Couple of month ago we have already reviewed EN1J IEMs from EARNINE brand. The fact that this brand is from South Korea might already designate to somehow different approach towards sound tuning due to other standards and listening habits. In fact, EN1J IEMs are the ones that deviate much from the whole bunch of models that we own, no matter which country those are originating from. EN1J sound is tuned to focus and resolve mids in natural and delicate way, mostly common for studio monitoring.
As far as we are concerned EARNINE brand is mostly known for its previous product — EN2J. This model is based on 2BA drivers and got lots of warm mentions by different audiophile geeks and reviewers. It is our turn now to play with it and come up with our own conclusion. Of course, the comparison to EN1J is inevitable since both models look similar and even despite the fact of belonging to totally different price league.
You can read our EARNINE EN1J review HERE
You can purchase EARNINE EN2J at PenonAudio store
EN2J technical specifications:
- Drivers: 2 BA (Full Range + Woofer)
- Output sound pressure level: 104dB ± 3dB at 1kHz
- Frequency range: 20Hz to 20kHz
- Impedance: 20Ω ± 20% at 1kHz
- Cable: twisted, 1.2m, silver-plated copper wire
- Cable connectors: MMCX
- Plug: 3.5mm, L-shaped plug
- Housing: made of stainless steel · hairline processing
- 2 years of in-house development until the best qualitites and combination of drivers were found.
- Twisted cable to prevent touch noise
- Engineers from EARNINE have developed the shape of IEMs that perfectly fits the structure of the ear which given them the ability to concentrate more on sound tuning rather than suppressing noise coming from outside.
Packaging, design and materials:
EARNINE EN2J comes in pretty large box with vivid design of outer cover that contains large glossy product picture and lots of additional technical information. Box design is very familiar since it is shared among both models — EN1J and EN2J.
Cover aside, the box itself is very strict, matt back with barely visible EARNINE logo imprint at the front.
Inner box compartment holds foamy podium with IEMs and storage case openings — regular and effective way of protecting product during the transportation.
The box contents are:
- EARNINE EN2J IEMs
- cable with MMCX connectors
- 3 pairs of silicone eartips (S|M|L)
- 1 pair of memory foam eartips
- storage case
- warranty card
- short user manual
Storage case is pretty standard in terms of design and shape but the quality is very good — it is soft all around and has the additional pocket inside for storing exchangeable eartips. Concerning that shells of IEMs are shiny and polished — such an accessory is always welcome.
Shells are made of two stainless steel parts with «hairline» finish at the very top whereas the rest of the surface is polished and glossy. We have tried to capture what is meant by «hairline» finish in our photograps — not very easy task to perform.
Hopefully, you can see tiny horizontal lines across the top part surface — those are thin scratches that create a notion of using steel and reduce the reflections. EARNINE logo is engraved at the top as well.
Channel indicators (plastic dots, red for right and white for left) are located on the inner part. Another plastic elements are output nozzles covered with aluminum filters.
MMCX connectors feel tight and secure, no free play whatsoever.
Overall build quality is excellent. Top and bottom shell parts are perfectly aligned, the gap is very small and almost imperceptible. The only what we are worried about is the inevitable scratches that would appear over time on such shiny surfaces. That is why having soft storage case is vital for EN2J IEMs.
Stock cable is OFC silver-plated, twisted, 1.2m in length and features lots of plastic parts such as Y-splitter, limiter, MMCX housings and cable bending protection. Great that audio jack housing is made of aluminum and L-shaped (which is more durable when carrying DAP with connected IEMs in a pocket). A little bit of touch noise (mic noise) is produced by the cable while walking but we wouldn’t say that this is a problem since the effect is very weak.
In terms of fit EN2J are kind of a step backwards in comparison to EN1J which are made of plastic, have less weight and lower profile. EN2J are still ok (thanks to the choice of eartips and intergrated earguides) but the weight is something we should get used to. On the other hand, isolation is superior to EN1J — seems that thicker profile and stainless steel cuts off outer noise much better than plastic shells.
Sound quality tests:
Tested with Hidizs AP200, Hidizs AP80, xDuoo X3 DAPs
EN2J belong to IEMs that should be given several iterations to get the complete understaning or to reveal all sound quality potential. This refers to main audio characteristics which would heavily depend of the choice of eartips and final in-ear position. Therefore, our findings are based on many hours of listening in combination with different sources and have changed significantly since the very first try.
