Paiaudio MR2 IEM review - expatinjapan

Paiaudio MR2 IEM review
 - expatinjapan







PLEASE NOTE: Much of the basic information concerning the MR2 is the same as I wrote for the review for the Paiaudio MR3 and DR1, such as Build, Fit and Packaging etc. So excuse me whilst I copy and paste that information over here as it is virtually all identical to my experience. 
For those readers who have already read the Paiaudio MR3 and DR1 reviews you might want to jump to the Sound and Overall sections whilst enjoying the photos along the way.





Build

When I first saw photos of the IEMs on offer from Paiaudio on the internet, I thought they looked rather plastic and cheap.  I was proved wrong when I opened the box.
In person they are well made, seem durable enough to withstand general day to day punishment and use.
They have two kinds of cable, the old and the new. The old is the one I prefer for looks and design, a clear cable similar but not identical to the more custom looking Echobox X1 or the FiiO EX1 cables, stylish snake skin like looks comes to mind.
The (discontinued) new cable seems too plastic looking to me, a glossy black.
Paiaudio said that they will be reverting back to the original cable after feedback from their customers. The current batch are now shipping with the original cable design.
The cable can easily get tangled and I suspect this is due to the way it is wrapped, I have offered feedback on a more suitable way to package the cable.
The IEMs shells are of the closed style, so I found them to isolate well on my daily commute.
They also have MMCX connectors, so the cables are removable and replaceable.
There are two Knowles driver in each ear piece.




Packaging

The main box is in a beautiful looking black sleeve with the companies logo on it, slide it off and inside is a cardboard black box with a lid affixed by magnets. Open it up and the IEMs are packed within a foam plate, the underneath of which has the cable (I gave feedback on how to package the cable so it would not be kinked upon arrival), also in the box is a small users manual, some extra tips (full set of S,M,L in a clear thin white silicone).
There is also a small cloth bag for transporting the earphones. I prefer a hard shell case but the supplied cloth bag seems to suffice.



The IEMs themselves have a nice long nozzle that means the user can get a satisfying fit, often I have the experience of not being able to get a deep enough insertion in my left ear canal, with the Paiaudio MR2 I can. The result being that I have a nice balance of the music within my head and ear to ear.
The nozzle has one large bore with a metal screen covering.
I spent a bit of time trying to pick apart the IEMs themselves without too much brutality and they stayed together.
The cable can be rotated 360 degrees where it connects at the join to the IEM, also the cable can be detached.

They seem to not hiss when using the an ipod touch 6G and Centrance Hifi-Skyn or SHOZY Alien.





Fit

This is one of the first pleasing points (apart form the outer packaging design) that hit home, I could get a full insertion via the good length of the nozzle, one that gave me the same experience and volume on both ears.
My ears are on the small side and as you can see in the photo the models ears are also on the small side, so fitting the main body of the IEM shell in the ear should not be a problem for  most users, I expect.

They are light which makes for  a comfortable experience and fit within the outer ear comfortably.
The included tips are soft and thin, others may prefer to do some tip rolling with other brands to achieve a good fit and preferred sound signature.

Also the 360 movement of the cable due to the MMCX connector aids in a comfortable fit.




Sound

Using the Centrance Hifi-Skyn with ipod touch 6G, 128GB and Flacplayer app.
As always I let them have a burn in of 50 plus hours to appease all readers.

Round one. Initial impressions. Fight!

The first thing I noticed was a slight warmth, which could also be thought of a congestion of some sort.
The MR2 is quite different to the Paiaudio DR1 and Paiaudio MR3 which Head Pie has already reviewed.

Sampling the Paiaudio MR2 on shuffle mode: (Gain 1)
Listening now to Slayer `Epidemic` and the MR2 handles the speed well, and has a fast response. A bit dark in places.
Continuing on to The Cardigans `Do you believe`, there is that ever so slight murkiness there, which comes across also as warmth.
Shabba - Best of reggae - This seems to be a good match for the MR2.
Neil Young - `Only love can break your heart`. Enjoyable, but the mids are too present still.

I upped the gain to 2. (Gain 2).
It improves the clarity and clearness, the mids seem to be more under control.

