The SeeAudio Yume was one of my favorite earphones for gaming and music last year. This year the company released a new update in collaboration with Crinacle, one of the biggest influencers in the personal audio space with the Yume Midnight. It’s been a year in the hopper, but the company is finally back with an official sequel, the SeeAudio Yume 2.
I’ve spent multiple reviews commenting that competing earbuds have felt more like refreshes than reinventions, but the Yume 2 is exactly that. SeeAudio has gone back to the drawing board with this set, and while you can see the inspiration of the original Yume, it stands on its own as a great choice for its $199 cost of entry
I would like to thank Linsoul for providing the sample for this review.
- Current Price: $199 (Linsoul)
- Sensitivity: 102dB ±1dB SPL/mW
- Impedance: 17 Ω
- Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
- FR QA/QC: ±1dB
- THD: ≤ 2%
- Denoise: 26dB
- Driver: 1DD + 2BA
- Plug Type: 3.5mm
- Interface: 2pin?0.78mm?
- Cable: 6N OCC silver plating
SeeAudio Yume 2 - First Impressions and Key Features
The SeeAudio Yume 2 is a hybrid in-ear monitor. Rather than use a single driver type like “pure” dynamic driver IEMs and most headphones, it combines a large dynamic driver for the lows and two balanced armatures (the same driver type used in hearing aids) for extra crisp mids and highs. Even with three drivers to fit in its shells, the earpieces are small and are designed to nestle into the outer ear, securing with a pair of silicone tips in the ear canal. They’re wired earbuds, but there’s no stem to dangle out of your ear like popular wireless buds, like the AirPods Pro.
Beyond the simple arrangement, just about everything has changed from the original Yume. The resin shells have been replaced with full aluminum earpieces polished to a mirror finish. The glittery green flakes have been replaced with an eye-catching golden symbol. I’m not sure if it’s a sinogram or just an icon for the model, but the mix of silver and gold is very tasteful and appealing. The only downside is that the shells are absolute fingerprint magnets. You'll be polishing them after every use if you care about such things.
Inside those shells, the drivers themselves have been swapped out to take advantage of newer drivers. Bass duties are handled by a large dynamic driver (DD), as usual, but SeeAudio uses a liquid silicone diaphragm. It performs well and delivers fast, tight bass for music and gaming, but is also incredibly consistent no matter what climate you may live in (very humid areas often see performance differences and early degradation due to the added moisture).
SeeAudio also claims that this generation’s driver can get 27-percent louder and has an impedance that’s 1/4th less than the original Yume, making it easier to drive. Looking at the specs, it indeed does seem easier to drive with an impedance of only 17 ohms, down from 32, and while only lowering in sensitivity 4dB. It’s not a difficult earphone to drive at all, so you can plug it into just about anything and expect top-tier performance, so long as the source is clean.
The DD is paired with a Sonion 2300 balanced armature for the mids and a Knowles RAD series balanced armature for the highs. These were carefully selected to increase detail and resolution, which were both shortcomings of the original Yume. It was a well-tuned IEM and sounded good, but wasn’t what you would turn to when you wanted to hear every tiny nuance. The Yume 2 swoops in with a win in that department.
The company also does a great job with its packaging and included accessories. I mean, look at that box. It’s the best-looking IEM box I’ve ever seen and could easily double as a display piece if you’re into waifu art. I’m not, but I appreciate good packaging.
Inside, you’ll find a selection of six silicone ear tips that scale up in size. They’re color coded for easy matching and virtually ensure that you’ll be able to find a pair that works for you. There’s also a new cable, which is now a silver-plated oxygen-free copper, so has a beautiful silver sheen. It’s also a bit softer and easier to wrap when not in use. Very nice. Finally, there is a white leather travel case with a velvet interior that matches the set well. SeeAudio knows how to make aesthetic gear, and this whole package looks gorgeous.
SeeAudio Yume 2 - Fit and Comfort
The SeeAudio Yume 2 is a very comfortable pair of earphones. Their small size allows them to for all ranges of ear sizes. The nozzles aren’t overly large and they fit both of my ears well, even knowing that my left is a bit smaller than the right (which is common — trying two different-sized tips is a good investigation for every earbud fan). Since these lack any kind of IP rating for water and dust resistance, I wouldn’t take them to the gym, but they stay locked, even with vigorous movement.
SeeAudio Yume 2 - Listening Impressions
The Yume 2 is the third release in this line-up, and with it come to some changes to the overall sound signature. Since it’s easy to drive, you shouldn’t worry over-much about what you’re connecting it to. Even on a standard headphone dongle, you can count on a full-fledged listening experience. And that experience is reminiscent of the original Yume and the Yume Midnight but has some important changes that give it a character of its own.
