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REVIEW: WESTONE 3, the ULTIMATE UNIVERSAL IEM vs everything else - AKA W3 Appreciation Thread - Page 79

post #1171 of 2112
Getting westone 3 soon gotta sell my triple10 first with null cables
post #1172 of 2112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ihatepopupads View Post
I use the acoustic setting sometimes on my ie8, seems to tone the bass down a bit and boost the highs. I Don't seem to get much distortion from that eq setting either.
Sometimes I accidentally leave it on when I switch to the IE8s from the W3s, and you are right, it does settle down the IE8 bass, and no distortion there either. I am still, even with all the tip mods, hearing too much bass with the Senns. I am really stuck, but doing some more A/B listening and the W3s keep winning the battles. Listened to American Idiot and the cymbals seemed lost with the IE8s, not the W3s. I hate to give up on the Senns, but whenever I listen comparatively, the W3s just sound better.
post #1173 of 2112
So, for grins today I put some the Shure medium olives on my W3s today. I learned 2 things from this. They made the W3s more streamlined in my ears as I was using the tri-flanges, and they stuck out a little bit. I thought, wow, this is nice to be a little more tucked into my ears. Second, I learned that the olives, for me anyway, don't seal as well on the W3s and I lost some bass on them. So, out came the scissors to trim the stalks of the tri flanges. Snipped off a few mm, and re-inserted. Tried the same song again, and, bam, bass is back, didn't stick out of ears as far, and didn't lose anything else. BTW, if you have it, try Nine Inch Nails - Down In It with it's opening bass is pretty good to test out any earphones (or speakers for that matter). Oh, and I tried the Acoustic setting today almost the whole day, and I do think I like it a little better than the treble booster, but judgement is still not final on this. I'll continue to chime in with my impressions as I get to know my W3s better.
post #1174 of 2112
Yeah, trimming the flange stalk does really does give the W3s a very snug fit. Maybe the acoustic EQ isn't quite as strong as the treble boost, not sure. I tried all the tips, including olives, and while they sometimes seemed good enough, when I revisited the tri-flanges, they just were the best (with the EQing). I know many folks frown on EQ, especially from the Touch, but to me, it's just sublime. I will try to grab the Nine Inch Nails track right now. Thanks.
post #1175 of 2112
Thread Starter 
Open iTunes and select the different EQ presets and you'll see what they boost or cut visually on the EQ itself. Then you'll have an idea what it does on the iPod.
post #1176 of 2112
So, I've been able to get a good seal with the W3 over the last month. And I have been listening pretty much to nothing else, mostly because I'm on the move and need a ultra-portable system.

A properly-fitting W3 should need no EQ, and it should be absolutely non-sibilant. What I'm getting now is a bass that's robust but not bloated, mids that are tonally accurate and full but nicely proportioned, and highs that are extended but have no peaks anywhere and therefore are very smooth without any sibilance whatsoever. Basically, a very, very flat frequency response, very good detail, and very good tonal accuracy, which lets the music come through in a fluid, organic way.

Compared to the E500/SE530, the W3 has a similar-sized soundstage, slightly worse instrument separation, clearly superior detail, far more refinement in the upper mids, more present but also more refined highs, an accurate as opposed to an overly warm tone, and a greater sense of tactile impact. Both headphones sound very fluid, but the E500 is clearly less linear in the highs and upper mids and there is some harshness and glare going on, which is small compared to most IEMs but significant compared to the W3.

So, it looks like I'm beginning to agree with HPA's review.

The catch is, the W3 only sounds like that if you get a perfect seal. If the seal is off, any number of sonically unpleasant things can happen. At worst, the W3 sounds catastrophically bad. Completely unlistenable.

I'm using large-sized clear flex tips and generally only shoving them in as far as necessary to get a good seal. Triflange tips make the midrange severely recessed. Cutting them down in length brings the mids out slightly but it's still way down there, and highs become more sibilant. Bass at the same time is bloated and out of control. Shortening them to biflanges brings the mids out slightly, and reigns in the bass slightly, but now highs are painfully sharp and sibilant. MaloS was able to get a perfect seal with modified biflanges though so it could just be my ears. Foam tips sound OK but the bass is, in general, loose, and the highs are, as a rule, muffled.

