In this Fearless Audio Shangri-la review, I’m taking a look at the third earphone in the brand’s “Colorful World” series. The Shangri-la is a hybrid penta-driver IEM with a 1DD+4BA configuration. The price is $228.
Disclaimer: This sample was provided by Linsoul for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
Fearless Audio Shangri-la Review
A high-energy and detailed IEM with exquisite design and build quality.
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Spacious, airy and detailed sound
Visually stunning design
Very comfortable shells
Excellent noise isolation
The elevated treble can be fatiguing at times
For some, the energetic and upfront nature may be too intense for a daily driver
The Shangri-la comes in a large black box with a black cardboard sleeve. It’s the same box we saw with the Fearless Barcelona and Provence. Here’s what’s inside the box:
Fearless Audio Shangri-la IEMs
1.2m earphone cable(±5cm)
Earphone silicone sleeve*4 pairs
Earphone cleaning brush
Portable earphone storage box
The Shangri-la sports the same shell design as the other Colourful World series IEMs. Its clear resin shells offer a view of the tidy internal components and colourful dynamic driver enclosure.
There are 3 faceplate designs to choose from but the one I have is called “Horizon”. Horizon boasts a beautiful burnt orange hue with a delicate gold pattern. Fearless Audio makes beautiful IEMs and the Shangri-la is no exception. The overall build quality is exquisite.
The included cable is an 8 strand ultra-pure oxygen-free copper (OFC) silver-plated Litz cable. The Y-split, chin slider and straight 3.5mm plug are all high-quality components with a premium feel. Once again, those angled connectors are a problem for my ears so I had to use one of my own cables to get a secure fit. It should be fine for everyone else as it seems only myself and a few others have this issue.
The Shangri-la earphones fit my ears like a glove. They’re extremely comfortable and I can wear them for hours at a time. In addition, these shells offer excellent passive noise isolation (approximately 26dB) making them ideal for stage monitors.
The Shangri-la builds on the qualities of the Barcelona and Provence IEMs but has added treble elevation. Increasing the treble makes the Shangri-la more detailed and energetic than its siblings. Furthermore, due to that extra lift in the highs, the Shangri-la’s bass is less accentuated, producing a more balanced high-fidelity experience.
Shangri-la’s bass follows the same pattern as the other Colourful World IEMs, with a focus on sub-bass extension followed by a milder mid-bass. The custom dynamic driver delivers ample impact with speed and authority.
The sub-bass is powerful but composed and can produce a deep but light rumble. Mid-bass notes are less forward but are still punchy with good definition. It’s not the most textured or gritty bass – instead, it aims for clarity and control.
Listening to Glasgow Coma Scale’s “Underskin”, the kick drum is punchy with natural-sounding attack and decay. The bass guitar sits further back in the mix, as with so many IEMs that follow current tuning trends.
The midrange is tuned for clarity and detail more than musicality. That doesn’t mean the mids are sterile or analytical – just that they have a slightly leaner note size with fast transients and added transparency.
Vocals are fairly upfront and articulate. Male and female voices have an accurate tone with no added colouration. The midrange clarity is good with no haze or muddiness. The vocal presentation and instruments are neutral in note size but sound slightly thinner due to the lifted lower treble.
While playing Lucid Planet’s “Kairos”, the opening vocals sound adequately engaging and vulnerable. Later in the song, as things ramp up, the mids are pushed back a little by the elevated treble but the end result is still pleasing if not entirely enveloping.
The Shangri-la has an elevated core treble, focused around a 6kHz peak. This adds clarity to the mix in addition to creating more precise imaging. Despite being forward in its presentation, the treble isn’t bright but could use a little added warmth for realism.
It’s an airy and articulate treble with good top-end extension. Micro-detail retrieval is only average, due to the 10kHz dip: this dip is necessary to maintain a natural timbre and prevent the treble from being brittle and sizzling. This is a treble that works better for classical and acoustic music than it does for rock and metal music as its forward nature can be fatiguing at times.
Soundstage and Technicalities
Thanks to the airy and elevated treble response, the Shangri-la has a fairly wide and spacious soundstage. The imaging is reasonably precise and instrument separation is a strong point. However, the focus on the treble sometimes hazes over midrange harmonics which hinders the overall resolution on more complex tracks.
The Fearless Audio Shangri-la is an impressive addition to the Colourful World series. It has a more technical and energetic approach compared to the Barcelona and Provence models. Its design is stunning and the build quality is top-notch. This is an ideal IEM for someone looking for an energetic, detailed sound with some extra spice sprinkled on top.
Sensitivity: 112dB (@1kHz)
Impedance: 22Ω (@1kHz)
Frequency response range: 15Hz-20000Hz
Passive noise reduction: 26dB
Drivers: Fearless special research pole magnetic dynamic driver, Sonion 23 colorful world cooperation funds Medium and High Frequency BA 2 Colorful World 2rd generation high frequency BA2
Standard socket: 0.78mm 2pin notched socket (can change the line)
Standard wiring material: 8 strands of high-purity OFC silver-pLated wire with O.78-2Pin with3.5mm plug