Driver Setup: Six Balanced Armature Drivers
Disclaimer: The Supernova was purchased out of my wallet, but Stephen from 7th Acoustics was kind enough to provide a slight discount. This review is written out of my own will and these are my honest thoughts and opinions of the Supernova.
I love my mids and when I heard there was an interesting newcomer on the market known specially for its midrange tuning, I just itched to get in on it. Shoutout to Stephen from 7th Acoustics. It was not the easiest buying experience, and it was a long painful wait to get my hands on the earphones, but the guys at 7th Acoustics meticulously made it happen with their immense backlog of orders and I appreciate all the order updates.
Despite the small production, it comes in elaborate and very well-thought-out packaging. There is a metal case that would do a solid job at keeping the IEMs intact but might not be the best for compact on-the-go scenarios. The bundled cable comes in a 4.4mm balanced termination by default but you can request for your preferred termination when ordering. The cable is quite thick and bulky, and overall quite a good one, if I had to nitpick, I would have wished it was modular. Tips-wise, there are quite several options from the normal silicone eartips to a whole set of Final Eartips, which I thought was a great inclusion.
Build Quality and Fit
Build Quality is amazing for a handmade IEM. The design is also somewhat customizable as you can select the Abalone faceplates. They regularly cut batches and you can choose 2 you fancy for your Left and Right shells. The pictured pair belongs to another reviewer together with me. He got it with Haliotis shells as they call it, which have a certain “colour-changing” property depending on the lighting they are under. They turned out amazing and the shells themselves were smaller than expected and fit quite snugly and comfortably.
Frequency Response of the Supernova
- Lotoo Paw S2
- Fiio BTR7
- SMSL M200-Schiit Magnius
Music listened to
- Jackson Browne
- Michael Buble – To Be Loved
- Dire Straits
- Cory Asbury
- Noah Kahan
- The Lumineers
- Nutcracker Suite
- Jackson Browne
The bass has a very soothing natural quality to it. It is present but never threatens to overpower or do too much. Perhaps the vented nature of some of the drivers contributes to this organic quality of the bass. It is not the fastest or punchiest of responses, but instead a gentler, well-rounded response with decent extension and texture.
The mids were the highlight for me on the Supernova. It was spacious, very luscious and rich yet well-layered and never congested. The tonality was superb, with vocals coming in firm, yet gentle, never shouty or piercing. Instruments like violins and saxophones seemed to come to life with the sense of space the tuning creates, and lifelike timbre. The more I listened to the Supernova, the more I fell in love and I gradually found myself addicted. Of course, the mids would have benefited immensely from a boost in separation and detail retrieval, and can sometimes be felt missing that extra push to take the sound to the next level.
The present but controlled upper mids flows well into the highs, providing lively yet sibilance-free listening. There is a peak that comes in the upper treble that helps give the sound some sparkle and headspace. Everything here was done very tastefully.
Putting it all together, the Supernova is a very coherently tuned IEM and it performs superbly across the frequency range. It never attempts to do too much and a tuning that I love and I doubt I would be sick of it for a long time to come. Of course, I wouldn’t dare say it would be everyone’s favourite, but in terms of tonality and timbre, I find the Supernova hard to beat. It also manages to achieve a pretty good level of soundstage and imaging for an all-BA IEM, something that gives the sound an added dimension.
When I initially put the Supernovas on, the first thing I noticed was that it sounded… different. It didn’t have the pinpoint accuracy and micro detail retrieval I was expecting, something on the level of the Thieaudio Monarch perhaps. My biggest and only gripe with the Supernova was that if it had better detail retrieval and separation, it would’ve been sublime.
With that out of the way, everything else about the Supernova was a drug to me. The lovely tonality and presentation of the mids just had me hooked. This was on top of a very nice layering, imaging, and soundstage for an all-BA IEM. The tuning is versatile and remains a good fit for a wide range of genres. There are no harsh peaks or sibilance and has a sound signature you could listen to for hours on end. All of this is topped off with a gorgeous aesthetic of “personalized” abalone shells. If 7th Acoustics perfects its production processes and comes up with another IEM, I will keep a close eye!
Overall Grade: A+
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