Simgot EM3 Review – Razzle Dazzle
Outstanding vocal clarity, Very clean tone, Great separation, Comfortable
Bright background can be polarising, Mediocre noise isolation
The EM3 offers the technical performance missing from the EN700 series and constructs a revealing yet musical image upon a solid technical foundation.
It seems there’s a new ChiFi audio manufacturer every other day and certainly, those that keep up with social media can become overwhelmed within the modern audio scene with the sheer number of releases. Simgot did not have such a graceful start, in fact, their first earphone was not well-received. Despite this, they took constructive feedback and developed the unpopular EN700 into a highly successful line of earphones with the later Bass and Pro.
Recently, they have been hard at work expanding their product line-up with the all-new EM series and even a planar magnetic headphone down the line. The EM3 represents their midrange offering that features a 3 hybrid driver configuration. It adopts a considerably smaller housing than the EN700 earphones in addition to a substantially different tuning, substituting warmth and body with clarity and energy. This earphone is reminiscent of Japanese style tuning with a Chi-Fi twist. You can read more about the EM3 and purchase one for yourself here.
I would like to thank Simgot very much for their quick communication and for providing me with the EM3 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.
The EM3 is well packaged with a sleeve covering a hard box. Inside are the earphones, a beautiful magnetic faux leather carrying case and two cards containing 3 pairs of tips each. The two sets of tips offer different sounds, one being bass orientated, the other more balanced. In addition, Simgot provides a cleaning tool.
As aforementioned, the EM3 strikes as a substantially more compact earphone than its predecessor. Similarly, it adopts a predominately plastic housing with metal accents that retain a fairly premium feel while drastically decreasing weight. They are also shapelier with smooth edges that should permit a comfortable fit with a wider range of ears.
The EM3 is a very slim earphone that doesn’t protrude excessively from the ear. It has a medium fit depth on behalf of long nozzles that are ergonomically angled. Despite producing a strong seal and a stable fit, they produce just average noise isolation, though it is improved over the EN700 earphone, possibly due to venting for the dynamic driver. Still, with an over-ear fit, increased fit depth and lighter housings, the EM3 is considerably more stable in the ear than the EN700 earphones, especially during active use.
Up top is a 2-pin 0.78mm removable cable system. The included unit is of high quality just like the unit included with the EN700 Pro. It has 6N OCC silver-plated copper internals and a kevlar jacket that still manages to remain supple. Though orientation is easily discerned from the shape of the housings Simgot’s choice to colour right blue and left red may can confuse on first use. Otherwise, the keyed connectors are solid and the cable is supple and tangle-resistant. It is well-relieved and has a premium straight, case-friendly 3.5mm plug.
This earphone is quite unorthodox in its tuning though it sounds quite nice to the ear nonetheless. It has a primary focus on higher frequencies with a more reserved bass and vocal forward midrange. As bass has nice sub-bass slam and strong extension, it doesn’t sound sparse. Similarly, the upper-midrange isn’t overly enhanced, so this earphone doesn’t fatigue with excessive brightness or forwardness either. Still, those searching for body, warmth and naturalness will want to look towards the EN700 line-up, this earphone is clearly focused on atmosphere, clarity and presence.
As before, the EM3 comes with 2 sets of ear tips, bass and balanced. The bass tips increase low-end emphasis and provide a warmer sound with greater sub and mid-bass weight. They also slightly attenuate the high frequencies providing what is subjectively a more balanced sound to my ear. The following comments are with my preferred bass tips equipped.
Adopting a hybrid driver configuration, bass impresses with strong extension. Sub-bass is slightly emphasised, and the EM3 still delivers firm slam at the very bottom when called for. Mid-bass is neutral if not slightly attenuated. This creates a very neutrally toned low-end with great separation and definition enabled by a complete lack of bloat or muddiness. Upper-bass feeds smoothly into a neutral lower-midrange, it too does not contribute much warmth to the EM3’s sound, simply preventing it from falling into thinness. This tuning serves to heighten separation though detail retrieval will remain low without ample driver control. Luckily, this is not the case here, and the EM3 delivers a nicely detailed low-end emphasized by its clean tuning.
Control is not the highest but operates at a respectable level that is clearly higher than the EN700 earphones. In fact, it serves to amplify this earphone’s musicality as decay is very natural, granting notes a smoother texture. Moreover, the earphone still retrieves plenty of fine texture and avoids becoming overshadowed by the higher frequencies while retaining ample punch. The EM3 is not a bass-heavy earphone but it doesn’t come across as anaemic either, aided by the natural decay of its dynamic driver. This is a delightfully musical and pleasantly resolving low-end if not a large or hyper-defined one and I find it a great complement to the rest of the EM3’s sound.
