Published on April 20th, 2017 | by Greg0
Periodic Audio IEMs: Exotic Metals, For Your Aural Pleasure
The audio world isn’t huge, but it’s always interesting, and often changing. New entrants face an uphill battle, though, as entrenched competitors are not resting on their laurels either. But our favorite companies are often upstarts, those who take their audio more seriously than spending lavishly on celebrity endorsements. Most firms start with a single, defining idea- often a particular flagship model- but today we actually have a trio of in-ear monitors from a new and quite ambitious brand.
Periodic Audio was started in mid-2016 by Dan Wiggins, who boasts a deep set of experience, having co-founded Doppler Labs, with engineering stints at Sonos and Blue Microphones, among others. After seeing (and hearing) the essentials at CanJam, we were excited to try out their Experimenter’s Pack, which provides an easy way for a listener to compare and contrast. The nifty part of their line of in-ear monitors is that they are nearly identical, with one crucial difference- each of the three offers a distinct metal used for the transducer. Simply packaged, Periodic nonetheless included the most important accessories- a wide array of different tips in several sizes, from silicone to memory foam, flanges to traditional shapes for you to try.
Named after their chosen metal components, let’s take a look at the Mg, Ti, and the Be. We burned in each for a dozen or so hours, took turns using them for a day or so casually while commuting, and then listening in quick succession for a true apples-to-apples taste test. What we realized is that there are definitely differences, but your preference will likely vary, and the type of music you like to listen to most will certainly be a factor. The entry-level model is certainly no slouch- they use a magnesium alloy, and run $99, and we found them a tad crisp, a little more energetic, and ready for pop tunes. A step up is the titanium version that runs $199, with lots of detail, ideal for electronic music and those who want a little more bass. And at the top end, they use the much rarer beryllium, with a price tag of $299, and are transparent and impressively neutral- some of the best we’ve heard in this size and class. Nothing is forced, all parts of the range sound natural, and though these aren’t the warmest sets, they still will shine with raw acoustics, opera, and other vocals too.
One of the little things that shouldn’t be overlooked- all three versions feature parts that were 100% designed and tooled in-house; no off-the-shelf driver designs here. We liked the reinforced cables and subtle branding, and though these don’t offer a lot of color options, we did appreciate the metallic shades corresponding to their internal components. The Periodic IEMs don’t include a microphone or built-in controls, as these are built for music- but they still performed perfectly with mobile devices. It can be hard to figure out which side is left or right, though, which was occasionally annoying. All three were solid, but the Mg and Be really perked up our ears- the latter based on their extraordinary sound quality, and the former owing to their strong value proposition. Available directly from Periodic Audio, each of the three comes with a very compelling five-year warranty.