Disclaimer: Dan Wiggins of Periodic Audio very graciously sent me demo units of all PA IEMs. In exchange, I’ve agreed to provide an unfiltered review of the products.
Background: Periodic Audio is a relatively new name to the scene, with a strong emphasis placed by co-founder Dan Wiggins on sonic quality above every other element of the product. Right now, Periodic Audio has produced four models of in-ears: the Mg ($99), Ti ($199), Be ($299), and C ($399). They’ve also released (and sent me) a portable amp (Ni [$299]). They’re all available through https://www.periodicaudio.com/.
Now, the meat of the review.
Unboxing: Their whole line arrived in a blank, white, cardboard box. Inside, I found the earpieces, a wide assortment of eartips (silicone, double-flanged silicone, and foam), along with ¼ inch and airplane adapters. Packaging here is not glitzy, glamorous, or garish. It’s functional.
Build Quality: The earpieces are constructed of a lightweight polycarbonate material, with a small metal cap at the end of the unit. This appears to counter the weight of the driver within the piece and create a balanced unit that doesn’t strain the ear. It feels solid. The cable, on the other hand, could use some improvement. I’m not a massive fan of the thin-ness or how prone it is to tangle, and the strain reliefs coming from the earpieces give me some pause when throwing these into my pocket. I baby my tech and I do genuinely worry about these sometimes. However, I feel that this is offset by the 5 year warranty that PA provides on all of its products. As far as eartips go, the silicone tips are just fine. However, after just a few insertions and rolls of the foam tips, they ripped in my fingers and fell apart in my hands. This is a small gripe, as people tend to use specific types of tips, but I’d advise against using the foams in their current iteration.
Comfort & Isolation: These are very comfortable due to their shape, size and shallow insertion depth. They isolate remarkably well and place the music on a different plane than outside noise. I’m satisfied with their isolation.
Overall Tonality: These are smoooooooth. I love how they present bass. It’s not overpowering or ever-present, but boy does it shine. The bass coming out of these drivers is a stuff certain people would like to inject directly into their veins. I’m a big fan of how natural they sound, but I could do with a tiny bit more mid-presence. Overall, it’s great and a nice, relaxed (but detailed) sound sig.
Bass: It’s big and bold but not boisterous. I enjoy the clarity in this portion of the signature, and I particularly enjoy that it doesn’t fall victim to the bass bleed of its bigger brother. (I’m sorry, I’ll stop with the alliteration.) I’ve heard others describe it as anaemic but I don’t find it that lacking. It sits, in my view, right where it should in a natural presentation like this.
Mids: A little veiled, if I’m being honest. Again, just a little boost in the mids would make me a very happy boy. They’re already great but I could use just a little more presence in this region to clear up vocals. Then again, you’d be sacrificing the nature (natural-ness? Naturitiy?) of the sound signature, and I’m not sure how I’d feel about that. In any case, mids are good, if a little behind bass and treble.
Treble: Oh, is there sparkle. There are so many sparks flying here you’d be hard pressed to think you’re not in a soap opera! Very nice sparkle and treble presence overall, but like the Carbon, there is no searing peak here. It’s very comfortable to listen to, actually, and I’d say otherwise if my ears were being stabbed, but they’re really not. The mild V this set presents is nice and natural and is really completed by the treble presentation.
Soundstage: As much of a myth as soundstage is, people do perceive it differently, so here’s what I feel from these: the Be have the largest perceived soundstage of any Periodic IEM. To my ears and my ears alone, it’s a very large stage. Your mileage my vary.
Imaging and Separation: Natural and precise. I can pick out just about anything with these, and it’s great fun when listening to more complicated tracks. These are a joy to explore a stage with.
Conclusion: These are natural and enjoyable, with a little bit of masking in the mids. I happen to like this sig the most out of the PA line due to its laid-back presentation and precise imaging. Great job, Periodic!
by Lance Rothchild