Nguyen Custom Monitor, ItsFit, Soranik,... these are all the names of the Vietnamese IEM brands that has reached out to the global market, acquiring a decent amount of sales and/or dedicated fans. These company, of course, has been known for quite some time in Vietnam as well.
But among those, there is still one brand I know that despite being somewhat known in the country, doesn't have the same popularity (IMO) when it comes to the global market: AYA Audio.
Nothing much I can dig out of the company history (to you guys), though one who has followed them would not forget some of their work like the AYA Nightiangle, AYA Bullet and well, while hard for me to come across their work... I did manage to listen and measure the AYA Silver.
The AYA Siren seem to be their first major effort on releasing a product worldwide. As a fellow countryman, I have the honor to try out this product. Let's see how it goes.
Before going into the post, if you are new, please read this before having any comments regarding my writing or point of view.
- Driver: 4BA + 2EST
- Price: ~650$
- Purchase link: https://ayaworkshop.com/the-siren/
The AYA Siren was kindly provided by AYA Audio
There will be a tour of the Siren available, though you know how it is these day.
Edit (13/2/2021): The Siren reviewed here might be different from the global version, as far as I know from the ongoing tour the global version might be different.
Build and Accessories:
- 3 pairs of wide bore tips (S/M/L)
- 1 pairs of silicon tips
- Hard case
- Unbalanced 3.5mm 2-pin 0.78mm cable
- Warranty & Company cards
- The IEM itself
For 650$ one would expect a more plentiful unboxing experience but since this is AYA first time, they have poured some effort on presentation, so I will give it a pass.
Nothing much to say about the hard case, as usual it is quite durable, the lock is snappy so I don't think there will be any issue in the long run. It's quite big though so for someone who usually have an intensive amount of pockets like me, it is not really ideal. The IEM pouch is a nice touch, I have known a bit that folks in my country do like this type of pouch with their exposure to Campfire Audio for a while now, but I digress. The cable is thin, but hard enough so that it doesn't get tangle. All of the connectors and the Y-splitter are built with black-metal enclosing.
Though, one problem to note is the lack of chin-sliders. This problem usually isn't big enough to address but due to the nature of the AYA Siren shell + light cable and Y-splitter, the over-ear part of the cable doesn't stays on top of my ears most of the time. I often use the chin-slider for such cable for this sole reason but the lacking of that does made me irritated a bit.
The AYA Siren follows a psuedo-custom design with black shell, the faceplate follows a seashell-styled faceplate with the company logo and name on each side of the IEM. It sealed quite well into my ears with average isolation. Overall outside of the issue with the cable like I stated above, nothing that I would consider as a big problem with the Siren comfort.
Side note: I am having a bit of deja vu writing this part.
The AYA Siren sound signature can be described as "Neutral warm". It is tuned towards a niches audience though I find it quite pleasing to hear overall.
Bass is as good as a typical BA bass gets
This is one of the first things I noticed about the Siren's bass upon my initial listening session with this pair of IEM. And, I think saying Siren's bass is "as good as a typical BA" summed up what I wanted to say quite well to the IEM enthusiasts that could happen to stumble upon this article.
Though, for the ones who are still clueless, I would describe the Siren's bass as fast, but limpy and lacks articulations in the sub-bass region. In short, it is just there for the sake of existence which didn't impress me much.
The midrange of the Siren as far as I can tell, is fine. It has some coloration going on which can be explained by the 800Hz lower shelf boost but doesn't sound excessively warm unlike IEM like Kinera Freya which I reviewed recently. This combining with the ~12dB boost does favor female vocalist but can be seen as a bit shouty to some ears. Though I think, the drop off right after ~2700Hz seem to affect high pitched anime vocals like Nanahira (ななひら) but still okay in the zone of vocalists like Aitsuki Nakuru (藍月なくる) or Nayuta (なゆた).
Treble wise, despite what I said on the impression, It was actually a hit and miss. Again, I am still standby my opinion about the EST on the Siren that it does produce some noticeable treble on the higher range. Though, the more I listen to the Siren, the odder I feel about it. There is a "zing" that can be clearly heard with percussions but it is not to the point of offensive like the Tin Hifi P1. This combining with the warmth from the lower midrange does make instruments like Guitar sounds nice. But, it sounds so uneven somehow!
I am not sure how to write this session after few days of thinking honestly, at best I can try to describe is that there is a sense of "hollowness" in terms of energy distribution in some instruments/songs. Noticeably with Cymbal, Speedcore/
Ear rape music genres listeners might notice this also.
This probably an effort to keep the Siren staying true to its "musical" trait while preventing it to be entirely underwhelming. I somewhat appreciate the effort of the tuner to not entirely kill off this range but still, it's a bit weird.
The problem begins with the Siren in the technical front. Noticeably with Soundstage and Imaging, the Siren struggles. There are still some senses of left and right in the visual cues, but on busy tracks, instruments repeatedly overlap onto each other, notes sound soft on the edge, giving these instruments little room for breathing. The Siren does have decent detailing capabilities, but fall short with the likes of the ER4 which is my usual standard in terms of detail retrieval.
As one of their supposingly "first" exposure to the western market, the AYA Siren debut by stating the company tuning style quite clear. But as much as I can see this sound signature works inside our country, the game they are about to enter is different.
For that, I have been considering the Siren being the "first" into my recommendation factor this time and asked myself: "Would a Niches recommendation suffice?".
Probably, considering my impression with the Siren had led me to this conclusion. But then, another question strike: "Would having a price tag of ~650$ too risky?" and with the resource that AYA Audio is having at their disposal, I find it hard to answer.
Only time will tell how the Siren would be received, and more importantly, how AYA will decide from here on. Though, I am optimistic.
Recommendation ratings: Niches/Not recommended
Like usual, either if you guys want some more insight or just occasional banters, my Discord is open