Today, we review the Sweear Audio Aurora universal IEM. It retails for $2,499 USD.
Disclaimer: The Aurora was provided by SWEEAR Audio for the purpose of this review at no cost. As always, the article reflects my unbiased opinion.
SWEEAR Audio, based in Asia’s world city of Hong Kong, China, is a relatively new player in the in-ear monitor industry, skillfully blending technology and artistry. The team, a collective of audiophile enthusiasts and audio engineers, is dedicated to creating in-ear monitors that stand out in a crowded marketplace. SWEEAR is firmly rooted in its three core missions: ensuring superior quality, developing superior sound design, and maintaining a premium, aesthetic design ethos. The brand navigates the complex world of audio production with a constant eye for innovation and a relentless pursuit of perfection.
SWEEAR has two distinct product ranges: the Reference Class and the Extreme Class. The Reference range, aimed at audiophiles and engineers, offers nine pairs of in-ear monitors in a variety of configurations, including tribrids such as the SR-11. On the other hand, the Extreme class, aimed at the mass consumer market, offers two pairs of in-ear monitors, each of which is designed with a consumer-friendly sound and at a more affordable price.
SWEEAR Aurora In-Ear Monitor
The SWEEAR Aurora features a 12-balanced armature driver configuration per side, utilizing a 5-way crossover and four individual sound bores. The drivers are allocated as follows: Low Frequency (LF): 2 BA, Low Mid Frequency (LMF): 2 BA, Mid Frequency (MF): 2 BA, Mid-High Frequency (MHF): 4 BA, and Upper High Frequency (SHF): 2 BA. A noteworthy feature of the Aurora is the implementation of SWEEAR’s IPP (Independent Pipeline Purify) technology, designed to minimize perceived distortion through precise acoustic tuning of the individual sound bores responsible for each major frequency range.
Specs & Highlights
Configuration: 12 BA with 5-way Crossover
Frequency Response: 11Hz-25kHz
Impedance: 10 ohms
Cable: 8-Braid High Purity Silver-Plated Copper terminated with 3.5mm GP Plug
Packaging & Accessories
The Aurora comes in a medium-sized cardboard box decorated with a beautifully designed artwork sticker showcasing the model name. Inside, we are greeted by a crush-proof, pelican-like case that looks durable. This case, designed with a foam-lined interior, ensures the IEMs are well-protected during transit. Within the case, the Aurora is neatly placed alongside two distinct sets of ear tips: wide green stem tips and foam tips, both available in three sizes. These ear tips are organized in a well-designed plastic box that fits nicely within the crush-proof case. Additionally, with its 8-braid cable, the Aurora occupies merely half of the case’s space, indicating there’s sufficient room for another earphone or accessory. In fact, this carrying case can effortlessly accommodate an IEM, a compact USB DAC/AMP, and the ear tips’ plastic case.
Moving on to the most important accessory, the cable, SWEEAR supplies the Aurora with a silver-plated copper cable. Although the website lacks detailed information about the cable, it appears to be an 8-braid cable with a litz core configuration and multiple insulations wrapped in a remarkably soft and flexible jacket. The cable comes with 0.78mm 2-pin connectors, and SWEEAR chose black heat shrink for the earguides, in harmony with the Aurora’s black design aesthetic. The gold-plated 3.5mm jack has a chrome body with carbon fiber detailing and laser-engraved branding for a touch of style. On a minor, aesthetic note, while the Y splitter’s 2-pin casings are black anodized finish, a matching 3.5mm plug would enhance the theme’s integrity, although this is a minor detail.
Design, Build Quality & Fit
The Aurora’s shells are crafted from acrylic resin, featuring an opaque black finish that doesn’t allow light to pass through. Given that it accommodates 12 balanced armature drivers, the size of the Aurora shell is adequately compact. These acrylic shells are designed with gentle contours, ensuring no discomfort or pressure against the concha area of the ear. Further enhancing comfort, the inner shell of the earphones is sculpted to mirror the natural shape of the cochlea, optimizing fit.
The earphone faceplates feature SWEEAR’s chrome-colored mandala logo embedded within the resin. This logo adds a touch of elegance to the overall design. Upon close inspection, the craftsmanship appears quite good, although the shell does adopt an indigo-blue hue when under direct sunlight, and I am not sure if this was deliberate. A distinctive feature of the Aurora is its unibody design, meaning the nozzle is an integral part of the shell rather than a separate metal piece. While the nozzle’s length aids in a snug fit, its notch near the top, meant to prevent ear tips from slipping, could be broader. This design choice can pose challenges when attempting to use certain aftermarket ear tips. Additionally, SWEEAR has opted for recessed 0.78mm sockets, which, while increasing durability, limits compatibility with various aftermarket cables.
In the subject of comfort, the SWEEAR Aurora excels. It outshines popular multi-driver earphones like ThieAudio’s Monarch MK3, which is bulkier in size despite having fewer drivers. The Aurora’s shell feels durable to the touch, and thanks to its solid shell, isolation performance is awe-inspiring, rivaling even my semi-custom IEMs in terms of passive isolation.
To wrap this section up, the Aurora, for its high-end price tag, sports a relatively understated design. A touch of customization, perhaps through bespoke artwork faceplates or swirly shells, would have elevated its aesthetic appeal. While the use of recessed 2-pin connectors enhances durability, especially for on-stage applications, it does restrict the exploration of different cable options.
The review continues on the next page. Click here or use the jump below.
Page 1: SWEEAR Audio, The Aurora, Packaging & Accessories, Design, Build & Fit
Page 2: Sound, Low, Mid, High, Technical Capability, Source Synergy, Last Words