SOFTEARS STUDIO 4 IEM Review: Arghadeep Misra's Take

Brand’s house sound

Studio 4 has undoubtedly emerged as one of the most promising talents in the Softears universe. Softears, renowned for its unwavering commitment to neutrality, has consistently delivered music with utmost sincerity through their exceptional IEMs. What sets them apart is their ability to transform this neutral sound signature into an incredibly pleasurable listening experience, defying the notion that "Neutrality is boring".

What I like about the brand

I admire this brand for its dedication to thoroughly researching and developing every single product they release. Unlike other companies, they don't flood the market with countless products. Whether it's Softears Twilight, RSV, or Studio 4, each item is meticulously crafted and backed by solid research.

Disclaimer

I received Studio 4 from SoftEars for review purposes. They consistently supply me with equipment to test out. Rest assured, they have not swayed my thoughts on this product in any way. All the views expressed are solely my own.

Price Competition

Priced at $449 globally, there are numerous IEMs vying for attention. Despite the fierce competition, this product stands out as a strong contender in the market, offering a compelling choice for buyers even a year after its launch. Another noteworthy option in this price range is the AFUL Performer 8, which will be compared later in the review.

Philosophy of the IEM

The concept behind this IEM is refreshingly simple. Its neutrality, as the name implies, sets it apart. While neutrality can sometimes be seen as bland, this IEM manages to shine brightly in a sea of options. Despite its neutral sound, there is nothing dull or uninteresting about this IEM. Just remember, my reviews are always written long after the initial excitement has worn off.

SOFTEARS STUDIO 4 IEM Review: Arghadeep Misra's Take

Tech Specs

This IEM boasts four BA drivers and a three-way crossover. But here's the catch - don't judge this IEM solely based on its driver setup. Encased in a sleek and stealthy resin 3D-printed shell, it exudes elegance. Moreover, the cable accompanying this IEM is not only robust but also incredibly easy to handle, without any annoying memory effect the cable.

Initial Sound Impression

Step into Studio 4 and immerse yourself in an incredibly realistic sound experience, complete with an astonishingly precise soundstage. As soon as you pop these earbuds in, you'll be blown away by their accuracy. Remember when I mentioned they wouldn't be boring? Well, prepare to be amazed by the bass, which goes above and beyond what you'd expect from a neutral set. The midrange is simply exceptional, delivering a natural and delightful sound across every single note. And guess what? The treble is just as neutral, without a hint of sharpness or darkness.

Objective Sound Impression

Bass

The 20hz sub-bass extension in this IEM is incredibly subtle, measuring at just 4db. Surprisingly, it creates a captivating arch that seamlessly blends with the midrange. Normally, I'm not a fan of midbass elevation, but in this particular IEM, it works wonders. While there is a noticeable contrast between the subbass and midbass, it doesn't create a sense of separation in the sound. One might assume that the decline from 100hz would result in a thinner midrange or a lack of warmth in the lower mids, but fortunately, that's not the case here. The warmth is present throughout, and there is no hint of thinness anywhere.

To be completely honest, the bass exceeded my expectations. At first, I thought the drivers wouldn't pack much of a punch, but trust me when I say that it feels like a harmonious single dynamic driver setup. The bass is snappy enough to keep up with fast-paced beats, yet it doesn't rush to deliver its full impact, resulting in a gradual and smooth decay. This analogue-like gradual falloff ensures that no sudden jumps or surprises catch you off guard. In a nutshell, the bass is incredibly cohesive and finely tuned, effortlessly delving into the depths of the audio spectrum.

Midrange

The frequency response exhibits a dip at 200Hz, but it goes completely unnoticed. Surprisingly, this dip adds to the overall slimness of the sound, which is not present at all. The neutrality of the sound is exceptional, allowing the vocals to shine in their respective positions. Additionally, there is a gradual increase in sound starting at 1kHz, followed by a sudden drop-off. This clever adjustment enhances the soundstage while preserving its warmth. Moreover, the Eargain peak extends seamlessly beyond 2.5kHz, resulting in a remarkably smooth overall sound.

The focal point of this IEM lies within its midrange. Its exceptional tuning allows it to rival even more expensive options on the market solely based on its mids. The quality of sound produced by this IEM is remarkable considering its price point. Each instrument resonates beautifully, creating a lifelike audio experience. There is no trace of nasal or muffled tones to be found. Both male and female vocals are rendered beautifully, rich in texture, warmth, and a touch of airiness when called for.

