Pros: Noticeable Changes in Tuning (albeit an excessive number), Enjoyable Neutral Tuning, Fast Snappy Response, Nice Accessories
Cons: Bright Treble, lacking in upper extension, A Little Grainy, Not the best for Vocals, Genre Specific
Driver Setup: 1DD+ 2BA (7mm Dual Magnetic & Dual Cavity Dynamic Driver, with 29689 and 30019 balanced armatures)
Disclaimer: The Joyodio Shine was provided to us at no charge courtesy of Linsoul. However, this was done in understanding I was to give my honest thoughts and opinions of the Shine. The Joyodio Shine is available for purchase here should you find yourself interested in a pair, or feel free to use your own links.
As far as I am aware, Joyodio is a new brand on the market, and the Shine is their first IEM. What’s mindblowing is their first IEM has reported 16 different tunings, featuring 4 switches on each side. Switch 1 (Bass), Switch 2 (High Mids), Switch 3 (Treble), Switch 4 (“Full-frequency overall regulation”). Few IEMs under $100 come with switches or multiple tunings, and the Shine is surely alone in its class in this respect. Without further ado, let’s take a look at what it offers.
Accessories (Score: 8.0/10)
The Shine does well in its packaging and presentation. It comes with an elegant leather zippered hard case that I never expected at this price point. The cable is a no-frills 8-wire braided one that is soft and coils well. It also has a mic option for those who would like to use this for calls.
Build Quality and Fit (Score: 7.5/10)
Build quality is nothing to scream about at this price range. It has a very understated design, that is arguably a little boring. That said, it works and is very functional. The shell is very light, which is a huge plus when using it on the go or having longer listening sessions.
As for fit, the included tips work well with the IEM and while slightly on the larger side, the IEM fits snugly in the ears and doesn’t slip out during my listening sessions at my desk so that’s a plus.
Sound (Score: 7.0/10)
Although there are 16 different tunings, I will not be providing my opinion on all tunings. I found the standard tuning (position 0000, meaning all switches off) most universally enjoyable across different genres. The bass boost tuning (1000) was also alright but not often a necessity for me. I also spent some time with 1001, which I found worked best with older 80s Rock music.
The frequency response of the Joyodio Shine with selected tunings Red-1001, Blue-1000, Green-0001, Orange-0000
- Lotoo Paw S2
- Fiio BTR7
Music listened to
- BORNS – Blue Madonna
- Kanye West
- The Killers – Day & Age
- Englishman in New York
- Noah Kahan – Stick Season
Despite the Shine being a brighter-tuned IEM, the bass provides sufficient weight. What I liked was despite its noticeable presence, it has a fast decay that prevented it from muddying the other parts of the music. What I would have liked to see more from the bass is more definition and clarity. The bass currently feels a little one-dimensional and doesn’t do justice to instrumental bass.
I found the mids quite enjoyable, in certain genres especially Instrumental Jazz and 80s Rock. However, the tonality isn’t the best for vocal tracks, where voices seemed a little bit too thin and flat for my liking. It usually results in a rather lacklustre experience for male vocals and female vocal tracks generally lack the lusciousness I would have preferred.
The treble does well in avoiding peakiness and sibilance, especially for the tuning that the Shine is going for. That said, the treble is one of the weaker areas of the Joyodio Shine as it rolls off very early and this is evident in its sound. The treble roll-off makes the staging seem very narrow and drumsets and percussions sound a little off in tonality. This is especially so in Hi Hats and cymbal crashes. Even when the “treble” is boosted using the switches, it tends to take on a more grainy and splashy nature that emphasises the negative aspects of the tonality.
To give credit where it’s due, the tuning switches on the Shine do have a very noticeable effect on the sound. However, I don’t think many of the tunings would be widely received or enjoyed. As for general tuning wise, the Shine works well with older rock songs or instrumentals. Not so good at performing in pop songs or vocal tracks. It’s limited by its tonality and timbre, which would improve with better technical ability as well as a more tonally accurate midrange response.
The Shine also has a really small soundstage and adding its lack of treble extension, results in a narrow headspace. Hence, orchestral tracks tend to sound very one-dimensional and lack the separation and layering I would love to hear.
The IEM interestingly scales and sounds much better with better sources. There was a noticeable difference in clarity and resolving ability when comparing the Fiio BTR7 Bluetooth and wired Lotoo Paw S2.
The Joyodio Shine shines (hehe) in a specific few genres in my library, namely 80s Rock, and select Orchestral tracks. However, despite its fanfare and ability to tweak tunings, its bottleneck lies in its technical ability and it lacks the chops to be able to elevate the sound to the next level. While an excellent novelty, I would much rather have an IEM that has nailed the basics of its tonality and technicalities before pursuing versatility through tuning switches. My biggest gripe about the Shine is its resolution, making it difficult to really enjoy my music library, and this is something that cannot be fixed by tuning, or EQ for that matter.
Coming into this review, I had to admit I had high hopes, and expectations, for this IEM due to its switches and possible tunings, and it’s easy to forget the price bracket it sits at. It doesn’t do anything inherently wrong or bad for its price point, however, it just doesn’t stand out enough to push beyond it. Nevertheless, the Shine is immensely commendable as the first IEM from a new brand. The switches do have tangible differences and do work as reported, which is no mean feat. Though its brighter tuning is not what I typically tend to go for, it is indeed a breath of fresh air and provides options for people looking for a different tuning.
Overall Grade: B-
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