Hey people of the internet ! I bought "the new tapes". Now, before you speak out your condolences, I would first like to mention a few things:
- I didn't spend full price thanks to 11/11.
- These are buy far the most expensive IEMs I own.
- I absolutely love them
Why is that important ? Well, it basically means I'm both biased and relatively inexperienced. I do also own a Drop 4xx and a BTR5, but that is about how far up the ladder of expense I dared venturing so far. That being said, I will still try my best to give you guys the most honest review I can. In order for me to do that, I will also often mention impressions and critiques from other reviewers that I have seen. And I hate to admit that I have probably watched almost every Youtube Review out there, so....yeah, lets get to it then ! JUST HOW does not everybody love these ?!
The Shuoer Tape Pro comes with a 2.5mm 2pin cable with a 2.5 to 3.5mm adapter, a beautiful black PU leather case, two sets of tips with a box for them, a little brush and an adjustment tool with replacement filters and grills (more on those now).
The headphones first. They are very solidly built out of "CNC Aviation Aluminum". Sound is produced by a dynamic and electret hybrid driver. The nozzles are quite big, but getting tips on and off is not much of a problem after some practice or a cloth, and all of mine fit fine. With the adjustment tool you can switch the filters. Just the back one is active, the front is only for storing the left over one. The colored one gives a mid-base boost., but more on the sound later.
We get here two color variations. The other one is painted black with a red accent instead of blue. Some people complained about the paint coming of relatively easily with rough use, especially on the corners, so I'd definitely recommend the silver color ! I experienced something similar on the blue filter, it's too easy to scratch it with the tool when switching it. I find myself switching them a lot less because of this, which is mildly frustrating at best, considering it is already rather finicky to do in the first place. Luckily most people can rather quickly determine which setting they like best, so it will be a sporadic surgery.
The case is just great ! A nice solid build, that can be pocketed if need be, but it would be better to keep it in the jacket or bag.
The cable is amazing for a stock cable ! It is the perfect balance between feeling substantial but being not too stiff at the same time. The split and the plug a both made of the same element as the headphones themselves. Only the Y-split is out of plastic, and looks a little plain.
Staying with the cable, the ear hooks where something a lot of people hated, since they come out of the box quite large and loose. However, this can be easily adjusted with some minor bending in a few key spots. Now they fit me perfectly and never slide over the ears.
Now, those pesky corners again....The color is not even the biggest problem with them. Almost everybody complains about those, and I must say I agree, these are not IEMs that will win an award in comfort. The sharp edges on the back side do indeed make themself noticeable after an hour or so. That being said, after a while one can get used to the pressure on that unfamiliar spot, and now I can keep them in my ears as long as any other pair.
Especially with the right kind of tips ! Tips behave here a little different. The gray stock tips are a lot softer, which makes them comfortable enough for me to be using the medium size tips. For the transparent, more robust tips, I need to use the small size. Foam tips work well, but they will make the earphones protrude a little because of the large nozzle. This can even be an advantage, since now the lego does not touch your concha anymore.
Now, finally the part everyone (including me) always skips to. So far the review seemed not very convincing, but the sound makes up big time for the minor flaws mentioned above ! Here we go:
The Shuoer Tape Pros sound signature can be described as neutral with a subbase boost or even mildly V-Shaped if you are very sensitive to treble (I'm pretty much crinacle at this point).
- Sub-base is just incredible and is objectively one of the best parts, since most reviewers like it as well. It has a really nice rumble, which can really flex its muscles in EDM or film scores ! Big drums sound punchy and controlled. With the "bass boost" filter on, the subbass feels a little less tight, but in return you get more mid-base. I personally prefer the stock setting without the boost.
- Base is not at basehead levels, but it transitions smoothly from the sub-base. There is plenty of power in the lower frequencies to get a real kick out of Techno and EDM. My recommendation here is Ani Mevushal by Infected Mushroom.
- Mids are at times a little recessed and it's only real weakness. Especially male vocals can sometimes sound quite far in the back depending on the track (but even that is a feature, not a bug, see soundstage !). Apart from that, instruments sound clear and detailed! Like on the classical piece Peer Gynt Suite No.2 OP.55: IV. Solveig's Song from the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, a beautifully sad song that demonstrates detail and soundstage here.
- Highs are the part that made the OG tape so famous. The treble is very well done here. I got never any fatigue when using them (unlike with my Tin T3), which is also largely due to is great driver tech. Everything that can be heard is there. Be it string plugs on a guitar or percussion and shakers like in Hotel California (MTV Live 1994) by The Eagles.
- Soundstage and imaging: A lot of reviewers agree here with me. The soundstage is admittedly not very wide. Instead it is a seemingly infinite abyss of depth ! It somehow achieves a 3D effect, that makes all music seem like it happens on a live stage in front of you, instead of in your head, like with most other IEMs. This is great for well recorded rock and classical music like the two mentioned tracks. On some older tracks, this can however put the vocals too far in the back, which happened rarely though. For imaging, the same effect also does wonders, since not only can one clearly distinguish sound positioning between more right or left, but also more in the front or the back ! This depth is also really pleasant when watching movies, since it will seem like the sound actually comes from the screens direction, like with some open back headphones. Compared to other IEMs, like the Blon03, it's a night and day difference.
Ok, so here we are. Just why are these not popular ? I have no idea !? Some say they are shouty at 2 to 3k. Can not confirm, at least it is not a problem for my ears. Some others say the change heavily on source. I could only try to confirm this with what I have. Both on my BTR5 and my Meizu Hifi Dac Pro sound great. Strait out of my Laptop it clearly looses soundstage and imaging, but that is almost expected of good IEMs.
This is clearly one of the most polarizing IEMs right now, and that makes it dangerous to recommend for some reviewers. The reviews range from terrible and unpredictable to amazing and boring. I think it is well worth its asking price however, and should be high up on anybody's list, who is ready to risk a little to experience their music on another level.