There is a brand who toppled two decades recently with 7Hz Eternal we reviewed and this Salnotes Dioko is their sister company Salnote’s planar iem. With the price of $99, it set a new bar. And that bar will be lower in the future 😉 Let’s see it’s details. This unit is provided by Hifigo in exchange of my honest opinions. I will be unbiased as always.
Neutral with few dB of bass boost
Clear and high clarity
Great carrying case worth $25 if sold alone
Prone to sibilance in OG conditions
Neutral means slightly calm at it’s case
Not at crystal planar brightness
Boxing and Salnotes Dioko, cable
Box is generous with close up image. But the real beauty is the carrying bag within. Pretty good looking and large in size is heartwinning.
Dioko is a planar iem with elliptic shape. This is the first derivation from it’s honorary father Timeless we had reviewed. And it has 2 pinned cable connections, this is another feature. And it’s coming up with red bored Azla eartips. But there are plenty of other standart looking eartips in its box.
The cable is a 3 main braided but multiple cored and strong looking cable. However I can’t be quite sure of the cables SQ unless I AB with a Pure Copper cable (or after it’s AB with S12). Connectors are slimmer in size and its underlining the beauty of the sapphire packplated driver units by not stealing attention. A brave approach and I liked it.
I am hearing controlled drum and guitar basses and a fast response as well at smooth jazz. Extensions are pretty good. High notes are smooth.
At electronic music of Centipede, mids are convincing. And bass is explosive with a nice low end rumble beneath. However electronic trebles are splashy and lack volume.
Math rock with flamenco influence is the real decision maker here. I am not hearing congestion and bass bleed from their equally fantastic drummer. While these are enough, with the help of its speed, its not lagging behind and every guitar is trackable with high power + the soundstage is large enough and presentation is kind so you can’t name it as invasive.
…these were the results of my first impressions. Now time of final impressions / review.
At Limehouse Blues I am observing many things at slight degrees. A safe way of tuning. Basses aren’t going deep and never gain dynamics while going up, lose separation slightly, the clarinet is slightly recessed, background chatters are feint, the vibrato is presenting a 3d imaging and almost (if only the hits of the stick on it were more weighty..) life like when I close my eyes. The cymbals of the drummer and other metallic instruments are displaying a weak splashy character. I found this lacking disturbing. The pub in your ears is wide as it should be. I liked this fidelity! And if it was powerful at collecting customers chatter – cash register clinging; I could rate this among the awesome at this live 1mic record.
In Hans Zimmer’s Driving, things I said above continue. I am hearing a stadium wide soundstage, however a little distant and less spacious. But blown instruments flow like water in cohesion. However at 02:00 – when the rock band starting playing – a slight (or big depending your viewpoint) disappointing truth enters my ears. I am not hearing any slam from the drummer. And trombone in latter seconds of the show is saving the bass (bass guitar later). I am saving my thoughts on its low end projection capability to the other songs I’ll be using later in the review.
Centipede is beginning with clear and forward vocals i didn’t come across often. The bass is strong and slightly meaty but – let truth be told – not in WOW or OMG or whatsoever levels. In one perspective this is showing its balanced sound signature. In the other is it’s not giving the listener what they desire. However, Dioko shouldn’t be bashed since it’s only a $99 iem and being enough at smooth jazz and electronics at the same time is a very hard – if not impossible – point to reach.
Dr Octopuses whisper like voice is enveloping. The blowns and Zimmer’s keyboard are thin but okay. And electric effects are slightly piercing (I elevated the gain to higher just to see if it changes and while I am not noticing an obvious change, trebles in overall are starting to disturb my 40/100 level critical listening ears)
I am hearing a nice ethereal flamenco like atmosphere from the first seconds of Polyphia – Playing God even though its positioned forward thanks to its sound engineer and Dioko for it’s neutral + natural approach to the track that is playing. The way this track is supposed to sound. Basses aren’t preventing anything and dual guitars are showing their mastery behind a very thin transparent veil. While the clarity is above average, I am hardly hearing a certain guitar trick for eg. However guitarists tricks are mesmerising with the complexity and in reasonable speed even without an analytical approach. I have to congratulate it because it is partially pretty analytical now.
Despite being slight at everything, Dioko is more than decent at gaming. Hearing enemies last screams in hd and positions in both axises albeit not at critical level is like fresh air. (evil laugh here)
I compared it with it’s natural contestant Letshuoer or Shuoer S12. First of all, they aren’t using the same planar driver and chosen to develop of their own. So we have exactly two different house sounds.
If s12 scores 90/100, Dioko is at 78/100 with a cheaper price.
Salnotes Dioko Review
Slight in this, slight in that…Basses are lacking slam, treble isn’t exactly piercing. But mostly neutral and faithful to the record. AND only $99. It was pretty hard before. But after the developments in planar tech and result named Dioko; it is possible. I see no reason for not buying even for its OG carrying case.
If you decided to buy, here is a non affiliated link.