AFUL Performer5 Review: Amazing Bass, Clear Midrange!!
AFUL Audio is creating a crazy vibe all around. Everyone is praising the all-new Performer5, a five-driver hybrid set of in-ear monitors from a new name called AFUL. The product page and all the information about AFUL Audio and Performer5 are filled with all the different research and patents that AFUL Audio has done over the past few years. Performer5 is a debuting product for the brand in the international market, and from all the hype all around, I am pretty sure it has already been a success. I have spent a good amount of time with the pair, been using it as my daily driver for the past few days(got it 10-12 days back). Today, I feel like sharing my bit of impressions on the set as well, so without wasting any more time let’s begin. First a little intro of the brand.
AFUL Audio is a name that has recently emerged in the international market. But from my understanding, they have been a little bit active in the mainland China local market. According to the Brand’s biography, they were founded back in 2018, and always focused on developing new technologies to bring high-end level sound performance to budget IEMs. Have they succeeded or not, we will find out with the all-new Performer5 which is their debut product in the international market. It’s a 5-driver hybrid set of in-ear monitors that features a classic combination of a dynamic driver and four balanced armature drivers on each side. It’s a lot of introduction, you can know more about the pair and brand on their website and official product page on HiFiGo.
A short disclaimer before I begin, this unit of Performer5 was provided to me by HiFiGo as a part of a review tour in my country, there’s no monetary benefit involved in this transaction. You can be assured, all the impressions and points made in this review are completely my own based on my own experience with the pair. At the time of this write-up, Performer5 has officially been launched priced at 219.99$ available on HiFiGo.
Unboxing & Accessories:-
AFUL Performer 5 has got a simple black package with a white printed cover on it. The white cover on has technical info and a frequency graph on the back while an image of the pair along with branding and some technical information on the front side of the outer sleeve. Inside I have the pair sitting firmly into its foam cutouts alongside a round metallic carry case, which is pretty similar to what we have with See Audio IEMs(Bravery, Yume Midnight, etc). The stock cable of Performer5 is inside this box only. The package also includes about six pairs of silicone ear tips. There are no memory foam tips in the package. The cable here is 3.5mm single-ended.
>AFUL Performer5 IEMs.
>Metallic Carry Case.
>2-pin cable with 3.5mm termination.
>Six pairs of silicone ear tips.
Design & Build Quality:-
Despite housing a five-driver hybrid setup, the ear shells of Performer5 are quite small. I won’t just call them small, they are rather compact in their form factor. Entirely made up of black resin, the shells have magma-styled face covers which are unique to each unit. The facecovers match exactly with Thieaudio Monarch MK2’s face covers. Just because of their looks, I used to call them the baby Monarch MK2. They are quite lightweight and very well-made. It adopts standard 2-pin connectors compatible with 0.78mm 2-pin cables. The included stock cable is also quite good, it’s lightweight and comfortable to use with the pair. IMO the design of the AFUL Performer5 is beautiful and it is paired with its ergonomic, lightweight design.
Fit & Isolation:-
Fit-wise, the AFUL Performer5 sits comfortably into my ears, although the stock tips are pretty meh. I find it to fit me well with SpinFit W1 and Azla SednaEarFit Light ear tips. Soundwise the Stock Tips feel a little boomy in the lower end as they have short and narrow nozzles.
Driving the Performer5:-
Performer5 is an easy-to-drive pair, it doesn’t take a lot of power to sound its best. For my critical listening, I have listened to the pair with three of my primary sources HiBy RS2, Shanling M7, and Tempotec V6. IMO the best pairing is with Shanling M7 and Tempotec V6, with the RS2, the synergy was not the best. It had a little boom in the lower end and also the treble felt a little soft(with the RS2). M7 and V6 have much better clarity and crispness to the Treble region with the Performer5.
Performer5 has got a neutral-ish sound with bass boosted signature. The bass is quite prominent in the output, especially the sub-bass response. I personally feel the pair sounds like a compact sub-woofer delivering a thunderous rumble in the lower-end region. The mid-bass also has a good slam in the output, but I got my mind drooling over the sub-bass presence of the pair. Although I must add, the bass is a little loose at times but surely it slams with full authority. The lower-end presence, even with such heavy slam is quite clean and extends well into the sub-bass depths. Might call it a Bass Head IEM at a budget for heavy bass lovers.
