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Westone ES2 (the underappreciated custom) - Page 5

post #61 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdimitri
Like this one?
http://www.sgheadphones.net/index.php?showtopic=6221
I'm trying to make it as invisible as possible.. looks like black's my only option, my skin colour changes all the time
No.. that did not sound weird
Actually, the picture you linked to is supposedly the "opaque" red, though Westone was quoted in that thread as replying that some areas turn out slightly translucent since the opacity can't be maintained throughout due to component placement (?). I don't know if that holds true of the (opaque) black option.

Black sounds good.

I chose translucent "Candy Blue" just 'cause I visualized some colors in my mind and that color won. I like it. I also didn't want a "hearing aid" look, though I've seen some pics of owners with clear/transparent ES2s that look good on them. I have rather small ears, and you can see that my ES2s protrude somewhat. Here's a (lousy low resolution) photo taken with my cellphone:

post #62 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by wahlau88
Hi all, first post here.

Have been a lurker ever since my sony xp 71s ( i think thats what they are) got destroyed. The rubber protecting the cable has basically disintegrated. I run alot, (i sweat profusely), that plus the humidityof being in Asia means it's time for new IEMs.

Was thinking of the shure E500 or the new triple fi pros but after readin this post I think I will be trying a pair of es2. Just wondering how durable the cables and the soft silicon bit in the ear are with regards to sweat? Don't want them going soft (or worst) on me after 3 months of exercise which is what happened with the sonys.

Great site, thanks for the help.
I've had my ES2s since the (1st) National Meet this past Spring. I walk very fast and always work up a pretty good sweat. The cable is still in perfect condition.

Ear canals do not sweat, but rather produce cerumen (wax of varying viscosity/solidity) -- mine being on the more fluid side, as opposed to some -- many Japanese for example -- who have very dry, skinlike earwax.

The only way sweat comes into play in the ear canal is by flowing into it from outside.

NY has hot/humid summers -- though not close to what I've experienced in Japan, where I swear I could smell the mold in the air (my suits that were dry cleaned just prior to departure came out of the suitcase in NY smelling mildewed -- in just 18 hours!).

The soft canal ends of my ES2 held up perfectly after a humid summer.

You can certainly buy a spare cable, though I don't think moisture/humidity will damage your original cable. If anything, accidental "yanking" of the cable is a more likely source of damage, though I've been lucky (and careful) so far.
post #63 of 200
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by milkpowder
So you're saying that the ES2 is even fuller than the E500? Do they sound realistic, or is it a sort of smoothed-out, coloured sound that is sort of different to how it would really sound in real life? Are they detailed enough throughout the whole frequency range (especially bass) for large symphonic works? If they're like the UM2s (good, but slightly uncontrolled bass, lack of detail/definition in the mids and highs, though sweet sounding), then that's a big no-no for classical symphonic and ensembles or even solo/accompanied violin.

Hmm... interesting indeed. I don't find the E500 that analytical at all. In fact, they're smoother and more musical than they are analytical! The bass is usually thicker than it's supposed to be in real life. Would the ES2 be neutral enough to accurately reproduce complex music like large orchestras? The E500 are great for less complex music like jazz, solo classical, small ensemble classical, vocals and rock, but don't perform that well with complex large ensemble music. Crystal clear sound is what I'm looking for (maybe UE10Pro are better then).
I would recommend the ES2 to someone that likes the UM2 sound but wants better bass with more control and better extension, more clarity and dimension in the mids, and smoother highs also with better extension and more transparency and sparkle. Based on what you seem to be looking for and what I have read you sound like you'd be happier with the UE10. Check with digihead for more info on both as he is the only one I know who owns both
post #64 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by milkpowder
So you're saying that the ES2 is even fuller than the E500? Do they sound realistic, or is it a sort of smoothed-out, coloured sound that is sort of different to how it would really sound in real life? Are they detailed enough throughout the whole frequency range (especially bass) for large symphonic works? If they're like the UM2s (good, but slightly uncontrolled bass, lack of detail/definition in the mids and highs, though sweet sounding), then that's a big no-no for classical symphonic and ensembles or even solo/accompanied violin.

