My Impressions/Review & Pics
Here we go, this is what i wrote while i was on holiday.
"Welcome to my LiveWire T1 review!
It isn’t very structured, just my impressions, pieced into a review. Go easy on me. Enjoy it. This is my first review/impressions!
First of all I am not an audiophile, I just appreciate high quality sound, and buy earphones based on their sound signature, as I like my music to sound good, and how I want it to sound without the use of an EQ.
I don’t have any lossless, as pre-head-fi all my music was lossy mp3, ranging between 96k and 320k. I cannot hear a difference between a 192k mp3 and a flac file from the tests I did with Micheal Jackson’s “Bad” and “Off The Wall”, the remastered special editions, albeit I don’t know what the bit rate of the flac’s were, but they were big at 24mb-32mb per track, which is why I don’t have lossless, as I just can’t re-rip and re-download all my music into flac, and cannot store it, as my collection would be at least 3 times bigger.
My review is based on amped, with an Xin Supermacro III which I have on loan, along with a silver plated copper ALO interconnect, and my sources, a Zen Vision M’s lineout, and my laptop’s hissy headphone out, amped, fed by Winamp 5.5. The difference with lossy files amped and unamped is small, but audible, the bass clarity is improved from it’s already fantastic-ness and a slightly reduced hiss, and slightly more clarity overall. Amped, lossless, and unamped lossless the difference is the same, and no more noticeable, albeit I only ab’ed the two albums I had from my laptops headphone out, which I doubt is as good as the Zen’s lineout. Both the laptop, and surprisingly the Zen’s lineout are quite hissy, although it may be the amp doesn’t have a low noise floor/base, I am not sure, but I think both are a contributing to the hiss. The LiveWires are very sensitive, and also don’t take much volume to drive to my low listening level.
My history of earphones is only small, ranging from my first decent earphones, before head-fi, the Sennheiser CX300’s, which I found muddy and horrible after using them on holiday so much, so I found head-fi, and naturally thought I didn’t want much bass, so went for ER6i’s, which I loved the detail of, although found the bass lacking, even after getting a good seal, which was a fiddle everyday on the bus to school, rolling foamies, and not getting a full seal all around the whole canal, and hearing screaming lower school kids, and the drivers favourite radio station, which I hate, BBC Radio 2, 3, and 4. I swear they get worse the further up the number goes!
So I was next offered a pair of what I had said were my dream earphones and amp (ironically the SM3 I have on loan now, which I was told is a great synergy from an audiophile I get most of my questions answered by, and trust most, HeadphoneAddict) in a thread, the LiveWires were a gift from John Diles, the man behind Earpeace, and the LiveWires. Being only 14 at the time, and so interested in this “interesting field” as he put it, he offered me a complimentary pair, which I gladly took early this year, after finally getting my impressions done. They arrived in 4 weeks and one day, on the 26th of March. I tore open the package, and popped them in, so excited, with only ten days before my holiday, of which I am on now, writing these ramblings, hoping they fitted properly.
They are extremely comfortable, and just disappear after a few minutes, although to get the suction seal feeling and more noise blocked out I have to push and wiggle them slightly, so when I am back home with internet I am going to contact John and ask if a re-dip may make the seal better, and more instant, as with them in without a push and wiggle, and music off I can clearly hear myself tap on something, and just hear myself type this. What I love, even with not much of a “seal” compared to a good seal with my ER6i’s is the ease of use, you just pop in and a quarter turn twist, and they are in, seconds, and so comfortable.
My audiologist did open and closed impressions, so two sets, and I don’t know which they used so, either a rid dip, or a cobble together of both impressions should give me a better seal, although they fit well now, so I don’t want that to change, just slightly larger I think, so I doubt new impressions will be necessary, as they are good now, and could be far worse, just a better seal would be good, although maybe I was expecting too much, and maybe Ety’s seal more when you finally get a good seal. I will update on this, and what I have done, and the outcome.
You can have the cables up or down, or pointing straight out in front of you if you want due to the memory wire which I straightened for this orientation, but it may look a bit weird, and people give me funny looks when I wear them like this, and I haven’t seen any benefits of this yet. Haha.
My preference is with the cables straight down when seated, although the cables up over the ears with the memory wire bent over my ear when on the move, although I find this hard to do, I think I need some practice, but this decreases microphonics even more, and there is far less than the terrible Ety’s which I stopped using on the move as I couldn’t listen to the thumping anymore!
The design is great anyway, as you can have the connector and wire any direction you want. I like this, and sometimes have the connector straight down, and the memory wire curved under my ear, and the cables running down my shirt, as this makes the neck to shirt section of the wire hard to see, and is very “stealthy” as you can barley see the LiveWires or the wire this way with my hair style.
