Disclaimer: I received the CTM VS3 from Clear Tune Monitors as a review sample and it doesn't have to be returned. The price for VS3 is 499$ at this time.
Clear Tune Monitors VS3 is one of the latest releases of CTM, as a part of their new Universal Vintage Series. This series contain 3 different monitors including this one. CTM has been known in the industry for making very nice Custom IEMs already, but lately they decided to make universal models as well. So far we’ve read nothing but good things about them, so it was about we look at them ourselves.
Established and operated in Orlando – Florida, Clear Tune Monitors has been working hard to satisfy the needs of many different professional musicians and music listeners. Thanks to a fast and solid growth, CTM is already partnering to expand in Latin America and Europe. When a company expands as CTM is doing, there has to be something special about their earphones, reason two to look at their latest universal inear line.
There is nothing more important than precision.
CTM is a very active company, and they’re attending many shows and exhibitions. One thing they also stand out with is the price level of their CIEMs. In today’s market we often are talking about monitors costing thousands of US Dollars, but CTM’s most expensive model is priced only at 1000$. Ok, I have to admit I didn’t have the chance so far to listen to CTM’s (C)IEMs myself. I don’t know yet how they sound-wise compare to other flagships, but I’m dying to find out. One thing that’s clear is that they want to offer audiophiles and pro-customers gear with an excellent price-quality value, and we can only applaud that.
BUILD, DESIGN & FIT
The Clear Tune Monitors VS3 like so many other universal IEMs in this category is mostly made out of a sort of plastic material. The monitor and the design does look very nice though, and I’m a fan of the red inner part and black plates with silver VS logo. The VS3 IEM certainly doesn’t give a cheap impression at all, but compared to high end IEMs like the Campfire series, just to name one, there logically is a difference in terms of premium feeling. These VS3 however go for only a fraction of the price of those, and the VS3 is fully up to what you can expect in this segment to say the least. The earpiece’s nozzle itself is constructed very solidly with an aluminum material. The VS3-nozzle has a filter at the end, so make sure to clean these up every once in a while, in order for it to keep sounding its best. The 2 pin female connectors are sitting recessed, and they’re perfectly finished, so that certainly is a plus for durability. Build-quality wise, I have no special remarks.
Design-wise of course I’m subjective like every single customer or reviewer but personally I like it. The red & silver just looks cool together. Comfort-wise, the VS-3 also is quite small. That makes them look sweet and the fit is very good as well because of this. Accessory-wise you have many tips included with the package and when you find the right fit, the isolation actually is better than most universals out there.
Speaking of accessories, the package is very creative and it’s designed like an old FM-Radio. Sure it’s a little big for a monitor’s package, but if it looks like this, I really don’t care about its size. Do you like the unique box? Let us know in the comments.
The Clear Tune Monitors VS3 is a musical, and what we call a darker sounding IEM. It presents your music in a warm and maybe slightly veiled tonality. And no, I don’t mean this in a negative way: they somehow achieved to give a “vintage” sound to it, and that’s exactly what the IEM is about. On the other side, no, it’s not the type of sound a reference loving analytic audiophile is looking for but I have to say it’s really coherent, balanced and very controlled overall.
Listening to Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”, the midbass part is solid and controlled, subbass is more laid back so the bass overall doesn’t go all the way down. The VS3 is more midbass oriented and I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way. You just need to know that this IEM somewhat has a lighter bass response if you’re a fan of the big and deep bass. If that’s the case for you then the bass punch and layering might not necessarily be to your liking.
But if you don’t need as much bass power down low, then the midbass control and resolution will make you a very happy listener. The VS3’s separation on this part is nice, and for me this is something critical with IEMs. As we see so often, the genre you’re listening to and the source you’re using will impact the sound in the end. It all depends on the kind of signature you like to hear.
Jump to PAGE 2 for more sound impressions .