Shuoer is a new player in the audio scene, the tape is their first IEM and straight away it comes in with brand new technology: a MagnetoStatic hybrid driver, this type of drivers are only used in higher end IEMs like Itsfit Fusion or Noble Audio M3. This makes it very interesting to see such driver in a much cheaper offering.
This review unit was sent by Linsoul in exchange for a review.
In the box
Build quality and accessories
The land of 100-200$ chi-fi IEMs has become fairly saturated, in that sea of products quality isn’t always something to expect especially from a new company.
Thankfully, the tape is on the better side of the quality spectrum, the IEMs feel solid, the shell has nicely rounded edges which prevent ear fatigue from longer listening sessions.
The cable feels quite nice but can be a little stiff and get tangled because of that, I’ve also heard about quite a cables which arrived/became damaged over a short period of time which isn’t ideal at this price point. Tip selection is acceptable, however, they feel generic and don’t do the IEMs justice sonically so I recommend going for something like JVC spiral dots instead.
The case is probably the nicest thing in the package, it may look a bit strange but it fits the IEMs well, feels really sturdy and will definitely protect them from being crushed.
Fit and comfort
When I saw the picture of the Tapes online I thought to myself “those can’t be comfortable”, that was definitely a huge misconception on my part. Those are very comfortable, cable ear hooks are well-formed and help distribute the weight efficiently, somehow the shape manages to fit the ear comfortably. The edges are rounded which renders the shell contacting any portion of the ear basically a non-issue.
The tapes don’t take the approach of a safe tunning, instead, they aim for detail, speed and intensity.
The bass is quite elevated, with quite a bit of midbass punch. The subbass extension isn’t great and the Tape loses on hitting the deepest notes of songs like “Bonefield – Window” and in turn fails to preserve the feeling of volume and space rendering it quite hollow. The rest of the bass is quite good, with really nice speed and texture, transients are a bit on the aggressive side which leads them to sound a bit artificial on acoustic music.
Very detailed, fast and forward especially in the presence region. Due to significant elevation in the 3k region, the Tape is very forward with a lot of detail that is normally quite back is brought very forward. This causes them to feel extremely detailed at the cost of naturalness and significantly increased intensity. Timbre is acceptable, nothing sounds extremely out of place but it doesn’t feel very natural either.
You could say this is the “star” of the show, the magnetostatic driver handles treble detail well, pushing out a significant amount of detail without getting congested. Cymbals have quite natural feel to them with maybe slightly too aggressive decay.
Even with all this detail, there’s a feeling of a slight lack of air due to the tonal balance. Unlike the midrange, the treble is quite well balanced and doesn’t cause fatigue. It’s quite impressive to see this amount of treble detail at this price.
Imaging and Soundstage
Here comes another oddness of the Tape, the stage is deeper than it is wide and high. Things can happen very forward or very back but rarely move to the sides when first switching to them from another IEM this is quite a peculiar trait I’ve not heard often. The images are positioned accurately within the stage without obvious dead zones. Even though the stage isn’t wide the accuracy of positioning within the stage is quite impressive.
I’m quite conflicted about the Tape, on one side, a lot of reports of them breaking and poor quality control makes me weary on recommending them, on the other side, the speed, detail and technical performance are uncommon at 129$ price range.
Are they worth the money? Definitely. Are they for everyone? No, they are interesting and technically impressive but too forward and intense to be used with all music or for longer periods of time.
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