Gaudio Nair & Clariden Review

Gaudio Clariden & Nair

Build Quality, Fit, Comfort & Isolation:

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When I got the Nair and Clariden, I was nicely surprised by their build quality. They are both manufactured by a five-axis CNC machine and they look very sleek. The shells and face plates are both made very well and could potentially withstand quite a beating, not that this would be recommended. Personally, I prefer metal IEMs due to the fact of them being more robust.

For three-drivers these are rather big, although I have seen other IEMs that are bigger. Together with the metal shells of them, these come up with quite some weight. Which you can feel when you wear them in your ears. For some people these might be too big to wear, for me and my ears they were good though.

Fit-wise they are almost like customs to me. The nozzles go in deep into my canals and with the supplied range of ear-tips I can also get a good seal. A proper seal is also what is crucially important with any universal IEM. If you can’t achieve that, you won’t get to experience them in their full form. With the Nair and Clariden this is true too.

From what I’ve been told, Gaudio has spent considerable time with developing the shapes of their first IEMs. They analyzed hundreds of different ear-impressions when they designed the shells. One crucial aspect was to achieve a snug fit, and to have enough space for the internals. Gaudio looked at impressions from varying ages, ethnicities and gender to create the best possible housing.

The Clariden and Nair both use gold-plated 2-pin sockets, which are flushed on the shells. The Satin cables use silver-plated copper Litz wires in a four-braid configuration. They use a Polyether Ether Ketone (PEEK) insulation, which is soft and flexible. If it stiffens over time is something I will have to keep testing.

Isolation with the Nair and Clariden is good. Better than with other IEMs, but not as good as with a CIEM of course.

A point of critique is that the face plates and shells aren’t of the same size. This makes the face plates stand out on the sides, which leaves it open for sharp corners. I have pointed this out to Gaudio, and apparently they are going to have that fixed. Other than that, I think the build is very solid and well done. The design isn’t something spectacular, but rather simple. If you like something more flashy, this won’t tickle your aesthetic pleasures.

Gaudio Clariden & Nair

Gaudio Clariden & Nair

Sound:

Since this is a review of two separate In Ear Monitors, we’ll go over the respective sound of both in their own dedicated sub-chapters. I did not know what to expect from them, as Gaudio is 100% fresh to the market. But I admit I was intrigued to find out what my Swiss neighbors had cooking. It’s always nice to get to know new brands and their take on sound.

I have used mainly the Lotoo PAW Gold Touch and PAW 6000, as well as the Astell&Kern SP1000M and the Cowon Plenue L as DAPs. I also took out the Chord Electronics Hugo2 and Mojo as well as the Woo Audio WA11 DAC/Amp for this review.

Nair

The Nair is placed as a neutral to mid-forward sounding monitor in Gaudio’s line-up. And to my ears, that is very true. Nair has a bass-light and quite balanced signature. It reaches well into the lowest registers, but misses out in treble extension. If you are looking for a bass-head signature, then you can already quit reading about Nair here. The Clariden might be more up your alley.

Nair’s bass is light in body and weight. It sounds tight and decently fast, but does not bring much impact or punch with it. So if you’re a fan of hard hitting and supremely fast bass, this might not be yours. The Nair’s sub-bass extension is generally good, but it does not bring much amplification in this region, so it can only be fully enjoyed when there isn’t much else going on.

Where Nair shines is in its midrange. It elevates the mids to a more forward position. Instruments and singers have realistic body. But male vocals could do with more flesh and weight in their lower registers. Lower mids sound a bit thin in comparison to other models. To my ears however, the midrange still sports a natural neutral tonality. Which gives notes north from the lower mids a good body and appearance. Midrange texture and resolution is very fine to me. One thing I would have liked differently is richness. The Nair really does not possess a lot of it, as it sounds rather dry.

In terms of technical performance the Nair does a good job again. It has high resolution, especially for a 3BA design. It stretches a realistic stage, but it won’t throw you into an arena. So expect dimensions of a small concert hall rather than an open air event. Nair has an almost holographic stage, where musicians are portrayed in front of you.

Instruments are separated with great precision and air around them. Telling individual instruments apart in the constructed stage is not a problem with Nair. It creates enough air surrounding the instruments and vocalists. Nair renders a finely nuanced picture, but to me it’s missing some sharpness.

Treble is quite calm and not very forward. If you enjoy a higher dose of treble than the average person, this one might not tickle your fancy. The Nair has a more relaxed top end, that can sound a bit subdued sometimes even. On the other hand, people that don’t have a high tolerance of treble, will definitely be in safe hands here. The Nair does have good energy, but has lower levels of sparkle and shimmer.

Nair also is a very truthful monitor. It doesn’t smudge over blemishes, but rather shows them to you in their totality. Nair likes to be fed with quality mastering. If your files sound bad from the beginning, Nair won’t cover that up for you.

Gaudio Clariden & Nair

Gaudio Clariden & Nair

Clariden

The Clariden follows a different tuning philosophy than Nair. It has a more prominent bass, slightly pushed back mids and a whole lot more treble energy. It definitely is the more energetic and exciting monitor of the two. But it all comes down to personal taste and preferences.

Clariden extends in similar levels down to sub-bass like Nair, but it possesses higher weight and more punch. It has very nice air and texture in the lows, which also come with authority and drive. Bass sounds full, rich, tight and fast. With Clariden you get a well rounded bass segment, that does not hold back on energy.

The lower mids are slightly recessed and pulled back. Deep male vocals however still have decent body and weight in them. But don’t expect any vibrant, full or dark vocals here. Instruments have good body and weight. Singers, both male and female, sound emotional and believable. There still seems to be a tendency towards female vocals to me, as these appear a bit richer and more forward than their male counterparts.

Clariden creates a similar stage than Nair. You get everything in a small concert hall. Clariden has good resolution and rendering. It carefully places each instrument in the scene and enables the listener to highly accurate imaging. Instrumental separation is good, where there is just the right amount of air around the instruments.

Clariden’s top end energy can be too much for some. Fast hitting cymbal crashes or high pitched violins can be on the edge of sibilance. It has a more forward and direct sounding treble, that does not sport high levels of richness or softness. It’s a treble that can become sharp and hot at times. So if you enjoy your highs calmer, then Clariden might be the wrong choice. Nair on the other hand might be well suited for you.

Clariden is a more forgiving IEM, that renders some mistakes away.

Comparisons on page three!

4.6/5 - (84 votes)

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A daytime code monkey with a passion for audio and his kids, Linus tends to look at gear with a technical approach, trying to understand why certain things sound the way they do. When there is no music around, Linus goes the extra mile and annoys the hell out of his colleagues with low level beatboxing.

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