Earsonics Onyx

Awesome Price for this IEM

Pros: Insane Build Quality
Surprising Sound Quality
Good Mids
Good Highs
Decent Packaging/Accessories

Cons: Meh Lows
A little heavy
Just OK cable
Meh Soundstage/Separation/Imaging

Onyx Front.jpg
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Up for review today is the Earsonics Onyx – a relatively unknown IEM from a relatively unknown brand. The Onyx has 4 drivers with a mix of DD and BA – I’m not sure how those are spread out since their own website doesn’t really tell you, but I’d have to guess DD for bass and Bas for the rest. I received these from a fellow Head-Fier to test out since he lists them as his best under $1k – an award I give to the FiR VxV or CA Andromeda, but damn if I’m not tempted to recommend these instead for very different reasons. You can buy these from Audio46 for $639 retail if you want a pair. Yes, I forgot to photograph these, so you get stock images, my bad. On with the review!

Onyx Cable.jpg

Accessories/Earpads/Eartips (8/10):

Not bad Nick, not bad (if you get that movie reference, you’re cool). A decently nice black box (duh), a decent, if not amazing cable, a cleaning tool, 6 sets of ear tips of various types (sweet), and a perfectly serviceable black carrying case. Yeah, this is about what I expect at this price level – it’s a better package than far too many kilobuck IEMS. Still, it’s nothing mindblowing, and it’s still not quite as nice as what TRUTHEAR offers in their $80 HEXA packaging (still a gold standard), so overall it earns a solid 8/10 points. The Spinfit W1s are too big for the nozzles on these – the Final E type fits better.

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Cable (6/10):

Yeah, it’s OK. It’s 3.5mm, which isn’t ideal at this price range – most people paying this much for an IEM likely have a balanced connection of their DAP, even if it’s only the Shanling M3U, etc. Heck, the TRUTHEAR SHIO has a 4.4mm, so it’s not the best, but it functions perfectly fine. It appears to be a silver-plated copper cable, and it feels a bit cheap, and very thin overall, but again, this is not a kilobuck IEM. The Aroma Thunder comes with a worse cable at 3-4 times the price. So yeah, it’s not great, but not bad either – 6/10 points.

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Build Quality/Comfort (9/10):

Holy crap, they built these like a friggin’ tank. This is an all-metal IEM and makes stuff like the $5k Jewel or the $6.6k Traillii look like a cheap toy. So yes, the build quality is great. The design looks really great here as well – someone went to design school. The black Anno on these feels durable and my used copy came with no scratches or blemishes, which is how IEMs should look, but my Mentor somehow managed to pick up a scratch on the “gold” trim despite how careful I was with them, so this is really nice to see.

The comfort is good, and these are designed really well, but they’re not the smallest or lightest IEMs ever. The all-metal design makes them pretty heavy and they are pretty thick and somewhat large – not Ronin large, but still bigger than almost anything from Campfire Audio for example. The weight can get uncomfortable after long listening sessions, so it’s something to consider. 9/10 points here.


Check out the wolfhawk.squig.link below to see how these compare to…well…nothing really. I don’t much that is in the $6-700 range. The closest thing I have is the Kiwi Ears Orchestra Lite and while it’s not too far off, it’s still pretty different – not to mention the price difference. So, the Onyx has some solid bass and sub-bass, but not mind-blowing, and somewhat recessed mids according to the FRG. The highs are nice and tapered off, which might help or hinder the Onyx on the songs below. I included the Andromeda 2019 I just got as well since it’s probably the close I have here price-wise, though they graph like polar opposites.

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I’m driving these off of my new Cayin N8ii DAP on solid-state with medium gain at around ~35/100 volume. That’s really good for a 3.5mm unbalanced connection – bravo Earsonics. I’m using Tidal Hi-Fi Plus to power it with MQA on.

Lows (14/20):

I’m starting off with the Mid-bass/Sub-bass test I’m using David Guetta’s “I’m Good (Blue).” There’s some really ghood impact here, but it does feel pretty thin compared to some, admittedly, much more expensive IEMs. The sub-bass has some really good body to it, though it’s pretty fuzzy. These have some really solid bass for the price, but it’s not at the quality level I expect from a more expensive IEM. It’s slightly above average, so it earns a 6/10 here – great quantity, ok quality.

Up next is Demon Hunter’s “I Am A Stone,” which I use to test whether the bass is too strong and overwhelms the mids as that is just as important as how strong/good the bass is. You really need to crank the volume here to hear the mids well – that’s thanks to the massive mids dip on the tuning. Still, the bass doesn’t really overwhelm the mids here and it’s a good overall presentation – again, for the price. It’s a really nice and full-bodied presentation here, though the recessed mids are not to my preference. 8/10 points here.

