disclaimer: Little dot is opening a US based web site and store and was looking for reviewers on this side of the pond to help promote their product line to the American market. I agreed to do so based on previous experience with Little dot’s CD transport and Amplifiers. Their tube amps have been a mainstay of the budget (and not so budget) headphone enthusiasts recommendations for quite some time, but to my surprise the first thing Little Dot wanted to send was their earphones. I’ll admit, I’ve known of Little Dot for most of 10 years, but never realized they make earphones, let alone four different models thereof. I was sent the 4 models of in-ear by LittleDotUS for purposes of review. I have not received any other renumeration or input from Little Dot on the content of these reviews.
Each model in the Little Dot / CU Audio line is designed with a different target in mind. The Wyn was designed from the ground up with EDM and house music in mind, while the Cen was designed to excel with vocal and choral music. The KIS was designed with the idea of creating the best possible signature regardless of cost, while the Rad was designed a an introduction to Little dot and Audiophile listening at the opposite end of the cost spectrum. Here you will find all four reviewed, but remember the one you are looking at now was designed for enhanced bass performance specifically for EDM and house genres and is tuned as such.
Unboxing / Packaging:
The Wyn shares its packaging style with the Cen and Kis models using the same box and largely the same kit. The box is a book-fold design with the Little Dot name on the face and the CU Audio fairy logo beneath it. Specs are all on the inside of the books cover and not visible on the package exterior so clearly not a stand-alone retail package for western shelves, but all the information is there once you open the package. The kit is all nestled in foam in one of two provided cases. The first is a hockey puck sized round metal case with the CU Aud logo on the top while the second is a pelican style (although not waterproof) snap closure polymer box that is slightly larger and rectangular. The polymer case has about 50% more internal capacity so those wanting to take accessories may prefer it over the smaller metal case which has room for earpieces and cable but little else. The kit that comes with the Wyn is quite complete and has an interesting twist not seen often. There are two cables provided, what I call the travel cable is a lightweight cable with a 3.5mm single ended jack. The 2nd cable is a heavier braided cable with a 3.5mm balanced termination and 2.5 and 4.4mm adapters as well as a converter for 3.5 single ended use. Typically a TRRS 3.5mm jack is seen on cables with mics with a balanced 3.5mm being much less frequently seen. For this reason some care needs to be used when plugging in the Wyn as use of the balanced plug in a single ended device may result in problems for the earphone, the source, or both. The remainder of the kit includes a robust shirt clip and ten (10) different sets of tips including foams and double flange versions in addition to several styles of silicones,
NOTE: I have since been informed that the Wyn is not shipping with the adapters or 2nd cable and these are additional cost options. My apologies if this caused any confusion but please be aware the retail kit does not include these items.
The Wyn is the most conventional shaped of the 4 Little Dot models with a resin inner shell and an outer face-plate of walnut. The shape is the now familiar semi-custom shape that approxmates an inverse tear-drop with the bi-pin connector at the upper front and the nozzle exiting near the lowest point with a forward and slightly upward rake. L/R are marked on the inner shell in the space immediately above the nozzles. The nozzles themselves are part of the inner shell and not a separate part as is more common. A pronounced lip aids in tip retention as well. The Wyn has two vents, one in line with the nozzle that passes through the walnut face-plate and a second that sits over the dynamic driver on the center of the inner shell.
The Wyn is a hybrid with a 8mm 5-layer dynamic driver dedicated to the lows and an armature handling the mids and highs, the Walnut face-plate was chosen intentionally to pair with the dynamic driver to provide the best low end grunt. Nominal impedance is listed as 16Ω with a sensitivity of 109 dB/mW. This puts the Wyn firmly in the class of in-ears that don’t need a high powered amplifier and I actually found that the Wyn distorts more readily with higher potency amps and is best paired to things like phones , tablets, dongles, or lower powered daps like the Cayin N3.
The Wyn shipped with two cables, one lightweight “travel” cable that came in the kit, and a second braided copper cable as an add-on. The travel cable is a single strand in a soft black rubber casing. It starts with a 90º 3.5mm TRS jack (yep you read that right – standard single ended) and has black plastic splitter, chin slider, and hooded .78mm bi-pin connectors. Cable material is listed as 6N oxygen free copper.
