So what were the soft spots of the original Velvet model back in the day? Well, there were all sorts of problems with its sound in terms of reference perspective in my opinion: Lack of mid bass, somewhat digital tonality, laid back mids and thin sounding treble. Of course there were a sheer amount of people who liked the Velvet very much, because you can’t argue about tastes. It’s fun sounding, so why not love it?
But now after 4 years, Earsonics released the Purple after the Velvet V2 and the ES-5. So is it better than those? For that all I need to say is: this is more like it. The new Purple has a much more cohesive sound with a more consistent presentation throughout with better technical capabilities. Let’s get into more detail now.
When you turn the tuning knob all the way to the left, it means your Purple is in “Tight Mode”. This mode contains the least bass quantity you can get from the IEM and provides you a flatter response compared to the other two options. It’s also the most clean sounding mode with good transparency.
Bass is generally fast and has good decay in this mode and the separation between the bass & mid sections are clean. But Purple’s tight mode is not necessarily a reference type of mode, because you still have some bass presence (event though it’s not much). What I can say is that this is as close as it can get from an Earsonics IEM in terms of reference sound.
I overall liked the bass performance of the Purple in this mode, because I think subbass and midbass balance is very nice with the tight setting. Subbass area is not overpowering, midbass is on an ideal level and the sound overall is very crisp and clean. The recovery is also very good and although the texture is not the best, the resolution of the bass is quite good.
The midbass section is very nice and this time it’s done the right way. The midbass has enough presence to feel the “tone” and timbre in the lower mid area. So I think Earsonics now fixed the midbass problem of the Velvet and there are no problems such as thin sounding mids and flawed tonality. Therefore we now have a good foundation for all the instruments and vocals. However instruments-wise things are not perfect here, as I still hear some thinness among the instruments like piano, saxophone, violin and acoustic guitar.
Mids have good resolution and they have a good presence unlike the original Velvet and also the ES-5. The transparency level is the best I’ve ever heard from Earsonics (note that I’ve never listened to the Grace and the EM10). So in this part the IEM is quite successful, but like I said there’s a problem with some instruments in certain recordings such as John Coltrane’s Untitled Original.
Treble is the part where the Purple really shines, whichever mode you choose. From the first moment I’ve put it on my ears, I knew it was special for highs. The extension, articulation and resolution all are at a high level and it was quite surprising to hear this kind of a treble quality. The treble section is very well accentuated and the overall thickness is very ideal (not thin).
It copes with fast songs nicely as well, delivering those highs without sticking them to each other. The Purple also controls this area tremendously and preventing any ear bleeding sound. I find this trait quite impressive because when you look at the overall treble presentation it’s quite apparent and sometimes even forward. But I’ve never heard any control problems with the Purple.
The standard mode aims to give the most balanced sound possible from the 5 BA drivers of the Purple. You need to set your tuning knobs in the middle to get the standard mode sound.
When you switch to the standard mode, you give more blood to the bass section as expected with a little more subbass and more apparent midbass as result. The sound becomes warmer overall because of the lift in the midbass section but it’s still pretty much balanced and the bass is not overpowering as a whole. You can smoothly choose the standard mode over tight mode if you like to have a slightly warm sound with good bass foundation.
In terms of technicalities there’s almost no change in the mid section with this mode, such as transparency, resolution and clarity. This is a strong part of the IEM though, because despite you making a change with the tuning knob, the technical success still continues. However there’s change in timbre, as the “thinness” problem I mentioned above with the tight mode almost disappears. Instead you get a fuller sound with instruments having a good tonality and thickness to give you the heart of sound. Overall like I said in the bass section you get a warmer sound but not too warm. The standard mode has a very good balance between warmness and clarity.
Treble I think is exactly the same as the tight mode but it doesn’t feel that forward, because of more warmth courtesy of more midbass and fuller mids. So again, the technical performance here is the same despite the tuning switch. You still have that good extending treble with great articulation. They’re just not that apparent because you have a more organic sound with better foundation in mids.