This post develops a detailed Aful Performer 8 Review and compares the experience with other popular competitive IEMS like the DUNU SA6 MK2, Moondrop Variations and Moondrop Blessing 2
I recently had the pleasure of trying out the AFUL Performer 8 and I must say, these in-ear monitors (IEMs) have exceeded my expectations in every aspect. AFUL has truly crafted a masterpiece with the Performer 8, catering to the discerning audiophile and professional musicians alike. Performer 8 is the latest offering from AFUL which consists of 7 Balance Armature and 1 Dynamic Driver, totalling 8 Drivers per side offered for $369
Hiby RS2 (Warm Source): The Hiby RS2, whose warm tone is renowned, may alter how Performer 8 presents sound in general. Combining the IEMs with a warm source like the RS2 boosts the lower frequencies, giving the music additional warmth and body since the IEMs already have a balanced sound profile. This combination may be quite attractive for individuals who prefer a more relaxed and seamless listening experience. Vocals and instruments sound more full-bodied due to the additional richness the midrange may acquire.
E1DA 9038D (Lean Source): In comparison, the E1DA 9038D might offer some contrasting qualities to the Performer 8 due to its lean sound signature. The leaner source highlights greater clarity and detail in the middle and treble frequencies since the IEMs already have a balanced sound. This might provide a clearer, more analytical sound that is perfect for audiophiles who value precision and clarity in their listening experiences. A tighter and more regulated bass response may arise from the lows not being as prominent.
Overall the impact from these two sources was minor, without any major change in sound characteristics, and one may not even notice if not A/B'd instantly.
Starting with the build quality, the Performer 8 impresses with its sturdy construction and attention to detail. The IEMs feel premium in hand and have a reliable, tangle-free cable. The ergonomic design fits comfortably in the ears, providing an excellent seal that isolates outside noise effectively. Even during prolonged listening sessions, I experienced no discomfort or fatigue, making them perfect for extended use, Although I would like if there were different faceplate options, maybe full blackout.
The real magic of the Performer 8 lies in its sound signature. The eight-driver configuration delivers an astonishingly clear, detailed, and balanced sound that delights the senses.
Lows: are tight and punchy, providing a solid foundation to the music without overpowering other frequencies, the sub-bass has good rumble, and the bass is overall great but could be overwhelming in some music for me; I would prefer a bit more control; but it’s pretty enjoyable, and will not offend anyone.
Mids: are wonderfully warm and rich, offering an engaging experience for vocals and instruments; this is where this IEM shines the most.
Highs: are well-extended, adding brilliance without harshness or sibilance. Still, I would add that the IEM lacks some airiness and the incisiveness of fast instruments; overall, I would not say that the IEM lacks details. Still, details are overall smoother; nonetheless, this type of tuning allows the IEM to be enjoyable for a long period of time without any fatigue.
Soundstage: Although the Performer 8’s soundstage is nice, I must admit that it falls short of being spectacular. The soundstage is wide and deep enough, but it doesn’t have the expansiveness that some other high-end IEMs have. Even yet, the imagery is precise, enabling us to recognize various instruments and their positioning within the aural environment.
The Performer 8 excels in various musical genres, giving it a flexible choice for artists and audiophiles alike. Regardless of your musical preferences—rock, jazz, classical, electronic, hip-hop, instrumental, vocals, or pop—these IEMs provide a satisfying and well-balanced listening experience. Basically, this IEM is an all-rounder, a perfect IEM for daily usage.
My listening tracks were mainly Yosi Horikawa, Soweto (Don Toliver), Flowers (Miley Cyrus), People (Libianca), HipHop by Akon, Eminem and Divine. Bilie Eilish (Happier than Ever album), and a few Bollywood tracks like Masakali, Kehna hi kya etc…
Jacked in? Try listening and see for your self!
These two IEM’s fall in a more comparable region, they both follow a similar tonality and timbre. In a quick comparison, the primary distinctions lie in the bass, mids, and treble regions. Both IEMs offer exceptional midrange texture and clarity. SA6 MK2 boasts a charming, smooth midrange with an airy soundstage, while Performer 8 has a more in-your-face vocal presentation with precise imaging. The bass response varies significantly, kind of opposite to what the graph below shows, with SA6 MK2 offering a rich but not heavily pronounced lower end primarily due to the BA driver, while Performer 8 delivers a punchy, dynamic, and well-extended bass thanks to its DD, it would please people who like their bass.
In terms of treble, SA6 MK2 provides a smoother presentation with excellent detail, while Performer 8’s treble is crisp, detailed, and slightly smoothed out for extended listening comfort. The two IEMS are more similar than different and both of these are well worth their price However, in my book the Performer 8 wins in terms of price to performance it offers.
