NAGA Audio started business doing re-shelling services for Custom In-Ear Monitors. In 2015, they officially launched their own line of IEMs aimed at professional musicians. The company focuses on professional quality, customer respect, and long-term relations. Today, I’m reviewing the NAGA Audio Sirius in-ear monitor.
Sirius is named after the brightest star in the night skies and according to Naga Audio: “is a shining jewel among all other earphones in the market.” The Sirius has a single 10mm dynamic driver in a resin housing with a painstakingly-designed acoustic chamber. During the development of Sirius, the engineers designed almost a hundred different housing moulds before coming up with the ideal one. Has it paid off? Let’s find out.
Disclaimer:This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
NAGA Audio Sirius Review
Small shell size
Great build quality and comfort
Dynamic driver bass performance
Smooth and resolving
Micro detail retrieval
Package and Accessories
The Sirius packaging is fairly basic: the outer box is plain black cardboard sealed with a labelled sticker. Inside is a black semi-rigid zipper carrying case plus a smaller box containing extra accessories. Let’s break down the box contents.
Naga Audio Sirius earphones
Detachable 2-pin copper cable
3 pairs of black silicone eartips (S, M, L)
Build Quality and Design
Sirius’ resin shells are dark blue in colour and have a glittery, sparkling finish. The end result looks a bit like a galaxy in the night sky which is fitting of the IEM’s model name. As you might expect, the housings are very lightweight but they feel really nicely built.
On the right faceplate is some Naga Audio branding in silver and on the left earpiece is something written in what I believe is Cyrillic: however, it doesn’t look the same as the result I get for Sirius in Russian language from google translate. Perhaps someone can tell me in the comments below what the text actually says.
There is a mesh-covered vent on the top side of the shells which is likely there to provide air for the dynamic driver. The nozzle is rather short but it has a solid ridge that holds eartips securely in place. Overall, the build quality feels really good and the subtle glittering finish gives it a premium look.
Comfort and Noise Isolation
It seems as though the company’s years of re-shelling experience has paid off because the Sirius is one of the most comfortable earphones I’ve ever used. The shells are quite small and I can put them in my ears and forget about them. I can easily wear these literally all day long.
Noise isolation is about average for this type of housing and seems unaffected by the topside vent. Whether you’re commuting or in a noisy environment, the Sirius makes a good companion for your music.
The cable was a real surprise for me when I first took it out of the box. It’s a double-strand, twisted type with black rubber insulation. Although slightly thicker than the average rubber-insulated type cable, it handles extremely well.
It’s supple and does not have any kinks or twists yet it feels really rugged and durable. In addition, it’s tangle-resistant and does not suffer from microphonics. In fact, this is probably one of my favourites when it comes to stock IEM cables.
Gear used for testing includes the Sony NW-ZX300 and Soundaware M2Pro as portable devices. On the desktop, I had the Topping NX7 Pro DAC feeding my Phatlab Chimera amplifier via its RCA output.
Sirius has an extremely linear presentation with a slight lift in the treble and the lower treble, in particular, adding vocal clarity and detail. It has a nice, full bass response, forward midrange and clear, non-fatiguing treble. There are other things as well which I’ll cover more in detail in the sections below but they all add up together to make a rather unique sound signature.
Starting with the low frequencies, the Sirius has a very linear transition from the mid-bass to the sub-bass. The 10mm dynamic driver delivers bass with a controlled impact that packs a punch but doesn’t overshadow the mids. I really enjoy the resonance that you can feel in your ears and the way it never feels loose or bloated.
A good example of the Sirius bass is Scarface’s “The Love Of Money”. The meaty bass hits with authority: it sounds like a subwoofer but one that’s turned down low and thus leaves the vocals free to be the focus of the track. This is a really tasty bass and one that reminds me somewhat of the DUNU DK-3001 Pro in terms of body and decay.
One of the distinguishing traits of Sirius is the forwardness of its midrange. Naturally, this makes it a great IEM for vocals and guitars but, in fact, it works well with all types of music. The mids are upfront and on the warmer side of neutral. Sirius’ midrange notes are slightly rounded, giving them a musical quality but it maintains very good overall resolution and separation.
There’s a fullness to the sound giving it body and smoothness without becoming dark or dreary. I found this IEM to be great for grungy guitars like in Somali Yacht Club’s “Signals”. Vocals have a romantic quality and Sirius is also a great earphone for rock music or poor recordings that might sound harsh on other monitors.
Treble is a little on the softer side. However, it still feels fairly energetic and has good extension. There’s a sense of airiness and crispness to treble notes but they’re on the milder front and never fatiguing. This is one of the few IEMs that can smooth over the sibilance in Utada Hikaru’s “Traveling” while maintaining resolution and without sucking out the track’s energy.
One of the first things I noticed about Sirius was its soundstage. It’s larger than average, particularly in width. Stage positioning is rather forward because of the forwardness of the midrange. Vocals are on the intimate side with a strong central image. Positioning and imaging are good and instrument separation is above average. I don’t know how Naga Audio managed this considering Sirius’ tuning – perhaps it has something to do with the reasonably large vent on the shells. Regardless, has a better quality stage than a lot of its competition.
iBasso IT01s ($199)
The iBasso IT01s (review here) is a single DLC (Diamond Like Coating) dynamic driver IEM with special domed nanotube technology. It has a more traditional V-shaped signature which gives it more of a dynamic and lively presentation.
It has more mid-bass presence but it’s a very fast and agile bass. The extra low end is counterbalanced by having more upper midrange and treble energy. This results in more clarity for the IT01s and better micro-detail retrieval. However, the iBasso is less forgiving on poorly recorded music and its midrange is slightly recessed in comparison albeit with more clarity and articulation.
Peacock Audio P1 ($199)
The Peacock Audio P1 (review here) is a single dynamic driver IEM and is distinguished by its exquisitely hand-painted shells. It has some sub-bass roll-off but a similar quantity of mid-bass as Sirius. It’s a slightly faster bass with a more defined leading edge.
The bigger difference is in the P1’s midrange, which is significantly recessed. Vocals sound more distant and the stage position is also pushed back. With a fairly significant upper midrange peak, the P1 favours female vocals and has increased clarity. However, it is less resolving than Sirius and has inferior instrument separation.
In terms of treble, the P1 has a touch more extension and liveliness which in conjunction with the recessed midrange gives it a brighter overall tonality.
In conclusion, the Naga Audio Sirius is an excellent IEM and a nice change from the norm when it comes to tuning styles. It has a fantastic bass, lush and prominent midrange plus a clean, non-fatiguing treble. If you’re looking for something that differs somewhat in terms of presentation but is still technically on point, you should give the Sirius some serious consideration.