Binary Acoustics (GizAudio) Chopin
Gizaudio x Binary Acoustics Chopin
I have been listening to this IEM as my daily driver, using it both while working but also while commuting (so both in quiet and noisy environments) and I can’t think of a better IEM for listening for long periods.
The Chopin is the 2nd collaboration of Timmy of Gizaudio YouTube channel fame and I think he has put all his experience into providing Binary Acoustics with excellent tuning guidelines for this IEM. It consists of 1 x 8mm “Ceramic Diaphragm” Dynamic driver and 3 BA, 1 covering the midrange and 2 specialised BA’s for the treble region and in my opinion is impeccably well tuned.
But let’s get into the details:
What’s in the box:
The unboxing experience is unique; I really like the vertical presentation of the IEM ‘box’ and the accessories and the IEM’s themselves come wrapped in individual pouches providing that quality experience when you first open everything up.
The accessories consist of:
- A ‘cool’ rectangular carrying case
- The Two IEM in their pouches
- A cleaning tool
- The 4.4mm balanced cable apparently made of “high purity LITZ oxygen-free copper silver-plated”
- A single set of eartips in small, medium, and large sizes
While I appreciate the box I am not so sure about the pouches and I feel instead of the pouches a few more tips could have been provided.
I also feel that only providing a 4.4mm balanced cable rather than a second 3.5mm cable or ideally an adapter is a little strange. But I can imagine there was an effort to keep the costs down, and I am very happy when a company focuses on the quality of the IEM itself and that is certainly the case here. I didn’t think the quality of the cable was great, but it’s certainly better than the ones you get on the sub $100 IEM’s so will be a nice upgrade for many users. I think it’s a pity that more companies don’t provide cables like the FiiO’s FX-15 with interchangeable adapters (but then the FX-15 is 4 times the price of the Chopin).
IEM Build Quality:
I feel the photos do not do it justice as this is an extremely nice IEM shell and with a stainless-steel faceplate with very subtly different branding on each faceplate. It should be pointed out that the nozzle extends a little further than most IEM’s, but I did not find it uncomfortable, in fact I found the smooth shell incredible comfortable and extremely lightweight.
Here it is compared with a Truther Zero, you can see that the shape and nozzle make it the perfect IEM for those that require a slightly deeper fit.
I would also point out that it has a rectangular recessed 2-pin connector which might limited some users choice in swapping around with other cables in their collection. But having had 2-pin connectors bend in my daily driver IEM’s in the past, I actually feel the protection from bending provided by the recessed connector a nice benefit of this design.
The smooth shell and lightweight nature of the IEM meant for me, I could wear it for hours on end without any discomfort or even the need to adjust, it never felt like it was being ‘pulled’ by its own weight. Some IEM’s have ‘opinionated’ shapes which can either work great in one persons ear or just get in the way in another persons, the chopin’s lightweight and smooth nature means it should suit a wide variety of users.
Again here is it compared with Kiwi Ears Orchestra Lite which worked for me but that extra shape (and the extra weight from the clear resin makes it less comfortable than the Chopin):
Another advantage of the design of this IEM is that the nozzle angle and shape allowed me to play around with a wide variety of ear tip’s providing the ability to tweak the bass (and treble) regions to my liking. My normal ear tip preference is a tall / thin ear tips to allow IEMs to fit deeper in my ear, giving me better seal and a nice bass response (and better isolation when commenting in a noisy environment), but with the Chopin, I eventually went with wider but shallower ear tips that allowed the Chopin to sit further out yet provide a good seal. This gave me a beautiful balanced sound. But this is obviously subjective and will be different with everyone’s ear canal. But I appreciate the fact that the design here allows this freedom without resorting to using EQ or tuning ‘switches’.
As mentioned above you can tweak the sound easily with different tips (providing different fits) but once you get the right fit it is a very well tuned IEM. So what should you expect from the sound:
I found the bass is fantastic, track after track of my normal bass test tracks sounded deep and appropriate without overwhelming vocals and instruments. For example, tracks like Bjork’s Hunter, the bass attack was well handled without sounding bloated / boomy. The bass in Massive Attack’s Angel sounded appropriately ominous without being overpowering. In James Blake’s Limit to your Love when the bass kicks it in (after 50 seconds) it was awesome, yet the Chopin still allowed the high treble to clearly heard. The bass in Billie Ellish Xanny had lots of texture and micro dynamics and never sounded boomy. Similarly, with Roads by Portishead the bass was excellently controlled without sounding over bearing.
For the midrange I listen to a variety of pop and rock tracks, making sure vocals and the instruments were well separated and appropriately present in each track. There is no mudding of the midrange like some similar V-shaped IEM’s, just clear engaging audio. I think the Chopin provides the perfect balance where the bass and treble do not overpower the midrange. Though with different tips you can tune it into a more V-Shaped sound signature if that is your preference.
Treble (and technicalities)
The treble was very smooth and never sibilant. For me, it was perfect for long listening sessions though some might call it boring. Tracks like Fine Time by New Order start with an incredible barrage of treble which had the right level of edginess, and it was well-balanced as the sub-bass joins the treble after about 10 seconds. Tracks like Tamacun by Rodrigo y Gabiella had excellent treble extension allowing the plucky guitars to sound amazing. I imagine some people would appreciate more treble but then for me a tuning with more treble can get fatiguing after a while, e.g. try listening to Portishead Dummy with an IEM with enhanced treble you might not get through the album, while here it sounded great just edgy enough for my tastes.
Soundstage and Imaging
Not the widest soundstage for an IEM but it has excellent precise imaging, the swirl of instruments in Tool’s Chocolate Chip Trip was great allowing me to clearly hear as the sound moved in the soundstage in front of me. I loved how Earth Drums sounded with all the percussive instruments coming in appropriately. Overall no complaints about the clear separation of instruments.
The Boston Acoustics team are rightly product of the measurements of the Chopin and printed it on the box:
But here is a separate compentated graph to provide people with an idea of how its sounds compared to other popular IEM’s, using Timmy’s own measurements:
As you can see other than a slight sub-bass roll off it has a reference frequency response, incredible similar to the Variations. As with any of these graphs you should mostly ignore the measurements > 8K as it will be very different depending on a persons own HRTF and the measurement rig. But I do like how the Chopin mostly hugs Timmy’s own target in the midrange ( you would hope so ) and I like how it correctly balanced especially in the crucial 2k-4k region.
If you are in the look-out for a significant set-up of an over say a sub $100 IEM like a Truthear Zero Red, the Chopin is a perfect choice. It’s so well tuned and easy and lightweight to wear that I could and was wearing it for hours at a time without any fatigue either audible (e.g. no annoying sibilance) or physical ( lightweight with no adjustment needed). For me, it’s a perfect daily driver.