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สนใจติดต่อ O81-4540570 หรือ แอดไลน์ไอดี FiiO คุณBOY
ขาย VE Duke หูฟัง IEM
ตัวท้อปของค่าย VENTURE ELECTRONICS
ราคา 7,190 บาท
สินค้าประกัน 1 ปีเต็ม
Pros: Detailed sound. Scales well. Ergonomic. Isolate well. Good accessories package. Attractive.
Cons: No chin slider. Need to find perfect tips + fit to tame the upper end. L/R markings difficult to read.
The DUKE is the first IEM from VE (Venture Electronics), an up and coming audio company from China most famous around Head-Fi for their outstanding ZEN earbuds. I got a chance to hear the ZEN earbuds earlier in the summer and was blown away. They sounded amazing for the price and scaled very nicely. When I heard that VE was releasing an IEM and amp, I was excited to give them a listen. Luckily, I received a pair of DUKE for review along with VE's new portable amp the RUNABOUT.
There is no financial incentive from VE in writing this review. I am in no way affiliated with VE, and this is my honest opinion of the DUKE IEM. I would like to thank Lee at VE for giving me the chance to test drive the DUKE, and I hope my feedback proves useful for my fellow Head-Fi members as well as for VE.
I'm a 43 year old music lover who listens to a wide variety of genres and artists (but mostly electronic, metal, and modern composition these days). As with a lot of people my age, I've got some hearing issues - some upper frequency loss and mild tinnitus. My portable music journey started with the venerable Sony Cassette Walkman and then progressed to portable CD players, minidisc recorders, and finally on to DAPs like the Rio Karma, iRiver IHP-120, iPod, iPhone, and the newer crop of DAPs from Fiio and iBasso. My headphone journey started with Sony MDR e888 and Eggos back in my minidisc days. I moved on to full-size Beyerdynamic and Ultrasone cans and Shure E2 and E3 IEM. Those all served me well for quite some time. Then I rediscovered Head-Fi, and my poor wallet...
Since this was a pre-release unit intended solely for review, they weren't commercially packaged. Accessories consisted of a wide variety of tips. You get single and double flange silicon tips with narrow and wide bore openings. You get triple flange tips with narrow bore openings. All in various sizes to ensure you find the right tip. You also get a pair of Comply-style foamies. I didn't receive one, but I learned that the final package will include a small, grid-sectioned box to corral all those tips. There's a very compact black pelican-style case to hold he DUKE while not in use. You'll also get a shirt clip.
Picture courtesy of VE
Let's get a closeup of the DUKE. As you can see, the DUKE has a quite petite barrel-shaped IEM with metal shells. These are a micro-driver IEM, so the driver is sitting just behind the mesh. Strain reliefs are small but feel adequate. Anything bulkier would honestly feel out of place here. There are raised L and R characters on the strain reliefs. I would've preferred just a dot on one of the strain reliefs for easier blind operation. I was pleasantly surprised when I removed the pictured stock double flange tips to find VE's signature logo and URL written around the lip of the nozzle. Nice touch!
Picture courtesy of VE
On the rear of each shell is VE's logo and DUKE in a fancy script font, along with the vent hole. I like it. Adds character without going overboard.
Picture courtesy of VE
The cable is very utilitarian - pliable, rugged, low microphonics, terminated in an L-plug but missing a chin slider. No "fashionable" glossy, overly microphonic, stiff, springy cable here (I'm looking straight at you SoundMagic and TPEOS). Thank you VE!!!
Picture courtesy of VE
In my opinion, the DUKE are most comfortable worn down. I'm a wear 'em down kind of guy anyway, so this worked out in my favor. However, they can be worn over ear, as well. The only downside with that is that you'll want to DIY a chin slider. @peter123 DIY'ed one with a black plasticized twist-tie. You could also use a small elastic band (like those used in braces or to secure children's toys to their packaging, maddening parents everywhere!). Again, being a wear 'em down kind of guy, I didn't fuss around with DIY'ing a chin slider. I just attached a shirt clip and was ready to rock!
As @peter123 mentioned in his review, DUKE achieve best sound with a relatively deep insertion. Luckily the DUKE are tiny, so the shell + tip fit into my canals easily. After insertion, I found them comfortable and secure.
I wore them while wandering around the neighborhood, and I didn't get a lot of footfall, microphonics, or wind noise.