The build quality is fantastic and very clean, and the join between the faceplate and shell is seamless, and invisible. The braided cable is very nice, and doesn’t tangle badly, and rarely, when it does when coiled up small to fit in the Ety’s case, it comes undone in seconds. The cable has a small piece of clear tubing on it above the pod, which enables you to pinch the cables together, especially handy when casing them to keep the earpieces together. There is a small piece of red heat shrink on the cable to denote the right from left, so when putting the cables on you get the channels the right way round. There is also a red dot and a blue dot on the back of the connector, faceplate side, to show which cable again goes to which ear piece. Both simple, yet effective. I pushed the heat shrink right down to the strain relief above the pod so it didn’t get in the way of the clear tube.
The removable connectors are a nice touch as if the wire breaks or you need to clean the ear pieces the come off easily, and snap back in with a reassuring click. A Very nice design.
Now most importantly, sound quality and sound signature. Wow, I am in love. The clarity and detail is on par with Ety’s, and are crisp, clear, and with fantastic detail.
The clarity and detail is as good if not better than Ety’s, the king of detail, but the bass is amazing too, the bass goes as low as you want to go, and doesn’t get muddy, just totally crystal clear, and the bass test track I tried made my ears feel like they were shaking on the low volumes I listen on, truly amazing bass while still keeping the detail and clarity of the highs, and the clarity of the bass too.
Teamed with the custom fit, and warmer, less fatiguing and more fun signature, these are truly Ety beaters in my opinion and although someone said these are their choice for hearing the music as it is, I find these to not be cold or analytical, but fun sounding, and warmer than the ety’s and would never pick these for close, careful listening only, I would use these all the time!
They are fantastic all round, highs, and lows, with all genres, just a good all rounder all across the spectrum, and for all genres, warm and fun sounding compared to Ety’s but with no loss of the Ety’s characteristics.. Truly fantastic! I will be keeping these forever, and just getting them re-cased when I outgrow them.
The soundstage is good with these, for iem’s. At the lowest volumes the vocals seem to be to the left, although if you turn the volume up, the soundstage gets wider, and the vocals even up, and it seems that at my personal (low-ish) listening level the soundstage is not at it’s best, widest stage, and when I go higher with the volume, which I don’t like, the soundstage gets even better, I just don’t know how higher volume is still safe, so I listen on a low volume generally, but crank it up a bit more and widen the soundstage a bit more occasionally, but they still sound great at the level I listen on most.
I may get a dac for my laptop as it is very hissy, and probably get a Cowon D2 and a 32gb SDHC card to replace my Zen by the end of this year, which hisses quite a lot through the lineout I think. The D2 unamped will be a great combo I think, whilst being small, flash based, and not very hissy, if any.
As I have said before, the amp does improve the clarity all round, and reduces hiss although through the headphone out of my Zen it is fine, and much smaller, and costs less too, especially when only 15, and taking something that expensive to school for the bus ride, and I think it would be wiser to just get a better source and sell this one, and use the money I have saved for an amp too. My favourite characteristic of the amp though is the extra control of volume which is handy as I can have an even lower volume for sleeping with music on, although generally I unplug and switch off when I get sleepy, as I if I’m shuffling my 5500 tracks, its still playing in the morning, and I don’t hear my alarm, then miss my bus!
To conclude, I love these to bits, lossy, and unamped, and even more amped, the sound is exactly what I have been longing for, the isolation is what I love in iem’s just the peace of just music, but need comfort too, and customs provide this too. These tick all the right boxes for me. Chuffed to bits!
I will update when I find out what John says about the seal, and if I do get a redip, I will let you know the outcome.
Hope you enjoyed the read. Here are some not so great pictures for you. Yum!
The pod, the livewires, and the hearshrink, and clear tubing.
I will be uploading this rambling on my return when I have internet. See you then!
Comments welcome, and a big thankyou to Mark_h who let me borrow the supermacro, and the ALO interconnect.
Last of all a huge thankyou for John Diles for the Livewires! I couldn't be more happy with these - apart from wanting a pair in every colour and cable combo! Haha!
Well there it is. Sorry about the millions of pics, i figured not many of us were on dialup, and they didnt make the page too wide.
Hope you enjoyed it.
MattEDIT: I think a redip would help, however these isolate reasonably well, but Earpeace are really busy right now, and i have problems contacting them.
I now have a cowon d2, and the jetaffects, like mach3bass (on max) you dont loose any highs, but have even more bone-shaking bass! I thought i was a purist, and not a bass head! If the highs are still there, i love the bass!