I have become such a sucker for balanced termination. While single ended termination is much more common and convenient, balanced connection is definitely significantly cleaner. There are pros and cons, yes, but generally if done right, the connection should be able to yield immensely pleasurable experience.
So when I got my hands on the Bengkel Macro Edimun V3 with TRS 3.5mm termination, I knew I will be in for a treat if I get to have the balanced version. Not that I don’t like the TRS version, it is just I knew that the TRRS version will be even more fun to listen to. Sure the TRS version was kind of short on the low end extensions, but it’s mid range was to die for. That got me hoping for a TRRS version lest I end up having my own unit reterminated to be balanced.
Fortunately, Bengkel Macro thought along the same line and decided to develop another model, this time toting a custom 2.5mm TRRS termination which to my delight did surpass my expectations. Upon receiving my unit, I immediately ripped the packaging apart and was pleasantly surprised that not only did it meet my expectations, it also did surprise me with some things I didn’t expect to be the improvement that I will get out of the TRRS version.
So, let’s have the earbud broken down and see if it is worth the price it carries in the market today:
The only thing that really differs from the TRS terminated EV3 is the plug; the rest are pretty much the same; white shells of Edifier H180 were used paired with white and red foams making the EV3 very conspicuous when worn. Bengkel Macro also used red shielded cable which I think is high purity copper based on the broad body that I got out of listening to it. At the other end of the entire thing is a 2.5mm TRRS plug (gold plated according to the Bengkel Macro website), which is a bit of a surprise for me since the ad on the website shows an Eidolic 2.5mm TRRS plug used whereas what I got was a black barreled/gold hinted 2.5mm TRRS plug. I know it wasn’t really a big issue; I think Bengkel Macro decided to go for such plug to allow custom branding to be clearer and more legible for the customers.
The cables seem to be pretty durable enough, although it was not ideally supple as most would hope for. Having been exposed to other brands, I felt that Bengkel could have done a better job by using a softer cable, but then again it seems the cable plays a major part in terms of sound and that is a department that I am not complaining.
The packaging also comes with an Bengkel Macro exclusive pouch, which in my opinion works really well with the EV3. The packaging also includes foams which would be unique one: while other manufacturers would opt for donut foams as an enhancement, Bengkel Macro decided for 4-hole foams which honestly is the first time I saw in an earbud. However, if Bengkel Macro feels that this definitely allows a significantly different sound, who am I to complain. It was not as if I am complaining.
Overall, great job to Bengkel Macro on the build: durable and definitely tangle free with really nice accessories, but too bad that Bengkel Macro could have used a suppler cable. Perhaps it would have been too perfect if they do so.
While the TRS 3.5mm version sounded mid-centric with a bit short extensions on the low end, the TRRS 2.5mm definitely sounded much better given the sound I got. The bass sounded a bit more extended and is cleaner compared to the TRS version while the mid range seems to be a bit more tamed compared to its SE brother. Highs remain to be sparkly and imaging has definitely improved.
I decided to go with the Aune M1S to test the capabilities of the TRRS terminated EV3. Just humoring myself to see if this pair can actually give me the satisfaction a $600 DAP and IEM/earbud can offer by adding a cheat code on my setup. This will also be nifty if I get to prove that a roughly $300 setup is something that can be satisfactory even for those who doesn’t feel like splurging.
Let’s take this thing for a spin, shall we?
Fireflies (Light & Motion, Chronicle)
The piano keys harmonized by the subtle hymn of the bass guitar really made it for the track. As all instruments consummate around the first minute of the track, the experience becomes a soothing yet mind blowing one as the instruments chime in from every direction. The track was masterfully layered and gives you that calm and peaceful feeling while listening to the track.
Divide (Accents, Growth And Squalor)
TJ Foster is a genius. The fact is especially highlighted in this track wherein the EV3 TRRS was able to yield the voice and guitars in all its rawness. Benjamin Hemingway’s bass lines sounded deep and smooth, while Lauren Alexander’s voice sweetly blended with Foster’s. If you are planning to get the EV3 and has an Aune M1S, I strongly recommend that you give this track a try. This took me elsewhere.
Zombie (The Cranberries, No Need To Argue)
The raw, filtered guitars at the opening of the track sounded quite energetic, with the drums by Fergal Lawler can indeed put you in the mood. It is more of a track that you might want to listen to before venturing into something, like how coaches would do some pep talks before a game. With the EV3, clarity is full and doesn’t let up, immersing you with the raunchiness of the track. While Dolores O’Riordan’s vocals may sound ethereal, it provides an excellent contrast on the feel of the instruments.
So, as I pointed out, will the EV3 be a very good option for those who wish for great sound without breaking the bank? I would say so, as I immensely enjoyed it. Looking at the part where I compare this with the Fiio X5 2nd Gen paired with Campfire Orion, perhaps the EV3+M1S pair may not surpass the sound quality, but I will have to say that it can come very close given that this pair is connected through balanced termination. The sound was indeed very clean, has the smoothness that I normally look for in a balanced connection, and has that aggressive personality that should fit those who are into such.
Given that fact, I strongly recommend the EV3 TRRS to those who are willing to shell out funds for a source with balanced output. While these sources may not come cheap, there still are a lot of options such as the Aune M1S or the Lotoo Paw 5000 which should pair well with the EV3 TRRS. If you are into something more budget friendly and would like to try a balanced connection, I suggest the EV3 TRRS to be a good starter option. Honestly, what can go wrong by getting one?