Advanced is a young audio manufacturer from New York that has been gaining good popularity in a fast phase. I’ve been testing out their gears since they started their company and was satisfied with their products being solid and cost effective. Last year, in Japan, I was able to meet in person with Peter from ADV and tried out their upcoming models and was thoroughly impressed with the sound, even though they were still prototypes.
It was a great moment feeling their passion towards audio gears and I’ve been looking forward to the newer models they would be putting out, one of them being the GT3. The GT3 is currently priced for $199 and just got it launched few weeks ago. Let’s now check it out!
The GT3 comes in with ADV’s classic packaging – neat packaging with a white theme, though the presentation inside the box seems a bit more premium than their previous models. Other than the earpieces, it comes with a SPC cable, a remote cable, 3 pairs of foam tips, 3 pairs of silicon tips, 3 pairs of double flange tips, a carrying case, and a leather cable tie. It’s a good variety of accessories provided and I especially like the cable tie. Definitely feels premium.
Earpieces built like a tank
The earpieces are made of stainless steel with a light hairline pattern on the surface. The driver configuration is 1DD, a light-coil single dynamic driver with their multi-damping system, however unable to specify the material or the diameter of it.
The earpieces are able to be detached (mmcx) from the cables, but also the nozzles. It comes with 3 pairs of filters, each meant for bass (black), reference (silver), and treble (red). There is a vent at the bottom, however the isolation turns out to be quite nice. Also, these are meant to be worn over-ear but it is still possible to wear it straight-down if you pair it up with another cable that doesn’t have an earguide. Though I’d recommend to wear these over-ears as it provides better seal and comfort.
Two stock choices for cable
GT3 comes with two cable choices – a silver plated copper (SPC) cable and a 3-button remote cable. The SPC cable is meant for better performance while the remote cable is more practical for outdoor/daily use. Both cables are nicely built and have strain reliefs on all weak spots, making it much durable. The stock cables from the previous model, Model 3, had a fragile cable so this is a good move. Both cables are sensitive enough to be used with smartphones and the mic quality seems up to par as well. These cables do have sonic differences and the SPC cable sounds relatively brighter and shiny compared to the normal copper cable (remote cable), so give both a try – you might prefer the copper cable over the SPC. In this review, I’ll be using the SPC cable for the impressions.
Before moving on to the sound..
Not all, but I found most of the flagship earphones to be blatant, means that the change will be more drastic when you apply the earpieces on different source, cable, or eartips. This also applies for GT3, and such IEMs are rather unforgiving when it comes to recording quality, so you got to serve it well to achieve a better sound. Though it doesn’t mean that GT3 requires top-notch sources like FLAC or DSD but should be good enough if it’s ≥320k.
I’ve used DX150 / Opus #1S as my source, reference for the filter, and FAD E-type for the eartips. JVC Spiral Dots are my all-time favorite eartips for DD IEMs, but I found that eartips with large bores will make the sound harsh on the upper mids, so I suggest staying away from those.
So how’s the sound?
Overall, the GT3 goes for a W-shaped sound with additional boost on the highs. Bass has a good amount of thickness and concentration, which also spreads quite wide sideways – this also helps the soundstage to be increased. The growling on the bass feels to be well presented without getting bloated, giving me an impression that the bass is well tamed, overall.
Bass quantity should be sufficient unless you’re a hardcore basshead. The bass here also tends to be pinned at the bottom, giving some weight on the overall sound and presents the sound from feeling hollow. The reverb is also controlled nice and tight.
Mids leave me an impression that they are aimed to sound fun. There’s a slight coloring to the vocals, though I won’t particularly define this IEM to be colored as it’s like a touch of salt added in order to make the sound more appreciable – I’m a guy who hates colored vocals and didn’t found this to be bothering, so you get the idea. I’m quite positive most users would rather find it to be appreciable unless you’re strictly looking for accurate neutrality.
Vocals do get brighter on the upper mids and results a slight sibilance, but it’s not a piercing-like sibilance that would likely come out from BA IEMs. I’d rather put it that mids get “colder” or a bit “shivery” on the upper side. The textures are refined and the brightness gradually increases as it flows up the frequency, so it didn’t seem to be bothering my listening experience. Overall vocals have that “soda popping” freshness but will cause your ears to get tired after decent amount of time (about an hour for me with the reference filter), so it wouldn’t be suitable if you’re looking for an earphone to be used for long listening session.
Trebles from the GT3 are outstanding to the degree that I could even compare it with my other flagship IEMs. It has great details, making it possible to clearly present the thinnest details from the background and on the high notes. It’s positioned similar to where the mids are, but occasionally steps forward. Trebles show clear appearance on any track whatsoever, and I’m sure many will be able to notice the hidden treble details from the tracks they were familiar of. The texture feels crispy rather than being trimmed, making it easier analyzing the details. Overall, treble sounds vibrant and refreshing, though this also means that your ears will get tired faster than average IEMs trebles – same deal as I said on the previous paragraph.
Separation is another part that I love from GT3. Not only it precisely separates the lightest treble instruments on the background but also capable of presenting depth and distance between those separated instruments. This also helps the sound to feel more spatial and serves as another factor that makes the listening more enjoyable.
GT3 gave me an experience as my music were unveiled once again and making it possible to step up with other flagship IEMs in terms of treble extension. Needless to say, it outdoes Evo-X and Model 3 with quite a big gap as well. It goes for a sound signature similar to AKG K3003, but with better price, performance, and functionality. It’s meant for a smaller audience than previous ADV IEMs, due to its sound signature, but if you love treble details or literally ‘high-resolution’, I urge you to give these a try.