The PEARS SH-2 impresses with its rumbling and textured bass, musical mids, and forgiving treble. The resolution is very good, and transparency is very nice in its own terms. It’s detailed and forgiving at the same time.
The sound stage, just as the SH-3, is not the highlight of the SH-2. There are IEMs that give a deeper and wider stage. The stage is reasonably deep and wide. It’s a studio type of staging performance. To me, the sound stage performance is identical to SH-3. It’s not very small or very narrow by any means, but I’ve heard wider & deeper staging performances than this one.
When I keep those staging beasts out of this, I can say it has a very realistic stage. Since the separation is on a good level and the background is perfectly black, it has a very good stereo imaging. The separation is one of the parts that I’ve liked the most. Although the presentation is not very airy or spacious, the separation is still impressive.
What I want to highlight about the SH-2 is its incredible cohesiveness. It has a musical touch with a very smooth nature, but it completes this package with a perfect coherency. I think this is simply because it just has 2 drivers. So the presentation is not somewhat detached and inconsistent like some other monitors.
So which source should be the best for the PEARS SH-2? I say the ones with a flat signature with excellent dynamics and resolution. Of course, as usual, the Dethonray DTR1 has been the way to go for me. The two complete each other in great fashion. I especially liked listening to Classic Rock songs with this setup.
Hugo 2 is the norm for me for almost everything I throw at it. So I did the same with the SH-2. The result? Excellent. Hugo 2 also has a flat response with incredible dynamics, especially when all the filters are off. So overall, find a flat source with great dynamics. That’s the formula. You’ll be surprised and pleased by the results.
The SH-2 goes deeper in bass and its bass has better texture and detail. They both have warm mids with good tonality, but to me the SH-2 is a step ahead in there. That is also the case for resolution and separation. The SH-2 is more coherent unsurprisingly, and it has better control. Not to mention its build quality and custom fit which is perfect.
The S12 has a much more airier and open presentation versus the SH-2’s warm and full-bodied approach. The SH-2 has a much better bass for both quality and quantity. S12 has cleaner mids with better resolution and transparency. It also has a better separation then the SH-2, but only slightly. It has a bigger sound stage as well.
The biggest disadvantage of the S12 against the SH-2 is tonality though. The SH-2 is so much better in that regard and that is the topic that I criticized the S12 for in its own review. The SH-2 also has better coherency and balance.
Roland has a warm tuning compared to S12, so it’s somewhat closer to SH-2. Its mid-performance is a bit better than the SH-2 but in terms of tonality, the SH-2 once again has the edge. It also has a better resolution than the Roland. They both have similar performances in balance, sound stage, and control. Treble is a bit better with Roland. So they’re very close but the SH-2 is custom and its build quality is fantastic.
B50 is just another warm and full-bodied IEM but it simply does not have the resolution and transparency that the SH-2 gives. The SH-2 is better at almost everything except the sound stage. Staging performances are identical on both. The B5o costs a bit less and it comes with a wireless accessory. It also fits great but isolation is much much better with a custom monitor.
The B1 to me is an excellent IEM with its price/performance ratio. It has a great bass response just like the SH-2. Its mid performance is a tad better, and it also has great resolution. They both have a reasonable staging performance but the SH-2 is the more controlled IEM with better balance. The B1 sounds cleaner with more crispness and air. It costs a bit less as well. So this depends on preferences.
The SH-2 is like a full BA version of the Oriolus only with a tremendously better tonality. It has a better tonality by far, but with lesser subbass kick. The MKII has more bass rumble and kick with much more sub-bass quantity. But the SH-2’s midbass-subbass balance remains cohesive across lows.
The SH-2 is the more coherent IEM. Yes, the MKII is a very coherent IEM itself, but the SH-2 is so good in this area that it even surpasses the Oriolus. The MKII has its own character with its own unique cohesiveness, but again it can’t beat the tonality and timbre correctness of the SH-2. The Oriolus is still very enjoyable and vivid as a hybrid IEM though. The SH-2 is like a studio monitor version of it with better mid tonality.
Which is the best? The countless number of drivers with sophisticated crossovers, or simple acoustic designs? Is it the coherency, or an orchestra type of presentation with some 12 drivers? Both designs have their own advantages. But so far, after experiencing the two CIEMs in their lineup, P-EAR-S proved that you can do exceptional things with less. And that way, you can utilize the advantages of this design.
Indeed, the PEARS SH-2 is one of the most cohesive IEMs that I’ve ever heard. It also has excellent tonality, great texture, good resolution and detail. So, this CIEM makes its way to our Best Custom IEM Recommendations list. This is the monitor for those who seek a warm and musical sound with good body and tonality.
Do I even need to mention the perfect build and fit, or accessories?
I thought so.