Accutone Pegasus C: Not Accutone at their best

Greetings!

Today we are going to be taking a look at the Pagasus C, a product found in Accutone’s ‘Standard Line’ of earphones.

The Pegasus C was designed as a lifestyle product to be paired with iDevices. Take one look at their site and the Pegasus C product description and this will be made abundantly clear;

“The Pegasus C is all about being different, showing off your personality. Designed to pair with your outfit or colorful smartphones, it is the perfect match to your vibrant and colorful lifestyle.”

“Designed to be the perfect companion for Apple products, the Pegasus is Made for iPhone.”

They feature an attractive teardrop design in plenty of colors to choose from, iPhone only compatibility for the remote/microphone unit, and a bass-driven sound. With all this in mind, does the Pegasus C stick out in a very crowded segment? Let’s find out.

Disclaimer:

I would like to thank Angus and Accutone for providing the Pegasus C in exchange for a fair and unbiased review. I am not receiving any financial compensation for this review and all comments and views within are my honest opinions. They are not representative of Accutone or any other entity.

The Pegasus C can be purchased through Accutone and is currently sells for 39.00 USD: http://www.audio.accutone.com/pegasus-c

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I was not able to secure an iDevice for this review, so please keep this in mind. It is certainly possible that the Pegasus C will perform better with an iPhone or iPad than with my HTC. Should I have the opportunity to use the Pegasus C with an iDevice, this review will be updated accordingly.

A Little About Me:

Over the last couple years I decided to dive head first into the world of portable audio. After reading pretty much the entirety of IjokerI’s multi-earphone review thread and being greatly inspired, I took a chance and started writing my own reviews. Fast forward a couple years and I’ve had the opportunity to write about some great products from outstanding companies like RHA, Havi, FiiO, NarMoo, Brainwavz, and Meze. I don’t do it for money or free stuff, but because I enjoy it. If my reviews can help guide someone to an earphone that makes them happy, I’ll consider that a job well done.

The gear I use for testing is composed of an HTC One M8 cellphone, Topping NX1 portable amplifier, and my aging Asus G73 gaming laptop paired with a Plantronics Rig USB amp. An XDuoo X3 was recently added to the crew. I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. When it comes to signature preference I tend to lean towards aggressive and energetic, but I try not to limit myself to one signature only. I also tend to listen at lower than average volumes.

Enough preamble. Let us dive into the good stuff shall we?

 

Packaging and Accessories:

The Pegasus C comes in some pretty cool packaging; that being a solid plastic display case wrapped in a cardboard band featuring an image of the product, a brief description of it’s purpose, and some compatibility icons. The top half of the case is clear plastic, and bottom is jet black. On the rear is a hanger that slides out of case allowing it to be hung in a retail shelf. I have to admit that the sheer size of this package makes it an odd choice as it would take up a lot of space on store shelves limiting the number of products that could be displayed. The earphones themselves are pretty tiny, so there is no need for it to be so large, unless of course it’s sole purpose is to get your attention. It certainly succeeds at that.

Removing the cardboard band and splitting the case in half reveals the Pegasus C neatly perched in transparent u-shaped clips that ensure the earphones are the first thing to greet you. The portion of the package holding these clips can be removed and splits into two sections that hide the extra silicone ear tips (s/l sizes) and an instruction manual. A more portable carrying case or bag is not included and would have been a welcome addition.

 

Build, Design, Comfort, Isolation:

The Pegasus C’s housing is composed completely of a very dense and durable feeling plastic. That combined with great fit and finish inspires confidence that these housings will stand up to some abuse and poor treatment.

The cable is a pretty standard rubber-coated affair. Memory is minimal and so are microphonics (cable noise). Strain relief is non-existent at the 90 degree angled jack, quite good leading into and out of the in-line control unit, and present leading into the housings. Relief at the housings is too short and stiff to offer much, if any protection from tugs and pulls.

The inline mic is made entirely of plastic and feels fragile, especially compared to the quality of plastic chosen for the housings. The buttons depress with defined clicks and are easy to tell apart from each other due to the ergonomic design. Microphone quality is simply alright. My voice comes through fairly clear, though there is some notable background static that intrudes on your conversations.

Comfort is outstanding. The housings are very slim and smooth. Their shape reminds me of a stone you would find at the beach that has been worn down by the water. This plus their extreme lightness makes them exceptionally comfortable. They can easily be worn while lying on your side and pretty much disappear when walking around. The occasional tug from the cable reminds you that you’re wearing something.

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The Pegasus C is amply vented. That plus a shallow fit means isolation is well below average, even for a dynamic driver. Depending on what you’re using them for, this could be seen as a positive or a negative. If trying to isolate the outside world, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere. If you still want to hear what is going on around you while jogging or walking around downtown, these should do the trick.

