June 16, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA
Headphones

VOLARE AUDIO I/O Review — Headfonics

In this article, Thomas reviews I/O AUDIO VOLARE, which is a new 8mm dynamic tribrid, quad BA, quad electrostatic universal IEM. It is priced at $599.

Disclaimer: This sample was sent to me to give my honest opinion. Headfonics is an independent website with no links or affiliate status. I appreciate Shenzhen Audio for your support

To read more about Shenzhen Audio Previously tested products at Headfonics click here.

Please note that this article follows our latest scoring guidelines which you can read here.

VOLARE AUDIO I/O Review featured image

Review of VOLARE AUDIO I/O

Summary

The I/O AUDIO VOLARE is a stellar set of universal IEMs at this price and I can't recommend them enough. The design is visually appealing and wonderfully built, the accessory kit is exceptional, and the unboxing experience is very premium. Most importantly, the three types of drivers used were implemented in a refined and exceptionally competent manner.

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8.9

Advantages

Technical performance that far exceeds this price.

Awesome integration of three types of controllers.

Premium unboxing experience and accessory kit.

Cons

The vents pick up a lot of wind noise when using VOLARE outdoors.

The bass lacks texture

I/O Audio is a new brand coming out with a bang with their debut VOLARE universal IEM with an SRP of $599.

The VOLARE is a universal tribrid IEM with a single dynamic, four balanced armatures and four electrostatic drivers inside. The use of mini electrostatic controllers, and four at that, is not common at this price since the technology is relatively expensive to implement.

In addition to the unique controller configuration, the VOLARE contains other features and technology that make it even more impressive than it already is. And the VOLARE is impressive, as will be discussed throughout this review.

Housing shape I/O AUDIO VOLAREHousing shape I/O AUDIO VOLARE

Characteristics

I/O Audio's VOLARE is packed with technology, not the least of which is its impressive controller setup. Inside are four Danish-made Sonion electrostatic (EST) drivers, four custom full-range BAs, and a custom 8mm dynamic driver.

The 8mm dynamic driver's diaphragm uses a birch wood dome with a silicone rubber surround, reminiscent of the 11mm dynamic in JVC's FW1000.

The EST quads are a special addition, dedicated to handling high frequencies. Normally reserved for $1kg products, it's rare to see them, and four at that, in a $600 headset.

The four BA drivers are a new design. Compared to traditional armatures, they rely less on the frequency division of crossovers to achieve the desired frequency response.

The VOLARE's dual crossover structure is complicated and uses a four-way electronic crossover along with a three-way physical crossover, the latter of which can be seen in the nozzle design. This combined cross-technology aims to maximize the specific benefits of each type of driver.

Design

VOLARE by I/O has a universal fit housing with a curvy design style that has become extremely popular over the years among products at a variety of price points. The distinctive trims applied to this new model help ensure it stands out.

The faceplate has a bold design with organic veins that crisscross deep within the thick resin. An interesting touch is that on the left it has a silver I and on the right a silver O, floating in the top left corner of each faceplate near the cable ports, which is useful for distinguishing which channel is which.

The main body of the headset catches the eye thanks to VOLARE being printed in fine gold script and the liberal use of silver metallic flakes that appear and disappear from view when you tilt the headset. It looks really spectacular in person and is not something that can be adequately captured in an image.

The nozzles are 6.7mm around the prominent lip and taper slightly to 5.7mm along the rest of the shaft, which is great for accommodating a variety of third-party tips. This is a little larger than the 5-6mm I consider average and is necessary to accommodate the three internal sound ports.

On the top of the VOLARE, just behind some vents, are slightly recessed 0.78mm 2-pin ports. This design allows the use of various third-party cables without major installation issues.

The quality of Hello gears'The 3D printing is exceptional and no flaws or imperfections were found. Everything is fluid and seamless and matches appropriately with the strong visual appeal of the I/O design.

VOLARE AUDIO I/O NozzlesVOLARE AUDIO I/O Nozzles

Comfort and isolation

VOLARE's elegant design is exceptionally ergonomic and fits naturally in the outer ear. The shells are silky smooth and have no sharp edges to cause discomfort or hot spots.

They are also lightweight thanks to the use of resin. As such, they are headphones that I can wear for many hours at a time and only need to take a break to protect my hearing, and not because of fit issues.

Despite a large vent on each earcup, the isolation is quite good. This is a headset with which I can listen comfortably outdoors and in noisy areas at a volume close to my normal, without the need to significantly increase the volume to counter outside noise.

However, the vents pick up a lot of wind noise. Please note that on windy days, your listening experience will be compromised.

The only thing that may cause discomfort is the cable, as the 8 wires are divided into 4 per side and reach the earbuds, resulting in thick guides that go up and around the ear. This thickness plus the weight of the cable could bother some users.

