Clear Tune Monitors (CTM) is an in-ear manufacturing company based in Orlando, Florida. They started out with custom in-ears and have proceeded to launch their own universal in-ears lineup, Clear Tune Monitors’ Vintage Series, consisting of VS-2, VS-3 and VS-4. The numerical value at the end of each model name represents the amount of drivers per side. In this review, I will be reviewing the Clear Tune Monitors’ Vintage Series VS-2 which is a dual driver, two way crossover universal iem. I would like to thank CTM for this review unit. You can purchase the VS-2 from https://cleartunemonitors.com/product_detail/159/VS-2/ . The iem is available in 4 colours – Pink, Red, Blue and Black. The VS-2 that I will be reviewing is black in colour.
- Drivers: Dual Balanced Armature
- Input Sensitivity: 110dB-SPL @ 1mw
- Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 15.5 kHz
- Impedance: 20 ohm @ 1 kHz
- Noise Isolation: -26dB
Unboxing & Accessories
The VS-2 comes in a rectangular box that has a vintage design to it. At the front of the box, you can see the iems through the transparent film and there are the model name and brand name at the bottom left and right respectively. It has a nice gold colour to it. At the top right, there is the series name. Moving on to the back of the box, you get the information on what the package consists. Inside the package, you get the iem, 2 pins 0.78mm detachable cable, soft carrying case, 1/4” to 1/8” adapter, cleaning tool, silicon and foam tips of size S,M,L and double flange silicon tips.
IEM Build & Design
The VS-2 has a black faceplate with the Vintage Series initials, VS on it. The VS initials are not directly printed but engraved. You can feel the shape of it. Around the logo is a silver stripe and the rest of the iem shell is black in colour. The inside of the shell has a unique shape for ergonomics purpose. Nozzle on the iem is straight with a metal nozzle for earwax prevention. The nozzle tip is silver in colour. It is light weight and I find it rather comfortable. Overall, the build is solid with a nice visual design.
Cable Build & Design
The cable is black in colour and is 4 core braided. On each of the 2 pin connectors, there is a blue and red dot on the back that represents left and right respectively. There is a memory wire section and the cable is being enclosed in a translucent heat-shrink tube. The memory wire section is quite flexible and soft. Next, the chin slider and y-splitter is matte black and rectangular in shape. The jack is 3.5mm gold plated straight with a matte black housing and strain relief.
The sub-bass of the VS-2 has a decent extension to it with an average rumble. The sub-bass presentation is nice in general. The mid-bass has a good amount of quantity and it helps to enhance the overall dynamics. I feel the bass decay is not very fast. The bass note being expressed is quite clean and the rendering of the texture is smooth. It is not the type of authoritative bass but instead, it operates on a slow and smooth approach. The bass has a rather good transition to the lower mids. Overall, I find the presentation of the bass conservative and gentle. This is good for songs with a slower pace.
The VS-2 has a nice midrange and I find it to be the highlight of this iem. The lower mids has a good amount of body and male vocals excel with the quantity. The body of the lower mids prevents hollowness to ensure that vocals is quite full sounding. The upper mids has a slight forwardness to it. It is not the most forward and this hinders the intimacy of female vocals. The midrange is generally smooth with a good emphasis in the lower mids department. The details retrieval is quite good as it is able to pick up micro details. Resolution is rather good but I feel upper mids should be more forward. Male vocals shine here especially.
The treble is being extended decently and I feel there can be more extension to improve the overall treble performance. There is no sibilance and harshness as the treble is smooth and controlled. The air at the top end has a decent amount of it and it helps to lighten the presentation. However, I feel there is a lack of sparkle. With sparkle, the treble can be made more engaging and exciting. There is clarity and definition. Overall, the treble is rather smooth and presents details.
The VS-2 has a good width and depth in its soundstage. There is width to improve the vocals and instruments positioning while the depth is not too close in. It is not congested and overall, it performs well for a dual driver iem.
CTM Vintage Series VS-2 vs Campfire Audio Nova
The VS-2 has less sub-bass quantity and extension than the Nova. The Nova is more impactful in the way it presents its sub-bass. The decay on both is very similar. I find the rumble on the VS-2 to have slightly more speed. It demonstrates more technicality. The mid-bass on the Nova has more slam while on the VS-2, it is laidback. There is more punch in the Nova which results in a stronger dynamics. The bass nature on them is different. The lower mids on the Nova has more body than the VS-2 but it feels more dense. Although both are not hollow, I feel the Nova has a more weighted note and the lighter presentation of VS-2 is easier to listen. Male vocals on both are presented well. The upper mids on both are very similar. There is little forwardness in them. I feel the midrange is less congested in the VS-2. In the treble section, both has similar extension and details. There is no sibilance and harshness. The air on the Nova is slightly more. Moving on to the soundstage, the VS-2 has more width while the Nova has the better depth. Resolution on both is very similar but VS-2 has a slight edge as it has more definition. VS-2 takes on a cleaner approach than the Nova in presentation.
CTM Vintage Series VS-2 vs InEar StageDiver 2
The VS-2 has more sub-bass quantity and its extension is lesser than the SD2. The bass on the SD2 is more linear. Bass articulation on the SD2 is slightly better. The rumble on the VS-2 has less pace while SD2 is quicker in this aspect. The mid-bass quantity on the VS-2 is more and there is more slam to it. In the SD2, it is less engaging due to the reduced dynamics. The lower mids on the VS-2 has more body and comparing to the VS-2, SD2 takes on a dry approach to its lower mids section. I find the SD2 to have a more forward upper mids and there is an added definition and crisp. This causes the vocals performance to be more organic. In the treble department, the SD2 has more air and sparkle. The treble articulation on the SD2 is more precise and details are being expressed with more accuracy. Lastly, the SD2 has the better width and depth in soundstage. I feel SD2 allows better portraying of instruments and vocals positioning. It is more accurate. Resolution on the SD2 is slightly better. The VS-2 is more fun to listen to while SD2 has the edge for a more clinical sound.
CTM Vintage Series VS-2 vs Noble Sage
The VS-2 has less sub-bass quantity and extension than the Sage. The bass of the Sage is more visceral and impactful. There is more control in the bass. The bass texture is rendered with smoothness on both. The bass decay is significantly quicker on the Sage with agility. Each bass note on the Sage is presented with slightly more finesse. The mid-bass on the VS-2 is laid back while on the Sage, there is a tight mid-bass slam and this contributes to the overall dynamics. The lower mids on both have similar amount of body and male vocals are expressed well. The upper mids on the Sage is more forward which benefits female vocals reproduction. The midrange on the Sage has a sweeter feeling with crisp. Next, in terms of treble, the Sage has the edge in extension and it is able to render a greater amount of air and sparkle to inject excitement into the sound. The details retrieval on the Sage has a higher level. Lastly, for the soundstage, the Sage has a greater width magnitude while the depth on the VS-2 is more closed in. Positioning of vocals and instruments has better accuracy on the Sage. Resolution on the Sage is better.
The VS-2 is a great dual balanced armature iem that has a smooth bass and midrange that can allow one to immerse in a long session without feeling fatigue. The build quality is rather good and I feel the overall package has a vintage premium feel to it. Overall, the VS-2 smooth signature is a delight for those who love the midrange.