I have always found it alluring to do things in simplicity, especially in a hobby such as audio where extravagance and lavishness seems to have taken over if not for the most part for the current trend, little did I know that there are some there who’d choose to take the path less taken, which was why I was delighted to have stumbled upon Periodic Audio.
Periodic Audio started way back 2016 with a “Portable Audio Excellence” vision banking on all the basic necessities portable audio needs; portability, comfort and sound quality. They presently fielded a trio of audiophile IEMs to carry their brand and vision namely the Periodic Audio Magnesium, Titanium and Beryllium and an upcoming portable amplifier, the Nickel. What we have now to realview though is the duo of Periodic Audio’s extremities, the Beryllium priced at $299 and Magnesium priced at $99. Thanks to Dan of Periodic Audio for providing the review samples in exchange for an honest review, you can secure this duo of IEMs from the Periodic Audio official website which also if you are short on funds offers a discounted blemished set.
Periodic Audio’s Beryllium relies on the new trend of employing the use of Beryllium in its diaphragm which can also be found on some other audio products from Focal and Master & Dynamic due to its high strength: weight ratio characteristics which is highly sought after for use as diaphragm material while the Periodic Audio Magnesium relies on 96% Magnesium alloy on its diaphragm which although has good strength: weight ratio still falls short of Beryllium’s superior sonic features which begs to question us, will Periodic Audio’s gamble on Beryllium and Magnesium coupled with simplicity more than enough to hit the bull’s eye of an audiophiles’ checklist? Let’s take the shot.
Packaging and Build Quality
I’m a sucker for everything black and white so when Periodic Audio’s duo of Magnesium and Beryllium IEMs arrived in my office clad in a straightforward semi-glossy black and white cardboard box with only the Periodic Audio name, a schematic diagram of the IEMs themselves and the periodic table style of the Mg and Be elements, I knew then and there that this has ticked my affinity towards things simple. Opening the box however was a struggle, the glue was so strong and I would hate to have to tear apart the box. Inside the box is a much simpler white flapped box which revealed the IEMs themselves, both the Be and Mg have identical packaging and accessory set. The IEMs rested on a glass-like pocket with an installed foam eartips to act as a cushion and a pseudo-gold coated metal carrying case which reminded me of my younger pomade days. Inside the metal carrying case were a set of foam tips, another set of silicon bi-flange tips, another set of silicon single-flange tips which were all in black, an airline adapter and a gold-plated 6.3mm adapter. There was no shirt-clip nor did a rubber pouch include which personally would have appealed better with regards to their company mission of portability since the metal carrying case is just too much to be carried around on a pocket.
The Periodic Audio Be and Mg IEMs uses bullet-type polycarbonate housings with no L-R markings except for the metal mesh on the nozzle being red for right and black for left. The nozzle doesn’t use another material but instead uses the same polycarbonate material as the housing so no worries with it falling off. A vent is present on both IEMs which is located on the upper portion of the IEM housing which is reinforced by metal which matches the bullet-type housing caps with Periodic Audio’s P and A unified logo. The cables are non-removable which is okay on the Mg IEM but would have personally preferred the Be to have removable cables although their upcoming releases is hinting on having removable cables. Although the cables are removable it is still a good one which doesn’t tangle and doesn’t retain folds and also not too rubbery and sticky. There is minimal strain reliefs on all cable joints which uses butyl rubber and has minimal microphonics when used on the go. Overall the build quality of both the Be and Mg IEMs whispers a silent “rest your mind easy, this would last” thought yet with all these specifications, does both IEMs stand the glare of extravagance from its counterparts? Let’s take a peek then.
Periodic Audio Beryllium Specifications:
Frequency Response: 12 Hz to 45 kHz
Impedance: 32 Ohms nominal
Sensitivity: 100 dB SPL at 1mW in ear
Periodic Audio Magnesium Specifications:
Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 30 kHz
Impedance: 32 Ohms nominal
Sensitivity: 101 dB SPL at 1mW in ear
Do note that the both the Periodic Audio Be and Mg IEMs underwent the recommended 250-hour burn-in process and for the duration of the realview, the stock medium foam tips were used as well the Sony CAS-1 system off an MSI GF62 8RE laptop using Foobar2000 v1.4, Opus 1 and Xduoo x3ii outputting 16/44 Flac files which would be mentioned along the realview.
