Today we check out the LEAR LCM-Skyline for the first time before the full review.
Disclaimer: This post is part of our Picture Sunday series, you can find all of the previous ones here.
LEAR is a brand from Hong Kong that makes beautiful custom and universal in ears since 2008. Tatco Ma is the founder and CEO of Forever Source Digital, which is a very nice and well-known portable audio retailer in Hong Kong. LEAR brand operates with the full support of the shop.
We reviewed Lear products 3 times before and the most recent one was the Turbo model. It is one of the cheapest CIEMs that you can find, and it’s still in our Best Custom IEMs List.
The above review was published more than one year ago, and this is a long time in the portable audio business. Of course, Lear announced some developments since then; the ComboCon MMCX Concept, this new budget friendly Skyline model, and now the inclusion of the 3D printing process. Yes, LEAR now completely prints your CIEM shells courtesy of a 3D printing device. They also renewed their full lineup with the addition of the LCM-Pro 6.1 Big Ben.
Balanced In-Ear Pressure
They also have announced their new “Balanced In-Ear Pressure” system with the Skyline. This basically works like ADEL or APEX modules that we saw before, but it’s implemented to a 215 $ monitor which is incredible.
About Lear Skyline
Lear claims that this is the world’s first custom IEM with a Hi-Res Audio tag, given by the Japan Audio Society. It utilizes a high performance 8mm PEEK diaphragm, N50 Neodymium magnet, and CCAW coil full range dynamic driver. So yes, there’s a single dynamic driver inside but that should not cause a loss of interest. This CIEM is certainly a no brainer for this money and I will tell you why in detail soon.
Lear also used an oxygen free copper interconnection wire and 4% Silver-Tin soldering. These ensured very low distortion levels together with frequency response up to 40,000Hz to be certified as Hi-Res by the Japan Audio Society. You can see the exploded picture below.
I was already quite impressed when I first got my hands on the Turbo model last year. Considering its price (220$), the quality and the sound you get is great. Maybe I wouldn’t be this much impressed if the market was still like in 2013, but it’s not. Nowadays you can’t get a good CIEM below 700 $. In fact, the whole Custom IEM concept is now a very expensive hobby to begin with.
Lear released the Skyline at the same price level with the Turbo. However, every possible aspect is now improved with the Skyline, and it makes you wonder how much the companies can lower the CIEM prices if they follow the same approach.
The design choices are few because of the costs and the 3D printing process, but the new shells from Lear are much more clean-cut and smooth. The fit is simply better and more comfortable to me than my Turbo sample. The whole shell looks and feels so much better now. The new 3D printing process works really good apparently. The stock cable now shows some good quality with robust feeling with thicker braiding, and the MMCX connectors sit securely.
Sound-wise this again is an obvious improvement. Lear pushes the boundaries even more in terms of a budget friendly, smooth sounding CIEM. The sound overall is more refined with better resolution and dynamism in the instruments and vocals is very nice to hear. The bass has more control and better decay as well.
The stereo image is a level up with better transparency and positioning. There’s more separation and space between the instruments now with good timbre. It’s still quite warm and very smooth but now with a refined dynamic bass, the sound is more spacious and relaxed overall.
So for me, the Turbo is already surpassed by the Skyline. This new Skyline model is the shining candidate for replacing the Turbo in our Best Custom IEMs List. Much more detail will be here on Headfonia soon, so make sure you’ll read it when it comes!