Earsonics EM64 – Fast forward!

If you’re looking for great value for money all rounder TOTL custom in this day and age, there aren’t that many options in the 1K range but the EM64 certainly falls into that (too narrow) category : not only does it sport rock solid technical foundations, but it stands apart with a non fatiguing forward signature that packs a lot of detail and punch which is in my book quite a unique combination! If you’re not into customs then the Purple shares a lot of DNA with the EM64 (including the TrueWave) with a 3 position switch on top for even more versatility.


  • Despite a highly dynamic and forward signature, non fatiguing (forward done right!)
  • Blazing fast, best in class transients, something to behold
  • Top notch dynamic range, fantastic headroom
  • Highly resolving
  • Accurate tone
  • Superb layering and imaging
  • Sweet spot between air and body makes for a unique experience
  • Very low distorsion (pump up the volume!)
  • Very good value for money
  • Sturdy build


  • Forward mids might not be for everyone

Price : 1100€
Product page : http://www.earsonics.com/in-ear-monitors/en/em64/

Fit & Build

I provided Earsonics with a digital impression STL file and the build is very good, with in my case just slight imperfections where the faceplate meets the transparent shells near the 2 pin socket. Nothing to worry about as the EM64 are as sturdy as can be and look like they’re clearly built to withstand whatever you’ll throw at them. Fit is perfect, just the right balance between a full isolation and not too much pressure. I like that Earsonics chose to go for a horn bore design, makes cleaning easier.

Earsonics EM64 custom IEM


From its very beginning, Earsonics has always been associated with products targeted at the most demanding people… musicians, sound engineers and singers. They quickly gained a big share of the French pro market for customs but Earsonics became also well known in he audiophile world for its universal IEMs since the SM3 bestseller.

I know the SM3 v2 was the first Earsonics model I owned and then I went on with the Velvet, the S-EM6 and S-EM9. There is a clear and distinctive house sound, revolving around Frank Lopez vision. This being said the vision and the product line evolved since the S-EM9 to reach new heights with the EM10, the Grace and the Purple. The pro lineup had a long overdue update coming, the EM32 being a long time enduring pro flagship for several years, thus the EM64 release.

The EM64 is the first to feature their new generation big proprietary drivers and features the new « truewave » system: a 3 asymmetrical output cannula topped by a mono–brass bell. Earsonics says it leads to an optimal phase control and a prime magnitude coherence curve, I am no engineer but from reading a bit of research this is apparent that a good amount of R&D has gone into the TrueWave system and I suspect this has something to do with the impressive transients speed of the EM64.

Earsonics TrueWave

But back to more understandable concepts Earsonics marketing is advertising « a full rich sound throughout the whole spectrum with a foreground presence effect for an incredible LIVE experience. The sound is balanced, natural and musical. It has all the ingredients that made the success of EarSonics: organic and warm lows, processed mids and mastered high-mids, with full control of harshness even at high volume levels. The highs are textured and fine with rich harmonics, giving a clear and airy feel. »

Does the promise hold true?
Let’s check this out…



Upon first listen, two things are very clear about the EM64 : first, you’re meant to be « in » the music, this is a forward signature and both instruments and vocals are up front and second it’s a blazing fast IEM that can handle anything you’ll throw at it and will wow you with its transients. It’s not up there with the KSE1500 but it’s the best transients I have heard from a BA driven IEM and not that far behind the KSE while providing more body and weight. Quite a combination in my book!

Bass is tight, with very good sub extension, and overall the bass is controlled, fast with good kick and snap. Mids – aside from their forward nature – strike a very nice balance with a focus on clarity and articulation while retaining a nice fullness and body. Highs are both well extended and with satisfying sparkle, yet never harsh or sibilant. Soundstage is very good especially considering the forward signature, thanks to great separation and layering as well as pinpoint precise imaging.

Combine all of this together smartly and you get a punchy reference IEM that can do any genre, and that is puzzlingly non fatiguing given its lively and forward nature. I found myself pushing volume quite a bit more than usual with the EM64, there is plenty of headroom and dynamic range is fantastic and distorsion seems inexistant.