So to sum up, overall build quality and aesthetics are quite good. I don't have any concerns about these falling apart anytime soon. I liked it that an L-shaped plug was used. There isn't a cinch, but it wasn't a big deal for me, since I wore them down and used a shirt clip. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I'm really glad there were no mic or controls to futz around with!
With my iPhone 5S, I'm running the DUKE at just under 50% volume. While you can achieve quite aloud volume with the iPhone, I found the sound to be lacking in the low end and harsh up top. This made the DUKE sound thin and overly etched to my ears. Luckily, VE included a pre-production RUNABOUT amp for review (coming soon...). After playing around a bit, I found I preferred the following setup: iBasso DX90 LO with volume set to 225 -> VE RUNABOUT (RA) on High Gain -> DUKE. Using the DX90 allowed me to take advantage of it's variable LO, making it possible for me to use the RA on High Gain and still maintain fine control over volume.
I also tried DUKE with my Fiio E12A and E12 DIY (with OPA627) but much preferred the RA. I'll go into why I liked the RA in an upcoming review, but for now I'll just say that RA warmed up the low end slightly without negatively impacting bass speed, while retaining the vivid, detailed upper end and natural soundstage. The Fiio amps, while quite good, altered the DUKE's character too much, making it overly relaxed.
Bass is relatively linear and well-extended with a slight mid-bass lift. It has good texture and is quick. It responds well to EQ, so if you want it a bit punchier just bump up the lower bands. BAM!!!
Mids are tuned towards the upper mids. Lower mids are neutral, while there's a lot of energy in the upper mids and lower treble - and that's where the DUKE can get into trouble. If not handled properly, they overly emphasize sibilance and give cymbals and higher guitar notes an etched sound. With the right fit, the upper mids and lower treble sound quite vivid and convey a lot of detail.
Treble is crisp and well extended, again adding energy and air to the presentation.
Soundstage and separation are quite good, but I found these to be pretty source dependent. If your source conveys these characteristics well, the DUKE will pass that on to your ears.
I found the DUKE had some similar characteristics to my TPEOS Altone200, so I thought I'd compare them. A200 have been relatively well-characterized, so hopefully this will be a good point of reference for people. Compared to the DUKE, I found:
So what's the take away? Out of the box, DUKE are a bit of a wild beast to be tamed. But once you find the right fit and tips, you get quick, relatively linear bass, clean mids, and a detailed, vivid upper end. It's like a slightly warmed-up analytical signature. If you're after more bass punch or want a more relaxed sound signature, EQ can always be brought to bear. The small housing and barrel shape makes them an easy, comfortable fit. Personally, I find them very aesthetically pleasing.
What could be improved? I think the DUKE could be improved by tuning down the upper mid and lower treble peaks a bit, making them less fit and tip dependent. I'd also like to see the L/R markings improved to allow blind operation and a chin cinch to make life easier for over the ear types.
Again, I'd like to thank VE for giving me the chance to hear their initial IEM offering. The DUKE are a great first offering and show the level of seriousness this new company takes with crafting high-quality audio products. Keep your eye on VE, folks!
Review : VE DUKE
Credit : peter123@Headfi
Pros: Sound, accessories, comfort, isolation, value
Cons: L/R marking could be better, needs deep insertion to perform its best
I would like to start with saying thank you to Venture Electronic (VE) and Lee for letting me check out VE the Duke. I’d also like to give a special thank you to my dear friend Tamal who got me in contact with VE in the first place.
I’m not in any way affiliated with Venture Electronics.
Short introduction of Venture Electronics:
Venture Electronics (VE) is a small and pretty new company, only three years old.
They’re located in mainland China and have fast become very popular in audiophile circles due to their line of earbuds (Monk, Asura and Zen) which offers excellent value for money.
The Duke is the first IEM that they’ve released so let’s find out how it performs.
I’m a 43 year old music and sound lover that changed my focus from speakers to headphones and IEM’s about five years ago. At that time I realized that it wasn’t realistic for me to have all the different setups that I wanted and still house a family of four children and a wife so my interest turned first to full sized headphones and later also IEM’s.
My preferences are towards full sized open headphones and I believe that also says something about what kind of sound signature I prefer (large soundstage in all directions, balanced and organic sound).
My music preferences are pretty much all over the place (only excluding classical music, jazz and really heavy metal). My all-time favorite band is Depeche Mode although I also listen to a lot of grunge/indie, singer/songwriter/acoustical stuff as well as the typical top 40 music.
