Presenting the Softears Studio 4 review, the latest and greatest in-ear monitor (IEM) technology, meticulously designed for professionals professionally. The Softears Studio 4 was released in the month of March in 2023. The pursuit of perfect acoustic correctness and precision is an unending adventure for those involved in professional audio and audiophile fans. The ideal instrument, one that can accurately capture every element of music and sound recordings, is needed for this voyage.
A product of simplicity and complexity, Studio 4 was created with the singular, unrelenting goal of delivering sound in its purest form. This IEM is a valuable tool for both discriminating audiophiles and studio professionals, as it is a monument to the search for sound neutrality and perfection.
Let’s dig deep into Studio 4, revealing its technical wonders and revealing the subtleties of its sound character. Come along as we explore a world of precisely 3D printed parts, balanced armature drivers, and a dedication to aural accuracy. Every note and every rhythm are rendered in their purest form in Studio 4, promising a listening experience that is nothing short of revolutionary.
- High-Quality Resin Material: The IEM shells are meticulously crafted using a high-quality medical-grade resin material. This choice of material not only contributes to a premium feel but also ensures durability and longevity.
- 3D Printing Process: The use of a 3D printing process for the IEM shells allows for precise construction and a flawless finish. This method ensures consistency and accuracy in the manufacturing process, which is vital for achieving the desired sound characteristics.
- Resilient 2-Pin Sockets: The Studio 4 incorporates recessed 2-pin sockets. This design choice enhances the durability and long-term stability of the product, reducing the risk of wear and tear in the connectors over time.
- Cable Quality: Softears provides a high-purity twisted braided oxygen-free copper cable with the Studio 4. This cable is not only designed for sound quality but also aims to provide a comfortable and tangle-free experience.
- Ergonomic Design: The shells are designed with IEM ergonomics in mind, ensuring a comfortable fit in the ears. The smooth contours of the resin shells help minimise discomfort during extended use.
- Flexible Memory Wire: The included cable features a flexible and comfortable memory wire area behind the ear. This allows for a secure fit without causing discomfort or strain on the ears.
- Lightweight: The Studio 4 is engineered to be lightweight, reducing the sensation of weight or bulkiness when worn. This lightweight design contributes to overall comfort, making it suitable for long listening sessions.
- Isolation: The snug fit of the IEMs can provide effective noise isolation, allowing you to focus on your music without external distractions.
The Softears Studio 4 establishes its sonic foundation with nicely balanced low-frequency performance. The sub-bass frequencies are thoughtfully tuned to align with the Harman Target, with ever so slightly more control. This meticulous tuning imparts a dynamic energy to the lows, endowing them with a captivating sub-bass resonance that resonates with controlled authority while still being in control and not offending, definitely not a basshead IEM, would not satisfy the bassheads out there for sure.
Despite the absence of a dynamic driver, Softears has ingeniously managed to craft a bass response that mirrors the characteristics of a true dynamic driver. The bass is punchy, remarkably controlled, and extends impressively into the sub-bass realm.
The midrange performance of the Softears Studio 4 is a testament to tonal accuracy and timbral authenticity. Its lower-midrange is neutral and precise, ensuring that vocals and instruments are rendered with striking clarity and definition. Stepping into the upper-midrange, the Studio 4 takes a step forward.
This infusion of forwardness enhances vocals and instrumental solos, breathing life into performances with remarkable fidelity and emotional resonance. Overall, the midrange is strikingly well-balanced, with an exceptional presentation of vocals, and the pinna gain is thoughtfully calibrated to prevent any hint of shoutiness. In the realm of tuning, the Studio 4 stands out as one of the finest examples in its category.
The treble out of these is outstanding, it extends well without being too sibilance, and the technical performance is also up to the price bracket and throws impressive details at the listener, Although not overly detailed it is still spacious and barely ever feels congested, The tonal balance of the lows mids and highs are perfectly done here.
The treble incisiveness is good as well, and provides a clean and fast image, although I would not consider it to be as smooth as higher-end offerings from Softears, the overall performance in the treble is noteworthy for this price point.
Softears Studio 4: The Studio 4 is designed with a focus on a neutral and flat sound signature. It aims to faithfully reproduce sound in an accurate and balanced manner. Its bass is controlled and well-extended, the midrange is clean and balanced, and the treble is detailed without excessive brightness.
Softears RSV: The RSV, on the other hand, offers a sound signature with more emphasis on specific qualities. It features a robust and impactful low end, a precise and forward midrange, and a treble section that balances warmth and precision. The RSV’s sound signature is known for its engaging and dynamic character.
The Studio 4’s bass is punchy, controlled, and extends well into the sub-bass region. It prioritises accuracy and balance in the low frequencies. Contrarily, the RSV excels in bass performance with a robust and impactful low end. It offers an engaging sub-bass rumble that resonates with authority, providing depth and power to the overall sound. The low end on RSV feels a bit more juicy and has more mid-bass authority and that oomph and authority.
Studio 4’s midrange is neutral and precise. It delivers vocals and instruments with clarity and definition, aiming for tonal accuracy. The RSV boasts a forward and captivating midrange. Its lower midrange is neutral, while the upper midrange embraces pinna gain ever so slightly greater than what Studio 4 aims for, adding a sense of forwardness to vocals and instrumental solos. This results in emotional resonance and remarkable fidelity. Mids on both of these IEMs are pretty accurate and well-balanced; one cannot go wrong in this department with either of these.
The Studio 4’s treble is balanced, with a focus on accuracy. It offers natural transient attacks without venturing into sharpness. A mid-treble dip adds warmth to the sound, and the upper-treble maintains neutrality. RSV’s treble balances warmth and precision. It features a natural lower-treble and a mid-treble dip that is more than Softears Studio 4, which adds a warm, analog-like character to the sound. The upper-treble maintains neutrality and contributes to a balanced presentation. Although the quality of treble from RSV feels more tonally satisfying, the details and resolution however are on par on both the IEMS.
