The Alpha & Delta AD01 is a new effort from Singaporean-based headphone retailer Lend Me Ur Ears (LMUE) in collaboration with a local Chinese company. Many would claim that this is a bold move seeing as LMUE have comfortably been at the other end of the manufacturing process but have not yet been at the helm of designing their own headphones.
Featuring a dual dynamic driver configuration, the AD01 retails for $96 USD placing it in direct competition with the $100 Sennheiser Momentum and within the same ballpark as the $119 Vsonic VC1000 and $120 Rock-it Sounds R-50 earphones.
What you get: the box & accessories
For starters, I have got to say that I am impressed with the logo LMUE have designed; it is sleek, stylish and minimalist. A valiant effort from the upcoming brand whose minimal design extends to its matte blue box and the inserts inside.
One thing that could be improved upon however is the included information side which features on a standard A4 paper cut down into a smaller segment. I know this is nit-picking but it is one element that stands out from the otherwise professional looking packaging material.
Included inside is a single pair of foam tips, 3 pairs of bi-flange tips, 6 pairs of silicon tips of various sizes and a hard case.
Build Quality & Fit
With a plastic housing, the AD01 appears durable alongside the Y-split and L-shaped jack. What is quite rare about this model, especially at this price range, is that the cables are detachable and therefore easy to replace if they become severed.
Fit is excellent too with LMUE opting for a straight-down fit as opposed to over-the-ear. The needed foam option happens to increase comfort options delivering that close-to-perfect seal necessary for long listening.
With deep and rumbling lows, the bottom end of the AD01 commands authority and a strong presence. However, it is more bloated than the Sennheiser Momentum’s bass which possesses more of a diffuse yet controlled presence throughout tracks. Next to balanced armature sets such as the Vsonic VC1000 and the Rock-it Sounds R-50, the less snappy and slow-paced nature of AD01’s bass becomes more evident. Though, for the requirements of those wishing for thick and body-full bass, the AD01s are a great option.
With a strong bottom-end presence, the bass does bleed to a certain extent into the midrange frequencies providing it with an overall warm tonality. Delivery is smooth and tonally, tracks sound pleasant with no sibilance or harshness. Clarity levels are pretty decent though lag behind ultra-clear TWFK sets in the similar price range. What this earphone excels in compared to its competition, however, is the portrayal of natural tones with a sound signature that is faithful to the original production. Often we find that in earphones of this price range that the tone comes across as too thin or too warm or too energetic. The AD01 does a good job in this regard to present sound as you’d hear in real life.
Treble has a decent amount of detailing and a moderately good top-end extension. With that said, there is not enough energy in this section to ever make it characteristically appealing for treble-heads. However, for what it’s worth, the AD01 is better than average in extension besting the SoundMagic E50’s subdued treble but succumbing to the Sennheiser’s more energetic and livelier high frequency section.
Soundstage & Imaging
Tracks with the AD01 sound notably airy and for the average soundstage that it works with, instrument separation and imaging is decent. Nothing ever sounds congested as the AD01’s have a wider soundstage than the Vsonic VC1000. The Sennheiser Momentum’s however trump the AD01’s soundstage in the width dimensions matching the Dunu Titan 1’s open sound.
At 9 Ohms, the AD01 is an easy to drive earphone without the need for a dedicated amp. Out of the iBasso DX90, I have noticed a more controlled bass and transparent sound. Treble extends a bit more but to be honest is not at the level I would like for a daily driver. Soundstage and imaging also notably improves with a great dimension in width and height.
Overall then, the Alpha and Delta AD01 is a brave and applaud-worthy effort that LMUE have made to access the headphone market. What I am really impressed with, is that this earphone offers a natural and smooth tonality coupled with the ability to detach the cables. Clarity levels are also appreciable and there is generally a fatigue-free sound.
However, there are certainly some improvements that LMUE could make should a revision ever be made; for example, the treble could have better extension, lows more controlled and mids more detailed.
With their already established foothold in both the Western and Eastern markets, LMUE may have an easier time getting a word out on these earphones. Customers are also able to audition these models before they buy at LMUE’s retail store in Singapore. This is an excellent idea that more retailers should implement, especially for in-ears, to give users more of a chance to try before they buy.
It will definitely be interesting to see how much of a success the AD01’s will be and whether or not this will be the start of an entire product line. Stay tuned…