This is our first product from the german company Inear, so would like to write something about their philosophy and origin: “Under the management of Andreas Schmitt, who has more than 25 years of experience in the production of individual hearing products, we offer an all-round service under one roof.
Our team takes care of the development and production of our products, services and sales throughout Germany.
Our skilled specialists produce an entire range of individual communication systems with precision work and sophisticated technology. Our individual products are produced by using the best modern manufacturing processes, which include the digital capture of the ear mold data, product design with special CAD software and 3D Manufacture systems for the manufacture and assembly of all products by hand. In the field of ear monitoring we work according to the principle »By musicians for musicians«. When it comes to developing new InEar monitoring systems or product enhancement we can immediately test all new products live, in addition to performing all the usual laboratory tests”.
This company is becoming more and more famous in the audiophile community not only for its great sounding IEM, but for their singular and ergonomic shape used on their products too.
“Looks like custom made, sits stable and secure. The base for the housing was developed by overlapping hundreds of different scans from ear impressions. Several prototypes were manufactured in-house and tested on customers to find the perfect fit so the monitor will not move. At the end of the development cycle InEar had created an almost perfect to the anatomy of the ear universal monitor”.
Just recently, they won the IF DESIGN AWARD and i can tell you for sure, that this SD5 is one of the most comfortable universal IEM i have ever tested. So, for this, very compliment Inear!.
I saw many chinese brands just copyed and used their shape, i think without permission, for making their own IEMs, so this thing would mean something!
In their catalogue you can find two audiophile products: stagediver models( with a fun, but still a natural and well controlled sound), that to my opinion are aimed to the vast majority of audiophile and people out there and ProPhile 8 models with a more studio reference signature. I usually love a more natural approach to the music, but i really loved how this SD5, is capable to portray a fun signature, but still with great technicalities and a refined sound.
At the moment, you can only find a standard model for this SD5, but soon, will be released a wood version too ( i think this material should effect the sound giving a warmer response).
SD5 unit was sent me for the purpose of this review, i am not affiliated with the company and all observations and opinions will be only my own. Would like to thank Oli and Inear team for sending me this unit giving me the opportunity to test this fun and engaging IEM.
For more info about SD5 and other products, you can easily contact them on their facebook channel. Oli or Andreas will answer you quickly.
PRICE: 949 EUR
OFFICIAL SITE: http://www.inear-monitoring.eu/en/produkte/inear-universelles-monitoring/monitoring-stagediver.htm
FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/InEar-Monitoring-287218207940/
PACKAGING: the overall packaging experience is simple, but quite premium: you will receive a classical pelican hard case with the Inear sticker attached on top.
In the box you will find the SD5 with different size silicon eartips, a gold plated adapter and three cleaning wipes. Eartips have good quality and surely will find the right ones for you , but they are all made of the same material, so you can’t “tune” the sound signature according to your needs. Inear has a lot of experience in custom products, but for universal models, eartips are very important not only for the right fit, but they can drastically change the sound signature of the IEM, so as always, i suggest you to try different ones, with different materials and only at the end enjoy your new product. I tried many: double, triple flange, Comply and Spinfit ones and found that black silicon one with green bore that comes with my old fiio ex1, gives me the best sound( obviously this thing could not be true for you). Hope Inear team will listen to my suggestion, providing more accessories for new releases.
Build quality is excellent, with a black lucid shell, will give you a premium feeling from the very beginning. The product seems sturdy and well built, and i am well trusty can last for many Years.
The SD5 comes with recessed sockets, thanks to this, you can move the cable-end further into the shell and provide a more sturdy mounting point for the cable and the pins of the cable, thus protecting it more.
SD5 comes with removable filters too, keeping cerumen away from the drivers, this thing is a smart and innovative feature in the audiophile community.
The original stock cable that comes with SD5, is a typical OFC wire in a rubbery jacket that makes a great job both for sound quality both for microphonics issues. I switched to many aftermarket cables, but found that the original one makes a great job under a sound quality point of view. If needed, i truly suggest you to pair this SD5 with a more natural or warm sounding cable, cause adding more treble can ruin the overall balance and so sound experience.
Speaking of isolation, it is very good in this department and if you can find the right eartips you will enjoy your playlist without any annoying external noise( they claim to eliminate surrounding noise up to 26 dB).
The overall experience with this product is excellent: SD5 is capable to give you a comfortable and premium experience with great isolation and a fun and engaging signature, but still able to offer a refined sound.
FIRST IMPRESSION: listening to SD5 for the first time required me some time to get used to its sound signature. My previous review was Inearz Euphoria model that has quite a natural and never fatiguing sound , on the opposite, this SD5 has a cleaner approach with stronger bass response . So just waited for burn-in period and with the time, I started to really appreciate this IEM: SD5 has his own philosophy and approach to music, its aim is to provide a fun and engaging experience, but still balanced and refined.
SOUND: All my sound consideration has been made after 100 hours of burn in, with different DAPs such as AK KANN, Opus 1s, fiio x3, x5, iFi Nano Idsd black label. I tried this IEM for many hours on the go and does very good with Tidal and my iPhone too. Obviously with better sources sound has better dynamic, a more refined bass response and most important thing, a more natural and controlled sound, but overall this SD5 makes a great job out of whatever source it’s connected to.
After 100 hours of burn-in I didn’t notice any improvements, so this SD5 sounds just great out of the box.
After many hours with this product I can surely say that has a clean and detailed response with a W sound signature, it is great in portray both vocals and instruments. Treble pick will give you an airy and detailed sound with great female vocal reproduction, all these things are well balanced with a strong bass response that helps dynamic and to avoid a too much fatiguing sound. Philosophy of this IEM is to give you an engaging and fun signature, never resulting boring , but still perfoming quite natural and detailed. For this can be a good choice for most of the customers out there.
