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/.
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: To my ears, the Mg are less V-shaped than the Carbon, but more V-shaped than the Beryllium. There’s a big bass hump that accentuates midbass and has the same tactile thump that exists in the Be, with a little more emphasis. The mids are just as recessed as they are on the Beryllium (a decent amount, but still present), and the treble is brighter than both the Beryllium and Carbon. There’s a lot of sparkle.
Bass: The Mg rock hard. A large midbass accent gives these a lot of authority when handling drum-led genres like rock. The bass here follows the Periodic trend I’ve noticed of keeping the signature natural. It’s not flat at all. It sounds much closer to how music sounds live. The bass is quality and there’s a lot of it here, but I don’t find it intrusive into the rest of the signature.
Mids: Mids are veiled but possibly a bit less than on the Beryllium. The Mg gives me a little more clarity, specifically on tracks like Swain’s Negative Space. The guitars do overshadow the vocals but I can still pick out the vocal line and most of the words from the chaos of the guitars. Good mids presentation, but I could still do with more mids in general from Periodic Audio.
Treble: Treble is like the Fourth of July in the American south. It’s bright (but less humid and a little more tolerant, I’d say.) Like Periodic’s other IEMs, the treble isn’t going to murder your ears, but it’s the most present on the Mg compared to its three siblings. This pair felt the most right to me on my bus commute in the morning, where the whirrings of the road can easily cause bass to overwhelm and treble to roll off, but that extra bit of sparkle made these the Goldilocks pair for traveling.
Soundstage: Solidly the smallest soundstage I perceived out of any Periodic IEMs. Quite intimate.
Imaging & Separation: Standard Periodic Audio fare right here. Precise imaging and separation, which I’ve found in every pair of Periodic IEMs, are both present here and in full force. This is definitely their most shining characteristic.
Conclusion: As Periodic Audio’s cheapest entry in the line, they’re a no-brainer for someone who enjoys a strong V-shape, high quality overall sound, and precise imaging. Just be careful when you shove them in your pocket.
by Lance Rothchild