Simgot have tastefully tuned the lower-midrange to provide adequate body without introducing a hint of warmth. Rather, the EM3’s midrange is a touch cool and on the thinner side as far as body is concerned. Vocals sit at the fore with rising emphasis to a 2KHz hump before a smooth dip into a 4KHz trough. As we’ve seen before, this tuning does well to counteract the effects of a lower-treble peak and the same result is achieved here; the EM3 presenting pleasantly smooth vocals that avoid over-articulation.
Due to the nature of its tuning, female vocals take consistent precedence over male vocals though both are well-present especially in comparison to its reserved low-end. Midrange notes don’t sound perfectly filled in as a result of lesser quantity within the lower registers. Vocals are clean, slightly thin but also highly clear and intelligible. They are also notably more intimate than instruments benefitting pop, jazz and ballad.
Treble defines the EM3’s sound having the most prominence and drawing the most attention in kind. Lower-treble stands out most, continuing crescendo from the earphone’s 4KHz trough. It isn’t overly sharp or metallic as the 6-KHz region isn’t overly emphasized, however, the earphone remains crisp with an immediate detail presentation. Foreground detail is copious though treble instrumentation is thinned out as a result. Middle-treble also carries emphasis which serves to open up its soundscape in light of its less present upper-midrange.
Despite having heaps of detail presence, the EM3 is not the most detailed earphone I have heard around its asking price. This mainly comes down to the nature of its treble tuning which compromises natural timbre and body in favour of said crispness and presence. Moreover, the foreground tends to overshadow background details and though extension is admirable, sparkle and micro-detail don’t draw attention like the foreground.
The EM3 delivers a reasonably large stage despite not possessing the cleanest or darkest background nor the highest foreground/background separation. However, the nature of its tuning heightens separation between the three core frequency bands, bass, mids and treble, and this contributes to the impression of a more spacious stage as each element is given more space to breathe. In reality, the stage is not so expansive, rather, each note is smaller leading to very high separation. Imaging is quite sharp, a product of decisive directional cues and generally swifter transients. That said, as aforementioned, layering is not this earphone’s forte and placement can be less discerned than more balanced earphones.
The EM3 has a lower impedance with an average sensitivity. It is easy to drive but needs a little more voltage to reach high volumes than most earphones around this price. Nonetheless, it isn’t picky about sources and isn’t overly affected by output impedance, as it isn’t overly sensitive, it doesn’t pick up much hiss either. As such, it will play happily from a smartphone and a budget DAP such as the Shanling M0 will do a terrific job. It does scale somewhat with higher end sources, for instance, switching to the iBasso DX200 w/AMP5 yielded a wider soundstage and more extended bass. Its sound became slightly more detailed and bass was more controlled.
Campfire Audio Comet ($200): The EM3 has a brighter sound than the Comet. It has more extended sub-bass and greater slam at the bottom. Both have a slightly fuller mid-bass while the Comet has additional upper-bass that provides a warmer sound where the EM3 sounds quite clean and tonally neutral. The EM3 has the thinner, clearer midrange as a result. It has more vocal presence and considerably more upper-midrange, sounding more extended but also not quite as dense and accurately bodied.
The EM3 has more detail presence, though details stand out more on the Comet as it the frequency band is more isolated. Both earphones have a thinner treble presentation though the EM3 has a brighter background. Neither are especially well-layered, the Comet is more balanced and coherent while the EM3 has better separation.
Fiio FH5 ($260): The FH5 is a fuller, more balanced earphone. It has more sub-bass quantity and slightly stronger extension. The FH5 also has more mid-bass, sounding warmer and generally more impactful. Its midrange is less present in general, though fuller bodied on account of a sharper 4K dip combined with greater overall bass quantity. It doesn’t sound quite as extended or as clean but does sound slightly more natural.
Treble is more detailed on the FH5, and instruments have more appropriate body. On the flipside, the EM3 has more headroom and air, it is brighter and crisper which some may prefer. The FH5 has a more rounded soundstage and superior imaging though the EM3 has superior separation by a fair degree.
