Aurisonics ASG-1 1.3 In-Ear Monitor Review

January 22, 2014

Aurisonics is a relatively new name in the in-ear monitor (IEM) industry. The company was founded in 2011 by Dale Lott over in Nashville, Tennessee. They currently offer two models in two different varieties (generic and custom). I don’t like overly powerful bass, and I dislike overly harsh treble even more. My loyalty lies in gorgeous mids, and that’s why I initially decided to spring for the Aurisonics ASG-1 IEMs.

The ASG-1 is Aurisonics’ generic single driver model, and its currently in its third revision (1.3). Unlike balanced armature monitors which use multiple drivers to reproduce different frequency ranges, The ASG-1 uses one large 15 mm dynamic driver resulting in a more coherent albeit less detailed response. The ASG-1 was designed to be stage monitor, and the sound signature reflects that philosophy. Mids are emphasized, bass is present and punchy, and treble is rolled off which makes for an extremely un-fatiguing listening experience. If you’re looking for a flat IEM from an audiophile’s perspective, the ASG-1 is not the right choice for you. If you’re looking for a great sounding and affordable stage monitor, read on.

Sound Quality

The Aurisonics ASG-1 is a unique product in the overcrowded world of IEMs. It doesn’t try to satisfy everyone’s idea of a perfect IEM, and this fact is obvious when talking about its sound signature. It’s sound signature is spaciously dark and lush…almost magical… — truly unlike anything else I’ve listened to. Unlike the mid-driven Shure SE535, the ASG-1’s sound signature is definitively supported by its powerful bass response. The first listening with the Aurisonics ASG-was a little disappointing. The bass response was scattered and messy, and it was hard not to pay attention to it. I thought about returning them, but eventually decided to give “burn in” a chance. I’m so glad I did. After 50 hours of listening, the bass tightened up considerably. I honestly wasn’t ever a believer in burn in, but I’m convinced it’s real now. The muddiness is now gone, replaced by a punchy and present bass response that lays out the foundation for higher frequencies. I’m not a basshead, but I have to admit I’ve been listening to a lot of bass-heavy music lately thanks to the ASG-1.

The Aurisonics ASG-1 is a mid-centric IEM since it was originally designed to be used as a stage monitor for vocalists. A complaint with the original ASG-1’s was the “shouty” quality of the midrange frequencies. While I have no experience with the original model, I can confidently say there is nothing shouty about the third revision of this IEM. The mids are extremely lush and warm, and listening to vocal-featured music is a complete joy. The highs are the only lacking portion of the frequency spectrum, and I use the treble booster EQ preset in iTunes to compensate. Some people have reported that the highs do open up a little after more burn in time, so I’ll have to see if that happens for me. Instrument separation is decent, but not as detailed as higher end balanced armature models like the Shure SE535. The soundstage, on the other hand, is massive — which is partly why I love listening to classical music with the ASG-1s. It makes for an enveloping and engaging experience, and I haven’t tried any other IEM quite like it.

Build Quality, Comfort, & Accessories

The Aurisonics ASG-1’s housing is made of a frosted plastic, and it feels very solid. I don’t go around dropping my IEMs often, so I don’t know how impact resistant they are. The cable is something I have a love-hate relationship with. I love how light it is, and the braided design is also nice. The only thing I have a problem which is the memory wire. I wear glasses, and I just find the memory wire portion of the cable to be a little thick to comfortably wrap around my ear. Besides the memory wire issue, the ASG-1 is extremely comfortable. Sometimes I forget I’m wearing them after long periods of use — this never happens with IEMs.

The ASG-1s ship with a few accessories and minimal packaging. It comes in a sturdy Otterbox case. While not as portable and convenient as Shure’s soft pouches, I like the sense of security I get with this hard case. A tool for cleaning earwax is also included, along with a small selection of tips. The accessories aren’t anything to write home about, but it’s adequate and I appreciate Aurisonic’s “green” and minimal packaging choices.

Isolation & Microphonics

I’m using the medium single flange tips right now, and isolation is great. I don’t have any specific decibel numbers to back me up, but let’s just say my morning train commutes to school have been extremely peaceful with these IEMs. If it means anything to you, isolation is marginally better than the Shure SE535s. Microphonics are a complete nonissue with the ASG-1s, and I think this is due to the thin cable. I always had severe microphonic issues with the thicker SE535 cable while walking, and hearing 100% music from the ASG-1s without microphonics is a huge plus in my book.

Conclusion

It’s difficult to accurately describe the Aurisonics ASG-1’s sound signature. It’s something that has to be experienced. With that said, I really love the these IEMs. They’re ideal for long listening sessions because they’re non-fatiguing and very comfortable. Classical and vocal-featured music are two genres where these IEMs excel. I don’t particularly like them for rock because of the rolled off treble frequencies. Remember these IEMs can be upgraded to the ASG-2, so don’t let the lack of treble sway you too much. If you’re looking for an IEM with punchy bass, gorgeous mids, and the best soundstage in its class, look no further than the Aurisonics ASG-1. To be completely honest, they’re an absolute steal at $300.


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