Friday, May 27, 2011

[REVIEW] Sunrise Xcape Impressive Edition

First, I’ll like to thank Sunrise for the sample. Sunrise has had its up and down this year so far but they are not slowing down. Knowing that the China-market-oriented Xcape v2 missed its mark on the Western front, Sunrise is more than ready to replace it with something more worthy of being called the successor of the well-received original Xcape. After all, this new IEM is called the Xcape "Impressive Edition".




SPEC
Driver: 9mm silver coil dynamic transducer.
Impedance: 32Ω
Sensitivity: 118 +/- 3dB
Frequency Response: 16Hz-24kHz
Cable: 1.2m, gold plated 3.5mm plug.

Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality
Since I only received the sample and not the full package, there really isn’t much to say. Xcape-IE shares the same design as the already reviewed Xcape v2 (discontinued) and Xcited so I will just repost the same section from the old Xcited ("B") review. The only differences between Xcited and Xcape-IE are on the marking on the Y-splitter and color – Xcited will have a gunmetal grey finish while Xcape-IE will have a black finish on the earpiece. Otherwise the two are pretty much identical in build quality.

As far as I know, the packaging and accessories of Xcape v2 is pretty much the same as the original Xcape. In such case, I won’t want to write about the same stuff twice. If you are interested, please read my previous review of the original Xcape for more detail.


Original Xcape (top) and Xcape v2 (bottom)

The very obvious difference between the two Xcape models is of course the change in outer design and basic build quality. I have had the original Xcape for over half a year now and have yet to have any issue regarding build quality. The Xcape v2 (as well as ‘B’, which uses the same housing and design) is said to be even better in build quality, where a denser alloy is used for the new housing as well as a new cable that is better at resisting mechanical stress. The inclusion of metal shell on both the stereo plug and Y-splitter are said to be serve both an aesthetical and stress resisting purposes, though I would like to see proper strain relief as well. Isolation is about average, microphonics is decently low.


Cable and plug for the original Xcape (top) and Xcape v2 (bottom)

Overall the new Xcape v2 does look classier and better build then the original Xcape. The only complain I have is the lack of chin slider which was included in the original Xcape. It doesn’t mean much when you are wearing the IEM straight down, but it could still be very useful for holding the cable down when it is over-the-ear. The same conclusion applies to ‘B’ as well.

Sound Quality
The IEM has been given about 200 hours of burn-in. No significant change was detected except perhaps a little bit more refined in overall presentation. Calling the new Xcape the ‘impressive Edition’ is a bit of risk for Sunrise, especially after the original Xcape owners don’t find the Xcape v2 an upgrade over the original. Thankfully this 3rd generation of Xcape does outperform its predecessors and really aims to impress. The original Xcape has a classic Sunrise house sound, which is largely neutral with a slight warmness radiated from the central upper mid. The Xcape-IE retains mostly the same flavor, brings the overall sound a little more forwarded with a touch of intimacy, some added texture, bass and soundstage.

The overall sound signature of Xcape-IE is warm, sweet, full and smooth. Bass is where it is most different from the old Xcapes. It is full, punchy, well bodied though misses some of the really deep note. It is a good balance between quantity and quality and should be quite satisfiable except for the most serious of bass addict. Mid is lusher and more rounded but slightly less textured compared to the original Xcape (which is its strength), but overall still above average. It takes away a little of the technicality but adds back some intimacy and richness to the mix. Treble, while still decent, takes a step back on the whole presentation. It has the same sparkle, but in smaller scale and doesn’t sound quite as crisp as the original Xcape. While not totally lacking in micro detail, it is not quite as analytical as the original Xcape or analytical IEM in general. I think it is safe to conclude that the focus of the overall sound has shifted from the original Xcape’s upper-mid-lower-treble’s detail to more of a lower-mid-upper-bass’s texture. Soundstage is above average. It might not have the same dark background as the original Xcape, the overall positioning and imaging are improved and feel less 2D.

Verdict
While I do find Xcape Impressive Edition to be upgrade over Xcited and the original Xcape, it is not something very major. On one hand, Xcited is turning the Sunrise house to another direction; On the other hand, Xcape-IE is trying to gives the original Xcape a more warm and musical presentation. For those who enjoy more detail and bass together, Xcited will be a good choice. For those who prefers smooth and warm, Xcape-IE will be more fitting. Between the two, I reckon Sunrise has the market very well covered. Since Xcape-IE is priced the same as the original Xcape, it is just as good a successor for the original Xcape’s Sonic Diamond, much like Xcited.

For a quick sum up, check out The List.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

So long waiting, so eager for this review. Indeed it makes me feel confident to try :D

Anonymous said...

How's this compared to FA silver bullets?

Tai / ClieOS said...

I would consider X-IE to be better sounding than SB, but they don't sound alike. SB strength is on its immersive soudnstage while X-IE strength is in mid texture and detail.

Anonymous said...

Tai, how would you compare their sound signature to the RE262's? From my reading it seems like they both have the same focus on lower mids.

Tai / ClieOS said...

They are in the same general sound signature. Warm and sweet is what I will refer to them both. But the difference between the two is RE262 has a lot more texture on the mid while X-IE has a bit more rounded mid+bass volume.

VuVN said...

Finally I received Xcape IE. I am truly impressive with the well layered and midrange, the detail is not excellent but really good for this price range. The box look really good, very impressive in my opinion. Thank you for your review, I did not feel confident to purchase before read it even I live in Vietnam (a little town, so far to go to test). The first

Ben said...

