Symphonium Crimson Impressions (Antdroid's Take)

The Crimson is a new in-ear monitor earphone from Singapore-brand Symphonium. This brand has brought a few exciting and quality products to the scene recently with the Helios, Triton, and the Meteor. The Crimson takes on several of the same technologies from their previous products, and puts in a new tuning, shell design, and comes in at $1499. This retail version of this item is available for pre-sale at the time of writing, with an early Launch Edition already shipped to the first 30 customers.

The unit I am providing impressions on is a tour unit that will be featured at the SoCal CanJam 2023 event. It was provided by the Symphonium team for first-listen and impressions and is returning to their team for the event and remainder of the tour.

One of my question marks going into trying the Crimson on was how it would fit. The Helios and Triton did not fit my ears very well, and the Meteor, while smaller and definitely easier to wear, still never felt secure when I wore it. The Crimson's design is surprisingly very comfortable and fits well. I don't have any complaints here.

The shell features a black look, with red trim around the front edges, and a carbon-matte appearance on the outward-facing surfaces. The product uses 2-pin connectors, and this unit features the OE Multi-plug interface, similar to my Subtonic Storm cable.

This tour unit came without any of the retail packaging, so I won't dive too much more into this area.

Sound Impressions

The Symphonium Crimson is a very balanced in-ear monitor with a signature that should work well with many genres. It has a slightly elevated bass boost over my target preference (v4), and it is definitely audible. The mids are very even and neutral, and the treble is slightly relaxed making this an IEM that is pleasing to the ears, with a neutral-ish signature with a slight elevated bass. 

Now, with that said, it sounds totally different than what I had expected when I first looked at a preliminary graph and compared it to my other IEMs. In fact, even measuring the unit I have with me and listening to it gave me a different presentation than what I was expecting. 

The Crimson has some innate soundstage that makes it characteristically different than many other earphones I've tried. It's most similar to perhaps the Unique Melody MEST (original), and the Campfire Solaris (original) when I heard it. That is -- it has a very interesting holographic soundstage that sounds quite large at times, but also puts certain elements closer into view. 

An example of this is when I am listening to the absolutely fantastic album, "Versions of Us" by English band, Lanterns on the Lake. On another set, the vocals and the background band would be on a similar stage, with a less gradient between instruments. On the Crimson, Hazel Wilde's vocals are near and dear, while the backing band is engulfing her, with some instruments sounding much further away in the scene than I am used to. On an album like this, which mixes shoegazer and dream pop elements together, I love it. It provides that rich grand sound that makes it special. I can see how on some other music genres, this may be less preferred.

My colleague at work had a chance to listen to the Crimson at work and he definitely heard the same staging effects that I had heard too. He did not like it as much for electronic music, and I can probably see why. It's an unexpected sound. That said, he thought it was a great set overall and one that would require some acclimation due to its different style of presentation.

And this is true with some other music I listened to. Some songs I really loved with it, and some felt a little odd and required getting re-adjusted to. It is definitely this aspect that sets the Crimson apart from other IEMs that have cluttered the marketplace and makes it feel like a unique and special IEM that I thought when I heard the original MEST and the Solaris. This one has less tonal deficiencies than those two -- it does not have the bright upper mid peak of the MEST nor does it have the uneven upper-mids and treble of the Solaris. This one seems to still have good timbre while presenting a sound that seems like it goes through a crossfeed-like DSP.

In other areas, the Crimson has very solid resolution. I never felt like I was missing any detail. It did not have as clear of a distinction of notes as I hear on the Subtonic Storm, but it is quite comparable to others in its price range.

With the bass boost, there is a good amount of punch, and slam when called upon. Sometimes the bass notes are a little more full than my preferences, but its never an overt distraction, as it is fairly well controlled.

Final Impressions

I dig the Crimson. It is an unique IEM with its staging characteristic that is unlike most products. It also has nice look, comfortable fit, and good tonal balance. While it is a tad pricey at $1499, you can do a lot worse for a lot more nowadays. 

I unfortunately only had a short time with this loaner, but it is one I'd like to spend more time with in the future.

View the product ratings on Antdroid's IEM Ranking List and/or Antdroid's Headphone Ranking List