I/O AUDIO VOLARE ear padsI/O AUDIO VOLARE ear pads

Tips

VOLARE comes equipped with a wide selection of tips that, except for the foam set, all use high-quality silicone. While the shafts are quite thick, the silicone on the flanges is thin and flexible, which may prevent some from achieving a consistent seal.

However, I had no problems with any of them and prefer the ST50, which feels the flimsiest of the bunch thanks to the thinner silicone and tilt shaft, by the way. SpinFits various tips. It still provided a great seal and sounded better, with equally deep bass as the small bore TT55.

The ST50 also provided an excellent soundstage, on par with the big bore TW43. Unlike the TW43, it didn't boost the treble to maintain a more balanced presentation.

The TW45 mid-bore set is the best all-rounder, as they don't boost the bass as much as the small-bore TT55 or the treble as the wide-bore TW43. However, they don't open up the soundstage like the ST50, which puts them a notch below for my tastes.

Since I can barely stand using foam tips, I will leave impressions of the F49 Wide Bore Foam Tips to the community.

Overall, a stellar selection of original tips, with the only thing missing being the two and three flanged options. I would love to see I/O revise this accessory kit to include them in the future, as it would further enhance an already excellent selection and ensure that listeners of all varieties are catered for.

Original I/O AUDIO VOLARE cable and 3 pinsOriginal I/O AUDIO VOLARE cable and 3 pins

common wire

The cable is an 8-wire, oxygen-free, copper, silver-plated unit with an interchangeable plug system that includes a 3.5mm single-ended plug and 2.5mm and 4.4 balanced options. mm.

I found the plug locking mechanism to be an inelegant option and ended up sticking with the 4.4mm balanced option to avoid having to interact with it.

Once the keyed portions of each segment were aligned and the selected plug was installed, the locking collar felt redundant given how tight and stable the fit was without it.

Add to that the strands that didn't move smoothly and the collar that got stuck on the individual strands of the cable, and the whole thing felt unrefined.

The cable uses a 0.78mm 2-pin system instead of MMCX, which is a big positive for some potential buyers. However, the left 2-pin plug is not as secure as it should be, causing the headset to disconnect unexpectedly on some occasions.

The rubber cover that covers the 8 threads bounces slightly but behaves quite well. Cable noise is minimal with a cinch to reduce it further, tangles are not a problem, as is memory retention.

Refinement

The finish on the connector, splitter, chin strap, and earbuds are mostly metal and feel very durable. There is no strain relief on the connector or splitter, but the thickness of the cable makes this a non-issue in my experience.

The pre-shaped ear guides leading to the earcups are very well molded. They keep the cable secure behind your ear, even during aggressive movements.

Lastly, and totally subjective, the cable does not fit aesthetically with the design of the headphones and looks like it belongs to another product. The simple matte and gloss black/gold color scheme is at odds with the headset's grey/glossy black aesthetic.

VOLARE AUDIO I/O AccessoriesVOLARE AUDIO I/O Accessories

Packaging and accessories

New brands need to make a good first impression, and what better place to start generating that impression than with packaging? After removing a standard outer case that contains the usual data, the experience becomes much more premium.

Taking a page from the Leica X Vario unboxing, opening the cube reveals a large carrying case and three drawers housing all the accessories. The bold carrying case demands your attention, so we'll review it in a moment.

Drawers

The first drawer contains the cable and various adapters. VOLARE includes 3.5mm single-ended, 4.4mm balanced, and 2.5mm balanced plugs.

The second drawer contains an extensive collection of ear pads in five styles: TW45 single flange medium gauge, TT55 single flange small gauge, TW43 single flange wide gauge, ST50 single flange wide gauge Medium with tilt shanks and F49 wide gauge foam tips.

The third drawer contains a ¼” adapter, a cleaning cloth, a VIP card, a warranty card, a quality control certificate card and a manual. The manual is more helpful than most, going over basics such as installing the ear tips, using the cable and various plug adapters, and how to use the headphones, while also including maintenance tips to extend the life of the headphones. the useful life of the VOLARE.

VOLARE AUDIO I/O in one caseVOLARE AUDIO I/O in one case

Case

Getting back to the case, I have doubts about how I feel about this. On the one hand, it's beautifully built, and thanks to the ample padding and tight cutouts to hold the VOLARE headphones, it will do an excellent job of protecting them from damage.

On the other hand, the foam cutouts cannot be removed, meaning this oversized case can only hold the headphones. There is no room for the cable nor can you get the headphones into position with the ear pads installed.

The case is magnificent but completely impractical. This oversight is disappointing for a top-notch unboxing experience that includes an excellent accessory kit.

Click on page 2 below to see my sound impressions and recommended combinations.

Click on page 3 below to see my selected comparisons.

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