The Shuoer Tape Pro is the successor to the original Tape and, like the former model, is a dual driver IEM employing a 10mm dynamic driver with a carbon nanometer diaphragm and an EST (electret) tweeter, together described as an MSH (Magnetostatic Hybrid). The $129 new model uses a 2 pin connection rather than MMCX as in the earlier version. The quoted impedance is 16 ohms.
The Tape Pro comes attractively packaged in a fairly deep rectangular box with a good range of accessories. The front features the words “Tape Pro” prominently and the rear of the box has the specifications printed on it. Inside the IEMs are displayed in a foam cut-out along with a box of accessories. Lifting out the foam divider reveals a leather carrying case in which there is the 2 pin cable, a set of white foam tips and a 90° angled 2.5mm to 3.5mm adaptor.
The contents of the box contains: Shuoer Tape Pro IEMs, 2 pin single crystal copper cable, 2.5mm balanced, 3 pairs medium bore silicone tips, 3 pairs white foam tips, 1 set bass tuning screws, 1 pair replacement nozzle filters, Screwdriver for bass tuning screws, 2.5mm to 3.5mm adaptor, Cleaning brush, Leather carrying case, Instruction leaflet & product booklet.
Build and Design
The IEMs resemble the earlier model, retaining the ‘cassette’ shape and are very well constructed from CNC machined aluminium. My example was finished in a silver colour with blue and silver screws. The earpieces are smoothly contoured and there is a vented grille between the screws. The 2 pin sockets are set flush and the connection is very secure.
The 2 pin balanced cable is also very well made and fairly supple. The material is 6N monocrystalline copper, and the 2.5mm plug is finished in a grey metal with Shuoer branding. There is a clear plastic chin slider and a metal Y-split and the 2 pin plugs are colour coded for channel identification.
The Tape Pro features adjustable bass tuning which is achieved by swapping the blue and silver screws on the face of the earpieces. It is quite an intricate process so once set to the preferred setting I would recommend that it be retained. After experimentation I found the bass was a little too prominent in the bass boost mode and the standard setting was used for the review.
Fit and Isolation
The IEMs were used with the medium size white silicone tips. The fit was very comfortable with excellent isolation. Testing was performed using an Xduoo X20 DAP via the 2.5mm balanced output and the Tape Pro was fairly demanding, with a volume level of over 50% being necessary to bring out its potential. A burn in period of 100 hours was carried out.
Initially, the Tape Pro displayed a mild V-shaped profile with a warm/neutral tonality which was very easy to listen to. After burn-in the sound became a little brighter and this resulted in a more balanced profile. There was solid sub-bass with a moderate mid bass emphasis. The midrange was well tuned and not too recessed and possessed good detail and timbre. Treble was bright, smooth and generally natural sounding while at the same time delivering high levels of detail. Soundstage and imaging were above average and separation and layering were also very good.
The Tape Pro’s bass was a little north of neutral, with the emphasis between the sub bass and mid bass and with a small amount of bleed into the mids. Sub bass showed good texture, a clean tonality and good resolution. The transient attack was also clean and fairly quick with a natural decay. Extension was good with a decent rumble when called for. Mid bass displayed good punch and impact. The bass was nicely balanced with the rest of the frequency range.
The lower midrange was slightly coloured by bass bleed, but gradually became brighter. This tended to bring the midrange forward more than the V-shaped profile might suggest. The upper midrange was clear and well detailed, and the tonality varied from warm to neutral/bright as the frequency increased. Clarity was very good with excellent separation and the timbre was largely natural with only an occasional slight metallic effect restricted to the upper region.
The treble was in general very well-behaved, with no major peaks and was therefore fatigue-free in its presentation. There was a gentle lift in the lower treble which gave some life to the lower region and a further emphasis in the upper treble which added sparkle. Occasionally on certain material, such as orchestral strings, the tonality was slightly sharper than ideal, but this was a minor issue. Detail retrieval was first class with subtle and delicate elements clearly depicted and well separated and there was an airy, ethereal quality to the upper treble which was notable.
Soundstage and Imaging
The Tape Pro presented the music in an expansive fashion with a stage oval in shape extending beyond the ears and with a decent impression of height. This suited classical music well, with a very natural reproduction of hall dimension and ambience. Imaging was also impressive with stereo effects easy to discern and placing of instruments authentically portrayed. Separation was excellent and layering were also very well handled.
Shuoer Tape (Original) ($129)
The original Tape has a deeper V profile with an exciting energetic bass performance similar to that achieved with the boost mode on the Pro. The midrange is more recessed and this impacts on the soundstage, though it still delivers a good amount of detail. The treble area is where the greatest difference can be found. The original has an assertive treble delivery which can occasionally be fatiguing. There is a prominent peak in the lower treble region which is much reduced in the new model resulting in a more natural and smooth upper register and flattening the overall profile. I consider the Pro version to be an improvement in all departments.
Senfer MT300 ($165)*
The Senfer MT300 is an innovative “Tribrid” featuring a carbon dynamic bass driver, a Knowles 33518 midrange BA and a TDK electret tweeter. Similarly very well made in CNC aluminium, it employs a unique locking MMCX system. The three drivers are beautifully integrated with good extension at both ends of the spectrum and the Knowles BA delivers a balanced, well detailed midrange with good timbre. The bass is faster than the Tape Pro’s and is very detailed. The treble is very similar to that of the Tape Pro, with an extended, clean and airy quality. The MT300 does, however, require amplification to give of its best, so this extra cost must be factored in. *variable prices online.
TRI i3 ($165)
Another interesting triple-driver design, it uses an 8mm dynamic driver for the bass, a planar magnetic unit for the midrange and a proprietory BA for the treble. The bass is rich and powerful with impressive sub bass and is, arguably, more natural than the Tape Pro. Midrange tonality is excellent from the planar driver and the timbre is superior to the Tape Pro. Treble is natural but not quite as extended, with a softer presentation than the Tape. Even more than the MT300, the i3 requires amplification to wake up the planar driver, but once suitably boosted, it produces a very natural sound with an impressively large soundstage and a bold, “cinematic” quality.
Shuoer have addressed the shortcomings of the previous version and have produced an excellent IEM with a near-neutral, well-balanced yet entertaining sound with no increase in price. In its stock form, the bass has been dialled back a little, the midrange is more present and the treble has been improved with a more even response while retaining the high levels of detail and airy quality of which the electret driver is capable. Overall this resulted in a warm bass and lower midrange and a brighter upper midrange and treble. The Pro is superior to the original in all areas and certainly should be on your shortlist if you are looking for an IEM in this very competitive price sector. It receives a solid recommendation.
Shuoer Tape Pro Specifications:
Model: Shuoer Tape Pro
Driver: Composite Electrostatic Dynamic Driver
Cable: Detachable 2pin Cable
Cable length: 1.2m