Review Work (IEM)

Chord & Major 01’16 : The Bass Expert

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Chord & Major is definitely a company that have earned my respect and admire over time. I love them because they persist in what they are doing and they believe they goal, luckily their goal are good one. They are believing each IEM is tailored for certain type of music, quite different from what we generally told to, one headphone/speaker/IEM used for all type of music so usually we will search for a balance and neutral sounding IEM. Previously, they have made specific IEM for Classical, Jazz, Rock, World and Ballad music, it is so lucky that I have tested all of them and truly admire their spirit in one IEM for certain music genre, in my opinion they are all performed very good in their specialty. The Major 9’13 Classical is still remained to be one of my favourite IEM, the tonality is very good, this is also what Chord & Major insisted and believed in, the tonality of the IEM.

Just when I thought they have coming to the end for the next tonal IEM, they came out with their latest tonal IEM, which is expert in Electronic music, the Major 01’16, with such a sexy and understated outlook, Major 01’16 certainly have sparked my interest since the first day I know it is under Chord & Major’s development.

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Chord & Major 01’16 (299USD), addressed as ‘Major’ below

One thing that make me love Chord and Major is there is so much detail in their IEM design, I can’t stop loving the carbon fibre pattern of Major’s casing, it is not finished in wood material as its siblings but I really think it is a wise move, the wood pattern outlook won’t suit the ‘Electronic’ music specialty of the Major, the carbon fibre pattern will do the job, I really like it, it is a understated yet shining finishing which is really pretty, not only I think it is looks significantly nice looking, but most of my friend fond over the design too, the design is really, really eyes catching.

The finishing of the Major is very good, as you can expected from Chord & Major, not only the IEM but also for the whole packaging, they are well packed in a very good looking box, you will get the usual few pairs of IEM tips, the IEM cleaner brush, the IEM storage casing, the cable management and luckily (finally) this time we also get the 3.5mm to 6.25mm stereo converter, this is quite important especially when some headphone amplifier only have 6.35mm female plug on the body.

However, I don’t really like the cloth cable, it makes too much microphonic noise (the noise that cable rubbed with your cloth), manufacturer should consider that it is an IEM that buyer will wear when they are walking on the street or exercise etc, Major will introduce too much microphonic noise then grab attention that we should be giving to the music, this is really not good.Chord & Major told me that the cable cloth is mainly to eliminate the cable tangling problem that normal IEM cable material usually have, cloth cable also proved to be tougher and can withstand professional use (such as DJ can use it on stage) Luckily though, you can eliminate 95 percent of the noise when you wear it over ear but I supposed this is not the intended way to wear it.

I love the design and the design philosophy is proudly remained from the beginning until now, this is a good sign as Chord & Major have really some good design philosophy generally. The innovative strain relief design is maintain and work flawlessly, despite for the cloth cable I have nothing to complain about the design.

So Major is all about the Electronic music, according to Chord & Major, 01’16 can reproduce a very wide bandwidth of the music frequency which is down from 5Hz to 40kHz (human hearing range is from 20Hz to 20kHz though), the driver itself is definitely a modern one which can reproduce music at loud level without massive distortion and maintain the music weight. I believe most of the so called pure audiophiles will looked down at electronic music intentionally, for them ‘audiophile’ music are all about Classical, Jazz and vocal music. To me I don’t really have this kind of bad thought for Electronic music (As a reviewer we have to love and learn everything), electronic music is part of the music that I am listening to when I am jogging. Upon googling the Electronic music, it came out that Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments and electronic music technology in its production (derived from Wikipedia). This of coz included the hip hop/EDM/Dubstep music that have largely contributed by electronic instrument and mixing.

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Audio Quality

I have paired the Chord & Major 01’16 mainly with my Meizu MX4 (streaming through KKBox Premium and Spotify Premium) for the Electronic/Hip-hop music, I have paired with JDS Labs The Element in my office as well, at home I paired with M2Tech Evo DAC Two Plus! With Teac HA501, besides using it with my phone for most of the time, I paired it to Stoner Acoustics UD125 as well

Being an Electronic expert, Major’s bass/low frequency performance is indeed the most important part of the acoustic band. In this aspect (bass performance), Major is indeed gained my respect. If you are expecting the crazy-like amount of bass or those over-reacting/hyperactive bass response then you will be sorry. The bass response is indeed have been boosted, but I won’t said it is bassy nor being-bass-only IEM, in fact the bass is boosted up by a slight amount (at least to my ears, it is far from being bassy), but it is the bass quality that made differentiate it from the regular bass oriented IEM. The bass of Major is deep, fast and round, with respectable impact/slam.

If you are listening to let’s say Pitbull and Awolnation’s songs then you will surely feel the bass, the quality of the bass is very good, it is very deep down to the bottom and have very good impact that make you enjoy the rhythm and tempo of fast paced music, it is further blessed by Major’s swift response that doesn’t left you felt delay to the music pace, respectable. The ‘size’ of the bass seems bigger too if you compared them to balance sounding IEM, which will lead you believe that Major’s bass response must be heavily boosted, but in fact I think it other way, the tuning of the Major is very mature one, it let you hear more from what the bass (of music) intended to let you hear, but not let you hear more bass from the music intended to. This is very important and I think this is what made Major different from the competitor, the bass quality is very good.

When I listened to vocal part of the music I know Chord & Major didn’t steal too much vocal ability of the Major 01’16, the music without the mid lose its soul after all. The vocal is a smooth, round and rich one, so you won’t be getting boring with the music presentation. The whole frequency presentation is in fact quite smooth and you won’t get much treble in your music, the treble response is clearly has been muted noticeably but don’t worry, it is not a hollow nor detail-less audio reproduction, the detail level is good although not stellar. The muted treble is what make the music focus more on the pace and give a more even presentation for electronic genre of music. The tuning of Chord & Major is very professional and definitely not what regular manufacturer will done it the same way.

The soundstage performance as you will expected is tight and focus, definitely is a small soundstage that you will get, but please don’t be disappointed because this is how the Electronic music will worked the best, IEM with wide soundstage normally will get the bass energy disperse widely so I believe this is why the soundstage performance of Major is tuned this way, the soundstage performance is not that important for Electronic music after all, so no worries here. The stereo imaging is good anyway, the centre image is clear.

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Final Verdict

The tuning capability of Chord & Major is proofed and professional, they have some seriously good tonal IEM series that not only is the eye-catching and sophisticated design, but also the tonal and music genre capability that sounded and performed like they promised.

And now back to the Major 01’16, it is a very interesting product and it made itself very clear that it born for Electronic music, every aspect of the design aspect is aimed to make the Major an Electronic music expert, and Chord & Major is indeed successful in this aspect, the Major 01’16 is very well behaved when fed with Electronic music, also those heavy bass music, the bass quality of the Major is unforgettable and entertaining yet remain to be loyal to the music frequency, it is a very professional tuning and this is definitely audiophiles’ top pick if you enjoy Electronic music very much, for sure you won’t enjoyed it if you are using it for Classical music etc, but it is not intended to perform in that way, so in my honest opinion if you are really loving the Electronic music, you will love the Chord & Major 01’16 as well.

 

P/S: Chord & Major IEM can be purchased at http://www.chord-m.com/en/store/

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