Today we have a review of the new Earsonics Onyx IEM which costs €590.
Disclaimer: The Earsonics Onyx was provided by Earsonics directly. The review reflects my unbiased opinion as always. Some parts of this review are identical to the Earsonics Blade review since they share the same materials and the same design.
New Design from France
When Earsonics decided to make their first two hybrids two years ago, they came up with a whole new design and completely changed materials. This was a big change for them as their plastic IEMs received some criticism over the years. You can see the new lineup’s respective reviews on Headfonia here and here.
Considering Earsonics’ track record and their house sound, I’m surprised that it took this much time for them to unveil hybrid IEMs. Earsonics has always been a company that prioritized fun and enjoyable sound rather than reference. That’s why they have a distinctive fan base after all.
However, the biggest difference with the new lineup is the design of the shells. Earsonics completely overhauled its design philosophy with these models, and they continue to build upon this new portfolio, and the latest addition is the Onyx.
The French IEM manufacturer is a well-recognized brand with a good reputation among audiophiles. It was established in 2005 by Franck Lopez and the priority back in the day was to provide good monitoring solutions for the artists on stage.
Then it evolved to be a very popular IEM manufacturer for audiophiles, especially for those who seek out something “different”. We have reviewed lots of Earsonics gear over the years. The S-EM9, ES2 & 3, EM10, S-EM6 v2, ES5, Grace, and the list goes on and on including the older ones like the S-EM6, EM32, and the EM6 (Custom Version). Our last custom Earsonics IEM review was the EM64 stage monitor by Lieven. My favorite one, however, is the Purple model, which is still on our Best Universal IEMs list.
Review: Earsonics Purple – Purple Rain
Earsonics has improved the unboxing experience with the Onyx a bit, putting a slightly bigger carrying case in the package, with a separate compartment for the tips and the accessories.
The previous carrying cases were too small and not very ergonomic for the new shells of Earsonics. The new line-up has a bigger footprint so it made sense to have a larger case, and they finally did it. You get 2 pairs of foam tips and 4 pairs of silicones, including 2 pairs of double-flanges.
Build Quality & Design
I’m one of those people who criticized Earsonics’ plastic shells in the past, which honestly didn’t live up to their price brackets. With their new hybrid series, Earsonics have managed to pull off a huge jump in terms of build quality, and now continuing that with the Onyx.
The Earsonics Onyx has a fantastic build quality. There’s no other way to put it. This is a great new era for Earsonics in my opinion, and I hope they will keep up the same high level with new models. This is a big leap forward. The users of these new models now can smoothly say that they get what they paid for.
The design topic is always subjective of course, but I can say that the Onyx looks very cool with its full black stealth design. It looks quite serious and professional. The faceplate parts reflect the light nicely with different angles. Of course, this design might come a bit dull and pale for you, and I can’t blame you on that one. After all, it’s all about personal taste. But I really liked it better than the previous models like Corsa and Blade, since I really like black.
However, the cable doesn’t complete this design well in my view. The silver color is ill-fitted with these colors, especially with the silver 3.5mm jack and 2-pin connectors. So I don’t really like the new cable they introduced in 2020. It’s good that they don’t supply the stock Plastics One cable anymore, but I think that the new “Hi-Res” cable doesn’t look premium enough to complement this new design. I think a more premium-looking cable would’ve been perfect. A black-colored one of course.
The new chassis structure means extra weight and the Onyx is a heavy monitor when compared to many IEMs. So not every tip is good for the best fitting experience, at least that has been the case for me. Fortunately, Earsonics provide lots of ear tips in the package. Gone are the days when Earsonics would ship only a few tips, you have many choices now. Standard silicone ones, black double flanges, and foams. So you have lots here. I’m sure one would find the best possible fit for their needs.
In my case the classic Earsonics double flange tips work the best. They provide me with a snug fit and they balance out the weight nicely. They also go very deep into my ear canals. That way the isolation also becomes satisfying, although not being on the same level as foams. The shells stick out pretty much, especially with double flange ones since the chassis is not too compact or small. There is certain heft and mass so don’t expect to have a quick nap with these. Yet, I find the fit very comfortable and pleasing overall.
Page 2 – Sound
Page 3 – Technical Performance, Comparisons, and Conclusion