Final E5000 ($280): The E5000 has a warmer and more natural sound. Its sub-bass is more extended and it has more emphasis. It has a touch more mid-bass and more upper-bass that slopes more sharply into the lower-midrange. As such, it is warmer and doesn’t sound quite as clean, however, its bass is also more controlled and tighter, delivering more definition and detail.
The E5000 has a warmer midrange, vocals aren’t as prominent but are well-balanced and very natural. It has a touch of lower-treble emphasis but isn’t nearly as bright as the EM3, again, aiming for a more natural sound. It is just as detailed if not more so and its treble extends just as well too. Both construct a large soundstage, the E5000 images better but isn’t quite as separated due to its fuller tuning.
Shozy BG ($280): The BG is more balanced but shares a brighter background and vocal prominence. It has slightly less sub-bass extension. The BG has a touch less mid-bass but also more upper-bass and a lower-midrange so it sounds more integrated. It has faster decay and greater control, retrieving more bass detail. The BG has a more coherent midrange, it has some centre and upper-midrange peaks but it has more body than the EM3.
Vocals are more prominent on the BG due to its centre midrange prominence though arguable, the EM3 sounds more natural as it is more smoothly sculpted, the BG having a slightly off vocal timbre. The BG is more detailed and has more air, it has strong treble extension and a larger soundstage. It sounds more layered and both are very well separated.
Oriveti New Primacy ($300): The New Primacy is a more balanced earphone overall. It has slightly less sub-bass extension and less quantity. It has similar mid-bass quantity and a touch more upper-bass sounding nicely full. The New Primacy is more aggressively textured and sounds more defined even if it is less separated. The New Primacy also has slightly forward vocals but it doesn’t have the same clarity with a more linear midrange with a slightly attenuated upper-midrange.
Contrarily, the EM3 sounds a lot clearer but also thinner, its notes aren’t as wholly resolved and it isn’t as layered. Both have lower-treble emphasis, the New Primacy is more detailed and has more body, it has an inverse middle-treble that is quite dark while the EM3 is bright. As such, the New Primacy sounds cleaner and more stable where the EM3 sounds more energetic and open.
We see a recurring theme with Chi-Fi earphones that offer strong quality for the asking price in addition to unique tunings that seek to further emphasize these qualities. In so doing, one can argue that they come across as overly coloured, lacking the natural timbre and coherence of western competitors. On the contrary, there’s no denying that these models offer strong quality for their asking price. The EM3 exemplifies this; though reserved, it has an excellent bass performance and superb vocal clarity.
Similarly, its high-end is bright and its background isn’t the cleanest, but it doesn’t fall into the same trap as most brighter earphones, effectively avoiding sharpness and fatigue. The EM3 ultimately comes across as a nicely refined earphone tuned intentionally for vocal clarity and separation over superficial brightness that masks a deficit of underlying quality. The EM3 offers the technical performance missing from the EN700 series and constructs a revealing yet musical image upon a solid technical foundation.
The Simgot EM3 is available from Amazon (International) for $229 USD at the time of writing. Please see my affiliate link for the most updated pricing, availability and configurations.
Hey Ryan, if you could keep only 1 iem out of all these iems you have compared in the sub-300 dollar price range what would it be according to your personal preference.
At the moment, it’s probably the BG, just a great all around package. But then depends on the kind of sound you want really, for instance, the FH5 offers a weightier sound with a meatier low end and the EM3 sits on the other side delivering a lighter/brighter sound. Let me know if you have any questions about a specific model too!
Always a pleasure to read your reviews. I bought Kinera idun based on your recommendation and they are stunning. With my opus 1s, their signature is perfect for my preferences. Very calculated bass, clean mid range and high frequencies. I am worried that i might not be able to find idun’s upgrade, at least not in budget iems. Do you have any recommendation?
Thank you and I hope you’re having a happy new year!
What price range are you working with? Just to help me narrow down recommendations!
Thanks, I had a great new year with my family, hope you did too.
I’m looking at around 200-250 usd. I really don’t want to spend much as I am always looking for a new iem or a dap 😄
The EM3 is a fairly nice upgrade from the IDUN. Its tuning is in a similar ballpark to the IDUN but it has a noticeably smoother lower-treble and a cleaner background so it isn’t quite as bright and open, but does sound more refined.
The bass is faster and the midrange is a bit more natural with greater body while having similar vocal clarity.
That said, I don’t think you’ll find a huge jump in quality between the two. In my opinion, it’s best to save up for a $400-500 IEM down the road that may serve you for longer! Still great fun to experiment in the interim 🙂