Hmm... interesting indeed. I don't find the E500 that analytical at all. In fact, they're smoother and more musical than they are analytical! Thebass is usually thicker than it's supposed to be in real life. Would the ES2 be neutral enough to accurately reproduce complex music like large orchestras? The E500 are great for less complex music like jazz, solo classical, small ensemble classical, vocals and rock, but don't perform that well with complex large ensemble music. Crystal clear sound is what I'm looking for (maybe UE10Pro are better then).
I find that the ES2 performs very well with large orchestral works, as well as intimate/richly textured small jazz ensembles -- and solo violin. I just did a quick comparison using my DT880-250/2005 and ES2 with both M-Hornet and Portaphile PV2^2-LT1210 Maxxed amps (via iPod 4G 40G).

The soundstage width of the ES2 is comparable to the extremely wide soundstage of the 880s -- perceived as well beyond the ears.

Detail, texture and air with the ES2 is very good and musically satisfying. The 880s offer more air and sparkle, and I would say that the ES2 does smooth the finest details slightly. If you want to elicit the utmost detail and inner detail, although I feel the M-Hornet is slightly better overall for huge/integrated sound space and liquid musicality, the Portaphile does slightly better in portraying complex detail, texture, harmonic structure, timbral complexities, and layered imaging (more discrete spaces around performers). So choose your listening preferences before choosing an amp. Both are superb peformers. The Portaphile offers a tiny bit more volume latitude at low gain than the M-Hornet (1-2 points more), while the M-Hornet offers more bass punch, mid warmth and presence, and ease of long-term listening. I love the complexities offered by the Portaphile, so I alternate between the two amps, depending on music and mood.

Even with the same music, it's a tough choice. For example, with Bill Evans Trio Live At The Village Vanguard, "Waltz For Debby" -- the Portaphile best portrays the rich complexities of the string bass, percussion and ambient (audience/house) sounds -- but the Hornet best fills the middle of the soundstage which is very left/right with this old recordings.

Strauss / Fritz Reiner / Ein Heldenleben -- an orchestral work with great sweep, richly complex massed strings -- holds up well with good detail, size/scope, and timbral representation.

Bernstein's "Candide" -- the huge sound space and beautiful/discretely placed voices are recreated with excellent separation and dimension. The M-Hornet gives more sense of mass and natural voice resonance, while the Portaphile portrays more of the instrumental textures and complex waveforms/harmonic structure. Both have excellent HF extension and sparkle.

Maxim Vengerov "Vengerov Virtuoso" -- spectacular solo showcase pieces -- sounds gorgeous, with clean highs but no undue stridency (beyond his muscular style), and the accompanying piano has good weight with no overhang. The high, fast, delicate harmonic runs are nicely done. "La Ronde Des Lutins" is excellent with both amps -- sweeter and bigger with the M-Hornet, more air and rosin bite with the Portaphile.

Bob Dylan, "Love and Theft" -- "High Water" has a repeating fast tympani riff that's done with good speed and weight with both amps (bigger with the Hornet), with the Portaphile adding tighter definition, detail and audible notes to the individual tympani strokes.

Alison Krauss & Untion Station "Lonely Runs Both Ways" -- with the Hornet it's rich, deep and (again) "liquid", with her voice beautifully warm and sweet; with the Portaphile it's more open, with the strings' complexity and sparkle emphasized and Alison's voice more ethereal and breathy.

The ES2 portrays all these subtle differences with ease.

Ultimately, the ES2 does beautifully with all types of music, including large/wide/complex orchestral works, massed strings, horns, guitars, piano, voice -- you name it. It just misses a tiny bit of the sparkle and air of phones such as the 880-250/2005 and K701.

The Hornet is tough to manage regarding the extremely narrow volume latitude with sensitive IEMs. With high level recordings, I find the volume set below the first volume notch! 8:00-9:00 with lower level recordings. Ray may be developing something specifically for IEMs sometime soon. Hopefully we'll hear something very soon. The M-Hornet is, of course, readily available and quite lovely in hand.

