Accutone Studio S2


REVIEW: Accutone Studio S2



Website: Accutone

Product page: Studio S2

Overview

Flagship IEM model of the new Accutone higher line. Featuring a hybrid dual setup of a 10mm dynamic and a single Knowles BA (WBFK). With a fixed over-ear design in a strong red color and standard detachable MMCX cables. Powerful and warm sound in a slight dark tonality with smooth midrange and more laid back treble combined with a strong bass response. At the higher $300 price tag it may be very lacking in accessories set, though the sound tuning is quite nice.





Specifications
  • Speaker: 10mm Dynamic driver & Single Balanced Armature (Knowles WBFK)
  • Sensitivity: 118 dB
  • Impedance: 32Ω
  • Weight: 5.1g
  • Cable: 1.2m
  • Plug: 3.5mm


Price: U$D 339.



The Studio S2 arrives in a very similar package as the Gemini HD, easy to unpack with everything snugly arranged inside. The accessory set includes one pair of small/short dual flange silicone tips which are already installed on the earpieces and two extra single silicone tips in small and large size. There is no medium sized tips, but there is a pair Comply Foam tips in medium size. There is also a small carrying case. The accessory selection is really lacking, which I already complained about on the Gemini HD, but and this higher $300 price tag it is quite unforgivable.




Design

Overall build quality on the Studio S2 is decent. The earpieces are made entirely of plastic material and do look thick and sturdy enough. They are composed of two separated parts well attached together. The all translucent red color theme is cool, though for some can be too flashy, but it possible to see the entire inner setup inside with the large 10mm dynamic driver just in the center of the shells and the small BA unit closer to the nozzle. At the tip, there is a mesh filter (similar to what was found on the Hifiman IEM models in case there is need to replace them).



The earpieces have a strict over-ear design, and when looking at them, well, there are too obvious similarities with the old Aursonics (now Fender) in-ear monitor line. They are on the large side with a long body structure that may be quite challenging for small to medium size ears, however, the well shaped form factor lets them sit fixed on the outer ear part with just the smaller nozzle reaching the ear canal. They are comfortable and do provide a good level of isolation too, however the included silicone tips proved to be useless missing the medium size pair or being the dual tips just too small.



The cable connection utilizes a standard MMCX type. The included cable has a normal connection to the MMCX socket, and of course proper care should be taken when detaching it. It simply consists of three twisted strands on lower half from the angled 3.5mm plug to the y-split and then two strands for each side. The cable has a memory wire that act as earguides and hold the earpieces in place.




Sound Impressions

Main IEMs used for comparison: Dunu DN-2002, Falcon-C, Lear Kaleido, GR07 Bass, iBasso IT03, Brainwavz B400.

Overall, the Studio S2 could be described as having a mid-centered sound that arrives from the BA unit with a very dominant low end response on the mid-bass region, and then a present, well leveled, but more laid-back treble performance.
The bass is truly powerful, very rich with full body and plenty of impact. The weight is towards the mid-bass part which is the most noticeable frequency on the whole sound. Sub-bass is also very present, but just not as forward as the mid or upper bass, though it has plenty of rumble, good depth and fair extension and dynamics. Speed and resolution is about average; not that is sounds slow, but not fast as to match the BA driver inside. Quality-wise, well, the bass is not very tight and can get out of control sometimes. Not a total basshead IEM, but should classify very close to that category.
In terms of pure quantities, the S2 reminds of the Dunu DN-2000, though not as large and extended or controlled, and more intrusive at the lower midrange. The Lear Kaleido has a more similar bass presentation, though the S2 sounds wider if with less balance in sub and mid-bass.

The midrange has the typical characteristics of the single Knowles BA driver. Technically, the whole midrange is a bit forward, accurate and rich, with a nice texture and decent layering. However, it is the dynamic driver with the super extra energy that tends to overshadow the lower mids and keeps much more forward, especially when raising the volume a bit. EQ does work very well here, taking down the extra bass bloat for a cleaner midrange. The S2 gives good priority and fairly sweet texture to the voices, if a bit preferring the female singers as they are less affected by the low end.
There is not too much brightness on the upper mids, and remain usually smooth, and maybe with just hint of grain (but not harshness or sibilance). Treble too, is smooth with still enough energy but not too much sparkle; enough to give the necessary weight and texture to instruments when needed, never trying to stand out and more shy than the midrange. Can be considered a bit safe or too soft, rolling off at the top. Not too surprising with the type and tuning of the single balanced armature driver, matching the warm and laid back signature.



Stage dimensions are not large, though thanks the powerful dynamic driver the S2 shows decent depth and big headstage. Air and separation are limited too against more balanced sets, though the tuning on the S2 is quite fun to listen. Moreover, the WBFK doesn’t reveal too much micro detail compared to a TWFK based hybrid, but it is more comfortable with lower quality files.
Worth mentioning that the Studio S2 is not picky at all, just plays well with any source and doesn’t ask for a better cable to sound best. On the other hand, eartips are too critical with the S2 to get a best balance out of it.

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