The two IEM’s are poles apart and offers a very different experience all together. In a quick comparison, the primary distinctions are found in the mids and low-end region. Performer 8 and Moondrop Variations both impress with midrange texture but differ in vocal presentation. Performer 8 places vocals at a comfortable distance, creating a spacious feel, whereas Variations offers a thin mid-range, which makes the mid-range a lot cleaner, however a lot thinner comparatively which goes well for a specific genre but is a hit or a miss for vocal-centric music.
Now, regarding bass, the two IEMs take different approaches. Performer 8 boasts a rich and thumpy bass but is not overwhelming by any means, while Moondrop Variations shines in sub-bass with exceptional texture and extension which could get overwhelming at times but it never bleeds and can be considered a gem for the bass heads out there. Performer 8 bass is more balanced, whereas Variations delivers a theatrical and enjoyable sub-bass experience, though it lacks some mid-bass thump which makes them sound thin in some music. In the treble department, Performer 8 impresses with its airiness and openness, offering clear separation and incisive instruments. Variations’ treble is more detailed and airier, bringing out more resolution and definition but has a slightly different character, With excellent detail and technical definition the overall presentation of the IEM is more on the analytical side, which renders the Variations less enjoyable. Performer 8 on the other hand is a bit smoother, enhancing comfort during longer listening sessions, and has more of that organic feel to it. In summary, Performer 8 and Variations both excel in their own ways, with Performer 8 providing a balanced and spacious midrange and softer treble, while Variations stands out with its exceptional sub-bass and energetic, theatrical presentation. The choice between them will depend on your preferences for vocal positioning and bass emphasis.
A relatively very old IEM, yet still one of the best I have ever heard for the price. So in quick comparison, the primary difference lies in the Bass and Treble region; while the mids are somewhat similar, the B2 mids are spacious, and the soundstage in comparison is quite wide. P8 vocals are more in the face kind of, and B2 places the vocals at a distance, however, both of them have equally impressive texture on mids so one can go with either and not get disappointed.
Bass is very different on both of these; B2 bass is mostly concentrated on its upper register while it lacks a good sub-bass rumble and mid-bass thump I would consider it more of a studio-like bass, in comparison the Aful Performer 8 has fuller rumbling and punchy bass, the bass on Aful Performer 8 is more theatrical and enjoyable. Coming to the highs, I would say that I am more impressed with the treble coming from Moondrop Blessing 2 only because of that airiness and openness, the separation feels more clear and the instruments are more incisive, However P8 by no means have bad treble It is equally good as B2, but with a different taste, they both share an equal amount of detail and technical definition, P8 being more smoothed out thus making it more enjoyable for longer and comfortable listening. There is no listening decision thing here, I guess one can buy both for different flavors, but if I had to choose one to play all my library I would go with Performer 8.
Conclusion of the Comparison?
The AFUL Performer 8 is an impressive pair of IEMs with remarkable sound quality and comfort. While the soundstage might not be as expansive as some competitors, it compensates with its well-balanced sound signature and accurate imaging. The Performer 8 is definitely worth considering. Its premium build, comfort, and overall sound performance make it a solid choice for those seeking a high-quality audio experience without breaking the bank.
Aful Performer 8 Pros!
- Well-Balanced Sound: The Performer 8 offers a well-balanced sound signature, catering to a wide range of music genres with clarity and precision.
- Rich and Dynamic Presentation: It provides a rich and dynamic audio experience, making music come alive with punchy bass and clear mids.
- Tight, Punchy, Precise Lower-End: The IEM excels in delivering tight and punchy bass with precision, enhancing the overall listening experience.
- Clear Midrange with Sublime Vocals: The midrange is clear, and the vocals are sublime, offering a high level of detail and texture.
- Clear and Crisp Treble: It features clear and crisp treble with detailed instrument representation, making it suitable for various music genres
- Outstanding Layering and Imaging: The Performer 8 boasts exceptional layering and imaging capabilities, allowing for precise placement of instruments and a three-dimensional soundstage.
- Easy Drivability: It is easy to drive, making it a convenient choice for mobile devices, including gaming on the go.
- Comfortable Fit: The IEM provides a comfortable fit, ensuring extended listening sessions without discomfort.
Aful Performer 8 Cons!
- Stage Depth: Some users might find that the stage depth could be slightly better, which could affect the perception of spatiality in the sound.
- Treble Airiness: Even though the treble is good, has resolution and detail that would satisfy the most out there, having a bit more airiness and incisiveness would have made these ever so slightly more fast and articulate.