The af180 are a quad-driver IEM from an Australian company Audiofly, this particular unit is a limited clear edition from 2017. They were given to me as a gift last year thus this is a long time user review.
In the box
- Audioflex SL super light twisted replaceable cable.
- Three sizes of single domed sound isolating silicon tips.
- A single pair of tri-flange silicone tips.
- Comply Tips.
- 1/4 inch / 6.35mm Jack adaptor
- Airline adaptor
- Cleaning tool
- High quality case
Build quality and accessories
The monitors are very light, made out of slightly cloudy smooth plastic. Though they are light they still feel well built and high quality.
The cable is covered in a soft fabric until the split, then splits into two twisted wires going to the pre-moulded ear hooks terminated in a proprietary MMCX connector. Here comes the first issue (which was corrected in the mk2 range), the connector has a special mechanism that prevents it from spinning once connected. This in turn made it impossible to use any custom cable with those.
The case is very high quality, spacious and soft inside. The size has proven to me to be both a pro and con depending on circumstances and packing space since the case is too big to fit in a pocket.
Fit and comfort
As everyone knows the fit and comfort of IEMs is largely affect by using the right tips. The af180 is no exception to this. Initially I used too small foam tips which made them twist in my ear eventually becoming slightly uncomfortable.
Once I switched to slightly bigger tips this problem disappeared and they practically got lost in my ears. I wore them for longer than any other IEM, sometimes for 6-8h at a time with no fatigue nor discomfort.
They fit really deep into the ear so they can be used in bed without any issues.
Now for the most important part, the sound. The easiest way to describe those is a warm, mid-centric and non fatiguing monitor with fairly wide soundstage and very good imaging.
This is the area where those excel. The vocals have a very intimate presentation while preserving detail and clarity. The album Rumours by Fleetwood Mac gets a fantastic warm presentation, giving it a natural smooth feeling. The details are presented to you if you choose to listen to them but they never get pushed into your brain. The upper midrange is slightly relaxed yielding a non fatiguing and never sibilant presentation.
Those are still, even buying more expensive IEMs my favourite for certain bands because of their midrange. Main example would be a Polish heavy metal band Hunter where the presentation of the vocals and guitars is just right with those monitors.
Neutral to slightly rolled off in the areas that could cause fatigue. For me “Justice – Phantom pt II” is one of those songs I can’t listen to with anything that is peaky in the 8-10k region, the af180 make me forget this is even an issue while keeping all the detail of the song. Same goes for older metal recordings, af180 is forgiving to their errors and clipping and makes it a pleasure to listen to.
Imaging and Soundstage
Soundstage is something lacking in a lot of IEMs, well not in those, they present a fairly wide sound, definitely past where the monitors actually sit. It has very good width and actually presents depth on certain tracks like “Pink Floyd – On The Run”, the imaging within the soundstage is very accurate, with no apparent dead spots.
The af180 is a very good monitor with slightly relaxed presentation, fantastic vocals and very good imaging. They aren’t perfect though, the subbass extension could be better, the proprietary MMCX connector isn’t ideal as cables are the one thing that fails most often.