Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Opinion on type of IEM Drivers - Armature vs. Dynamic?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Opinion on type of IEM Drivers - Armature vs. Dynamic? - Page 5

post #61 of 68

Hi all


I wanted to add to this Armature vs Dynamic debate.  Luckily I have had the opportunity to test 3 of Sony's XBA Single Armature earphones for review purposes.  Now, bear in mind I now have a new pair of Sennheiser IE80's (warranty replacement for the IE8's I previously had).  I have done a range of testing between the Sony BA's and the Sennheiser IE80's dynamic headphones with a range of music from orchestral, trance, pop, rock, movie soundtracks, and I have to say the Sennheiser IE80's outdo the BA's by miles.  All my music is 320kbps MP3.  I tested a pair of Sony XBA-65S, Sony XBA-NC75D (Noise Cancellation Single Armature), and Sony XBA-75B (Single Armature Bluetooth), all with no equaliser settings on my ipod, and the verdict - the Sennheiser IE80's have a larger soundstage, better treble, larger bass level and sounded more natural.


Bear in mind the Sony XBA-NC75D' retail in Australia for AU$549, for a Single Armature BA headphone with noise cancellation.  I personally found the noise cancellation useless even with correct isolation because sound quality did not improve in any aspect.  The way the earphones sit in your ears (horizontally opposed) means they actually protrude outside the ear, plus there is a lot of cord noise which should be heard on AU$549 earphones.  To add to the mix I tried my Sony MDR-V700DJ's linked to my FiiO E11 amp via my Ipod and this is where dynamic cans come into a world of their own - such amazing audio with all music types.


Lets use some logic here, B.A. are very very small devices, originally used in hearing aids, and the basics of physics mean the smaller something is the more that has to be removed, as something will always be lost.  This means that technically and audiologically (via my hearing) a Single BA driver cannot match / outdo a single dynamic driver.  This is also because B.A.'s dont use airflow like Dynamic drivers do, which affects their audio range, especilly low tones like bass.  B.A. cannot delivery the same range of audio like dynamic drivers can as too much has been compromised to shrink the device.  I personally believe that B.A. were developed purely for the ability to shrink earphones, but you also lose quite a lot of audio soundstage.  The only way possibly that B.A. can make up for their lack of audio is to mulitply the B.A. drivers - hence the quad B.A. drivers on the market, but I'm waiting for Sony to send me the XBA-4's before I can comment.


Dynamic drivers have been around for a long time, and this is primarily because they produce a greater audio range and soundstage due to their design and functionality.  People say B.A. are used for size, yet look at the Sennheiser IE80's - I would say the most powerful dynamic IEM available today - it defies physics with its massive soundstage and audio reproduction quality and large range of frequencies - its an engineering marvel which only the German's have yet to pull off.  Even Sennheiser themselves said they dont use B.A. because of a higher failure rate due to multiple components plus their audio quality does not match that of Dynamic.  As for full headphones (cans), dynamic is always best for these due to their larger size which allows more air to be used in audio reproduction.


In Summary: My testing of B.A. headphones reveals most of the information is for marketing purposes, but when it comes to reproducing audio they are miles apart, and only dynamic drivers do the job best.

post #62 of 68

I am glad that's settled.




post #63 of 68

I think dynamic drivers only do the job best in 1v1 standards. Personally I prefer the sound of multi-BA as opposed to single DD. I find the details and separation are superior when you have several smaller speakers dedicated to different parts of the spectrum, as opposed to using a single driver to cover the whole thing.

In the wide ranger of music I listen to I've found that while dynamic drivers definitely work well most of the time, there's the odd time when I'm listening to certain genres where the dynamic can't produce the sound without making things sound messy. This pulls me right out of the experience and I find myself straining to hear details that I don't have to with my current set up.

Keep in mind I'm using JH10X3's now so that may not be entirely fair, but I have used other sets of multi-BA IEM's in the past and found them a little cleaner for all music ranges.



Just my $.02

post #64 of 68

hmmm, reading this, it seems like people are outright neglecting the fact that there are also dual Dynamic Driver IEMs such as radius, JVC, Moshi, fisher and others... I don't know, comparing single Dynamic Driver to Multi BA-s seems a little bit unfair, though there seem to be some single dynamic driver iems that outperform many multi BA iems...

post #65 of 68
Originally Posted by sionghchan View Post


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.

The akg k3003i iems are among the best and most ex hybrids

As for the hybrid designs, SF5eb is a hybrid of both, dynamic for low end and armature for midrange and high end.
post #66 of 68
Edited by lookingforIEMs - 8/16/13 at 12:48am
post #67 of 68

I dont know why your response caught my eye but i just created this account so i could ask you a question ^-^ Im an audio tech / composer and I need a good pair of IEMs to go walking and sleeping with.. I like to thoroughly understand how the tech of a product works before i make a choice.. So here goes my question..


Ive been reading a lot about Armature and dynamic style drivers and im still a little unclear on which to choose..


I will primarily be listening to bass heavy punchy EDM and instrumental hiphop, (stuff focusing mostly on the bass).


My question is not only which is better for EDM.. dynamic or Armature.. but also.. which specific IEMs should I choose? 

I think its reasonable to assume a nice pair of IEMs should be worth around 300-350 $ considering I have an amazing pair of open back beyerdynamics that sound heavenly and they were somehow under 250$


Would really appreciate some advice... Ive been looking at these sennheiser IE80's but they are recommended by a.. well amateur review blog.. refering to headphone classifications using terms like "over ear" and "on ear" rather than assuming professional audio equipment and using terms like open and closed back ohm ratings stuff like that.. 


anyways.. thanks for your time.. 

post #68 of 68
You'd be amazed how good lower-price dynamics are at the moment. You might want to consider getting both dynamic and BA to decide what you prefer and sell the other off. I enjoy my dynamics and balanced armatures. My Westone UM3X does seem to be "faster" and more punchy with the bass, but I'm enjoying the bass slam from the KC06As I got recently. Thing is, nobody can tell you which will be better for you and you'll only get to find out by hearing them yourself.

Currently a favourite in high-end dynamics is the JVC FX850, apparently its bass is great.

Have you considered hybrid IEMs? I don't have any myself, but it seems like they're becoming a popular compromise.

Also, try not get too hung up on price (apart from actually being able to afford the IEMs). Some companies charge a lot because, well, they can. It doesn't automatically mean that the product is that much better.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Opinion on type of IEM Drivers - Armature vs. Dynamic?