Cesar of Portaphile is hard at work on his new "Shohin" amp, so no more of the lovely PV2^2-LT1210 Maxxed are available (well, maybe one?) -- though you can find one occasionally in the For Sale Forum, but be sure it's ONLY the latest PV2^2-LT1210 Maxxed w/2x1500uf Black Gate NX caps (anything less is not the same superb amp).

Regarding frequency range specs, the 20Hz-18kHz seems to be accurate. I did an auditory test this week with the ES2 (via Mac G5 2x2GHz PowerPC Tower) and was able to hear everything from 20Hz-20kHz, but the 20kHz tones were very hissy and not clear as the 18k tones were. Besides being surprised that I could hear all that, I was impressed that the ES2 really transmitted all that.

Hope this enhances the overall picture. Feel free to ask more questions if needed.
post #65 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by Romanee
I find that the ES2 performs very well with large orchestral works, as well as intimate/richly textured small jazz ensembles -- and solo violin. I just did a quick comparison using my DT880-250/2005 and ES2 with both M-Hornet and Portaphile PV2^2-LT1210 Maxxed amps (via iPod 4G 40G).

The soundstage width of the ES2 is comparable to the extremely wide soundstage of the 880s -- perceived as well beyond the ears.

Detail, texture and air with the ES2 is very good and musically satisfying. The 880s offer more air and sparkle, and I would say that the ES2 does smooth the finest details slightly. If you want to elicit the utmost detail and inner detail, although I feel the M-Hornet is slightly better overall for huge/integrated sound space and liquid musicality, the Portaphile does slightly better in portraying complex detail, texture, harmonic structure, timbral complexities, and layered imaging (more discrete spaces around performers). So choose your listening preferences before choosing an amp. Both are superb peformers. The Portaphile offers a tiny bit more volume latitude at low gain than the M-Hornet (1-2 points more), while the M-Hornet offers more bass punch, mid warmth and presence, and ease of long-term listening. I love the complexities offered by the Portaphile, so I alternate between the two amps, depending on music and mood.

Even with the same music, it's a tough choice. For example, with Bill Evans Trio Live At The Village Vanguard, "Waltz For Debby" -- the Portaphile best portrays the rich complexities of the string bass, percussion and ambient (audience/house) sounds -- but the Hornet best fills the middle of the soundstage which is very left/right with this old recordings.

Strauss / Fritz Reiner / Ein Heldenleben -- an orchestral work with great sweep, richly complex massed strings -- holds up well with good detail, size/scope, and timbral representation.

Bernstein's "Candide" -- the huge sound space and beautiful/discretely placed voices are recreated with excellent separation and dimension. The M-Hornet gives more sense of mass and natural voice resonance, while the Portaphile portrays more of the instrumental textures and complex waveforms/harmonic structure. Both have excellent HF extension and sparkle.

Maxim Vengerov "Vengerov Virtuoso" -- spectacular solo showcase pieces -- sounds gorgeous, with clean highs but no undue stridency (beyond his muscular style), and the accompanying piano has good weight with no overhang. The high, fast, delicate harmonic runs are nicely done. "La Ronde Des Lutins" is excellent with both amps -- sweeter and bigger with the M-Hornet, more air and rosin bite with the Portaphile.

Bob Dylan, "Love and Theft" -- "High Water" has a repeating fast tympani riff that's done with good speed and weight with both amps (bigger with the Hornet), with the Portaphile adding tighter definition, detail and audible notes to the individual tympani strokes.

Alison Krauss & Untion Station "Lonely Runs Both Ways" -- with the Hornet it's rich, deep and (again) "liquid", with her voice beautifully warm and sweet; with the Portaphile it's more open, with the strings' complexity and sparkle emphasized and Alison's voice more ethereal and breathy.

The ES2 portrays all these subtle differences with ease.

Ultimately, the ES2 does beautifully with all types of music, including large/wide/complex orchestral works, massed strings, horns, guitars, piano, voice -- you name it. It just misses a tiny bit of the sparkle and air of phones such as the 880-250/2005 and K701.

