Vesna is the word for spring in many eastern parts of eastern and central Europe. In this article, I’m reviewing the Astrotec Vesna. The Vesna is a budget IEM with a 6mm LCP diaphragm and bullet-style shells. It retails for $19.
Disclaimer: This sample was provided by Astrotec for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
- Driver: 6mm Dynamic Driver, LCP diaphragm
- Impedance: 30 OHM
- Cable: High purity OFC Cable 1.2±0.3m
- Sensitivity: 102dB/1mw (S.P.L at 1KHz)
- Frequency Response: 5Hz – 22KHz
- Price: $20
Package and Accessories
Vesna’s packaging consists of a small cardboard box. There’s a handy frequency response graph on the back, along with some specifications. Inside the box are the Vesna earphones, 3x pairs of silicone eartips, a carrying pouch. Along with those other standard inclusions, the Vesna comes with the unusual addition of a USB-C to 3.5mm dongle. This will be great for enthusiasts on a budget who have an Android phone. iPhone users get nothing (as usual).
Vesna has a simplistic bullet-style design. The small, lightweight shells are made from aviation-grade aluminium alloy. There’s a small L and R marking on top of the shells for Left and Right respectively. The rear face of the shells has an icy blue colour that adds some vibrancy to the appearance.
The nozzles are fairly long and have a solid lip, making it easy for eartip rolling. There’s a tiny air vent near the base of the nozzle. Like many budget IEMs, Vesna comes with a fixed cable. The cable is high-purity oxygen-free copper (OFC) and has a transparent PU sheath.
Most bullet-shape IEMs are very comfortable and Vesna is the same. Noise isolation is pretty good too. Fixed cables on small shells like these tend to have considerable microphonics and that is the case here as well. Nevertheless, the cable doesn’t have pre-formed guides so it can be worn over-ear which attenuates the cable noise significantly.
Vesna’s tuning is loosely based on the Harman target but takes a closer-to-neutral approach. Compared to the Harman curve, Vesna has less emphasis on the bass and less upper-midrange lift, along with the classic Harman-ish rolled-off upper treble.
With a 30Ω impedance and 102dB sensitivity, the Vesna requires more power than your average IEM. It’s not super demanding though and can be used with a smartphone or the included dongle. However, it is an earphone that likes driving power.
Vesna’s bass is lightly boosted and just subtly north of neutral. The transition from sub-bass to mid-bass is fairly linear, so it sounds powerful and confident. Slightly blunted leading edges and a natural decay give the bass fullness while still being demure in nature.
The 6mm micro-driver is well-controlled and agile: it has no trouble keeping up with the pace of the kick drums and bass guitar in Virgil Donati’s “Rhythm Zero”. At the same time, the moderate level of bass means there’s no bleeding or obscuring the midrange.
The midrange has a natural, organic tone that is resolving yet easygoing. There’s no graininess, nor is there any harshness in the upper midrange bands. It isn’t the most detailed sound but the instrument separation is good and the quality of the LCP driver is apparent in its tone.
The lower mids are full-bodied but uncoloured. Vocal notes have good size and density giving them an organic natural quality. Vocals aren’t too upfront but sound cosy and reassuring. The 5kHz dip makes instruments and voices slightly warmer and is partly responsible for the smoothness of the mids.
An emphasis on the lower treble provides definition and clarity. The upper treble is rolled-off ensuring a smooth, non-fatiguing experience. As a result, it’s not an especially precise treble but one that is free of sibilance and sharpness.
Detail retrieval is good but there’s not much air and sparkle, due to the warmer tone of the treble. Still, thanks to the laid back nature of the upper treble, Vesna’s high frequencies maintain a fairly accurate timbre.
Soundstage and Technicalities
The soundstage is average in dimensions and rounded in shape. While it’s not the widest, it transitions smoothly from the sides to the front. Instrument separation is good thanks to the driver’s nimbleness and speed, aiding in overall resolution. Imaging is decent and Vesna is reasonably apt at instrument placement.
Moondrop Quarks ($13)
The Moondrop Quarks is an ultra-budget IEM with a single dynamic driver. Quarks has less mid-bass punch and a leaner lower midrange. Quarks’ leaner low frequencies combined with a large upper midrange peak make it a bit shouty compared to Vesna.
Vesna’s midrange sounds brighter and more vibrant, however, one could argue that Quarks has a more accurate midrange tone. Quarks has less core treble presence, giving it a somewhat relaxed presentation and less detail. Both IEMs have a rolled-off upper treble that stifles upper harmonics and keeps airiness at a minimum.
CCA CRA ($14)
The CCA CRA is another single dynamic driver earphone. CRA has more sub-bass emphasis but has less over bass quantity than Vesna. Vesna’s bass notes are thicker and are delivered with more impact.
CRA has a leaner, more spacious midrange. Vesna, in comparison, has more midrange warmth but not as much instrument separation or clarity. Vocals have a fuller, darker tone on the Vesna but are less articulate than CRA.
CCA has greater treble extension and a more forward upper treble. This gives it extra clarity, detail and airiness compared to the warmer Vesna. The CCA has a wider soundstage and more precise imaging.
The Astrotec Vesna is a quality budget IEM and a valid option for anyone looking for an affordable earphone. With its bullet-shaped shells and straight cable, it’s also comfortable and fuss-free.
For people with an Android phone, the included USB-C to 3.5mm dongle is a real value addition too. Although the competition in this space is fierce, Vesna does a lot of things right and is worthy of consideration if you’re shopping for something in its price range.