LOWS: SD5 has above average bass quantity and for sure, can be considered a strong point of this IEM.
Bass response is quite strong, punchy, airy, with excellent impact and decay. The overall bass performace is above typical multi balanced IEMs, but still can’t compete with dynamic driver in this price range( bass quantity is above average, but still sounds natural and controlled, for this i will not suggest it to bass-heads). SD5 has a great sub-bass response, with adeguate rumble and a more controlled mid-bass response that never warm-up too much the scene. Here, Inear engineers made a smart choice in tuning this IEM: sub bass elevation will give you not only a more fun signature, but create a nice balance with the overall bright signature of this IEM.
MIDS: if you are a female vocal lover, most probably this IEM will be a great choice for you.
Lower mids can result a bit thin, so the aim of SD5 is not to provide a full-bodied sound, but just on the opposite, will give you a more thin, defined and quite revealing presentation. Upper mids are very detailed and clean, this thing will help with female voices and to give you an airy performance. If you love a warmer, more relaxed sound, most probably this IEM will not be a great choice for you.
HIGHS: treble response is nicely extended with great amount of sparkles and detailes( keep in mind, i usually prefer a neutral/clean sounding IEMs, never smooth or warm).
Highs can result a bit hot and fatiguing, nothing you can’t solve pairing it with a warmer/natural source( for example i found a great sinergy with my Opus1s and ak KANN).
Using bad recorded tracks with this IEM, can give you many problems, due to its quite revealing approach to the music, for this, i truly suggest you to use lossless tracks.
SOUNDSTAGE: soundstage is another strong point of this SD5: very wide and holographic, obviously the final result will depend on the source used. Soundstage is well extended both in width and depth providing a great layering experience. Overall, this SD5 will give you a nice “out of the head” experience, thing that is not common in this price range.
Dynamic and transient response are great and very accurate.
Thanks to its low impedance(13 ohms), SD5 is very easy to drive and will sound great just connected to your smartphone. Obviously, better will be the source, better will be the final result .
SD5 with astell&kern kann: this is a great pairing: ak Kann, helps to give a great musicality to the scene, with great bass response will surely amaze you for its fun factor, still sounding very coherent and airy. Treble on ak kann is a bit smooth, this thing helps a lot with this SD5, thas sometimes can result a bit harsh. Voices are very detailed and clean, with that “liquid” presentation typical of this DAP. Soundstage is very good: width is just exellent, this combo can give you a nice holographic stage around you. On low gain at volume pushed to 80, I was able to drive quite well this IEM.
SD5 with Opus 1s: in my opinion, this is one of the best pairing with this SD5. Opus 1s will add more body to the music , with a great sub-bass impact. Bass is very full and punchy, Rumble and impact are outstanding with that slam that always bring me to move at the rhythm of music. Voices are more organic, with more body and emotions. Treble is clean and defined, Opus 1S helps this SD5 to sound a bit less harsh and fatiguing. Soundstage is quite big and holographic, but on AK kann soundstage was a bit wider.
SD5 with AUNE X1S DESKTOP DAC/AMP: sinergy here, is not so great. Aune has a neutral/clean sound that doesn’t match so good with this SD5. I would suggest to pair this IEM with a more neutral or warmer sounding source. The overall performance is ok, but a bit fatiguing and harsh on treble. Due to the high output impedance of this Desktop DAC/AMP, all my tests were made with the use of iFi IEMatch between the x1s and SD5. This dongle helped with impedance dismatch and with sibilance issues.
SD5 with AUDIRECT WHISTLE portable DAC/AMP: this is a very great portable combo. With this small DAC/AMP sound is very musical and engaging. Bass is very strong and deep, but not so articulated and refined like on the ak kann and Opus1s. Voices are exellent, with the right amount of body and most important thing, with accurate tonality for both male and female voices. Soundstage is narrower than Opus1s and AKkann, but is quite wide, with good instrument separation.
SD5 VS HEIR AUDIO 10.0: SD5 has better bass impact, with a more refined and articuated sub-bass response. HEIR 10.0 has a typical multi balanced bass impact, on the other side SD5 is nearer to a dynamic driver one. HEIR has a warmer and more relaxed sound signature, on the other side SD5 is cleaner. Female voices are better on the SD5. Soundstage is quite similar, with great width and depth on both these IEMs.
SD5 vs UNIQUE MELODY MIRACLE V2: these two IEMs have great bass response: SD5 has more sub-bass quantity with a faster response, on the other side Miracle v2 shows a bit warmer, fuller bass, but still on the neutral side. Voices are more vivid and “liquid” on miracle v2, on the other side SD5 has a more clean,peaky and airy approach, this thing helps SD5 to sound very good with female voices. Treble on SD5 has more sparkles and definition. Miracle V2 has above average soundstage, but SD5 is capable to reproduce a wider and more holographic stage around you, with better layering.
CONCLUSION: this SD5 has his own philosophy and approach to music: always sounding fun and engaging, but still capable to bring refinement and technicalities to your songs. Inear team, with this SD5, was able to create a perfect combination of fun and neutral sound with great and premium build quality. If you are looking for a purer and more reference sound, you can always choose their Prophile 8 model.
BUILD QUALITY AND PREMIUM FEEL
FUN SIGNATURE, BUT STILL A REFINED SOUND
MALE VOCALS ARE ON THE THIN SIDE
• System: 3-way system(5 drivers)
• Transmission range: approx. 20 Hz–20000 Hz
• Output sound pressure: 120dB
• Impedance: 13 Ohms
• Cable length:140 cm / (4’7.5″)