Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Phonak Audeo PFE012 (Review)

Hey everyone, as schedule from our review list, I’m going to bring you Phonak Audeo PFE012.
Well this earphone is not big news in the industry, it has been existed for quite some times, users come and go, however I feel that this earphone earns another new observation, especially to all Malaysians, you guys should deserve this fine piece of art!!

Phonak is from Switzerland, the company started from hearing profession and protection such as hearing aids, they are expert on that field, can be consider the largest in this industry. Without a doubt earphone manufacture will be categorize their frontline of business faction too.

This is their official website for PFE series.

Packaging/ Accessories


Packaging looks classy, it has clean and glossy printing all over the box, feels nice and good for touching (if you prefer to do that), you get all needed information on top of that, nothing outstanding & fancy colors, standard and yet pleasing to the eye.

PFE012 comes with 3 versions, which are :

1.Normal version (which I’m reviewing)
2.Version comes extra acoustic filters (slight expensive in price, I will explain what is the filter for)
3.Version with microphone, which they named as PFE022, suitable for apple and most of the smart phone.

Normal version is the cheapest between 3, compare with the filter edition, lacking a bit on flexibility (I will explain why).

Inside the box consists of 012 Earphone, different sizes of silicon tips, Comply soft foam for better isolation and fitting, Earhook/Earguide for more solid over the ear fitting and earphone cleaning kit which enables you to clean out the earwax or object stuck on the nozzle tip. Sadly there is no hardcase/pouch included for protection.

The Acoustic Filters, which i call them sound tuning mechanism, it is actually a small tiny filter made with different material. The main purpose is to adjust the frequency to suit your preference, and to protect the sound tube from dirt.

It comes with 3 colors, you can purchase them separately,
Grey Filter – Enhance on mid range
Black Filter – Enhance on Bass and High frequency
Green Filter – Perfect bass

*PFE012 comes with only Green filter

Design and Fitting

Design is pretty weird when on first glare, it looks like a small hook with different direction extend. However, the main purpose is to design for over the ear wearing style.
It is small, basically when you wear them properly inside your ear, it’s kind of hiding inside your ears.
As Phonak is specialize in Hearing aids industry, the way they designed the earphone will be base on their successfully Hearing aids, it prioritize long hour listening and comfortable solid fitting.
Cable is flexible, no stiff in any of the parts, it has a much thicker core from the 3.5m jack until the splitter, afterward it will be thinner core connect straight to the earphone.
Cable Slider included and easy to use, there is no awkward cheap feeling on that.

Fitting is superb/amazing/unbelievable comfortable, the design suit over the ear perfectly, it feels like your ear canal gets suck by the sleeve and earphone automatically (it sounded weird, I know).

I will summarize the advantages of the fitting
-Earphone design is small, comfortable for long hour listening.
-Isolation is perfect, you can insert deeper and seal easily.
-Earphone hides inside your ear, listening on bed or airplane cause no uneasy at all.
-Over the ear design which fits solidly, suitable for outing and sport as well. 
-Soft flexible cable makes wearing experience even easier and faster.
 (I do have Shure SE215, and they are pretty stiff and hard to tame when you first using it..)
Design and fitting I’m totally satisfied with it, as this can be consider the most comfortable earphone in my life. Kudos to Phonak!!

 Sound Impression

As usual, I will do a mixture of different music range, from fast until smooth slow music style.
The source will be Ipod Video 5 Gen  -> Phonak Audeo PFE012, to keep the review as original as possible.

The songs I used:
Jackie Evancho – Dream with Me
Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love
Katherine Jenkins – I Believe (with Andrea Bocelli)
All American Reject – Moving On

Phonak Audio PFE012 Main Signature
*Detail, Clean
*More focus on Mid & Treble
*Smooth and organic
*Good separation
*Average Soundstage

Treble – Nice extension, it has a good sonicly presentation without any harsh feeling, I would conclude it offers forward with good control, crispy and sparkly.
Initial impression it’s on the bright side, if I would compare against Shure SE215, or even Hifiman RE0, PFE012 technically introduce more extension and brightness.
However, the longer I listened, the “Brightness” has presented superbly on transition, smooth and control.
Personally I hate rough transition in mid high and high frequency; it
 feels torture to your ears, and you can’t really enjoy the music, either be long hour listening, or even relaxation usage. 
Exiting is what the treble can generate, no more and no less, it reached the sweet spot perfectly, and wouldn’t turn into thin texture which vividly makes you feel the treble is there.

Mid – When my friend first tried it, he told me PFE012 gets him the feeling of V shape EQ, we had a comparison, discussion go on for sometimes, and found out the reasons.
The mid of PFE012 is thin, I wouldn’t deny that, as comparing with Shure SE215, Westone Series(which he is using them currently), it doesn’t generate enough thickness and richer texture/body on mid frequency compares with them.
On the other hand, it does offers more natural and balance sounding, less coloration and everything are lighten up. You get to feel the origin of the vocal presentation, untainted and lively, guitar plucking sounded correctly without any extra enhancements added in.
It is not forward, laid back is what I can describe, balance is where PFE012 shine, there‘s no intentionally focus on certain frequency range.

Bass – No, they don’t offer quantity bass, they produce quality. As expected from a BA driver, decay and impact will be a drawback compares with Dynamic driver, but hey I’m not a bass head myself, which I can consider the PFE012 bass is adequate for me, I get the tightness and accuracy which I needed for my listening, and long hour listening as well, mainly due to fatigue for non-stop BOOM BOOM.
Besides, the texture
is what outstanding in PFE012
Imagine when a drum was hit, in live situation you are able to feel the drum membrane vibrates differently due to different position/strength used. The frequency and overtones decay in different rates, you can identify the end of every hit able to generate a series of prolong wave wavering around the music and vanishing away, which PFE012 able to present in a fast and clean situation, too much of decay able to make the music messy and unrealistic.


There is no perfect headphone exists in the market,  I don’t like perfect as well, they will be sounded boring for long usage.

How about PFE012?
Treble is perfect as I mentioned, it has a superb control.
Mid is good, return to organic is what you can expect, but it sounded less coloration to some people.
Bass is fine, but I wouldn’t conclude it has “fun” bass, more like “yea the bass is there, nothing much special about that”. Don’t misunderstanding, I’m not saying the bass is lacking or bad presentation, I’m pointed out as it lacks the “Wow” feeling, because the bass sounded in PFE012 is what I expected, which it didn’t shock me in the first place.
Nevertheless i still feel it has much better bass compare with a lot of earphones, as least it is not bloated and muffled.
But wait!! Too bad I don’t have the chance to try out different filter, while there’s a filter to enhance the bass even more, so I believe the filters interchange can suitable different preference, while the green seem fine for me.

Design *Check & Unique
Fitting *Check & Comfortable & Flexible
Sound *Check & Amazing

what’s your thinking then? 


  1. Nice review. Thanks.

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