See Audio Yume Review: Reference affordably
Almost every new brand start small and grow up slowly. But of course, that isn’t always the case. See Audio is a rising new star in the portable audio market. They started off with a considerably wide range of IEMs (from entry to flagship), though the IEM that really did good for See Audio is their most budget model – Yume. If you’ve been keeping yourself well updated with the trends going on in the IEM game, I’m sure you must have heard about this IEM. That all said, let us now check out the features of Yume as well as in-depth impressions and comparisons.
Yume comes in a pretty neat packaging. Just like Moondrop and Tanchjim did, you would notice that See Audio is also hoping onto the anime theme with their products. With the outer sleeve printed with the Yume anime character (Rinko), the included items appear as we remove the sleeve and the inner lid. Other than the earpieces, Yume comes with a stock 3.5mm cable, a metal carrying case, 4 pairs of silicone eartips, 4 pairs of foam tips, a warranty card, a set of Rinko anime stickers, and some paperwork.
The included silicone tips are not the ordinary ones that we usually come across with – in fact, they are very nice. The length of these eartips are somewhere between TWS eartips and normal IEM eartips, so they’re a bit shorter than the ones we usually use. Though not only these silicone tips offer a comfortable fit, but also makes the overall sound more tidy and balanced. I’ve seen these eartips being sold separately from a foreign website before yet See Audio seems to be the first that utilized these as their stock accessory.
Earpieces – Aesthetics
The earpieces are more compact than the average size that offers extremely comfortable fit even for those who have relatively small ears. The resin body has a black color that are almost non-transparent. The faceplates are applied with green/blue green nuggets that makes the appearance look pretty without overdoing. See Audio logos are placed on the left earpiece and the Yume logo is on the right earpiece. The nozzle diameter is about T400 with standard 0.78mm CIEM 2Pin sockets installed for cable detachment.
Besides, one thing to note is that the Yume we’re dealing with in this review is the earlier batch whereas the Yume logo has been changed due to unforeseen copyright conflicts. The old logo (which we have for the review) has a sunshine logo and now the logo has been changed to a cross-like design. Other than this, there are no other differences between the old and new Yume.
Earpieces – Specs
Specification-wise, Yume has an ordinary 2BA+1DD setup but with some twists. First, the balanced armatures are custom-tuned in order to meet up with a specific sound that Yume has. The dynamic driver also deserves a good attention as the diaphragm is made of liquid silicone. Liquid Silica is the latest trend going on in dynamic drivers after beryllium and DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon).
LS diaphragms are known for low distortion, stable output, and insensitivity to temperature differences. Last but not least, Yume is tuned highly based on the Harman Target Curve. For doing so, See Audio incorporated Yume with L.F.C (Low-Frequency Conversion) Technology which rules out the possibility of multi-driver distortion taking in place.
Yume comes with a quality stock cable considering its price range. The cable is made of 4-braided 5N OCC Hakugei wires and terminated with metal components. The connectors are finished with non-recessed 2Pin connectors and 3.5mm straight plug. It feels very soft and pliable, causing no microphonics during usage. Although the cable has some thickness it is actually light and feels comfortable even at outdoors.
Sound impressions – Lows
Yume’s low-ends focus on realism, desiring the actual tone and texture of lower instruments. It has a warm and slightly darkish brightness that offers great depth to the music. As for the sub-bass quantity, it sits just about the same as typical slightly v-shaped IEMs. Ultra lows also show good extension with a husky touch to it. This adds clarity to the grains while not getting rough for one bit. The flow is highly consistent throughout the range – all the way from the ultra lows to the upper lows. Hence the lows show a gentle attitude while being dynamic and wide.
Lows are quite special in terms of texture. The texture feels like something between fluid and fabric. To elaborate, the flow of the bass is particularly smooth and soft to the feel, but also elastic and tightly controlled. Grooves are calm and soothing while not getting loosened up or recessed. These all add up to offer a fatigue-free environment while allowing the bass expressions to pop out clean and clear. Also can’t forget to mention that its organic nature allows broader adaptability in genres.
Sound impressions – Mids / etc.