Treble

Beyond the 4kHz mark, the treble is remarkably gentle and non-offensive. It gracefully avoids any sharp peaks that might cause discomfort. The decision to introduce a dip at 6kHz is quite bold, as it eliminates some harshness commonly found in various music genres in exchange of some resolution perception. However, addressing the dip after 9kHz could potentially enhance the overall sound experience, particularly for avid treble enthusiasts like myself, by adding a delightful shimmer. The extension of the treble is present, allowing for a sense of airiness, yet it remains balanced and never overwhelms the listener. In summary, the treble is meticulously fine-tuned and exquisitely refined, ensuring a safe and enjoyable listening experience.

The treble seemed slightly subdued to my ears. As a neutral-tuned IEM, I was hoping for a more pronounced treble response. Surprisingly, it excelled in handling poorly recorded songs effortlessly. Even the badly mastered tracks didn't come off as harsh or peaky, while the well-mastered ones didn't sound exceptionally impressive due to the safe tuning. This type of treble would be ideal for individuals sensitive to high frequencies.

SOFTEARS STUDIO 4 IEM Review: Arghadeep Misra's Take

Subjective Sound Impression

Resolution

The resolution of this IEM surpasses the norm. What sets this IEM apart is its ability to deliver intricate details despite not having an overly emphasized treble. Every subtle cue and trailing edge stands out prominently. I would say this IEM holds pretty good in the pricepoint it offers.

Soundstage

The sound stage may not be expansive in size, but it is impeccably crafted. It envelops your head in a spherical manner, without inducing any sense of claustrophobia. This IEM also always fostered an intimate experience while listening to any song. The voices emanate from the front with precision and are expertly positioned. The sound stage effortlessly adapts to the requirements of each song, seamlessly expanding to accommodate grandiose numbers and shrinking to create a more personal ambience when needed.

Imaging

The imaging quality is better than average. While there is a clear separation between the instruments, they are not precisely pinpointed, yet still easily identifiable.

Comfort & Fit

Studio 4 lacks comfort for me solely because of the absence of proper ventilation. The pressure build-up is a direct result of this deficiency. Given its All-BA configuration, ventilation is deemed unnecessary as it could potentially disrupt its sound pressure level. However, a meticulous insertion process coupled with a suitable tip selection is always recommended. Opening the jaws during insertion effectively reduces the pressure build-up, ensuring a more pleasant experience.

 

Pros and Cons

Pro  Cons
Midrange Air Pressure Build-up
Timber
Resolution

 

Comparison

AFUL Performer 8

The P8 offers a slightly improved resolution, mainly due to Psychoacoustics. Studio 4, on the other hand, provides a better bass quality. Additionally, the midrange in Studio 4 carries more weight. When it comes to choosing between the two, treble is the key factor to consider. The P8 delivers a snappy and full treble experience, with both air and extension, while Studio 4 offers a more controlled and subdued treble compared to the P8. Both options are excellent choices. If you prefer extended and elevated treble, the P8 is the way to go. However, if you seek a reference-grade treble, Studio 4 is the better option.

SOFTEARS STUDIO 4 IEM Review: Arghadeep Misra's Take

Conclusion

There are only a handful of IEMs in this realm that possess the ability to excel in every aspect. The neutrality it offers ensures an authentic representation of the mastering process. Moreover, it possesses a forgiving nature that enhances the sound quality of any genre. Its impressive low-end response caters to the cravings of EDM and Hip-Hop enthusiasts. The mids are so delightful that they bring out the true beauty of timber in a mesmerizing manner. And let's not forget about the treble, which manages to please both the sensitive ears and the treble aficionados. This IEM truly encompasses all the desirable qualities one could ask for. I cannot stress enough how highly I recommend this exceptional piece of In Ear Monitor.

Disclaimer:

The following review has been thoughtfully crafted by Mr. Arghadeep Misra from Kolkata, a cherished supporter, customer, and friend of The Audio Store. We express our gratitude to Mr. Arghadeep for generously sharing his personal insights into the SOFTEARS STUDIO 4 IEM. It is important to note that this review is entirely unbiased, reflecting Mr.Arghadeep's genuine experiences and preferences. No benefits or exchanges have influenced the content of this review. His valuable contributions significantly enhance our blog, and we sincerely appreciate his unwavering dedication to the audio enthusiast community.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published

Trusted By Over 24K+ Music Enthusiast