The Reflection Of A Brilliant Sound
- Very good analytical sound, high resolution, with great ability to extract even minute details.
- Good tuning, extension and treble energy level.
- Remarkable separation, clarity and transparency. A vaporous and ethereal soundstage.
- High level of construction and very good finish.
- Good ergonomics and fit.
- Appreciable case.
- The bass is smooth, with little depth, simple to recreate layers, follow lines and build structure.
- It is not very deep, nor does it possess much energy in the lower range.
- The mids can be a little thin and lean towards detail, lacking physicality and body.
- Just a set of tips.
- The black mouthpiece can be spicy, sibilant and incisive, for its energy level and sparkle, in the second half of the frequency range.
Link to the Store
After a change, as usual, I keep trying new brands. This is the case of Simgot, a company founded in June 2015, based in Shenzhen, focused on the development and promotion of audio equipment. Its products include its first EN700 IEMs and its updated EN700 BASS version, EN700 PRO. As a curiosity, SIMGOT stands for «Simple and Elegant». In this case, I am going to review the EA500, an IEMS with a 10 mm dynamic driver with dual magnetic circuit with N52 magnet and dual cavity structure. It uses a 4th generation DLC composite diaphragm. The detachable mouthpiece design offers two different frequency responses. The capsules are all-metal, manufactured with a mirror-plated process for durability and sonic performance. All this and its sound will be discussed in the next review.
- Driver Type: 10mm dynamic driver, with 4th generation DLC diaphragm, dual magnetic circuit with N52 magnet and dual cavity structure.
- Frequency Response Range: 10Hz-50kHz.
- Effective Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz.
- Sensitivity: 123dB/Vrms (@1kHz mouthpiece with red ring) 124dB/Vrms (@1kHz mouthpiece with black ring).
- Impedance: 16Ω+15% (@1kHz).
- Jack Connector: SE 3.5mm gold-plated.
- Capsule Connection Type: 2Pin 0.78mm.
- High purity silver plated OFC cable.
The Simgot EA500 comes in a medium-sized black box, whose dimensions are 144x123x63mm. In the centre of the main face is a picture of an unreal landscape. The Hi-Res logo is in the top right corner. In the upper left corner is the brand name and below the picture the model. On the back side are the specifications, in Chinese, English and Korean. There are also the two frequency responses provided by the two mouthpieces. The outer cardboard is removed from the side, which gives access to a black cardboard box. After lifting the lid, as if it were a book, you will find the two shiny, polished capsules, encased in foam lined like the box. Underneath is a small box with the accessories. Inside you can find a zippered case containing the rest. In a nutshell:
- The two Simgot EA500 capsules.
- One high-purity silver-plated OFC cable with 3.5mm SE gold-plated plug.
- A black, oval, zippered carrying case.
- 2 manuals in various languages.
- 1 pouch with red and black O-rings.
- Two black screw-on nipples. The red ones are inserted into the capsules.
- 3 pairs of translucent white silicone tips with black core, sizes SxMxL.
The best thing is the presentation itself, austere and slightly different. But above all the zippered case. The manuals are appreciated, but more tips are missing, there is only one set.
Construction and Design
The Simgot EA500 features a polished and shiny construction, which is slightly different due to its two-tier design on the inner side, as well as some details that make it eloquent and attractive. The capsules are all-metal and mirror-plated. Each is made up of two visibly separate faces. The outer face has an equilateral triangle design, with very rounded corners. In the centre is the brand logo. The model name is engraved on the edge in capital letters. The rigid, translucent plastic part, which contains the gold-plated 2Pin 0.78mm connection, is slightly recessed. The inner side has two levels. On the lower level there is a recessed oval, which contains a hole, at the bottom of which there is a metal grid. Next to it is a gold-plated Torx screw. Outside the oval, but near the centre, there is an engraved circle, inside which is the letter indicating the channel. The second level of the inner face is more rounded and contains the mouthpiece. Close to the mouthpiece is another hole, the bottom of which is protected by a cloth grille. The nozzles are inclined and have a thread at the tip for attaching the metal filters. The filter with the red O-ring has nothing inside, while the black filter has a foam of the same colour.
The nozzles have a length of 4.5mm, a smaller diameter of 5.1mm and a larger diameter of 6.1mm at the edge.
The wire has two coiled strands, silver plated and covered with transparent plastic. All parts are made of plastic. The plug sleeve is of the classic black L-cylinder type. The 3.5mm SE connector is gold-plated. The splitter piece is also made of black plastic. It has a rectangular shape, the lower corners of which are rounded. Engraved in a recessed circle is the brand logo. The slide is made of the same material, rectangular, with two lowered ovals inside, with two through holes for each wire. You can read the brand name inscribed on each larger side. There is a white Velcro strap with a slogan written in black letters. It has guides on semi-rigid ears and the connectors are 2Pin 0.78mm long and gold-plated. The sleeves are the classic rectangular two-tier ones, each with a coloured dot to indicate the channel.
Great design for the capsules, with a mirror finish that is a fingerprint magnet. The weight of each capsule is noticeable in the hand.
