Review: PlusSound Prism – Exoteric

 

The PlusSound Prism’s highs are good but like the bass they don’t really extend very far. At the same time they extend far enough so you’ll never feel like there’s no treble. That really isn’t the case and treble actually is dynamic and certainly energetic enough to bring the contrast with bass and mids it needs. Treble has good detail and depth with a good separation, it sound musical to the ears but it’s never fatiguing.

I really like listening to dance music (90’s Retro / Bonzaï Records) with these monitors, although they perform just fine with rock and pop music as well. I just like my dance music a little more on the darker side, and this Prism delivers that in the best possible way. Prism makes me wat to dance, and I hardly ever dance. So that’s a big achievement from PlusSound.

Driveability & Sources

PlusSound hasn’t communicated or published any of the numbers of the Prims or the other IEMs, I wouldn’t say they’re very sensitive, but they’re not at all hard to drive either. During commute in the train, my listening volume with the Fiio X7II is at 23, which goes down a notch when I’m in my office. The Prism’s isolation actually is very good and hardly any sounds leaks out or sneak in. Good job!

I’ve seen some people complain about the Prism picking up noise, but I so far haven’t noticed this with any of my DAPS in balanced mode, and I’m very hiss sensitive.

The Fiio X5iii is a very musical and slightly warmer DAP and it transfers the warmth and smoothness to the Prism. Personally I find the result a little too dark for my taste, but it is very musical. The X5iii has a rather noisy balanced output but the Prism doesn’t seem to pick up any of it. The Prism sounds full bodied from bass to highs. The New Fiio X7ii has a cleaner and more clear presentation and it is a more resolving, detailed audio player. With the Prism it sounds faster, more dynamic and energetic, compared to the darker, fuller bodied X5iii. The X7ii manages to keep the musicality but it shows the music with such more precision, timbre and clarity. I like this combination a lot. Of course there’s no his in this combination either.

Our favorite Astell&Kern AK70 sound more like the warmer Fiio X5iii but it has more clarity and a livelier character in combination with the PlusSound Prism. Regarding to hiss, the Prism is dead silent at all times. Basically you get a sound signature which is something in between that of the X7ii and the X5iii, it’s not bad at all but I prefer the fresher sounding Fiio X7ii (AM3A). Body wise it is lighter than with the X5iii.

I expected the Prism to perform very well from the clear and more digital sounding, precise and fast Chord Mojo (with balanced to Single Ended adaptor from Effect Audio), and it does just that. Like with the X7ii you get more energy and improved dynamics with better speed and clarity. Of the non-DAP sources, the Mojo is my favorite pairing with the Prism. I actually also quite enjoy listening to the Prism straight from my Samsung S6 smartphone. You get a good level of clarity, with smooth treble but at the same time Prism sounds energetic and clear, always with a musical delivery.

So basically I recommend pairing up the PlusSound Prism with a clear, clean and more neutral tuned source as adding a darker, full bodied, and warmer source will exaggerate these characteristics too much. The Prism is easy to drive however so I wouldn’t be worried about amping it sufficiently.

Comparisons

The iSine20 is in the same price range ($549) but it is a completely different design and technology. One thing I love about the iSine20 is how clear, open and spacious it sounds and that’s something the Prism can’t offer with the closed design and more intimate tuning. The sound signature simply is very different and it will depend on your preference in sound which one of both you will like most. To me the Audeze is the technically best, but I think a lot of people will prefer using the more conservative design of the Prism.

RHA’s CL1 ($449) also has a very different tuning compared to the Prism, one where clarity, vocals and treble play a way more important role than on the Prism. While the CL1 needs a very good amplifier to make it sound to best and get the bass right, the PlusSound Prism is a lot easier to drive and use with any kind of source. Source matching is one of the CL1’s major issues and the Prism has none in that regard. I just wouldn’t advise a warm sounding source, but power wise you’ll be covered with as good as anything.

The Etymotic ER4-series ($349) impressed me a lot and while these also have only driver they have the typical flat, neutral audiophile tuning. The Prism has bigger body and is warmer sounding, the ER4’s are neutral, detailed fast and precise. So again, it really depends on what sound signature you prefer.

The Radius HP-TWF41 (€399-€549), just like the Prism has a very full body with impactful bass. I quite like listening to the Radius and I’m sure that if you like the TWF41, you’ll like the Prism as well as both share a lot of similarities in their tuning.

End words

The PlusSound Prism is more than just a decent performer. While some might find it to be priced a little on the high side, I find the price is justified looking at its performance but most of all because you get a well built and great sounding Exo cable with it.

The Prism is easy to like as it puts musicality first in its tuning. Driving it won’t be a problem but we just advise not to use an overly warm or dark, bass heavy source with it. While we like the Prism we at the same time also have a feeling the Gamut, with the extra driver for the mids, will impress us even more. And from what I understood PlusSound has some other surprises coming, so you better keep an eye on the brand over the coming months.

Review: PlusSound Prism – Exoteric
4.9 (98.31%) 142 votes

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. Coming from a musical family he's always been interested in good sound. Unlike his family members the only musical instruments he plays are amps and DACs. He loves playing with old tubes and discovering new products while staying faithful to the good old Sennheiser HD650.

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