Review: Lear LCM-Skyline – No Brainer

Package

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.

Customer Service

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.

Lear LCM-Skyline

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.

Design

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.

Build Quality

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

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.

Customization

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.

Lear LCM-Skyline

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.

Price

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.

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A keen audiophile and hobby photographer, Berkhan is after absolute perfection. Whether it is a full frame camera or a custom in-ear, his standpoint persists the same. He tries to keep his photography enthusiasm at the same level with audio. Sometimes photography wins, sometimes his love for music takes him over and he puts that camera aside. Simplistic expressions of sound in his reviews is the way to go for him. He enjoys a fine single malt along with his favourite Jazz recordings.

9 Comments

  • Reply August 29, 2019

    Scott

    Great review. Any comments on how well the Balanced In-Ear Pressure feature works? Do you notice any difference in isolation compared to a regular CIEM?

    • Reply September 2, 2019

      Berkhan

      Compared to regular CIEMs, it has less isolation but it’s OK when you push the play button. When music is on, the isolation is quite good. The system works great as there’s no pressure applied to you ears and it’s very easy to insert and remove without the slightest of discomfort.

      • Reply September 2, 2019

        Psycomu

        I dont own above compared iem, but like the IT01s’ sound alot, hows that compare to IT01s?

        Or is there any iem for upgrade suggestion?

        • Reply September 2, 2019

          Berkhan

          To me it’s a lot better to IT01

  • Reply September 15, 2019

    yiannis

    compared to LEAR’s Kaleido?

  • Reply September 24, 2019

    Asegier

    I have the LEAR A1D Mk. I and I went in just last week to try out their entire new low end tier earphones.

    I agree with Berkhan, the Skyline is better (IMO) than the Turbo and Kaleido. However, I tried the LEAR A1D Mk III and I feel that that one is better. It’s got better clarity in my opinion. Although I suppose “better” is subjective, and it could also be because I’ve had the A1D Mk. I for many years, maybe I’m just used to it.

    I bought the Skyline in the end because I felt that getting another A1D was redundant (although they use different drivers in the Mk III. compared to the Mk. I) and also the price was very appealing.

    One thing to note is that if you are planning on getting the Combo Con upgrade anyways, then the A1D may potentially be a better choice as the clerk (Matthew) told me that the A1D Mk. III comes with Combo Con at $1999 HKD. Whereas for the Skyline the Combo Con package is at $1488. So it’s really only an extra $500 HKD (maybe around 80 USD?) more for the A1D Mk III. Also the Skyline only comes in 3 body colors. I think it’s solid black, translucent black and stardust black (a new skyline color I think). Faceplates cost anywehre from $398 to $698 (custom design, yes price has increased from before when I did my A1D) or you can choose from any standard colors for free.

  • Reply October 27, 2019

    Chris

    Very Clear and Detailed Review. I’m quite new on this thing, i enjoyed using BGVP DMG, so i wanted to ask how is the sound if we compared skyline with BGVP DMG ? Thanks a lot

    • Reply October 28, 2019

      Berkhan

      Skyline is darker but to me more controlled and coherent across the range. I would choose the Skyline since it’s also custom with better isolation.

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