The EM10, as said, is easy to drive (as the numbers also show) and it doesn’t really need anything specific or extra powerful to make it sounds its best. The Astell&Kern A&Ultima SP1000 still is my favorite source when it comes to BA-driven monitors but I’ve also extensively used the Sony WM1Z, the new Fiio M7 and the L&P L6. Amp/DAC-wise I decided to just write about the Mojo and Hugo synergy as these are probably the most used devices among audiophiles, together with the AudioQuest RED.
With the SP1000, which is clear and clean with a focus on upper mods and treble, you still get a warmer and musical sound, yet with great detail and balance. My ears like this combination as it doesn’t make the sound overly warm or smooth. To me it gives the EM10 that bit of extra energy which I really like and the combination is musical and full bodied. This is how I image the EM10 was designed to sound. A very good combo.
The Sony WM1Z is known as a warmer, smoother DAP, with a small emphasis on bass yet with great richness overall. The WM1Z is especially spectacular when used in balanced mode (4.4mm) and with the EM10 that resulted in very rich and musical sound with a very balanced presentation. The vocals are soft but so natural. The richness level in this combo is great and if you like quality bass with a little bigger body, you’ll be hooked to this combo in no time. Treble is extended but softer, yet has enough energy to make it a really nice sound. I feared this combo was going to sound too smooth but in balanced config it just makes the EM10 perform even better, sharing the same characteristics.
The Fiio M7 is Fiio’s latest consumer DAP. That means it’s missing a lot of options compared to our usual DAPs and its sound signature is also warmer and very easy to like. I’ve really been enjoying the M7 DAP on the go, as it sounds fun and is easy to work with. Quality-wise this of course isn’t like the before mentioned players or the Fiio X7(ii) for that matter. With the M7, the Earsonics EM10 sounds very full from bottom to top. The ticker sound is rich though you don’t get the widest or deepest sound stage. This is musicality, smoothness, warmth and fun over precision, clarity and precision but man is it fun to listen to. Enjoying your tunes is what it’s all about here, so don’t expect the very best quality sound from the M7.
With Luxury & Precision’s L&P L6, the Earsonics EM10 sounds even more musical but also a bit darker and while this quality is really good, it’s also darker and missing out clarity in the upper mids and treble. I’m a big fan of the L&P sound, but the synergy with the L6 – even though the vocals are to die for – just isn’t there as much this time. No DAP is perfect, right?
For those intending to use the Earsonics EM10 with their laptop and/phone directly, I’ve selected to pair the EM10 with the DF RED, Mojo and Hugo.
The AudioQuest DragonFly RED is extremely popular all over the world and to me it’s one of the very if not THE best USB dongle DAC/AMP units. The synergy with the EM10 is spectacular as it makes the EM10 so incredibly energetic and rich sounding with great clarity. This is a really combination with vocals to die for and the RED just makes the EM10 sound incredibly good. If you own the Earsonics EM10 or are planning to get one, you better order that DF RED immediately. Just impressive.
The EM10 with the Chord Mojo isn’t may favorite pairing: there you get a really big bodied signature with a more centered presentation, yet one with great energy and detail. With the Hugo 2 things sound more correct and balanced to my ears with a lighter body, an energetic sound, improved linearity and mostly very clear upper mids and treble. The Chord Hugo 2 technically is the best source, but I prefer the RED’s more natural presentation over the digital one from Chord, and especially the natural tone of the mids and vocals with the RED have my preference.
When I started listening to the Earsonics EM10 right after the Unique Melody Mason V3, my mind had to make a switch. Yet once it did, I started loving this French 10-driver more and more each day.
The Earsonics EM10 is perfectly built, looks great and has all the qualities of a high end custom monitor. Sound-wise, the EM10 is all about musicality, emotion and engagement and it does that wonderfully so. With its warmer presentation, smoother delivery, rich timbre and full bodied presence, the Earsonics EM10 is a CIEM that makes you enjoy your music and makes you fall in love with it all over again.