With the insight gained from designing the legendary EN700 series, Simgot uses its expertise and experience to redefine reference sound with the new EK3 in-ear monitors (IEMs)
Simgot has released many different IEM models over the years. I always respect their hard work because they take every release seriously. Unlike some other Chi-Fi brands that release numerous models to cast a big net and capture more fish (or audiophiles in this case), Simgot takes a more conservative and respectable approach to study and design something that real audiophiles need.
I have a very positive impression of Simgot from the release of EN700 – which is one of the legendary IEMs in the USD $100 price range.
The fit and finish and performance of the EN700 are simply amazing. The addition of EK3 to the family will definitely create joy for audiophiles who love EN700. Will the new EK3 surpass the legendary performance of EN700? We will discover more in this review!
- 4 sound signatures to cater to different needs
- High quality stock cable
- Good quality hard leather case
- Neutral sound signature
- Rigid nozzle with lip to secure the ear tips
- Shell might be too big for certain users
- The boost when the sound switches are triggered is minimal
The unboxing experience for Simgot EK3 is fantastic. The overall presentation of the IEMs and accessories is grand and classy. I like the choice of a plain black box, making the overall feeling simplistic and classic.
Opening the box, the shiny and attractive faceplate of EK3 catches your attention immediately. The shimmering glossy surface of the IEMs had me bedazzled. Apart from the IEMs themselves, you’ll also find a hard leather case in the first layer in the box.
Removing the first layer, you’ll find an accessories box containing the 0.78mm 2-pin 3.5mm unbalanced cable for the IEMs.
The remaining accessories are kept in the hard leather case. Opening the case, you’ll find:
- 7 pairs of ear tips
- 3 pairs of silicone eartips for what Simgot refers to as a balanced sound signature
- 3 pairs of silicone eartips for what Simgot refers to as an open sound signature
- A pair of foam eartips
- Cleaning kit with a sharp end to actuate the adjustable sound switch
- Transducer unit: Knowles 22955, Knowles 30017
- Diaphragm: Polymer compound titanium-plated diaphragm
- Frequency response: 20Hz-40kHz
- Sensitivity: ≥115dB（at 1000Hz）
- Impedance: 14Ω -18Ω
- Distortion: <0.75% 101dB（20μpa）
- Channel imbalance: <1.5dB（at 1000Hz）
- Nozzle material: aluminum oxidized nozzle
- Process material: 3D printing, medical UV curable resin
- Cable: 0.78mm 2-pin detachable, 4 cores of ohno continuous cast (OCC) and silver plated copper (SPC) braided cable
The faceplate of EK3 is attractive and eye-catching. The hexagonal honeycomb design is unique and memorable. I can recognize from afar if someone is wearing this IEM on the street.
On top of the shell, you find the 2-pin connector. The 2-pin connector is designed to be different from the 2-pin connector commonly found on IEMs in the market. There is an elongated protection slot which prevents the pin from breaking when removing and installing the cable. This increases the overall strength of the connector and boosts user confidence when installing and removing the detachable cable.
At the rear of the shell, you’ll find the most interesting part of this IEM: switches to change the sound signature. According to the official website of Simgot, there are a total of 4 sound signatures that can be achieved using the switches:
- Switch 1 on, Switch 2 off – Strong Bass
- Switch 1 off, Switch 2 off – Bright Vocal
- Switch 1 on, Switch 2 on – Exquisite Tone
- Switch 1 off, Switch 2 on – Balanced Tuning
Note: the above sound signature names are from Simgot’s literature, but they are mostly self-explanatory.
The nozzle is made of aluminum oxide. This is a good choice of material because it can boost the quality and lifetime of the nozzle. The nozzle and connector are the weakest points in any IEM and we see here that Simgot understands the issue and put additional emphasis in these areas. Well done, Simgot!
The stock cable provided by Simgot is a 0.78mm 2-pin detachable with 4 cores of OCC and SPC braided cable. There are left and right indications on the 0.78mm 2-pin connectors . There are heat-shrinked transparent ear guides that improve the fitting significantly. The Y connector is placed slightly lower on the cable and there is a chin slider included.
The cable is terminated with a 3.5mm unbalanced right-angled jack. There is a strain relief to increase the durability of the jack. Nicely done on the cable!
