LimeEars Anima: Masterpiece
I have to confess, I feel bad.
I’ve had the LimeEars Anima since last summer and haven’t shared my impressions yet.
It’s not because I am lazy. It’s also not because I don’t like Anima. I really do. It’s probably because Anima is quite complex.
Anima is the current flagship from LimeEars. The Polish boutique brand has been steadily growing over the years. Anima is not just their best iem to date, it’s a game changer.
Let’s start by the design language. This iem is a work of art. From the opal incrusted faceplate to the custom made pure silver nozzle, everything about Anima oozes class and quality. It’s a stunning object that transcends its function and gives you an insight into the team’s mindset. These guys are not just assembling drivers and designing crossovers. They are artists. It’s no surprise that LimeEars is beloved by so many artists in Poland. This is a brand with a soul. Emil (the founder) is passionate about his products and he’s also an awesome person to hang out with.
Anima’s design also gives you an insight into its single most problematic area: the shell size. The tribrid design is made of 13 drivers per side, including 4 ESTs and a complex crossover circuit. That takes a lot of real estate. As a result, the universal shell shape is not the most ergonomic and some people might struggle to get a comfortable fit.
But there’s some very good news: after months of hard work, Emil managed to fit the Anima tech into a custom shell. Anima is now available as custom iem.
Enough introduction, let’s get to the sound:
I would describe Anima’s sound signature as a tastefully implemented W shape.
Bass duties are handled by a Dynamic Driver for ultra-low frequencies and 4 BAs contributing to sub and mid-bass. Anima bass is tastefully elevated and reaches deep. It is impactful and hits when it needs to. The dynamic driver provides the deep rumble and the BA drivers give the mid bass punch and texture. This is also where different people hear different things with Anima, and this takes us back to the fit.
Some people have speculated that Anima sound changes so much with different tips because of the nozzle’s horn design. While that might be true, I don’t think it’s the main factor. Because most of the bass response is handled by BA drivers, you need a deep fit and a perfect seal to get the full impact. When you do, the mid bass is full and punchy. But when you don’t, you will mostly hear sub bass and mid bass will be quite lean. People who get Anima in custom should expect to get the full bass impact, and that’s how I personally prefer the Anima sound. Interestingly, some people have reported that they prefer shallower fit and leaner bass as it tends to give even more clarity.
Not that Anima is lacking in clarity. It’s one of the most resolving and spacious sounding iems out there. We will get back to this later.
Transitioning into the mids, the most striking aspect of the Anima sound is the early upper-mids rise. This gives male vocals and instruments such as guitars a lot of weight and texture. While this emphasis might not be to everyone’s liking, it’s tastefully implemented and doesn’t feel overdone. LimeEars is very popular with Metal lovers. Anima stays true to their house sound roots.
Treble is where Anima introduces something new to the brand. Anima’s upper treble is boosted but it’s again done in a very tasteful manner. There’s lots of information in the upper frequencies and the treble extension is phenomenal. This gives the sound a lot of “air” without any peaks or harshness. This is overall a very mature treble implementation. People who want a more easy going treble response might want to take note though. This is an energetic treble response but it meshes perfectly with the rest of the sound signature.
Anima’s technical chops firmly place it in the upper bracket of the iem landscape. Stage size, separation, detail retrieval, layering and dynamics are all excellent. Not much to say here really other than it’s hard to fault anything.
Does this make Anima a flawless iem? It depends. If you get a good fit (or go custom) and enjoy the bass boost, emphasized upper mids and slightly above neutral treble, this is pretty much as good as it gets at the moment. Anima has only been growing on me and gets my highest personal recommendation as an elite iem. LimeEars have done some phenomenal work here and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!