Whizzer A15 Pro Review: Is Going Pro Really Better?
Whizzer is an up-and-coming brand from China trying to leverage their technical know-how to charm the Chi-Fi market. However this market is saturated, and you can find a new IEM being released every week. Despite that, Whizzer caught my attention with their original A15. Its warm sound signature was mellow and heavy without sounding bad, its construction was solid, and its packaging was… thorough. So in my mind, I imagined that the A15 Pro would be a refined extension of that. And in many ways, it is. But it also deviates sharply from the mantra of the original A15. Is it for the better? Well, let’s talk about it.
Disclaimer: This unit was provided to me free of charge for review purposes. I am not affiliated with Whizzer beyond this review. These words reflect my true, unaltered, opinion about the product.
Preference and Bias: Before reading a review, it is worth mentioning that there is no way for a reviewer to objectively pass judgment on the enjoy-ability of a product: such a thing is inherently subjective. Therefore, I find it necessary for you to read and understand what I take a natural liking to and how that might affect my rating of a product.
My ideal sound signature would be an extended sub-bass with a leveled, but textured, mid-bass. The mids should be slightly less pronounced than the treble, but still ahead of the bass. I prefer a more bright upper range.
Source: The A15 Pro was powered like so:
HTC U11 -> USB-C adapter -> earphones
Hidizs AP100 3.5mm out -> FiiO A5 3.5mm out -> earphones
HiFiMAN SuperMini -> earphones
PC optical out -> HiFiMe SPDIF 9018 Sabre DAC 3.5mm out -> earphones
All music was served as MP3 @320Kbps or as FLAC.
I did not like the A15 Pro on first listen. I found it to be boring and uneven, much in the way I initially disliked the Kinera H3. But as the story goes, I grew to really like it. Rather than the tradition V-shaped sound signature I’ve come to expect from Chi-Fi or the warm-yet-competent sound signature of the original A15, I found myself confronted with a gentle U-shaped sound signature with a mellow bass, slightly elevated treble, and mildly emphasized vocal range.
The treble is unremarkable but in a good way. I mean to say that rather than always being in your face (despite the fact that it is indeed the most emphasized part of the sound signature) it just melts into the song. It is precise, well-weighted, and of a good timbre.
I found myself absolutely captivated by the upper end of acoustic guitars and drums. A particularly remarkable display was Rise Above This by Seether. There’s a lot going on in the upper register, and the A15 Pro doesn’t have any problem dealing with everything; from the two guitars to the generous use of the drummer’s high-hats, it didn’t even flinch.
Unfortunately, the A15 Pro does exhibit some mild sibilance on poorly mastered tracks, and Satisfy did sound harsh and uninviting.
Interestingly, the A15 Pro opted to abandon any sort of neutrality in the mids. The upper mids are bumpy with peaks here and there. The vocals are notably boosted, providing them with a good amount of clarity and separation. The lower mids and mellowed out giving the Pro a light and airy feeling.
The rhythm guitar in Flagpole Sitta was clear and distinct for the duration of the song, and the drums kicked with precision and purpose. But due to the mastering style of the song, it did come off as too clinical during some parts of the chorus.
Bass was clearly tuned for the likes of Moth — clarity takes precedence over emphasis. And this philosophy is liked the reason Whizzer gave this IEM the “Pro” moniker, marketing advantages aside.
Gold Dust did suffer a bit from the more “professional” tuning that Whizzer opted for. While the bass is absolutely present and audible, it doesn’t have the weight behind it to really move me.
Fortunately, it’s not all bad news, the A15 Pro has notable levels of extension. It’s just stingy with how much bass it is willing to give you at any given moment. In For The Kill highlights this behavior; it manipulates the cascading bass line with no effort at all, but rarely ever lets it get aggressive enough to cause rumble or the sensation of impact.
Packaging / Unboxing
hankfully Whizzer went with a more sensible amount of packaging with the A15 Pro. Instead of a copious amount of thin plastic buffers and cheap cardboard they went with a solid cardboard exterior with a foam interior, a move I wholeheartedly support. This is more size-effective and better protects the IEM during transport.
One thing I’ve never worried about with Whizzer products is how well they are put together. Just like with the original A15 the A15 Pro uses a 3-piece metal construction for the driver housing. The nozzle is of a medium length and has a well-sized lip. Whizzer also uses a very competent grill covering the nozzle, protecting the interior from any debris.
The A15 Pro features detachable cables following the MMCX standard. The included cable pairs decently well with the A15 Pro but has a hard time preventing any rotation.
The cable is interesting. It sports a primarily black/gold color scheme and is covered in cloth below the Y-splitter and plastic above. It also features a chin slider.
The cloth covering is tasteful, comfortable, and durable. I found no weaknesses in it during stress testing. The plastic is another story though. There are actually two kinds of plastic in the upper part of the cable: the black rubbery kind and the thin gray sleeving of the ear-guides. The black plastic is fine, if not a little thin. The gray plastic, however, kinks easily. In fact, it was kinked and malformed just by being packed into the original packaging, something I’m not too thrilled about. You can see what I’m talking about if you look closely at my pictures.
Kinks aside, the ear-guides are actually very well constructed. Rather than use the standard wire-guided memory wire that is so often found these days, Whizzer did something I’d actually never seen before: they used a long spring to provide actuation and body. I’m not sure how much this contributes to the functionality of the memory wire, but whatever Whizzer did worked really well. They are malleable and have just enough body to keep everything comfortably in place.
The A15 Pro is very comfortable, more so than the original A15. This is likely due to its reduced weight. During my extended listening sessions, I often found that the A15 “dissapeared” while I was using it.
With my ears, the Pro’s shallow fit necessitated that I use the included foam eartips, which worked quite well.
The A15 Pro is very comfortable, more so than the original A15. This is likely due to its reduced weight. During my extended listening sessions I often found that the A15 “dissapeared” while I was using it.
With my ears the Pro’s shallow fit necessitated that I use the included foam eartips, which worked quite well.
Whizzer never skimps out on accessories and shows you what its got in a very classy way. Inside the box you’ll find:
- 1x semi-hard carrying case
- 1x cleaning tool
- 2x sets of foam eartips
- 6x sets of silicone eartips
The case is spacious and can accommodate the IEM without any issues. You can also get away with storing some extra eartips and the cleaning tool as well.
The A15 Pro sends a clear message: Whizzer is done with their warm sound signatures. As disappointing for me as that is, I’m glad to see that they replaced it with something else that is quite competent. For lovers of accuracy and precision, the A15 Pro is for you. It’s solid construction and detail-oriented sound signature means that it really does sound “professional”. Is it a studio monitor? Well, no it’s not. But its as close as you’re going to get while still having a fun-sounding IEM for $125.
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