There’s a notable roll-off when it comes to treble of the Skyline. The treble is thick and not very very transparent. Although the separation from mids is very good, the treble itself is not very articulated overall, which can make the highs in a song insignificant. A silver based cable improves the treble presentation and articulation but doesn’t take it to a whole new level.
Yet, I really liked the positioning of the highs in the stage. They’re quite realistic in their own position and they accompany the overall sound without becoming prominent. Highs are the least focused part of the Skyline and that forces the treble to play a smaller role. I don’t think the treble is not detailed, but it certainly isn’t too transparent. The extension is nice but not great.
So if treble is your first priority, than the Skyline from Lear is not your best bet.
The Skyline offers a good sound-stage and provides a realistic and accurate imaging together with good frequency separation. The overall dynamics is obviously improved with good sense of attack and transparency. A little more resolution would’ve been amazing for such a low price, but then we have to realize the circumstances. Overall balance and cohesiveness of the Skyline is very impressive, making it sound extremely smooth and pleasing.
Its stage is both wide and deep, creating a concert hall atmosphere which I found very successful and impressive. The background is darker than the Turbo and it plays cleaner with good sense of space. Nevertheless it’s not too sharp in that regard so it can’t compete with higher level monitors with big prices. The most impressive aspects of the Skyline however is the timbre success with realistic sounding instruments, and its sound-stage. It has a great 3D feeling with both width and depth having the similar amount of magnitude.
I mainly used my Sony WM1A for the evaluation of the Skyline, but I think it’s a flexible monitor to sound quite good with many sources. The overall smoothness and forgiving nature of the IEM makes it ideal for many equipment. I tried it with many sources like the new Hiby R5, Chord Hugo, Lotoo Paw Gold and Shanling M0. On all of the occasions it sounded very nice. I even tried it from my laptop’s own 3.5mm output at it was still OK.
Though I think bright and close sounding, a little more aggressive sources play well. In my case, that source was the Lotoo Paw Gold. Of course having a 2k $ player with the Skyline doesn’t make sense, but I’m solely talking about the presentation, not the sound quality level. I wouldn’t recommend to pair the Skyline with sources that sound warm and dark-ish.
The dynamic driver of the Skyline doesn’t need much power. You can easily drive it to high volumes without too much effort. Smartphones also drive it to satisfying volume levels.
Shozy BG – 280 $
The BG is one of the top IEMs when it comes to price/performance. The two play on different fields though. The BG is neutral, flat with a subtle bass presence compared to the Skyline. The bass of the Lear is much better in terms of texture, kick and resolution. It also has the upper hand when it comes to tonality in mids. The BG provides better treble and better resolution though. On the other hand, the Skyline has a better staging and positioning to me.
Oriveti OH300 – 300 $
The OH300 is one of our recommendations when it comes to universal IEMs. Oriveti does many things right, including its neutral presentation with good bass kick and resolution. However the Skyline has a better bass and staging together with a warmer, more relaxing and smooth sound. The OH300 is more transparent and extending in treble section.
FiiO FA7 – 300 $
The FA7 also sounds quite warm and its mid-bass is quite forward. But it doesn’t have good balance there, giving too much mid-bass which creates a sound that is too warm at times. The Skyline provides a better and more refined bass performance with good decay. They both give warm and analog type of mids but I’ll give the edge to Lear for its tonality success. In treble the FA7 performs well with better definition and transparency in that area. But again, the Skyline performs better in the sound-stage department.
FiiO FH5 – 270 $
To me, the FH5 sounds somewhat like the Lear LCM-Turbo in some areas. It’s warm and it has great amount of body in its sound. But its sub-bass is overpowering the other frequencies with certain genres so it’s not balanced very well. The Skyline performs better on that aspect with more refinement and control. The FH5 has good mids which is also more prominent in upper area, whilst I still find the Skyline’s timbre better. It also has a bigger sound-stage. The treble is similar and they both give smooth and forgiving highs.
So what we have here is simply an even better value than the previous Turbo model. The Skyline automatically makes its way into our Best Custom IEM Recommendations list, pushing off the Turbo in the process. Turbo was a very nice monitor for the money, but Lear have managed to surpass it with their new advancements along the way.
I strongly recommend the Lear LCM-Skyline to anyone who are looking for a low-cost solution for their Custom IEM purchase, and also for everyone who are looking for a strong performance and quality under 300 $ mark.