In this IEM comparison, I will evaluate the sound quality of four in-ear monitors (IEMs) while playing the alternative/indie song “Perfect Darkness” by Fink on a laptop with Apple Music lossless and a DAC/AMP from SMSL type M300 MKIII.
“Perfect Darkness” by Fink is a melancholic alternative/indie track that showcases the singer’s emotive voice and the intricate arrangements of the instruments.
The genre of the song is alternative/indie, characterized by its diverse mix of musical styles and its independent spirit.
The Challenges in This Song:
The song has a delicate balance of different instrumentals and vocals that need to be captured accurately for a full listening experience. This requires a good soundstage, clarity, and separation of the instruments.
The source chain used in this comparison is a laptop with Apple Music lossless as the music source and a DAC/AMP from SMSL type M300 MKIII to enhance the sound quality.
1st Place: IKKO Asgard OH5
The IKKO Asgard OH5 is the standout performer in this comparison, delivering a defined and relaxed opening. The huge room soundstage is very natural and the bass drum sounds very natural. The vocals are focused, and the buildup is very layered, with the second vocal clearly behind the first. The guitars and string instruments are on another layer, playing beautifully with a defined bass guitar. The background rumble is audible, and the drums give a great surrounding sound field, making for a very well-defined playback.
2nd Place: IKKO Obsidian OH10
The IKKO Obsidian OH10 has a lovely roominess to its sound, with good extension in the low frequencies. The guitar is very defined, although the vocals are a little bit harsh. The great vocal layers make up for it, and the sound overall is light, in a good way. The stage sounds open in a very huge room, and the string instruments are moved to the back as support. The sound is further away than OH5, but the room seems bigger, making for a nice listening experience.
3rd Place: 7Hz Timeless
The 7Hz Timeless IEM has a very low bass in the beginning, with the high-hat hits it defines a big room. The reverberation is clear and audible and the movement from the strings of the guitar can be heard. However, the reverberation sounds a bit artificial. The voices are more separated, giving different stage layers. The stage is close to a big room, but the string instruments build great support for the song. Every instrument is well separated, making the OH10 fit a little bit better for this song, but both are very close to each other. It sounds like being part of a jam session, which is very nice, with great support from the bass drum and bass guitar within the song.
4th Place: AudioSense DT600
The AudioSense DT600 IEMs have a room that sounds big but restricted, compared to the OH10 or 7Hz. The bass drum has a big impact, but less so than the OH10 or 7Hz. Both vocals are playing closer to each other and singing together, giving a totally different sound but still a very good, full sound. The room is overwhelmed by sound, making the DT600 an interesting option for those who prefer a different sound signature.
Conclusion When it comes to the song “Perfect Darkness” by Fink, all four IEMs perform well in different ways, offering a unique sound signature. The IKKO Asgard OH5 comes in first place with its very good defined and relaxed opening, defining a huge room and very natural-sounding bass drum. The IKKO Obsidian OH10 comes in second place with its lovely roominess and good extension in the low frequencies. The 7Hz Timeless IEM comes in third place with its very low bass and well-separated instruments. The AudioSense DT600 IEM comes in fourth place with its big and defined room and full sound. Ultimately, the best IEM for the song will depend on personal preference and the desired sound signature.
More of my Heavy Test Songs for Headphones and IEMs you can find here on Apple Music.
Join me on Instagram and let’s share our journey towards discovering the ultimate Hi-Res IEMs. Let’s compare notes and find our endgame together! You can also check out My Ultimate Guide to Affordable In-Ear Monitors in 2023 (Including IKKO Asgard OH5).
If you’d like to check more songs where I did A-B tests with my IEMs, you can find the post here.