Here are some selected comparisons before the conclusion:
These two are actually quite similar, sounding thin but with good sound-stage, resolution and transparency. The difference is, the S12 gives slightly better mid performance. It gives a wider stage as well. The v2 has a slight tonality advantage over the S12, but that’s about it. All the other aspects are very similar, including balance, treble detail and stage depth. But Fearless has a much better build quality with its 3D shell.
vs. Fearless Roland
The Roland’s review is on the horizon, but I thought it would be good to share this comparison. Roland simply triumphs in bass and mids, the S12 on the other hands puts up a fight in treble so they’re pretty close there. But the Roland is much better especially in mids, giving a more natural tonality. Resolution and transparency is higher with the S12 and it sounds cleaner and crisper overall. Roland though wins the fight balance-wise with much better cohesiveness. It is more of an all-rounder versus the specific S12, so unless you listen to vocal-heavy music, I would recommend the Roland.
The Oriolus MK2 has been a coherency king for a few years and it’s still a very good IEM despite all the newcomers and fresh offerings from different brands. So the S12 can’t beat it in terms of that. You can choose the S12 simply for its treble over the MK2, sounding more articulated and extended in that area. They perform similarly good in terms of resolution, though I hear the S12 sounding more transparent especially in mids. S12 also provides a bigger staging performance. But Oriolus has better balance to me with a fuller sound and slightly better tonality.
I was only now introduced to the Fearless brand with the Fearless HyperS12, yet I’m impressed with their packaging, build quality and design. The S12 is indeed a premium IEM. The only thing to consider here is that the presentation is not for every genre. I personally think that the most suitable genres for the S12 are Blues, Vocal Jazz, Classic Rock and Soul. Old recordings sound especially good with it too.
The technical performance that this IEM gives is quite hard to find at this price. You just need to be careful about your favorite genres here. If they suit this IEM, then just go for it. There aren’t many options around, giving this sound-stage and resolution below 1000$ mark.
There’s more to come from Fearless as they just don’t stop unveiling new products. The new Paladin series will be on Headfonia, as Roland is already in the HQ. See you soon.