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Advanced Sound GT3 Review – Distance/Time

Pros – 

Excellent construction quality, Outstanding bass definition, Well-detailed

Cons – 

Could do with more aggressive tuning filters, Will be too bright for some

Verdict – 

The GT3 has superb construction and bass quality but with a somewhat overzealous treble tuning that will be up to individual preference.


Introduction –

Once praised for their budget offerings, Advanced Sound has stormed into the premium market quite recently, impressing reviewers with their Alpha planar magnetic headphones and now with a flurry of new IEM releases. The GT3 marks their first new model, in-ear that promises a controlled, high-resolution sound through the implementation of a multi-damped single dynamic driver combined with a lightweight voice coil. In addition, the GT3 moves to a more premium stainless steel construction with a heftier $200 USD asking price to match. However, despite promises of a reference style sound, the GT3 comes across as more analytical, prioritising detail presence over absolute balance. You can read more about the GT3 here and purchase one for yourself here.

 

Disclaimer –

I would like to thank Hannah from Advanced Sound very much for her quick communication and for providing me with the GT3 for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.

 

Accessories –

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The GT3 has a pleasing unboxing and a very versatile accessory set. The IEMs come with 3-pairs of filters that enable users to tune the sound slightly to their liking. In addition, Adv provides 3 pairs of ear tips, small bore silicone, large body silicone/dual flange and memory foam tips. Advanced Sound’s signature zipper case is also included. It is protective and very spacious, also fitting a small DAP in addition to the wealth of accessories via an elastic internal pocket.

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However, one of my favourite additions is the remote cable which has a practical case-friendly right angle plug, fabric sheath and convenient 3-button remote. For those valuing audio, the GT3 also comes with a silver-plated copper cable that has a beefier braid, a straight plug for connection to an amplifier and a longer 1.5m length that suits desktop use. Such inclusions are very thoughtful for those that intend to use the GT3 casually and critically.

 

Design –

Where Advanced Sound have mostly stuck to more affordable models, the GT3 is appreciably more premium to match its similarly more premium price point. In turn, the plastics of preceding models make way for entirely stainless steel housings that are robust with an eye-catching brushed finish. Though their design isn’t intricate or especially sophisticated, their tapered sculpting enables a confident fit while ergonomic angling ensures prolonged comfort. The level of finish is pleasing as are the smooth transitions between its 3-piece construction.

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The GT3 is, at its core, a bullet-style earphone. Fit is simple with angled nozzles preventing pressure build-up on the tragus. The nozzles themselves are also swappable via a simple threaded interface, enabling basic tuning using the 3 included filters. Otherwise, the GT3 is a very comfortable in-ear and it doesn’t leak sound despite the presence of a side-mounted vent. Due to the length of the sound tubes, they also don’t possess the deepest fit and isolation is only just above average as a result. Still, they easily suffice for commute and public transport, especially with the included foams.

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Advanced Sound also implements an MMCX removable cable system. The audio-only cable is much improved from their past IEMs with a quad-braid silver-plated construction and a longer 1.5m length. It has soft, compliant insulation and is well-relieved at all terminations. In addition, its straight 3.5mm plug is case friendly. Up top are pre-formed ear guides. They’re strangely long but find an ergonomic fit nonetheless. Advanced also includes a remote cable for mobile use. It isn’t quite as well constructed but still impresses with a more pocket-friendly right angle plug, braided sheath and, of course, a convenient in-line remote.

 

Sound –

Measurements on my website are provided for reference, they are not 100% accurate so take them with a grain of salt. My measurement system introduces an 8KHz peak that is not audible on most gear, I will highlight if it is in my subjective comments. My measurements are not accurate past 10KHz so they do not fairly represent treble extension and upper-treble tuning.

 

Tonality –

The GT3 provides a bright and revealing sound with a focus on high-frequencies, specifically, the upper-midrange and lower-treble. This provides a very crisp presentation with heaps of detail presence. Meanwhile, the low-end and midrange are quite balanced, upper-bass and the lower-midrange are both laid-back but bass fullness is retained through moderate sub-bass emphasis. Vocals are quite present on behalf of climbing emphasis into the upper-midrange before a subsequent 4-KHz dip that mitigates some of the effects of its lower-treble spike. Still, this will not be a sound for those wanting a warm, organic presentation or a perfectly natural timbre, instead aiming squarely to compete with brighter Chi-Fi offerings such as the Falcon-C, Pinnacle P1 and Kinera IDUN.

 

Filters –

In addition to the silver filters fit to the GT3 from factory, Advanced also includes 2 additional pairs that enable listeners to tweak the sound to their preference. In actuality, the filters have a fairly subtle effect, offering attenuation of several key frequency zones. The red filters offer a less obvious effect, slightly toning done the lower and middle-treble while slightly enhancing the upper-midrange. In listening, most would be hard pressed to notice immediate differences.

