We Indians are passionate about music, we love our music, our movies have songs built into them, so you can figure. Sadly we are not really known for our technology, especially not in the field of music equipment’s and accessories related to it. But Signature acoustics, from the house of Pro Audio Home is trying their best to bring some decent stuff for our Indian music enthusiasts, I like their tagline too which goes like Signature Acoustics Hear the Call. They have recently came up with a revised version of their already popular wooden earphone C-12, named Elements C-12 version 2.0 or say C-12 V2.
C-12 V2 looks similar to the version 1 but now comes with a built-in MIC and slightly different tuning. The C-12 V2 is priced at 3000rs or $45 (currently retailing for 2700rs) and comes in lite colored wooden housing only.
Now the V2 doesn’t face much competition from inland brands ( ha ha, there are none) but will face stiff competition from brands like Sony and Audio-Technica earphones but I will be comparing it with the new Final Audio E3000, my good old XB90EX and Xiaomi MI pro HD.
Here is the Specification of the C-12 Version 2.0:-
Model: Elements C-12 Version2.0
Sensitivity: 94±3dB ＆1KHz; 1mW; IEC318
Frequency response: 20~20KHz
Distortion: Max: 3% ＆ 1KHz
Rated Input Power: 3mW
Maximum Input Power: 5mW
Level difference average: ≤3dB ＆ 1KHz
Impedance: Max： 2.2KΩ
Sensitivity: -42±4dB & 1KHz; 2.2KΩ 3V ,0dB=1V/Pa
Decreasing voltage: -3dB &VS=4.5V,RL=2.2KΩ
Current consumption: 200uA-350uA
S/N ratio Min: 58dB & 1kHz
ACCESSORIES AND PACKAGING:-
My package came within a handmade jute bag, and I was so humbled by it… Yes, that’s what we need, break out of the common practice, lets promote our culture!!
Let’s get inside the package and the best thing you will find is the genuine leather case, I like the design of it. There are 3 extra pairs of tips, two of them are rubber tips in Small and large sizes, medium size being installed on the earphone itself. And a pair of medium size foam tips to keep up with the market and provide the customer with the comfort. There is a cable clip or shirt clip already attached to the left side cable so you don’t have to struggle with it. and some documentation which sums up the whole package.
BUILD, FIT SEAL AND CABLE:-
The C-12 V2 looks fantastic thanks to its wooden housing. the whole shell is made out of two pieces of wooden housings, the back chamber is glued to the front nozzle and looks strong enough to withstand some beating.
The straight barrel design is not something one should complain about, it fits nicely and if the rubber tips tend to fall out, use the foam tips for better traction. It seals pretty well and isolation is better than average.
The internally braided, rubber covered cable is strong but the problem is its microphonics which is higher than average. The 3.5mm 90 degree jack is nicely stress relieved.
The one button remote embedded MIC unit is on the right earpiece cable hence it’s easier to tell the L/R channels apart. The sound quality of the MIC is better than average and is a necessity for someone always on the move.
C-12 V2 is bassy but not V shaped, its more L shaped, there is plenty of bass, good amount of mids and lacking highs. It’s warm, neutral, and smoother. The wooden housing is a factor for this smoothness, it sounds more natural and true to nature when compared to most of the earphones in this price range.
I have used my Plenue R and D with stock tips on the C-12 version 2 for this review. The C-12 V2 doesn’t need any type of amplification to sound at its prime. It sounds fine out of my Lenovo P2 and S7.
The C-12 V2 is just shy of bass head-level of bass. It’s still bassier than most of the earphones out there in the market. with a its bigger impact and slam it directly compete with the likes of Hisound Crystal and sony XB series. It moves plenty of air thanks to its nicely rounded full bodied nature. Sub-bass has good presence and lower end extension is better than most of the XB series earphones out there.
Mid bass is slightly elevated to give it the fullness, upper bass is nicely controlled but still it can bleed into the lower mid range sometimes.
Decay, on the other hand, is lacking the speed when compared to the UE600 and 11 neo and slightly losing to the Final audio E3000 but has bigger and better sub-bass presence compared to these three. It lacks the control of the 11 neo and pro HD but doesn’t lack in details.
