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Effect Audio King Arthur Review

Sound Quality

Rated at an impedance of 10Ω, King Arthur is designed to be a highly efficient pair of IEMs. On paper, while the pair of Flagship IEMs can be easily powered by any portable device starting with the smartphone, however, its high sensitivity of 117dB ensures it will pick up a lot of noise if they are not plugged into a high-quality amplifier or Digital Audio Player (DAP).

Effect Audio King Arthur

During King Arthur’s stay at the Porta-Fi Experience Lab, we first paired the pair of Flagship IEMs with a desktop amplifier to understand the potential of the sound quality it could deliver.

We then attempted to match the pair of Flagship IEMs with portable devices starting with the highly-rated Huawei Mate 20X Android Smartphone, the Apple iPhone 11, and finally, the Top-Of-The-Line (TOTL) DAPs which includes the Sony NW-WM1Z, the Astell&Kern A&ultima SP2000 and the Lotoo PAW Gold Touch. All of which failed to deliver the same sound quality that we achieved with the desktop amplifier.

Clearly, while King Arthur is a highly efficient pair of IEMs and can be powered by any portable device, lots of power is required to unleash its potential. We then attempted to match the TOTL DAPs with a series of portable amplifiers to achieve portability and was successful in achieving a sound quality similar to what we achieved with the desktop amplifier.

At its full potential, King Arthur is probably one of the most full-bodied if not the most full-bodied pair of IEMs from the highs to the lows that Team Porta-Fi have experienced. Delivered on a transparent and delineated sound stage which is generous in depth and width, this allows for excellent sound imaging and layering to come through.

Effect Audio King Arthur

With only 2 of the 16 Balanced Armature drivers tuned for the low-end, one would least expect the delivery of the sub-bass and bass to be full-bodied, tight, deep and impactful with precision. There is also a presence of warmth to the low-end without the loss of definition, adding to the quality of the bass. Something which makes King Arthur so enjoyable.

Lush and layered. The full-bodied mids provide prominence to instruments with a sense of presence and immediacy while its bias towards to low midrange provides added emphasis on clarity to bass and low-stringed instruments, at the same time enhancing the bass presence. Evidently, the mid-range is the key highlight of King Arthur’s sound signature and did we mention that the piano never sounded better on a pair of IEMs?

Good treble is essential to achieve high-quality music reproduction and is often hard to get right. The full-bodied high-end on King Arthur is surprisingly relaxed, gently rolled-off in the upper ranges. The euphoria of details over a controlled treble ensures that it is not fatiguing to listen to over time.

Overall, the signature of King Arthur offers a laid-back presentation which invites and pulls the listener gently forward and into the music. Allowing space to experience the subtleties of the presentation enhanced by the tonal balance of its sonic signature. Hardly a reference signature but that’s what King Arthur is, the best portable Hi-Fi could offer.

Part 1: Introduction, Design and Build
Part 2: Sound Quality
Part 3: Product Specifications
Part 4: Review Ratings, Summary

Author

  • Goh Beng Yeow

    Goh Beng Yeow, the Founder / Editor at Porta-Fi™, is a recipient of the IT Youth Award in Singapore. Twice nominated for EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, Beng Yeow has previously founded startups such as PDALive.com, Coded Pixels Consultants and was a Tech writer for TODAY, a national daily newspaper under MediaCorp. Since 2017, he has been writing, editing and producing commentaries, interviews, news and reviews on Porta-Fi™. In 2019, Beng Yeow was appointed Advisor to LHDC™, the industry's latest low latency and high-definition Bluetooth audio codec.

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Goh Beng Yeow
Goh Beng Yeow
Goh Beng Yeow, the Founder / Editor at Porta-Fi™, is a recipient of the IT Youth Award in Singapore. Twice nominated for EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, Beng Yeow has previously founded startups such as PDALive.com, Coded Pixels Consultants and was a Tech writer for TODAY, a national daily newspaper under MediaCorp. Since 2017, he has been writing, editing and producing commentaries, interviews, news and reviews on Porta-Fi™. In 2019, Beng Yeow was appointed Advisor to LHDC™, the industry's latest low latency and high-definition Bluetooth audio codec.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Hi there, what amp did you actually use to achieve the right amount of power for the King Arthurs?
    I would honestly like try these IEMs out even though they’re getting pretty bad impressions on head-fi.
    It’s honestly confusing since I’m sure the reviewers like yourself and others from headfonics and headfonia wouldn’t take their impressions of these lightly.

    It’s crazy for a company like Effect Audio and Empire Ears to charge that much too if they think it wouldn’t match the sound they wanted to convey.
    I myself love the Wraith, and not a lot of people do. So I do wonder what went wrong.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    • Hi Matz Rios, thanks for your comment. The Effect Audio King Arthur is a very interesting pair of In-Ear Monitors. For a portable setup I have used it with the Full Balanced Portable Headphone Amp model 428 from MASS-Kobo. I also find it an interesting match with the Yulong DA10 which is a desktop DAC Amp. Hope this helps.

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