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View Full Discussion Edit: It was brought to my attention that a link with no substance isn't the most helpful (my words, not theirs). I agree, lol. Here's an except from the review going over sound quality. If you're interested in build, accessories, and everything else, check out the full review. Long story short, the bass is amazing, mids smooth and clear, and treble rolls off really early. Good for the treble sensitive, but probably way too rolled off for the rest of us. Build is good, Mee's cables are excellent, and comfort is too. Quite like the unique stock tips. Not the same generic single flange things you get with most brands. Seem unique to this earphone, at least in my experience, and imo necessary to properly experience the unique bass.
"Sound:Tips: Bi-flange and foam tips really suck the life out of the Planamic’s already restrained upper regions so beyond a few songs they weren’t used again. You might have a different experience. I found the Planamic best with tips of two types; those that bring the driver as close as possible to your ear drum, or fairly shallow, wide bore tips. The first type refers to the stock single-flange tips. If you want to get the bass I rave about later in this review, those tips are key. Sony has a similar tip they include with the AS800AP, but the flange was so long it interfered with my ability to get a consistent seal. If you’re willing to give up some bass and balance out the sound without resorting to EQ, wide bores tips will be key. I tried with those from JVC, TFZ, and Ultimate Ears. JVC and TFZ tips reduced bass quantity and increase upper treble. You lose some of the visceral feedback of the low end to gain energy in the upper regions. Not worth the trade off for me as the visceral bass is why this thing kicks @$$. The UE tips pulled the driver too far from the ear missing out on the point of that style of tip so stay away from these. The below impressions were made with the stock, medium single flange tips. My qualms with the mid and upper-treble are lessened with the aforementioned wide bore tips.
After pulling the Planamic out of the plastic bag it was shipped in and checking out the nice accessory kit, I plugged it into Radsone’s ES100 which was pulling USB DAC duty on my Asus FX53V laptop. What track did I want to listen to first? Hmm. I knew just the one; “Look At That Butt (feat. Jarina De Marco)” by Dillon Francis. I've really been feeling the strong Latin influences of his current work, and the music video for this track is especially ridiculous. So yeah, “Look At That butt” would be perfect. And it was. At 15 seconds when the first hit of bass kicked in, I jumped because I was not expecting the physical response the Planamic provided. That moment immediately solidified this earphone as something special.
The Planamic’s low end provides what to me is the most visceral low end experience I’ve felt from an in-ear. The way notes linger and rumble and the sensation they provide is akin to a full-sized stereo, limited to your ears and not the entire body of course. Haywyre’s “Sculpted” provides an outstanding example of this the moment the low end drops at 23 seconds. I found texturing to be quite good with notes showing depth and feeling. Impact is solid too giving the Planamic’s low end lots of authority beyond it simply being the most emphasized aspect of it’s sound. Speed of the Planamic’s driver is far from sluggish or clumsy, easily keeping up with balanced armatures in presenting the insanity of Havok’s sophomore thrash metal release, “Time Is Up.” Just to really drive it home, where the Planamic truly specializes is in the feeling of bass, something the vast majority of earphones fall flat on. I have a couple planars in the ADVANCED Alpha and HiFiMan Susvara. When wearing the Susvara, if you lift it off your ears just enough to break seal with your head, sub-bass goes through the roof and you feel waves of bass slapping the sides of your head. While not quite as exaggerated through the Planamic, that the gist of how I experience the bass on this thing. It’s unique and awesome in the proper sense of the word.
The mid-range is pretty nice too. That rise from 1K to 4K does a stellar job of pulling vocals and instruments through the bass and with giving the frequency entire range solid clarity. The Planamic didn’t rip my face off with wicked detailing, but it wasn’t muddied or slurred either. There are times where the Planamic’s frequency balance doesn’t help such as on Scroobius Pip’s “The Struggle”. Everything on this track comes across more mellow than it should. Pip’s vocals should pop more. The background vocals are too smooth. The guitar work sounds great and the drumming carries the beat well, but in general it all sounds a little off. On the other, Skrillex’s “Devil’s Den” has effects and synthesized vocals that sit right where the Planamic plays best and as such the pairing of the two is outstanding. If you like Dubstep.
