Company Name: Gorilla Ears
Company Website: Gorilla Ears - Home - Custom in-ear music monitor
Gorilla Ears FAQ: Gorilla Ears - FAQ - Custom in-ear music monitor
Headphone Model: Gorilla Ears AT5
Headphone Style (Open, Closed, On-Ear, Over-Ear, IEM, CIEM): Custom In Ear Monitors
Frequency Range: 20Hz-18Khz
Impedance: 25 Ohms @ 1Khz
Sensitivity: 117db @ 1Khz
Isolation: 28db ± 2db
Warranty: 1 Year
Price: $1049 + Audiologist impressions & Shipping to Gorilla Ears
Describing Sound: Describing Sound A Glossary - Head-Fi.org Community
Definitions: Glossary Of Terms - Head-Fi.org Community
Pros: Custom fit for your ears guarantying a good fit and good isolation, sound stage is wide, build quality is good, no micro-phonics.
Cons: They are custom fit for the original owner’s ears. Nobody could use them unless they got them re-shelled. Cable seems a little thin and short, however it is a commonly used cable in mid to upper end IEMs and CIEM’s such as Westone, Tralucent, Heir Audio, etc.
Rating scale Breakdown (1-10)
1-2: Very Bad
5: Not Bad/Not Good/Neutral
8-9: Very Good
Audio Quality: 9.2/10
Overall Rating: 8.8/10
• Audio Quality: How good a set of headphones sounds in relation to other headphones I’ve heard. This will be subjective with any set of headphones that are reviewed.
• Micro-phonics: Noise that can be heard from the cable being moved around. The less noise the higher the value, the more noise the lower the value.
• Comfort: How comfortable a set of headphones is over a prolonged period of time.
• Design: How well a set of headphones are designed. This includes cables, reinforcement points, jacks, and materials used.
• Isolation: How well a set of headphones blocks outside noises and allows you to hear the music you’re listening to. This also includes sound leakage from the headphones to others around you.
• Value: Performance to cost ratio. If performance exceeds cost this value will be high. If performance is on the low end for the cost the value will be low. This will be subjective based on audio quality. Everyone hears different things.
• Accessories: How well the included accessories stack up compared to other headphones of similar style.
• Overall Rating: This is the average of the other 7 criteria summed and divided by 7.
Gorilla Ears AT Models vs. GX Models:
Gorilla Ears is available in two different models, AT and GX, and each model is available in one, two, three or five driver (speaker) configurations per ear. In addition, the two and three driver models can also be ordered in a ‘bass’ setup, which has a dedicated driver for the lower frequencies and is perfectly suited for both bassists and drummers. The bass setup is denoted by the letter ‘B’ in the model number.
The Gorilla Ears AT series features a front-facing, black, twisted, non-detachable cord, ideal for motorcyclists, audiophiles and the casual user.
The GX series is designed for the performing musician, and features a clear detachable cord that wraps conveniently over and behind the ear. In all 5 speaker IEM’s made by Gorilla Ears you get two speakers for lows, two more for mids and a single balanced driver for crisp highs.
Impressions were taken using a 1” bite block and a silicone impression material. They were full impressions and included the crus of the helix, anti-tragus and tragus taken just past the second bend in the ear canal. Impressions can cost anywhere from $25 for both ears up to $100 a piece.
Gorilla Ears will send an instruction sheet to you to ensure the impressions are made with the proper bite block and the impression goes deep enough.
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How CIEMS are made:
When asked how Gorilla Ears Custom In Ear Monitors are made, Alan was eager to share the process. He stated:
“[The] Process of building them is part science, part art form – as no two are ever exactly the same, and putting the pieces inside the shell requires quite a bit of skill. Most of the production staff that builds them has been doing these or hearing aids for most of their life.
We build up the impression and fill in any missing spots with wax. We then put a couple additional coats of wax on the impression to increase their size just a bit and so it will fit in the ear snugly. We then make a negative of that impression in something called colloid gel – looks a bit like Jell-O. The colloid setup would basically look just like your ear does now (it’s a negative of the ear impression). The acrylic is then poured in the colloid negative and UV cured so that it hardens up. Once it’s hardened, we can then start putting the electronics and components inside the acrylic shell using your impression. After this process is complete we then start wiring in the speakers and crossovers. Once it’s wired up, we test it and then seal it up with the outer faceplate and cord connection.”
