SteelSeries Flux In-Ear Pro

REVIEW: SteelSeries Flux In-Ear Pro





Specifications:


Speaker:

Driver: Single Balanced Armature
Frequency Response: 15Hz - 22KHz
Impedance: 26 Ohm
Sensitivity: 105dB@1KHz
Cable: 1.2m


Microphone:

Mic. Pattern:  Omni-directional
Frequency Response:         100Hz - 10KHz
Sensitivity:    -38@1KHz
Impedance: 2.2 KOhm


MSRP$130 (in the US); 130€ (in UK/EU)



Accessories:

  • 3 Single eartips in S, M, L sizes
  • 1 Comply Foam
  • 1 pair of earguides
  • 1 carrying case
  • 2 interchangeable cable ends:
  • 4-pole (mic) 3.5mm for portable players and mobile phones
  • PC compatible

 




Build & Design:

The build quality is pretty good. The housings are all plastic but feel very solid. They do lack a proper cable strain relief at the housings entry, though. The cable is of very good quality too. From the earpieces to the Y-split it's rounded and thin, and very soft; cable cinch is limited by the mic. on the left side. From the split to the plug it takes another form, a fairly flat cable and noticeable stiffer but yet very comfortable, well behaved and tangle free. Microphonics are very low. Lastly, the plug comes in two options, a regular 3.5mm 4-pole L-plug, compatible with either portable players or mobile phones, and a PC-compatible audio and microphone separated plug. A cool feature, indeed.



Fit, Comfort, Isolation:

Despite the unique design, the In-Ear Pro is very easy to fit. The ergonomic and low-profile design makes it very comfortable, even for long listening periods. Even though it was meant to be used as an over-ear IEM, it's still possible to use it with cable down fit, but it will be necessary to switch the sides. Not as comfortable and secure fit, though.
Isolation is decent, but average for a BA IEM; better with the included Comply Foam tips (or aftermarket ones). The nozzle diameter is among the smaller ones, so take that in count.



Sound:

The In-Ear Pro implements a single full-range Balanced Armature driver. As such, it shows the usual BA characteristics, strengths and limitations. The overall signature is somehow towards the mid-centered with some emphasis at the lower highs region and punchy lows (for a BA).

On the one hand, the bass has a fairly nice punch at the mid/up-bass region, which adds a slight extra 'fun' factor making it more appealing to the wider consumer masses. As expected for a BA driver, the bass is tight and accurate with great speed that dynamic drivers usually lack. On the other hand, it is shy in body and impact, and limited in extension and dynamics; nothing wrong, just the usual BA Vs Dynamic battle.

The midrange is where things start to get interesting. The whole mids are prominent and always forward and far from being overly thick and buttery. As a good mid-tier BA based earphone, the In-Ear Pro boosts extra clarity and accuracy over many of the dynamic competitors, along with an open and effortless presentation.
Vocals are well bodied and given extra priority with an engaging texture and sweetness. While they are delicate on their own, they still may sound more closed and thicker against the more airy and silky Hifiman RE-400 or the popular Ostry KC06 which are brighter and more lean and open. Also, the In-Ear Pro is more aggressive than the smooth and laid-back Fidue A63. While, the SteelSeries wins in speed and attack over those, it loses in decay.

As for the treble, it's closer to the mids presentation rather than to the bass. Not as shy and soft as the lower end freq. but not as forward and aggressive as the midrange. Still limited in the upper extension and more lower-treble focused with decent sparkle, although it sounds duller compared to the above RE-400 or KC06, but less sharp and never as hot as the dual TWFK BA like in R-50M and similar.
Dynamics and soundstage are limited, again not surprising for a single BA, and despite the more intimate sound, separation doesn't seem affected.

All-in-all, the In-Ear Pro makes a true upgrade over previous single BA sets like the Siren based SoundMagic PL50 or Meelec A151. Compared the HisoundAudio BA100, it offers a very different flavored sound, being the In-Ear Pro more midrange focused and closed and the BA100 flatter and wider, thinner in mids and more splashy in highs. Bass is a tad stronger on the warmer In-Ear Pro.
They are also very different to the similar priced dual BA Rock-It R-50M in signature and not up there in 'pure' overall quality.


Value:


At the $130 retail price, the SteelSeries Flux In-Ear Pro may not be your bang-for-buck or revolutionary earphone for its sonic qualities alone, but taken as a whole pack makes a yet solid buy, with very good build quality, fit and all-arounder BA driver comfortable and solid signature.