REVIEW: LARK STUDIO LSX

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Lark Studio is a new audiophile company, but quite experienced in producing universal and custom products, they just released their first 10 balanced armatures model: LSX.

“The lark is a well-known bird to the music industry.
As it flies high, you may only catch a glimpse of it as its cry reaches you.
The crisp and sweet sound of the lark is a symbol of Lark Studio’s constant pursuit of sound quality.
The lark’s rich colors inspire us to build ever more diverse and beautiful products, with an aesthetically-focused design.
Lark Studio was created out of a passion to bring the market top-notch custom and universal in-ear monitors embodying the beauty of the lark, in both body and sound.

After a long two years of preparation, three audiologists, with a combined experience of 18 years, set out to create excellently-performing monitors that provide an excellent visual and sonic value. Each employee of Lark Studio is a veteran of the audiophile market, with the youngest of ours having more than five years of experience.

We are a group of people chasing dreams.
Our team features an industry-leading tuner, hardware engineer, and product engineer, and together we’ve refined the traditional engineering/production cycle to provide a higher quality product, at a lower cost.
Each pair of in-ears goes through three separate polishing passes at the factory and is inspected for quality control rigorously with each pass. We do not tolerate any defects.
During the production process, our IEMs pass through four separate groups of tests, designed specifically by our quality-assurance team. And just to make sure that nothing gets through, a manual review is done by a trained professional right before we box up your new pair of in-ears.

As a testament to our commitment to our customers, we offer a comprehensive insurance package that covers all forms of damage, be it user error, product defect, or environmental damage. A payment of $180 gets your IEM two years of no-questions-asked insurance. Just send us your IEMs and we will get to work. Please note that shipping must be covered by the customer.

Each of Lark Studio’s products is a labor of love. Every in-ear is made from high-quality materials, including some of the finest exotic woods you can find. Each piece is painstakingly screened for visual appeal and then treated to get the highest level of aesthetic value. We aim to build for you IEMs that transcend utility and become a true work of art, an heirloom quality product.

It is exactly for this reason that when each new employee joins the company, he or she knows they must embody the values of Lark Studios.
The staff strongly believes in the value of their work, as their job lets them bring life to an inert piece of plastic or chunk of exotic wood.

This is the story, and these are the values, of Lark Studios. We aim to provide you with a service that leaves you glad you did business with us. Happy reading!”

Today, i am going to review their custom model, but i have had the opportunity to test their final universal prototype too.

CLSX unit was sent me as a sample unit, I am not affiliated with the company and all observations and opinions will be only my own. Would like to thanks Lark Studio team for sending me this unit giving me the opportunity to test this engaging and nice-tuned IEM.

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LSX will come in two versions: standard one, with a copper cable and a special version too, with PWaudio Saladin cable.
They will offer their custom version at the same price of their universal one.
From what i know, you can customize the artwork of both your universal and custom models without any additional cost, this is amazing and quite revolutionary.
( at the end of this review, you can find all the specs for standard cable and PWaudio Saladin one).

For more info about lsx or many custom available artworks, you can easily ask to Michael or Arthur on their facebook channel.

PRICE STANDARD EDITION : 1699 USD
PRICE SPECIAL EDITION: 1899 USD

OFFICIAL SITE :http://www.lark-studios.com
FACEBOOK PAGE https://www.facebook.com/larkstudiohifi/

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PACKAGING: usually, don’t like to write much about packaging and other feautures, cause my main focus is sound quality, but the package here, is quite premium and rich: in the large box you can find many adaptors, a warranty card, a soft pouch and other more accessories, that you can see in the picture above.
Where, other companies uses only an hard case for their custom models, Lark Studio uses for both their universal and custom IEM the same premium box( in the universal model, you will find many SpinfFit and Comply eartips, i found a good isolation and great sound with the blue core SpinFit eartip).
For the custom artwork, i choosed a wood faceplates, trasparent shell and their silver/gold logo. Build quality seems premium and sturdy, though the pin socket are a bit tight specially at the beginning( so pay attention when switching cables).
Will update this review, if will find any build quality issue in the near future.

SOUND: All my sound consideration has been made after 150 hours of burn in as suggested by Lark Studio company, with different DAPs such as AK KANN, AK se100 Futura, Opus 1s, Opus2, iFi Nano Idsd black label.
I really found a great improvement after 100 hours of burn-in( usually, i am not a great burn-in believer for multi balanced IEM, but for custom models it needs time to adjust to your ear-canal and consequently when the seal will be good, perceived sound will improve. At this point, i don’t know if the great improvement i found, was due to only the better seal or the burn-in driver, but just to be sure, i suggest to make always a 50/100 hours of burn-in, before judging the overall sound quality.

