Ah Soranik, among the manufacturer in my homecountry I think they are one of the most recognizable with the global audience along side with Itsfit. They seem to experience with their stuff a lot, repeatingly trying out new idea and collecting suggestion to further "improve" their product.
The Soranik ION-4 is one of their release last year, featuring an uncommon config with a "Magnetostatic" as a part of the whole driver configuration. As far as my experience goes, I have only heard the Shuoer Tape which is another IEM that adapted this so called technology.
That aside, I heard this IEM at Xuan Vu Audio at the beginning of 2020 and wrote a quick impression of it. Though, it has been nearly a year since that article was written and only until now that I have the chance to have more eartime with this earphone. This review would also serve as a revisit of the impression post since some of my opinion has certainly changed over this year around.
Would the ION-4 as still revelant to me as ever? 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.
- Price: ~7.500.000 VND (~320$)
- Drivers: 1 Balanced Membrane? (aka 1 DD + 1 Magnetostatic) + 2 BA
The Soranik ION-4 was provided by Soranik
Note: Due to the fact that I didn't receive the IOn-4 in full package, I will pass the Packaging part which I usually do here.
Usually, I would try to find a term to categorize an earphone signature but the longer I try the ION-4, I struggled. Though as much as I want to disagree myself, I am leaning toward the option of calling the ION-4 "V-shaped", as it has a lot of emphasis in the bass region and the upper mid-range, lacking only one thing: treble.
Yep, you read it right, the ION-4 is shy of treble. A standard V-shaped IEM for me has an emphasis on the bass response, upper-mid and treble. But even among the oceans of V-shaped IEM on the market nowadays, at the very least such IEM would have the emphasis on the lower treble; and even that, the ION-4 sounds suppressed on this range...
Somewhat (?), since for my ear it sounds suppressed yet there are still some sense of sharpness somewhere on this range.
Quite an uncommon situation that the ION-4 has, though this can be explained by the 5kHz - 7kHz spike. And to how this would affect some sensitive ears? Probably, though for me I don't find it piercing, just a sensation of sharpness overall.
I also do find it as a waste of potential though, since as much as I see the ION-4 treble as suppressed, it surprisingly doesn't sound dead. And even if that was because of the spiky boost that saves it from being dead, the treble doesn't sound limpy or weak to me either. Maybe just some more tailoring on this range and I can see ION-4 treble being quite solid regarding the price it is offered.
The second problem I see with the ION-4 is the upper-mid. And also some reader of my quick impression post will find this being the most contradictory point when they read this article: As now I listened to the ION-4 again, it sounds a bit nasally and shouty. This is probably because I have more ear-time with this earphone (this problem only arise the more I listen to it) and also, It has been 10 months since my last session with it, so a lot has changed in term of how I perceive sounds, but I digress. This upper mid-range boost does make the ION-4 sound a bit thin, though there is some lower-mid elevation to balance it out. But, I can only see this as a way to improve the situation, not really a solution.
And I save the best for last: The bass.
No, really, this is a compliment: the ION-4 bass response is quite solid. Admittedly this is more skewed towards the lower registers so it is more for someone who wants rumbles in their music. Though, that sub-bass does slam! Nice articulation and the bass line is also kept clean. The only big problem I can see this is the lack of mid-bass but it seems like Soranik has made it quite clear with how the ION-4 is tuned in this range so nothing much I can say here.
Soundstage and Imaging wise, the ION-4 is on the average side. With the amount of IEM pushed out of the market this year, the ION-4 cannot quite stand to some of the IEMs in this aspect like the Moondrop Blessing 2 which is one of the spotlights in this price range this year. Nonetheless, the Soranik ION-4 has good detail retrieval, while not really comparable with the TOTL (of course), it can river the ER4S which is my usual benchmark, falling short with IEM like Blessing 2, by just a bit.
vs Shuoer Tape:
While not as comparable in term of price, the Shouer Tape applies the same so-called "Magnetostatic" technology so I think it is interesting to make a comparison.
I can see the ION-4 doing better than the Tape in 1 notable aspect, the upper midrange. One of my complaint with the Tape is how harsh some vocal is with this IEM, as the pinna gain was too much for me to take, shouty, or more correctly, screaming, a lot of instrument (especially bowed string) like the violin sounds harsh which makes it hard for me to enjoy this earphone except if I really go for energetic, over the top type of music like Speedcore.
But, the ION-4 while still sound a bit shouty, at least is a bit tamer than the Tape when put into comparison, so I consider it as a plus.
It's also notable that the ION-4 sounds warmer and sharper than the Tape also. Though I still see the treble of both IEM as "suppressed".
All in all, I think the Soranik ION-4 is an interesting earphone. Though as time goes on it has been overshadowed by a lot of new entries on the market. At the very least, I see this earphone as an experiment due to how it was created.
I looking forward to Soranik next work, which actually... are coming quite close on the horizon.
Recommendation ratings: Niches
Like usual, either if you guys want some more insight or just occasional banters, my Discord is open