Sade - `Hang onto your love`.  Clear, music, clarity, good separation.
Lets try the Cardigans `Do you believe` again. Much better. Clearer, better instrument separation and extension in the highs.
Orbital - `Lush`. Energetic, but lacking in width.
Red Hot Chili Peppers - `Monarchy of Roses` great during the chorus, but during the busy and low parts gets congested and loses some of the dynamics.

Round two. Love.

After spending more time with the Paiaudio MR2 I did start to enjoy more of what it had to offer with its focus on the Mids.
It is quite smooth and laid back, listening for longer periods on time is comfortable and doesn`t cause fatigue. 
It is not an IEM for those who are detail monsters, or like a treble extension. This is one for those who just want to sit back and listen to the music.
Vocals are well presented.
Musical memory makes me think of ATH-ESW9 but I would have to dig it out of the cupboard NOTE. 

Round 3 (Several days later).



Using the SHOZY Alien DAP. JVC Spiral Tips.

At low volumes it is very pleasant to listen to. Smooth and lush. Vocals are forward.
Good height. Bass has tightened up a bit since my last serious listen.
The sound is balanced yet also tends on the darker side due to focus of the bass and mids.
It is neither flat, or V shaped.
The soundstage is smaller than the MR3 but that is to be expected.
It can open up when the music is more open like Pixies, but when coupled with Mazzy Star the darkness becomes more prevalent.
A band like Nirvana who straddles the above two bands sounds quite well matches the MR2 nicely.
Listening again to the Cardigans `Erase and rewind` everything is there. Great detail, tight bass, clear vocals and nice fast response, adequate bass with minimum bloat, soundstage still narrow to some degree; but good separation.
Layering is very enjoyable on some tracks.

Back to the thinner stock tips.

The stock tips make the bass less prevalent and improves instrument separation and layering.
Altogether a lighter sound with more reach.

Final round 3.1, swapping back to the Centrance Hifi-Skyn.

The experience is similar to Alien Dap, the sound is a bit fuller due the Centrance in house sound and the more powerful amplifier.

The bass has tightened up considerably since the earlier listening sessions. Good width, detail and instrument separation.
The MR2 still prefers a lower level of volume to sound optimum. More laid back music seems the most suitable choice rather than full on rock and roll.

Final round 3.2, ipod touch 6G with Flacplayer app.

Nice clean and clear, bass is more tamed, details are minute and accurate, vocals clear, lush and rounded. Nice separation.



Value

The Paiaudio range of IEMs is priced as follows
DR1   US$39 - $49
MR2  US$129 - $149
MR3  US$169 - $189.
I think it is an acceptable price US$129 -$149 for a multi driver IEM. 
It also has replaceable cables, and a great fit which makes these great value for the price.



Overall
The Paiaudio MR2 is great sounding IEM, but one that needs decent amplification to really shine.
They tend towards the warm side, with good separation and layering. Decent detailing.
The supplied tips are silky smooth and very comfortable, I found that I did not have to reply on my current go to tips the JVC Spiral Tips (which made the MR2 sound overly dark) but could get a decent fit and experience with the stock tips.
They are built sturdy enough to last If one takes care of them.
The replaceable cables are also attractive and convenient in case one needs to replace them or wants to try an aftermarket alternative.

DR1 - Clear and well balanced over all. fairly flat. Not particularly wide. Good separation.
MR3 - Great separation, good width, height. More of a full sound, smooth.Accurate. Airy.
MR2- Slight warmth, full sound. Not as much width or height, but good separation. Musical. Improves with amplification. Accurate.

The MR2 occupies the middles spot in the Paiaudio family at the moment, the price between the MR3 and MR2 are so close in price and sound it could well be worth it to just go for the MR3, `cause three drivers gotta be better than two!?, right, ight...amirite?

Well it comes down to a matter of taste I think when choosing an IEM from the Paiaudio family, size and design wise they are identical in form. The difference is in the number of drivers and each has their own particular sound signature; which I have outlined above and will expand on in a later article.

The Paiaudio is an IEM that needs about 100 hours to reach their optimum performance, they are an IEM that grows on the user after time. if you are a detail, treble monster preferrer they might not be the IEMs for you, not to say the MR2 is a slacker in this department either.
If you are looking for a well priced entry level two driver IEM that performs above its price point then the MR2 is for you.
Its not TOTL nor is it BOTL either, a decent well rounder with a tendency towards warmth.



Thank you again to Paiaudio for sending us the MR2 IEM
-expatinjapan.



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