The PEARS SH-2 is a very enjoyable monitor with a warmer and sweeter tuning than the SH-3. It has an easy-going, smooth, and a very relaxing sound. It’s incredibly coherent and consistent with a nice timbre and musicality. SH-2 is more fun than the SH-3 without a doubt. Just like the flagship, everything is in place and under control at all times. However, it’s a bit colored than the SH-3 especially in the low end.
The SH-3, as you probably know, has a linear bass response. The lovers of impactful, deep bass response would be happier with this model. So quantity-wise the SH-2 has more. It sets a better foundation for genres like Rock, Pop, and RnB. The bass is warmer, has more impact and kick. The resolution of the bass is very impressive and that is the most surprising thing about the SH-2. Lows are very resolving and layered. The SH-2 allows you to focus on bass and hear every nuance in the low end.
The bass also can go quite deep, which normally is only expected from dynamic driver monitors. This is a surprise for me because normally BA drivers don’t produce this kind of deep bass response. I think this is because of the dense and tight fit, and the acoustic design. Maybe the universal model doesn’t give this kind of a response.
Also, the balance between midbass and subbass is just perfect. They don’t dominate each other. They’re produced together with excellent harmony. So overall for a BA driver monitor, the SH-2’s bass response is outstanding.
The overall quality of lows is almost top of the line. Midbass is perfectly under control and has sufficient accentuation overall. It’s separated from lower mids nicely as well. Layering and resolution of bass are very good and you get that kick if the recording has it. Bass also has more rumble compared to SH-3.
Mids don’t have the same level of transparency and resolution as the SH-3. But they have excellent positioning and tonality, making it sound very realistic and coherent. Tonality wise things are absolutely good. You don’t come across this correctness and tonality often in IEMs. It just can’t get better than this. The overall resolution among this part of the spectrum is very good, but not on the same track with the SH-3.
As for the presentation, the SH-2 sets those mids a bit more behind in the stage. So compared to the closer and apparent mid reproduction of the SH-3, this presentation is smoother but a bit more distant. Sometimes I felt the mids are a little upfront with the SH-3, but that is not the case with the SH-2.
The detail level is impressive but most of the time you need to focus on them. The IEM is very capable of giving you the tiniest detail, but not with a very apparent fashion. So I can say that the SH-2 doesn’t show off. You need to track those details to hear them. Is this a bad trait? I don’t think so, but be aware if you like to have those details in your face.
The SH-2 has an excellent timbre, and I may go as far as to say that it’s more satisfying than the SH-3 in that regard. The SH-3 has a transparency advantage though, which helps to give a fresher, airier, and a more separated sound. The stage is a bit more blended with the SH-2 and as a result, the instruments are close to each other. Overall, the SH-2 gives everything in a collective fashion, unlike the more separated presentation of the SH-3.
The SH-2’s treble is smoother with a forgiving nature. The resolution in this part is good, but the situation in the mids is also the case here. The SH-2 doesn’t have a very apparent nature here either. As a result, the treble cries from the back of the stage. If you like your treble a bit hotter and apparent, this is not the IEM. But if you like the warm and smooth signature, the SH-2 is excellent.
However, despite this presentation, highs have great transparency. Hearing the forgiving nature of the SH-2, this was quite the surprise. The micro-detail level is successful and the treble has good articulation. The extension, on the other hand, is not the best I’ve heard, especially versus the SH-3.
But the SH-2 overall is very transparent and detailed across the high-frequency region. It’s very smooth, it’s not too thick or too thin, and it just honestly gives what’s in the recording. It’s just not on the same level as the SH-3. There’s nothing to “wow” you in terms of presence or brightness. It instead impresses you with its consistency and control.
The review finishes on PAGE 4 with technical performance, sources, comparisons and conclusion.