Pros: Deep and detailed bass, but it's all controlled. Great soundstage, excellent natural resolution to instruments.
Cons: A few times thought they were bright, not mentioned in review because quality of tracks weren't the best.
Tested on various classical and jazz pieces, found the SD3 to give commanding performance on all. Note, I used high quality flac versions of all songs tested.
SD3's are about two days old and have about 8 hours on them, hardly broken in.
They were bought from this shop and imported into the states at the regular retail price.
Eartips used were Sony hybrids, peach inner color.
Equipment used: Burson Audio Soloist, Eastern Electric Minimax Tube Dac with Musical Fideltiy V-Link for usb support with a Windows pc (self built). As just mentioned, flac files, played through foobar at default settings, no eq used.
Acoustic jazz (Fred Hersh - Heartsong, McCoy Tyner - Miss Bea, Lenny Andrade - Maiden Voyage)
Saxophones sound full and rich with that great open sound that they have, pianos have that percussive quality as they should, bass is natural and noticeable but as part of the general sound presentation as required by the music - equal with other instruments, not lost, but not in your face. Lead instruments, such as trumpets, take center stage and are the obvious lead performers during the solos. While all the obvious rhythm instruments, piano, drums, bass all do their parts without being lost. Bass are warm and sweet, cymbals crisp and never lost in the mix.
In Lenny's interpretation of Maiden Voyager, her voice is immediate, earthy, and sensuous. She sounds like she's singing right next to you, while the bass, piano, and other instruments are a few feet away. Bass has excellent decay on this song, staying just long enough as a fine glass of red wine would on ones taste palate as it's being sipped. Yet, never getting in the way of any other instrument or Lenny's vocals.
Overall, great atmosphere, with excellent wide sound stage, and natural sounding tones.
I can see why the SD3 would be loved by a stage musician.
Vocal music (using Chesky Records - The Ultimate Demonstration Disk - There is a Rose in Spanish Harlem - Rebeca Pidgeon
This song starts with a bass lead, quickly followed by Rebeca's vocals taking center stage, bass politely going into its background rhythm mode, Rebeca's vocals sound natural and full, you can hear her breathing at times, but never sibilant. Piano comes in sounding as natural as one would expect. Strings come in later, sounding rich and lush as expected in this type of music. Constanellas (sp?) play in the background, sounding quite natural.
Rebeca's vocals control the center stage, in my teen years I loved the original version of this song, Rebeca's interpretation of the song, as heard on my SD3 is just amazing, sends goosebumps up my spine - no really. Again, I'm sitting right next to Rebecca, my wife is going to get jealous.
I can go on and on, depth reproduction, sound stage, all sound excellent.
Classical test: From Chesky Records - The Ultimate Demonstration Disk -Britten- Festival Te Deum- Westminster Choir
Okay, I'm sitting in the middle of the church, with the choir's sound enveloping me. The microphone for this performance was hung from the air above the choir, and that is how it comes off with the SD3, you get a sense of openness with the sound, choir hits all the notes clearly and distinctly. The organ has a slight bit of warmth, but that is intentional. Organ is firmly in the background, vocals very upfront. Notes change quickly in the later part of this performance, and all is handled well.
Stravinsky- The Royal March -Solisti New York
This piece has many changes in musical volume, and instruments coming in and out of the sound, making for a good test for complex classical movements. The piece starts off with a march motif, which it comes back to several times. Again, the SD3 handles all the changes well, including the volume changes throughout, the speed of the trumpets, and the the drums. The drums and horns sound clear and again, natural.
Solo bass - very natural with great decay, nice bass detail.
Solo drums - again, very natural with clear and nice prat. Cymbals sound natural.
Finally - going back to the pop side of things:
James Blake - limit to your love:
James vocals sound soulful and rich, piano accompaniment sounds natural and spot on, then at about 50-60 seconds into the song, your ears just go WOW.
Final words, SD3's are not just for electronic music as they may have originally been intended. Musical reproduction is first rate, with an easy and commanding handling of all genres tested, classical, jazz, and vocal music. As has been said, bass reproduction is deep and detailed, but appropriate for the recording.
I'm quite happy with my SD3's.