This isn't merely a difference of "Hmmm, I think the mids could come out a little more and the highs could be less sharp" but more along the lines of "Ugh, get this horrible crap offa me!" Really, the W3 can sound worse than stock iPod buds with a wrong fit, and the wrong fit is much, much easier to get than the right one.

So, I hate to say this, but I think Westone did miss the target slightly on this one, but not in the way that I originally thought. It has nothing to do with the sound when the W3 is properly fitting, since the W3 is the first universal-fit IEM that can sound like a real, high-end headphone, and a damn good one at that. It's actually a steal in terms of sound for the dollar, which was never the case in other IEMs by miles and miles. But the physical design, and the difficulty in attaining a perfect fit, means that a lot of potential buyers, especially ones that aren't into audio or just aren't used to canalphones, are never going to hear the W3 at its prime. A lot of people will only hear the W3 at its worst, and it's pretty horrific at that.

So, the design needs to be changed, possibly with a longer sound tube or redesigned tips. It isn't reasonable to expect a consumer to spend several months trying to get a good fit. In a consumer product, a good fit has to happen right away, has to be gotten consistently, and has to be apparent from the physical design. People are generally stupid and almost always impatient when it comes to accessories like this, especially very expensive ones, so it all has to click right away otherwise there's no cigar.

But the sonics, when everything is working right, really are very good, and not just for an IEM, but good period.

Also, I should note that "perfect seal" doesn't mean maximum isolation. Triflanges isolate much more than the clear plastic tips, but they sound unlistenably bad. Breaking the seal slightly with the clear tips only reduces the bass quantity slightly and makes things thinner, it does not mess up the sound to the same extent as switching to another tip does. So it's really more of a "right fit" rather than a "perfectly sealing fit."

I may write a full-length review to this effect if I'm bored. For now I'm happy using the W3 for 90% of my listening until I get the ES3x.
post #1177 of 2112
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by catscratch View Post
...snip...

So, it looks like I'm beginning to agree with HPA's review.

The catch is, the W3 only sounds like that if you get a perfect seal. If the seal is off, any number of sonically unpleasant things can happen. At worst, the W3 sounds catastrophically bad. Completely unlistenable.

I'm using large-sized clear flex tips and generally only shoving them in as far as necessary to get a good seal.

...snip...

It isn't reasonable to expect a consumer to spend several months trying to get a good fit. In a consumer product, a good fit has to happen right away, has to be gotten consistently, and has to be apparent from the physical design. People are generally stupid and almost always impatient when it comes to accessories like this, especially very expensive ones, so it all has to click right away otherwise there's no cigar.

But the sonics, when everything is working right, really are very good, and not just for an IEM, but good period.

Also, I should note that "perfect seal" doesn't mean maximum isolation. Triflanges isolate much more than the clear plastic tips, but they sound unlistenably bad. Breaking the seal slightly with the clear tips only reduces the bass quantity slightly and makes things thinner, it does not mess up the sound to the same extent as switching to another tip does. So it's really more of a "right fit" rather than a "perfectly sealing fit."

I may write a full-length review to this effect if I'm bored. For now I'm happy using the W3 for 90% of my listening until I get the ES3x.
I am glad you found a way to hear the "nice" sound that I was talking about, and I'm sorry it was so difficult to get there. I agree, it shouldn't be so hard for some to get them to sound good - it is strange that so many can get the right sound out of them from the start with much less effort, while many others don't have the anatomy that allows the best sound without so much fiddling.
post #1178 of 2112
Great post Catscratch - Damn, how do you get beyond the (lack of) comfort issue with the clear flex tips?
post #1179 of 2112
Good post Catscratch (especially your description of the W3s at their best), but I hear what I hear, and to me, the modded triflanges (shorter stalks) just work. And believe me, I have heard the W3s at their worst, and this ain't it. Apparently, I am not alone, as HPA and DJ_JohhnyV both say the tri-flanges are a decent tip choice with the W3s. I do not hear any recessed mids with those tips.

However, you're right, fit/seal is everything, only to me, it's not as black and white as a one-tip solution. Glad you found it with the large clear silicone. I tried those tips and agree with Sypro. Not only did they have poor comfort, but I could get no seal at all with any of the clear silicone tips.