I do not use EQ, ever.
I’m a sucker for value for money on most things in life Head-Fi related stuff is no exception.
Built and accessories:
The VE Duke is a single dynamic driver in ear monitor featuring a 6 mm driver.
The cable is pretty good and seems to be identical to the one used on the A-T CKR series which I’ve got good experience with. It doesn’t look or feel like anything special but in use I find it to be excellent with very little tangling, low on microphonics, soft and flexible. The plug is L-shaped and feels very solid. I would’ve wished for the left/right marking to be more easily visible. The only other thing I’m missing is a chin slider. Thant’s easily solved though by either using the included shirt clip or this way:
The build seems very solid featuring aluminum alloy housings and strain reliefs in the right places.
The accessories pack is very good and includes the following:
3 pairs wide bore silicon tips (S,M,L)
4 pairs narrow bore silicon tips (S,M,L,XL)
2 pairs of triple flange tips
2 pairs of foam tips
1 pair of double flange tips
1 pair of ear hooks
1 shirt clip
1 box to store tips and other accessories
1 Pelican style case to store the Duke in when not in use
1 VE Monk (!)
This is what was included in my package and according to VE it’s also what is included in the retail package. If it turns out to be any changes I’ll edit the review accordingly.
I think the fact that the Duke comes with a free pair of very good sounding earbuds as a part of the accessories says a lot about Venture Electronics as a company and their philosophy, talk about added value!
The Duke is a slightly harder to drive than your average IEM but it still works fine even with my weak (in power) Sony Z3 Compact phone. Isolation is above average.
The Duke is a really tiny IEM. It’s designed to be used with deep insertion and this is the way I find it to sound the best as well.
I’ve got very narrow ear canals and usually avoid deep fit designs so the first couple of days were quite challenging for me with the Duke. After using it for a while and starting to realize what kind of tips that was the best for it I found three different tips that were very comfortable for me to use with them. During this process I also noticed that the sound that the Duke delivers is highly dependent on the kind of tips used (more about this in the sound section of this review).
By using the Duke with deep insertion the isolation becomes excellent and there’s no need to crank up the volume to enjoy your favorite tunes.
The way they’re designed gives the possibility to use them cable down or over the ears which ever you prefer. There’s no need to switch the channels when wearing them over the ears. I personally found the most comfortable fit by wearing them cable down.
I’ve used these as my main IEM for the last two weeks and they’ve played for well over 100 hours. I’ve used them both around the house and when out and about and I haven’t really found any significant weaknesses in the way they’re designed.
I’ve used them with my Sony Xperia Z3 Compact phone (with and without the Elecom LBT-PAR500) as well as the SHOZY Lancea, both by itself and paired with Venture Electronics own amplifier the RunAbout (separate review will come soon).
Mark Knopfler – Sailing to Philadelphia
Røyksopp (Feat.Susanne Sundfør) – Save Me
Ane Brun – These Days
Michael Jackson – Dirty Diana
Metallica – Die Die My Darling
The Peter Malick Group – Immigrant
Eva Cassidy – Songbird
Thomas Dybdahl – A Lovestory
Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why
Celldweller – Unshakeable
Jack Johnson – Better Together
Seinabo Sey – Younger (Kygo remix)
Dire Straits- So Far Away
Passenger – Let Her Go
Lupe Fiasco - Deliver
Morrissey – Earth Is the Loneliest Planet
I find the Duke to perform its best with narrow bore tips which helps to reduce sibilance and makes the bass really tight. My favorite tips are the Ostry OS100 as they offer the perfect combination between airiness and smoothness for my ears and taste.
The overall sound signature is very well balanced and I don’t find the Duke to be neither dark nor particularly bright sounding.
The lows have good extension in the sub-bass region and the quality of the bass is very good. Mid- and upper-bass, while not having the greatest impact, is clean and clear with absolutely no bleed into the midrange. The bass quantity is enough to keep them from sounding thin. These surely are not for bass-heads but I still find the bass sufficient to work with most music genres and the only time I miss a little more impact is with electronic music. From memory the bass on the Duke reminds me a lot of the bass on the FAD Heaven VII’s with a touch more mid-bass presence.
The midrange is slightly forward but still well in balance with the rest of the frequencies. There’s a bit more emphasis on the higher mids/lower treble making female voices sound excellent while the lower amount of upper bass can make male voices lack weight on some recordings compared with IEM’s that have a fuller overall sound. In total the vocal reproduction on both male and female artist is very good though.
