Thanks to the nature of my job, some very interesting products come my way for review. I had the pleasure of reviewing the Sennheiser Ambeo recently. Now, Sennheiser is a legacy audio brand and it knows more than a thing or two about audio technology. Therefore, I wasn’t surprised that the Ambeo turned out to be an innovative and ground-breaking product. But, when a small, no-name brand comes out from nowhere and shocks you with its audio quality, you begin to wonder – is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? (Get the reference? Comment below.)
Yes, the Soundsly Apaisant is a surprisingly good audio product. The Apaisant is a pair of open back dual-driver in-ear earphones (IEM). And you know what? Open back IEMs are a rare breed. I can’t think of any alternatives apart from the popular critic favourite Audeze iSine 10 and iSine 20. Therefore, I’d like to immediately give brownie points to the Apaisant for being unique.
Thankfully, the open back nature of the Apaisant is not a mere gimmick. Soundsly has managed to replicate all the good qualities of an open back pair of headphones in the Apaisant.
Soundsly Apaisant box contents, fit, and build quality
Here’s the thing, the Soundsly Apaisant is a labor of love by HiFinage – an Indian ecommerce website solely dedicated to importing Chi-Fi (or Chinese hi-fi audio) products to India. Evidently, HiFinage has used the help of a Chinese ODM to make the Apaisant. But, the packaging and the box left me wanting more. Inside the fairly plain and unpolished box, you get the IEM itself, four pairs of silicon eartips, one pair of foam tips, a shirt clip, and a carry case. But all of these are packed inside extremely cheap plastic covers, like the ones pharmacies pack pills in.
These earphones look pretty basic on the outside. But, I’ve learnt not to judge a book by its cover because the product itself is pretty solid. For one, the Apaisant is made of metal and it has two 9mm drivers inside each housing, one of which is a dynamic driver and the other is an armature. The cable is fairly thick and it reinforced by kevlar internally. However, the cable tangles very easily. There is also a universal inline remote control with microphone embedded in the right cable. The remote control includes extremely mushy volume up, volume down, and play buttons. However, it is a universal remote and therefore works with both Android and iOS devices. The cable terminates at a straight 3.5mm jack. I’d have ideally liked an L-shaped jack but…oh well that’s what we get.
As for the fit, the Apaisant is fairly comfortable but it juts out of the ear slightly, and therefore might be an irritant if you listen to the music on the bed and sleep on one side.
Soundsly Apaisant sound quality
I used an iPhone 7 Plus and a Cayin N3 DAP to test the sound quality of the Apaisant. The first thing I noticed is that, like most open back headphones, the Soundsly Apaisant has a wide soundstage. It is almost disconcerting at first because most IEMs tend to have a sound that feels like it is coming from inside the head. That’s not it, even the imaging (instrument separation) on the Apaisant, is pretty darn good. In Arctic Monkeys’ Do I Wanna Know, the Apaisant managed to hold its own in the final crescendo, which gets overcrowded with a wide variety of soundscapes. I could hear every backing vocal by the chorus, every guitar riff, every hit of the bass drum with equal clarity and definition.
The Apaisant is by far one of the most balanced IEMs in this price range. The treble response is spot on with no sibilance whatsoever. The mids are pretty balanced and detailed too. In fact, even the low end response is pretty thick and tight. And, I love this about the Apaisant primarily because most audiophile-grade earphones skimp on the bass response for a cleaner sound. Somehow, the tuning on the Apaisant maintains the balance well. So, even bass-heavy EDM tracks like Bloccd by DMVU are extremely fun sounding on the Apaisant. This is one earphone that truly conquers all genres with ease.
By now you must’ve realised that I love the Apaisant’s sound signature. This IEM punches above its weight and definitely makes up for its drab packaging with good sound.
Should you buy the Soundsly Apaisant?
If you are looking at a pair of good quality wired IEMs and have a budget of around Rs 5,000, you should definitely give the Soundsly Apaisant a second glance.
I absolutely loved the wide soundstage and the clean sound signature across the frequency range, which includes a very tight bass response as well. The other good options around this price range include the Fiio FH1, RHA MA650, and the Meze 12 Classics. However, I really prefer the Apaisant’s sound signature over the others.
In fact, the Soundsly Apaisant made me forget about the FiiO F9 Pro, which is not an easy task for a pair of IEMs that costs about half as much as the F9 Pro. I’d easily slot the Soundsly Appaisant in my top three earphones under Rs 5,000.