Today I share my initial thoughts about the new Hybrid IEM from Earsonics, the Earsonics Stark which costs €1.500.
Disclaimer: The Earsonics Stark was provided me from Earsonics. Initial impressions were taken from the Chord Hugo 2.
First Hybrid from France
Earsonics decided to make their first hybrid internal design and they recently launched two new hybrid models; Stark and Blade.
Blade is the lower price version with 3 drivers (1+2) and the Stark has 5 (1+4). The Stark has a 8 mm. dynamic driver together with 2 BAs for mids and 2 BAs for treble. The design consists of a 3-way crossover.
How About That Build Quality?
I’m one of those people who criticized Earsonics’ plastic shells which honestly didn’t live up to their price brackets. With their new hybrid series, Earsonics have managed to pull off a huge jump in terms of build.
The new Stark has a fantastic build quality with its anodized zinc and magnesium shell. When I opened the box and inspected the earpieces in my hand, I just said “wow, finally”. This is a great new era for Earsonics in my opinion, and I hope they will do the same for possible new models.
The design topic is always subjective but I can say that it looks better in real life than in the photos. Maybe the shells could’ve been a bit more shinier of course, but they’re still good as they are. And again, this new build is an enormous step in the right direction for Earsonics.
I personally didn’t like the new cable though. It’s good that they don’t supply the Plastics one anymore, but I think that the new “Hi-Res” cable doesn’t look premium enough to complement this new design, which again is awesome in terms of shell.
Earsonics house-sound is quite obvious and apparent with the Stark on first listen. I only listened to it with the Hugo 2 so far, but I have a basic idea about the sound character.
The Stark has a very big bass for starters. It hits hard from a wide area and the dispersion is very perceptible. The bass kick and rumble is huge and this is a very satisfying hybrid if you like to have big and rumbling bass response. It reminded me of the Hyla TE5B in some ways, especially in terms of subbass rumble.
The mid range is not very apparent and in fact it’s not the highlight of the Earsonics Stark. The tonality is thinner than I would’ve liked but it has good resolution and separation in mids. Overall mids sound very clean and crisp, but sometimes the bass becomes too overpowering with certain recordings so you can’t concentrate on vocals and instruments.
Treble is very good and articulated with good definition and extension. To me the Stark provides a very nice and realistic treble response with good transparency. Other than that, the sound-stage is very good but again, sometimes the big bass response just is overly impressive. In general the IEM has good separation and imaging.
yes, I have mixed feelings so far but don’t forget that these are very first impressions with only one source. It’s too early to jump to conclusions. I will try different tips, different cables and different sources for the full review. So let’s see how this one turns out with time.