The more I hear, the more I could tell that See Audio is no amateur in IEM tuning. Mids are amazingly natural, clear, and accurate. When I say accurate I mean it in both phasing and band transitions. Hybrid setups, especially for budget entry models, would often sacrifice some accuracy as it becomes easier to create a fun, spatial sound. On the positive side, the sound would be colorful and exciting to listen to. But to be brutal, that is somewhat steering away from how the audio was supposed to be.
These “accuracies” in phasing and tuning are majorly speaking from the measurement POV, so that doesn’t fully reflect how it sounds to your ears. It’s all after personal preferences. In practice, these “accuracy” come to feel as if lows, mids, and highs keep an even boundary as it forms the headroom. The mildly w-shaped emphasis plays within this presentation, forming a headroom that feels somewhat flat, wide, and very neat. With a neutral thickness, vocals show neutrality also in texture – keep a tight and crisp control while retaining a desirable softness. Sibilance are nicely polished out with pleasant, careful airiness present among the upper mids.
Sound impressions – Highs, etc.
Compared to lows and mids, highs are mildly smoothened out in quantity – but no lesser in their presence within the music. Trebles keep a nice crisp with good separation and layering, offering nice analyticity and resolution. After all, Yume is not a rough-sounding IEM that allows the highs to outstand without boosting much in quantity. It would be expectable this point but yes – the trebles are also neutral in timbre and texture. The brightness and crispness are a bit stronger on the highs that they provide appropriate upper-end coolness. It’s also worth mentioning that this transparent tone supplements the upper-end airiness. As result, highs are smooth and fatigue-free yet clear, shiny, and analytical.
The headroom is decent. It’s considerably large for the size of its cavity. Not grand but surely not on a leaner side as the sound stage scales just as wide as the similarly priced competitors. As expressed from above, the separation is also nice and accurate, well representing where the instruments were intended and needed to be placed.
Comparisons – Kinera Freya
In general, Freya offers a more private and snug headroom. The depth is stronger along with being more on-point on focus. But then again, Yume swings back at Freya with a vaster headroom. The bass quantity is nearly as same but with a bit more weight and thickness (both in width and color). However, this is a minor difference that doesn’t stretch far as judging which to choose or not.
Yume serves a more calming bass that lays out more flat. As for the upper-ends, Yume sounds more organic and natural – but once again, it’s not a drastic difference. While these two are unexpectedly similar in many ways, they still have differences that are worth considering. That being said, here’s a simple way to decide which to choose between them – let’s say you have to choose either dynamic or reference. If you’d pick dynamic, perhaps Freya would suit you better. If it’s the reference that you would pick, Yume would likely serve you well.
Comparisons – Moondrop KXXS
This comparison between KXXS and Yume would be more evident in differences. Compared to Yume, KXXS is stronger in overall emphasis. In bass, KXXS shows clear dominance over Yume in ultra-low extension and heaviness. Mids show a silvery tone and crispiness to the texture.
While vocals from KXXS have a mildly metallic feeling to the vocals, Yume takes back the dominance in terms of timbre and naturality of the texture. It is a matter of personal preference, yet it just feels “closer to reality”. For the upper ends, KXXS shows brighter and stronger sparkles whereas Yume proposes a naturally open-field headroom. If it’s that you prefer a Full BA driver-ish sound, KXXS may work out better for you. If you’re more into a dynamic driver-ish sound, Yume would be recommended.
Yume is a good example where the product itself did the marketing for the entire brand and grow tremendously fast recognition. While it is common for budget IEMs to be tuned heavily focused on the fun, See Audio here tried to catch both the fun and accuracy – and they’ve done it quite successfully. Yume retains a pleasant level of musicality that desires a tuning where it attempts to represent how your favorite albums were meant to sound like. If the sound feels to be too plain at the first contact – give yourself some more time for your ears to adjust to Yume’s naturalness. Soon you’ll likely be enjoying the neat, long-lasting charms that this IEM has
See Audio Yume has been acquired by myself.
I am not affiliated with See Audio and none of my words were modded or asked to be changed.
See Audio Yume$169
Value for the price9.5/10
- Well-balanced, reference tuning
- Monitor-level accuracy
- Quality accessories and cable
- Compact, ergonomic shells
- Not meant for those who seek strong dynamics or bombastic sound
- Sound may feel a tad plain for some