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The black filter, however, offers a noticeably more balanced experience than both filters and users shouldn’t be turned away by its “bass” moniker. This filter attenuates the high-end to the same degree as the red filter but also serves to smooth the upper-midrange. As such, it doesn’t have the same kind of clarity, but vocals sound fuller and the sound is more natural on whole. The following comments are with my preferred black filters installed.

 

Bass –

Advanced sound is quick to tout the GT3’s multi-damped bass driver, promising high-control and strong extension. And in listening, the GT3 indeed impresses with its outstanding speed and excellent definition. Its tuning isn’t perfectly balanced as mid-bass is lightly emphasized, adding a touch of fullness to each note, and upper-bass is attenuated to reduce warmth and increase bass/midrange separation. As a result, the GT3 has slightly enlarged note size while maintaining a dead neutral bass tone. Meanwhile, sub-bass is moderately emphasized, increasing bass weight and power, in addition to being very well extended, with presence below the audible and into the perceptible.

Bass control also impresses, demonstrating very quick decay for a dynamic driver. Combined with its restrained mid and upper-bass, the GT3’s low-end is very defined and nicely separated, delivering well-textured notes. And much like the Falcon-C, its enhanced sub-bass ensures listeners remain engaged, providing slightly more depth and aiding dynamics. Though it is hardly a bass-emphasized earphone, the GT3’s low-end sits well in-line with its midrange and never becomes overshadowed by the higher-frequencies. The GT3 demonstrates some of the most impressive speed and detail retrieval around this price range.

 

Mids –

With a prominent upper-midrange and lower-treble, the GT3 errs on the revealing side, prioritising clarity over note resolution and timbre. In addition, the lower-midrange is quite recessed which, combined with the aforementioned factors and slightly attenuated upper-bass, produces a thinner midrange presentation. This is especially noticeable with male vocals that are slightly small and fairly laid-back. Female vocals can also sound a touch raspy and the GT3 is prone to over-articulation as a result of its notable lower-treble emphasis. In addition, sibilance is a little more prevalent than most in-ears, however, not to the extent of fatigue.

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Still, midrange notes aren’t completely resolved but thinned out in the pursuit of clarity, and timbre is skewed bright as a result. This contrasts to other high-frequency forward earphones like the TFZ King Pro that have warmer low-ends to compensate. However, the GT3 has one trick up its sleeve, redeeming vocal body and smoothness through a moderate 4-kHz dip that effectively prevents over-brightness. As such, the GT3 remains a pleasant sounding in-ear and its enhanced clarity greatly aids older mastering and genres such as Jazz and Hip-Hop that have a tendency to sound slightly muffled.

 

Highs –

The high frequencies define the GT3 with lower-treble sitting at the forefront of its presentation. Specifically, the GT3 employs a fairly significant 6-KHz spike producing a very aggressively detailed sound with heightened attack. Resultantly, instruments are very crisp but also rather thin. Decay is cut slightly short but smaller details are brought to the fore. Meanwhile, middle-treble sits a touch behind, preventing over-brightness and aiding cleanliness. This is combined with an upper-treble spike that enhances sparkle and adds a touch of air while reinforcing the GT3’s stronger treble extension.

As a result, details are very present but the earphones don’t come across as over-bright or strident if still a touch brittle nonetheless. Still, by implementing that upper-treble emphasis, notes are presented with greater clarity and energy without resorting to middle-treble emphasis that can compromise separation and further skew timbre into brightness. Actual detail retrieval is quite good but notes aren’t especially textured or realistic as treble is too thin. Still, as resolution is on the higher side, background details are easy to discern despite being slightly laid-back in their presentation.

 

Soundstage –

The GT3 doesn’t have the most expansive soundstage as many elements tend to be pushed forward due to its style of tuning. Despite this, the earphone is capable of width that stretches just beyond the head with the right recording, however, it does have fairly intimate depth. Still, centre image is strong and imaging is quite good on behalf of sharp directional cues and quick transience. Separation is excellent throughout due to its neutral tone and mostly accurate note size. That said, the GT3’s presentation could be more layered as its foreground/background becomes confused at times.

 

Drivability –

The GT3 has a lower 32-ohm impedance combined with a fairly modest 92 dB sensitivity. As such, it is not the most efficient IEM, requiring a little more power than most to achieve high listening volumes. In return, hiss isn’t an issue and output impedance is less of a concern. In accordance, an external amplifier or dedicated DAP is recommended to extract the most performance out of this earphone. As compared to the dB Magix AC-3C (10-ohm output impedance), driving the GT3 from the iBasso DX200 w/AMP5 considerably improved bass extension and control in addition to providing a noticeably more extended, detailed high-end. Notes sounded more precise and vocals better resolved.

 

Comparisons –

Kinera IDUN ($140): The IDUN is similarly tuned with a focus on the upper-midrange and lower-treble. It has a touch less bass extension and less sub-bass presence combined with a similarly minute mid-bass emphasis to imbue a touch of fullness. On the contrary, the IDUN has an even more recessed upper-bass/lower-midrange which makes it sound tonally cool rather than neutral and even thinner in body throughout. The IDUN’s bass is even faster than the GT3, but it doesn’t sound quite as natural or dynamic down low. The IDUN has noticeably more centre midrange, pushing vocals forward.