The cable is more classic, but still of good quality. Although I would have preferred a copper cable to soften the character of the EA500s, I must admit that the silver plating gives it a continuist matching look.
Adjustment and Ergonomics
Although the capsules look a little large in appearance, the two-level design of the inner face makes them ergonomic and easy to position inside the cabinet. The angle of the mouthpieces is also very good. It is true that, on the whole, they are a little short and the insertion does not go beyond the surface. With some tips, a slightly deeper insertion could be achieved.
It also feels that the weight in the hand is evident, but in the ears it is not noticeable, thanks to the remarkable level of fit and integration. The capsules hardly rotate at all and the fit is high, once you find occlusive and well-fitting tips, as is usually the case with my large foam-filled home-made tips. Thanks to them, the level of isolation is remarkable.
The Simgot EA500s are in that segment of neutral IEMS, but with excited mid-highs. Depending on our tolerance, the mouthpieces used, the genres of music to be played and the character of the sources, they can range from tolerable to penetrating, harsh and unpleasant. All this, of course, from my personal bias.
Red mouthpieces are at the limit of tolerance, while black mouthpieces are more excessive. In pure frequency response measurements, it can be seen that the bass response is very similar and that the changes produced by the nozzles are registered from the mids onwards. If the bass response feels altered, it is because of the difference from 1kHz onwards.
The general issue is not that the Simgot is very excited in the high-mids, but that the highs are quite full as well, which generates a higher concentration of energy from the second half of the mids onwards.
As mentioned, my preference and tolerance is for the red mouthpiece and it is with this that I describe the sound, in the following sections.
The bass does not dominate the sound, but is always behind or in neutral. It is quite full, smooth and broad, with a soft transient towards the mids. Its overall lightness is accentuated in the sub-bass, which is very much counterbalanced by the mid-highs. In electronic songs with kick drum and cymbal, the bass is in the background, while the cymbals stand out. And this representation is not what one expects when listening to electronica. In these settings, the bass is not particularly developed and is hard to concentrate on, when the high end is hammering the eardrums. If electronics are used with a lighter V (and we are back to Massive Attack) the lower range is drawn simple, without too much texture, subtly rough, with low dynamics and travel. The changes in power are quite slight, so the bass lines are not too pronounced, but not too expressive either. Similarly, the physicality of its punch is low and the amount of air moved is also low. The result is a low end that doesn’t rumble, with a monotonous tendency that doesn’t mark the bass lines, not even the bass drums, generating a bass melody rather than a bass response.
The pure tone test is moderately realistic, but colour is felt from the deepest LFOs. Although the reproduction is adequate and natural, it lacks physicality and more body in performance.
On the other hand, the technical level is appropriate, with a dry and concise, if simple, punch. Its speed is good, as well as its decay, it does not leave a trace and it evaporates quickly. It has precision and resolution, but due to the lack of body, energy and power, both the bass lines and the layers are relatively loose and deflated, with little punch and volume. The result is a well-adjusted bass, compact, more smooth than round, technically precise and pleasant, which needs amplification to emerge, but which finds in the high end a limiter of its dynamics and splendour, as well as occupying a light volume and neutral power.
The mids are quite clean and I don’t find the smooth transition from the bass into this area to add warmth or intrusiveness. The first half is also lacking in body and the level of physicality is fairly neutral, with a balanced note weight and a medium thickness, which becomes lighter as the frequencies rise. Even with red mouthpieces, this is a sound that releases the warmth of musical compositions, bringing light and clarity to them, even as it lowers their density. In this respect, the EA500s work very well with warm music or sources, bringing a brighter, thinner and more transparent point of view. On the other side of the scale, this effect can be doubly positive for brighter music or cooler sources. The Amapiano, characterised by powerful sub-bass sections, has a metallic-brilliant cleanliness that the EA500s take care to emancipate more than necessary, to the point of making such compositions too demanding for my fifty-something eardrums. The explicit and descriptive level reached becomes penetrating, even fatiguing. With warmer music, however, the EA500s shine by adding a twist to dense, unpolished compositions, incorporating detail unheard of in other headphones.
Turning to the first half of the mids, the male voices are relatively neutral, without too much thickness, drawn at medium distance, with a low physical level and volume, as is their density. It is a soft weight. Their timbre is natural, with a fine and luminous tendency. The instrumentation is similar, generating a delicate and relatively thin presentation, which allows space to open up between the notes, and to breathe light between them, something that helps to increase the precision, resolution and level of detail, as well as the perception of dynamics.
In the second half, neutrality is exceeded, flirting with sibilance and an evident energetic level. And this level is not framed in the upper-mid range, but extends towards the treble. This makes the male voices stretch in extension, giving the same weight and prominence to the body as to the details and harmonics, which distorts their full development. The detail is elevated above the fundamental and musicality is lost in favour of a fervent and vivid sensation that approaches the foreground. It is a sharp brilliance, whose delicate, subtle thickness makes it more cutting, penetrating, fatiguing, after all. And it is accentuated by the black filter. It is clear that the extraction of detail, nuance and staging is superior, placing the sound at an analytical point, which can go from interesting to stressful, depending on the music and the sources selected. Female vocals veer in the same way, becoming either splendid or painful. It is clear that the Simgot EA500 can go from angel to demon, moving away from being a good all-round ensemble, to becoming a more specialised IEMS.
