Soundz Avant Review – Headfonia Reviews Leave a comment

Today, we review the  Soundz Avant, a custom In-Ear Monitors. The CIEM version starts from €1.590 Euro.

 

Disclaimer: The Avant CIEM was provided at no cost by Soundz Custom for the purpose of this review. We thank them for the opportunity. As always, the article reflects my unbiased opinion.

Soundz Brand

Soundz, an ambitious company founded by Alexios Papatasios, an experienced hearing care professional, began its journey in 2011 under the name Earmedical. A graduate of the University of Thessaly in Greece with a major in Computer Science and Engineering, Mr Papatasios furthered his expertise in Hearing Health Sciences at the International Hearing Society in Michigan, America, and in Audiology-Neuro-otology at the Medical School of Athens.

Initially specializing in hearing rehabilitation and protection, Soundz was founded in 2016 with the initial aim of creating premium custom earplugs for professional DJs and musicians. This endeavor quickly expanded its reach globally, thanks in part to collaborations with renowned DJs and Soundz ambassadors.

In 2018, Soundz’ presence at the Frankfurt Musikmesse marked a pivotal expansion, establishing wholesale partnerships in India, Israel, Australia, and America. This event also sparked the idea of venturing into in-ear monitor manufacturing, inspired by interactions with driver, cable, and component manufacturers.

2019 was a year of technological advancement for Soundz, establishing one of Greece’s most modern 3D printing labs. Equipped with the latest 3D machines, professional microphones, sound measurement tools, and software, the company delved deep into research and development. The COVID-19 quarantine period was instrumental in this process, leading to the creation of the first three Soundz in-ear monitor models after extensive testing and refinement.

Today, Soundz offers a comprehensive portfolio of six advanced in-ear monitor models to meet the diverse needs of professional musicians, studio producers, and audiophiles. To complement its in-ear monitors, Soundz continues to offer premium earplugs to meet a wide range of hearing protection needs. With over a decade of experience in sound and hearing, coupled with a passion for innovation and valuable customer feedback, Soundz continues to evolve.

Soundz Avant

The Soundz Custom Avant is a high-end custom in-ear monitor that represents the very latest in the technologies Soundz has been R&D’ing for the last four years. It is the current flagship of the Soundz line-up, and it features 10 Sonion BA drivers per side and an advanced 4-way crossover. It is available in universal and custom form, starting at €1390 EUR. 

The Avant is powered by the SoundzCore2™ technology, which essentially means that Soundz utilizes the industry’s latest, most up-to-date balanced armature drivers. SoundzCore2™ tech is only available for the latest three products, the Wave, Flame, and Avant. The Avant’s configuration is as follows: four custom-tuned Sonion BA woofers for the lows and the mid-bass, two BA drivers are responsible for mids and upper mids, and four BA drivers handle the highs and ultra highs.

Avant features different technologies such as Immersive Mode™, which provides a user-controllable bass enhancement for a more visceral and powerful low-end experience via a switch on each faceplate. In addition, Flex Fit Pro™ technology incorporates a flexible resin material in each custom in-ear nozzle that adapts to the temperature of the ear canal for enhanced comfort. Combined with a Complex™ crossover design for phase coherence and low distortion, Avant promises a high-end listening experience.

Ordering Process & Customization

The ordering process is simple and straightforward. The universal fit versions are usually shipped within 1 to 3 business days after the order is placed. For custom models, the build time is approximately 5 to 15 business days from receipt of physical ear impressions, depending on the workload of the Soundz lab. Alternatively, you can submit 3D ear impression files, as I did, which they used to create the CIEM you see in this article.

