HIGH-CLASS
IN-EAR

TAPE PRO

SHUOER

Rating

Price

7.2

110 €

Review published:

01/2021

Driver

2

per Side

1

Dynamic

0

Balanced

Impedance

16 Ohm

PZ/ES/PL

1

Sound

8

Bass

6.5

Mids

6.5

Trebles

Sensitivity

105 dB

7

Handling

8.5

Haptic

D

Value

0

Daily Life

Frequency

n/a

Intro

The SHUOER TAPE had made a name for itself in the Chi-Fi world (even with misleading marketing - it's a dynamic driver with a low voltage electrostatic unit in front of it, just like the BGVP ZERO), with a good and fun V-signature, without the quite high audiophile claim.
The TAPE PRO now wants to make you forget the shortcomings of the TAPE with the same technology, at the same price tag.
Well, in my opinion, the engineers at SHUOER should have slept another night over their result before releasing the TAPE PRO for sale, but maybe someone will find happiness with the TAPE PRO, even if I will never reach the end of the rainbow with this IEM.

Handling

The TAPE PRO is similar to its predecessor in design, except that it is now also available in silver. In addition, the cassette wheels are interchangeable (filter). The sound hole is unscrewable and replaceable if too dirty or otherwise worn (1 pair enclosed), but also thicker than the original TAPE.

SHUOER already knows why the TAPE PRO is not enclosed Foamtips, because an even greater reduction of the high tone and emphasis of the upper mids would not be tolerable with the TAPE PRO, but more on that below. Instead, we get two sets of silicone tips in three sizes, though they don't make much difference sonically. In terms of comfort, I prefer the slightly softer white tips.
However, if the sound hole (7mm) had turned out even thicker, I would no longer need tips to achieve a seal in the ear. Why this large diameter? Apart from the fact that an unpleasant pressure can arise in the ear, it is a small test of patience to put on the tips. Likewise, not all of them (3rd party) will fit.

The cable is haptically a very successful one for my taste, though. For some it may seem a bit too clunky/robust, but I like this design and also the feel. In addition, it is a 2.5mm balanced cable with a matching adapter to 3.5mm jack (stereo) enclosed.

The faceplate has a slot that serves not only as decoration, but also as ventilation. However, this takes away the usefulness of the bass filter, since the sound / air can look for another way. In addition, the isolation is impaired.

Sound

Let's start with the bright spot of the TAPE PRO. Even though the bass tends to take a step back compared to the TAPE because the extension in the subrange is less, it is still the best thing about the TAPE PRO. Lessons have not been learned from its predecessor in any way, however, as the bass still penetrates the mids and is slightly lacking in firmness. It has a fun quantity and also convinces with a good structure, but is also sometimes a bit bloated and not always on the point. In contrast to the TAPE, you can replace the cassette wheels this time, as these serve as an additional filter and should influence the bass. Basically, I find this consistent and a nice feature if it didn't completely turn out to be a gimmick. I honestly don't hear any real difference when I replace the filters. True, this should also only increase the bass by 2 dB, which is not the biggest difference. But it should at least be measurable, which turns out to be a miss for me.

Often, for me, the tonality of the mids rises and falls in my favor with the 2 kHz range of an IEM/headphones. I can't stand it when voices have even the slightest semblance of shrillness or electric guitars become roaring bugs. Exactly in this frequency range so much can be influenced, since our hearing also reacts most sensitively here (2 - 4 kHz). The old TAPE certainly did not cause any great jubilation in the mids, since it also has the stronger V-signature. However, it just doesn't highlight the 2 kHz range as intensely as the TAPE PRO, but rises steadily to 3 kHz, where it provides the most energy. This makes it brighter than the TAPE PRO and puts the mids more in the background, but is more tolerable, at least for me.
The TAPE PRO's mids, in sum, sound more wrong tonally than right and kind of hollowed out.

I am aware that not every signature can meet my preferences and that is fine. However, it is not easy to remain reasonably objective in such a case. I am less comfortable with a darker timbre, as well as when it gets too bright. The highs have an extreme roll-off after 4 kHz, which now completely robs the TAPE PRO of its claim to be a tonally correct and coherent IEM after the mids that took some getting used to. They come back between 8 and 10 kHz with a peak, but this is rather negligible in terms of sound. Thank goodness this does not additionally provide for an increased sibilant emphasis, as a result I would then have more or less completely lost faith in SHUOER. If you will, the trebles are the only element where SHUOER has listened to the listeners, but has overshot the mark by far.

The treble usually has a strong influence on our subjective perception of the stage and its space, imaging-wise. Neither can live up to the price tag. The stage seems more or less compressed and the imaging is okay within the possibilities, but can't pull the cart out of the mud either. The voices, which are placed in the foreground and sound a bit slanted, also cause even more irritation.

Outro

The TAPE PRO is, for me, an exemplary example of how a fairly good product can be made worse with the wrong approaches. If I'm not mistaken, many reviews of the TAPE have pointed out that the bass should be a bit tighter, the upper mids/lower highs have too much energy, which can quickly make them shrill, the mids seem thin in some cases, and the highs could be smoothed out slightly. Now, in my opinion, these are valid suggestions for improvement and not all that difficult to implement.
However, what prompted SHUOER to focus more on the mid-bass in the low frequency range, to rob energy from the lower treble, but to distribute it to the sensitive 2 kHz range instead, and to more or less cut off the treble, is a mystery to me. I can't think of a single thing that the TAPE PRO does better than its predecessor. The TAPE PRO sounds dead, dark and uninspired in total, without any dynamics.

Be that as it may, my opinion is only ONE of many on the Internet and certainly not universally valid, but for me the SHUOER TAPE PRO is a shot in the oven and in no way an upgrade to the original TAPE. Sometimes I am a bit shocked by what you can read and see about the TAPE PRO. There are big words like "monster of detail" or "top-class imaging" and so on. Here I am wondering whether there are perhaps 2 different versions / production series or what the motives are. Well, to each his own...
The TAPE PRO is in my world an average and thus also overpriced IEM with a somewhat weird tonality. You can get similar sound material with the TIN HIFI T1 PLUS, for example, for a decent €25. This does not make the T1 PLUS better, but who is looking for such a signature, has a much better price-performance ratio here.

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​

H27

S10

TAPE

TAPE PRO

Second Opinion:

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CHI-FIEAR © 2020 by David Hahn

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