 

Sound:

Tips: Due to the unique shape and shallow fit, I resorted to using the included large tips. A smaller than average nozzle width meant there wasn’t much in my collection that fit, other than a slew of tips of nearly identical shape and bore that did nothing to change the sound, or at least there wasn’t enough of an effect for me to clearly determine any changes.

Amping: The Pegasus C is easy to drive. Amping doesn’t seem to change their sound, which will be easily understood in the future comments. Given there was no real benefit in amping or playing them through my XDuoo X3, the HTC One M8 alone was my primary device for music and phone calls.

The first Accutone product I heard, the Pavo, impressed me with a fairly well-refined, energetic, and reasonably balanced signature. That combined with good features and a nice accessory kit makes them one of my favorite picks for an earphone around 50 USD. While the Pegasus C isn’t without it’s merits I am disappointed to state that it does not live up to the expectations I had based on my experiences with the Pavo, or even Accutone’s Lyra model which retails for 10 USD less.

The Pegasus C is marketed as being tuned for “ultra-bass”. While this is certainly a warm and bassy earphone, the quality of their bass is lacking and the balance of mid- and sub-bass is heavy skewed towards the mid-bass. I unfortunately found it fuzzy, ever-present, lacking any dynamic range (i.e. one-note), and without much texture. Bass also seems to roll off early, further accentuating the impressive mid-bass presence. The Pegusus C’s bass tends to thud along in the foreground, eating into the midrange.

The midrange would be alright if it wasn’t for the mid-bass intrusion. On songs that focus very intently on vocals with instruments in a clear supporting role, such as Alicia Keys’ ‘Unthinkable’ they can be pleasant to listen to. However, the midrange is marred by a fairly thick veil that smears and muddies detail.

This continues into the upper ranges as the Pegasus C suffers from recessed, dull treble. Treble plays third fiddle to the midrange and bass especially, resulting in a earphone that lacks energy and any sense of air or urgency. On the plus side, this makes them very easy to listen to for extended lengths, its just that it isn’t a particularly enjoyable listen.

Soundstage, imaging, and instrument separation are all virtually non-existent making the Pegasus C sound closed in and stuffy. Listening to them with complicated metal tracks really exacerbates these shortcomings.

When it comes down to it, the Pegasus C’s stock tuning is uninspired. In fact, they sound nearly identical to my old pair of Skullycandy Smokin’ Buds from the early to mid-2000s that I used to rock in university, and of which I still have a working pair.

All is not lost though! If you have picked these up or are considering them and want to get the most out of these 9mm drivers, I highly recommend spending some time with an equalizer. Using the basic 5-band equalizer in the Shuttle app on my HTC One M8, the Pegasus C was transformed into a fairly enjoyable listen. I bet you could make them sound even better with a more feature rich program. My settings:

60 Hz | -3 db

230 Hz | -5 db

910 Hz | -2 db

4 kHz | +3 db

14 kHz | +6 db

These fairly extreme (in my opinion) adjustments make the Pegasus C sound like a completely different earphone. The improvement in their clarity and detail is immediately noticeable now that the mid-bass isn’t running the show. The mid-bass bleed is virtually non-existent, treble actually has some presence, and the midrange no longer comes across muddied and veiled. They even end up sounding fairly open and dare I say it, spacious? These adjustments not only make the Pegasus C sound much, much better in every way, but they also bring it more in line with the sound of other Accutone products.

 

Select Comparisons:

Skullcandy Smokin Buds (~15.00 USD): The Pegasus C and Smokin Buds sound nearly identical, with the Pegasus C bringing slightly more detail to the party. Other than that, they both have too much mid-bass that muddies up their sound, though the Buds are nowhere near as receptive to equalization or as comfortable.

Accutone Lyra (29.00): The Lyra rings in at 10 USD less than the Pegasus C, but feels like the more premium product in everything but packaging. They have an all-metal housing, a very nice cable, a universal 3-button remote that works with both iOs and Android device, and a more technically proficient driver. They do offer different signatures with the Lyra being brighter and less bassy, but listening to them back-to-back it is undeniably clear that the Lyra lacks the veil and muddiness of the Pegasus C while giving you a much for spacious and airy soundstage with decent imaging. In the favor of the Pegasus C, it is much more comfortable and easier to get a good fit. The Lyra has an exceptionally short nozzle and pudgy housing

Overall:

The Pegasus C is a fairly well-built and exceptionally comfortable earphone that suffers from lackluster audio performance. With some serious equalization you can get around this notable flaw, but I can’t see many willing to take this step when you can purchase earphones that perform much better out of the box.

That said, their excellent comfort and limited isolation would make the Pegasus C a great earphone for jogging, biking, and other physical activities, especially if sound quality is lower on your list of priorities than fit and features. If sound quality is still very important and you are willing to spend time with an equalizer, the Pegasus C might be worth a look.

In the end I have a hard time recommending them, especially when the Lyra exists within Accutone’s product list. The stock sound quality of the Pegasus C is very subpar and the included accessories too barren to overlook.

Thanks for reading.

– B9Scrambler

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