Hi folks and welcome to another review. Today we’re taking a look at the Simphonio Xcited2 in-ear monitor, which, similar to the popular Tin Audio T2, aims for a more linear sound signature. So how does this single dynamic driver earphone perform? Let’s dive in and take a look.
This product was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own, based on my personal experience with the product.
At the time of writing the Simphonio Xcited2 is listed at $159.
- Large soundstage
- Linear and detailed sound
- Natural tonality
- Nice selection of included eartips
- Springy non-detachable cable
- Fit and ergonomics could be improved
- Driver: Dynamic 9mm neodymium magnet
- Frequency response range: 20Hz~25Khz
- Impedance: 16Ω
- Output sound pressure level: 108±3dB/mW
- Maximum input power: 3mW
- Cable: 1.2M 6N OFC twisted
- Weight: 18g
Package and Accessories
The Simphonio Xcited2 comes in a light grey, square shaped box. On the top is the brand name and logo, plus a textured concentric pattern. On the back of the box is a list of specifications and package contents, which include:
- 1 pair of Simphonio Xcited2 IEM
- 3 pairs of Diamond silicone eartips
- 3 pairs of Comfit silicone eartips
- 3 pairs of Generic silicone eartips
- 1 shirt clip
- 1 clamshell zipper case
- Warranty card
It’s always great to see a nice selection of eartips like this and I think it’s something that every IEM should come with. Likewise, it’s always good to have a zipper case or some kind of storage case for safekeeping and storing your IEMs.
When you open the box you’ll see a stiff sheet of translucent plastic on the top. Under that is the Xcited2 IEM, seated in a piece of black foam. Under the foam is, of course, the zipper case and other accessories.
Build Quality and Design
The Simphonio Xcited2 is constructed from a combination of plastic and metal. It’s available in 2 colours; white and black. I received the black version, which has a transparent blue body and a black faceplate. The faceplate has a faux leather surface with the brand logo in silver. Wrapped around the edge of the faceplate is a metal band.
On the inside of the housing are 2 pinhole bass vents. The angled nozzles are quite long and have a solid lip at the end to secure the eartips. There’s also a gold-coloured metal grill covering the end of the nozzle to keep out ear wax and debris.
The overall construction and materials are good and the end result is about what you’d expect for something in this price range.
I was surprised to see a fixed cable on the Xcited2, which has started to become the exception, rather than the norm in recent times. At first, I was quite upset about the cable being non-detachable because out of the box it was a springy and unruly beast.
It would bounce around everywhere and would not sit nicely when you were using the earphones or when you just wanted to put them down somewhere. I’m happy to say that over time during my testing the cable has become more supple and less frustrating.
I don’t think I will ever love this cable but at least I can now appreciate it. It’s a 6N OFC cable that is a little thicker than average and has a smooth plastic sheath. There are excellent strain reliefs from top to bottom, including the metal Y-split. The cable terminates in a straight 3.5mm metal plug that has a fantastic spring strain relief.
Comfort and Noise Isolation
I find the Xcited2 to be quite comfortable, although I did have to try with a few types of eartips to get a good fit because of the long nozzle length. The IEMs sit flush with the outside of my ears which is good for me. Because of its over-ear style, there is very little microphonics (cable noise) present.
Passive noise isolation is a little above average and so is suitable for when you’re in transit and noisy environments.
Sources used for testing: Acoustic Research AR-M20, ATC HDA-DP20, Benjie T6, PC>Tidal/Spotify>Aune X1s.
The Simphonio Xcited2 takes a fairly linear approach to its presentation. It has a balanced signature that doesn’t favour any particular frequency range. In addition, its lighter style of bass and relaxed treble allow the midrange and vocals to sit more forward in the mix.
The bass is fast but has an average attack and decay. As a result, it’s light and nimble but doesn’t sound too snappy and consequently gives the impression of having ample girth. It’s a very clean sounding bass without any hint of bloat or looseness.
The sub-bass extends pretty well and has a very controlled rumble. It won’t rock your world with quantity but lingers in the background, making a sweet accompaniment to the overall sound. In Twista & the Speedknot Mobstaz’ “Motive 4 Murder”, the 808 bass is articulated beautifully and is clearly audible without upsetting the vocals in the least. I literally had chills just now while listening to Twista’s verse.
Due to the conservative level of the bass, the Xcited2’s midrange becomes the focus of the music. Vocals clearly stand out and have a great natural tonality. Female vocals are superb thanks to the well-implemented upper midrange peak and in tracks like “The Moment” by The Gentle Storm, the Xcited2 performs like a star.
Most noteworthy is the Xcited2’s ability for layering and spacing in the midrange. Despite thinning out a little in the lower midrange, the timbre is quite impressive.
Similarly, the Xcited2 performs well in the treble too. The treble has a natural sparkle and airiness and manages to do this without any harshness or stridency. Cymbals have a nice, airy sheen and yet somehow they’re still very smooth.
The timbre is just right and the treble sounds ethereal but has enough solidity to keep it from sounding diffuse or insubstantial. Again, that smooth airiness makes the treble one of my favourite aspects of the Xcited2.
The Xcited2 has an expansive soundstage that can sound more like a hall than a room. Listening to “The Swan of Tuonela” by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Xcited2 can really do it justice. The oboe solo sounds like it’s being played from the centre of a large space and then as the strings come in it’s as though that space expands and surrounds you with the entire orchestra.
TFZ Balance 2M
TFZ’s Balance 2M (review here) takes bass to a whole other level. It’s not necessarily a better quality bass than the Xcited2’s but there is a lot more of it, most notably in the sub-bass region. The midrange is more recessed compared to the Xcited2. It tends to favour male vocals more than the Xcited2 because of its richer lower midrange but doesn’t match the presence of the Xcited2 in the upper midrange.
The treble is more relaxed on the Balance 2M and doesn’t have the same airiness. Overall the 2M is warmer and weighted towards the low end.
Build quality is superior on the Balance 2M. Its magnesium alloy shells are like big, heavy pieces of jewellery and they also happen to be more comfortable than the Xcited2 (at least to my ears) because of the smooth and rounded curves.
Hifi Boy OS V3
The Hifi Boy OS V3 (review here) is a hybrid design with 1 dynamic driver and 2 balanced armature drivers. It’s a bit more on the fun side in regards to tuning, compared to the Xcited2. It has significantly more mid-bass and sub-bass but brings the midrange forward similarly to the Xcited2.
The OS V3’s treble is more solid, giving cleaner and more detailed notes but it doesn’t have the same amount of airiness as the Xcited2. Due to the denser notes presented by the OS V3, its soundstage is not as expansive but it does share a similar (if not better) instrument separation and detail.
I find the OS V3 to be more comfortable and it sits more snugly into my ears. It also has a much nicer cable as far as aesthetics and ergonomics go. The OS V3’s 2-pin cable is also detachable, so you can switch it out to something more premium if desired.
In terms of build quality, I find the OS V3 to feel a bit more premium but that is mostly because of the better cable.
Simphonio Xcited2 Conclusion
There’s a lot to like about the Simphonio Xcited2. These guys certainly know how to tune an IEM. The tonality, balance and soundstage are definitely good for something in this price range.
For future releases, I hope to see an improvement in the cable ergonomics, especially if it’s a non-detachable cable. The comfort and fit of the shells could be improved upon too. But for a debut product and the company’s first effort, the Xcited2 shows a lot of promise. If the springy cable doesn’t bother you, I’d recommend you try this IEM, especially if you’re after something with a more linear tuning and larger than average soundstage.
You can buy the Simphonio Xcited2 at Penon Audio HERE.