Welcome back... here we're dealing with a kiddie burglary and some vandalism at the house we just leased out and I have to confess we foisted a nano>iBasso>Atrio M5s system on a friend on his way back to Beijing. So my first tests are all centered on the portable rig right now.
The Atrios are definitely very nice earphones. Their bass is deep and not boomy and there is a real sense of scale and presence even straight out of a 1G Shuffle (which has a good amp). I have used the iBasso T2 treble boost switch to counteract an initial sense of the high end being too timid (using the stock mini-to-mini interconnect - I'll soon test using the line out dock as a substitute). Compared to Sennheiser CX300s, the Atrio M5s flesh things out, impart dimension and color, and begin to draw you into an acoustic space which seems to be inhabited by real instruments rather than pleasant synthetic clones. You may not be all the way into the room, but it's like standing by an open door. They don't push sound at you like the little Senns, with the attendant sense of occasional hardening and oversimplifying: instead, they allow something far more complex and dimensional to wash over you (to the extent earphones can do that).
The one clear limitation I need to work on is congestion, the fusing of instrumental voices in loud orchestral passages, the difference between clearly recognizable ingredients and flavors and a soupy equivalent in which they become hard to separate. I suspect this has mostly to do with amplification and interconnects, so the next step is to listen to the same tracks with the improved audio chain: nano>LOD>T2>M5s.
On the other hand, good songs where the balance is more akin to a fashion designer's layering of fabrics and patterns in close proximity, on a much smaller scale, come across as very listenable. It's quite a different proposition from a serious orchestral piece.
So the goal is to remove the congestion with the portable rig. If that is achieved to a good degree, it will be just what we hoped for, with the ability to take in a symphony or an opera on the go without too many distractions. For the size and money, that's frankly very nice!
Regarding the UE-10s, I say go for it. I've read a bit about them lately and it seems many serious reviewers rate them at a level where they pretty much stand on their own. If they are rugged enough to tolerate being used on the go with decent amplification, you may be looking at something quite pleasant: very clean portable sound, and top-of-the-line sound at home out of serious sources and amplification, without switching transducers. You might check on Push To Hear devices you might be able to add to your portable rig, just in case...
Originally Posted by Combat Audio
Well, it has been a bit since you have posted and I am back from my vacation. Any latest purchases and have you been happy with what you have selected so far? I have been interested in the AKG 701s but I have alot of cans already and am happy with what I have. I like the idea of some customized UE 10 Pros....I have a design in mind for a set but would probably sell off my other IEMs if I did get them. I switch between the Shures and the Etys quite a bit but if it was the best of both worlds then I would probably be content to have just the one set for travel.
I have been pretty much without listening time for the last couple of weeks as I was having some well needed time with the family. Lots of fresh lobster right off the fishing boats in Nova Scotia and just enjoying doing family stuff and being on vacation. Hope that all is well in audiophile land.