Like earbuds? How much are you willing to pay for a good one? Today we’re taking a look at the Simphonio Dragon 2+ earbud and yes, it is indeed a good one. But is it worth over $300? I’ll let you decide.
Simphonio is a relatively new brand from China, although they used to be called Sunrise Audio. Recently I reviewed their Xcited2 earphone (review here) and was impressed with the tuning. I did have some misgivings with it though, such as a springy cable and average ergonomics. However, the Simphonio Dragon 2+ is hard to fault, so long as you ignore the price tag.
At the time of writing the Simphonio Dragon 2+ is listed at $319 and is available at Penon Audio.
Simphonio website: http://www.simphonio.com/
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.
- Very nice twisted cable with a 2.5mm balanced plug & 3.5mm SE adapter
- Classy leather case included with accessories
- Simple, comfortable and attractive design
- Very clear and well-balanced sound
- Costly for an earbud of this type
- Driver: 15.8mm Dynamic Neodymium magnet
- Frequency Response：20-25000 Hz
- Impedance: 16Ω
- Output Sound Pressure Level：110±3dB/mW
- Maximum Input Power：3mW
- Cable Length: 1.2M 6N OFC
- Weight: 14g
Package and Accessories
The top of the foam is a bright yellow colour and really pops visually. I appreciate this kind of presentation; it’s classy, modern and it feels premium despite the simplicity of it.
So, let’s see what you get in the package:
- Simphonio Dragon 2+ earbuds
- Leather storage case
- 2 pairs of doughnut foam covers
- 2 pairs of full foam covers
- 2.5mm balanced female to 3.5mm unbalanced male adapter
- Warranty card
The leather case is really nice. It’s soft and pliable and has a felt inner lining. I like the way it kind of folds open because it means you can lay the earbuds in it, rather than having to stuff them in like you do with a regular case.
It was interesting to see the included adapter because prior to that I wasn’t aware that the attached cable on the earbuds has a 2.5mm balanced plug. This is something I really like to see. After all, if someone is willing to pay over $300 for an earbud they’re most likely to be an audiophile and there’s a good chance they’ll have a DAP with a balanced output. Having the adapter though means you can also plug straight into a smartphone.
Build Quality and Design
The Simphonio Dragon 2+ is a sleek looking earbud. It largely follows the tried and true earbud design but there’s something I find particularly appealing about it. Maybe it’s the ultra-smooth gunmetal grey finish that reminds me of a graphite fishing rod or the shafts of my golf clubs that have been sitting unused beneath the stairs for too long.
The stems have the Simphonio branding in white print on one side and an L or R marking on the other. The almost shimmering effect on the surface of the shells mostly goes unnoticed until you see them up close. Although the earbuds are very lightweight they still feel premium thanks to that glamorous coating on the shells.
It’s unusual to see something come with a 2.5mm plug as standard but that’s just the Dragon 2+ letting you know that it’s built for the serious audio enthusiasts. The twisted 6N OFC cable is like the earbuds themselves; understated and humble until you get it in your hands. Once you do, then you know you’re dealing with some quality gear.
There’s a cylindrical metal Y-split that matches the metal plug. There are excellent strain reliefs from top to bottom of the cable. As for the cable itself, it’s soft and supple, looks and feels great and has fairly minimal microphonics.
Comfort and noise isolation
If you’ve used earbuds before then you should know exactly how comfortable the Dragon 2+ will be for you. While it’s true that most earbuds look the same there are things that can make a difference. Personally, I find the Dragon 2+ to be one of the most comfortable earbuds I’ve used. The silky smooth finish on the housings along with the shape and length of the stems just works all around for me.
As with pretty much all earbuds there is very little in the way of passive noise isolation. If you want to use these in public area you’ll need to turn up the volume.
It’s always exciting when something has a mixture of technical proficiency and emotive elements. The Dragon 2+ traverses on both sides of the line. On one hand, it’s resolving, detailed and transparent. On the other hand, it can be downright fun and make you want to tap your feet or sing out loud.
This earbud puts an emphasis on the midrange, placing it just in front of the bass and treble but there is a very good overall tonal balance. The Dragon 2+ has lovely note density and great clarity from top to bottom.
