StereopravdaStereopravda

BLOG #25. StereoPravda SPearphone SB-7 reviewed by Hans Barbarossa (Alexey Kashirsky)

A very reputable portable Russian audio reviewer Hans Barbarossa (Alexey Kashirsky) just published a review on StereoPravda SPearphone SB-7.

http://btest.ru/reviews/obzor_vnutrikanal_nyh_monitorov_spearphone_sb-7_stereopravda_i_beskonechnost_zvuka_hi_end/

Here we've got its (rough) English translation:


STEREOPRAVDA SPEARPHONE SB-7 REVIEW

"Stereopravda and The High End Sound Infinity"

“Love comes unexpectedly …” In spring time, right before the Hi Fi Show starts. How else one can express his emotions when the heart nearly freezes, ready to stop and start beating again as very first notes start sounding…
This a sound I was chasing for years and suddenly found it in the product looking quite strange – in ear monitor Stereopravda SPearphone SB-7.

I’ve got used to be surprised every time I try a new headphones, they always make me wonder just like unfamiliar blonds do, but this time a kind of magic DID really happen – how come I’ve got this much addicted to it?

It not just got into my right and left ears, it got right under my skin – such a things do happen, but very seldom if at all! In short, the Cupid’s arrow, that’s what it was… So, how about wounding the soul with a razor of inspiration?

Text: Alexey Kashirsky

We thank Misha Kucherenko’s company for the test sample.

Technical data
-    7 balance armature transducers / receivers per channel, all drivers on one axis;
-    Stereolab IEM cable specially designed for this monitor;
-    Mini-jack connector selected by the sound;
-    Design and technology of the monitor are identical to SB-7A’s;
-    Input impedance: 17 Ohm;
-    Cable length (from left monitor to mini-jack connector): 1 meter.

Appearance and package

The box is crafted in “black magic” style. The golden “Sauron eye” peers at You from the center of the box. Or was it just a mirage? In fact, it’s nothing but a logo. As if the sound waves from “StereoPravda” are being propagated over the whole galaxy…

Got inside the box, and one more “Sauron eye”  flashed at me. But this time it calls for completely different feelings. Looks like two dots, two sound sources squeeze the all-seeing eye by irresistible force of music. Not sure if is it impact of design itself or strength of music power materialized in black magic…

Never mind the black magic, I’m not Behemoth the cat {a reference to a protagonist in the "Master and Margarita" novel by Mikhail Bulgakhov}.
Nothing got lost in the end of the magic session. The earphones in ruby apparel are there, the soft bag with the golden “StereoPravda” embroidery are at your service as well, even the papers of various origin – the warranty certificate, owner’s manual, the product overview, in other words all the audiophile range occupies it’s assigned place.

Honestly, the earphones do look pretty unusual. Quite weird look, I must say: something futuristic, several small 3D rectangular blocks of armature receivers sealed inside.
As at the planet parade, they are lined up on the single axis. And this is what the whole idea is about. In such a drivers position the sound waves are propagating straight ahead without detouring any turns and bends, arriving at the eardrums at the direct angle.

By the way, at the moment being I’m staring at the earphones professional photos.
And I have to admit that in real life they look the way more attractive… Well, they are charged with some kind of magic indeed…

The silicon eartip fixed permanently upon the tips of all the sound guides.
Instead of usual thin earphone cables we have got two “ropes” of black threads with some red dots on it. Some very special deal of conductors/construction is hidden inside.

A little further down the cable there is the clip to be used for the personal adjustment of the cable right and left lengths.
The 3.5 mm mini-jack connector is installed at the other cable end, sticking out from a massive metal rectangular connector case.

The cable is not removable, and the earphone connectors bear L and R golden letters and the brand’s logo engraved on them.
It’s worth to note that despite their gauge, the two braided cables are still amazingly soft, pliable and lightweight.

SB-7 insertion should be done solely by behind-the-ear method. In terms of their insertion, it closely resembles the one for the Etymotic Research ER4 ear plugs.
Just to remind you: open your mouth a little, pull the ear by one hand and try to insert the earphone into auditory channel by the other hand. Then slowly release the pulled ear and carefully deepen the monitor in the ear canal.
That’s it, now you can shut your mouth.

The “SB” model abbreviation means nothing more than the (ear canal) “Second Bend”. Right there, “behind the turn”, lives the secret of successful ear monitor landing and a true pleasure from the discussed product’s sound.

Here is a very important point: the earphones must be positioned in such a way to insure the the ear canal seal.
The silicon cup should be tightly closing the ear canal to prevent any "leakage".

Detailed instruction about “SPearphone” series StereoPravda monitors usage can be found on the manufacturer's web-site:
http://www.stereopravda.com/ru/manuals/.

So nothing in these new ear monitors insertion procedure surprised me as a seasoned Etymotic ER4 user.

