disclaimer: Simgot kindly sent the EM2 and MTW5 for review. I have no financial interest in Simgot, nor are my words here influenced by any outside concern. If you are interested in Simgot products, please check here for more details or visit their amazon store to purchase.
Unboxing / Packaging:
Packaging on the Simgot EM2 is classy and understated. An outer slip-cover has a large stylized drawing of the EM Series earphones on the front. Specs (in English) are on a sticker that is affixed to the shrink-wrap on the reverse and covers the original specs (in Chinese) beneath. Also on the reverse is an exploded diagram of the EM2 done in a tastefully subdued gray on black background. Once the slip-cover is removed, a black pressboard box is exposed with the Simgot Emblem on front again in subdued gloss black on flat black. Lifting the cover off the box reveals a foam tray with earpieces at top and a leather carrying case below. The cable and warranty cards are hidden beneath the foam tray while two cards of tips are tucked neatly into the carrying case. Overall the packaging seems fitting for the price point represented and done very tastefully.
The EM2 comes with a well made leather case with Simgot logo on the front, slogan on the rear, and magnetic closure. Inside the case are two cards that each contain a set of silicone eartips in three sizes. Card 1 contains the standard tips while card 2 has bass enhancing tips. The Cable has a velcro retainer but lacks a shirt clip. If there is a ding, it is that the case is not large enough to store both the tip cards and the earphone but for most they will pick a tip from the cards and use it so carrying both cards of tips around is probably not all that likely anyway.
The two sets of tips do indeed make a difference in sound. Both are made of the same material and seat to roughly the same depth, but the bore diameter is enough different to change the sonics. I found Tip 1 to be more accurate and provide a closer to neutral signature while Tip 2 was more relaxed and more musical for long listening sessions. Tip 1 is brighter and can verge on too bright at times while tip 2 emphasizes the lower end more and helps offset the natural tendency of the EM2 to be a bit bright.
Shells are transparent plastic with a mild smoking as I received what Simgot lists as the black model. This is a nice change of pace as all the color options are subdued. A single vent is on the underside of the shell immediately behind the nozzle. The Left earpiece is labeled “BA x1 Dynamic x1” while the right earpiece is labeled “2 way hybrid iem”. Nozzles exit the lead edge of the iem with a slightly forward rake. Tips seat deeply on the nozzles which does limit insertion depth and a large ring on the nozzle prevents slippage of the tips. The earpieces themselves are mid-sized and I think only the smallest of ears might find them problematic. Comfort is good as they sit firmly in place without any high spots or odd angles and the ear-hooks work well to prevent movement during activity. I also found the EM2 to be lighter than many earpieces which contributes to overall comfort as well.
The EM2 is a hybrid using the same titanium coated 10mm dynamic driver of EN700 fame paired with the Knowles 32873 balanced armature to handle top end duties. Nominal impedance is listed as 10Ω which may be low enough to cause some issues with impedance matching. Sensitivity is listed as 100dB/mw (at 1kHz) suggesting that the EM2 should be easy to drive using a smartphone or tablet. I found it performed well from Android (Moto) and Apple (10r) phones but does benefit from having a bit more power available to it. It scales well to a point but beyond that I saw no additional gains. (My Opus #1s on mid gain showed the same characteristics as going to the Burson Fun with its significantly higher horsepower).
I was particularly impressed with the .78mm bi-pin housing on the Simgot cable. The connectors are recessed inside the housing to protect the pins and to strengthen the connection when installed. This is an excellent idea, but does limit use of 3rd party cables as they tend to look a bit disjointed in comparison. The cable itself is a 4 core copper braid up to the splitter and two twisted pairs above. The jack and splitter both feature a rose gold colored metal housing encased in a clear rubber like plastic. The Chin slider is the same metal but lacks the coating. The Jack is a straight 3.5mm TRS design with good strain relief so should last well unless abused. the bi-pin connectors also share the same rose gold metal ring giving the cable a very nice overall look. Two minor issues do warrant mentioning. First, the Chin slider is mostly ornamental as it is too loose on the cable and simply falls back to rest on top of the splitter during use. Second, the L/R markings on the connectors are clear on clear and can be very difficult to make out. A colored dot would go a long way to making this easier to see.
