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Opinion on type of IEM Drivers - Armature vs. Dynamic?

post #1 of 68
Thread Starter 
I've been looking around for more info on this subject but am not finding a lot.

I have just recently ventured into the IEM territory. Currently, I'm quite enjoying my SF5pro (although, in my opinion, it still cannot best my HD580 and DT880), however, for portable use, SF5pro is my choice if I need isolation and the ATH-CM700ti for the times when I don't need isolation.

However, I have always been very curious about the pros and cons of each, the Armature and the Dynamic drivers. Some IEM makers are champions of the Dynamic Drivers (e.g. Futuresonic, OVC etc.), while others are decidedly Armature (e.g. Shure, UE, Etys etc.)

Any opinions? Which is better?
post #2 of 68
armatures were designed to give a cleaner more accurate sound across the spectrum and although they dont reach the lows and highs that dynamics can reach they certainly do the job they were designed to do. so overall they are the next step up in iems.

full size headphones are another matter, they have to be dynamic
post #3 of 68
is the statement that dynamics sound better at low volume true?

if this is so, it's kindof ironic that IEMs are armatures. i havn't tried a dynamic IEM.
post #4 of 68
For IEMs, armature is the only way to go. You have to make a lot of compromises and sacrifices to get a dynamic that small in that enclosed of a space. It simply isn't worth it. They do tend to be more affordable though, so that's why you see lower end canalphones using dynamic drivers. The Atrios are a pretty rare exception as far as true IEMs using dynamic drivers go.
post #5 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon118 View Post
For IEMs, armature is the only way to go. You have to make a lot of compromises and sacrifices to get a dynamic that small in that enclosed of a space. It simply isn't worth it. They do tend to be more affordable though, so that's why you see lower end canalphones using dynamic drivers. The Atrios are a pretty rare exception as far as true IEMs using dynamic drivers go.
Hmmm...I haven't being able to try IEMs with dynamic drivers, so, I cannot comment, however, here is what Future Sonics has to say:

Q: Why does Future Sonics use dynamic speakers vs. armature drivers?
A: Atrio Series™ products, and all of our professional earphones, price out much lower then any two/three way armature device and we offer ours with better quality of sound -- even in our universal products which will outperform any of the armatures which cannot accurately or effectively reproduce frequencies below 150Hz. Our dynamic product achieve these deeper tones naturally and without any "bass boost," or "extended bass" tricks found in some other brands.

Future Sonics had multiple driver products and abandoned them after our original MG4™ (and now our MG4plus™) transducer far surpassed the performance, reliability and side-by-side testing when our clients heard why using a dynamic transducers produce smoother, more even transitions, warmth and natural tone. Our own so-called "hybrid" devices didn't even match the accuracy and dynamics from our custom Ear Monitors® brand products. We listened to the pros in the field and simply eliminated those two, and even three, driver configuration possibilities from our product line and are very proud to stand behind our dedication to 100% armature-free dynamic pro-audio products.


My question then is, what makes Future Sonics dynamic drivers different? So different that no other IEM Dynamic Drivers can match?
post #6 of 68
well in all fairness the atrio's do use what they call a special dynamic driver and thier description of it backs that up
post #7 of 68
That sounds like teh marketing hype.
post #8 of 68
i would think it is marketing hype but for some reason the atrio's do produce a great sound and astonishing bass.

what makes them different technology wise i dont know
post #9 of 68
post #10 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1012007 View Post
Wow, great article! Thanks for the info.

I'm surprised that the armature drivers use diaphragms as well. Wouldn't either technology be very similar and the real differentiation is how well the diaphragms are constructed (materials etc)?
post #11 of 68
Don't the Shure E2c' use a dynamic driver? And there are a few AT IEM's that use dynamic drivers. Doesn't somebody (maybe Westone?) make an IEM that uses both a balanced armature and a dynamic driver?
post #12 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wes.coleman View Post
Don't the Shure E2c' use a dynamic driver? And there are a few AT IEM's that use dynamic drivers. Doesn't somebody (maybe Westone?) make an IEM that uses both a balanced armature and a dynamic driver?
Yes, you are right. The Shure E2c (although, the latest SE lines, they are all armature drivers), the UE Metro.fi all use dynamic drivers. However, if you notice, these companies only makes their lower end phones with dynamic drivers and the higher end phones are all armature designs.

As for the hybrid designs, SF5eb is a hybrid of both, dynamic for low end and armature for midrange and high end.
post #13 of 68
Quote:
even in our universal products which will outperform any of the armatures which cannot accurately or effectively reproduce frequencies below 150Hz
That is a bold-faced lie. How could anyone respect a company that would say something to blatantly false?
post #14 of 68
Dynamic Driver IEMs: Sennheiser CX300, Creative EP-630, V-Moda Vibe, Shure E2c, UE Metro.Fi 2, Sony EX51/71

Balanced Armature IEMs: Etymotic, Shure E3-E500, Ultimate Ears, Westone, Futuresonics, Sensaphonics

Hybrid IEM: Ultimate Ears Super.Fi 5 EB (dynamic driver for bass, armature for mids/treble)

The better IEM's use armature drivers. Therefore the Balanced Armature Drivers must be the better driver.
post #15 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by PiccoloNamek View Post
That is a bold-faced lie. How could anyone respect a company that would say something to blatantly false?
thats what i was thinking, ive tested 20hz-50hz tones through a numerous amount of my phones and the better ones such as ue10,se530 and super fi 5 pro i could hear tones at about 25hz, any lower was very difficult to hear.

and its not just the multi driver iems where sub bass could be heard i just pointed them out for reference because the multi drivers, particularly dual drivers tend to amplify the sub bass more.

that claim that armatures cannot produce below 150hz is just strange, surely they know they are lying...or have we read it wrong?
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