Mids (16/20):

Weaving The Fate’s “The Fall” is my test song for clean/dirty guitars and vocals with background instruments to see how clearly the vocals can be heard. The intro guitars are nice and clear with some really good dirty guitars. There’s a really warm, full-bodied presentation here. The downside again is that you have to crank the volume to really get the full presentation of the mids. That raises the volume of the lows as well and makes them a bit more present than I’d like on this song. Still, the overall is really quite good and it earns the Onyx 5/6 points here.

Staind’s “Something to Remind You” has clean electric guitars and wonderful vocals – this song tests vocal quality and background noise. The Onyx really has an amazing ability to present music in a warm and inviting manner that a lot of more expensive IEMs can’t do. This song is a great example of how that is presented. The vocals are great, the guitars are great, the soundstage feels intimate, but still large. It’s a fantastic presentation here with all of the details I look for in this song. 7/7 points awarded.

To test classical instruments in the mids, I’m using The Piano Guys’ “Code Name Vivaldi.” While this song sounds quite good and has plenty of the motion ‘m looking for here with this song, the mids come in too recessed to really bring this song to life. The low-mids sound fantastic here with the bass-cello and the drums taking the front, but it leaves the piano and the mid-cello lacking without turning up the volume to uncomfortable levels. 4/7 points here.

Highs (15/20):

To test sibilance on headphones I use Panic! At The Disco’s “High Hopes.” Yeah, there’s some sibilance here, but it’s relatively controlled and certainly above average. 4/6 points here for decent sibilance control.

Dream Theater’s “The Alien,” is the highs test song I use to see if the cymbals/high-hats/snare drum can be clearly heard and distinguished from the rest of the music (also good for instrument separation.) There’s surprisingly good treble on the Onyx. Cymbals can be heard quite clearly against the rest of the song in the intro. Drums are also at the front of the sound presentation as well. I wasn’t expecting to be able to hear any treble based on the previous songs, so this is a welcome discovery. 6/7 points here – it’s surprisingly good, though it’s important to note that the mids do feel very recessed here.

Michelle McLaughlin’s “Across The Burren” is another of my favorite highs/sharpness test songs as it can easily sound painful on some headphones. Oof, there it is. I was really wondering where the weakness was going to be in the highs here since there’s almost always a weakness. It’s here with the sharpness – pretty painful. I was able to get through the whole song but it was definitely rough in some spots.

Soundstage/Instrument Separation/Imaging (6/10):

I use MGMT’s “Time to Pretend” to test soundstage, instrument separation, and imaging. Wow, not bad at all – these are how much again? There’s a very large soundstage, even if it’s pretty forward-leaning like most cheaper IEMs (2/3). It’s not anywhere near TOTL levels, but it is surprisingly good. The instrument separation is good, but not amazing (2/3) points and the imaging is again, good, but not TOTL (2/3). That’s still a really impressive score for this price range. 6/10 points awarded.


I just got a 2019 CA Andromeda in and despite their MSRP differences, these two both sell for around the same price on the used market (maybe a little less for the Onyx, they’re so rare it’s hard to tell). They actually feel like very similar IEMs though the Onyx has a bassier presentation and an excellent soundstage and an all-metal construction. The Andro has more forward mids though and it’s my overall preference, but I also really like Campfire’s house sound as well. The Andro is also lighter and smaller, thus more comfortable. Both come with equally crappy cables, though I’d put the Onyx’s cable as the better of the two since it tangles less. Still, if you can get the Onyx for around $400, it’s a steal since an Andro will still run you $500+ in good condition – assuming you can find one. The Onyx has highs that are pretty close to the VxV for quite a bit less. It also has more bass, the recessed mids are the place where the Onyx easily loses out to the VxV – they’re really good mids, but they’re too quiet compared to the rest of the soundstage – something you may be able to fix with EQ.

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Wow, the Onyx surprised me. For a company that I’ve never heard of before, these are really cool IEMS. If you’re looking for some good bass quality, but not too much bass quantity, some high-quality mids, even if they’re too recessed, and some really good highs with a bit of sharpness – all for far less than a TOTL IEM, these are a great choice. Yes, I had to play with the volume a lot to get the best sound, but these will definitely go down as one of my best IEMs under $1k – quite a bit under. If you want to give this relatively unknown IEM for a relatively unknown company a shot, don’t hesitate – grab a pair.

Headphone Scoring (v3):
Accessories / Earpads / Eartips (10 pts):8​
Cable (10 pts):6​
Build Quality/ Design / Comfort (10 pts):9​
Lows (20 pts):14​
Mids (20 pts):16​
Highs (20 pts):15​
Soundstage / Instrument Separation / Imaging (10 pts):6​

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