The presentation and the content is the same with the Turbo I reviewed last year. There’s only a minor change and that is the color of the carrying case. The stealth black case from last year is prone to fingerprints and smudges therefore it gets dirty easily. Now the case has a gloss gray paint which feels more premium to me. Not to mention its advantage to keep it cleaner than the black rubberized one.
When you flip open the box, you see a carrying case which stores your CIEM inside the box. There’s a small cardboard compartment to present your cleaning cloth and tool. Considering some brands which don’t supply a cloth, this is a good inclusion from Lear. You don’t receive anything else so the box is quite minimal and modest, which is totally fine im my opinion.
Lear Audio switched to 3D printing shells with the Skyline. This method makes the process much easier to produce the shells perfectly and without flaws. It also means you can send 3D impression files to Lear Audio for your set, instead of shipping physical impressions. If you don’t have files, you need to ship of course. But the technology ensures you won’t have to send another set again, since Lear scans your impressions to store your particular 3D files.
So everything was smooth for me in terms of communication, process and time. I bet this new 3D printing tech shortens the building times for customers. This is especially important for the Skyline in my opinion, because Lear may get a lot of orders for it, compared to other higher priced models.
However, I still think Lear should improve the website for a easier ordering experience. You can only select body colors from the product page when ordering. There’s no selection for the face-plates and cables. In practice you can choose from many options but you need to tell them through e-mail or Whatsapp, which is not the smoothest way.
I asked the launch design and colors from Tatco to see the original look of the Skyline. It looks both serious and cool to me with its carbon looking face plates and dark gray shells. The shells have particles to shine under some light, but only slightly. The company logo is in gold color which completes the design nicely. The model name on the other earpiece is also gold and it adds some real class to the monitor’s look.
3D printing technology allows to create CIEM shells in a perfect shape. So there’s an obvious improvement in this department compared to the Turbo model from last year. In its review, I spotted a few imperfections with the Turbo including glue marks and bubbles. Of course, the shells of my Skyline are opaque colored so it’s not possible to see the internals. However, the difference in terms of smoothness and cleanness on the outer area is quite apparent.
The face plate closing is perfect, and that is also the case for the connector area and the connectors themselves. Lear prefers the MMCX connection which they believe to be more reliable than 2-pins. I haven’t had any problems with my Turbo sample which utilizes MMCX as well.
Lear Combo Con
But if you seek more reliability, you can add the newly introduced Combo Con option to your order. Combo Con forms of three parts. Part A, B and C. Part A is embedded to the shell and B acts as a replaceable MMCX socket, whilst Part C is basically the connector on the cable.
So Lear added a secondary part to the earphone which can be replaced. So no more useless IEMs because of the damaged MMCX sockets. The socket now can be changed easily with this concept. You can also re-terminate your existing IEMs by sending them over to Lear. Find more about Combo Con here.
For two reasons, the customization options for the Skyline are limited. Firstly it’s a 3D printed shell, so they can’t produce every type of design (not yet at least). Secondly, this CIEM costs small, so it’s understandable to have limited amount of options from Lear. Standard shell options are glitter, opaque and transparent bodies, which are all black. Other colors cost 63 $ more for a pair.
For the face plates you have many more options for free or by paying extra. I won’t count all the options here of course but you can check them here in detail. In my opinion though, there’s no point pushing the design too far with this CIEM because it makes the “budget level CIEM” concept meaningless. You can go twice the standard price but I don’t think that it makes sense.
As far as I know, the standard price of the Skyline is 215 $ on normal conditions but like I implied in the disclaimer, they have a special offer for the next 2 months. So now you can have the basic Skyline for 150 $. In the CIEM market today, this is basically free to be honest. You can add the combo con option for 190 $. Lastly for 215 $, you can have the Combo Con with an additional Bluetooth cable.
These prices apply for the standard color options, so beware. If you would like to have different shell colors and special face-plates, the price may go up.
Continue to fit and sound on PAGE 3.