The Curious Case of the 72-Driver IEMs that No One Got to Hear

The S72 IEMs have a total of 72 drivers.
The S72 IEMs have a total of 72 drivers.

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These IEMs have more drivers than owners who could afford them.

The driver count war for in-ear monitors has been going on for years. In this, many manufacturers have been stuffing more and more drivers into their designs to try to get the perfect sound. But even among the wildest examples, the S72 IEMs are a real oddball.

With a total of 72 drivers, these strange IEMs showed up briefly on the Chinese e-commerce site Taobao in 2021. But they disappeared just as fast, leaving behind more questions than answers.

Meet the S72 IEMs

A close look at the S72 IEMs. (From: Taobao)
A close look at the S72 IEMs. (From: Taobao)

The S72 IEMs get their name from their incredible feature: a total of 72 drivers, with 36 drivers in each earbud. This huge array of drivers is split into three groups to give a wide range of audio frequencies.

The driver setup had a single dynamic driver for the lows, four electret tweeters for the highs, and a whopping 31 balanced armature drivers for the midrange frequencies. This mix is supposed to use each driver’s strengths to make a rich and detailed sound.

These also used a 3-way crossover, which isn’t anything special as even sub-$100 IEMs, such as the TinHiFi T3 Plus, have them.

The S72 IEMs have an unusually long sound tube. (From: Taobao)
The S72 IEMs have an unusually long sound tube. (From: Taobao)

Sadly, not much is known about how well these earbuds actually perform. No known owners have come forward to share their experiences with these one-of-a-kind IEMs.

However, the S72’s design has a long sound tube. This means, there may be concerns with regards to the high-frequency extension and resonance. This long tube can cause unwanted echoes inside the earbud.

The S72 also had a “little brother” called the S68. This ‘lower tier’ version got rid of two of the tweeters found in its bigger sibling. But like the S72, not much is known about their availability or performance.

Availability and Pricing

Not much information are known about the S72 IEMs. (From: Taobao)
Not much information are known about the S72 IEMs. (From: Taobao)

The S72 IEMs were briefly available on Taobao, a Chinese e-commerce site, in 2021.

Priced at around $1,700, these IEMs were definitely made for the high-end tier. At this price point, they competed with top-of-the-line offerings from well-known brands.

But the S72 vanished from the market just as suddenly as they had appeared. The S72’s Taobao page has since been taken down from the site.

There is no news on whether or not a unit of these earbuds actually existed aside from the Taobao page, or if anyone has bought them at all.

Other IEMs With High Driver Counts

The UE Premiere (left) and DUNU VULKAN DK-X6 (right) IEMs. (From: Ultimate Ears and Linsoul)
The UE Premiere (left) and DUNU VULKAN DK-X6 (right) IEMs. (From: Ultimate Ears and Linsoul)

While the S72 may have the most drivers in an IEM, there are several other models that push the limits of driver quantity. These include the following:

  • UE Premiere: Equipped with 21 drivers and a five-way crossover, these IEMs promise to deliver a rich and immersive sound, extending from 5Hz to 40kHz. They offer custom fit, excellent noise isolation, and durability with a waterproof system. A SuperBAX cable also ensures a high-quality audio experience.
  • DUNU VULKAN DK-X6: These IEMs have a 6-driver hybrid setup with two 8mm dynamic drivers and four Knowles balanced armatures. The VULKAN utilizes an ACIS (Air Control Impedance System) module to enhance low-frequency control. And, they use a 3D-printed acoustic system for a more natural sound experience.
  • Rose Technics QT-X: Featuring a seven-driver hybrid configuration, the QT-X utilizes a single 8mm Tesla dynamic driver and six balanced armature drivers. They were tuned by a former Fostex engineer and come with a high-purity 5N single-crystal copper cable.
  • BGVP NS9: These have nine drivers per ear, including two dynamic and seven balanced armature drivers, for detailed sound. With a 3D-printed structure and four-way crossover, they aim to offer balanced audio and customizable sound profiles.
  • FiiO FH9: The FH9 have seven drivers, combining a dynamic driver and six balanced armatures for clear, rich sound. These have adjustable filters and a pure silver cable with interchangeable plugs for versatile, high-quality audio.
  • TRN VX Pro 9: These top-tier hybrid IEMs, boast nine drivers per ear, blending one Carbon NanoTube dynamic driver with eight balanced armatures for outstanding sound. Their precise, ergonomically designed body and high-quality silver-plated copper cable set new performance standards.

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