When In Manila there is a growing niche of those seeking for better and even the best sound quality possible. May it be for home theater, desktop, or portable use. There is a growing number of audiophiles locally and seeking for the best sound quality and best products is a long and tedious journey to dive in. We start off with the basic headphones, speakers, in-ear earphones. And then grow to add amplifiers to the mix, seeking a good source player, and even searching for the best cable pairing to bring out the maximum sound quality of your headphone or in-ear earphones. It’s a long process and for those who seek for the top portable products to bring out sound quality and noise isolation, having a custom in-ear monitor made is the best portable choice to make!
A custom in-ear monitor is basically an in-ear earphone that is molded to the shape of your own ear, usually equipped with advanced technology multiply balanced armature drivers that are top-notch in sound accuracy and detail retrieval. Owning a c ustom in-ear monitor is usually “a new adventure” in audio resolution and with the molding and waiting process. Being an in-ear earphone, yet being molded entirely to your own ear gives the AAW W300AR up to 24db of noise isolation. The isolation improves the sound by cancelling any noise obtrusion and also because the earphone body enables the company to build the crossovers and drivers without space disturbance, and also can be positioned directly to your ear. With this, of course expect a better audio experience compared to in-ear earphones. A new and rising custom in-ear monitor maker from Singapore, Advanced Acoustic Werkes, aims to provide amazing sound quality custom in-ear monitors with more affordable prices for a custom in-ear monitor compared to other brands who easily break the bank. And the great thing about this company is that, Polaris Audio Design already carries them locally! Advanced Acoustic Werkes already do have a set of custom in-ear monitors that pursue high quality sound reproduction; from single dynamic drivers, dual balanced armature drivers, and even a triple driver hybrid, Advanced Acoustic Werkes seems to not be afraid in joining the latest hybrid technology battle that has begun recently. I personally have the AAW W300AR triple driver hybrid with me to see how it sounds. Using 2 balanced armature drivers paired with a single dynamic driver, it aims to combine both the resolution and accuracy of balanced armature drivers with the bass slam and realism of dynamic drivers. Let’s get on with its review to see how eargasmic it is.
Build/Packaging: Packaging was a simple black box with the AAW logo and a very personalized warranty card, very straightforward. Great though that a waterproof airtight case is supplied! And it even has a hand strap, cleaning cloth, and wax cleaner/remover included inside. As for the build of the custom in-ear monitor itself, the acrylic looks great and bubbles are almost non-existent. Mine had the wood insert, and I just wished that the wood insert could have been a little thicker. The wood insert seems to thin and quality is not as great as to Unique Melody‘s wood inserts in their custom in-ears. The cable included with the AAW W300AR is also a great thing to note of. It is a Vitesse cable which is a cryo treated 7N copper cable worth around Php9,000.00 by itself! Durable, manageable, and an above average sounding cable! Most other custom in-ear companies supply their customs with high grade cables but not up to the level of the Vitesse cable. This is a very generous approach by Advanced Acoustic Werkes and also a good one for those who do not want to spend additional cash in upgrading their cables. It may be included as stock, but this cable is far from stock sounding.
Sound Quality: Being a hybrid custom in-ear monitor, one would expect good slamming and well controlled bass from the added dynamic driver. With the AAW W300AR this is of course evident too. Mid-bass has good impact and quantity while sub-bass goes deep and powerful. Do note though that both mid and sub bass are both well controlled and does not bleed into the mids. Mid-bass has slight delay in decay but it doesn’t slow down the music pace. Details are smooth rather than crisp, they are clear but more smooth than crystal clear or crisp. Mids are forward and lower mids are well bodied. Upper-mids, personally, lack a bit of air and extension. The AAW W300AR‘s soundstage is a little narrow though, but I initially figured that its Vitesse cable could be the reason why. A Copper cable combined with a dark sounding headphone or earphone makes it a little more dark or too overpowering in the bass region. Usually, a copper cable is often the stock cable for headphones and earphones, and I can see why Advanced Acoustic Werkes chose this great cable even though it’s copper, to be matched with the W300AR. Since the W300AR is a hybrid, it has a dynamic driver, which mainly wants to produce natural glorifying bass and a more heavy sound signautre. The Vitesse cable of the AAW W300AR may be far from a regular stock cable, but it is still copper, it has the characteristics of a dark sound signature and bottom dominant sound. A silver cable is always the best pair towards a dark sounding, bass dominant, or treble/mids lacking headphone or earphone to bring out the details and instrument separation. Me, being a soundstage lover needed to personally balance this so I got a Whiplash Audio Reference TWau cable to bring out the soundstage and voila! Wide and tall! Going back to the stock sound of the AAW W300AR, my favorite characteristic of this custom in-ear monitor would have to be the 3D imaging and separation. Separation is really good! Piano keys and other notes are easily distinguishable even those notes playing at the far back. Instrument location can easily be imagined since you can distinguish where they come from. Instruments rarely overlap unless the overlapping is with the track. Even with being a triple driver hybrid, I assume the 2 balanced armature drivers themselves heading the detail and articulation, has an edge to hold against the 6 driver Unique Melody Miracle which is around Php 11,000.oo more expensive than this AAW W300AR. Personally, I prefer this AAW W300AR over my 6 driver Unique Melody Miracle due to how it is not very picky with the source/player, and with how it is more fun sounding than the Unique Melody Miracle after I fitted it with a Whiplash TWau upgrade cable. I personally did not expect it to become a preference over my 6 driver Miracle, but it did! Overall, I find it very natural sounding.
Overall: If you are looking for good isolation and great audiophile grade sound, specially if looking into a high-end custom in-ear monitor but is wary of the budget, I would recommend to you the Advanced Acoustic Werkes W300AR. Smooth treble, beautiful forward vocals, powerful and controlled bass impact and depth with fantastic instrument separation and imaging! Very natural sounding! The Advanced Acoustic Werkes W300AR is priced around Php 37,000.00 additional pricing is added depending on design additions and preference. You can order Advanced Acoustic Werkes custom in-ear monitors, as well as other in-ear monitors locally from Polaris Audio Design. Link posted below.
Advanced Acoustic Werkes W300AR Custom In-Ear Monitors: Eargasmic triple driver hybrid custom in-ear!
looking for a great portable player to match with this AAW W300AR? Check-out my review of the Shozy Alien here: http://www.wheninmanila.com/shozy-alien-portable-music-player-where-hi-fi-meets-simplicity/