The principle here is the same, and SB-7 model is even easier to properly position. And as to the SB-7's sound –

- without any exaggeration, it’s the best I ever heard not only from any ear monitors, but from the most of the headphones I've been having at my disposal!

Want to check it out?
Then let’s go ahead, let's hear what "the real" sound is about!

THE SOUND

I tried the monitors hooked up to the following gear: MyST DAC 1866OCU V.2, Hifiman HM-801, Lotoo Paw Gold, iBasso DX200 and QLS QA-360.

These ear monitors' sound happened to be of a very high caliber with any of these sources.
The sound character changed a little bit depending on the source used, but I wouldn’t say that it changed towards better or worse.
Each source gave the SB-7's sound its own unique character.

The ear monitors did get along with Hifiman HM-801 perfectly, but the main prize for synergy has to be given to the combination of the SB-7s and the MyST DAC 1866OCU V.2.

It was a really thrilling sound!
Power and extension along with transparency and utter neutrality hit me and coverted the music playback into a real musical performance transporting the listener from the real world to the realm of clear harmony.

The absolute neutrality, smoothness, purity, amazing details – all these factors combined created a wonderful divinity of sound images.
The musical pattern is rendered with a good contrast/
Every subtle nuance, every small deviation is clearly heard.
Excellent attack and tiny nuances delivery are truly exceptional.

It’s hard to believe that such an amazing sound quality could be realized in such a "nano-volume" of this size.
Really cool!

HIGHS –
- Crystal clear, transparent, crisp and accurate, without even a hint of aggression. Like a crystal splinters they sparkle on the overall background of musical composition.
This is the case when there is nothing to complain about.
Top level!
The equipment is married to the music.

MIDS –
- Don’t even know how to explain. Great resolution in micro details, everything is so crisp and real that sometimes you feel like falling into the virtual world of unreal sounds.
For example, Dire Straits “Telegraph Road” starts playing – and I’m instantly deeply emerged into the music. I am not even sure how to get back to our perishable world…
The middle frequencies are as clear as a Holy spring, so melodious and detailed that nearly unbelievable.
How such a lively sound could be possibly achieved?

The musical content is being presented layer by layer. Each sound has it’s own texture and contour. The presence effect is really startling.

Here Kovaks vocal is rushing up at you, localized straight in the middle of the scene like if you are sitting in the stalls, really close to the scene.
Then the winds explode and start flowing symmetrically along both sides and crumbling like a firework flashes in the night sky.
The double bass touches very soul, shifted slightly to the right behind the singer. Then the violins pierce the space dazzlingly rolling over the scene from side to side and vanish after achieving the climax point…
At the moment when the drummer’s brush slides over the high hat, and not just slides, but slips off smoothly, every sound, every rustle makes you hold your breath… And then the trumpet breaks in again changing the pattern, back vocal calms down with refrain. And at next moment another wave of Kovaks vocal hits you…

The whole sonic mosaic gets together forming integral pattern sounding solid, in unison. This is a real celebration! Amazing! Strongest emotions are overflowing.

The sound is so fantastic that the monitors seem to be worth to create the legends about: these in ear monitors do not actually playback the music, they rather sing the live voices.

BASS –
- Very accurate and exact.
And just as strong as it should be. Bass dwells in total harmony with the rest of the frequency range. It’s a sniper-exact, tight, elastic and fast.

The low range rendering is of highest level possible. Need to stress its excellent speed capabilities, although the same could be unconditionally said about the other bands of audio spectrum.

If the earphones are positioned well enough to hermetically seal the ear canal, the splendid sound is guaranteed! But for those who love the “boom-boom” music or plain roar SB-7’s are hardly the right choice – these ear monitors sound utterly clear, even and transparent.

Regarding different MUSIC GENRES:

Let it be Yello "Touch", Dire Straits "Love Over Gold", David Bowie «Blackstar», AC/DC "Back In Black", Arcade Fire "Reflektor", Foxy Shazam "I Like It" or Kovacs "Shades Of Black", these ears will play it with a bang!

COCLUSION:

So what else could I say?
SPearphone SB-7 is a fantastic product.
To me, this is the best product on in ear monitors market – at the very least, it’s the best I've ever heard.
It is a real High End Audio product!
Yes, its ergonomics is not traditional for the “touch and go” folks, and I agree that these earphones DO look pretty strange.

But the SOUND they produce is breathtaking!

Of course, their price tag, at least to me, is very high.
They are sold on the manufacturer’s web-site for $2 500.
Yet, without any doubt, I would have given “half a kingdom for this horse”.
No price, actually, is too high for such a sound!

"+":
+ THE SOUND!
+ The high quality cable (though I would make it a little longer in length).
+ The included accessoiries.

"-":
- Appearance (SB-7 visual design is not for everybody).
- Ear canal insertion convenience (might not be very comfortable for some).  


09.04.2017 // Author:  (Bigmisha) // Number of views:  543

Back to the list