Bass: Compared to the original Yume and the Yume Midnight, the Yume 2 strikes a middle ground with its bass. It trades some sub-bass for mid-bass, but don’t let that make you think this earphone is bass-light. The emphasis on the mid-bass fills out songs and lends the listening experience a bit more punch. There is decent extension, but the lowest lows aren’t as forward as the Crin-tuned Midnight.
Moreover, the bass is fast and detailed. Stop, It’s Not About You by Jonny Craigs has a motor-like rumbly bass line and the Yume 2 did a great job of capturing the electric quality it produces throughout the verses. In the choruses, the bass opens up and provides a very full-bodied listening experience.
It’s also worth noting that this set is very resilient to EQ if you need more bass. I listened to a lot on my Xduuo XD05 Plus and the Bass switch really filled out the low end and made them a ton of fun for when I wanted to go into basshead mode.
I like this tuning for gaming. RPGs, shooters, and action games really benefit from a bass boost — so long as it’s done well, which is a mark many gaming headsets miss. These earphones aren’t muddy at all. The bass is fast enough to create engaging booms and blasts, while the other registers have a lively crispness that draws you in.
My only criticism is that the bass has a pretty audible step up from the mids that the original Yume didn’t. It’s a bit less seamless and natural in that regard.
Mids: The midrange on the Yume 2 is excellent. Vocals sound lush and natural. Female vocals in particular sound great on this set, but it also does well with the grizzly growls of Bullet for My Valentine. Detail in this range is also excellent. Background sources, like the heavy synth in underlying Umbrella by Rihanna and Jay-Z are incredibly textured and added new life to a song I’ve heard dozens of times. This is also true of foreground sources like the guitars in Mandroid Echostar’s, Rosalia. They are just beautifully textured, which speaks to the detail these earphones are able to produce.
I will say that the timbre on the Yume 2 isn’t quite as natural as the original Yume. That set amazed me with the almost liquid quality it applied to the lead guitars in Angel Vivaldi’s, Dopamine. Guitars still sound great on this set, but it’s not quite as interesting as the unique character the original Yume was able to provide.
Still, excellent mids. Really, really nice for this price.
For gaming, realism and immersion are important factors. In competitive games, positional and environmental awareness also become important considerations. This tuning works well because it means you’ll be able to hear every source cleanly and realistically. The added textural details add to the immersion of the listening experience and help to draw you in.
Treble: The treble on the Yume 2 is well-extended and very smooth. The tuning carefully avoids any sharpness but still manages to be very resolving. The harmonics of instruments are clearly audible and give you a good sense of fullness to each note. There’s a bump around 7.5kHz and another around 14kHz you can see in the graph above that lends the treble range a slightly different timbre that I perceive as a slight glassiness to instruments like the acoustic guitar in Love the Way You Lie by Eminem and Rihanna (I was on a kick with their collabs for this review).
This tuning works better for gaming than a more traditional bright, audiophile frequency response. While it’s true that you may perceive slightly less airiness and detail to the listening experience, over long periods of gaming, bright tunings can be fatiguing. The Yume 2 balances these qualities well, providing plenty of detail while making sure you won’t need to take a break before your gaming sessions is done.
Technical Performance, Soundstage, and Imaging: The Yume 2 is a step up from both the Yume and Yume Midnight in details, soundstage, and imaging. There is good separation between the layers that make up music and games, and you can clearly hear what’s happening on each one. This is a big reason for the “HD” effect great earphones and headphones can provide.
The separation between those tracks and the overall soundstage isn’t exceptionally wide, however. I would consider the soundstage just about average at this price. It’s not congested and doesn’t remind you that you’re listening directly in your ear canal. At the same time, it doesn’t feel overly spacious. It’s fine, but not overly remarkable.
Imaging, on the other hand, is very good. There is great stereo presentation. You can clearly hear the direction of instruments in songs and those quintessential
Gaming: The Yume 2 is a good set for gaming for the reasons mentioned above. You’ll easily be able to pick up on the direction of footsteps and gunshots, and the u-shaped tuning provides a fun and immersive gaming experience. The added details increase realism and immersion. With those high points in mind, this is a set you’ll want to enable Dolby Atmos or Windows Sonic to expand the soundstage and three-dimensional positioning.
The Yume 2 is a worthy successor to the original Yume and the Yume Midnight. SeeAudio went back to the drawing board for huge parts of its design and delivered an IEM that can stand on its own without requiring you to have heard the original Yume to appreciate its advancements. At the same time, I don’t think it completely replaces the Yume either. The two earphones are different enough that I could still see myself trading off and listening to both. Between the two, however, the improvements of the Yume 2 put it over the top, and make this a safe and satisfying buy for gaming and music alike.
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