SIGNATURE ACOUSTICS C-12 Elements Wooden IEMs review/impressions

5fusion

Journeyman
Introduction

Really fortunate to be the first early bird to own Signature Acoustics IEM. An in-house production of Pristine Note(Proaudiohome) based in Navi Mumbai,India. Its great to see an Indian brand entering High-End audio. Its always a pleasure to meet Mr Gautam, the owner of the firm whom i met around a year back when i was craving to have some proper high-end audio stuffs in India. And since then Pristine Note has been fulfilling my Audio needs. Everytime i meet him i get to know something new about sound and related stuffs.
The best thing about the place is that one gets to audition before buying anything and thats the most important part considering audio stuffs.
The experience with them has been just great as they provide excellent support.
All this has flashed as this is how i got introduced to these IEMs. got to hear them when they were prototypes some 8-9 months back and i was so impressed that i had been waiting since then to grab one for myself. I am happy to see all their research and hardwork has taken a good shape and wish them all the success.

And now that i have it finally, i'll put my impressions and since i am not an "Audiophile"(But yeah i do prefer high quality sound and my ears do crave for it) but gradually moving towards turning one, i'll try to be as accurate as possible on how i feel about these great IEMs. As this is gonna be my first review, i may not be upto the mark and suggestions/critics are a welcome so as to help me refine my future reviews/writings if i ever come up with more.
Its always fun to climb up the ladder of "Sound" as one really enjoy the gradual quality upgrades and starts understanding it.

As of now i am using Soundmagic E30 for my daily listening & Audio Technica AD300 occaisionally(for home use).
So my parameter would mainly be the E30 for some comparison.
The formats used are 320kbps mp3 & FLAC files only.






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Packaging and Accessories



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The packaging is nice and simple having a sneak-peak into earbuds and the brilliant metal brass carry case. The insides are nicely padded with foams. The C12 comes with the usual trio sets ofsingle flange tips, a pair of extra medium tips and a shirt clip. However a pair of some foam tips would have been a welcome add. Pair of two filters(180 & 250 microns) are also provided in case anything happens to default ones.
Even small things have been thought after well. For instance, the shirt Clip has a rotating holder which helps as the cables do play a little when plugged on shirt leaving them a bit free to move.
Now the huge enthrallment here is the nice metal brass case with a polish that gives it an "Antique" shade, is like a piece of Art and adds to the premium feel. Its like icing on the cake. Infact that could even be the deciding factor for some to get them. And you are always assured your earphones are absolutely safe and wont take any kind of damage.



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Design & Build Quality

Now these are really light weight buds with a straight barrel design. The drivers are enclosed in wooden housing and looks great with "SA" logo engraved onto the back. The 3.5mm gold plated jack is angled to 45 degree and the strain relief looks flimsy and not so strong. However the strain reliefs on the buds seem quite strong enough. The tangle free cable is nicely braided and looks sturdy and quite rugged especially the lower half is thick and can withstand years of abuse. The light wood colour and ring like groove on the buds looks good and the air-vent is at bottom just beside the strain-reliefs.



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Comfort/Fit

Inspite of being quite big compared to my E30s(comfort king) which is usually the case with barrel shaped earphones, the buds fit great into the ears with good seal and depth with default medium tips. Excellent in comfort coz of their light weight and can be easily used for hours of listening without feeling their weight.



Isolation/Microphonics

The Isolation is very good with the default tips, better than my E30. Can easily close the world outside with a lil over 60% volume. Microphonics are noticeable but not much wearing straight down and sweeps to almost none wearing over the ear though its not designed that way but can be worn.



Sound

Now to the sound quality part, they sound great out of the box and wont require much burn-in. A 30hours burn-in is recommended but i prefer to let the earphones play what i listen to and burn naturally. As i am coming from E30 having more of a Neutral sound singnature, the C12 can be called to have a balanced sound. A little warmer & more fun sounding sets equating to an unfatigued listening experience for hours.

The bass on these is fantastic. full bodied with lots of quantity and impact and extends deep down the frequency range with a solid rumble. This is where they perform the best in the spectrum and is gonna keep good care of all the bassheads. Its not as tight & fast as the E30, but is nicely rounded and punchy though a little slow outperforming the e30. However, i do tend to lean more towards the tighter and controlled bass of e30s. The texture and detail is great with plenty of weight to the individual notes. As far as i can recall from limited time spent with the brainwavz m1, IMO c12 performs much better than m1 too in this ground. Basslines sound very clear & detailed and in some songs i could make out some basslines which i never heard before or cared much about. Now the bass does bleed in the midrange to some extent making it feel warmer.

Mids are smooth & a little thick with a nice warmth but somewhat laidback. vocals are very clear upfront and the lyrics of any song is spot on and the "chorus" is more visible to my ears than e30s. Strings sounded absolutely brilliant and rich with nice weight to them especially acoustic guitars. Was totally blown away listening "GnR", "Poets of the fall" as the guitars sounded grungy & detailed. The windy atmospheric sounds/noises in electronic music are much more prominent on c12s than on e30s.