The Softears Studio 4 is likely designed to provide a precise and focused soundstage, which is common in studio-oriented IEMs. The RSV is noted for its wider and deeper soundstage, which contributes to a more immersive listening experience, especially for audiophiles who value spaciousness.
The Aful Performer 8 features a controlled bass response with good impact and rumble in the sub-bass region. However, it leans towards a leaner and drier sound profile compared to most hybrid IEMs. The dynamic driver in the P8 allows it to have a good punch and rumble. While it doesn’t have a pronounced mid-bass, the bass quality is praised for its tight texture and overall quality.
Compared to the Softears Studio 4 the bass on Aful Performer 8 has more sub-bass than midbass, overall quality and quantity are similar, but the authority is more felt on P8 probably due to the usage of DD. Although Studio4 has some of the best BA bass and does not lag behind too much. Both of these IEM’s would easily satisfy anyone with their bass, just maybe not bassheads, but other than that the bass on both of these are as enjoyable as it can get.
The P8 boasts high resolution and clarity in the midrange. Vocals and instruments are well-defined and clean. However, the mid-range can sound somewhat dry due to a lack of fullness. This results in a spacious and airy presentation. While some may prefer a fuller mid-range on the Softears Studio 4 , the P8 impresses with its detail, dynamism, and transparency. P8 does not put the vocalist in the front like Softears Studio 4, however, it positions everything in a more balanced form. Nothing is outstanding on its own, however, it has a very soothing vocal experience, The vocalists are well separated here without being shouty, and the mids have good texture. P8 tonality goes well with most genres of music, throw anything at it and it handles beautifully.
Not that S4 cannot do the same, but in some genres especially some that are vocal forward by default could make the sound not so enjoyable compared to P8, while comparatively in some genres Softears Studio 4 would sound much more vivid than P8 due to its vocal forwardness. The mids being the most different factors for both IEM, both of them excel at mids just take a different approach to their presentation, S4 following a more common Harman-oriented pinna gain signature, whilst P8 lining more closely with 64Audio U12T and Dunu SA6 signature (Check our review and comparison of the Aful Performer 8 with Dunu SA6 MK2). Overall both of these IEMs would handle every genre thrown at them, the ones looking for vocal forwardness would prefer the Softears Studio 4 more while someone would want everything to sound smooth and just lust and enjoyable, separated yet not forward would prefer the P8 here.
The Aful Performer 8’s treble is crisp, dynamic, and detailed. It showcases excellent detail retrieval, allowing you to hear intricate nuances in music. While the treble is energetic and well-extended, it lacks the incisiveness and airiness that is produced by the Softears Studio 4. Aful Performer 8 sounds more comfortable for listening for a longer period of time, it never gets fatiguing, shouty, or sibilant, and it’s overall a more forgiving tonality. Softears Studio 4 in comparison has more airiness, and treble extension is on par however the details are more in the face with Softears Studio 4.
It’s not like Aful Performer 8 is not detailed but the details are not into the face, and opt for a smoother texture. Aful Performer 8 can be rounded off as an IEM that is a jack of all and master of none. It plays everything so beautifully that there is little to fault, yet it does not specialize in any specific region. In a gist, the Softears Studio 4 is more airy and incisive and Aful Performer 8 is more smooth and natural sounding.
The soundstage on the P8 is not that wide, although the IEM could be a great gaming thing due to its ability to pinpoint the sounds exactly, the soundstage on S4 feels a tad bit wider, although not much of a difference here both IEMs have an average soundstage.
Pros and Cons
- Neutral and Accurate Sound: The Studio 4 is tuned to provide a neutral and accurate sound signature, making it an excellent choice for studio monitoring and analytical listening. It faithfully reproduces audio with precision and clarity.
- Bass Quality: Despite its neutrality, the Softears Studio 4 delivers a controlled and well-extended bass response. The sub-bass is engaging and dynamic, offering a satisfying rumble without overwhelming the overall sound.
- High-Quality Build: Crafted with high-quality medical-grade resin material using a 3D printing process, the Studio 4 boasts exceptional build quality. The shells are smooth, durable, and exhibit a premium feel.
- Comfortable Fit: The ergonomic design and lightweight construction of the Softears Studio 4 contribute to a comfortable and secure fit, suitable for extended listening sessions.
- High-Resolution Mids: The midrange of the Softears Studio 4 is characterized by high resolution and clarity, making vocals and instruments sound well-defined and clean. It excels in delivering tonal accuracy.
- Balanced Treble: The treble response is balanced, offering natural transient attacks without excessive brightness or harshness. It maintains neutrality in the upper-treble, contributing to a cohesive presentation.
- Soundstage: The specific soundstage characteristics of the Studio 4 are not extensively mentioned in the provided information. It may not offer an exceptionally wide or immersive soundstage, which some users prioritise for certain genres.
- Price: The Softears Studio 4’s price point may be relatively high for some consumers, particularly those looking for a more budget-friendly option.
Low Frequency (Bass): (4.5/5)
Mid Frequency: (4.3/5)
High Frequency (Treble): (4.3/5)
Fit and Ergonomics: (5/5)
Prolonged Wear Comfort: (5/5)
The Softears Studio 4 is a high-quality in-ear monitor (IEM) with a neutral and accurate sound signature, making it ideal for studio work and analytical listening. It offers controlled and well-extended bass, high-resolution mids, and balanced treble. The build quality is exceptional, and it provides a comfortable fit. Overall, it excels in delivering accurate sound reproduction but may not suit those seeking a more pronounced bass or a warmer midrange.