, this isn’t the type of IEM that makes your feet tapping or head banging, in fact, the bass feels less resolved and controlled than all the rest of the spectrum, creating a bit of uneven unbalance. Simply put, for my audiophile pleasure, the GK10 will be used for the very few tracks that benefit ultra-crisp imaging and details retrieval, it’s more of a critical listening tool than a musical enjoyment one.

Sidenotes :
The GK10 doesn’t really benefit from amping but is very source sensitive, especially about output impedance due to its low impedance of 8ohm. They like a smooth clean source, like SMSL SU-9 or Xduoo X20. Surely due to it’s low impedance, it seems cable sensitive too. As well, if you can lower 16-20khz region with EQ, it will tame the hissing or ‘’noise grain artifacts’’ it overly boosts with its dual piezo ultra-high driver. A warm thick sounding source can add a bit of meat to the body and timbre, bass boost doesn’t work that well though. Ear tips do inflict on sound too, but marginally, its especially on how soundstage and imaging is perceived.



COMPARISONS——

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VS KZ ZS10PRO (1DD+4BA : 40$)

ZS10PRO is a very capable IEM for its price, but it’s technical limits are shown against the GK10. Firstly, the tonality is more bassy and V shape, the bass is warmer as well as mids but the treble is splashier and hotter. Resolution is inferior and it can’t deal as well with the busy tracks as the faster GK10.
BASS has more sub-bass extension, but more bleed too, less texture, and poorer separation. Timbre is thicker, more opaque too. MIDS are a bit more recessed and hollow, it can go a bit shouty and sibilant too comparatively to cleaner, more forwards and controlled mids of the GK10. TREBLE is less accurate and articulate, more excited too and unbalanced, cymbals go splashy and out of place while GK10 keeps them on line with other percussions. As well, GK10 dig way more micro details and extend further in upper highs. The soundstage is similar, but a hint deeper with GK10 due to cleaner bass and mids. Imaging is notably more precise and transparently layered with the GK10.
It’s evident the Geek Wold GK10 is in another league in terms of technicalities, as well as more neutral and balanced in tonality, but perhaps less fun and weighty in dynamic than ZS10PRO.


VS Hzsound Mirror (1DD:50$)

To some extent, these two offer a similar tonality that we can call crisp neutral, vivid yet not too spiky. But cohesion of a single DD is always more organic than a hybrid and here the GK10 offers a dryer, less dynamic and weighty sound.
HZ bass extends lower, is fuller, more natural and textured, way better in quality and better controlled in quantity. GK10 feel boomy and boxy compared to the natural bass response of HZ.
MIDS are wider in presence, more lively in attack and more natural in timbre but have less sounds layers and aren’t as clinically extracted, making GK10 sounding more analytical.
Highs are smoother yet more snappy-sparkly and bodied than the GK10. HZ background is cleaner, while the GK10 extract background audio artifact that stole silence purity. Overall treble is more saturated (grainy?) with sound info for GK10, making it feel compressed and lacking air compared to HZ.
While imaging is crisper with GK10, it isn’t as spacious and realistic as the HZ, as well, soundstage feel more open and less stock in your head with the HZ.
It’s hard for me to conclude if GK10 is superior to HZ in term of technicality, due to less well-controled attacks and the mix of drivers tones. While it do dig more micro-details, it sounds way more in-your-face and less refined in tonality than the HZ. Sure, a single DD can’t compete with that number of drivers when it come to the number of sound info, but the HZ being more cohesive and realistic in tonality as well as extending in both end with more flexibility, it sure offers a more enjoyable musicality that isn’t affected by bad bass response or overly emphasis upper treble.

VS SENFER DT6 (1DD+1BA+1Piezo : 20$)


The DT6 are like a fun tuned GK10, less mature and more V shape and bassy.
Bass is thicker and more boosted, have more slam and more bleed too, which translate in thicker mids. Timbre is more natural but tonal balance less lean which mean the mids are more recessed, especially female vocal feel cleaner and more forwards with GK10.
GK10 is more analytical-neutral and have more treble extension and presence. It dig more micro-details and have more edgy high. Transparency and resolution is better too.
Soundstage of DT6 is notably wider, taller and more holographic in its presentation due to denser, better sculpted sound enveloppe. Imaging feel less clean and accurate, though wider in instrument separation space.
Their no doubt GK10 is technically superior and have better tonal balance, but it’s timbre is less natural and it’s bass more muffled in the background. For me, musicality go to DT6, all the rest go to GK10.

CONCLUSION

The Geek Wold GK10 stand above the crowd in term of analytical technicalities and put to shame any effort done by KZ, CCA and TRN in that regard alone. Their just no other IEM in it’s price range that can offer as revealing listen that can pick up a tremendous amount of micro-details and sounds layers. The treble reaches very far too, so much so that it make the GK10 very unforgiven of any background audio artifact of alot of tracks, not just bad recording. Unlike other hybrids in it’s price range, the GK10 avoids dangerous unbalance that would create sibilance, shouting, or intensely harsh treble spike. But this is to the cost of dynamic weight and natural timbre as well as bass impact.
If you favor technicalities over musicality and search for the cheapest IEM that can near reach Planar resolution and attack speed, i’m pretty confident to suggest you the Gk10.
50$ isn’t expensive for getting bat ears!

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PS: I wanna thanks HIFIGO for sending me the GK10 after my request 2 months ago. As always, i’m a 100% free-of-mind audio reviewer with no official affiliation.
You can buy the GeekWold GK10 on their Amazon store here:
https://www.amazon.com/Earbuds-Earphones-Monitor-Piezoelectric-Audiophile/dp/B099K92JQP

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