As soon as we transition into the midrange, we get a smooth, rich midrange presentation with presents lovely vocals. Vocals have got a good body to them, they sound rich and lush. Upper mids are slightly pronounced so they create a good impact with Pop and Vocal Centric songs. Lower-mids retrieve good details and show good texture to instruments such as acoustic guitars, and pianos in their midrange. Lovely midrange presentation IMO!! It has better tonality than Yume 2 which I find to have a little metallic touch.
Treble is where things take a slight detour for my preferences. Performer5 although extends well in the Treble region, but the overall tonality here is a little soft and dark. Please don’t get me wrong here, it would be suitable for people who are sensitive to harsh treble, but me, I need some punch, some more crispness in the treble region. But that’s just my preference. As per Performer5, the pair maintains good clarity and resolution in the high frequencies. It even extends well enough as well and also have a smooth dark tone.
Dynamically, Performer5 has got an immersive soundstage with better depth than width or height. No way it’s intimate, but it’s not super wide either. It creates an immersive listening experience for me. For a comparison point here, Yume 2 has a wider stage, but I find Performer5 to have better stage depth, a more 3D feeling here. Air on the stage is decent, and instruments are well-separated, especially in the mid-range segment. Macrodynamics are more pronounced on the set rather than micro dynamics. Detail level is decent enough, overall I am kinda impressed by its fun and sub-woofer kinda sound. I have enjoyed the set thoroughly throughout my auditioning period. Honestly want to keep it for a few more days, but the reviewers ahead are waiting. TBH I don’t care much about all the technologies that the brand advertises, I just enjoy listening to the Performer5’s smooth, Bassy, inoffensive sound.
Some Track Examples:-
Bad Guy by Billie Ellis:-
Man the Performer5 rumbles so hard in this track that I felt my heart vibrating inside of me lol. I personally find the sub-bass of Performer5 to be the very best in this price segment. Like literally drooling, and Bad Guy is one of my favorite Bass heavy tracks for this.
Limit to your Love by James Blake:-
When the bass drops in this track, Performer5 kicks me out of my couch. Not to mention the clarity midrange maintains during the vocals part. I find Performer5 to be an absolute stunner for Bass-focused genres.
Hotel California by Eagles(Hell Freezes Over):-
Pretty decent clarity, and the acoustic intro sounds pretty good on the Performer5. Although the instrument notes feel a little hefty here may be due to the more focused sub-bass response. But overall a good experience.
Dark Necessities by RHCP:-
Performer5 keeps up with the pace of this track, although the instruments sound a little on the softer side. Overall, the speed, and punch are maintained in this track and so is the energy. Vocals are presented with complete clarity even with all the drums and other instruments around.
AFUL Performer5 vs See Audio Yume II:-
I happen to have both the Yume II and Performer5 with me, and it’s a good fight between them. Here’s my take on them.
>Performer5 has more slam, and more depth to the lower end, Yume II sounds tighter.
>Yume II tonally has a little metallic tinge to it, Performer5 sounds more natural to me.
>Yume II delivers more clarity and a crispier treble, Performer5 sounds dark and inoffensive.
>Soundstage width is a bit better on the Yume II while the Performer5 sounds more 3D and deep.
Overall, Yume II feels livelier while Performer5 sounds punchier. Each of these will have its own use cases with Yume II sounding better for Rock, and other fast genres while Performer5 delivers awesomeness to vocal lovers and hip-hop lovers.
I know the Performer5 has a lot of hype all around, and in my opinion, it sounds pretty good too. It delivers quality a powerful, maybe slamming is the right word, Slamming bass response with a pretty clean midrange presentation although the Treble is a bit on the darker side but hey that allows for easy, inoffensive listening for longer hours with the pair. I personally would have loved a little more energy in the Treble section, but all in all a pretty enjoyable experience I had with the pair. As I have stated earlier in this review as well, the AFUL Performer5 is a compact Sub-Woofer that grooves the shit out of my soul!! Well, I hope you guys liked reading my review!!