How would you compare the Sunrise Xcape IE to the DUNU Hepheas?

Tai / ClieOS said...

For the two BA based DUNU that have been reviewed, the X-IE is better. I have yet to review the two dynamic based DUNU I have with me (quite busy lately), so you will have to wait for the review to publish for the answer. Cheer.

Anonymous said...

nice reiview!
so among the re0, re-zero , xcited and this xcape ie
which one would you suggest for someone new to iems and only listens jpop/rock?

Tai / ClieOS said...

RE-ZERO, Xcited and X-IE all can do Jpop quite well, but for sheer fun, X-IE will be the slightly better choice.

Anonymous said...

How would you compare the Sunrise Xcape IE to the Phonak Audéo PFE 022 Perfect Bass?

Tai / ClieOS said...

X-IE is richer in tone, fuller in body and more refined over the PFE Perfect Bass. PFE on the other hand is better in resolution. Overall, X-IE is ahead.

Anonymous said...

These sound very promising from reviews, and the price is attractive as well. For someone whose HJE900's just gave out, would you recommend these? I enjoy the sound signature I got from my panas, the bass was superb and I like their overall warmth. However, they could be sibilant and too bright at times. My budget is limited at around 120 so price is definitely a factor.

Thanks

Tai / ClieOS said...

I have't listened to Panasonic so I can't really say which is better. However, I do know Panny has a v-shaped frequency responce. Xcape-IE is certainly not like that, but it does sound good.

Anonymous said...

Ah, my apologies. I was almost certain I saw a review by you on head-fi for the panas.

Anonymous said...

I listen to acid-jazz, funk, electo with instruments (like bah-samba) so i like warmness, details and well balanced sound :)
DO you think this IEM is the best for it price for that ?
Would you recommend IE or Xcited ?

Tai / ClieOS said...

Sound like Xcited is more suitable for you.

Thegunslinger said...

Hi Clieos! How would you compare this to X10? Interested in getting one of these two,peovided their market prices aren't that much different now. Thanks! ;)

Tai / ClieOS said...

My audition of X10 was a very long time ago, and I don't want to compare it to the Sunrise based on memory alone. All I can say is X10 has a mid centric sound and should be somewhat comparable to the Sunrise. However, I can't be certain which I think is better.

Thegunslinger said...

well, I guess I can't go wrong with any of these. thanks! :)

de Charmy said...

Hi ClieOS!

I mostly listen to all genre, but mainly:

Jazz, Ambient, Vocal, Instrumental, Lounge, Rock

XcapeIE or RE-ZERO?

Tai / ClieOS said...

I'm more inclined to recommend RE-ZERO to you, as it is more versatile sounding.

de Charmy said...

Thanks for your recommendation ClieOS

de Charmy said...

do re-zero suffer from the weak built quality like re0? heard many people complain about the re-0 broken easily

Tai / ClieOS said...

I won't say it has the best build quality in the IEM world (and neither is XcapeIE). But then again, I never have much problem with HifiMan's IEM. If you are not the kind of people that pay a lot of attention into caring of gears, then I'll suggest you stick to the big brands since they are easier to service.

de Charmy said...

i just bought the re-zero (but used one), and I love it!

but there is something different from what i saw from internet, the jack is TRS instead of TRRS, when i ask the dealer said the re-zero came with his 601 as a bundle, and he also mention that this is the limited edition version, so it don't have the TRRS plug.

Tai / ClieOS said...

As far as I know, RE-ZERO is originally intended to be a limited edition with TRRS plug for balanced audio. However, it seems HifiMan also makes a normal TRS version as well at a later time. I can't really confirm whether that is also part of the limited edition batch or just limited to being their DAP's stock earphones. They never did announce it formally, at least not to my knowledge.

Anonymous said...

Can you compare Xcape IE to Philips SHE 9850 ? Which ones offer better sound?

Anonymous said...

also, when will your review of XBA-1 going to be out?

Tai / ClieOS said...

For basic SQ comparison, please check out The List: http://www.inearmatters.net/2009/01/list_01.html

I can't really give you a time frame on when a review will be posted. As you can see, I have many things needed to be reviewed and I still have a day job to attend to.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking for IEMs better than Brainwavz M1 but having the same sound signature and similar playing profile (warm, musical, detailed and well presented sound). Do you think Xcape IE is a good buy or would you recommend other IEM?
THX!

Tai / ClieOS said...

Yep, X-IE should be a pretty good buy as the same sound signature as M1.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Just would like to ask, between RE0 and sunrise xcape IE, which one will be better overall, in terms of build quality as well as sound quality. I tend more to listen to music that emphasises on good heavy bass.

Tai / ClieOS said...

I won't say one is better than the other on overall build quality. However, RE0 isn't really suitable for bass heavy music.

Anonymous said...

Having a vsonic gr06, would you recommend me getting a sunrise xcape IE or re-zero?

Tai / ClieOS said...

If you like the warm sound of GR06, the X-IE will be better suited for you. Other wise, both are actually good choice.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I have my eyes set on both X-IE and Silver Bullet. I was wondering if the bass quality offered by the Silver Bullet would be a better choice for my music genre. My music library consists of mainly pop (80%) and rock (20%). I believe the X-IE would be a better choice for me but thought I should get some opinion before I purchase it.

Thanks mate.

Tai / ClieOS said...

If depends what your priority is: X-IE for vocal and SB for soundstage.

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