Lows and midbass:
Our first impression was that lower frequencies are underpowered and virtually absent. But the more we listened, the more we understood the nature of EN2J sound. Deep bass is kind of congregated and attendant rather than overwhelming or highly pronounced as in many dynamic IEMs. It can even reach barely audible levels and create a feel of vibes and shivers with some bass-heavy tracks (not so powerful in comparison to dynamic drivers, though). But in most of the cases it would neatly accompany all other instruments showing plenty of textures and very precise countouring.
A bit of recession comes in the midbass section. Good speed, presence and overall articulation but lacks some volume to sound punchy and powerful. It mostly accentuates higher freqeuncy notes while not involving much from the lower end. That leads to crisp but grasped delivery. Totally enough to assist the entire sound picture and very common behavior for pure BA IEMs.
Mids and vocals:
Mids are showing the exceptional resolution and large amount of micro details. It doesn’t matter whether it is a voice or any instrument — everything feels very detailed, or to tell more — analytical. Despite that, there are no signs of harshness or unpleasant peaks that would force you to limit the time of listening — upper mids are not elevated, male and female vocals sound mostly equalized and not influenced by lower treble. This gets even more exceptional considering that the main accent of EN2J sound picture is made on mids — bringing this range closer to ears, emphasizing uncompromised clarity and excellent separation. Layering is another virtue of this model — every instrument is perfectly outlined and clearly perceived.
Treble section extends the perception of clarity and sharpness of EN2J sound and provides the pleasing airy feel. At first, is might feel too accentuated and crisp but at the end it is a matter of the right choice of eartips. In either case, this clarity and sharpness sounds far more natural and justified in comparison to some other BA rivals that would try to add synthetic juice by boosting only one portion of treble to quite unreal gains. Much more adequate tuning in EN2J would lead to fatigue-free long listening sessions, balancing between highest resolution and deliberate supply. Treble is very well balanced to other frequencies and doesn’t tend to occupy the leading role.
Soundstage is moderate regarding both width and depth. Vocals are perceived to be brought to front while the rest of the instruments in mid section sound a bit tight and gathered around a singer. Instruments in other ranges are helping to make the scene wider and deeper. Bass guitars sound more distant and flow on the background while treble helps to define vertical domain.
Sound in overall:
EARNINE EN2J sound could be described as highly detailed, fairly balanced, a bit prone to brighter tonality, with slight accent on upper mids and lower treble. Great textures on lows, exceptional resolution on mids and treble. The only section that might have been a bit better is the midbass which lacks some power. The most appropriate genres would be rock, blues, jazz, classics, soul, vocals and anything else saturated with bow and sting instruments.
Compared to LZ HIFI A5:
Despite almost similar pricing, LZ HIFI A5 has completely different sound picture, tuning and tonality. It mostly focuses and accentuates treble, giving it overwhelming sharpness and presence which forms enormously bright tonality. This would also affect mids and vocals to some extent forcing them to sound a bit thin and less natural. At the same time, lows and midbass are both great, thanks to the dedicated dynamic driver. Sound produced by EN2J is more balanced in overall, less accentuated and crisp on treble which results in more natural audio reproduction.
Compared to EARNINE EN1J:
The only few things that are in commom for those two models are the desing of the box, shape of the housing and brand name. Price, detachable cable, fit, tuning, sound picture and tonality are all completely different. EN1J are mostly focusing on mids while other ranges are left behind. Lows and midbass are recessed, treble is far from being emhasized. Mids are very detailed and natural. This makes EN1J a good monitoring option for guitar players and singers. EN2J has better lows|treble resolution and extension, brighter tonality and similarly natural sound in mids. Feels like a significant upgrade of lower and treble ends applied to EN1J.
As it was mentioned — EARNINE EN2J belong to different dimension and provide totally exclusive sound experience. EARNINE approach towards in-house BA design and sound tuning distinguish this brand from the rest in a crowd giving audio fans the opportunity to try new and refreshing approach. In fact, we feel that this product is mostly aimed at audiophiles who would pay the required attention to the choice of accessories, have the will to listen attentively and vote for the mature sound of carefully and delicately tuned IEMs. Episodic sessions of a casual listener is not what this product is about. Previous experience, pursuit of better sound quality, new inventions acquired through constant iterations — this is what EARNINE EN2J are designed for… And capable of!
You can purchase EARNINE EN2J at PenonAudio store