Initially these are perhaps the worst sounding set of cans I’ve ever heard. They have no sound stage, are high-pitched, whiny and actually hurt my ears. It was not a good experience in the least. It was interesting to look at the price tag then at these. Even a much less-expensive set of IEM’s from Sony sound better than these. With more depth, a wider soundstage and a much more full sound. These are tinny and small with no sense of sound. It was like listening to a TV from the 40’s. That was before applying some special magic from the Soundblaster X7. Any decent amp and DAC will suffice, this is just what I had on hand.
The Cloud Revolver need a tweaked EQ in order to sound normal. Good even. And with a little care pumping up the frequencies that are missing and toning down that harsh high-end, you can really make these sound pretty good.
Battlefront initially sounded like I was playing with literal tin cans as headphones. After tweaking there was a good sense of the battlefield. The soundstage still isn’t wide and there’s not as much depth as seems to be advertised. But the accuracy of the sound was great. Sound quality, too was more than acceptable. Lukes lightsaber had the iconic, deep thrum that you’d expect, though it doesn’t quite sound as rumbling as you may remember from the theaters. Or other headphones.
Elite: Dangerous relies on a spacious soundscape to be able to immerse you in a rendition of the galaxy that’s wondrous and beautiful. The lack of a wide soundstage from the Cloud Revolvers make it a less than enjoyable experience, though immediate sound effects are rendered in pretty good detail. It’s not bad. A little EQ does make your ship and the galaxy at large sound pretty real. But it just doesn’t sound like you’re in it. It’s not terrible, but there’s something missing from the whole experience with these on your head. It’s different.
Music is a bit different. The sound characteristics of these seem to really emphasize the high end, even after EQ is applied, so there’s a lot of sibilance going on that isn’t exactly pleasant. But is it terrible? No, and with the right kind of music it can work well. Paint it Black by the Rolling Stones is great. It’s rendered in pretty outstanding detail, except for a lingering, persistent bump up top. It’s kind of annoying, to say the least. The percussive intro really brings it out and there’s a harshness up there, as if it’s scratching at your ears, trying to get in.
EDM doesn’t suit these well, mostly because of the lack of that bass. There’s none here, neither boomy nor tight and detailed. It just doesn’t seem to exist. Bump up that EQ and you can hear it, but it isn’t exactly present. Voices have a bit of sibilance and that harsh high-end just doesn’t seem to be good for music in general. It helps bring out some details, no matter how sparkly it sounds, in games but doesn’t seem to do justice for many genres.