As a person who loves to keep track of new IEM brands, I’m aware of most new product releases even though I have yet to try them. However, it’s been a while since meeting a brand that I was completely unaware of. Today we have a fresh new brand full of mysteries called the “Horizon Doom”.
Horizon Doom is a Japanese brand founded by Yokoyama Kagehiko, a former engineer of Onkyo Corporation who was a core member of product R&D and sound tuning. In 2021, Onkyo went out of business and their audio-visual businesses were acquired by another company. Although we aren’t sure if this is anyway related, perhaps this could be the reason why Horizon Doom was created – to continue Onkyo’s legacy while also making a complete overhaul in product design.
Talk the talk, can Horizon Doom live up to the niche audiophile standards? Their first debut IEM is called the “Basic” and priced at 12800HKD or approximately $1650. Let’s go through the features as well as the sound.
Packaging Designed by Gary & Wonka
Starting with the packaging, Horizon Doom took an interesting approach by teaming up with Gary & Wonka Art Studio from Spain to create paint art for Basic. The Basic IEMs come in a wood case with an outer box beautifully designed with the paint art. Once opened, Basic welcomes you with cards and paperwork. The earpieces are wrapped in leather pieces and with ropes.
The rest of the accessories include a 4.4mm stock cable, 3 pairs of Acoustune AET07 silicone eartips, and a pack of puzzle pieces. Once all the puzzle pieces are put together will make the same art piece as the one printed on the packaging box. It’s a nice and pretty gimmick that can be cherished. However, I do wish to see a carrying case to be included. The earpiece wraps are good in material but not practical for daily usage as it’s not a pouch but only a piece of leather wrapped with ropes.
Earpieces: “Why more when one is better?”
So what drivers did Horizon Doom use for Basic? Hinted from the naming of this IEM, Basic only uses one – a single dynamic driver. Nowadays it’s almost a norm to be using a whole bunch of different drivers, varying from DD, BA, EST, planar, and so on.
Mr.Kagehiko, despite all that, claims that he always believes a dynamic driver to be the most ideal type for an earphone. He believes that fewer drivers the better, and that dynamic drivers are still full of potential. A potential that could still easily surpass those that are topped with complicated combinations of drivers.
Special Acoustic Structure
There’s a lot more to Basic than just using a single dynamic driver. The driver uses a diamond composite diaphragm which took Horizon Doom a year for R&D. The earpieces also use a pure silver housing which seemed to be 3D printed. The grainy texture gives Basic an extra sparkly look and touch. Mr.Kagehiko shares that he has experimented with other materials for the housing (copper, carbon fiber, and wood) but silver turned out to sonically match the best.
Another core feature of this IEM can be found in the interior. Horizon Doom states that Basic uses a “Quadruple Triple Standing Wave Suppression System” which required great difficulty executing the production of the earphones. Unfortunately, there isn’t much that we can tell what this does exactly and I believe the details are kept confidential, though we can take a peak into the nozzle to figure out that Basic has something special and uncommon. The nozzle has a special speared-triangular shape structure that resembles the cone design found in speakers.
Fitting / Wearing Experience
Fitting-wise, Horizon Doom Basic is comfortable and ergonomic to wear. Although made of silver, the earpieces are quite slim and small in size that doesn’t give off the weighty feeling that most silver IEMs have. I do have other silver IEMs such as HYLA Nerva-X and AYA Audio SA01, yet the Basic is more comfortable and lighter than other metal housing earphones. You wouldn’t encounter any issues using these casually or outdoors.
Quality Stock Cable
Horizon Doom has included a custom-grade stock cable for the Basic. However, Horizon Doom does not state the exact specifications of the cable but could tell that the wires are shielded in multiple layers and are using either SPC or pure-silver wires. It’s fairly thick but still in the average range in usability as it’s flexible and only terminated in 2 braids. The connectors are made of metal and have a mirror-finished, silvery look. The plug is fixed as a 4.4mm balanced output. The cable speaks quality that I don’t necessarily feel the need for an additional upgrade cable.