The Hornet is tough to manage regarding the extremely narrow volume latitude with sensitive IEMs. With high level recordings, I find the volume set below the first volume notch! 8:00-9:00 with lower level recordings. Ray may be developing something specifically for IEMs sometime soon. Hopefully we'll hear something very soon. The M-Hornet is, of course, readily available and quite lovely in hand.

Cesar of Portaphile is hard at work on his new "Shohin" amp, so no more of the lovely PV2^2-LT1210 Maxxed are available (well, maybe one?) -- though you can find one occasionally in the For Sale Forum, but be sure it's ONLY the latest PV2^2-LT1210 Maxxed w/2x1500uf Black Gate NX caps (anything less is not the same superb amp).

Regarding frequency range specs, the 20Hz-18kHz seems to be accurate. I did an auditory test this week with the ES2 (via Mac G5 2x2GHz PowerPC Tower) and was able to hear everything from 20Hz-20kHz, but the 20kHz tones were very hissy and not clear as the 18k tones were. Besides being surprised that I could hear all that, I was impressed that the ES2 really transmitted all that.

Hope this enhances the overall picture. Feel free to ask more questions if needed.
Thanks a lot for your impressions! It definitely enhanced the overall picture

So these IEMs respond pretty well to amping wouldn't you say? I just sent my Hornet for mods and it'll be back sometime soon. It sounds to me the soundstaging is pretty amazing and there's plenty of detail. I wouldn't expect an IEM to have the same amount of "air" as a full sized headphone though...

Does the bass ever get uncontrolled and smear into the rest of the freq range? How balanced/neutral are they (bass/top heavy)? Would it be fair to say that the ES2 are pretty accurate sounding, but not so much that it sounds like the K701 (slight lack of warmth)?

Thanks again!
post #66 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakeride74
I would recommend the ES2 to someone that likes the UM2 sound but wants better bass with more control and better extension, more clarity and dimension in the mids, and smoother highs also with better extension and more transparency and sparkle.
That' would be great! Is the difference between the ES2 and UM2 massive? Does the ES2 improve on everything that the UM2 is missing, eg clarity and more transparency and sparkle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wakeride74
Based on what you seem to be looking for and what I have read you sound like you'd be happier with the UE10. Check with digihead for more info on both as he is the only one I know who owns both
UE10Pro are stupendously expensive in the UK. I'm only aiming for ES2 or T2Pro a.t.m. because they already cost a bit over 900USD. However, I think that at this sort of price range, the law of diminishing marginal returns work in full force. The extra whatever (500USD) I'd have to shell out for the UE10Pro wouldn't result in that big a difference or improvement. I'm content if I were to get either the ES2 or T2Pro.
post #67 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by milkpowder
Thanks a lot for your impressions! It definitely enhanced the overall picture

So these IEMs respond pretty well to amping wouldn't you say? I just sent my Hornet for mods and it'll be back sometime soon. It sounds to me the soundstaging is pretty amazing and there's plenty of detail. I wouldn't expect an IEM to have the same amount of "air" as a full sized headphone though...

Does the bass ever get uncontrolled and smear into the rest of the freq range? How balanced/neutral are they (bass/top heavy)? Would it be fair to say that the ES2 are pretty accurate sounding, but not so much that it sounds like the K701 (slight lack of warmth)?

Thanks again!
The ES2s are a bit chameleon-like. They can be quite accurate -- and revealing -- and reactive to ancillary components. With (well "burned-in") M-Hornet, it's a pretty balanced sound. Lots of punchy bass when needed, and mid-to-HF detail, but not tipped one way or the other.

I've read that the new M-Hornets (mine was an original that was modded) start out with fairly big, but not so well-defined bass -- but that tightens up with "burn in", which -- as you may have read by now -- is quite lengthy. My modded unit took 350-400 hours to reach a stable, optimal sound. I'm not yet sure if the new M-Hornets require that much, since I haven't tested one myself.

The M-Hornet does not lack warmth, nor is it overly warm as the original (Nichicon cap) version was, to my tastes. There are "original Hornet" owners who love that lush, "tube-y" sound. The M-Hornet is quite different, though hardly bass shy.

