Introduction

Aroma Audio is a Hong Kong company that produces iems, dac and amps. For iems, they started out with the Witch Girl series which has a line-up that consists of the Witch Girl S, Witch Girl Pro and Witch Girl 12. Recently, they have launched a brand new series which is called Musical Box. In the Musical Box Series, there are the Early, Twins and Yao. In this review, I will be reviewing the Musical Box Yao. I would like to thank Aroma Audio for this review unit. At the moment, you can get it from Aroma .

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Specifications

  • Driver Configuration: 12 Balanced Armature
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Sensitivity: 113 dB
  • Impedance: 26 ohm

Unboxing & Accessories

The Yao comes in a wooden box with a paper wrapper that sports the brand name and model name. On top of the wooden box, the brand name is printed on it. After opening the box, there are the specifications card, warranty card, instruction manual, pack of Acoustune AET07 tips, soft pouch and hard aluminium case that contains the iem and cable.

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IEM Build & Design

The Yao shell is made up of transparent clear acrylic and it has a smooth surface. On the left faceplate, there is the model logo while on the right faceplate, there is the brand logo. Each faceplate has a sleek silver finish with 3 screws. At the back of each iem, there is the model name in Chinese and English on the left and right respectively. Below the model name is the serial number. The nozzle is slightly angled with 3 bores. The fit is good as the iem is able to sit in my ears comfortably. The housing is light weight with good build quality. The Yao is aesthetically pleasing to look at.

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Cable Build & Design

The cable is a detachable 4 core cable with 2 pin 0.78mm connectors. On the connectors, there are blue and red dot on the left and right side respectively so users can differentiate. The connectors have a translucent housing. The cable has a memory wire section that is enclosed in a transparent heat shrink tube. It is not very flexible due to the metal inside that helps to form the shape. The chin slider is made up of a transparent tube and the y splitter has a silver housing. The jack is 3.5mm gold plated straight and it has a silver housing with the brand logo.

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Sound Analysis

Lows

The Yao has great sub-bass quantity without sounding too dense. In addition, it has the ability to extend confidently and demonstrate a strong finesse. The sub-bass reproduction takes on a full-bodied approach with a smooth expression. The control is sublime which aids the bass performance significantly. The bass texture is rendered in a velvety manner with a moderate bass decay. There is sufficient speed to tackle pacey tracks. Each bass note is articulated with precision and the hit is clean. Rumble is presented naturally which aids the overall sound. The mid-bass has a great amount of body and delivery of the slam provides the necessary punch without sounding aggressive. The bass definition is of a high standard and showcases a good technical aspect. With a full-bodied yet clear and defined bass reproduction, it is able to achieve a fantastic balance.

Mids

The Yao showcases its midrange in a balanced manner. There is a good amount of body which helps to give lushness yet it has a high level of details retrieval. It has the ability to strike a balance between the musicality and technicality aspects without any compromise. The midrange has a good definition and it is rendered cleanly. The lower mids on the Yao does not sound too thick but there is nice lush feeling. There are no signs of dryness and hollowness. Emotions are conveyed in an effective manner that benefits the expression of male vocals. The upper mids has moderate forwardness and demonstrates good finesse. There is a smooth execution of female vocals with a mellow expression. Vocals performance are controlled well and able to showcase an emotional performance.

Treble

The treble extends well and showcases a good technicality. There is no sibilance and harshness. There is a smooth and clean presentation. The presentation displays tight control whilst creating a relaxing listen without any aggression. There is a moderate amount of air rendered and contributes to lightening the presentation. The way the treble is expressed demonstrates a good balance. There is a nice crisp. Treble definition has a moderately high standard and articulation is rather precise. The Yao has the ability to present its treble in an effortless manner.

Soundstage

The expansion is quite natural and it contributes to the overall musicality. The width does not have a very wide magnitude but it is sufficient enough to provide space and tackle busy tracks with minimal congestion. The depth offers a good amount of space with a nice intimacy level. Positioning of vocals and instruments is able to operate at a good precision. Layering and separation is excellent.

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Comparisons.