Treble part manages to keep up with the bass to some extent with good quantity. Its got enough sparkle to keep you absorbed in the music but not as much as the E30. absolutely free of any harshness and sibilance. extension comes somewhat close to e30 with great details and very sweet sounding.

The soundstage and imaging are great and better than most in the price range. The width is decent but not as wide as E30s and has got a good depth to it. It doesn't sound much open and airy as the e30s but makes for an engaging sound may be coz of the good depth and warmness. Imaging is good and one can easily imagine whats going on what side of the ear. Clean sweeps of stereo and sounds nicely surrounded. However due to warmness, the instrument separation is good but not as clean as the e30s.
Overall, the presentation is more like in a closed room with a nice 3D surround effect & subwoofer nicely rumbling the floor making for an involving experience.



Conclusion



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With impressive sound, comfort,isolation and build quality to match, these are a strong contenders in their price range of around $50(~Rs3000) and may be taken as the best in that subjectively. Emphasizing more on the low end with smooth mids and slightly recessed treble. As i am yet to taste high-end iems, i can't imagine a picture to contrast them here and as per my limited exposure to the grid of iems and different sound signatures what i can say is, these are definitely the best i have heard of this sound signature and worth the money spent. Since i am accustomed to the sound of e30s, what i can encapsulate is, the c12s aren't an upgrade over the e30 IMO, but an excellent side-grade/parallel grade with a distinct sound to it.
They easily get along with almost every genre and IMO Electronic, bass and strings oriented genres sound magnificent on these.
As i was looking to have a taste of a different sound signature, its a welcome change to my audio collection and i am slowly getting myself acclimatized to its sound.
 

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OP
5fusion

5fusion

Journeyman
That thing, me want :D
Good Review and wrong section :D

Ohh sorry for the wrong section as this was my first review & i posted it in a jiffy :sad:. now only i realized there's a review section to post it. darn mee newbie :noob: .
can anyone guide me on how can i move the thread to the review section or do i have to make a new thread in that section.
 
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GuitarMan

Right off the assembly line
Great review. I love the bass. Have you been listening to M2 or HippoVB? Would want to know how does the bass over all stand out over these. PL 30 is not for bass heads. Do they recommend 30 hours of burning? What are the black 'dots'???
 
OP
5fusion

5fusion

Journeyman
sorry mate, cant say anything as i never got to hear any of those. yes they do recommend 30hrs burnin. the black dots are the filters applied on the nozzle. one pair is 180microns for treble and 250microns for some more bass. however i never tested the 250micron filter as i am quite happy with the default ones.

post #69 on this thread could be of some help--
Signature Acoustics Elements C12 IEMs - Page 4
 
Great review. I love the bass. Have you been listening to M2 or HippoVB? Would want to know how does the bass over all stand out over these. PL 30 is not for bass heads. Do they recommend 30 hours of burning? What are the black 'dots'???

During our initial testings of prototype and comparisons with various IEMs available in market , we found the SA-C12 to be much superior than M2 in terms of more open soundstage and midrange .The M2 has more of mid-bass and lower midrange with a laidback treble which can make it sound slightly congested overall . The C12 has overall more close to balanced and fun sound . This is ofcourse the view our in house audio experts , we would want to get more feedback from forum audio experts and interested members. The Hippo VB are particularly known only for their heavy sub-bass and sharp treble giving it a V-curved sound signature . The C12 has a much different sound signature.


sorry mate, cant say anything as i never got to hear any of those. yes they do recommend 30hrs burnin. the black dots are the filters applied on the nozzle. one pair is 180microns for treble and 250microns for some more bass. however i never tested the 250micron filter as i am quite happy with the default ones.

post #69 on this thread could be of some help--
Signature Acoustics Elements C12 IEMs - Page 4

Thank you Saurabh for the review . We have designed these keeping in mind a more mid-high end market - 60-80$ price range . The E30 are known to have one of the most fluid midrange and widest soundstage under 60$ price bracket, we are glad that the C12 can keep upto the same . Regarding the filters , the 180 microns filter is for maximum treble and 250 microns is for those who prefer more laidback sound .

If the forum admins/moderators allow we would encourage a lot of other forum members with experience of IEMs to try out the product and provide us with some unbiased feedback and opinion . Before we launch the product in International market it is very important we first please our home crowd and get valuable feedback.


For the same we will have a loaner program and offer review samples for 7-10 days period to interested members :).
 

anirbandd

Conversation Architect
how does one apply for a review sample?? i'd definitely like to do a review of such a fine piece of audio gear.
 

RCuber

The Mighty Unkel!!!
Staff member
Interesting .. but a little over my budget .. none the less would buy them in near future.

I would like to know the what if the wooden enclosure breaks say by accident or by purpose? how much would you charge in such case. I think the word i'm looking for is "Reshelling" ?
 

pranav0091

I am not an Owl
@SignatureAcoustics: I'd like a review sample if thats possible. Just ordered the E10, the younger brother of the E30. Would love to have a comparison.

If a lot of people here compare it favourably over the E30, might even end up purchasing it since its not too expensive afterall...
 
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