BTW -- as an aside, regarding the K-701, the pair I have had all sorts of anomalies until it had 350+ hours of burn in. It is also very system-dependent. It mates very nicely with the M-Hornet and doesn't strike me as having a "cold" sound. With the RKV-MkII+EC/DC it is deliciously lush/rich, extended, wide open and spacious, with loads of air and precise imaging. Not the least bit lacking in warmth (via X-Ray CD > Muse DAC).
post #68 of 200
Been following this thread with interest. I have been using a M Hornet - now with over 400 hours on it - and tried it with both the ES2's and the E500's. I'm a blues and rock 'n roll guy when I use the portable combo, and for my money the ES2's are indeed the last word in IEM's.

catscratch wrote: "Where the ES2 really pulls ahead, to my ear, and where the E500 really lacks, is in fullness. The E500 still has that same "canalphoney" sound signature that I've heard from the ER-4P and the E4c. Admittedly, it is by far the best iteration of that sound signature that I've come across, but next to it, the ES2 sounds like a full-size headphone. It's simply fuller, more present, more dynamic, more, well, "there." Instruments seem to occupy much more space than they do with the E500, which sounds a bit thin by comparison, and they seem to have much more solidity."

This puts in words my experience exactly. I'd start a listening session with the E500's fully intending to give them an uninterupted 2 or 3 hours of playing and find I'd pull them off after 20 minutes. The ES2's were just that much better. The fullness of the ES2's do NOT color or hide detail, they in fact enhance it while adding significant amounts of musicality or "sweetness."

I really wanted to like the E500's, but in the end I sold them after about a week. The E500's are quite good and better than anything else I'd heard, but in an ear-to-ear real time comparison to the ES2, they came in a very distand second place.

Comparing the ES2 to the UM2 is also useful. I like the UM2's and still have mine. The UM2's are not quite as good as the E500's, they have a somewhat bloated bass, they lack detail and air and don't have the extension the E500's have. This is only in comparison to the E500, the UM2's are a fantastically good IEM and a steal at the price. However, the UM2 compared to the ES2 is not even close, truly a night and day difference. Everything the UM2's do well the ES2 does better, lots better. Everything the UM2 lacks the ES2 adds.

In the end I don't feel it's really "fair" to compare a custom fit IEM to a universal. Fit, seal, ease of use etc. are so much better with a custom that the ergonomics alone are enough for me to choose a custom. The thing is, these ergonomics actively and significantly contribute to a better sound.

I haven't heard nor am I inclined to invest an extra couple hundred in the UE10's. Perhaps they are slightly better. Lots of this is personal preference, listening tastes and component synergy. I'm happy to think I've found the perfect combo for me!
post #69 of 200
Yes, the differences between the UM2's and ES2's are massive, even though the drivers are the same. The massive difference is the separate bore technology that the ES2 employs. With a single bore,like the UM2 has, the frequencies from the dual drivers have to "compete" with each other through a single bore. With separate bores, there is a complete separation of the sound coming from each driver, resulting in a completely different sound. This coming from my audiologist, who was pretty knowledgable about Westone products being that he's also a professional trumpet player on the side. I was shocked at how different they were from UM2 with UM56's, because I had the misconception that the sound was somehow "close" to ES2. It's not, the ES2 is on a different level entirely. And no, the bass doesn't ever smear the other frequencies. I imagine it might if your an EQ person,though.
post #70 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by Romanee
The ES2s are a bit chameleon-like. They can be quite accurate -- and revealing -- and reactive to ancillary components. With (well "burned-in") M-Hornet, it's a pretty balanced sound. Lots of punchy bass when needed, and mid-to-HF detail, but not tipped one way or the other.

I've read that the new M-Hornets (mine was an original that was modded) start out with fairly big, but not so well-defined bass -- but that tightens up with "burn in", which -- as you may have read by now -- is quite lengthy. My modded unit took 350-400 hours to reach a stable, optimal sound. I'm not yet sure if the new M-Hornets require that much, since I haven't tested one myself.

The M-Hornet does not lack warmth, nor is it overly warm as the original (Nichicon cap) version was, to my tastes. There are "original Hornet" owner who love that lush, "tube-y" sound. The M-Hornet is quite different, though hardly bass shy.

