Tipsy Blue Aurora Review – Beauty is only Skin Deep
The Tipsy Blue Aurora is a sample that was sent to me in exchange for my honest opinion in this review, as part of a review tour. I thank the team at Tipsy for giving me this opportunity.
Tipsy is amongst the bunch of new Chinese HiFi companies that have come into existence in the recent few years out of the blue (2016 in this case) and have tried to establish themselves as a reputable brand and garner a place / compete in the overflowing sea of budget iems (toughest spot to be in in 2020). The Tipsy team, with 25 years of music experience, have been dedicated to designing the professional on-stage in ear monitors and have now jumped ship to woo the cut throat lower of the audiophile market.
The Blue Aurora, is the newest model in the Tipsy family (and also the cheapest wired iem in the line-up) which integrates a Single BA (balanced armature) design, within a 3D printed cavity. It's bundled with a detachable 2-pin cable, terminated in a gold plated 3.5mm plug.
Marketing chops :
“Chosen and colored by the famed artist, Blue Aurora model is inspired by the aurora. Like it said, the color is blue and black just to show the feeling of fresh and simple, modern and exquisite. Handmade unparalleled texture and unique shape display an luxury appearance while having excellent build quality. After times of polishing, the aurora presents a natural translucent glitter, like the starry nights. It’s really eye-catching”
Reminds me of Oppoty.......nevertheless....I do agree to all of that from a build quality and look standpoint as the Blue Aurora is gorgeous in terms of looks, feel, build quality and craftsmanship. Its good there isn’t too much 'massala' on the sound quality and affiliations too as that would have been, well, heinous. More on that later! Test Rig :
Aune T1s Hybrid Tube Amp/DAC, Marantz SR5014, LG G8X ThinQ & the VE Odessey HD Dongle DAC, Tidal Playlists though the native Tidal app and via UAPP for the MQA tracks.
Sound Impressions Summary :
The Blue Aurora is part of the rare breed of iem’s that house a Single BA driver to do the duties of the entire spectrum of audio frequencies which is quite a daunting task honestly, also showcased by the fact that a lot of OEM’s have eventually shut the doors on this implementation because of the quirks and limitations with such an application.
Tipsy has tried to experiment with this driver implementation in the hopes to bring some change and standout in the budget segment offerings. Has this ambitious approach paid off? Well, NOPE.
To begin with, its hard to explain the sound signature / tuning that was done to stand out, rather you have the typical signature tuning that is reminiscent of most single BA implementations. Mid forward, and considerable roll off at either ends. Somehow, Tipsy has managed to add an additional layer of haziness and dullness into the mix that makes the presentation sound off and muffled which can make you feel that there might be phase issues (even though there are none).
Lets talk about the good bits here first (Yes there are a few!) :
The midrange texture is actually decent sounding and forward enough to be enjoyable and not so forward that things start to get heated up. There is substantial boost to the 2 to 3kHz region which although not bright, adds to the energy and enjoyment of the vocals overall. The tonality is fairly decent and as expected off from a single BA and overall presentation is mostly neutral. Midrange does have a bit of haze, but not substantially so, so as to not be corrected with a bit of equalization here and there. Resolution and overall textures, as well as timbre is on par for the course with nothing standing out as the Aurora, but nothing being the Aurora either.
The Achilles heel :
Sub-bass is existent, but its just a whisper. Mid bass is lean and lacks the juiciness or punch to bring life to a lot of genres even if not upbeat. Thanks to the mid forward presentation, the lack of punch down low doesn’t deprive the lower mids of the required warmth of heft required and that’s the saving grace for the Blue Aurora that the mids atleast have some life to them. The bass lacks quantity and yet it somehow manages to be slow and mostly flat. Infact, the overall presentation is very flat-ish for the lack of a better adjective. Depth is below average or perhaps about alright for the price-point and so is the staging and imaging properties.
Last but not the least, the bundled cables seriously need upgrade to get anywhere close to a decent performance from the Blue Aurora, as for the most part, the muffled and closed in sound is attributed to the cable pairing out of the box.
In the end.......(Love this LP track!) :
The Blue Aurora in the humblest sense seems to be (I truly believe so) a positive experiment by Tipsy to see what is possible and what can be avoided in future perhaps. If one needs to establish themselves as the go-to product especially in the budget sub-$100 segment, it’s best to bring you’re A-Game to the table keeping in mind the established competition from the Chinese stable. Considering that Tipsy does make the very pleasing and likable Dunmer and Dunmer Pro as well, its fair to give the benefit of doubt to Tipsy that we may see better iterations of the Blue Aurora, hopefully so in an all DD (Dynamic Driver) avatar. On that bombshell, the Blue Aurora would be a safe, humble and honest pass in 2021. There is better for much lesser or the same money!