Flash Sound Pro In Ear Monitors Review - Good Start, Nice Sound!

Flash is one of the newest gadget brand in the world under the TCL group born out of Alcatel. Their first device is the Flash Plus 2, a well received handset that touts great build, unprecedented ergonomics, and powerful specs with a low asking price.
Flash Sound Pro In Ear Monitors Review - Good Start, Nice Sound!
Flash Sound Pro IEM review

Their other offering is an in ear monitor w/ mic called the Flash Sound Pro which uses JBL driver (speakers) to ensure good quality. Having said that, it's perceived to be tuned properly to pair with the HiFi DAC + amplifier (AKM4375 DAC, NX9890 amp) combination found with the Flash Plus 2 well.

Now the question is, will this be the right pair for your phone or music player? Let's start!

Disclaimer: This unit was seeded by Flash Philippines for an honest review.

Flash Sound Pro In Ear Monitors Specs

Driver type: Dynamic 
Connectivity: Wired 
Connecting interface: 3.5 mm 
Cable length: 1.2 m
Price: 999 Pesos

Unboxing / Accessories

Black box of Flash
Black box of Flash

On the packaging side, the Flash kept it simple with the Sound Pro IEM. It only includes the earphones itself and 3 pairs of eartips to fit your ears. We didn't find other goodies such as foam tips, shirt clip, and even a pouch included.

Fortunately, the tips included here is one of the nicest ever tried. We'll talk more about it shortly.

Build Quality / Design

Metal grills and strain relief visible here
Metal grills and strain relief visible here

The Flash Sound Pro IEM is undeniably identical to the design of JBL's J22 especially in the housing part. It goes with a metal like frame, metal filters, and nice type of acrylic plastic. Going down from the shells, it features a not that thick rubberized cable which isn't prone to memory wire problems.
The y-splitter
The y-splitter

There are also nice strain relief placement near the shell of the IEM itself. That'll prevent damages from accidental pulling and etc. However, there's no strain relief found in its y-splitter and straight 3.5 mm gold plated jack, so proper care on those areas is a must.
Microphone on the right
Microphone on the right
Gold plated 3.5 mm jack
Gold plated 3.5 mm jack

Durability-wise, this should last for quite a while as long as you take good care of it. However, it tangles a lot and I do not have much confidence in its slim cables. Fortunately, it proved me wrong about its toughness.
I pulled it hard accidentally several times and there's still no signs of damage or loss of sound.
It's nice design that isn't too flashy
It's nice design that isn't too flashy

Going to the design, we loved its minimalist approach with a touch of modern aesthetics. It's low-profile, but doesn't look to plain compared to others. There are also no sharp edges and properly machined as a whole.

Comfort / Isolation

Comfort is a specialty of this monitor. It's arguably the most comfortable IEM under 1K! As a matter of fact I find its comfort level higher than Pistons V3, ES18, and SHE3590 combined. 
Apart from discontinued VSonic GR99, the Flash Sound Pro IEM is the most comfortable budget earphones I tested.
The reason behind that high comfort level is its use of a squarish-barrel-like shell with smooth curves on its plastic part near the nozzles. Apart from that this IEM utilizes a super comfortable type of eartips that's even better for me than some proprietary tips such as Sony Hybrids and foam tips. It also doesn't itch and sits perfectly on my ears which I can wear for hours without discomfort.

Isolation-wise, its shallow insertion prevents it to isolate as high as sets like VSonic VC02 and RHA S500i, but it should be good enough in blocking not that loud noises in your surroundings. That includes the person talking next you, music playing on mini speakers, and etc.

It's isolation level is also on the more proper side if you still like to hear shouts and horns of cars to keep you alert and safe.

Sound Quality

Flash Sound Pro In Ear Monitors as a whole

Being a newbie in the IEM industry, I set my expectations low with this monitor. However, Flash proved me wrong. The Sound Pro IEM can be considered as a contender in this price range! 

At first, I thought that this will be another bass canon that will sound muddy and distorted in other frequencies.
Fortunately, Flash was able to fairly correct the sound of this one.
It provided a clean and easy to love U shape sound signature with some touch of warmness.

This set has a clean bass response for the price that isn't overpowering and has decent control. There's decent bass slams and impact. However, it's far from being the tightest and punchiest around. Fortunately, its sub-bass extension quality is still something laudable at this budget.

For the mids, its well separated as well. The bass region barely hits the vocals which makes it still sound clearer than most budget earphones. Speaking of clarity, it's still far from that crystal clear sound as there's still some minor hearable grains, but its still good at this price point. It's also engaging, pretty detailed, and clean. That makes it great for vocal centric tracks and most genres that isn't treble happy.

Speaking of the treble region (highs), what the Sound Pro IEM have is acceptable. However, while it can extend quite well, it could be fatiguing due to its annoying peaks in treble happy tracks. It might also be too bright for some and there hiss are evident in this set.

Going to the micro-details, I'm quite pleased that this set closer to entry-HiFi level than expected. Even the weak instruments and background voices are separated properly which makes them hearable enough without the need of trying much effort in noticing them.

It's soundstage is also very nice that enables you to feel an "out of your head" sound that's great for live tracks. It's not your ordinary in your front type of feel, which is actually close to 3D like with hearable tunes on above your head.

The Flash Sound Pro is also fairly easy to drive at around 70% volume using the Flash Plus 2, pairs well with other smartphones such as P9 Lite, and dedicated DAPs. It also doesn't require amping as well.

Against other budget-fi sets such as ES18, Pistons V2, and V3, it can hold its own. It's not as analytical and bassy compared with both V2 and V3, but has an easier to appreciate sound signature. It's also a little more refined than ES18 for me due to its wider soundstage.

Note: This earphones also has a microphone with single button for play and pause that's decent in quality. Good enough for calls even if there are grains.

Pros - Fun sound, wide soundstage, average clarity, hearable details, gold plated jack, and amazing comfort
Cons - Distortion on high volume, peaky and fatiguing highs in some tracks, cables aren't thick, no proper strain relief on jack and splitter, lacks freebies

Verdict

The Flash team impressed us with their first audio offering. It sounds great for the price, comes with comfortable ergonomics, and decent isolation. As a matter of fact, I even find this better sounding than most sub-2K sets found from the mainstream brands like JBL, Colouds, Sennheiser, and etc.

Against other Chinese budget-fi goodies, it still lag behind. However the Flash Sound Pro IEM is still on the above-average side in terms of sound quality. There are also very few sets can top its comfort and soundstage for price.

Overall, we think that the Flash Sound Pro would be a decent pair for your Alcatel Flash Plus and other smartphones on a tight budget.

It's a great start for Flash in the world of audio and lets hope that they keep on innovating and improving.

GIZ Rating: 4/5 Stars
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