Normally I don’t like the spinfit tips to be honest with you, but they work quite well for the Pneuma. It is a very comfortable fit but you give away some isolation as the cost. Yet, despite being a bit fat and big, I personally think the Pneuma fits very well.
For more isolation, you can use the foam/silicone hybrid tips for the best possible noise blockage. You get a custom-fit level of isolation but that has a trade-off too. It is not as comfortable as the spinfits. Your ears get tired after some time. It’s all about your priorities. You can try other tips as well which is what I’m doing nowadays.
Simply put, the Lime Ears Pneuma looks stunning. Especially the face-plates look incredible with changing color tones with light and the authentic Pneuma logo. The back-side of the right shell has a “∏” character printed, whilst the right side has the Lime Ears logo. Pneuma has very impressive sparkling colors. When you expose it to sunlight or artificial light, the result is phenomenal.
The shape is very smooth and seamless, which further improves the feeling of an expensive gem. The face-plate closing is almost unnoticeable unless you look at it from a very short distance. I would’ve liked recessed 2-pin sockets but the cable sits very tight and sturdy nevertheless. Overall it’s a wonderful design from the colors to the shape. The bass switch is in a convenient position which is very easy to operate.
Pneuma is a very sturdy IEM with a great build. In particular, the nozzles are very impressive with a tank-like build with perfect bores. The transition from the shells to the nozzles is absolutely great. There’s nothing worrying about the durability of this IEM.
The only thing that comes to my mind is the switch. Would it survive a big bump or drop? Well, I can’t say that for sure. But one thing I do know is that you need to baby these items whenever you use them. When it comes to high-end in-ear monitors, that’s what you normally do. So I don’t think this can become a problem or a threat to the IEM’s lifetime.
So how would I describe the sound of the Pneuma? Well, for a moment just forget about its wonderful design and striking looks. Because the sound is even more impressive than the design and build quality. It’s striking, musical, ear-pleasing, heartwarming, and very, very natural.
After listening to hundreds of IEMs, you start to realize some IEMs have “it”. When you put them in your ears and push the play button, you immediately realize they’re special. I’ve had this experience before with special IEMs and Pneuma is one of them.
As Emil pointed out when we were having a conversation about sound in general; they have this “analog, tubish/vinyl vibe” to them which you don’t find often. This “vintage” vibe is what Emil had been looking for, instead of sheer technicalities and sharpness with an analytical approach. So I can say that the Pneuma sounds warm with good thickness and body. However, the greatest thing about it is that it doesn’t lack in technicalities and it’s actually one of the best in its class. That makes the Pneuma very special.
Emil wanted to give this monitor a certain “wow factor” and in this case, it is achieved with special and impactful bass response. This is where the bass switch kicks in. The implementation for me is very successful here. Because the switch only affects the sub-bass region since the DD only takes care of that particular area. As I said in the beginning, this is a critical factor. Most hybrids lack the mid-bass body in my experience, but BA drivers give a better sense of mid-bass. So Lime Ears has brought the best of both worlds together.
When the switch is on the up position, the sub-bass is boosted but it’s not a huge boost. It’s noticeable and there if you want to have a slightly warmer and impactful sound. There’s more kick, a bit more rumble, and boom. When you close it, it’s more like a full BA monitor with a slightly more kick and rumble than BA IEMs. That’s why I liked this implementation. It doesn’t affect anything else. Do you want a bit more bass for your popular tunes? Then open it up. Do you want to listen to your favorite Jazz recordings? Then close it off.
Other than the bass switch, the bass, in general, has very good control and extension. It has great texture, good layering, and nice decay. It’s actually a very ideal and realistic bass response, especially when you close the switch off. Bass has a great resolution as well. Crucially, the mid-bass is not missing and it’s not overly forward as well. So I can say that the bass has a great balance, especially when the switch is in the off position. I think it’s comparable to Sony IER-Z1R, Lark Studio LSX, and recently reviewed InEar ProMission X.
The review continues with mids, treble and technical performance on page 3.