This is a great do-it-all IEM due to its superb detail retrieval and clarity giving it a balanced and flat sound signature. I cycled through Michael Buble’s Greatest Hits album and the Be was a very engaging set of IEMs which gives a full-on experience of the whole sound spectrum, no noticeable extremes from the lows, mids and highs.
Riding on the almost all-out magnesium alloy diaphragm makes the Mg emanate a still near flat signature with much more emphasis on the upper frequencies which should be noted in comparison as to how the Be sounded so good on the balanced and flat sound signature.
Pulling out Arctic Monkey’s “Do I Wanna Know?” which drops loads of sub-bass and bass right off the bat enables the Be to easily cater to the lower frequencies with great response, not extended yet not lacking as well, the thump on the sub-bass has strong control on it and doesn’t make the lows sound too powerful while the bass drops gives a pinch of warmth, just enough to tease the audiophile’s crave for lower frequency preference.
The Mg’s lower frequencies performance gives is at a notable plane which doesn’t overlap towards the midrange. Sub-bass hits has strong control on it and still doesn’t make the overall sound too powerful while the bass drops doesn’t provide enough body to make the Mg comfortably sound warm, it leans on the warmer spectrum but the bass drops doesn’t decay smoothly.
The Be’s midrange performance was tested using Usher’s Hard to Love album, playing the “Bump” track specifically highlights the male vocals and the Be gives out strong distinct intelligibility of the different singers voices. The lower midrange performance is stellar and makes the bass performance much more perceived. Timbre is also natural and clarity once again takes the stage with grandiose.
Usher’s vocal prowess doesn’t sound too appealing and engaging on the Mg as compared to the Be although there is still distinct intelligibility of the different singers voices. Lower midrange performance falls short from the Be which supplants the bass region lacking the added thump. Timbre is a tad less natural and clarity takes a hit.
It would have been very easy for me to feel high with how the Be fares so far on the lower and midrange frequencies. The Be’s high frequency performance is another positive feedback for it. Train’s “Silver Dollar” gave out crisp and detailed treble hits. The occasional crash cymbal hits are highly distinct but doesn’t sound shrill while the ride cymbal hits had great definition while not sounding harsh. Sibilance is taboo for the Be and Sparkle is easily observed.
At this stage of the realview, it is already evident that the Mg is already a slightly diverging listening experience than the Be however it is great to find that the high frequency performance allows for a strong semblance with the Periodic Audio duo of the Be and Mg. Train’s “Silver Dollar” still sounded crisp and detailed treble hits although the crash cymbal hits lost some of its trashy sound which was easily heard on the Be while the ride cymbals still had great definition. Sibilance is once again taboo on the Mg and Sparkle is harder to perceive now.
Soundstage and Imaging
The Be exhibits a wide soundstage in IEM parameters and imaging is stellar, the Beryllium diaphragms performs great in giving out the Be’s striking clarity. Left to Right panning is also great and easily observed as well as horizontal instrument placing.
The Mg exhibits a narrower soundstage than the Be yet still retains the stellar imaging and clarity. Left to Right panning is still great while horizontal instrument placing is lesser.
Putting one’s all eggs in a single basket has its pros and cons and yet Periodic Audio still decided to roll their eggs in one. Possessing identical silhouettes and accessory sets, the Periodic Audio Beryllium and Magnesium leaves the consumer to solely rely on their sound signature preference on choosing which to get and despite the lack of a detachable cable, the Periodic Audio Beryllium still shines bright with its plain looks amidst all its fancier counterparts while still going head to head on sounding excellent. The Periodic Audio Magnesium also compliments the Beryllium well, giving consumers a great price-to-performance ratio performer with an easier to swallow non-detachable cable price tag.