The treble extends really well and does not come across as thin sounding. I’d even go as far as saying that it’s one of the most well extended treble reproductions I’ve ever heard. This in combination with the revealing nature of the Duke makes sibilance an issue with some recordings, tips and sources. With the right tips, source and good recordings this is not an issue though.
Make no mistake the Duke is a very revealing IEM with almost surgical precision. If you’re listening to a bad recording or low quality MP3 files the Duke will show that without mercy. The same, as already mentioned, is true regarding sibilance if it’s there in the recording you’re going to hear it. With deep insertion I don’t find it sibilant as long as it’s not there in the original recording just amazingly revealing at natural sounding. The Duke is also naturally quite sensitive to what source you use and does definitely scale with a better one. That being said I find it to have great synergy with my Xperia Z3c phone. The best combo I’ve found so far is the SHOZY Lancea feeding the VE RunAbout, this is an extremely good sounding setup.
Soundstage width is above average for an IEM. Soundstage depth and height are both excellent.
Clarity and micro details is also good while separation is extremely good to my ears. There’s plenty of space between instruments making the Duke a rather relaxed listening although it’s not a warm and smooth sounding IEM. As a matter of fact the separation and instrument positioning is among the strongest parts on the Duke.
So is the Duke an analytical, cold and boring sounding IEM? To me yes, it’s analytical in the way that it's very revealing but I don’t find it particularly cold and certainly not boring sounding. It manages to still stay very musical and engaging in spite of being revealing and realistic in its presentation.
Please note that the comments in the comparison section are not in absolute terms but in comparison between subject A and B. This means (as an example) that if subject A is found to be brighter than subject B it does not necessarily mean that subject B is bright sounding in absolute terms. I hope this makes sense.
Audio-Technica CKR9 vs VE Duke:
Compared to the Duke the CKR9 has similar soundstage in all directions. The CKR9’s has significantly more impact in both sub- and mid-bass. Bass quality is excellent on both but the bigger quantity on the CKR9’s gives them better bass layering. Midrange is equally forward on both but the CKR9’s are more energetic and “in your face” sounding. The CKR9’s can actually sound shouty occasionally compared to the Duke. The Duke has better separation and, being brighter, comes across as being more detailed. They both have excellent treble extension but the CKR9’s is smoother in the top.
I find them both very comfortable.
The Duke is harder to drive.
Isolation is much better on the Duke.
Trinity Delta vs VE Duke:
Compared to the Duke the Delta’s has significantly more mid- and upper bass impact. The bass is also slower. The midrange is slightly forward on both. The Delta’s are smoother and fuller sounding while the Duke has better clarity and micro details and also offers a better soundstage in all directions. The midrange on the Delta’s is thicker and male voices have more weight. Treble extension is better on the Duke but the Delta’s has a smoother top end.
The Duke is a much better fit and more comfortable for my ears.
They’re both slightly harder than average to drive.
Isolation is much better on the Duke.
Dunu Titan 1 vs VE Duke
These two actually share quite a bit of their overall signature. Compared to the Duke the Titan 1 has a bit more sub-bass impact and also more impact on the mid-bass. Soundstage width is pretty similar on the two while the Duke has better soundstage depth and height. Clarity and details are on par but the midrange on the Duke is more forward. The Duke also has better layering and separation while the Titans have more a more energetic and airy presentation. Overall the Duke sounds slightly fuller in the higher frequencies while the Titans got a bit fuller lower end.
Although they’ve got totally different fit they‘re both very comfortable.
They’re both slightly harder than average to.
Due to the half in ear design on the Titan 1 the Dukes isolates a lot better.
To sum up the Duke I’d say it’s a natural and revealing sounding IEM that still manages to stay very musical. Many times during the period with them leading to this review I’ve got lost in the music forgetting what I was doing and I’ve also got goose bumps while listening to them on multiple occasions. To me that’s all what this hobby is about and the best sign of an excellent performer.
Add to this excellent build quality, great ergonomics, very good isolation and one of the best accessories packages I’ve ever seen and the Duke is a very easy recommendation to anyone looking for an excellent performing IEM at a crazy value for what it delivers.
When Lee at Venture Electronics says that "keeping it real is our simple slogan” I wholeheartedly believe him.
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