See Audio x Tangzu Shimin Li Encounter Edition Review: Is It An Upgrade Over the OG Model??
.Tangzu Audio has joined hands with See Audio and developed a newer variant for the famous Shimin Li IEMs, this new IEM is named Tangzu x See Audio Shimin Li Encounter Edition. The pair has been revamped from the inside out with a new color finish, new tuning, and a new driver as well. According to the brand, the Shimin Li Encounter Edition adopts a newly-developed 10mm dual-cavity dynamic driver with a new Nano Carbon Diaphragm. Well, the pair has also attracted some controversies regarding its driver material as well. After spending a good 10-day period with the Shimin Li Encounter and enjoying the pair thoroughly, I am going to share my review and impressions on the new Shimin Li with your guys. Let’s begin but a short disclaimer first.
The Tangzu x See Audio Shimin li Encounter edition was sent to me as a part of a review tour in my country arranged by HiFiGo. All the impressions in this blog are my own based on my own impression of the pair over the past few days. For more information and details, you can check out the Tangzu x See Audio Shimin Li Encounter Edition on the link below(Non-Affiliated).
SeeAudio X TANGZU Shimin Li Encounter Edition Single Dynamic Driver In-Ear Monitors
The Shimin Li Encounter Edition has got a colorful slip-on cover on a plain black box. The slip-on has a beautifully designed image featuring a dragon depicting Shimin Li and a beautiful girl depicting Rinko. This same image is also available as a printed designer cloth, which I believe is for cleaning the pair or maybe a simple design element. There’s also a lucky scratch card. The earpieces sit firmly into a foam cutout layer, a metallic Encounter Edition branding plate, a carry pouch, and 10 pairs of ear tips. The package has a designer look to it, and has a vivid vibe to it.
>Tangzu x See Audio Shimin Li Encounter Earphones.
>10 Pairs of Silicone Ear Tips(1 on the pair, 9 right underneath the pair inside the package).
>Designer Cleaning Cloth.
Lucky Scratch Card Coupon.
Design & Build Quality:-
Shimin Li Encounter Edition has got revamped looks with a new brushed finish. Even though the design is the same as the OG model, the new brushed-Red finish looks really great on completely metallic ear shells. The golden nozzle gives a bling bling vibe. The shells have a vented design with an air vent at the face cover and another near the nozzle inside. With a brushed finish, the pair looks great. The cable has a matte-black sleeve and feels premium in hand as well. All-in-all, the design and build of the pair is quite good. As for fit and isolation, the pair is identical to the OG model in that regard as well.
The shells are ergonomic in shape, even though they are a bit on the heavier side, but they provide a comfortable wearing experience and excellent isolation as well. The carry pouch is not as useful as it might seem. It’s more like an accessory, made up of soft leather material, and opens completely from the top side. Not a big fan of the case included here.
Driving the Shimin Li Encounter Edition:-
The Shimin Li Encounter Edition isn’t a demanding set by any means. The pair is driven easily off my WM1A without the requirement of any extra amp’ing. Forget amp’ing, I am usually at just a 45-50 volume level out of 120 available on the WM1A. The synergy with WM1A is also quite good. Also tested the set with direct output from my MacBook and it works perfectly as well. So don’t worry about special gear to drive the Shimin Li Encounter Edition, the set will sound good straight out of most sources.
Priced at 49$, the Shimin Li Encounter Edition falls in a very competitive price bracket. Since last year, we have got many great-sounding sets in the under 50 -100$ price bracket. Tangzu x See Audio Shimin Li has a warm-ish sound tuning with a little midrange-focused signature. The pair has a slight bit of boost in the upper midrange section. It delivers decent clarity throughout the frequency band presenting a strong lower end, forwarded vocals, and treble response with an early roll-off. It delivers a smooth listening experience with a little warmth to its tone. Vocals despite being forwarded have a lush tone to them. They get a little shouty as well at louder listening volumes but for normal listening levels no such issue with me. Instruments have got decent clarity and above-average imaging & separation for the price bracket. Let’s delve deeper into the sound with different frequency responses.
The Shimin Li Encounter Edition has a fast and quick lower-end response. The main focus here is on the mid-bass region, sub-bass rumble is present but not very prominent. Mid-bass has a good impactful presentation and gives the set an added punch. With its pronounced mid-bass, The lower end of the Shimin Li Encounter Edition delivers a good punch to complement the other frequencies well. It is well-controlled within the region so as to not introduce any kind of muddiness or grainy sound in the output. Although, don’t expect a lot of bass, the pair has an adequate quantity to have a decent lower-end response which is complementing the other frequencies.
Midrange has a clean and forwarded presentation on the set. It has a rich, warm tone for vocals. Although boosted upper mids bring the vocals forward and they actually sound a bit shouty at louder volumes as well. But that doesn’t disappoint me as for my usual listening volume, they sound decently forward and clean. Vocals despite being forwarded maintains their resolution, they don’t sound fatiguing or harsh at all(to me atleast). Vocals actually have all the limelight with the Shimin Li Encounter Edition. They sound like the center point of attraction for the pair.
The treble response on the Tangzu x See Audio Shimin Li Encounter Edition has a clean presentation. It has a smoothly done treble with good resolution as well. The pair has enough spacing and separation between the instruments so as to not sound congested or intimate. Violins, Electric Guitars, and Pianos have a sibilance-free clean response in the high-frequency segment.
Soundstage, Instrument Separation, Imaging, & Layering:-
Soundstage presentation on the Shimin Li Encounter Edition is immersive, it’s decently wide and doesn’t feel like lacking but it isn’t super wide or grande either. It has enough separation to make busy tracks sound clean and a good separation of instruments. Instruments have decent separation, and the pair doesn’t sound congested at all. Imaging and Layering are above average for the price bracket.
Coming toward the title question of this blog, is the Shimin Li Encounter Edition an upgrade over the OG Shimin Li? Well, in terms of looks yes, in terms of sound there are some improvements here and there. Like, the lower end is punchier, and the treble is a little more detailed here on the Encounter Edition. The midrange is also a tad bit more forwarded in comparison to the OG model. (I auditioned the OG model a few weeks back, these are my impressions based on my memory).
Short Comparison with Simgot EA500:-
I also happen to have Simgot EA500 with me which is again a single dynamic driver IEM priced slightly above Shimin Li at 69$. Let’s see how these two compare with each other.
>EA500 has a more natural sound tone with a refined signature, Shimin Li Encounter Edition sounds warmish and slightly softer in comparison.
>EA500 has better extensions and an overall smoother sound.
>Shimin Li Encounter Edition has a bit of richness, and lushness to its tonality.
>Both pairs have identical staging with Shimin Li Encounter Edition having more immersion with a tad bit more depth to the stage. It feels more 3D.
>The Matte-Red finish of the Shimin Li Encounter Edition feels richer and more eye-catchy to me.
Despite all the controversy that’s going around related to the driver configuration of Tangzu Shimin Li Encounter Edition, I would say that the pair sounds good. Even though the price bracket is crowded with products, the Tangzu Shimin Li stands apart in the crowd with its sound and looks. It has a sound that would please some people, including me, with its clean, rich, and smooth presentation!! It’s a great set that I take out for a spin every now and then for casual listening sessions!!