Sub-bass is present but in limited quantity and is enhanced some by using the bass tips provided. I found the bass on the EM2 to be very tip sensitive so tip rolling to find the best combination for the individual will likely be needed. I Found the provided bass tips worked well, but Spiral dots and the Auvio Wide bore worked even better for me. With the larger bore tips, sub-bass is still recessed but slightly less so and the EM2 manages to have some low rumble. Mid-bass is a bit more forward but equally well controlled. Attack is slightly faster than decay leaving a bit of warmth lingering but decay is not so slow as to feel overly thick or heavy. Even with bass tips, this IEM leans toward the neutral or mild w shape and will not please a basshead.
I’m well pleased with the mids on the EM2 as they are much more the star of the show than on most other brands at this same price point. Lower mids transition from the mid-bass smoothly and have good weight to them giving lower register vocals good body and timbre. True mids are slightly behind the lower mids but still not pronouncedly so. The upper mids rise above the rest of the signature (along with lower treble) but only mildly so and give female vocals and higher strings a bit of extra life. Higher pitched vocals are slightly more forward and intimate than their lower voiced counterparts as a result, but not so much so as to feel incoherent in the overall.
This is what I was most interested in hearing. Having had a couple of earlier Simgot models, I know treble has been a struggle for them at times. (I was unabashedly not a fan of the EN700 pro for exactly this reason). Well, I can say that crossing the dynamic a bit lower and adding the 32873 Knowles BA has definitely improved the treble on the EM2 compared to earlier efforts. This is movement in the right direction. The lower treble flows from the upper mids without a big forward jump and gives snare a nice clean edge that was not present in earlier versions. Roll-off is fairly steep above 10kHz which removes any tendency toward stridency and I found I could wear the EM2 for extended periods without notable fatigue. Air and sparkle could be slightly better, but this is an obvious trade off to achieve the polite treble of the EM2.
Soundstage / Imaging:
Soundstage is wider than deep and makes the listener feel as if they are slightly back from the stage in a small auditorium. I did not find any tendency to get congested as tracks got more complex and instrument separation is very good throughout the entire range. Imaging is good and instrument position on the stage is easily discernible as well as movements around the stage. I did not find them to have a holographic stage as most detail seems to come from more or less directly in front of the listener rather than feeling like you were at the center of the production.
The IT01 is more V shaped than the EM2 and has more bass slam but mids are recessed compared to the EM2 and lack some detail. The EM2 comes much closer to neutral and treble has a more natural timbre than the IT01. Those looking for a fuller, more bass heavy sound will prefer the IT01 while those looking for more detail in a thinner more neutral profile will prefer the EM2 (even with the bass tips).
Fiio F9 Pro
The F9 Pro is much more V shaped than the EM2 and delivers more bass and especially sub-bass. Those wanting bass slam will appreciate the F9 while those looking for a more neutral and natural presentation will prefer the EM2. Treble is more polite on the EM2 than on the F9 Pro and while the pro improved on the overly sharp treble of the original F9, it still has more of a tendency to become strident than the EM2.
The M6 is much more V shaped and even with the filters is more bass heavy than the EM2. Both have really good mids, but the M6 requires the use of the DMG vented filter to really bring them out. The M6 wins on tuning options, while the EM2 has a more natural sound out of the box without having to add additional filters. Those who enjoy modding will prefer the M6 with the greater flexibility, while those who wish to just use their eims without having to fiddle with it, the EM2 provides a solid option.
Thoughts / Conclusion:
Simgot has departed from the norm with the EM2. While most of the Chi-fi world has gone to packing in as many drivers as possible and tunes for the big V with lots of extra treble energy, the EM2 eschews this for a much simpler and more coherent approach. The upside is a much more fluid presentation without the choppiness and grain often associated with the multi-BA budget iems. The detail is better in both quantity and quality than expected and no single range jumps out at the user. Those tired of the over-emphasized bass and treble at the expense of mids will really enjoy the EM2 as will those looking for snare and cymbals to be crisp without being metallic as is so often the case. Overall, I find the EM2 represents good value as it offers a very different signature than typical at the price point combined with solid construction and a well thought out kit.