Gear used for testing
- Acoustic Research AR-M20 (review here)
- ATC HDA-DP20 (review here)
- PC/Tidal > Aune X1s (review here)
- Samsung Galaxy Note 5
With its low 16-ohm impedance and high sensitivity, the Dragon 2+ is very easy to drive. It’s perfectly suitable for pairing with a smartphone (using the included adapter) but is transparent enough to scale with a better source.
A solid attack and fast decay lay the foundations of the Dragon 2+’s “Goldilocks” bass. It’s not too much and not too little but just right. The bass sits just behind the midrange but still has more than enough body to balance and drive the sound.
Lending a hint of warmth to the overall tonality, the bass never intrudes upon the midrange which remains clear and uninhibited. Like some EDM? The Dragon 2+ takes a song like Kobana & Hatchet’s “Play” – Dub Mix and turns it into silky bliss. You won’t feel any lack of low end here but will surely appreciate the tight, punchy goodness.
The Dragon 2+ has a very strong midrange presentation. There’s an abundance of clarity, along with some good layering and definition. Vocals sound very clean and natural, with female vocals being slightly favoured by the upper midrange lift.
Fans of male vocals won’t be disappointed though; the Dragon 2+ does a fine job rendering them with texture and note density. The fast transients and well-controlled bass allow the Dragon 2+ to maintain its clarity in busy tracks, like “Untouchable Part1″ by Anathema.
The treble has good extension and adds a touch of brightness to the Dragon 2+ signature. It’s never harsh or sibilant. It remains faithfully in place behind the midrange and in particular the upper midrange but doesn’t neglect to provide great detail and crispness.
I love the timbre of the Dragon 2+’s treble. Cymbals sound fantastic but the presentation is really smooth, so you don’t get fatigued by long listening sessions.
The Dragon 2+ presents a large and expansive stage that can reach well outside of the headspace and put you in the midst of the music. Earbuds generally have a wide soundstage due to their physical design but the Dragon 2+ takes things to another level.
The stage has an exceptional width and very good depth. It’s enhanced by the excellent instrument separation and space between elements. Positional cues are above average for an earbud, as is note density. After the balance, tonality and clarity of the Dragon 2+, it was the stage that sealed the deal and made it my favourite earbud to date.
Hifi Boy Dream
The Dream’s more neutral bass makes its vocal presentation more up front than that of the Dragon 2+. The Dragon 2+ has more mid-bass and sub-bass presence but with the same deft control so it maintains it midrange clarity.
Vocals are a touch leaner on the Dream which gives them more texture but also makes them sound rawer. The Dream performs well in the midrange but doesn’t have the same level of layering and instrument separation that the Dragon 2+ has.
The treble on the Dream sounds flatter in comparison to the Dragon 2+, the latter has a bit more sparkle, more energy and crisper notes.
I find the design of the Dragon 2+ to be more ergonomic and comfortable but the Dream is very close behind.
The HE150Pro has more of a V-shaped signature, making the Dragon 2+ sound more mid-forward in comparison. It has more mid-bass impact and a slower decay than the Dragon 2+.
The 150Pro sounds smoother from top to bottom but it’s darker and it doesn’t have the same level of detail. The Dragon 2+ has faster transients and more defined edges giving it a very clean sound with loads of clarity.
Both earbuds have a relaxed treble presentation and neither of them is sibilant or harsh but the Dragon 2+ is crisper and more detailed.
It’s worth keeping in mind that the HE 150Pro costs just $30 and the fact it’s getting a mention here at all is a testament to how much I like it.
Simphonio Dragon 2+ Conclusion
The Simphonio Dragon 2+ is a fantastic earbud that has wonderful clarity, a really tidy bass and lively but smooth treble. The build quality is superb and the included accessories are also very premium.
Would I recommend the Dragon 2+? If you have tried earbuds but prefer earphones or in-ear monitors then you should stick with those. If you’re a diehard earbud fan then I would absolutely recommend you get hold of the Dragon 2+. It doesn’t come cheap but you’ll be getting a unique earbud that raises the bar on audio quality.
You can buy the Simphonio Dragon 2+ at Penon Audio with HERE.