Page 3 - Subjective Audio Analysis
Reviewing audio devices require extensively trained ears and lots of experience. Even for audiophiles, it may prove challenging at times to obtain an accurate evaluation of a product without a thoroughly familiar product to use as a simultaneous reference. While I am not going to even try to claim that I am the only trustworthy or best reviewer for sound, it is fact that most computer review sites have editors who are insufficiently trained in reviewing audio equipment. Give them practically anything and all you will read about goes along the line of "good bass, nice midrange, awesome treble, really clear sound, 10/10". While there are many knowledgeable audio reviewers at various respected online media outlets, they are by far the minority.
As I have mentioned in my past audio reviews, there are really no true objective measurements for speaker sound quality. As the reviewer, however, I will put it through a series of subjective tests to try to come up with the most objective rating possible (Yes, it is quite a paradox haha). On the wired, analog side, tests were conducted primarily with the Auzentech X-Fi HomeTheater HD sound card (Creative CA20K2 DSP/APU, National Semiconductor LME49720NA OpAmp, JRC NJM4580 signal buffers, Cirrus Logic CS4382A DAC, Nichon MUSE ES capacitors). For portable tests, I mainly used an Apple iPhone 6. These are some of the best consumer sound equipment out there in the market today, and will reduce its potential to be a limiting factor in our auditioning.
After over 100 hours of break-in time -- well above typically required period -- we put the Audiofly AF56m to the tests. All tracks were uncompressed CDs, FLAC, or LAME encoded MP3s at 192kbps or higher.
In general, I found the Audiofly AF56m to be a pair of punchy earphones. It was certainly not tuned for flat response; nor was it intended to be this way -- the enhanced highs and lows gave it a more vibrant character, with a slightly bright overtone. This made for an interesting V-shaped frequency distribution. In turn, this gives you a bit of "clubs" feel, which can be fun to listen to, depending on the type of music you are into.
Starting from the bass, it was really rich and detailed as the website says. The powerful low end is delivered in a deep, solid, and round fashion. I am a particular fan of its articulated and defined output, which gave the AF56m half of its punchy character as aforementioned. The bass was certainly stronger than the original track, but again, there is always a fine line between the technical perfection of having flat studio monitor output, and the excitement of specially tuned headphones for your music like the Audiofly AF56m.
Moving up the frequency range, the midrange was certainly not the highlight of the day, but it was far from being a weak point with the AF56m. When listening to music on these earphones, lower voices carried more weight, while higher voices tapered into the upper midrange and lower treble band for a slight boost. We will talk about that in just a moment. The midrange was of average thickness, with acceptable saturation and richness. However, it sounded a bit cold, so it lacked the harmony to capture the heart of the song. Clarity was excellent.
The upper midrange and lower treble was slightly boosted for enhanced definition, as aforementioned. This carried well into the full treble range, which was quite impressive, to say the least. This was most apparent when you listen to percussion instruments as well as the effects of the strings on a piano being played. The AF56m's treble was very distinct, sharp, clear, and tight. It was very clean as well, but the bright overtone of the Audiofly AF56m combined with the dryer upper frequency display made it fairly uncomfortable to listen to at times. I found this to be kind of weird, and if I were to point out the biggest weakness of these earphones, this would be it.
The large 13mm drivers on the Audiofly AF56m made it a star in soundstaging. It was wide with defined depth, perception, and direction -- impressive. Imaging was also fairly realistic; about what you would expect to be from the original recording.
Closing off with the auxiliary auditioning results, the layers were precisely produced with a high amount of detail. The resolution was nearly perfect across the range, as it picked up practically everything and anything in a quality encoded track. Deriving from this, the frequency separation was excellent, too. Again, every detail was very well reproduced across the range, even for complicated tracks, thanks to its clear, high definition, and clean separation. At the same time, the entire spectrum was cohesive with no transition effects, making it sound exactly as it should. I was also very impressed by how clean the sound came out to be.
The Audiofly AF56m is a closed IEM, and comes with three different sized sleeves for maximum compatibility. The Audiofly AF56m's wraparound ear design, along with a good fit in my ears, provided great seal for excellent environmental sound isolation. The microphone also worked very well for calls on the go.
Overall, the Audiofly AF56m is a fun pair of earphones to listen to. It is far from neutral, but as I have said in my V-MODA Crossfade Wireless review, not everything is about technical perfection. Areas where Audiofly could improve on include making the midrange warmer and the treble wetter.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Subjective Audio Analysis