This past week I got a chance to try out some IEMs from a company I wasn’t so familiar with AAW! I was super impressed by their look and sound! Well this week, I got a chance to try out the company’s flagship IEMs, the AAW Canary. But for a higher price tag of $2999, are they worth the upgrade? Let’s take a closer look with this AAW Canary Review.
AAW Canary Review
In the Box
-AAW Canary IEMs
-Null Audio Symphonym Hakone UPOCC Silver/Copper Cable (2-pin, 3.5 mm connector)
-magnetic storage case
-wooden carrying case
-micro fiber cloth
-3.5 mm to 6.35 mm adapter
-silicone eartips (s, m, l)
-bass silicone eartips (s, m, l)
-foam eartips (s, m, l)
Look and Feel
The first time I held the AAW Canary in my hands, I was awestruck. They are probably the pretties IEMs I’ve ever seen. Their gorgeous earpieces have a medium/large size. They resemble jewelry, walking gracefully along the line between classy and extravagant. This look along with the exposed copper and silver of the Null Audio Smphonym cable give it an air of elegance. Additionally, the backsides of the driver housings are a dark, transparent color. As a result, you can see the inner workings of the IEMs.
In addition to the beautiful look of the AAW Canary, it feels extremely well made, as it should for $2999. The shells are made of a heavy plastic and have what seems to be a steel nozzle. The cable attaches to the top of the housings via a strong 2-pin connector.
Comfort and Fit
With such a large driver housing, I was curious how the AAW would fit. I have smallish ears, so I wondered if they would be too big for me. However, to my pleasant surprise, the angle of the nozzle worked just right! And although the IEMs stuck out of my ears a little bit, I quickly found a great seal!
Additionally, the fit of the AAW Canary was comfortable. Because of the angle of the nozzle, the Canary didn’t touch the outside of my ears at all. The lightweight housings avoided the being dragged down by gravity. Additionally, the angle of the ear hook on the cable helped to keep it securely in place.
The cable of the AAW Canary is the Null Audio Smphonym Hakone UPOCC Silver/Copper Cable. It connects to the earpieces via a 2-pin connector and terminates to a 3.5 mm connector. It features four braided wires: two silver and two copper. This layout is designed to avoid cross interference and have top-notch signal transmission.
Additionally, the high quality of the cable contributes to the high quality of the AAW Canary. It’s connectors are made of steel and have solid weight in the hand. The attention to detail on the look of the connectors makes the Canary feel whole.
Lastly, the cable is easy to maintain. It is 48’’ long. The thin jacket coating the wires makes it flexible. As a result, it is easy to coil and manage.
The AAW Canary features 3 different types of drivers. Firstly, a 6mm dual isobaric driver is dedicated to the low frequencies. It has two diaphragms and super strong magnets that help to avoid issues typical with normal dynamic drivers.
Next, the midrange and highs come through via four balanced armature drivers. Any potential coherence or phase issues are handled by AAW’s 4-way crossover technology, TrueXross.
Lastly, a dual electrostatic super tweeter is dedicated to the super high frequencies. It utilizes a special transformer that uses acoustic pressure (made by the musical signal in conjunction with a charged gold plate) to amplify the signal.
The combination of these different types of drivers and their technologies lets the AAW Canary have an even, low impedance across the frequency spectrum. As a result, AAW claims for optimized musicality and soundstage realism.
The low frequencies of the AAW Canary are punchy and tight. It feels full with sense of sub energy alongside its sense of meaty, full low-end. In addition, the lows come through quickly. As a result, the Canary works well for a wide variety of genres and song types, including both dense and sparse arrangements of low end frequencies. Because of its quickness, it can keep up with quick kick drum patterns in jazz music for example. But it can also provide the fullness and density needed for less subtle, deliberate low frequency hits like in hip-hop or pop.
One example that shows the AAW Canary’s low frequency skill is the song A Bigger Paper Bag by Father John Misty. The kick pattern sort of swings, so it goes back and forth between kick hits that are close together and kick hits with more space around them in time. Meanwhile, the bass guitar plays a similar pattern. The Canary’s lows respond quick enough to to maintain the groove of that subtle pattern, while also providing the weight that make the kick and bass provide a strong foundation for the song.
The midrange of the AAW Canary is even and spacious. They have a full sound, revealing harmonic complexity. Meanwhile, they also sound super spacious because of how quickly they respond. As a result, thick arrangements have detail, groove, and stamina. Likewise, more sparse arrangements have fullness, delicacy and nuance.
The low mids are thick and tight, like the low end. The middle part of the midrange feels realistic and harmonically complex. Then, the top part of the high-mids has a little bit of added emphasis which brings snappy transients and vocals forward slightly in the mix.
For example, when I was listening to the song Shout Mountain Music by Old Crow Medicine Show, the quick fiddles, acoustic guitar and banjo have natural sounding timbres while maintaining wonderful separation from each other. Additionally, the hand claps and vocals are slightly forward in the mix than usual. Additionally, the movement of the midrange instruments with the low-mid rich upright bass captures a sense of grooviness because of the quickness in the mids.
The high frequencies of the AAW Canary are largely even sounding, but have a little bit of emphasis in the lower treble and upper octave. They have a sense of naturalness to them, while also feeling like they have a little bit of character because of the way they lean toward the top. As a result, they work well for a wide variety of genres. They work well for genres and instruments that need realistic, even sounding highs like for complex cymbals, strings, or pianos. They also work well for genres and instruments that like a sense of extension and air like vocals and guitars.
For example, when I was listening to the song So Tender by Keith Jarrett, the piano’s full overtones came through all the way through the high frequencies, giving it a sense of realism. Meanwhile, the cymbals all sounded extremely harmonically complex, revealing each brush stroke and the character of each individual cymbal. There was a sense of spaciousness around them, which at first made it seem like they were louder in the mix. But after close examination, they just felt less cluttered and more exposed. Additionally, there seemed to be a sense of extension that gave texture and air to the entire mix as a whole.
The soundstage of the AAW Canary feels intentional and refined. All three dimensions have specificity. As a result, mixes that utilize soundstage as a method of emotional impact sound as intended by the mixer. However, the soundstage doesn’t feel overly expansive particularly. Rather, it feels true-to-form and, therefore, musical. Additionally, it can reveal depth and width well, while maintaining intimacy for upfront vocals and lead lines.
For example, when I was listening to the song I’ll Show You by Justin Bieber, the far-off melodic synth contrasted wonderfully with the super intimate lead vocal. Between those two extremes, the bass synth and chorus lead synth and pads have nuance in their z-axis placement. Similarly, the wide washy synths contrast well with the lead vocal in the middle, but the drums, cymbals, and background vocals split the difference and live with specificity in between the extremes. Lastly, the brightness and air of the vocal, bright synths, and cymbals contrast in height with the deep bass synth and kick drum. However, the middle part is filled in the with midrange rich synths.
Overall, the AAW Canary is a gorgeous IEM that works well for a wide variety of genres. It is both natural sounding, and also has a little bit of character in how the high frequencies lean. The fit doesn’t work as well for those with small ears, but for those with medium or large ears, they’ll work well for you!