The first thing that came to my mind listening tot the EM64 bass : « this is audiophile bass done right ». This is a tight, fast, controlled bass with good extension and very transparent to the recording. The EM64 won’t add anything that isn’t there, and will portray faithfully and skillfully what’s here when it is. This is a very detailed bass, I found myself re-discovering well known (especially bass heavy) tracks in a new light.

I don’t think the lows are organic and warm as advertised by Earsonics, this is something I’d rather say of say the EM10. I find the EM64 are rather on the reference balance of the scale but contrary to most fast, tight and controlled IEM I have listened to, the EM64 doesn’t feature a « dry » bass for sure – it’s natural – with enough mid bass presence and the bass line is strong.

The combination of lightning speed and satisfying weight provides great PRaT to the EM64, it’s a very rhythmic IEM that gets you toe tapping more often than not while remaining technically faultless.


The EM64 mids are the most defining to its signature, with prominent vocals and instruments, you are right next to the singer and lead instruments, something that shouldn’t be surprising for an IEM targeting pros working on stage but is quite less usual tuning for consumer products. That might be because forward signatures are hard to do right, but Earsonics did things masterfully there!

Upper mids but also treble certainly provides great air around instruments : separation is as good as it gets and very good resolution as well is key to pinpoint precise imaging. You’re right next to the singer and lead instruments but each of them enjoy their own space put together in a very cohesive manner : despite the forward nature of its signature, the EM64 soundstage never feels congested or small and its layering abilities help providing a sense of depth despite the fact instruments and vocals are very close.

The mids are clearly tuned with clarity and transparency in mind, but are not lacking lower mids either, the mids have just the right amount of fullness with good power to male vocals. Instruments just have the right amount of body and weight as well.


The EM64 highs are clearly the fruit of years of experience and it shows. While the S-EM9 sometimes suffered from a tad hot treble, and the Velvet was exciting but not the most natural the EM64 has a more mature treble tuning staying clear of any harshness and sounding very natural.

Lower treble has good presence with satisfying sparkle, hi hats are delightful and electric guitar have great bite which I found so pleasing with Blues for example. The triangle is also a very good test of how natural the lower treble sounds and I found it great on the EM64. The energy feels just right to me, with plenty of excitement while remaining non fatiguing.

Upper treble is well extended, the EM64 can retrieve a lot of detail and the resolution is really good. As stated before, this plays a key role for the EM64 separation as well as soundstage and imaging especially given its forward signature.

EM64 plugged to Earsonics Birdy HD bluetooth DAC/AMP


The EM64 is my first Earsonics custom IEM and also the first I got in the « pro » line and it doesn’t disappoint especially since it’s complimentary to my collection. Aside from the Flamenco I have never dug too much neither into highly detailed signature and aside from the Profile 8 nor did I reference ones. I must say the EM64 is somewhat of an « opiniated synthesis » of what I like about both of those IEMs.

Opiniated because of the forward nature of its signature that won’t appeal to a good share of the consumer market, but coherent given the main use for the EM64 which is on stage and while I am not a musician I can see how having a snappy, fast and forward presentation with great separation, layering, imaging precision and articulation with a balanced range can be key in that context. I do enjoy each sessions with the EM64 because of this, I feel drawn into the music, the singer and musician’s interpretation and the rythmic flow more than any other IEM I own.

If you’re looking for great value for money all rounder TOTL custom in this day and age, there aren’t that many options in the 1K range but the EM64 certainly falls into that (too narrow) category : not only does it sport rock solid technical foundations, but it stands apart with a non fatiguing forward signature that packs a lot of detail and punch which is in my book quite a unique combination! If you’re not into customs then the Purple shares a lot of DNA with the EM64 (including the TrueWave) with a 3 position switch on top for even more versatility.

If you’re more into the « romantic » Earsonics signature then the EM10 might suit you better with beefier mid bass, slower pace, thicker and sweeter mids less lower treble energy and an even more refined upper treble.

This review was originally published on head-fi.org :

Earonics EM64 review on head-fi.org frontpage (06/08/2019)

I have purchased and paid the full retail price for the EM64, this is not a sponsored review.