The Soundz website features a configurator tool for personalizing CIEMs and UIEMs. This tool allows you to customize shell colors, faceplates, and logos, including premium options like gold plating logos or custom artwork. There are also more complicated and bespoke faceplate designs, such as the Galaxy, which is what the faceplates on my CIEM feature. This tool also allows you to add the excellent technology called Flex Fit Pro nozzle, which we’ll talk about in the next section. Moreover, the configurator tool includes optional choices for various ambient filters and cables to suit individual preferences, such as on-stage use. Soundz is continuously expanding its range of customization options, so it is better to keep an eye on the configurator. One caveat is that they don’t offer many shell colors, but I’m sure they’ll be adding these options in the near future. 

Accessories & Packaging

The Avant comes in a compact cardboard box. The packaging design is interesting, with a double-layered outer cover that gives the packaging a sort of three-dimensional effect. Once the cover is removed, we are left with a black cardboard box, and inside, we see a round metal carrying case with the Soundz logo on the top lid. The bottom section can be personalized with your name, nickname, initials, or whatever you wish. Mine says HEADFONIA YAGIZ, for example! The inside of the metal case is lined with foam, including the lid, so your CIEMs or UIEMs are well protected during transport.

Just above the round metal case, there’s a small compartment containing another box marked TOOLKIT. It contains a cable clamp, a microfibre cleaning cloth, a brush cleaning tool, and two Soundz guitar picks. Unfortunately, I can’t play the guitar, but I’m a techie, and I use guitar picks all the time to create gaps between the casings of equipment to open them up, so thanks!

The cable that came with my CIEMs is the Soundz Maxima and is offered at a discounted price of €80 on the customization page. It is labeled “Silver Premium Cable 4.4mm balanced” within the tool. It costs €130 when purchased separately from the Soundz shop. It has very low microphonics and is made from silver alloy treated with the OCC process. I like the single braid configuration as it improves comfort, especially when wearing sunglasses or reading glasses. Also, the fact that it comes with molded shrink-wrap ear guides rather than metal wires enhances comfort further. The cable has a soft transparent jacket and is quite pliable. I believe it’s worth the extra if you don’t already have upgrade cables in your arsenal, as I don’t really like using the flimsy standard P1 cable with high-end CIEMs.

Design, Build Quality & Fit

Soundz prides itself on using high-quality resins and 3D printers.

The resins they use to make IEMs are biocompatible and hypoallergenic, offering maximum design precision, surface hardness, and breaking strength. For the CIEMs, they build 1.4mm thick shells that offer higher impact and shock resistance.

My CIEM has black shells with the premium Galaxy faceplate, along with black Soundz logos and the additional Flex Fit Pro nozzle. I think they look pretty good. The Soundz team has achieved a high standard of craftsmanship, with only a few minor imperfections present. The Avant has flush-mounted 2-pin connectors for easy cable replacement. There’s a single switch on each faceplate that activates the immersive mode, which essentially improves and enhances the overall bass response. The switch is easy to reach, and thanks to its low-profile design, I never accidentally hit it during my two months of use.

As for fit, I find mine to be perfect. My pair provides optimal fit, comfort, and isolation, and I can easily wear them for hours on end without them ever bothering or hurting me. I can feel the nozzles for the first 2-3 minutes; then I can’t feel anything; it’s like I’m not wearing them at all. As for the Flex Fit technology, it involves using a different resin material for the nozzle part of the CIEM that sits on the second bend of the ear canal. According to Soundz, this unique resin fully adapts to the temperature of the ear canal within minutes of use, making it cooler, softer, and much more comfortable than traditional custom molds. 

I was quite skeptical about this, but after two months of use, I can vouch for the Flex Fit technology; it is perhaps the best aspect of these monitors, next to the sound. I also use Avant for gaming, and there have been days in the last two months where I have worn Avant for over seven hours without a problem. Well done!

 

The review continues on the next page. Click here or use the jump below. 

Page 1: Soundz Brand, The Avant, Ordering Process & Customization, Packaging & Accessories, Design, Build Quality & Fit

Page 2: Sound Impressions, Low, Mid, High, Technical Capability, Comparisons, Last Words

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