The Shuoer Tape is a single low-voltage electrostatic Dynamic Driver 5-Axis CNC Carve metal body universal IEM with an affordable price of $129.
Disclaimer: The Shuoer Tape sent to us is a sample in exchange for our honest opinion. We thank the team at Linsoul for giving us this opportunity.
To read more about Linsoul products we have previously reviewed on Headfonics, click here.
Note, this review follows our new scoring guidelines for 2020 which you can read up on here.
I’ve never heard a Shuoer product before, so it was a real treat for me to finally get to experience the Shuoer Tape IEM. At just $129, these little guys have been making waves in the audiophile community that are large enough to flood continents.
Well damn. The Tape packaging is pretty awesome and crafty if I do say so myself. No sign of a standard rectangular box anywhere. This one is cylindrical. How unique. Vivid orange with a piano design is so obtuse! I love it!
I’m a sucker for abstract design. In this case, Shuoer has opted for a hyper-stand-out design, over something simplistic. For this price, I applaud that choice. They could have easily released the product with a basic box and called it a day.
The exterior Tape housing is metal and has a good heft to them. They do not feel hallow in the slightest and portray more of a solid and dense chunk of metal appeal to them.
The 3.5mm adapter is quite nice as well, so extra points there. No doubt, the Tape rates high on build quality. I see and feel nothing low end or even of average quality. This entire experience is well above what I thought it might be.
Truly, I went into this blind. Subscribers to Headfonics asked me for months to review it and told me I’d enjoy it. I finally got around to obtaining a set and ended up fully agreeing with them. Feeling heavy, but a not uncomfortable piece of metal such as this in my ear really does make the experience feel premium.
Cable & Comfort
The Tape stock cable is detachable via MMXC connectors. So nice to see a quality cable included in a budget tier IEM. This cable is braided but feels a little stiff, which is a good thing, at least, in my opinion.
The comfort factor is something that has stressed me since I received the product for review. I simply do not know how to rate the product between comfort and fit. I feel both to be a bit different and uniquely opposite.
By that, I mean that my fit experience is quite poor, but I find the IEM very comfortable. I have trouble keeping the IEM in my ear, it just refuses to sit snug in my canals and even the slightest movement will loosen the fit to the point that the sonic fidelity gets ruined.
When I am sitting down, or lying in bed, the experience is fantastic in fit. When I am walking or a passenger in a car, the IEM always needs to be adjusted after just a few moments. I require gently pushing them back into place.
Sadly, no tip swapping matters for me. The large, the small, 3rd party tips. Doesn’t matter. The Tape just falls loose over a short period of time. Despite that, I consider it still very comfortable and never a bother in terms of painfulness.
The design is angular, not smooth, so I would have thought it would be a pain to use for prolonged periods. But, that also is not the case. So long as I don’t move much, I can use them for hours and not feel any physical issues bothering me.
The Shuoer Tape claims to use a low-voltage electrostatic dynamic driver. Sorta. This product actually uses a magnetostatic driver which is a little different from the transformer powered electrostatic driver from Sonion. So there is no need for a traditional electrostatic design and yes, this runs off normal 3.5mm sources.
Typically, a magnetostatic driver sound signature offers a very smooth sensation to the experience, one that lacks a physical strike factor or dynamic impact (otherwise known as wince factor). That effortless appeal is what this magnetostatic driver does best and in this case, you can certainly feel an entry-level type of electrostatic tonality but it is not quite the same timbre.
Is this the future? Damn. I hope so. Death to regular dynamic drivers. Let’s move on and advance this low-cost tech, please. It is 2020, we put people on the moon in the ’60s. Let’s get us some new innovations in audio already.
The stock sound signature of the Shuoer Tape is extremely natural and lacking any sense of clinical or sterile appeal. This has tonality and personality in abundance. There is certainly a slight boost, even on a flat EQ setup.
I can almost taste the warmth, but don’t take that as if the Tape is extremely bassy or warm in tonality. It is on the lighter side of warm, a few steps into the door. Just enough to boost up or down, as needed. And that is where the stars in my eyes turned to supernovas of joy.
The Shuoer Tape responds so vividly well to EQ, that I am not sure how to stress how great it actually is here on the low end adapting prowess factor. Wow. If you want a flat experience, you got it. If you want a bass canon, you got that too. Feel free to boost away and not worry about mud even at +7dB. Absurd.
This IEM is highly recommended for bassheads who want somewhere between moderate and heavy bass quantity, but with exceptionally good quality for the price. The Tape can adapt to any situation and takes the crown for remaining the clearest throughout a +1db to +10dB bass test. Amazing.