The 2nd cable that was also provided with the kit I received is a heavier stranded design. This makes it more durable, but also more prone to microphonics. This cable starts with a straight 3.5mm TRRS jack and uses 90º adapters for 3.5 single-ended, 2.5 and 4.4 balanced connections. Material is still 6N Oxygen free copper in 4 strands from the jack to the splitter, then two strand twists above. A nice touch is those two strand twists are encased in soft clear polymer from the splitter to the earpiece. This material is used to form the earhooks at the top end and protect the cable below that. This makes the cable less likely to tangle and is something I wish more makers would emulate.
It is worth mentioning that the adapters used are capable of putting a lot of pressure on the jack in the source device especially the 2.5mm that concentrates that force into the smallest possible area. So while this arrangement is very versatile, some care is required to be certain pressure is not applied to the adapter accidentally and transferred into the source device.
Overall, I found the cables well made but my preference was definitely for the upgrade cable rather than the travel model. as it gives more options for connections and is of higher quality than the travel option. If this turns out to be an added cost option, I highly recommend it.
The Wyn has emphasized sub-bass centered around 50Hz before rolling off in the low 30s/upper 20s on one side and before dropping back as you move through the mid-bass. Sub-bass has lots of rumble but the speed of the driver keeps it from getting too loose and monotone. Make no mistake though, this is the focus here and with the Wyn described as “the earphone for bass lovers” we should expect nothing less. While the mid-bass doesn’t share the same level of emphasis as the sub-bass, it is still forward of most of the signature and makes the bass in overall the most dominant feature of the sound landscape. Speed is good in the mid-bass but there is some bleed into the mids and some warmth as a result.
The mids soft of plateau at a level just slightly behind the mid-bass before a rise in the upper-mids pushes vocals a bit forward. Lower mids have good detail and fullness but do have a little obstruction due to bass bleed when heavy bass passages arrive. I found guitar to have good tone and enough edge to really growl when needed. True mids have good detail as any obstruction is gone and they are on full display. Male vocals have good texture and tone with female vocals taking advantage of the upper-mid push to stand a bit in front of their lower counterparts. While the upper mids are mildly pushed, the lower treble is not which is a rare tuning.
Normally when I write about an upper-mid push forward, this section starts with the words “lower treble continues the climb” but here that is absolutely not the case. Lower treble falls away quickly as we move from the upper-mids and only gains some of that decrease back above 8kHz where they rise again to add back some air at the top end before final roll-off above 14kHz. Overall treble comes across as very polite with no tendency to get overly assertive or bright. This is the warmest of the Little Dot series as a result. Snare rattle is still surprisingly sharp but cymbals do lack a bit of energy and don’t quite arrive at realistic. Still detail is good throughout and I didn’t find myself feeling like the Wyn was particularly closed in or lacked in top end.
Soundstage / Imaging:
The stage on the Wyn is wider than deep with about 20% more width than depth to my ear. Height is good and surprised here. I expected it to be similar to the Rad but it has a good bit more 3 dimensional nature to the stage comparatively. Seating the orchestra is a bit of an odd experience with an earphone designed for hip-hop, but other than a slight tendency for the bass instruments to step forward in the mix, the instrument separation was surprisingly good and the seating arrangement was mostly correct. The Wyn does suffer from compression as tracks get really busy with mid-bass thickening and getting a bit loose at moments. Layering is about average for the class and certainly acceptable considering the target genres. Imaging is solid with positions being well defined and tracking easily followed.
Thoughts / Conclusion:
I’m not a basshead as many will already know. I have often commented that many people now think neutral lacks bass or is too light. This is the earphone for those people. It unabashedly states right on the package that this is a bass first experience. The good news for those of you who have wanted a bit more bass than a standard tuning provides, the Wyn delivers for sure. Bass is the star and it is plentiful and well rendered. For those interested in a warm iem with limited treble due to sensitivity, the Wyn also becomes an accidental option as the upper end is tuned very politely and will not likely be too treble forward for all but the most sensitive listeners. It may not be my favorite tuning, but for EDM I found the Wyn a very pleasant listen and can say that while I cannot suggest this is something I’d ever use for reference, it is a kind of guilty pleasure for when you want a V shape without the fatigue that usually accompanies the top end of the V. Knowing the target was bassheads, I think Little Dot has accomplished their goal quite well and recommend anyone looking for big bass in an in-ear give the Wyn serious consideration.
- Bass - 7.5/107.5/10
- Mids - 6/106/10
- Treble - 6/106/10
- Soundstage - 6.5/106.5/10
- Imaging - 7/107/10
Pros: Sets out to deliver big bass and succeeds, good build quality, great kit.
Cons: Big bass with some bleed and compression in busy passages.