Howzit PA fam. Have you been looking for a small, extremely comfortable and good sounding budget earphone? Well, on the board today is the Alpha & Delta D3 IEM featuring metal shells, 6mm micro drivers and a very generous bundle of accessories.
Lend Me UR ears is a Singapore based retailer of personal audio equipment.LMUR also develops their own earphone brand “Alpha & Delta”. They offer free international shipping and international warranty on all items purchased. The store was opened in December 2011 with a goal to:
“bring quality audio products to the masses and providing good customer service in the process.”
At the time of writing, the D3 is listed at $35 USD.
Alpha & Delta D3 on Lend Me UR Ears (price in Singapore dollars): http://www.lendmeurears.com/alpha-delta-d3/
Alpha & Delta D3 from the Alpha & Delta webstore (price in US dollars): https://www.alphandelta.com/product-page/alpha-delta-d3
This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. I’m not affiliated with the company and all observations and opinions here are my own.
- The tiny shells virtually disappear in your ears
- Comfortable and well-constructed
- Fantastic included accessories
- Steep treble roll-off
- Midrange is a bit recessed
- Driver Unit: 6 mm micro dynamic driver
- Impedance: 16 ohm
- Rated Power: 1mW
- Frequency Response: 10Hz-20 kHz
- Speaker Sensitivity: 92+/- db/mW
- Cord Length: 1.2m silver plated copper cable
- Plug: 3.5mm
Package & accessories
Packaging comes in the form of a grey box with a picture of the IEM on the front, along with the model name and some of the key features. Similarly, on the rear of the box are more features and an image showing the D3’s cable.
Inside the box is a clear plastic tray with a cutout holding the protective case and another with some ziplock bags holding the other accessories. Let’s check out everything inside:
- A&D D3 earphone
- Leather carry case
- Leather cable strap
- Shirt clip
- 1x pair of foam eartips
- 1x pair of double flange eartips
- 1x pair of triple flange eartips
- 3x pairs of single flange silicone eartips (S, M, L)
- 1x pair of silicone ear hooks
- User manual
For the price you’re paying that is one heck of a bundle. Other manufacturers could really learn from A&D’s example in this regard. For a budget IEM, this is an incredible value. I wish more earphones came with a variety of eartips like this.
The carry case provided is fantastic aesthetically and in terms of practicality. And it’s genuine leather to boot, as is the cable strap. That right there adds a lot of value to the D3.
Build quality & design
The D3 shells are constructed from die-cast metal which looks pretty flashy and feels robust as well. From the side, they look kind of like one of Santa’s boots or a golf club. Although they’re metal, the shells are very lightweight which is hardly surprising when you see how tiny they are.
On the rear of the left earpiece is the company logo, which is really subtle and quite difficult to see unless you look closely. I wasn’t able to see a bass port/vent on the shells anywhere but there is absolutely no driver flex present.
The nozzles have a good length and a solid lip to hold eartips on securely. What is really unusual and something I haven’t seen before is the very end part of the nozzle is angled, as opposed to being angled at the base.
The D3’s silver-plated copper cable has a clear plastic sheath. It feels really strong and looks pretty cool too. Where it connects to the IEM shells there is a black, plastic strain relief. The relief is very stiff but I don’t see any problem with it and it should have good longevity. Besides, you’re covered by the D3’s one-year warranty should something go wrong.
There’s a black rubber Y-split with a good strain relief on both ends and there’s also a chin slider which we always like to see. The cable terminates in a 45° gold-plated plug with a hard rubber housing and again, an excellent strain relief.
Overall, I find the cable to be very good quality, especially keeping in mind that you’re only paying $35 for this earphone.
Comfort & Isolation
The Alpha & Delta D3 is cleverly designed so it can be worn cable down or over the ears. I prefer it over the ears because I get a more secure fit that way and it practically eliminates any microphonics.
In terms of comfort, the D3 is fantastic. It’s really tiny, something that is difficult to convey in the pictures but you will likely be surprised when it’s in your hands. Thanks to the all rounded and smooth surface of the shells, in addition to the tiny size, the D3 almost disappears in your ears.
