The SPearphone SB-3.5 RU is the latest addition to the StereoPravda IEM line-up. It’s surprisingly isn’t on the StereoPravda website yet but let’s discover more about it!
Disclaimer: The StereoProavda SB-3.5 RU was sent to my by Misha Kucherenko directly in exchange for this review. The unit doesn’t need to be returned as far as I know.
We have reviewed the StereoPravda SPearphone SB-7 and SPearphone SB-3.5 on Headfonia already, so it’s strongly suggested to read up on both of these reviews first. As the new models shares several characteristics and features of the SB models, you may find some parts are copied from the former reviews.
For those of you that are not familiar with “Big Misha” or StereoPravda yet, I’ll tell something about him and his company. I’ve met Mr. Kucherenko multiple times at High End in Munich and if you’ve ever had the pleasure to talk to Misha in person, it’s a meeting you won’t forget.
His unique style, his perfect English, his knowledge about audio and his unlimited drive for his products just make him a very special person. And I mean that in the most positive and respectful way, a true gentleman. Misha recently also published a super cool book called “A politically incorrect view on High End Audio”. The book is about all types of high end audio, though there of course is a large part on personal audio and StereoPravda. It’s a recommended read for anyone interested in high end audio. You can get he English book via the Kennerton Audio website here.
This unique book is dedicated to what has been known since the 70s as the High End Audio industry (and, first and foremost, to the equipment that is at the frontline of humanity’s pursuit of sonic Utopia) and the dramatic story of the search for High End: the glamour and the misery, the gains and the losses, the highs and the lows.
The “About” section on the StereoPravda website really explains it all:
Misha Kucherenko has been a well-known figure in the Russian audiophile circles since 1993 when he co-founded the first Russian real audiophile store called “The Purple Legion” aka “PL”.
Through its history “PL” has been distributing in Russia the products from some of the most respected audiophile brands, including Apogee Acoustics, Krell, Audio Research Corporation, Magnepan, Klipsch, Kimber Kable, MSB, Genesis Loudspeakers, Stereovox, Manley Labs, Grado, etc.
In 2002 Misha left “The Purple Legion” to devote his passion and energy to a new company that was called “StereoPravda”. His close relationship with his manufacturing partners lead to transition of most of them for the distribution of their products in Russia from “Purple Legion” to the new company.
Misha is also well known for his independent audio journalistic effort. Despite his unconventional views, for the last 20 years he published more than a hundred of articles and reports in various Russian magazines, including “Audiomagazine”, “Salon AV”, “Class A”, “Art Electronics”, etc. Since 2013 his monthly “Personal Opinion” column on one of the most popular Internet audio forum soundex.ru was read by many thousands of Russian audiophiles. Misha’s journalistic effort culminated in a long interview regarding portable audio, in general, and StereoPravda line of products, in particular, which he gave to a well-known American magazine called “Widescreen Review” (August 2015, #198).
As a hard core audiophile and jet set travelling audio journalist for many years he’s been seeing inevitable changes coming to the audiophile hobby. Looking at the progress in various relevant technologies vs stale set of audiophile dogmas brought him a new vision: The Portable High End Audio.
To him, what matters is not a type of a no-holds-barred audio system- be it a home system or a portable one – what does matter is the initial purity of its creator’s intentions and the degree of their realization.
From his stand point and the background he’s not being seeing any adequate audio quality portable propositions coming from “The Big Boys”, so, eventually, capitalizing on his hard-earned reputation, he decided to fill the gap with his own line of products bearing the StereoPravda name.
If you’re interested in finding out even more about StereoPravda and Misha, then I advise you to watch the following Youtube clip. If not, just keep reading under the video.
The SPearphone SB-Series
The SB-X are unique earphones, crafted individually by hand in Moscow, Russia. StereoPravda uses only the best components for their products, such as balanced-armature drivers made by Knowles, cables crafted by Chris Sommovigo / Black Cat Cable and audiophile-grade resistors by Vishay.
Each pair of SB-IEMs undergoes an extended audition to make sure that it is 100% perfect. At this time, the StereoPravda product-line consists of these IEMs: SPearphone SB-5, SPearphone SB-7, SPearphone SB-7A, the SB-3.5 and now the latest SPearphone SB-3.5 RU. The IEMs are designed by Misha himself and they are result of many years spent on their R&D.
Misha’s intention with this line is to carry the audiophile torch through High End Audio’s current “neutral zone” to its new incarnation. And to pass this torch of true values to a new generation of audiophiles.
No Pain – No Gain
As you’ve maybe already seen in the pictures or in the previous review, the SB-series are unique in look and design. SB actually stands for “Second Bend” and the design principle used by StereoPravda explains it all. Unlike the typical ear shell design where the BA drivers can be pretty much anywhere in the shell, StereoPravda is lining them up on one axis.
That means that you have a series of Balanced Armatures in one line, and that’s why this IEM looks so special/long/unique. StereoPravda doesn’t use crossovers but they use Vishay resistors in this unit to get the best possible sound delivered to your eardrums. As you can see in the pictures, the special tip is slightly angled, and that is so that the sound reaches your eardrum in the best angle. That also means that the SB IEMs have to be inserted deep in to your canal to get the best possible sound. In fact, the Second Bend is where all the magic happens, hence the SB name of the unit.
StereoPravda doesn’t keep it a secret, the SPearphone IEMs are a no pain-no gain unit, for the hardcore audiophile.
SPearphone SB-3.5 RU
The StereoPravda SPearphone SB-3.5 RU is the newest addition to StereoPravda’s line-up and it is a modified version of the already existing SB-3.5. The SPearphone SB-3.5 RU was first shown to the world at the Moscow Hi-Fi & High End Show which took place on May 21st-23rd last year (2021).
The SB-3.5 RU earphone uses four Balanced Armature drivers, however as one of the drivers is a double-stacked one, so the number of drivers in Knowles’ SKUs is three, that is why StereoPravda uses “3.5” in the model’s name.
“RU” – within its various possible implications – actually stands in its name for “Ripped Up”. StereoPravda “rips up” one of the BA-drivers, that is, they opened it as a tin can, so they can use its direct sound radiation (as opposed to the nominal bellows-type BA-drivers sound radiation) and also to position the driver’s sound radiation ON AXIS with the tympanic membrane’s sonic response (the deep insertion of the earphone at the vicinity of ear canal Second Bend will facilitate reaching for that goal due to relatively close distance to the ear drum).
As a result of the lower sensitivity of the “ripped up” BA-driver compared to the stock one, the “high-mid” section of BA-drivers in the earphone is connected directly to the earphone amplifier with no matching resistors in-between (which does help to remove some additional distortions from the in-series additional passive elements).
The SB-7 model is still the flagship model in the audiophile earphone line called StereoPravda, although the newest addition to the line – according to StereoPravda – allows some of the best BA-drivers’ sonic attributes to really shine through in a very unique way.
The article continues on the second page, click here or use the jumps below.
Page 1: StereoPravda, SPearphone, Pain, SB-3.5
Page 2: Cable, Tips, Price, Packaging, Build Quality, Usage, Sources, Sound Pt. 1
Page 3: Sound Pt. 2, Comparisons, Conclusion