The treble has excellent extension for a dynamic driver and more so in this price range. They are able to maintain a high energy level and that contributes to the EA500’s sound being crisp and focused, from the mid-highs onwards. There is a certain balance to that excitement – these are not eminently treble-driven IEMS, but it is clear that the range is strong, presentially speaking, at least, in its first half. In this way, their sonority is sharp, thin, fine and powerful, but without being hurtful. Although, it is clear that it may be too much for some sensitive ears. Even the black filter excites this band even more.
Another positive factor is the speed and dynamics of this range, something that brings a fairly high level of precision, definition and resolution. The result is a fairly full range, even in its air region, which helps to distinguish the overall sound as quite detailed, rigorous and concise. One of the best in its price range.
The scene is airy, well-defined, has remarkable width and good height, though it suffers from a certain depth. The sensation offered is more vaporous and ethereal, much more capable of layering and distinguishing detail, than marking bass lines and composing them. There is much more flatness in the midrange and treble than in the bass, which is drawn more simply and linearly. In contrast, the nuances are much more expressive and surprising, reaching a very high analytical level for this price range. The level of resolution and detail definition is very good, even adding an unusual sonority, which offers an even more focused, diverse and distinctive sound, reaching micro detail with ease and ease of recreation.
Separation is also very good, as is the imaging and positioning of the elements, reaching an excellent level, comparatively speaking. There is a remarkable sense of air and distance between notes, which pronounces the sense of clarity, transparency and luminosity.
The Dunu Kima is just above $100, being in the range just above it. But there are some similarities between the two products. Both are metallic, with a mirror finish for the EA500 and a matte finish for the Kima. Both inner sides are characterised by two levels. The Kima seems to be smaller and less heavy and I prefer the matte design and the different planes on the outer side. Both have very good cases, but Dunu’s presentation and accessories always have a special touch. In fact, both cables are similar, with the Dunu offering a better finish, as well as being slightly thicker.
The Simgot fit my ears better, offering a more occlusive feel and a more perfect seal than the Kima.
Sound-wise, the Kima’s have a more relaxed treble presentation and a softer character on the analytical side. The EA500s are more sensitive and move more easily.
The Kima’s bass is a little more pronounced in the sub-bass, being a little cleaner towards the mids. They also have a bit more punch, are more expressive, with more texture and roughness. The ratio between bass and mid-high/treble is more balanced in the Kima, hence the lower range is slightly more prominent and better represented than in the EA500.
However, in the mids and highs, the EA500s are sharper, finer and more delicate. While there is a similar tuning overall, with the Kima being smoother in the mids and treble, they are also more relaxed in resolution. The Simgot have a more analytical, fine and transparent profile. The Kima’s are not as bright or separated, and can even be a little more diffuse, comparatively speaking. The EA500’s treble is more coherent and has a fuller, more accurate timbre. The Kima’s treble roll-off gives them a sonority that can be a bit weirder at times, and less full-bodied at others. But, it also makes them more tolerable for extended listening. For critical listening, though, the EA500s are better.
The separation is more evident in the EA500, being sharper, more delicate and precise, achieving more resolution. The Kima has more depth, but the Simgot is more ethereal and vaporous, with more clarity and transparency. The greater precision gives it a more accurate image, while the Kima is somewhat calmer.
The Kima could become a variation of the EA500, with a mouthpiece that limits the treble, but with a less pronounced, but more musical, technical performance.
The Simgot EA500 is a great example of the high standard of $80 IEMS available today. Its level of construction, design, finish and accessories put it in a position that was previously reserved for more expensive products. But even its sound is at a very high level of resolution, precision and definition. It has two tuning mouthpieces, whose differences are based on the high-mids and the first treble. Although in the graph, the changes are not very exaggerated, at the moment of truth and given the range of frequencies that it modifies, it is clearly distinguishable. The profile of the EA500 is neutral-bright, with a very efficient analytical character. Both characteristics can be enhanced by the use of black nozzles. However, the red mouthpieces do not soften the sound sufficiently for those who like a more balanced, relaxed or smooth profile. The EA500s are demanding on our ears and sensitive, whether to sources, genres of music or simply to the songs themselves. They are capable of extracting the best out of them, or even of crossing the occasional red line, if you look at them through the prism of pure musical enjoyment. Even so, the level of sound quality is very good, although it is possible that this is a product of a combination of its excited profile and the remarkable characteristics of the driver used, as well as its level of construction.
Sources Used During the Analysis
- Aune X8 XVIII Magic DAC + EarMen ST-Amp.
- Aune Flamingo.
- Hidizs AP80 PRO-X Red Copper LE.
- TempoTec Variations V6.
- Xduoo Link2 BAL.
- Burson Audio Playmate.