First, I’d like to thank the folks at Audiofly for sending me a set of the AF45M for review.
Up for review today is the AF45M, a midlevel IEM from Australian manufacturer Audiofly. Packing big dynamic drivers, the AF45M enters into a sub $100 IEM market that is already packed to the brim and difficult to stand out in. Does the AF45M have what it takes? Read on to find out.
Accessories: Three sizes of silicon tips, a set of manuals and a carrying pouch.
Design and Build Quality: The AF45 features bulbous housings, vented at the rear, short strain reliefs and a long, Kevlar reinforced cable. It seems as though it can stand up to a fair share of punishment.
Comfort: Sporting rather large housings and short nozzles, getting a comfortable and secure fit was a bit of a challenge with the stock tips so I was forced to use some slightly longer tips I had in my collection. Of course, YMMV.
Isolation: Isolation was less than average due to the vent at the rear.
Microphonics: Generally good and better when worn over the ears.
Burn in: These were given upwards of 50 hours of burn in prior to review. No significant changes were detected.
Bass. Bass for days. At the heart of the sound is a huge amount of bass, bass that, while big, isn’t intrusive. It manages to boom without sounding too boomy. It manages to rattle the eardrums without compromising the rest of the sound signature. Extension is quite good and sub bass presence is mostly in line with the midbass. It’s odd, the AF45’s bass does something I don’t tend to hear from many earphones, namely sound like it’s coming from a much larger set of headphones than it is.
The midrange is, despite the low bass emphasis, surprisingly clear and not really recessed to any significant degree. It has enough detail and clarity to stand out among its competitors and has a pleasantly smooth, warm quality that extends into its treble, which is slightly grainy but hardly offensive. I’d say the AF45 is light on treble emphasis as a whole, avoiding sibilance but also lacking in sparkle some treble lovers may want. Undoubtedly, the lack of treble makes for a mostly non-fatiguing sound. I say “mostly” because the big, punchy and wonderfully dynamic bass is certainly prominent enough to be tiring at times. But, because of the strangely “open headphone” sound, these quite pleasant to listen to overall.
Available from prices ranging from as low as $42 (without microphone) or $51 (with microphone) to its retail price of $70, the Audiofly AF45m is a pretty impressive earphone for its price. Its sound signature is fairly conventional but without exaggeration, I’ve heard few earphones that render bass quite like this. It’s not the cleanest or most controlled low end but it sounds and feels much bigger than you’d expect from an IEM, much less one for less than $100.
So yes, the AF45 is pretty darn good for the price, especially for bass lovers. I think some may turn their noses up at such a bass heavy earphone but it’s one that doesn’t suffer too much because of it. If anything, it helps the IEM to stand out, at least in my view. And if it’s going to compete in this market, it’s going to need any edge it can get.