The TGXear Serrratus display extraordinary details and dynamics, complemented by a vibrant and balanced tonality.
Jim Park is well-known and respected in the Head-Fi community. He is a man of many talents, the most notable being classically trained in music and an acoustic engineer. These talents have fueled the development of TGXear, a personal audio brand that satisfies his high standards.
“I am many things – a visual artist, a classically trained musician, an acoustic engineer, an audiophile – but I am first and foremost, a lover of music. TGXEAR is an idea 30 years in the making, born from a deep desire to develop personal audio systems that satisfy my high standards.
My products offer balanced sound signatures, life-like timbre, and an immersive sense of space. Every one of my products is hand assembled and tuned by me in Vancouver, Canada, and undergoes strict quality control so that it lasts and delivers an audio experience that you will not forget.” – Jim Park
I was not into earbuds as I found them uncomfortable and did not like the lack of isolation. However, the wide acclaim that the TGXear Serratus have garnered from my peers made me interested in trying them. They are currently the entry-level buds in the company’s catalog of six earbuds – earlier, they were the flagship pair.
Let’s just say they introduced me to a whole new world of unprecedented and enchanting sonic experiences.
- Form: Earbuds
- Driver: Single 15.4mm dynamic driver with blue sapphire PET diaphragm
- Shell: Stainless steel bell
- Impedance: 80Ω
- Frequency Range: 20-20kHz
- Sensitivity: 102dB/mW
- Cable: 1.2m long pure silver cable with rhodium plated 4.4mm balanced plug
The Serratus come in very spartan packaging. Everything is neatly packed into a small hard shell zippered case. The case provides adequate protection and is perfectly sized for daily carrying.
In the box
- Serratus earbuds
- Extra foams (low density)
- 4.4mm balanced to 3.5mm single-ended adaptor (optional)
- TGXear pin
- Rubber ring – 1 pair (for better fit)
- Cable (non-detachable)
The cable is made of pure silver that visually resembles the sound signature – clean and sparkling. It is very soft, pliable, and lightweight – providing the utmost comfort. There are zero microphonics. The 4.4mm balanced plug is rhodium plated.
Originally, the Serratus were available in only transparent MX500 shells. But later, Jim made other options available via his Instagram account. The new shells are bell-shaped and made of resin and stainless steel.
The redesigned shells make minor differences in sound compared to the original MX500 shells.
I chose SS Bell-shaped shells for my unit, as I feel they make the overall appearance quite premium. The shells have slightly noticeable weight but are not uncomfortable in the ears. The rough finish has an industrial look.
The shells fit inside the ears quite snugly. The small size and the bell shape make them comfortable for my ears. I find them a bit too small, sometimes making them slightly loose-fitting.
I used the supplied rubber rings and full foams, and the fit improved.
The dynamic driver has a blue color PET diaphragm, hence the name ‘Blue Sapphire PET diaphragm.’ With an impedance of 80 ohms, I found them slightly hard to drive directly from the phone’s output jack. Their potential is unlocked only when paired with an external DAC/Amp.
When I first put on the Serratus and played music, my initial reaction was pure joy. The sheer vividness and dynamics of the sound simply took my breath away. It was an instant display of masterful tuning and a point-blank blast of everything a track has to offer.
Soundstage, imaging, and details
The distinctly forward presentation of Serratus brings you right to the middle of the music. The stage depth is slightly less than the width, but the outstanding layering makes up for it. The well-extended width and height of the stage make the whole headspace quite huge. The notes are very well separated, with plenty of space between them.
The background is squeaky clean, and the spatial positioning of the instruments is highly precise in the headspace.
Detail-wise, if it already is not evident enough how insane they are, let me clearly state here that Serratus easily trade blows with some higher-priced IEMs I have heard, like the 634EARS LOAK-T(CL) and Sennheiser IE600.
The Serratus are best in class and offer completely incredible performance for the price.
The bass feels like it is being played in an open area instead of any enclosed space. It is highly articulated, incredibly textured, slams quite well, and goes deep enough to sound realistic.
By the rule of physics, earbuds are unable to deliver that guttural and deep bass response that can exert some real pressure on the eardrum. And yet the Serratus can generate a sub-bass response that does not sound hollow. The textures are quite sharply pronounced, and note weight is just enough to make them sound natural.
Midbass slams with a nice punch, and the notes are highly detailed. They possess enough body and weight to have a tangible presence. The heavy bass drums sound appropriately powerful, and the light kick drum punches stand out quite well. There is no muddiness present.
I am genuinely taken aback by how strong yet very clean the bass sounds. It is tough to believe that this region can be tuned for such a degree of resolution in this price range.
The big, vibrant, and highly detailed presentation is an utter but delightful surprise.
The midrange is portrayed in ultra-high definition. In short, it’s breathtaking.
Tonality is neutral, but the overall reproduction is vivid with quite a natural timbre. The notes are sharply defined yet sound adequately full-bodied – an improbable combination somehow made possible. A stark, clean background elevates the richness even more.
Male vocals are treated in a very uniform manner. While the baritone vocals retain their weight, they do not sound overly full. On the other hand, the raspy vocals have all their roughness present but not accentuated to the point of discomfort.
Female vocals sound exhilarating, unlike any previous experience. They are energetic, unrestrained, and have a new life breathed into them. All vocals are enhanced equally: silky smooth, powerful, gritty, and musical. Sibilance is not subdued but is controlled quite efficiently.
The instruments sound so alive I feel I can almost touch them. The acoustic guitar’s woody notes, the electric guitar’s crunchy and nasal riff, the lute’s bright and sparkling music, the saxophone’s brassy brilliance, the violin’s brilliant tune, and the cello’s deep and rich vibration – everything sounds just perfect!
Hold your breath because the brilliance is carried forward and taken to new heights.
Energetic barely begins to describe the treble produced by Serratus. It is distinctly bright but not blindingly so. The upper treble shimmers extend almost endlessly. The lower treble sits slightly behind the midrange but cuts through with lustrous notes.
The notes sound profoundly rich and lifelike with the right amount of body. The leading edges have that controlled attack to mark their presence without sounding piercing. The details in the trailing edges are very clearly noticeable, even in the busiest mix. This region has an unbridled and refined brilliance.
Where to Buy
The TGXear SS Bell Serratus are an enigma. I have no idea how they sound so stupendously good. But somehow, they do, and they are addictive. The sheer dynamics of the sound just blows my mind.
Despite having such a neutral-bright tonality, the timbral balance in the whole spectrum is marvelous. The clean but adequately boosted bass, the midrange’s transparency, and the treble’s tangibility defy logic. The airy, open soundstage, meticulous layering, and accurate spatial positioning make everything sound big and alive.
The Serratus are a prime example of how refined and premium earbuds can sound while maintaining a natural timbre. Jim has created a benchmark for earbuds at this price point, which could remain unchallenged for years to come.