Aesthetics and Build Quality:
The Carbon are very understated in their look, no flashy colours or anything to make them stand out. Instead they stick to their tried and true polycarbonate housing with coloured metal faceplate to tell the models apart. As per their other models, the Carbon L/R indicators are the wax guards, with red for the Right side and black for the Left. The Carbons don’t have an exciting look, but these are focussed on performance.
Build quality is excellent like all their other models, with a stiff polycarbonate housing and fixed cable they mean business. Most people prefer to have detachable cables, but Periodic are not happy with the current standards and would rather have a durable fixed cable than a failure prone connector. All in all, the Carbon are very well made and are more than up to the job of daily use, just try not to flex the 3.5mm jack too much. Periodic focus on the scientific aspects of the build more than the aesthetics, and I’m honestly fine with this.
Comfort and Isolation:
The housing is smooth and fits well once you find the right size tips, they are lightweight and comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. The cable is soft, and these are designed to be worn with the cable straight down.
Isolation is good but not excellent due to the vented housing for the dynamic driver these use. Perfect for daily use, but something with a little more isolation may be wanted for the noisiest of commutes.
Bass: The Carbons are designed to be a darker, more bass-oriented IEM and in this they succeed with effortless extension. They easily dig down into the sub-bass with no noticeable roll-off, the mid-bass has good punch but the focus is on the sub-bass here. This is one that will satisfy the bass heads out there, without offending those who also appreciate the finer details in music. The Carbon have a real heft down low and impart an inherent warmth across the range that makes them incredibly enjoyable and easy to listen to. This is an earphone that allows you to feel and hear kick drums, and they work a treat with EDM.
Midrange: The midrange manages to cut through the mix with impressive clarity when you take into account the warmth from the low end. There is some warming to the midrange that is to be expected, but they do a fair job of remaining focussed. There is a bit of a dip in the midrange that means the Carbon will never sound mid-forward but when it comes to detail there is an impressive amount on show if you listen for it. There is no harshness from sibilance and they transition into the treble region very smoothly.
Treble: There is no doubt about it, the treble is slightly subdued compared to the rest of the sound, but there is still a good amount of energy. Snares have good attack but do sound slightly dull, cymbal crashes fall a little short when it comes to absolute extension. They are still present, and there is still a fair amount of detail up to. These are not tuned as a bright, or overly energetic earphone, they are all about bringing a full and smooth listening experience without falling behind on the technical details.
The soundstage is fairly average but the separation is great. Even with all they low end, they still manage to pick apart complex mixes with relative ease.
The Carbon from Periodic Audio are a full and fun sounding IEM’s with a focus on bass quantity and quality. Luckily even with this amount of low end, the midrange and treble still cut through with good detail and control. These are a lot of fun, and the perfect partner for any noisy commute.
Build Quality: 4/5