What’s crackin’ fam? In today’s review, I’m taking a look at the Panther Audio Aura DX4 earphones. The AURA DX4 is a 4-driver hybrid in-ear monitor with a 10mm graphene dynamic driver, 3 Knowles balanced armature drivers and a 3-way crossover.
Panther Audio is a Hong Kong-based earphone manufacturer. Founded in 2016, the company makes both universal and custom in-ear monitors “with excellent service and innovative research as our mission, to provide a full range of services. Our team constantly makes challenges to innovate and present the most efficient and high-quality works.”
Panther Audio website: https://en.panther-audio.com/
Suddenly I’ve got an overwhelming desire to surround myself with the aura of classical and Romantic art.Sylvester Stallone
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.
Panther Audio Aura DX4 Review
- Tonal balance
- Natural and organic tone
- Resolution and detail retrieval
- Engaging bass performance
- Smooth, non-fatiguing sound
- Basic packaging
- Would like to see more variety of included eartips
Package and Accessories
The Aura DX4 came in a purple protein leather carrying case. Along with the earphones, there were 3 pairs of silicone eartips, a cleaning tool and a detachable 2-pin SPC cable. It’s a fairly standard bundle for a ChiFi IEM. However, for something in this price range, I would like to see at least a larger selection of eartips included.
Build Quality and Design
The Panther Audio Aura DX4 comes with gorgeous pseudo-custom transparent shells that give you a clear view of the internal components and wiring. On the right earpiece is an embedded silver-coloured brand logo. On the right is Panther in the same silver colour.
I appreciate the minimalist design approach and it lets you see just how tidy the internals are. There is a single pinhole vent for the dynamic driver just behind the MMCX socket. The nozzles feature a triple-bore design with a sound tube leading to each of the three drivers inside.
The 2-pin sockets sit flush with the surface of the shells. There’s really not much else to say about the build of the Aura DX4. As far as build quality goes these are excellent. There are no visible flaws or air bubbles in the resin shells and the clarity of the shells gives them a classy aesthetic.
Comfort and Noise Isolation
These are a very comfortable earphone and I’ve worn them all day long on more than one occasion. For a triple-driver hybrid IEM, the shells are reasonably small so they should be suitable for all types of ears.
Noise isolation is slightly above average. Due to the pseudo-custom shell shape and concha-filling shape these block out a lot of ambient noise. When the music is playing, you’re unlikely to hear much else, making these ideal for commuting, noisy environments and possibly even as a stage monitor.
The cable included with the Aura DX4 is a 4-core braided silver-plated copper (SPC) type. It’s lightweight and handles well with no noticeable microphonics. The 2-pin connector housings, Y-split and straight plug are all matching polished aluminium. You can choose between 3.5mm single-ended, 2.5mm balanced and 4.4mm balanced terminations. There is also an opaque plastic chin slider and pre-formed ear guides.
Sources used for testing
- Laptop with Cozoy TAKT C (review here)
- Topping DX7 Pro (review here)
- Shanling Q1 (review here)
- Soundaware M2Pro (review here)
Aura DX4 is fairly efficient and is easy to drive with any source. It has a tonality that is slightly on the warmer side of neutral. It has a full-bodied but detailed sound that is at the same time engaging and smooth. To my ears, it sounds similar to the AudioSense AQ3 (review here) but with a more satisfying bass.
Aura DX4 sounds very clear and has excellent detail retrieval. I would call the overall presentation balanced, meaning that the bass, midrange and treble all line-up fairly evenly. In addition, the end to end extension is good and the quad drivers present a very cohesive sound.
I’m always a fan of good dynamic bass and Aura DX4 has exactly that. The bass has excellent extension and reaches deep down into sub-bass territory. This is a bass that exhibits authority without being too abundant or flashy. It feels powerful yet it still finds a good tonal balance with the midrange and treble. Low notes can be felt as well as heard with a satisfying, controlled rumble.
Mid-bass is punchy and hits with impact but again it feels “just right” in terms of quantity. It’s not the fastest bass in outright speed but it’s not in the least bit sloppy and most importantly, it sounds very organic and natural.
In Studnitzky’s “Memento”, the double bass sounds big and the instrument’s resonance can be physically felt in the earpieces. But it’s not in your face, it doesn’t overshadow any of the other instruments, nor does it cause any smearing.
Aura DX4 has a musical and silky-smooth midrange with natural note size and thickness. Instruments and vocals sound organic and tonally accurate, albeit slightly romanticized by a hint of added warmth. I found the Aura DX4 especially pleasing with orchestral strings and acoustic guitars but truth be told, I like the way everything sounds with these earphones.
The Aura DX4’s midrange is slightly forward and emotionally engaging. The roundness and density of the notes make them sound lifelike while still maintaining space and air in between. Overall, it’s a midrange that sounds very natural and alluring with a wonderful blend of clarity and warmth.
Upper mids are vibrant but have enough forgiveness so that you can bump up the volume without feeling fatigued. This makes Aura DX4 great for vocals like in Renee Olstead’s “A Love That Will Last”. The vocals are nuanced, spirited but always smooth. Each instrument in the track has its own voice too, thanks to the DX4’s clean rendition and separation.
The Aura DX4 continues on its path of excellence with a crisp, even treble. It’s a fairly smooth high end but one that still manages to feel quite lively due to its forwardness. It adds a bit of sparkle and the overall tone is organic and airy. Ultimately, it’s this treble tuning that enables the DX4’s midrange to sound so natural. It provides clarity to the mids and energy to the general presentation with just the right mix of sparkle and warmth.