However, as its upper-midrange and lower-treble aren’t as forward, its vocals also don’t sound as over-articulated as the GT3. Instead, the IDUN sounds thinned out and is cool in tone so, by extension, the IDUN’s midrange timbre is less natural overall than the GT3 as it is lower-end is less linear. On the flipside, the IDUN is slightly more detailed and has slightly higher resolution. Both have a similarly sized soundstage but the GT3 images slightly better as it is more balanced through its midrange.

TFZ King Pro ($170): The King Pro is similarly on the brighter side and is more V-shaped. It has similarly strong sub-bass extension but with a lot more sub and mid-bass emphasis that grants it a considerably larger, fuller low-end. In return, it isn’t as fast or as defined as the GT3, with a smoother texture. The King Pro has a lower-midrange dip that is sharper than the GT3’s and a similarly forward upper-midrange. As such, it is very clear with great female vocal presence, however, as its bass is also more present, the King Pro doesn’t sound as thin as the GT3.

Male vocals sound small as a result, however, it also lacks the same raspiness and over-articulation on behalf of its smoother lower-treble. So its midrange, though clear and sculpted, sounds more natural than the GT3. On the contrary, it lacks the same crispness and attack of the GT3, instead pursuing an airier presentation with greater middle-treble focus. In turn, its background is not as clean yet the King Pro achieves a clean presentation and a larger soundstage nonetheless. Meanwhile, the more balanced GT3 has more concise imaging and retrieves more background detail.

Dunu Falcon-C ($200): The Falcon-C is a touch more vocal recessed, however, it is more linear overall, especially with regards to its midrange. It has similar sub-bass extension but less emphasis with sub-bass sitting more in-line with its mid-bass. That said, the Falcon-C’s bass isn’t quite as fast as the GT3 though it is also well-controlled and tonally neutral. And though the Falcon-C has less upper-bass, it also has a significantly more linear midrange, especially the with regards to the upper-midrange.

As such, it sounds smoother and more natural than the GT3. This is aided by its less emphasized lower-treble. Though it too is a crisp earphone, its treble isn’t as forward and instruments have more body. moreover, the Falcon-C’s background is even darker, making it the cleaner and more composed sounding earphone. The Falcon-C is more detailed and has slightly higher resolution. It has a larger soundstage at the cost of slightly more distant vocals, also a byproduct of its less present centre and upper-midrange.

Campfire Audio Comet ($200): The Comet is the most balanced earphone in this comparison but it isn’t the most linear. To clarify, the single BA Comet lacks the same sub-bass extension and power as the GT3, instead, opting for a lightly warm and punchy bass response with a touch more mid and upper-bass. It also has fast decay, sounding just a touch less defined only due to its added warmth. The Comet has slightly smaller male vocals, but its midrange is a lot more natural. Its upper-midrange is emphasized and its vocals are clear, but it employs a sharp 4kHz dip to add density.

As such, the Comet is a lot fuller than the GT3 and actually reduces sibilance. In addition, the Comet actually has an attenuated lower-treble, sounding a lot smoother and more organic than the GT3, it is a very different style of sound. Meanwhile, its middle-treble is slightly more present, aiding air while its upper-treble is more linear, delivering a clean background and natural sparkle. The Comet is a touch less detailed and has a slightly more intimate presentation, but it images better and is more layered.

 

Verdict –

What strikes about Advanced Sound’s products is their lack of a house sound. Each product is tailored towards its intended uses, whether that be a balanced open-back for home use, a bassy noise canceller for commute or an engaging BT earphone for active use. With the GT3, its uses seem to trace a somewhat prosumer line with its longer 1.5m cable and emphasis on reference tuning. However, in listening, it’s clear the GT3 isn’t a neutral earphone, with notable sub-bass and especially lower-treble emphasis. It is very tonally transparent and demonstrates truly excellent bass control and definition.

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However, higher up, timbre is compromised by notable brightness, even with the darkest tuning filters attached. As such, this is an earphone that suits those wanting great detail presence and clarity over an absolutely balanced and natural sound. It also suits lovers of pristine female vocals and those wanting to extract more immediacy from older recordings. Nonetheless, the GT3 is ultimately an IEM with superb construction and bass quality but with a somewhat overzealous treble tuning that will be up to individual preference.

 

Extra Note:

As with the LZ A5, it’s possible ADV could cater towards those wanting greater balance by releasing more high-frequency attenuating filters. Their new GT3 Superbass also appears to cater to those wanting a warmer sound at the same $199 asking price.

 

The Adv Sound GT3 is available from Amazon (International) for $199 USD at the time of writing. Please see my affiliate link for the most updated pricing, availability and configurations.

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