What struck me the most about the Pneuma is its natural reproduction and incredible definition of instruments. It’s one of the best monitors I’ve tried when it comes to tonality. Its instrumental presentation is organic, life-like, and delicious. If you read my reviews, you would know that tonality is very important to me. And Pneuma does just that. Guitar, sax, violin, or piano; every instrument has great texture, timbre, and body. The note size is just right, and it feels like the instrument is playing right next to you.
Other than tonality, the mids have excellent separation and positioning. The transparency level is very high and that’s exactly what I’m talking about. Pneuma has a good body and warmth, yes, but it also has a great resolution and transparency. This is something rare to find and I only experienced this level of quality with a handful of IEMs.
So overall I find this part as the best feature of the Lime Ears Pneuma. If you like your mids with a certain taste, you won’t be disappointed. This is a very musical monitor with great technicalities and it especially shows it in this range. The mids are sublime. I recommend you to try it with the album “Green Street” from Grant Green. You would know what I mean.
Treble is articulated and extended, despite the overall presentation which is slightly dark and warm. There’s a good extension, articulation, and air in the treble section which actually surprised me. This shows us the importance of the implementation and tuning capabilities of a sound engineer. There are lots of IEMs out there that have EST drivers for treble, but not all have a good treble response. But the Pneuma has that with only a single BA driver for highs.
The treble is very refined, clear of any peaks and also any roll-off. There’s a good sense of space and air in the treble region which contributes to creating a spacious staging performance. Pneuma certainly impresses in that regard and this is just the right treble response for my taste. It’s inoffensive, effortless yet highly detailed, extended, and well refined.
Like I mentioned; Pneuma has an excellent technical performance. It’s not the technical master or king, since there are better IEMs out there in that regard (usually with even higher price tags). But it’s up there with the best. Also, not every one of those IEMs has this kind of musicality. I personally prefer having a musical IEM with excellent technical performance, rather than an analytical or reference one with perfect technicalities. This is a matter of choice in the end.
Yet, the Pneuma is still amazing in terms of sound-stage, layering, positioning, and resolution. It has a great background and excellent separation. You can hear certain instruments sound away from you, some sound close, and some sound crosswise. It’s not just left & right or only 2-dimensional. You have a huge 3D-like stage which is very deep and wide. In this case, the Pneuma has to pay homage to its PwAudio No.10 cable as well. Because when I switched to a generic cable just for the sake of the experiment, the staging performance took a hit. In contrast, the No.10 cable opens up the stage with a 3-dimensional perception. What an excellent choice.
The transparency and layering are the two other striking qualities of the Pneuma. The layering in particular provides a very deep staging performance. You can perceive the distance and direction of the elements of a song, especially if it’s a great recording. The coherency is also impressive since Emil pays great attention to it. He didn’t try to create a hybrid IEM until he’s certain that cohesiveness is achievable in hybrids. That’s why he’s a bit late to the party, but sure it was worth it.
So all in all, Pneuma is an excellent performer from a technical standpoint. And when you merge that with its musical quality and excellent timbre, this might be the endgame for you (if you stop there!).
The review continues with comparisons and the conclusion on page 4.