Percussive instruments have a well-defined but slightly rounded leading edge. That helps maintain natural note weight and size. This is a treble that’s lively but sweet. In 417.3’s “//”, the hats and cymbals sound airy and crisp but never sharp. The treble helps open up the stage and adds precision and detail to DX4’s sound.
The soundstage is slightly above average in dimensions and it’s a very organized stage with a good sense of depth. Although it isn’t all that wide, the depth and black background give DX4 good layering capacity.
Despite its warmth, the Aura DX4 has great midrange resolution and a surprising level of detail with good instrument separation. It presents a stable centre image and is fairly upfront in terms of stage position. But the most striking things about the Aura DX4’s stage are its naturalness and coherency that make you forget about the technicalities and just enjoy the music.
Fearless S8F ($489)
The Fearless S8F (review here) has 8 balanced armature drivers per side and a 4-way crossover. It has a typical BA bass, i.e. one that is very fast and controlled but lacks outright impact and sub-bass authority.
S8F is slightly fuller in the upper bass, necessary to produce some warmth and to compensate for the lightness of its sub-bass. Throughout the midrange, S8F has fast transients and a lot of clean air between instruments. However, at higher volume the S8F’s upper mids are sometimes shouty because they don’t have the bass extension of the DX4 as a counterbalance. Both IEMs have good instrument separation and resolution but the Aura DX4 is the more natural sounding.
In terms of treble, this is where these IEMs sound most alike. Both have a light, airy treble that is non-fatiguing with a touch of warmth. But due to the S8F having a lighter bass, it benefits from a slightly wider soundstage. Be that as it may, the Aura DX4’s midrange is more upfront and it has superior layering and depth.
FiiO FH7 ($450)
The FH7 (review here) is a 5-driver hybrid IEM with one 13.6mm beryllium-plated dynamic driver and 4 balanced armature drivers. FiiO’s FH7 has metal shells compared to the DX4’s resin shells. These 2 IEMs measure almost the same all the way up to 2kHz and there are some similarities in the way they sound but with some key differences.
Starting with the bass, both IEMs have a nice punchy low-end presence. The FH7 is slightly more pronounced in the sub-bass and is just a little bit faster decay. From here on, the 2 IEMs start to vary more in their sonic presentation.
In the midrange, the FH7 has slightly more clarity but at the cost of producing occasional sibilance. Its note size is thinner than the DX4, making the mids sound a bit more open. The FH7 has less upper midrange emphasis so female vocals and certain instruments aren’t quite as vibrant.
It’s in the treble region where the FH7 can be polarizing as some people find it to be too aggressive. There’s a dip in the lower treble followed by a boosted region between 6-10kHz. This is where FH7 gets its aforementioned clarity and sibilance. It also gives it a slightly brighter tonality compared to the DX4, which has a more even treble response. While the FiiO has slightly better detail retrieval, the DX4 sounds more natural.
DUNU DK-3001 Pro ($469)
The DK-3001 Pro (review here) is a hybrid 5-driver IEM. It has a rock-solid build thanks to its stainless steel shells but the Aura DX4 is more comfortable (for me) and has better noise isolation.
As you can see from the measurements, these two IEMs have a similar frequency response. I’m a huge fan of the DK-3001 Pro, so it makes sense that I also dig the Aura DX4. Let’s talk about the differences though. The DUNU’s larger 13mm dynamic driver carries more authority and seems effortless in its execution. In addition, it has less sub-bass roll-off and a more linear transition into the mid-bass.
DK-3001 Pro has slightly less body in the midrange and vocals sit further behind the bass compared to the DX4. Furthermore, female vocals aren’t as vibrant on the DUNU due to an upper midrange dip but they’re ever so slightly more articulated. Both IEMs have a smooth, airy treble but the Aura DX4 treble is a little more forward in the mix.
I feel that the DK-3001 Pro still offers better value in regards to the overall package (eartips selection, modular cable etc.) Having said that: if you like the sound of the DK-3001 Pro but have fit/comfort issues or value better noise isolation, the Aura DX4 should be very high on your list of alternatives.
From my very first moments hearing the Panther Audio Aura DX4, I thought I might have discovered a hidden gem. Now, after testing extensively for a couple of weeks, I’m certain of it. Coming from a brand that was previously unknown to me, I was not sure what to expect. Well, I’m glad to say it has far exceeded my expectations.
It may not be the most revealing or exciting sound but it has such a pleasing, natural tone that is profoundly smooth and engaging. That in itself might not seem special but when you consider the level of resolution and detail that’s inherent in it, things get very interesting.
Furthermore, the Aura DX4 doesn’t skimp on bass in order to achieve more transparency. It has a full-bodied, musical sound and it’s simply fun to listen to. At the end of the day, Aura DX4 is a great product and has become one of my favourite mid-tier earphones. Accordingly, it comes highly recommended and it’s going straight on my Best IEMs list.
- 10mm Graphite fiber Dynamic Driver + 3x Balanced Armature Driver
- 3 Way Crossover
- THD <=1%@lmW@1KHz
- Impedance: 11Ohm @1Khz
- Sensitivity: 113dB SPL@ IKHz
- Triple Sound Bore Design
- Freq Response: 20-21KHz