In Massdrop’s marketing material, they say that the hybrid planar/dynamic driver gives music a unique timbre. I don’t really know what that’s supposed to mean, but you would think aiming for accurate timbre would be desired. Soooo, to see just how unique the timbre was I pulled out the Master of Timbre itself, JVC’s HA-FXT90. How was the Planamic? Well, a little warmer and thicker but instruments sounded more or less as they should. I certainly found the Planamic’s timbre more accurate than a lot of hybrids which are often lighter and brighter than is ideal.
Treble is where I find the Planamic struggling most. Take for example Evil Nine’s “Golden Throne”. In the opening moments there is a high pitched synth line that through the Planamic is barely audible. Run the same track though most other earphones and while still subtle, there’s a good chance you’ll notice it significantly more. The way this earphone is tuned means that some aspects of the track are downplayed significantly more than they should be. In some cases this leads to a neat effect and gives the track a ton of depth to the sound stage where on other earphones it’s much more flat. Those striving for raw accuracy may be infuriated. Flaws in emphasis aside, the quality of the treble itself is actually quite good. It’s well controlled with zero distortion I could detect and is not even remotely fatiguing. You can absolutely crank the volume with this thing and pending the low end doesn’t tire you out, can listen for hours on end. Heck, it even cures The Crystal Method’s “Grace ft. LeAnn Rimes” of it’s painfully shrill and sibilant vocals and sound effects.
I found the sound stage on the Planamic to be quite open and spacious, an achievement made more impressive by the lack of treble energy which often exaggerates this area. It comes across deeper than it is wide, but with some quality separation and layering. Again, I refer you to Havok’s works to verify since they can end up a congested mess in the wrong hands. Imaging is smooth and accurate without any dead zones, though the lack of width does make picking out precise instrument locations somewhat of a challenge on especially busy tracks.
The Planamic’s bass-forward sound and recessed mid- and upper-treble means this isn’t an earphone that can do everything. When you get a track that plays to it’s strengths it will blow your mind, but other times it lacks energy and falls flat. That inconsistency can be frustrating when it crops up (thankfully not very often in my experience). When it all comes together you’ll have a stupid grin pasted across your face. Plus, that bass presentation is unique and engaging enough by itself to warrant hunting down songs that play it up."
My complete thoughts on this earphone; https://thecontraptionist.blog/2018/10/11/massdrop-x-mee-audio-planamic-bring-it/
I really appreciate your straight forward and thorough review. Basically, if I understood correctly they sound like they should (i.e. they obey their FR graph. Great sub/bass, good but unremarkable mid-highs/highs due to their premature roll-off).
As a gear minimalist, I can't "afford" to have IEMs/cans with niche tuning. While I avoid all-rounders precisely because they tend to be "meh". I tend to prefer gear that works great with good set of ranges of music types.
Again, to reiterate, I appreciate the honest review.
Thanks for your review. These seem like they're going to be a great complement to the Pinnacle P1/PX.
Glad you found the review helpful. This does have a niche tune but it's handled well. Almost seems like a direct response to the trend in popular Chinese brands, hybrids esp., which usually have aggressively boosted treble. Planamic was quite a refreshing listen and I hope it finds a fan base. It's a cool product.
" which usually have aggressively boosted treble. "
I'm looking at you nuForce EDC3 *cough, cough*
Very helpful review. I'm quite sensitive to "treble fatigue" and I'd rather sacrifice a little treble if it meant getting great bass. And your comparison to the TFZ King Pro makes it sound like that's exactly the kind of sound signature that the Planamics have, which is great!
I just purchased a Norne Audio Silvergarde cable for mine. After burn in, these should open better, with improved treble response. I. M. H. O.
Sent these out on tour to a few guys in the US. Surprised at how much I'm missing them already. Closest thing signature wise is the ADV GT3 Superbass, but it lacks the uniquely visceral presentation of the Planamic. :,(