With grateful thanks to Denise of IZ POP, an Amazon.com store, this is the latest budget offering from CVJ, the CSE 2 driver hybrid IEM. It retails for $19.99, just follow the link if you feel that this is what you’re looking for. I have already had experience with the brand, having had the CS8 way back in November last year. The article is entitled ChiFi champ? – as always just click on the link and it’ll take you there. I have been through an awful lot of product since then, but I seem to remember being happy enough with the comfort, looks and general sound from the CS8. I must now look lower down the scale and adjust my parameters, as the CSE comes in at a considerably lower retail price than it’s older brother.
All about the CSE
✲ Sensitivity: 108dB
✲ Cell Impedance: 22 Ω
✲ Frequency response range: 10-40000Hz
The above specs tell you that the CSE is made for cheap low power digital devices, including your standard range of smartphones, which I am sure are not particularly cheap, but I hope you get my meaning. As so many of these articles stress, the IEMs need very little power to get the best from them. The classic hybrid budget setup is utilised, namely 1 dynamic driver for low and 1 balanced armature driver for mid and high frequencies. I’ll enclose an unboxing video and you can see what’s supplied. Amazingly, you get a velcro strap to keep the cable tidy, detachable cables, memory wire, 2 pin design and a cloth carry pouch with a drawstring fastening. Anyway, I’ll give you a couple of minutes to see for yourself….
Just how good are they?
These little chaps are small enough to squeeze into my average size ears and stay there. That means I should be getting the best sound that they can produce. It also means I am being given a good deal of isolation; that the sounds of the outside world retreat to a murmur other than the big nasty things that can hurt me (traffic). The scalloped shape and smoothness of the driver shells are good for comfort. There is no issue wearing these for hours, although I’d highly recommend them for exercise or outdoor use, which brings me to the next portion of my little review
Think of the $19.99 CVJ as a consumer style entry level earphone. By consumer style I am talking about bass and highs with mids (vocals/main instruments) very much in the background. For normal listening these may give an element of excitement and vibrancy to your music but extended listening may get fatiguing. I am more amenable to an earphone that highlights the mids, even at the expense of the lows and highs. I would recommend eqing these if you’re listening indoors and are finding it too much or better still, take them outside, adn even better still, take them for a run or workout that gets your lungs moving. The outside world is full of low frequency sounds. These sounds all but drown out the bass on most normal earphones. Not so with the CSE. Bass can still be heard, but is far less prevalent than indoors. That has the added bonus of making the mids audible, and of course the highs are not dialled up quite so furiously, because they have to compete with all the other grunting noises and various sounds of pain going on. Provided you tuck these inside your t shirt or vest, the microphonics that sometimes plague an earphone cable when the cable slaps against the chest are kept to a minimum. Yes; the great outdoors can easily rescue these CVJs, at pocket money prices. For bass light devices (my turntable and a couple of Colorfly digital audio players) and for an outdoor runabout would be my 2 recommendations.
These will never win the best sounding earphone awards from us reviewers. These are aimed at the mass market, not at the niche market I, as a hi-fi/chi-fi reviewer of 100s of products, am very much a part of. When I think of what you can get for this sort of money compared to what was around 5 years ago…. These are midblowing when using that comparison. They tick a lot of boxes. There are many better sounding IEMs for serious listening, but once you go down as low as $19.99, well, that’s a different story. I understand that this is a hotly contested area of the market. More people can afford lower retail products than higher costing ones. If you are starting on your journey in portable audio and are in the category of those who don’t have too much money to throw around, these should come under your radar.