Review: Shuoer Tape – “Reel Performance”

Shuoer Tape

Comparisons and source pairing:

The Carbo Tenore from Zero Audio was itself quite the hyped IEM a few years back, and it still holds up as a balanced, natural-sounding single-dynamic driver IEM – particularly as it’s currently less than $50 on Amazon. The Carbo Tenore sounds immediately less detailed when compared alongside the Tape, with Radiohead’s ‘Ill Wind‘ sounding altogether gentler, while the Tape delivers more shimmer coupled with a much larger sense of space. Midbass on the Carbo Tenore is more pronounced, leading to an overall warmer signature but it doesn’t maintain the extension nor control of the Tape.

The Tin HiFi T2 has a greater overall tilt to its upper register compared to the Tape, due to a more recessed sub-bass. The T2’s treble feels grainy and uneven compared to the tape, as it’s dominated by a peak in the presence region that doesn’t continue to extend into the ‘air’ department. 

The new HE100 from Earstudio (currently $89 on Amazon), makers of the ES100 Bluetooth receiver/DAC/amp is an interesting comparison to the Tape. The HE100 can’t match the Tape for treble extension nor detail, but it does have a far more linear and natural sound that’s lusher and relaxing compared to the hyper-detail and energy of the Tape. ‘Legend Has It‘ by Run the Jewels has a nice, pleasant, rounded boom to the bass on the HE100, but the Tape delivers bass in a way that’s felt.

Shuoer Tape

Shuoer Tape

Thankfully the ‘Low-Voltage Electrostatic Driver’ Tape operates without the need for a dedicated energiser. In fact, it’s a breeze to power and will get very loud (very quickly) on your smartphone – Run the Jewels became ‘too loud’ at around 60% on my Samsung S9+. Switching-over to the same track on the Chord Mojo, and the Tape’s bass response improved markedly in terms of control and layering. The Mojo also gave the Tape an overall richer and denser tone compared to the more thin, brittle sound from the Samsung.

The Tape sounded excellent from the Earstudio ES100, giving-up perhaps a whisker of bass texture compared to the Mojo. But the sheer convenience of the Es100 made it a far more usable portable proposition, and I found myself reaching for the Tape + Es100 combo most often for my commute.

Shuoer Tape

Shuoer Tape

Conclusion:

Well, consider me pleasantly surprised by the Shuoer Tape. From Shuoer’s online marketing materials, the toy-like packaging/ accessories, goofy design, and of course – the $129 price tag – I certainly wasn’t expecting to experience the refined, detailed and powerful sound that they deliver. Shuoer might not have put their R&D budget into a luxury product experience in terms of accessories and overall presentation, but they have managed to strike gold in terms of sound quality – and as a result it hits way above its price-tag. So Shuoer must be doing something right – I hope to see more ‘Low-voltage electrostatic driver’ IEMs in the market in the future, as this one sounds bloody great.

So if this sound signature sounds like your cup of tea, make sure to find yourself some good-fitting tips, a decent after-market MMCX cable, some well-recorded source material, and you’ll have yourself a genuinely excellent daily driver, with some change back from $150.

4.8/5 - (313 votes)

linkedinrssyoutubeinstagram
Facebooktwitterredditpinterest

Hailing from Sydney's eastern beaches, Matty runs his own beer business, 'Bowlo Draught', as well as working in creative advertising. When he's not enjoying his hifi and vinyl collection at home, he can probably be found rolling-up on the green at his beloved Bondi Bowling Club.

14 Comments

  • Reply November 18, 2019

    Jonathan

    Will you guys be updating this review at a later date? I’ve read about failed units after a bit of time, from a few hours to a week, where volume starts to go down in one channel. Even worse, some units heat up for some reason. Also, the mmcx cables, for some, seem loose at the mmcx connectors.

    • Reply November 19, 2019

      Matty Graham

      Hi Jonathan,

      I’m liking the Tapes enough to keep using them beyond the review period – if I have any later experiences (with normal use) I can keep you updated.

      • Reply November 21, 2019

        Jonathan

        Cool, hopefully you don’t run into any issues.

  • Reply November 18, 2019

    Hanesu

    Hi! I am wondering, why these kind of earphones are never ever been compared to the real „heavyweights“ in reviews? It’s always only comparisons with „phones within their price brackets“, but I‘d be genuinely interested in an honest opinion whether recent chifi releases can challenge the expensive ones! With that I don’t only mean the ones with similar driver configuration, but also less exotic BA, DD or Hybrid offerings! It‘d be really great if Headfonia could make those comparisons in future!

    • Reply November 18, 2019

      DJ Core

      My Friends,The Tape punches way above it’s price range…I can personally give you two examples…Audiosense T800 ($300) and Fearless Audio S8 Freedom ($549)

      Tape beats both hands down…it just has a natural sounding vibration vs those metal BA drivers.Tape also has more details than alot of $1000+ BA driver IEM’s.

      Shuoer Tape sound signature will give you a different sound depending on DAP or DAC used as well.

      24/96 and higher resolution Tracks sound amazing on this IEM.

      Shuoer just needs to perfect it’s longterm testing and QC before releasing a product.This is a winner though at an affordable price for all.

    • Reply November 19, 2019

      Matty Graham

      Hi Hanesu, I wanted to keep it as relevant as possible for our readers who are looking for options within a price-range, but because I also only compare gear back-to-back directly that I have on-hand (rather than from memory). Next time I have some flagships in house I’ll give them a quick comparison for interest’s sake.

  • Reply December 16, 2019

    Rudy

    I just got a Shuoer Tape yesterday. I was so shock with its sound quality. With a 100 dollars plus price tag, damn this thing is a steal. It certainly can beat those heavyweights hands down.

  • Reply January 1, 2020

    Tim

    Hello. I’m new to the high end IEM scene but am extremely intrigued with the Shuoer Tape and have been reading up on them. My question (being a newb) is on the author’s comment of looking for a “decent aftermarket MMCX cable”. Would you mind explaining what is lacking with the cable supplied with these IEMs? Thank you!

    • Reply January 1, 2020

      Matty Graham

      Hi Tim, it’s not a question of sound quality from the cable, but you could definitely find one with sturdier connections and that’s more light-weight/manageable. With a quick search on online you ought to be able to find one for well under $50 (check the reviews).

  • Reply January 10, 2020

    Tim

    Hi Matty, thanks for your clarification, I understand. Here’s a random question though I’m close to pulling the trigger on the Tape, how would you compare these to the IMR R2 Aten? In other words, which IEM do you think is a better buy if one could get the R2 Aten for around the same price? Personally I listen to a lot of electronic music (but not limited to) including some EDM. I’ve read the R2 Aten is a bit base heavy though I realize it may depend on the filters used, etc.

    • Reply January 12, 2020

      Matty Graham

      I haven’t heard that IEM so I couldn’t give you an honest opinion, sorry Tim. Being an open-backed IEM it obviously is a lot more niche in terms of where and when you can use it…

  • Reply June 22, 2020

    Mario

    The tapes are shouty at high volume are they not? Bass reported as thin and lifeless? Vocals are back and scooped?

  • Reply July 9, 2020

    Pauli Grill

    Hey Matty! Thank you for the detailed description of the Tapes. I ordered them because I try to find an IEM that sits between the Tin T4 and the Tin P1 soundwise. Do you think that they will do the job? BR Paul

  • Reply November 6, 2020

    Jonathan

    Apparently there’s a pro version of this IEM that was just added to the Linsoul catalog. Any chance you guys will be getting your hands on them?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.