Penon 10th Anniversary In-Ear Monitors Review : A Perfect All Rounder

Introduction

If you've been immersed in the world of in-ear monitors or headphones for a while, chances are you've encountered Penon Audio products. Whether you've had the opportunity to experience them firsthand or not, 2023 marked a significant milestone for Penon Audio as they celebrated their 10th anniversary in the audio business. To commemorate this milestone, they unveiled the Penon 10th Anniversary In-Ear Monitors, boasting a unique configuration of 2 balanced armature drivers, 2 dynamic drivers, and 2 EST drivers, all priced at just $499. As someone who hadn't encountered such drivers at a sub-$500 price point, I was eager to dive into the Penon 10th Anniversary IEM experience. Thanks to Audio Geek India, who organized a review tour for the Penon 10th Anniversary, I had the opportunity to explore this intriguing product. Rest assured, all opinions expressed in this review are honest and unbiased. So, let's delve into the Penon 10th Anniversary review.

Penon 10th Anniversary In-Ear Monitors Review : A Perfect All Rounder

Design and Build Quality

Crafted from high-quality medical-grade resin, the Penon 10th Anniversary IEM boasts a shell that's 3D printed for precision. Its faceplate features a captivating blend of glittery blue and red materials, adorned with "Penon" branding on the left shell and "Audio" branding on the right. The overall aesthetic exudes a premium and robust feel. While lightweight in the hand, the IEMs feel sturdy, with an additional ISN audio cable provided, though it may not be part of the retail package. Overall, it's a visually appealing and well-built package for its price point.

Penon 10th Anniversary In-Ear Monitors Review : A Perfect All Rounder

Comfort and Fit

With a shell size that strikes a balance between compact and spacious, coupled with adequately long nozzles, the Penon 10th Anniversary IEM ensures a comfortable fit. Personally using SpinFit W1 Eartips, I encountered no issues in terms of comfort during extended listening sessions.

Penon 10th Anniversary In-Ear Monitors Review : A Perfect All Rounder

Sound Quality

In my evaluation, I paired the Penon 10th Anniversary IEM with an Effect Audio Cadmus Cable, SpinFit W1 Eartips, and a Sony NW ZX707 digital audio player, occasionally testing it with portable DACs and Amps such as the Questyle M15. Impressively, the IEM proves to be easy to drive.

The sound signature of the Penon 10th Anniversary IEM strikes a perfect balance between musicality and detailed clarity, offering a smooth sound presentation across various music genres. It's worth noting that this IEM does justice to a diverse range of musical styles, potentially earning it a place as an endgame contender in the sub-$500 price range. Penon Audio deserves commendation for delivering such a remarkable product.

Bass

In crafting the bass response of the Penon 10th Anniversary IEM, Penon has incorporated two 6mm crystalline plated biofilm dynamic drivers. The bass delivery is characterised by its cleanliness and controlled rumble, striking a balance that avoids being overly dominant. While many audiophiles and music enthusiasts may find this bass profile to be perfectly balanced, those inclined towards heavier bass may perceive a slight lack in weight and thickness. The emphasis here lies in sub-bass frequencies, resulting in a focused low-end experience. Furthermore, the placement of the bass is neither too distant nor too intimate, contributing to an overall well-tuned and balanced bass presentation.

Midrange

Penon employed a single Sonion balanced armature driver for vocal reproduction in the midrange of the Penon 10th Anniversary IEM. Remarkably, the IEM excels in rendering female vocals, offering a compelling blend of weight and smoothness in the upper midrange frequencies. While female vocals are particularly impressive, male vocals may leave some listeners wanting more weight and texture. However, it's important to note that the overall vocal performance remains excellent, albeit with room for nuanced critique. Details such as breaths, echoes, and pauses are rendered with notable clarity and weight, enhancing the immersive listening experience provided by the Penon 10th Anniversary IEM. Moreover, the intimate placement of vocals ensures that listeners can fully immerse themselves in the emotional nuances conveyed by the singer.

Treble

In crafting the treble response of the Penon 10th Anniversary IEM, Penon utilized two Sonion EST drivers alongside one balanced armature driver. The result is nothing short of impressive. The treble performance of these earphones is characterized by its crystal-clear, velvety texture, coupled with a snappy and sparkly delivery that truly captivates. Credit is due to Penon Audio's tuning expertise, as they have achieved a remarkable balance and realism in the treble presentation. Notably, there is a distinct absence of harshness, allowing micro details to be effortlessly discerned. Overall, the Penon 10th Anniversary IEM boasts a meticulously tuned treble that contributes to its musicality and realistic tonality.

Soundstage & Imaging

While the soundstage of the Penon 10th Anniversary IEM may be described as intimate, it offers a holographic quality with precise imaging, creating an immersive and expansive sonic environment for listeners to enjoy.

Value and Competition

Priced at $499, the Penon 10th Anniversary IEM offers exceptional value for those seeking a W-shaped sound tuning with a finely balanced energy profile—not overly bright nor excessively warm. This makes it an ideal choice for discerning audiophiles looking for a premium listening experience without breaking the bank.

When considering its competitors in the market, such as the Dunu EST 112, Kinera Norn, Dunu SA6 MK2, Xenns Mangrid TOP, Moondrop Variations, ThieAudio Oracle, and Symphonium Meteor, it's important to note the unique driver configuration of the Penon 10th Anniversary IEM—comprising 2 dynamic drivers, 2 balanced armature drivers, and 2 EST drivers. This sets it apart from its rivals, making direct comparisons somewhat unfair.

While it's possible that my stance on this matter may have contradicted or may contradict my past or future opinions, I firmly believe that the Penon 10th Anniversary IEM stands out as a one-of-a-kind offering in the sub-$500 price range. Having personally handled and experienced numerous IEMs in this category, I can confidently assert that the Penon 10th Anniversary IEM is a standout performer deserving of recognition and praise.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons 
W-shaped sound tuning Male vocals could have more weight and texture
Well-controlled rumble bass
Additive female vocals
Smooth, crystal-clear treble
Non-offensive tuning
Realistic sound tonality
Holographic soundstage with precise imaging
    Penon 10th Anniversary In-Ear Monitors Review : A Perfect All Rounder

    Conclusion

    The Penon 10th Anniversary IEM stands as a testament to meticulous tuning and impeccable pricing, offering a finely crafted listening experience. If you're in the market for a W-shaped tuned IEM around the $500 price range, boasting exceptional build quality, high-quality drivers, and a comfortable fit, I wholeheartedly recommend the Penon 10th Anniversary IEM without hesitation. If the opportunity arises, I urge you to give them a try—Penon Audio deserves greater recognition and appreciation from audiophiles and audio enthusiasts worldwide. I eagerly anticipate exploring more offerings from Penon Audio in the future.

    I extend my sincere thanks to Audio Geek India for facilitating this review, as well as to Penon Audio for their exceptional product. If you have any questions regarding the Penon 10th Anniversary IEM, please feel free to ask in the comments section below.

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    1 comment

    SAMEER TANGRI

    SAMEER TANGRI

    Well-written review! :-) Crisp and to the point while conveying the nature and performance of the IEM.

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