I have many favorite earphone brands and each of them has different reasons why I love them. One of my most beloved manufacturers is Nostalgia Audio, a young yet experienced high-end IEM brand from Hong Kong. The Nostalgia team has been creating products that are both creative and beautiful, starting with their first IEM Benbulbin.
They’ve also released custom cable products such as Olorin and Nerwen. Eventually, Nostalgia released its summit-fi flagship, the Camelot. Now, Nostalgia comes back with another summit-fi level IEM, the Tesseract. This is a co-flagship with Camelot yet designed as a limited edition model that is only available for 150pcs globally.
An Interactive Packaging
Tesseract’s packaging is quite massive and heavy. The outer sleeve is fully made with a special drawing art designed for Tesseract showing the cyberpunk night view of Hong Kong. The packaging is very interesting as they’re interactive. Removing the sleeve reveals the main packaging, and once we open this, a paper tab connected to the lid pushes up the smaller box in the middle – as if opening the Tesseract suitcase from Marvel comics.
The included accessories are the IEMs, anodized aluminum case, Nostalgia mesh bags, 3 pairs of Symbio W hybrid tips, 1 pair of Dekoni foam tips, and a metal warranty card. The carrying case is fully made of steel with the lid carved out to match the Tesseract’s faceplate design.
I love the look and feel of the case, yet it’s far too heavy in weight and is not ideal to be used as a carrying case. It’s more of a desktop case that is meant for storage. It would’ve been if Nostalgia included an additional case that is more portable.
Earpieces Magically Designed
Tesseract is a 16-driver hybrid IEM that uses 32 drivers in total for the pair. Let’s talk about the specs a little later and first go through the rest. Tesseract has one of the most unique and interesting looks and features. The faceplate has the same diagonal grill structures as the aluminum case. Between these grills are installed with fluorescent sticks that glow when absorbing light.
Tesseract glows in blue and green colors and reacts to sunlight and UV. It doesn’t glow under normal indoor lights, however. It doesn’t emit light for too long so it’s more of a fun little feature. Overall, Tesseract’s looks are simple yet strikingly gorgeous. The inner shells are plain black with the model name and serial printed on the side.
The earpieces are a little bulky but just about similar in size to flagship IEMs offered by different brands. Despite the size and metal faceplates, the fitting is very comfortable and light in weight. The inner shape is ergonomic, so I doubt people to have trouble wearing these.
Tesseract boasts 10 balanced armatures and 6 EST (electrostatic) drivers per side. The drivers are bonded to a 5-way crossover network, having 2 lows, 2 low-mids, 4-mids, 2-highs, and 6 ultra-highs. The driver count isn’t everything about the Tesseract. Three main technologies are being used to create its magic: Low-Pass Labyrinth, Spiral Flow Device, and E.S.C. Technology. Let’s briefly go through each of them.
Spin the sound: Spiral Flow Device
As most earphone drivers do, the sound has to be transmitted through tubes until reaching the nozzles. Through this process, certain sound ranges (usually high-frequencies) are prone to losing details and accuracy. Nostalgia’s SFD system seeks to relieve such flaws by engraving spiral grooves within the high-frequency sound tube. This allows stronger momentum for the high frequencies to achieve better details and accuracy.
Maze-like sound paths: Low-Pass Labyrinth
The Labyrinth technology is basically a set of complicated maze-like acoustic tubes. 3D-printed Labyrinth sound paths have a total length of 72mm and serve as an ultra-long duct structure for the bass drivers. This helps Tesseract to create powerful dynamics and slam for the bass.
Sprayed all over the drivers: E.S.C Technology
This is quite an interesting one. The ESC (Electromagnetic Shielding Coating) Technology refers to a special coating applied to all 16 drivers for a good purpose. The coating is a special blend of metal oxides and conductive polymers and sprayed all over the driver. The ESC coating serves as a shielding that blocks out unwanted electromagnetic waves. From the user’s end, The ESC coating provides cleaner sound and lower distortion.
Proprietary Stock Cable
Tesseract comes with a stock cable that is specially tuned to match the sound profile. The cable is comprised of 4-braid 22AWG high-purity silver wires. The wires are multi-stranded internally and applied with Nostalgia’s SoftFlex PVC insulation. The plugs are fixed as 2pin to Rhodium-plated 4.4mm. The Tesseract cable has an average weight for a custom cable but is pliable and soft. The usability is similar to general custom cables.