On the wired hand, Flares Pro will sound only as good as your device is able to give. Viz., if you’re a devoted Block MP3 user, Flares Pro will hiss, lose hella bass definition, and bottom out all the time in flubbery, uncontrolled hi-cut bass. Conversely, if you’ve got a Mojo, iPhone SE, Onkyo DP-S1, AK380, or what have you, Flares Pro will sound as it is designed to.
I don’t understand Flare Audio’s live sound marketing. To me, the adjective live means greater high frequency openness and/or detail, all of which puts more audience, more high mids and low high air into a venue. To another it may mean something else.
And while Flares Pro hasn’t excessive high-end roll-off, its high end certainly tapers down as frequencies climb. Its most precipitous decline is from around 15kHz and there is a nice spike around 10kHz. The ascent from 20Hz to 20kHz is stereo wide, relatively detailed, and totally side-steps listening fatigue. But live isn’t what I’d call it if you’re into big-venue, large-crowd shows. It’s live as in edgy small venue, but even then, only just. Flares Pro have the sort of highs you get by mashing up a late-production HD650 and a HD600. Mids are a bit wetter than both, but not 650 warm. Transitions to highs from mids are the smoothest I’ve heard in months, reminding me of the Campfire Audio Andromeda, but warmer, and not as sweetly stereo detailed.
Stereo width is excellent throughout the range, and built around a largish cylinder that forms right at the base of your neck. It sits a bit top-heavy, giving more stereo space to cymbals than to guitars, but only just. Bass hovers around the bottoms of the ears, and gently springs up from the bass of the spinal chord. It’s the least stereo delineated of the bunch, but is so damn well resolved that you might get the feeling that bass stereo separation is wider than it is. Its sound pressure is flat out strong all the way down to 20Hz, measured, and well defined from there up.At the ear, bass skews above neutral, and warm. Bass is strong, but it’s not bass-monster strong. And it doesn’t duff-duff out when fed really low-res American hip-hop duffy duffy bits.
In fact, it is one of the most well-thought out basses I’ve heard in a single-driver earphone. Attack is speedy, and decay just a hair behind it. Low lows keep a linear track, enabling those near-inaudible intro seconds to Markus Schulz’s Mainstage to groan out, as perfectly described as I’ve heard from any earphone. Guarded warmth couples to slightly north-of-neutral sound pressure. As it climbs towards the mids, it lacks clangy, metallic edges. Marginally constraining low-frequency stereo spread, low-frequency sound stage is the most compact.
Mids are strong, stereo-detailed, and warmish. Female vocals tend to sound a bit more breathily diffuse at the top end than neutral, but that warmth is sexy. Male vocals are pretty much spot on.
While sound changes based on which tips you use, Flares Pro’s house sound is recognisable through each. Most of my listening was done with foams. They were the most comfy, and the least prone to cahnnel issues. The silicon flanges warped in the ear, causing the left channel to rub out like 10dB. Ergo, I’ll not bother too much about tips.
It’s early, but I’m betting Flares Pro gets top earphone spot from me this year. There’s nothing more to say.