Listening notes
I took my sweet time to write this review, based on over 100 hours listening from several sources : Hiby R6 Pro, Earsonics Birdy, AAW Capri firewire cable for iPhone, DX220 both with AMP1 mk2 and AMP9 and iDSD Micro BL amp. The EM64 is very consistent across sources, and scales up nicely with better sources and cables.


The EM64 comes with the standard Earsonics package :

  • 1 cleaning tool
  • Plastic hardcase
  • User manual


  • Sensitivity: 127 dB/mW
  • Frequency response: 10 Hz -20 kHz
  • Impedance: 44 ohms
  • Driver configuration :
    6 balanced armature drivers, HQ 3-way passive crossover with impedance corrector.

Select comparisons

Comparison to FIBAE7
The EM64 and FIBAE7 share a similar forward tuning and upper mids presence. Overall the EM64 and FIBAE7 have the same highly engaging qualities in that they draw you into the music with their forward presentation.

The FIBAE7 and EM64 also share a great sense of rythm with the EM64 having the edge on faster paced music and the FIBAE7 on a more natural take on fast, with a more natural decay. The EM64 is clearly the brighter IEM while the FIBAE7 had that carefully thought out touch of warmth and smoothness with softer attack where the EM64 is much snappier, more exciting but also more fatiguing.

Sub bass extension is fairly similar, as well as mid bass presence with again the main difference laying in note attack, snappier on the EM64 with shorter decay and faster recovery time. The EM64 therefore as a drier bass than the FIBAE7, while not falling in my book in the dry category either (it’s just that the FIBAE7 is quite opposite of the scale there). Both IEM have great toe tapping factor but I prefer the richer texture of the FIBAE7 in the end if I had to pick one.

The FIBAE7 has fuller bodied mids thanks to more lower mids presence where the EM64 has a sharper dip between the mid bass and lower mids, but also upper mids are brighter still on the EM64. This makes the EM64 even more energetic, but also it has more clarity and transparency. On the flipside the FIBAE7 is more euphonic with smoother presentation, rich textures and fuller body.

Last but not least the treble section is one of the distinctive difference between the EM64 and FIBAE7, the EM64 has a smoother upper mids to treble transition making it again brighter overall while the FIBAE7 has a sharp dip 4 to 7kHz with the exception of a 5 and 7kHz bump. Interestingly, I find the FIBAE7 doesn’t lack lower treble energy, mainly also because treble has similar body and weight, it’s just less fatiguing because again the note attack is softer and decay is not as fast and more natural on the FIBAE7. Now upper treble is more prominent on the EM64 and it sounds more resolving than the FIBAE7, helped by greater clarity and transparency.

In all my collection, the FIBAE7 is a very complementary IEM to the EM64 because it gives me two alternative takes on highly engaging signature : both have great sense of rhythm, both are fairly forward and if it’s your kind of signature you’ll enjoy, but one is clearer, faster and more reference the other more euphonic, richer sounding and fuller bodied.

Rai Penta

When switching from the Penta to the EM64, the most important thing you’ll notice right away is how much forward the EM64 is, the Penta has clear vocals that are fairly forward already but the EM64 places you right in front of the singer and the vocals are clearer as well as the general signature which is significantly brighter. The second thing you’ll notice is the snappier attack of notes of the EM64, which give it an edge on PRaT but the Penta is already pretty good only with softer attack you get less of a fast paced feeling. On top of this, the EM64 transients are much faster although the Penta is no slouch either it can’t beat the fastest BA IEM I know and I didn’t expect it would.

In terms of signature, as hinted above the EM64 is presents detail in a more forward manner but I found the Penta to be very close in terms of detail retrieval which is impressive as the EM64 rates fairly high in my book. In terms of sheer resolution, I found the EM64 significantly more resolving but the Penta is not that far behind.

Soundstage wise, the Penta clearly has the edge which is inherently a weak side of the more forward EM64 but despite that edge the EM64 has much better separation. On the flipside the Penta is less analytical. The EM64 is also much more fatiguing with its energetic, vibrant and fast paced presentation while the Penta with its softer attack and warmer tilt and of course its vent ports is much less fatiguing. I was quite impressed that in the A/B with the EM64, the Penta is able to hold its own on detail retrieval, speed and resolution while retaining a non fatiguing presentation.

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