ADVANCED Model 3

REVIEW: ADVANCED Model 3

 




Specifications

Driver: Single 6mm Dynamic
Impedance:16  Ohm
Sensitivity: 100dB
Frequency Response: 20Hz – 40kHz
Cord length (Wired): 1.2m
Plug (Wired): 3.5mm Gold Plated

Music/Talk time (Wireless): up to 5 hours
Charging Time: 1.5  hours
Bluetooth Version:4.1  + AptX
Connection Distance: 10m
Input Port: MicroUSB, DC 5V/60mA
Working Current: 10-19mA
Voltage: 3.7V

Website: adv-sound.com

Price: U$D 80.

Warranty: 3 years.


Accessories

  • 3 pairs of black silicone tips (S/M/L)
  • 3 pairs of green foam tips (S/M/L)
  • 1 MMCX 3.5mm cable with mic.
  • 1 MMCX Bluetooth cable
  • Carrying case
  • MicroUSB charging cable

Like with the M4 model, the accessory pack on the Model 3 is quite complete. The black silicone tips are similar (or identical) to the Shure Flex tips. The green foam tips are a bit longer than the usual foam eartips. Unfortunately, I find them useless as they’re impossible to fit in the ear canal and expand too fast. The silicone tips are fine, though I preferred the SpinFit tips for an easier and more comfortable fit. While not really necessary, It’d had been nice if the Model 3 included a selection of double and triple flange tips.



The Design

The Model 3 takes a whole new design from material to shape. This time the shells are all plastic with an over-ear fit design, which is practically identical to the Westone UM and W models, and very similar to the Shure options, and many other Chinese manufactures that used the same form factor. Coming from the M4 with its all metal housings, the M3 looks rather cheap in comparison, but nothing very different from more expensive options that adopt the same design.
The Model 3 uses the standard MMCX connection. Personally I’m not a fan of these connectors as they usually show some issues after some time. So far, the M3 seems fine, but I would not advise to change the cables too often unless it’s really necessary.

Getting into the cables, the wired one seems fine but nothing special (nor as cool as the twisted cable one on the M4!). It’s a very smooth surface and very low in microphonics. As there’s no memory wire nor earguides included, the cable doesn’t stay in place well around the ears, needing to readjust it from time to time.
For the wireless option, the cable is of better quality. The fixed earguides are a bit stiff, but not uncomfortable and help the earpieces to stay in place. The remote control goes on the front while the charging port falls at the back of the head, forming a necklace which should avoid the earphones from falling. The buttons are very hard to press, and when adjusting the volume it can easily go back or skip to the next track, something that results to be very annoying.
Anyway, the connection on both cables is quite secure for MMCX cables.

As for the fit, the M3 is extremely comfortable, lightweight and very easy to fit (if you’re already used to this form factor). The earpieces simply disappear in the ears and the isolation level is very good even for noisy environments.










Sound

The Model3 has a slightly warm and lively sound in a very wide V-shaped fashion. The overall sound is not very full in any of its frequencies but it’s very good in dynamics and extension at both ends with an above than average soundstage dimensions. It also has a slightly aggressive presentation but not too fatiguing and balances well the low and high ends.

Bass is very well bodied and extended. It surely is a powerful low end in the mid-bass area which carries good depth and rumble through the sub-bass regions for a coherent balanced and detailed overall bass response. Not a bass monster per-se when compared to more dominant and warmer sets like the GT-36, but fares well against the AAW Nebula One. The Model 3 is not the fastest in its bass and the impact it’s not very realistic.

The midrange is slightly warm due the strong low end, but quite dry in texture, to the point of even sounding boring or emotionless at times. The detail retrieval is very good and a strong characteristic of the Model 3, but it’s the presentation that is lacking. From low to upper midrange, it’s placed noticeable distant from the listener, not too recessed, but certainly missing a proper sense of thickness and musicality. There’s a bit of grain at the upper mids, not distracting or annoying but not completely smooth. Instruments are properly separated and take a higher priority over voices which lack a lot in texture, that despite of having a strong level of detail they simply don’t carry the needed emotion and sweetness.


Matching the lively presentation of the lows, the treble on the Model 3 is crispy, sparkly and similarly very well extended with a strong sense of micro detail that is very easy to notice. It is also north of neutral quantity-wise that never feels like missing, but stops right before getting overwhelming for more sensitive ears. Unlike the previous M4, the treble here is much more natural and coherent, not totally smooth but with a better level of refinement.


The presentation is very wide with a good sense of distance and space. Depth is good as well but height is not a strong point; nothing unusual among the affordable in-ear category. While the Model 3 is not to be called analytical, the layering and dynamics are above average. On the other hand, image is lacking next to other IEMs of the competition such as the Auglamour R8 or Vsonic new VSD3S, which offer a more realistic timbre with a more ‘hi-fi air’ in them.

 

Wired to Wire-less…

For the BT option, I’d only tried a couple of Samsung phone models, a iPhone 4S and a PAW5000, so I can’t comment on the last AptX tech implementation in the M3. Anyway, as SQ goes there’re the usual changes and small lose in quality and a bit less natural and dynamic presentation, but signature is kept unchanged. Paring the earphones is easy as any other BT device and the rated ~5 hrs. seems very accurate. The connection distant range seems fine as well, although I did find a couple of sudden disconnections with the aforementioned devices.


M4 vs Model 3

I already found the previous M4 model to be a good option for the sub $50 bracket. While in terms of sound signature and tuning, both ADVANCED models aren’t very similar, technically speaking the Model 3 is relatively better in its sound quality when comparing each frequency. The Model 3 has a stronger and fuller low-end with much better extension, slightly thicker midrange and smoother and extended treble, giving a wide V-shaped presentation. The M4, on the other hand, has a softer bass impact, a bit thinner midrange, but less recessed, and some extra emphasis in the upper midrange and lower treble region, with more limited stage. The M4 also shows a bit sense of grain and some unevenness in the treble area, whereas the Model seems to have fixed that issue. Micro detail is expectedly better on the Model 3, especially with a more clear source. Even though, I find the M4 much less source dependent and sometimes more enjoyable than the new option when it gets to the midrange area.





Value?

Taken as whole pack, with the Model 3 ADVANCED is offering a nice contender to the sub $100 category having the option of going wired and wireless. There’re some good points on the new model with its much more comfortable ergonomic design, higher isolation and the detachable cable fashion. However, there’re also a few things that can’t be overlooked (or overheard?). Build quality, while decent, is less impressive than the M4, the foam tips are difficult to use (or impossible in my case), and the MMCX connectors aren't the best I’ve seen. Lastly, the sound needs some refinement and better tuning; the extension and detail is pretty good, but the overall presentation lacks in terms of musicality and coherence. These small dynamic drivers sure have a lot of potential in them and with some revision the Model 3 might turn into a great earphone.