Fearless Audio Crystal Pearl Review
In this review of the Fearless Audio Crystal pearl we are taking a look at yet another earphone from this Chinese Hifi brand. The company now seems to have a crazy amount of earphones on the market and a number of variations of each model to boot (Pro, freedom etc). They have also gained a reputation for excellent products a price that few western brands can match. I really liked the S8P which punched way above their weight and now we get to have a look at the Crystal Pearl.
What are the Fearless Audio Crystal Pearl?
The Crystal pearl are the entry level earphone into the Fearless Audio lineup. It is a 2 balanced armature driver earphone that comes in a very similar build, style and packaging as the rest of the companies earphones. Essentially the only significant changes lie in the internal design and the configuration of the drivers.
Packaging and Accessories
Despite being a budget earphone the Crystal Pearl come in far nicer packaging that the S8 Pro. Its overall more refined and polished.
The box comes wrapped in a sleeve with a watercolor sky painting on the front and the back with some tech specs and information about the earphones on the inside. Take off the sleeve and you have a nice quality cardboard box with Fearless Audio and the company's logo on the outside. Pop the top and there's a small white envelope that contains a warranty card, instruction manual and good quality cleaning cloth.
Beneath that you don’t get a glimpse of the earphones just yet. Instead you get to see the new carry case. I'm on the fence about the case, it's a nice attempt and definitely way more premium than I would expect to see on a budget earphone but the choice of powder blue is very feminine. Additionally it does not close over too tightly and it has a leather bound hinge.\
The box will be too big to carry around in your pocket but it is a good size if you are transporting the earphones in a bag. I like the felt lining and the materials used.
Inside that case is the earphones with the cables attached, a warranty card and very few eartips. In this case you get one size of medium tips installed on the earphones and a small card with a further 3 sets of tips (small, medium and large). It would have been nice to have got some options with different types of silicon or foam tips but the included tips are very good and I like how they have different colors for the left and right ears.
Build Quality and Design
Just like the S8 Pro the Fearless Audio Crystal Pearl are a custom style universal earphone. This means they have the acrylic build and style you get on custom in ear monitors but these use universal eartips instead of custom molded tips. As I mentioned in the S8P review I am a big fan of this style of earphone and they look cools and let you see the driver configuration on the inside.
Being acrylic they will not have the same level of durability as a set of metal earbuds so you should take a little more care when storing them not in use. They are a single bore output from the drivers and do not come with filters of a cleaning tool so you are going to have to make sure you keep this passage free of ear wax so as not to impact the sound quality.
The earphones use a 2 pin connector which I am less keen on than the newer MMCX connectors but there are a few design elements that make it a very good 2 pin implementation. Firstly the connectors are recessed into the housing of the earphone so this greatly reduces strain on the pins. Something like the KZ AS16 has the connectors on the outside and in my experience these are far more prone to failure. The pins are also surrounded by formed plastic that acts as a type of gasket and will greatly reduce oxidation of the copper plugs.
The cable is brilliant. It is the same on that you get on the far more expensive S8P and I am extremely happy to see it included here. Its silver finish looks great and it really looks the part and is finished with solid components like metal connectors, splitters and jack points. Before the split it has 8 braids and after the break it becomes quad braid on each side. It feels durable, is highly resistant to tangle and is soft enough that it doesn’t hold shapes.
Comfort and Isolation
Comfort is top notch. I praised the S8P for being very comfortable and the Crystal Pear are even more comfortable due to having the same ergonomic design yet smaller housing. They are lightweight, conform really well to the shape of a variety of ears. The over the ear cable design completely removes any chance of microphonics even if that wouldn't have likely been a problem due to the excellent cable.
Isolation is decent. The aren’t deep isolators like a set of etymotics due to them sitting in a more shallow position in the ear canal. The body does fill a large portion of the outer ear and that does help to reduce noise ingress from the environment. Perfectly usable for commuting or travel.
I like the Fearless range of earphones a lot so it's no surprise that I think that the Crystal Pearl is a good sounding earphone. However the problem comes when you look at what the competitors are doing at the same price. That’s where the Crystal Pearl falls behind.
The sound is a very BA style presentation in which I meant that it is technically very good, displays good speed and detail retrieval. The highs are smoothed a little too much and that has a negative knock on effect on the soundstage. It does however work well for people who are treble sensitive because in the upper midrange there is also a lack of sharpness.
Its has some warmth to it and is very smooth across the board making it fun when listening to high paced genres but also the combination of detail retrieval, smoothness and slight warmth gives a lot of intimacy with male and female vocals.
The low end is decent, certainly not a bass head earphone but its punch and fast but lacks some in the out and out sub bass. It’s more than suitable for Jazz and Rock but I would want to go in a different direction if choosing and earphone for EDM or Classical.
The midrange is smooth and has lots of detail in it, there is also very little in the way of upper midrange sparkle.
Soundstage is ok, they are not particularly wide or deep and I attribute that to a roll of in the treble that removes some air from the overall presentation.
They are by all means a very good sounding set of earphones but they don’t offer much more than similarly priced competition. I think for the money the BGVP DM6 have more to offer here for most people and the price point is also littered with a number of other excellent mainstream earphones like the 1More Quad driver, MeeAudio Pinnacle P1.
The Fearless Audio Crystal Pearl are by all measures an excellent earphone and with a number of really nice features. They build and styling is on point and they are a great looking set of earphones. I also like how Fearless Audio is advancing their packaging set although there could have been a greater selection of tips in the box.
I think that the price point for them is about right but the thing about other Fearless earphones is that they tend to punch well above their weight. I don’t get that here, they seem right for the money and competitive with other earphones in this space. A solid well tuned earphone with plenty of nice features but there are many other options on the market if you decide to go a different direction.
The Crystal Pearl earphones are available to buy on Linsoul and Amazon