I found this IEM great for lying down, so much that it will probably claim the esteemed position of my “bedtime IEM”. For normal everyday use, I can wear the D3 for hours comfortably.
Despite the D3’s minuscule size, it actually provides pretty good noise isolation. As such, it’s perfect for when you’re out and about, on public transport or noisy environments etc. I’d say the passive noise isolation is above average.
The D3 has a warm and full-bodied sound, provided by a meaty low end and inoffensive treble. It has a typical V-shaped signature with the main emphasis on the bass. There’s an upper midrange peak at 2.8kHz and then a slight dip before it peaks again in the lower treble at 4.5kHz. After that point, the treble falls off steeply, lending to the D3’s relaxed treble presentation.
Gear used for testing
Acoustic Research AR-M20, ATC HDA-DP20, PC > Tidal Premium > Arcam irDAC-II.
While the sensitivity is a bit low (92+/- dB/mW), the D3’s 16-ohm impedance means it’s still very easy to drive. It works perfectly well straight from my Android smartphone and low-powered DAPs.
The D3’s 6mm micro drivers provide a fun bass presentation that’s loaded with good impact and control. It’s reasonably fast with a natural decay and carries over into the lower midrange to add some body and fullness.
It’s the sub-bass that I really dig with the D3 though. The extension is quite good and it has a nice growl that can rumble in your ears. Listening to “2100” by Run The Jewels the D3 really shakes things up, delivering a visceral and physical bass experience.
The D3’s mids are somewhat recessed. While the tonality is good throughout, the mids tend to get pushed back in the mix. Male vocals are a bit thin, while female vocals are more vibrant and prominent. With complex tracks, the midrange can become congested and lack resolution. In Anathema’s “Kingdom“, the string sections didn’t have the rich resonance that I look for but instead sounded somewhat dry.
Treble notes have a clear, crisp sound that lifts the overall tonality. The lower treble peak gives the D3 some added clarity and airiness. However, the treble’s sharp drop off lacks natural sheen which can sometimes leave crash cymbals sounding flat. Overall though, the treble is pretty decent and thankfully there’s no sibilance.
The soundstage of the D3 is fairly intimate, having slightly more width than depth. It can feel a little closed in on bass-heavy tracks but the upper mid and lower treble accents add enough space to prevent feeling confined. Imaging is average, having better left and right separation than 3D positional cues.
Toyeteam UFO ($35 Single dynamic)
The Toyeteam UFO is another bassy earphone with a similar girth in the low end. But the UFO’s heavy bass is carried over more into the midrange which has thick, rich notes. Treble on the UFO is really low-key and that, in addition to the thickness in the mids really gives it a very warm signature.
The Alpha & Delta D3, in comparison, has more clarity thanks to its accentuated upper midrange and lower treble. That also gives it a brighter overall presentation. With that extra lift in the upper ranges, the D3 has a bigger soundstage and feels less confined than the UFO.
Both of these IEMs have an excellent build quality and a good cable but the D3 has a far superior accessory bundle and overall a better sound.
Accutone Lyra ($39 Single dynamic)
Accutone’s Lyra also has a weighted, punchy bass. Its midrange is thicker and lacks the clarity of the Alpha & Delta D3. The Lyra’s vocals have a veiled presentation and inferior instrument separation. Treble extension is better on the Lyra but lacks definition.
Both earphones have very good build quality but the matte grey finish of the Lyra’s shells looks better and is more practical, in my opinion. The Lyra also comes with a nice carry case but the overall package is outshone by the D3’s abundance of quality accessories.
Alpha & Delta D3 Conclusion
So, there it is. The Alpha & Delta D3 is a fun sounding and uniquely designed IEM. Its build quality and cable are superb and the ergonomics are fantastic, making it a very comfortable earphone.
While there are other products out there that sound as good for the same price, the Alpha & Delta D3 really stands out in terms of value. You’d be really hard-pressed trying to find anything else at the same price that offers such a bundle of quality accessories.
If you’re in the market for a quality budget earphone, the D3 is hands down, an outstanding value package.