Advanced Sound Group is an audio equipment manufacturer who started with a crowdfunding campaign in 2015. They manufacture earphones, headphones, DAC amplifier, eartips, cables. They are now popular with their Eartune (TM) custom-fit eartips as well as the earphones which caters to a wide price range, from US$20 to US$500 onwards. The Model X is their first true wireless earbuds in their catalog, and after a successful crowdfunding campaign at Indiegogo, it will be available for retail purchase in Singapore at S$119, from Friday 2 August, distributed by LRT Singapore.
Design and Functions
In recent years, every earphones manufacturer is trying to launch a true wireless model to catch the rising trend. As an experienced reviewer, I find that it is impossible to guarantee a pair of TWS can achieve 100% transmission and connectivity. However, every brand is trying to overcome this challenge through their own R&D to make the user experience as positive as possible. Apart from connectivity, TWS makers also try to differentiate their product from the rest, through design, materials, functions.
For Advanced Sound Group, their R&D has brought them to Model X. Here are some of the design and functions to highlight:
The Model X is so compact and light, the casing is about the size of a modern car key fob. The earbuds is ergonomically shaped to extend into the ear canals for good seal. Compared to Creative Outlier Air and Gold, the Model X is less fat and the nozzle is less thick, resulting in better comfort. A small drawback is that the silicone eartips might not seal properly.
While I enjoy carrying the Klipsch T5 True Wireless in my pocket together with my keys due to its strong alloy body, the Advanced Model X is so small that I can hook it around my lanyard and access to it quickly when I need to. The matt silicone coat might get scratched or peel or even sticky over time, so this kind of material is not good for long term.
The earbuds sit lightly on the case, and interestingly the left earbud has a stronger magnet hold than the right. When I invert the case, the right earbud drops out without much magnetic hold. Also, in some cases when I took out the earbuds, they did not auto power up. What I did was to just hold the sensor for 3 seconds and the earbuds would power on.
The earbuds are controlled by touch so there is no need to click hardware buttons and put pressure into the ear canals. The earbuds can control tracks and volume as well as triggering your favourite smartphone assistant like Google or Siri.
The drawback of touch control is that you need to handle the earbuds carefully when removing the earbuds and stay away from the sensor area. Also, the volume-max beep prompt is too loud which startles me when I hit maximum volume.
Every time you remove the earbuds, Model X will automatically go into pairing mode. If it detects your previously paired device, it will connect and all goes well. Else, you can just pair it to another device conveniently.
The Model X is pre-defined with the right earbud as the master. If you decide to use only one earbud, it must be the right one. Advanced also recommends user to always remove the right earbud first, and if the left earbud is taken out on its own for more than 5 seconds, the left earbud will be paired as a new independent connection resulting in a broken link to the right earbud, which can only be resolved with a reset.
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The Model X delivers 5 hours of play time on the earbuds, and the case recharges for another 20 hours, giving a total 25 hours. The number might seem on the average, but considering the size of the earbuds, it is actually quite commendable. However, there is no way to tell how much battery is remaining in the case.
10mm Graphene Drivers
Most true wireless earbuds use small drivers for power efficiency. Advanced Model X uses large 10mm graphene drivers to achieve optimal capability to support the full frequency range.
The above frequency response graph says it all: the Model X is tuned with strong sub-bass and a peaky treble. But the sub-bass does not actually sound that massive as what the graph appears. I believe that is due to the choice of eartips and the seal in the ear canals. I do not like the elevated 4 KHz tuning, but for the music genre I listen to, the Model X sound balancing is still acceptable for me. When switching to the foam tips included in the package, I get better seal but as a result, the low treble also gets enhanced. The bumped 4 KHz rears its ugly head for songs with strong forward vocal mix.
Other than the prominent low-treble, the overall sound is enjoyable. Treble quality is fuller than many other earphones, so the Model X is for listeners who love the more intense highs. Similarly, the sub-bass is more massive, but the mid-bass does not fill the senses as much, which may be a good thing to appreciate the booms without the muddiness.
Like most true wireless earbuds, the Model X is not ideal for voice conversations due to the distance of the mic from the mouth. The wearer must speak up at a normal volume which undoubtedly draw unnecessary attention from people around you as you appear to talk to no one in front of you.
I am pleased with the connectivity and stability of the earbuds. When using it at crowded locations, they don’t get disrupted that often, other than occasional cut-offs which got reinstated within seconds. In comparison, the Creative Outlier Gold and Klipsch T5 True Wireless get disrupted more often. With IPX5 rating, I wear them for jogs and they sit firmly in my ears.
After reviewing the Advanced Model X for over a week, they are generally very enjoyable to use, from the compact case to the exciting audio tuning of intense sub-bass and tireless vocals. They go well with instrumental genres, and well-mixed vocal tracks at moderate levels. I can conveniently keep them with me at my office as I can hang them with my lanyard which I wear for my office pass.
At S$119, the Model X is very competitively priced considering the audio specialty of Advanced Sound. It is distributed with 1-year warranty in Singapore by LRT (Leader Radio Technology) and available at all good audio shops and online stores from Friday 2 August 2019.
- Very compact and lightweight
- Deep sub-bass and forward treble delivering clarity and impact
- Auto pairing makes switching devices very easy
- Touch sensor requires careful handling of earbuds on hand
- Case does not have battery remaining indicator
- Does not support advanced wireless audio codecs