For this review I’ve used the Dethonray DTR1, Chord Hugo and Hugo 2, Sony WM1A and Oriolus DP100. The Penta sounded very good with each one of them, but two in particular won my heart when it comes to source matching. Those two are the Hugo and the DP100.
The Hugo is really a timeless device for me and its sound presentation matches really well with linear sounding IEMs. The Penta is no exception here, as it also sounded really good from the Hugo. The warmth that the Hugo adds to the Penta creates a nicely rounded presentation with good amount of body and fullness. It’s still not something like InEarz Nirvana in terms of warmth of course, but it’s very satisfying regardless.
Another pairing I liked is the Oriolus DP100. This DAP has good bass kick with a very organic approach. It also sounds full bodied too, which means that it might sound too warm with certain IEMs. But with the Penta, it is like they’re made for each other. The DP100 provides a great bass foundation for the Penta, and also it makes its tonality even more enjoyable. The Penta is a smooth CIEM but it becomes even smoother with the DP100.
The DTR1 is a great player as I selected it as the DAP of the 2019, but it’s not the best match with this CIEM, especially with genres that require body and warmth. The Hugo 2 is also an incredible device but it’s also not the best pairing for the Penta with its analytical approach. The WM1A is basically the same story with its neutral sound.
Here are a few comparisons before I close.
The SH3 has a meatier mid-bass and lower mid section, whilst the Penta staying more subtle on that area. The mid section is good on both, but the Wavaya has the edge for its sweet tonality and timbre which feels a bit more life-like, more like being in an actual concert. I think the SH3 has more resolution and slightly better separation. It also provides more clarity in the treble area.
They both have great control and overall balance. Their sound-stage magnitude is also similar. Wavaya is basically better for mids, but the SH3 is better in bass and treble.
The SA50 and the Penta are quite close in terms of presentation, since they both target a linear and flat response. However the SA50 has a slightly bigger bass response. Penta holds its advantage for mid range tonality just like against the SH3.
Treble is better with the SA50 as its the highlight of the M-Fidelity. However it doesn’t have that great control of the Wavaya, sounding piercing sometimes in lower treble. The SA50 has a deeper and wider stage though, and it’s tough to beat it in that area.
The Nirvana from InEarz is the exact opposite of the Penta. It’s bold, full bodied and very warm. So if you like hearing your bass, the Nirvana can do no wrong for you. If you listen to Classical or Jazz though, the choice would be the Penta with its great mid range and treble qualities.
The Nirvana’s bass response overshadows the mid area, which is completely the opposite with the Wavaya. Its mids are very clear and definitive, but very controlled and nicely positioned. Treble wise once again Wavaya falls behind in terms of clarity, but it has better articulation. They both have an identical staging performance.
The Wavaya Penta is a very niche product. But in its niche, it performs wonderfully. To be honest I suspected this to be just about that premium feeling and prestige, but that isn’t the case. The Penta also gives a sound that can please lots of audiophiles who listen to Classical, Jazz, Classic Rock and Vocal oriented music, or Instrumental.
I suppose the flagship model sounds even better, but the Penta is great as it is. I respect what Wavaya has brought together with their business and I also respect their dedication and determination. They think porcelain is the best material, they dedicated themselves to it, and then they managed to create a wonderful CIEM that not only looks incredible, but also sounds great as well.
I hope we will continue to review the products of this very special brand in the future.