BTW -- as an aside, regarding the K-701, the pair I have had all sorts of anomalies until it had 350+ hours of burn in. It is also very system-dependent. It mates very nicely with the M-Hornet and doesn't strike me as having a "cold" sound. With the RKV-MkII+EC/DC it is deliciously lush/rich, extended, wide open and spacious, with loads of air and precise imaging. Not the least bit lacking in warmth (via X-Ray CD > Muse DAC).
Thanks again. I'll wait till my Hornet comes back and then make decisions then. The E500 might sound better from the "M" than from the stock amp. Hopefully, that will temporarily halt my upgraditis because 900USD (in the UK) for the ES2 is a lot of money.

I'm listening to La primavera by Paganini played by Salvatore Accardo with my E500 straight out of the headphone out of the Echo Indigo DJ and it sounds pretty darn good. Very detailed sounding and I love the weight the E500 puts behind the orchestra. If only it could be ever so slightly more transparent in the mids!

The E500 is an odd child. It has a slightly laid back sound in general, but when there is a really bright percussive sound (say a triangle), sparkling highs suddenly come out form nowhere! Pretty special stuff huh?! I feel that there is a slight break in the transition between the highs and the mids 'n bass. (This depends a lot on the track though). I guess by transparency, I mean that the mids should be pushed slightly forward for a smoother transition.

I've also been playing around with different insertion techniques with the E500 and I found that the sound really does vary a lot depending on the depth of insertion. With customs, you either get good sound, or not, which saves all the hassle that goes along with experimentation. However, it's also quite fun to be able to change/tweak the sound depending on your mood: thicker, bassier sound if you stick them all the way in; brighter and more balanced sound if you leave the yellow foamies just at the opening of the canal!
post #71 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeBlues
Been following this thread with interest. I have been using a M Hornet - now with over 400 hours on it - and tried it with both the ES2's and the E500's. I'm a blues and rock 'n roll guy when I use the portable combo, and for my money the ES2's are indeed the last word in IEM's.

* * * * *

I haven't heard nor am I inclined to invest an extra couple hundred in the UE10's. Perhaps they are slightly better. Lots of this is personal preference, listening tastes and component synergy. I'm happy to think I've found the perfect combo for me!
At 752.50EUR or 943.63USD from the European Westone dealer, they better improve on the E500! They're much cheaper (581.16EUR or 728.77USD) if I get them from Hong Kong though, which is probably what I'm going to do. I love rock too, but if I'm listening to rock only, I wouldn't have the urge to upgrade to customs. The E500 are pretty much perfect for rock already. I want customs mainly to satisfy my classical cravings

Did you get the M Hornet, or have your Hornet modified? What difference does the M Hornet make as opposed to straight out of the jack?
post #72 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by milkpowder
Thanks again. I'll wait till my Hornet comes back and then make decisions then. The E500 might sound better from the "M" than from the stock amp. Hopefully, that will temporarily halt my upgraditis because 900USD (in the UK) for the ES2 is a lot of money.

I'm listening to La primavera by Paganini played by Salvatore Accardo with my E500 straight out of the headphone out of the Echo Indigo DJ and it sounds pretty darn good. Very detailed sounding and I love the weight the E500 puts behind the orchestra. If only it could be ever so slightly more transparent in the mids!

The E500 is an odd child. It has a slightly laid back sound in general, but when there is a really bright percussive sound (say a triangle), sparkling highs suddenly come out form nowhere! Pretty special stuff huh?! I feel that there is a slight break in the transition between the highs and the mids 'n bass. (This depends a lot on the track though). I guess by transparency, I mean that the mids should be pushed slightly forward for a smoother transition.

I've also been playing around with different insertion techniques with the E500 and I found that the sound really does vary a lot depending on the depth of insertion. With customs, you either get good sound, or not, which saves all the hassle that goes along with experimentation. However, it's also quite fun to be able to change/tweak the sound depending on your mood: thicker, bassier sound if you stick them all the way in; brighter and more balanced sound if you leave the yellow foamies just at the opening of the canal!
I'm glad you're enjoying the Echo Indigo DJ -- but you can do a lot better. Even via line out, a better DAC would be in order for the Hornet. I'm not sure which of the better DACs are suited to IEMs since I principally use my iPod > ALO LOD (Jumbo Silk Dock). The Headroom MicroDAC is wonderful, but the output level is way too high for IEMs. I've hooked up my M-Hornet & ES2s to an X-Ray CD transport > Muse DAC (as well as my DT880s) and the output was less than a point more than my iPod -- but that's a large and costly system.

