The Lime Ears psi is a custom triple BA monitor featuring a custom bass module switch delivering two unique sound signatures. It is priced from €625.00.
Disclaimer: The Lime Ears psi sent to us is a custom sample in exchange for our honest opinion. We thank the team at Lime Ears for giving us this opportunity.
To read more about Lime Ears products reviewed on Headfonics click here.
Note, this review follows our new scoring guidelines for 2020 which you can read up on here.
Lime Ears psi
Lime Ears have always created enjoyable sound signatures with a bit of a twist and the psi does nothing to buck that trend. Like the Aether R and Model X, the psi has that bass switch technology and it does create two very identifiable and engaging sound signatures. You can change it up from sweet and pleasurable to powerful and warm with a flick of a switch.
We have played around with the Lime ear Psi now for a few months now so time to roll out our full review. For those that have been keeping tabs from the original feature, there is a degree of overlap so you will find sound impressions and comparisons on pages 2 and 3. For everyone else, read on.
Lime Ears ‘new’ psi marks the end of the line for their older models the LE3 and the LE3B as well as their switch-hitting LE3SW. You could argue it is a merging of all three into one mid-priced custom offering. If so, how apt that the symbol for psi, Ψ, is a triple fork on a single handle.
The price of €625.00 does make the psi affordable though it is not the cheapest triple balanced armature custom we have tested to date. The Avara AV3 triple BA custom at $310 is half the price and you can read our comparison of it on page 3.
What will also be interesting is the contrast to Custom Art’s competing triple driver custom, the FIBAE 3 starting from €525.00 and this comparison can also be found on page 3.
The Lime Ears psi is a triple balanced armature driver custom monitor with a 3-way passive crossover design with each driver covering its own distinct frequency range. That means one for the lows, one for the highs and one for the mids using a two-bore acoustical design.
The rating is 46Ω impedance and 109dB SPL so a middling efficiency monitor and one that should not be affected too much by impedance skew or high noise floors.
What is unique about the psi is its use of a bass switch much like its bigger siblings, the Model X quad balanced armature custom, and the 6 BA Aether R flagship. This initial switching process was available on the previous LE3SW and has allowed Lime Ears to merge their two cheaper monitors, the LE3 and LE3B into one design.
The new switch is also based on the company’s current Fletcher-Munson principle. Something they have consistently applied to all of their switched based monitors.
This means that the adjustment is not just focusing on an enhanced bass response but also some tweaks further up into the mids for an elevated vocal presence. This helps to balance out the stronger low-end and prevent the mids from sounding veiled.
Lime Ears Online Designer
The store hasn’t changed so much since we did the last review back in 2019, at least in terms of the process. I suspect a number of options and choices have been added or taken away and sure enough we do now have a set of signature designs available which hugely simplifies the design process as well as a more complex split-tone control of the nozzle and faceplate.
I would rate the ease of using the store design at Lime Ears up there with Custom Art, Vision Ears, and Empire Ears. Maybe a shade behind 64 Audio’s complex designer but 64 Audio design choices are not as creative IMHO. Using the store is really nice and easy with plenty of design features.
For custom designs, the process begins with accessing the online designer tool which will take you right through all the options including accessories and cables as well as rush order options. You will also have a handy price accumulator, so you can see how much everything will costs as you go along.
With the introduction of the Premium Color options, the process is much easier and the design choices much more dynamic looking. You can literally pick one of these Premium Color designs and be done with it. They also cost a bit less than the Signature designs at an additional €40 per side.
This time around I went for their Cosmic Swirl Premium Color design and you can find how it looks in detail on page 2. One thing I can say is that the image work on the design is fairly faithful to the product so there are no nasty surprises when you get the real thing.
If you do not fancy an all-inclusive design you still have plenty of mix and match options such as glitter, wood, carbon, and silver carbon for the faceplates as well as decorative finishing such as Rhinestones.
I find the choices to be quite reasonably priced also at around €30-40 per side or starting from €60 all in for both sides. It will not add too much damage to your wallet beyond the original base price.
Not too much here in terms of add-ons. You cannot choose a wide range of cables or cable terminations but you can pick the color of the cable and also a name for the top lid of the carry case. I suggest black for the Cosmic Swirl. You can also ask for specific features if what you are looking for is not available.
There is also an additional rush delivery option but I find the €180 cost a bit much for me personally. I recommend just waiting for the regular turnaround time of 3-4 weeks and save the cash. The delivery fee is a flat rate €50 anyhow so you need to account for that.
Ear Impressions Short Guide
Lime Ears includes an online ear impressions guide in PDF format and we have included the link here for quick reference. You will find all the necessary information including the type of clay to use, how deep the impression should be as well as shipping instructions.
Note that Lime Ears do require open jaw impressions so bring a bite block to your usual audiologist to keep your jaw steady whilst open to prevent the clay impressions from poorly curing. Then it is a simple case of packing them securely and sending them to Lime Ears through your favored courier.
Packaging & Accessories
The Lime Ears psi comes in a super large branded black cardboard box. I do not know if that is standard now or just for this review sample but it is akin to a headphone box size and quite the visual impact.
This must cost a small fortune in logistics because inside you will find the normal accessories and contents I tend to expect from any Lime Ears monitor. After emptying it, the large courier box is entirely disposable.
Those contents inside include a branded Pelican 1010 weather-sealed carry case with an attached carabiner which, traditionally, I have always like for their durability and space inside to carry just about anything within reason. You can find a few monitors in this case with some additional cables with room to spare.
One thing that seems to have changed is the use of small drawstring black branded cloth pouch to protect the CIEMs when in transportation. You can also use it to reduce the size of your carry case from the large Pelican 1010 to a pocketable bag. Not much protection from damage but a lot smaller. It is a nice touch and entirely reusable.
Aside from that, you get a cleaning brush, silica drying pack, and your warranty and marketing collateral. Overall, a traditional offering but an entirely functional line-up that should last a long time.
Click on page 2 below for Design & Sound Impressions