The EK3 has a custom-like shell which could potentially increase isolation with the enhanced fit. I have no problem with the fit and isolation as I have relatively large ears. I used the EK3 on my daily commute and the isolation allows me to immerse myself in the music. However, when passing this unit to my friends for an audition, some of them with smaller ears, especially females, faced some difficulties in fitting the IEM into their ears.
For this review, I paired the EK3 with my daily Digital Audio Player (DAP) – Opus #3. I used Symbio ear tips by MandarinEs for this review. I cannot comment on the differences between Simgot’s provided ear tips because they did not fit me well.
EK3 has a neutral sound signature in the balanced tuning setting (switch 1 “off” and switch 2 “on”). This is my favourite tuning among the four different sound signature settings. I would call this a reference for IEMs in the USD $400 price range. The EK3 in this setting will be my benchmark in future reviews, too, because of this neutral presentation.
With switch 1 “on” and switch 2 “off,” I could not tell much difference from both switches “off.” I believe the mid bass increased a little, but not significantly. Turning both switches “on,” the bass and treble become too extreme. Personally, I would not recommend this for long listening sessions because it might cause fatigue.
The soundstage is moderately wide and deep. The depth, in particular, is considerable for a pure balanced armature (BA) driver IEM. Separation is handled well with some smoothing to present a lusher and more comfortable sound.
The lows of EK3 are like a ninja – attacking and disappearing quickly
The response in the low frequency is fast and precise. A fast bass normally will make an IEM sound dry and analytical. I tested it with some slow jazz. The lows response of EK3 is nicely tuned – right between being too warm and being too analytical. This is something that attracts me.
I would appreciate a deeper presentation in the sub-bass, but I understand that there are limitations for a pure BA driver IEM. My ears are pampered recently by Campfire Audio Polaris’s deep sub-bass so initially when I switched over to EK3, the first thing that I noticed is the disappearance of the sub-bass rumble.
However, if I were to compare EK3 with pure BA driver IEMs like Campfire Audio Andromeda, the lows presentation is actually satisfactory – full body with sufficient rumble (not a bass-head rumble). Not the best bass, but sufficient to do the job.
Layering in the mids is the secret weapon for EK3
This is the region that I always emphasize the most because I am a pop song lover, specifically mandopop and cantopop. EK3 has a silky smooth mids presentation. With a sufficient amount of air, vocals are breathy and lively.
The mids are staged a little forward as compared to other regions of the frequency spectrum. I would not call it a mids-centric IEM, but the emphasis is there. The transition from the lows to the mids is very smooth.
Both regions are connected perfectly without any peaks or disconnections. The smooth transition from the lows to the mids gives EK3 a lush sound. The lows are just slightly slow, adding a warm texture, and this warmth is injected subtly in the transition to the mids. As a whole though, the good layering prevents the mids from sounding too colored.
Well-extended with excellent control, no sparkle, no distortion.
Having experienced so many IEMs with rolled off high frequencies, EK3 surprises me with its extension in the highs. Very well-extended and importantly without audible distortion.
The airy and spacious highs (with switch 2 set to “on”) gives EK3 a very resolving fidelity.
It is not harsh or piercing for long listening. However, when I switch on both switches (to engage the bass boost), the highs seem to be affected a little – less air and reduced extension. I suspect this could be to put more focus on the lows. Nevertheless, there is still no congestion in the highs due to the sufficient amount of the air.
The Simgot EK3 is a great choice for audiophiles who are looking for a mid-tier IEM. The price can be steep as compared to other Chi-Fi brands in the market such as Tin HiFi and Knowledge-Zeith (KZ). However, it is very rare to find an IEM that comes with different sound profiles in this price range.
EK3 can be purchased on Amazon. There will be 2 color options for this model: black and transparent. EK3 will be officially launched on the 10th of July and you can start placing orders through Amazon. Do note that Simgot will only ship to United States (US) for the time being. For those who reside outside of the US, you can purchase it by contacting [email protected].
P.S. There is a giveaway hosted by Simgot! Check out Simgot Audiophile Club on Facebook for more information on the giveaway. The lucky winner will walk away with an EK3!