There are a number of recommended DIY DACs, such as the Alien DAC and Monica/Monica2 DACs (which can be bought fully assembled). "ppl" of LaRocco has been discussing his design work on a portable DAC, but that's not a real product yet.

Perhaps some owners can post some comments on suitable upgrades from the Echo Indigo (mediocre products for my tastes) -- USB, optical or digital audio coax as required by your PC/laptop/PDP. I have a plain Indigo which I haven't touched in over a year (I think a friend still has it).
post #73 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by Romanee
I'm glad you're enjoying the Echo Indigo DJ -- but you can do a lot better. Even via line out, a better DAC would be in order for the Hornet. I'm not sure which of the better DACs are suited to IEMs since I principally use my iPod > ALO LOD (Jumbo Silk Dock). The Headroom MicroDAC is wonderful, but the output level is way too high for IEMs. I've hooked up my M-Hornet & ES2s to an X-Ray CD transport > Muse DAC (as well as my DT880s) and the output was less than a point more than my iPod -- but that's a large and costly system.

There are a number of recommended DIY DACs, such as the Alien DAC and Monica/Monica2 DACs (which can be bought fully assembled). "ppl" of LaRocco has been discussing his design work on a portable DAC, but that's not a real product yet.

Perhaps some owners can post some comments on suitable upgrades from the Echo Indigo (mediocre products for my tastes) -- USB, optical or digital audio coax as required by your PC/laptop/PDP. I have a plain Indigo which I haven't touched in over a year (I think a friend still has it).
Excellent advice. I should probably get a better source first. I'll probably pick up a MicroDAC from the FS forums. Thanks for bringing me back to sanity! MicroDAC to Hornet to E500 should sound amazing

I've got an Esoteric X-03SE and Sony DVP-9100ES at home, so I'll see what the E500 sound like from that source (that will be December during Christmas break). Need to pick up a good interconnect though. I wonder what [Esoteric X-03SE -> RSA Hornet "M" -> E500] sounds like...

How well does the ES2 scale with sources? Will a dedicated DAC or a high end CDP really make that big a difference? Surely the ES2 becomes the bottleneck after a certain point?
post #74 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by milkpowder
Excellent advice. I should probably get a better source first. I'll probably pick up a MicroDAC from the FS forums. Thanks for bringing me back to sanity! MicroDAC to Hornet to E500 should sound amazing

I've got an Esoteric X-03SE and Sony DVP-9100ES at home, so I'll see what the E500 sound like from that source (that will be December during Christmas break). Need to pick up a good interconnect though. I wonder what [Esoteric X-03SE -> RSA Hornet "M" -> E500] sounds like...

How well does the ES2 scale with sources? Will a dedicated DAC or a high end CDP really make that big a difference? Surely the ES2 becomes the bottleneck after a certain point?
The MicroDAC does match beautifully with the Hornet -- but I must repeat that the MicroDAC has such high level output that it's like adding 3-4 points more gain, and may be impossible with the Hornet and IEMs, though I haven't tried it. Contact Tyll and/or Jamey at Headroom and ask them about that.
post #75 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by milkpowder
Did you get the M Hornet, or have your Hornet modified? What difference does the M Hornet make as opposed to straight out of the jack?
I bought the M Hornet. I got it in August after getting frustrated with the wait for the Xin Micro. According to Ray, he only sells the M hornet now unless someone specifically asks for the un-modded version

The difference? Huge! Now, I'm using an ALO cryo dock from my iPod into the Hornet, so this connection also makes a marked improvement. I've not ever tried the ES2's staight out of the iPod except for a few brief moments, I got the Hornet and the ALO before I got the ES2's. I was using UM2's when the Hornet arrived and they improved dramatically.
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