BUDGET
IN-EAR

EM-023

PHB

Rating

Price

6.9

35 €

Review published:

08/2018

Driver

4

per Side

2

Dynamic

2

Balanced

Impedance

13 Ohm

Piezo

0

Sound

8

Bass

6.5

Mids

6

Trebles

Sensitivity

105 dB

6.8

Handling

8

Haptic

B

Value

-

Daily Life

Frequency

20 - 40000 Hz

Intro

PHB is not known for its hybrids, but rather for the constant use of dynamic, mostly single drivers. Now they are throwing their hybrids onto the market (EM-021 & EM-023), which, due to their configuration, are in line with the TRN V80 or KZ ZS6 etc. (2*DD & 2*BA).

The EM-023 will certainly not be my favourite in-ears. Musically they are simply too inconstant. I appreciate more all-rounders, where I don't have to think about what kind of music I want to listen today, because this in-ear has a lot to offer, but sometimes just leaves you out in the rain.

Handling

The supplied cables (2) are simply to be forgotten. Anyone who decides to order this IEM should already have a matching MMCX with earhook in their hindquarters. Since I evaluate the in-ears in and of themselves and not the cables, this is not very important for me, but the deductions are in the B-note.

Otherwise, the workmanship is excellent. You can argue about the design, because there are so many Campfire -Andromeda remakes (optically), that it is nothing special anymore, but almost presumptuous. But as a result, they don't look bad either. They are made of metal and have a half-open construction, which was realized by the stamped W-LAN symbol on the surface, which is a nice detail.

Apart from that you will find a metal case in the packaging, various silicone tips, as well as a pair of foam tips, which I find extremely pleasant, and a cable organizer!

The isolation to the inside is not bad and surprisingly bearable to the outside. Despite the construction the music is hardly perceptible for others.

Sound

Let's see what the EM-023 does well:
The bass is remarkable and knows how to please in almost all areas, such as depth, detail, speed, or its punch. The bass is very prominent and makes almost every song a bass pleasure when you like it. This makes the EM-023 extremely suitable for hip-hop and a lot of electro.
Those who love a lot of bass will surely have their fun here, because despite its presence the EM-032 is not a pure bass IEM, but has even more to offer.

But here it gets a bit more difficult and you have to differentiate.
The mids sound a bit strange if you know the song well. Some of the instruments sound quieter than they should and some of them louder. In general, the lower mids are taken back, but this is added directly to the upper mids. Thus, the mids sound unnatural in some cases, because there is something missing in the body and around the top it gets too bright and partly shrill. However, this is not the case with all recordings and therefore not easy to judge. I could pick out 10 songs, according to which I would call the EM-023 a great In-Ears. However, this also applies to the negative.

The heights also have their share in this lottery game. These are too bright and often aggressive for my taste. I have to say that the EM-023 in the internet is certified with relaxed, soft heights, which I simply can't confirm. I've already received a second pair, as I initially assumed that the BAs had a defect. However, not much has changed in the situation. Yes, the highs can provide some brilliance and detail, but for what price.
If I must make an exquisite choice of music and vary a lot with the volume, then I'd rather go for other IEMs right away. Generally speaking, quieter is more, as they are just as easy to drive. For my part, they are simply too tiring in the long run and I'm not such a treble freak either. But there are certainly people who can resign themselves to it and make friends with it, or even search.

Outro

I don't want to speak badly about the EM-023, because it's not that! You just have to be clear about what you're getting and if you're looking for it. If you are looking for very bright in-ears, with a good separation, average stage, impulsive lows and preceding clear and detailed mids, which are not always tonal correct, you will find it here. The discrepancies in the midrange don't carry so much weight with hip-hop or electro, because the location works well, and voices sound intimate and natural despite the bright signature. Who likes to listen to rock, metal, or a lot of random stuff, isn't too well advised with the EM-023.

Legend

Haptic:

Here the processing plays a role and the usability of the scope of supply. Additionally the appearance, wearing comfort and robustness.


Value:
Here I evaluate for me subjectively the price/performance ratio - does not flow into the evaluation!

Z: No Brainer

A: money well spent

B: all right, you can do

C: gives better for less money

D: overpriced

E: collector's price

Daily life:
Here, I focus on the long-term audibility and whether I can hear it well out of the box. This is of course very subjective and therefore only a minimal deduction or bonus. 

(-0.1, 0, +0.1)

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Rating in Letters

S: 9.5 - 10

A: 9.0 - 9.4​

B: 8.0 - 8.9​

C: 7.0 - 7.9

D: 6.0 - 6.9​
E: 5.0 - 5.9​

F: 0.0 - 4.9​

EM-023

EM-023

Second Opinion

Head-Fier Otto Motor

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CHI-FIEAR © 2020 by David Hahn

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