LSX is quite a neutral/warm, but still engaging iem, and was quite impressed by the refined tuning. Lark Studio created a nice combination of engaging and neutral/warm sound with sweet female vocals.
Bass is for sure, a strong point of this IEM: last time i heard such a quality bass response was with the Rhapsodio Galaxy V2(dynamic driver). Usually multi-balanced IEMs cannot compete in bass quality with dynamic drivers models, but here bass goes very deep, with great sub-bass extension, mid-bass has adequate presence, but never warms up too much the scene. The overall result will depend on the source too, for example this LSX with ak se100 Futura really shines, giving a great punchy and layered bass response.

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Vocals are a bit behind, but have nice tonality and realism, here again this iem has a great sinergy with astell and kern player, cause se100, usually, tends to push vocals more forward. There is a peak on the high-midrange area that creates a great balance with the strong bass response. Both male and female vocals are well portrayed, but feamale ones are really sweet and refined. Listening to Yael Naim or Cèlin Dion on this LSX was a pleasure for my ears.
Treble is clean and well extended and sometimes, will give you some sparkles, but never resulting too harsh or hot.

Soundstage is quite wide and holographic with the right tracks, but i found the universal model to have a wider soundstage(my custom model fits very deep in my ear-canal, so it can changes the overall perceived soundstage).
This LSX is quite easy to drive, but is not the most sensitive IEM out there, so needs a bit of current to really shine. Overall with good players such Opus 2/1s and ak se100 you will have a great result.

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STANDARD EDITION VS SPECIAL EDITION( STANDARD COPPER CABLE VS PWAUDIO SALADIN CABLE):
the standard copper cable will give you a warmer sound, with more focus on bass and vocals(nice with modern and pop music), on the other side Saladin has always a smooth approach with more organic vocals, but will give you a better balance of mid-bass and upper treble( i would say a more audiophile approach). Overall Saladin has a more refined and sweet sound, with better transparency and resolution. I would suggest you to go with the standard edition, if you love a warmer sound with a more focus on bass response.

PAIRINGS:

LSX and Astell and kern SE100: great sinergy, with deep and airy bass response, vocals results more sweet and more forward. Soundstage results a bit more intimate and less wide compared to Opus2, but there is better depth layering.

LSX and OPUS2: bass doesn’t go deep as ak se100, but acquires more rumble and mid-bass presence. Vocals are not forward like SE100, but are still sweet with good tonality. Soundstage is wider and more holographic, but is less deep.
I can easily drive this IEM on mid-gain without any issues.

LSX with Opus1s: Opus 1s is a bit more full-bodied than Opus 2, less neutral, with a warmer and punchier bass response. Vocals are not so weet and detailed like for SE100 and Opus 2. Soundstage is less wide and layered, but there is great left/right channel separation.

COMPARISON:

INEARZ EUPHORIA CUSTOM(999 USD) VS LSX(1699/1899 USD): lsx has better treble response and upper-mid presence, for this lsx, is capable to show a better female vocals. Euphoria has good bass response, but doesn’t go deep as Lsx can do. Soundstage is more or less on par.
Overall INEARZ EUPHORIA, sounds a bit smoother and less fatiguing, but LSX has better bass response and is capable to combine an engaging and natural sound in a better way.

CONCLUSION: this LSX was quite a surprise for me, wasn’t expecting such a refined tuning abilities from Lark Studio engineers and giving the opportunity to their customers to choose artwork customization for both their universal and custom product without any additional cost, will be for sure a winning choice for this new/big company.

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SPECS:
10 precision tuned balanced armature drivers:
3 bass
4 midrange
2 treble
1 super-treble

4-way passive crossover design.

AVX Oxicap Capacitors
Vishay Resistors
Impedance: 19-20ohm
Sensitivity: 109-110 dB
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20 kHZ

SPECS STANDARD CABLE EDITION:
6N OCC 24awg *4 6N 24awg *4
280*0.06mm conductors /
TPU Shielding (Japan)

SPECS PWaudio Saladin cable:

tapping on his vast experience with copper based and silver based cables, Peter Wong has set out to create a new range of products, known as the “Vanquish” series, to mark a new era of PWaudio products.

Featuring a unique geometry and wire design based on his “Sevenfold Pipe” series, together with his knowledge of different types and grades of cable materials, PWaudio has created the Saladin.

Saladin features an all new 7 bundle Litz geometry of copper and silver-plated copper. Drawing from the characteristics of the copper, Saladin presents a vast, yet warm sound that draws the listener in with its intimacy and smoothness, and which also takes advantage of the SPC to present a detailed treble that provides added resolution and energy.

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