Advanced (ADV) is back at it again with the premium line up, the M5 series. Currently two models have been officially released, which are M5-1D and M5-5D. Memories are a bit vague, but I recall them also working on 8D and 11D when I visited their booth last year. 1D has a driver configuration of 1DD while 5D is 4BA+1DD and each of them priced for $399 / $599. As someone who’s been into ADV IEMs, I had to check out how they would do with their premium products. I’ve purchased the 1D soon after the release and now I’ve spent enough time to share my impressions about it.
I have to give props to ADV on how they’ve done with their packaging. It’s compactly sized but presented very nice with full of accessories. Once you open, a thank you card is placed on top of the accessory box, which includes 3 pairs of foam tips, 3 pairs of silicon tips, 3 pairs of double flange tips, 1 leather cable tipe, 1 microfiber cleaning cloth, and 1 cleaning brush. The box is packed with red paper stuffing which makes the unboxing process pretty enjoyable like opening up a present. A metal carrying case is also provided which feels to be very firm.
Earpieces – Aesthetics
M5 is the 1st IEM from ADV that used resin shells though they’re beautifully crafted. The transparent grey shells met with a solid black faceplate gives a premium yet stylish feeling. Plus, the popped out circular faceplate met with the rectangular ADV logo works out pretty well. The faceplate reminds me of the HYLA CE-5 but the actual shape turns out to be quite different. The size of the earpiece is on a bigger side, being slightly smaller size than Oriolus Reborn. There isn’t much concerning points or shapes that could possibly irritate your ears, unless you’re outer ear shape is considered very small.
Earpieces – Spec
M5-1D uses a single pure beryllium dynamic driver with PET base and PEEK surrounds, leading the driver thickness to be five times thicker than the ordinary ones. Sure, BAs also require tricky tuning and could be also custom made, but I enjoy to give props to those who make their own dynamic drivers – ADV being one of them. ADV hasn’t specified the exact dimensions of these, but they’re obviously huge and thick (25 micron). The earpieces are detachable and uses the common 0.78mm 2 Pin terminations with recessed sockets. The nozzles are made of metal and seems durable enough. The nozzle size is about T400-T500, being compatible with most aftermarket eartips. I’ll be talking about cable and eartips matching on sections below.
Stock cable is made of 4 braid silver plated copper and the quality is quite nice, both in sound and build. It’s light, flexible, and doesn’t cause any microphonics. Both the y-split and the 3.5mm plugs are made out of metal. Also there’s an extra step around the plug, allowing flawless insertion for source devices with protective case.
Sound impressions: Bass
M5-1D goes for a wide, smooth sound with a slightly v shaped signature. There are two favorite parts that I especially like from 1D which are its bass and staging. Let’s first start with the bass. The chewy, meaty bass makes the sound so appreciable. Both the texture and the tonality aims for that good old classical DD style – though not as classical as Sennheiser, etc. Bass is well controlled both in reverb and quantity while having a weighty bounce to it. Ultra lows are well presented as well and dives deep without getting excessive. Overall I found the bass from M5 to be quite addictive.
Sound impressions: Mids
The trend today is definitely a W shaped sound but I also dig into those but M5-1D doesn’t fail me to bring satisfaction. It’s definitely not bulged out but not really recessed either – perfectly placed in the middle I’d say. It has a sweet tone which smoothly flows throughout the frequency. No peaks, no sibilance, good stability. The temperature is relatively warm but gets a bit shiny on the upper mids, preventing a stuffy atmosphere. There’s a decent thickness to the vocals, making it suitable if you’re looking for full and rich sounding vocals. Not the best when it comes to expressing bright, narrow vocals but does a decent job on handling both male/female vocals.
Sound impressions: Treble, etc.
Treble takes a step back from mids as well as a bit lower in quantity, but the extension is up to standard. Not machine-like separation but never lacking in details or instrument separation. You’ll still be able to enjoy the tiny bits of treble details. The staging is very nice which is the second part that I love the most from this IEM. M5-1D forms a circle headroom that widely spreads out sideways and dives deep. Both the overall signature and staging reminds me the Oriolus MK2 which is very impressive considering the price difference.
Eartips / Cable matching
M5-1D is pretty omnivorous when it comes to cable/tip rolling. Not drastic, but it shows a clear difference and the chances aren’t high for getting a potato combination. I personally found mid-treble boosting cables (pure silver, spc, silver+copper hybrid, etc.) to match well and JVC Spiral Dots, Acoustune AET08 for the eartips. If you aren’t planning much on getting an extra cable, I highly recommend to at least try the AET08 eartips, as it makes the sound quite more airy and dense.
While ADV has been always putting much attention to the quality aspect, they were often perceived as a brand that aims on bang-for-a-buck or cost-effective type of vibe. Though building up from the previous GT3, the new M5 series appear to be the starting point for ADV stepping into the premium game. If you’re into fatigue-free sound with smooth and wide signature, M5-1D would be one of the best choices for its price range.