Great build and quality designs, Custom cable included, Balanced and natural tonality, Sparkly and beautifully extended highs, Flat impedance, Excellent resolving power
Some may find highs thin, Could do with more soundstage depth
The Aurum has become a personal benchmark around its asking price and will likely remain so for some time to come.
Craft Ears is a Polish audio company spearheaded by a small team of passionate professionals. They specialise in IEMs, starting out with customs but now offer universal shells to suit a wider range of buyers. The Four was their first model, and an impressive introduction to the brand for me. However, it was the Six that really blew me away, representing a big step up in tuning and technical ability. It was truly an IEM that punched well above its price class and that is a sentiment I carry to this day. Unfortunately, I was never able to coordinate a full review of that model due to time and budget constraints due to the recent pandemic. However, there were talks that the company was working on something bigger and better using Sonion’s venerable estat tweeters. I was humbled when Jed accommodated me for review with the release of their new product line and its flagship, the Aurum. The Six is a tough act to follow, but the Aurum has more than a few new tricks up its sleeve. This is a complex EST, BA and DD tribrid design with some trick acoustics that promise to maximise the potential of its prolific driver setup.
The Aurum is available for 1295 EUR. You can read all about it and treat yourself to a unit here.
I would like to thank the friendly folk from Craft Ears for organising this review of the new Aurum. 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.
- Frequency Response: 5 Hz – 40 kHz
- Impedance: 9.6 Ohms
- Drivers: 1x PEN DD, 4x BA, 2x EST
- Crossover: 5-way electrical
Behind the Design –
Tribrid Driver Setup
Like many flagships, three kinds of drivers beat at the heart of the Aurum united by a 5-way electrical crossover. This comes in the form of a PEN dynamic driver, four balanced armatures and two latest generation electrostatic tweeters from Sonion. Of course, it doesn’t stop there as the company has implemented several technologies to create a superb listening experience.
PEN Dynamic Driver
The low end is handled by a 10mm DD that works as a “true subwoofer”. The PEN diaphragm is lightweight and stiffened, driver by N35 rare earth magnets that provide accurate dynamics and excellent control.
Space Expanse System 2.0
We first saw this applied to the Craft SIX and it was the company’s answer to competing tech such as T.A.E.C and Tia. This is a 3D printed, horn-loaded tweeter tuned specifically for Sonion’s tweeters. The company reasons this combo offers unprecedented loudness and expansion which helps to maximise the driver’s potential whilst addressing a key challenge for their implementation.
A trend that I have become a big fan of, the Aurum features an extremely flat impedance curve and phase meaning the sound signature will not change substantially between sources. This is a huge plus for those with multiple sources or professionals that require guaranteed accuracy.
Craft Ears do not currently support a live customizer on their website, however, this feature will be coming soon. At present, you can order through an online form. The Aurum comes with a stock design but, being a custom IEM, can be fully customised in terms of design, colour and even materials to buyer preference. Certain options may come at additional cost. Contact the company here if you would like to enquire or order.
Being a review sample, I didn’t receive the full packaging. Since, the company has created a new box and the earphones also come with a new hard case. My unit did come in a lovely CNC aluminium case with laser etched lid denoting the buyer’s name and the model of earphone. The case is of good size to accommodate the earphones without being unwieldy and has a grommet sealed thread to offer some moisture ingress protection. I can’t comment on how much the retail units will resemble this, that said. In addition, retail units will come with a cable clip, wax removal tool and a desiccant capsule for moisture removal after wear. Universal models will also include a variety of Spinfit tips.
It’s always difficult to evaluate the design of a custom in-ear due to the nature of the product. However, when considering the quality of finish and fit, 3D printing processes have really levelled the playing field. Having adopted the latest standard, Craft Ears produce a CIEM that is no less than the best; beautifully formed with a flawless bubble-free construction. I gave Jed and his staff free reign on the design of my review unit which returned in stunning red with pattern gold weave, a timeless colour combo. I also enjoy the fit of these earphones with a medium depth and no driver flex with notably strong pressure relief.
Relative to my other CIEMs, they also boast an attractive faceplate shape which is a small but appreciable detail indicative of a company willing to go the extra mile. The intricacy of the contours remind me of Hidition’s work, which are my best fitting custom earphones. They aren’t overly sculpted to the point that the fit forms pressure, but surely are one of my better fitting earphones if still shy of the snugness provided by the Hiditions due to a relatively reduced fit depth. The earphones use ubiquitous non-recessed 0.78mm 2 pin connectors and ship with a CM Cables Shines cable, though my unit shipped with an older variant so I cannot speak this pairing in particular.