The C-12 beats all the earphones mentioned above with its true to the nature bass quality, its neither soft like the E3000 not lacking like the UE600, nor overpowering like the Hiosund crystal and is more enjoyable than the 11 neo and HD pro, unless you are not a fan of bass.
Even though it doesn’t have the smoothest presentation it’s still more natural than most of the earphones. There are no unnecessary sharpness or notes depth to sound unnatural. Yes, it’s not as smoother and sublime as the Final audio E3000 as the C-12 is slightly spiky and more sharper with the presentation. The mid range is not exactly balanced with the bass but it still has enough energy to stay nicely relevant. Lower mid range lacks a bit but the vocal region has good amount of energy.
Male vocals sound natural with good amount of sharpness and depth but it could have been slightly less deeper, Female vocals sound more natural compared to the 11 neo or pro HD with good amount of thickness and required amount of depth. Instruments have good amount of details but doesn’t have the amount of details you will find with the UE600 or A151p.
C-12 V2 has good resolution, details, layering, and separation, slightly better than the E3000 but the UE600 and A151p are far better with their BA setup when it comes to details, separation, and layering.
This mid range does far better when compared to other bass heavy earphones like XB90EX or Brainwavz S0 and Twinwoofers.
In this mix of things, treble region is the least emphasized part of the spectrum, and nothing to write home about. There is little extension to it as it steeply rolls off around the 7-8k region. There isn’t enough energy hold it up. Everything beyond that mark is veiled and unclear.
All the instruments are under a layer of smoke. It’s worse than the E3000. If the E3000 was average, C-12 V2 is below average. Layering and separation too are not up to the mark, so are the details.
Now the best thing here is the lack of any kind of sibilance. It doesn’t have any type of spikes to worry about either.
STAGE AND IMAGING:-
C-12 V2 has bigger stage compared to the UE600, A151p or 11neo. It has nice height and width but lacks some depth, highs being the reason behind the lack of depth.
Even though layering and separation are not exactly good with the highs, mid range has good separation and layering, all the instruments have some amount of air between them. Imaging is lacking thanks to the lack of highs but the available spectrum holds the imaging up with nice sharpness and speed.
Yes, it’s not perfect, but has enough to keep itself relevant.
VS Sony MDR-XB90EX:-
XB90EX is one of the bassiest earphone you will find in the market, going neck in neck with the Hisound Wooduo. It has a huge body and a drier slam, yes it lacks some sub-bass rumble in comparison and the mid bass is as big as it gets. Upper bass too lacks the required amount of control. Stage is similar with lesser depth.
Mid range and highs are seriously veiled, let it be vocals or instruments, both lack much of the details and layering. If the C1-2 was just lacking with the highs, 90EX lacks everywhere. The saving grace is the slightly more extended high, even though there isnt much details, its there with slightly better energy.
The good thing about the 90EX is that its cable is less microphonic.
VS MI pro HD:-
MI pro HD is far more balanced, it lacks much of the bass, there isnt enough air, body, slam or even extension. Sub-bass is okay but still lacking in comparison. Mid bass is more prominent hence sounds less natural. The decay on the other hand is faster.
Mid range and highs are considerably clearer, highs have far better details and extension but the mod range is more grainy, both male and female vocals are sharper than natural sounding more unnatural.
Stage is deeper but lacks with width and height.
Even though the pro HD is technically a superior earphone, its unable to engage the listener.
The cable is similarly microphonic and isn’t supple enough, just like the C-12 V2.
VS Final Audio E3000:-
E3000 is more balanced, has smaller bass, lesser sub-bass rumble, lesser air, smaller impact, has slightly better decay. Details are similar.
Mid range is smoother, notes are thicker, timber is more natural, instruments lack attack in comparison. Layering and separation are slightly better. Upper mid range is superior. Stage has similar width, slightly smaller height, and better depth. Highs have slightly better depth and energy.
This cable is one of the best in this price range, least microphonic of this lot.
The C-12 version 2 is one of the best earphones available in India at this price range. It’s more engaging and more cohesive when compared to others which are either a bit too bassy or lacking mid range or high end clarity.
If you are after an earphone in this price range, with plenty of bass, without any type of sibilance, you should consider the C-12 Version 2.
Grab one for yourself from these links.
Enjoy your music, have a nice time, cheers!!
Audio gear reviewer at TechMinions.in