Aroma Musical Box Yao vs Aroma Musical Box Twins

The Yao has more sub-bass quantity than the Twins and it has the ability to showcase a smooth full-bodied sub-bass reproduction. Due to the extra quantity, the Yao is able to create a more impactful sound. Rumble on the Yao is displayed in a natural manner and the level of musicality is at a higher standard. The bass texture on the Yao is rendered in a smoother manner while the bass decay of the Twins has more pace and the agility gives a higher engagement level. With a fuller mid-bass, the Yao is able to deliver its slam with a good weight. The dynamics is greater. The midrange is presented in a full-bodied manner on the Yao while the Twins demonstrates a higher level of transparency. The Yao is able to invoke nice musicality. The lower mids on the Yao has more body and male vocals are presented nicely. There are no signs of dryness/hollowness. The upper mids on the Twins has more forwardness and it displays energy. Emotions are conveyed more effectively on the Yao and female vocals sound sweeter. Presentation on the Yao is smoother. The treble on the Twins is slightly extended with a greater amount of air expressed. It operates on a brighter approach and there is more crisp and sparkle. In terms of soundstage, the Yao expands in a natural expansion and the Twins excels in its width with a greater magnitude. The depth on the Yao is more closed in for a higher intimacy level.

Aroma Musical Box Yao vs Unique Melody Maestro V2

The Yao shares similar sub-bass quantity as the Maestro V2 but there is a greater extension. The sub-bass reproduction has body which helps to accentuate the full-bodied nature. The rumble on the Yao is more natural and has a similar engagement level. Bass texture on the Yao is renderd with additional smoothness. The Maestro V2 gains an advantage for a quicker bass decay with its contribution to the overall agility. Each bass note on both is articulated with precision and there is a smooth hit. The Yao is more musical. The mid-bass on the Yao has a moderate amount of body with a soothing slam delivery. There is a smoother and emotional midrange on the Yao. The lower mids on the Yao has more quantity than the Maestro V2 which helps to create a fuller sound. The upper mids on the Maestro V2 is boosted and sounds more aggressive than the Yao. Female vocals are presented in a controlled and organic manner for the Yao. Next, for the treble section, the Yao excels with greater extension and there is a higher of finesse showcased. The amount of air rendered on the Yao has more amount for an airy presentation. There is moderate crisp on both with lack of sparkle. Treble on the Yao is detailed and the expression is smoother. Lastly, in terms of soundstage, the Yao has a natural expansion while the Maestro V2 has an advantage for a slightly bigger width. The Yao has better depth than the Maestro V2.

Aroma Musical Box Yao vs Noble Kaiser Encore

The Yao has more sub-bass quantity than the Encore with a similar extension. There is smooth display of a full-bodied sub-bass reproduction from the Yao. The Yao showcases a good natural rumble and the additional warmth enhances it. The Yao is slightly more musical. The bass texture on the Yao is rendered similarly with great smoothness. Bass decay on the Encore has more pace and the agility results in a greater engagement. The mid-bass on the Yao is slightly fuller than the Encore with the slam delivery taking a step back in the speed. The musicality from the Yao operates at a higher standard. The lower mids on the Yao has more quantity than the Encore with male vocals benefiting from it and conveyed in a more effective manner. The upper mids on the Encore has good forwardness and female vocals are lively with high intimacy level. There is nice sweetness on the Yao with smooth control. The midrange on both commands a high level of details retrieval. There is good cleanliness. Emotions are expressed better on the Yao. The treble on the Encore has slightly more extension whilst the Yao has more body which results in silky smoothness. There is no sibilance and harshness. The Encore has the extra sparkle which accentuates the liveliness. The velvety approach Yao operates on creates a soothing listen. In terms of soundstage, the Yao expands in a more natural manner while the width magnitude is greater on the Encore. The depth of the Yao is more closed in.

Conclusion

The Yao is the flagship iem in the Musical Box Series and it is able to provide natural bass rumble, emotional midrange and smooth treble. There is an excellent finesse shown with a high level of details retrieval. Moreover, emotions are expressed in an effective manner and the sound is musical. The build quality is good with a strong visual appeal. The Aroma Musical Box Yao is a fantastic iem and leaves little to be desired.

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