Step five – Stepping into unknown territory and never wanting to leave again
“Customs are the thing”, that’s what Lieven has told me since day one. I did expect a lot from them. Perfect seal. Perfect fit. Perfect comfort. Perfect build. Check. Check. Check and check! The build quality of these little gems is nothing short of outstanding. The design, so amazing I find myself often just looking at them. The most important thing though is sound. And boy it is good. I won’t go into detail, since Nathan has done that in his review already. The K10’s are musically engaging and thrilling, plus feature a great body. They show you how good every track can sound and they let you know all the details of your favorite song. It didn’t just happen once that I almost missed my stop because I lost track of time. It didn’t just happen once that I stared into the emptiness because I was too focused on the magnificent sound in my ears. Not only once did I just look at my screen, moving the mouse around clicking on random stuff without noticing. The Kaiser 10 is the most impressive earphone, heck, headphone, I have heard. It grabs your attention with the first notes that go through, and until you stop, it won’t let go of it.
I am listening to a variety of genres and I just can’t seem to tell if the Kaiser favours a specific one. Everything just sounds right. Everything gets more fun to listen to with the Kaiser. I have been in love with this hobby for many years now, but the custom K10 managed to renew my love and even let it grow. I have mainly been using my AK380 but on some occasions I also took out my all-time favourite amp, the Continental Dual Mono. I run it fully balanced (as it was intended to be used in my opinion) and enjoy even fuller mids and lush tubey smoothness. Of course the K10 does not need to be amped, but from time to time it is nice to listen to a good tube amp with them.
To top all that, the fact that I can listen to much lower volumes when I’m out and about makes me enjoy this hobby on a completely new level! It is incredible what a custom is able to do. One time my girlfriend was sewing with her machine right next to me, and all I heard was the soothing sound of my beloved K10’s. Once I took out the vacuum cleaner, sucked up dirt at full speed, and still, all I heard was music. I say goodbye to a noisy environment when I’m on my way home from work, I wave to all the sirens, crying children and barking dogs when I pass them, because I can’t hear them! I will not look back at fiddling with silicone or foam ear tips to find the right combination for the best sound. I welcome the pure pleasure that comes from this masterpiece of an in ear monitor with open arms. After just a few days it was clear to me, this was the best purchase since I started this journey. The best decision I have made in my audiophile life.
The experience you get from a custom in ear is something truly spectacular. A friend of mine said to me, once you have one you will never want anything else again. Well, guess he’s right. I am fortunate enough to being able to try out some of the best in ears available. But none will offer you what a custom does. Lately I have heard one of those in ears that’s supposed to kick everyone’s butt, it does sound remarkable, that’s for sure, but in the end I always go back to my custom K10 because to me the sound is more convincing. The fit is above top notch, the seal is brilliant and the comfort is unbeatable.
You can call yourself the biggest headphone enthusiast, a guru, a messiah of sound, everything you want and you can have the most impressive collection of head- and earphones, but if there is no custom in ear monitor in your inventory, you are missing out on something stellar. I guarantee you will never get the same feeling from a universal. You will not have experienced the completeness until you had a CIEM in your ear.
I encourage everyone who’s still on the fence of getting a custom to do it. You won’t regret a single second of it! You will get the maximum of everything: fit, comfort, build, isolation and most important, sound. If you’re like me, and your laziness has kept you back, stop that. It is not worth it and it’s stupid. Be a bumblebee. Do the impossible and get up.
If you’re near London, and are looking for the best possible customer service you can get, check out Aid2Hearing. Gisele offers a broad selection of brands, I have seen on her Facebook page that she even has the new Kaiser Encore in demo. So please check it out, and tell me what you think of it. I was told by many that she is also one of the go to persons if you’re looking for impressions. She’s recommended by Noble (of course, right?), Custom Art, Cosmic Ears, 64 Ears, JH Audio and Ultimate Ears. That’s quite a reputation.
When I was still in the deciding process I told Lieven that I wanted to go all the way, that I wanted to do it once and be done with it. He said he wouldn’t dare make such a statement and I see why. Unfortunately. I fear this is just the beginning. The beginning of the next chapter in my audiophile book. I have caught the virus and after reading some of the first impressions of the new Encore, I must say, I am tempted. The K10’s convincing sound plus added sense of air and bigger soundstage? Encore, you have my attention. But I don’t have anything left to sell to afford them, except for bodily fluids and a damaged kidney. Anybody need one? Come on help a brother out!