The experience in vocals is one that is set up to be on the forward side, not overly so, but certainly mid-forward. The experience is what I call moderately forward in physical feel and location. There are a few other IEM’s out there and plenty of over-ears that sound much more forward and engaging, but also many that are much more recessed and relaxed.
In this case, the product experience is set up in a safe zone that will sound pretty good with most recordings. If I were a Jazz hunter, searching for an IEM that is specifically tailored to vocals, I would be hunting elsewhere, perhaps JVC. However, the Shuoer Tape is a generalist that does most things very nicely.
There is certainly an upper midrange boost and bloom effect here. No doubt. And with that, comes a high level of engaging factors when perusing the old standards and modern Jazzsmith’s out there.
Due to the Tape’s soft and effortless appeal, overall, the midrange vocal experience is pure butter, pure silk. It is quite a stark contrast to swap between this Shuoer Tape and my Empire Ears Nemesis CIEM’s. The latter being blaring and very forceful.
The Shuoer Tape is elegant yet casual in setup and appeal. As far as sonic fidelity and purity, the Tape punches way above its price-point. This is a steal and bargain IEM. At $129? Are you crazy? This IEM sounds like an IEM 3x that price, easy.
Now we begin to see why this type of driver works so well with this type of product. That magnetostatic tonality is absolutely present and stage forward.
The tonality of the top end is like looking at the moon’s reflection in a pond at midnight on a perfectly clear and bright evening. The slight ripples in the water streaking through and warping the starlight just a bit, allowing for a sparkle effect.
To my ear, that is how I metaphorically categorize this type of sound. It is liquid. It is soft. It is effortless like flowing water tends to be. It glistens and sparkles with stunning luster.
The treble in the Tape is stunning, gorgeous even. It reminds me of the famous AKG K267 headphones from a few generations ago. Just perfect in every way.
In regards to the fidelity factor, it is leagues better than any IEM of the price. The Starfield IEM, of a similar price tag, is audibly more grainy, less focused, and much harsher to my ear.
If that isn’t enough, the realism factor on the Tape is outstanding. The depth of field and overall density factor is sublime for the price. Truly, a stellar deal. I am so sad that I am so late to the party on this product. I wish I had been on top of this when it was first released.
Oddly, the width factor is not really a strong point of the Tape, while the height factor seems abundant and realistically formed. The air between instruments from left to right is relatively average.
However, the layering effect in forwardness, or, that depth of field realism factor, is fantastic. This is an IEM that I would recommend for live recordings and podcasts, as well as Jazzy genres.
The reason for that would be vivid realism and effortless for the price. It is actually outstanding at this price range and competes with much more expensive products on the market.
While stage left and right width is shoulder shrug worthy at best, the forward depth of field and physicality factor of height is absolutely spot on and ends up making the experience of vocals sound hyper-realistic. Again, for the price, this is a steal.
You don’t need to amp the Tape. Grab yourself a great source and enjoy it. I find that overdriving this with high voltage somehow ruined the treble.
Maybe that has something to do with the type of Tweeter in there, I don’t really know. But, I found the experience to feel better physically with my Cowon Plenue M Dap and my Hidizs AP80 Pro than I did using these two as a source and connecting to a very expensive amplifier.
Yes, you can actually get better fidelity, but the tonality shifts for me with heavy amplification. I would stick to low gain on this one, or just use your portable source or DAC/Amp by itself. Thankfully, the Tape sounds great with the budget DAP’s out there and does scale into the Cowon Plenue M territory. Proof positive that the Tape punches above its weight class.
True, I have fit issues. However, the Tape is still comfortable. This IEM has an addictive tonality to it and God’s honest, I wish more IEM’s come out like it. I love how dynamic and realistic this IEM really feels. That effortless and liquid silk texturing is yummy and then some.
I would like to see a model a little less relaxed and more forward though, just for my own preferences. Boosting on the low end is not a problem, it responds so nicely to EQ. If you want a bassy experience, you can easily achieve it. The top end is gorgeous.
But, the overall slick tonality is my favorite factor in the Shuoer Tape, by far. Buttery Smooth is the best way I can put it. And to hear that in a $129 IEM is just absurd to think about. I hope this type of design takes over the market and we see a flood of amazing designs similar to this from others.
Shuoer batted this one out of the park, over the highway, and into the ocean a few hundred miles away. Stellar IEM, offering one of the best ‘price to performance’ ratio’s in the audiophile world that I’ve come across.
Shuoer Tape Specifications
Driver Configuration: Low-voltage Electrostatic Dynamic Driver
Impedance: 18 [email protected] 1KHz
Frequency Response: 20Hz- 30KHz
Plug: 2.5mm Balanced Plug With a 2.5 to 3.5 Adapter