Gorilla Ears was founded in 2001 by the Janus Development Group, a privately held S-Corp, based out of Greenville, NC.
Janus Development Group also makes the SpeechEasy product which is an in ear product designed to reduce stuttering.
The Gorilla Ears lineup of custom in ear monitors were created to offer a high quality, low price, and great sounding CIEM.
Alan Newton, President of the Janus Development Group said: “We’re confident that even the most discriminating audiophile is going to be completely blown away by the sound of these in-ears”.
“And with competitive prices and a no-questions-asked installment plan, you no longer have to be a headlining act to protect your hearing.”
My PC music setup consists of Virtual Audio Cable, VSTHost, and Electri-Q Posihfopit Edition. Playback is done on Foobar2000 with no EQ. This setup allows me to EQ any music source coming from any application on my PC.
Using Virtual Audio Cable allows you to create a sound device that picks up the default Windows audio and route it through a VST plugin of your choice and link it to an output device of your choice. This bypasses the often buggy or less than optimal Windows sound drivers. VSTHost is responsible for hosting the VST Plugin Electri-Q EQ. I get the input from the virtual audio cable, send it through the equalizer, and output it to the Realtek HD Audio card. I use the MME driver for these because in Windows 7 DirectSound runs in emulation mode. Meaning it does not offer hardware acceleration and can often cause degradation over its DirectSound counterpart. I am running a sample rate of 48000 and a buffer of 480 samples (100 b/s).
All of the output is then ran through the Fiio E11 with low gain and EQ at 0 for this review.
• Gorilla Ears hard case
• Wire/Brush cleaning tool
• Micro-fiber towel
Initial Listening Impressions
Right after I got the mail I had to open these. I tossed a handful of songs on Spotify and had a listen. Right away the sound stage was nice and wide and very detailed. None of the frequency ranges stuck out as being over powering or lacking. Seemed like a perfect balance out of the gate.
The headphones are a clear acrylic with a front-facing, black, twisted, non-detachable cord. The cord material is a glossy and slipper braided finish that prevents Micro-phonics. The shells are smooth with no bubbles, edges, or blemishes.
Each shell has a red or blue dot on it. Red is for right ear, blue is for left ear. Each shell also has a serial number on it that is exactly 1 digit apart and contains the model number designation. There are 3 sound tubes. As discussed before you get two speakers for lows, two more for mids and a single balanced driver for crisp highs. That means 1 sound tube for lows, 1 for mids, and 1 for highs.
The faceplates are molded in nicely with no physical evidence that they were 2 separate pieces. The faceplate has a white recessed and painted G on it. Just under the G is the outlet for the wiring. The outlet is half acrylic molded into the faceplate and the other half is a rubber stress relief.
As you move down the wire you get a sliding cinch that is clear. This cinch is made up of the same material as the stress relief for the wire that comes out of the faceplates. The Y in the wiring is a high quality hard rubber compound that is very sturdy.
The wire used appears to be a tangle resistant wire and it terminates nicely into an L shaped gold plated 3.5mm connection.
The case is a black plastic outer shell with a flip top that contains a Gorilla Ears sticker/logo. To open the case you have 2 black slides similar to what you would find on a corporate brief case. You slide both pieces to the outer edge of the case and the top flips open.
Inside the case you will find a soft egg crate lining on both the top and bottom sides to protect your investment.
You will also find a 6 ½” x 6 ½” yellow micro fiber cleaning cloth with a black Gorilla Ears logo that is meant to wipe away the body oils after use. This prevents damage to the internal electronics and discoloration of the shells and faceplate.
The last thing you will find a double sided cleaning tool that contains a brush and metal scoop to clean out the sound tubes on your new CIEM. This tool is meant to remove possible ear wax from the sound tubes to maintain optimal performance.