Seems we have both found what we wanted in the W3s. I may move to the UM56 sleeves soon, so tip choice will no longer be an issue. But for now, I am as happy as you are, though we arrived there via different routes.
post #1180 of 2112
Quote:
Originally Posted by tstarn06 View Post
Sometimes I accidentally leave it on when I switch to the IE8s from the W3s, and you are right, it does settle down the IE8 bass, and no distortion there either. I am still, even with all the tip mods, hearing too much bass with the Senns. I am really stuck, but doing some more A/B listening and the W3s keep winning the battles. Listened to American Idiot and the cymbals seemed lost with the IE8s, not the W3s. I hate to give up on the Senns, but whenever I listen comparatively, the W3s just sound better.
Man they must be super iems, because I think the cymbals sound amazing on ie8. I know you have quite a few hours on your ie8 too. I'm just about the pull the trigger on these, just trying to clarify the return policy from toyzcastle, an amazon reseller. They are the cheapest place I've found (368.00). I just hope I find the highs good- I really don't need eq for the highs on the ie8, I just like that it cuts the bass a bit. And the fit scares me little, but everybody said the ie8 tips were hard to fit and I used the medium silicone right out of the box with no problems.

I'm guessing some shure medium olives or the med clear would work for me. Soozieq isn't helping either, raving about the p51 and W3 combo I'm almost tempted to buy the amp first and see how it sounds with the ie8, as that amp sound like it would be a good match with the bassy ie8. I can say without a doubt the ie8 was an upgrade from my shure e530, if the westone sounds clearer like the PFE and has great detail, I will be very happy indeed.

Oh, and a found another album thats great to test cans with besides my usual bluetech, zero one, infected mushroom, Orb, shpongle ect ect. It's OTT- Blumenkraft, lots going on in that album and lots of cymbal work and bass. Probably old hat to a lot of you, but it's pretty amazing sounding to me, very layered and well recorded.
post #1181 of 2112
She's not raving about the P-51 and the W3, right? She sold her two pair of W3s awhile ago. You are talking about her raving about the IE8 and the P-51.

Oh, I just sold my IE8s. So I guess that says it all when it comes to the two IEMs. I spent most of yesterday listening and comparing, with the combo I am using (modded tri-flanges and a little EQ), I favored the Westones on every track. I hope you get the right fit/seal, so you can make a fair comparison. I know Catscratch took a different route, but that's good, as it means there is more than one way to get there.
post #1182 of 2112
Quote:
Originally Posted by tstarn06 View Post
She's not raving about the P-51 and the W3, right? She sold her two pair of W3s awhile ago. You are talking about her raving about the IE8 and the P-51.

Oh, I just sold my IE8s. So I guess that says it all when it comes to the two IEMs. I spent most of yesterday listening and comparing, with the combo I am using (modded tri-flanges and a little EQ), I favored the Westones on every track. I hope you get the right fit/seal, so you can make a fair comparison. I know Catscratch took a different route, but that's good, as it means there is more than one way to get there.
Well I figure if I don't like the W3 , I can send them back. And if I do, it will be easy to sell one of my ie8- I bought 2.
post #1183 of 2112
Quote:
Originally Posted by tstarn06 View Post
She's not raving about the P-51 and the W3, right? She sold her two pair of W3s awhile ago. You are talking about her raving about the IE8 and the P-51.

Oh, I just sold my IE8s. So I guess that says it all when it comes to the two IEMs. I spent most of yesterday listening and comparing, with the combo I am using (modded tri-flanges and a little EQ), I favored the Westones on every track. I hope you get the right fit/seal, so you can make a fair comparison. I know Catscratch took a different route, but that's good, as it means there is more than one way to get there.

Oh ya ie8 right Thats the ticket.
post #1184 of 2112
She posted in the IE8 thread that she has the W3 again. Also in the IE8 thread, she said how the Mustang helps shave off some of the IE8's warmth, when used with the new LO cable and the Touch, and that combo helps to improve the already strong characteristics of the IE8.
post #1185 of 2112
Quote:
Originally Posted by cn11 View Post
She posted in the IE8 thread that she has the W3 again. Also in the IE8 thread, she said how the Mustang helps shave off some of the IE8's warmth, when used with the new LO cable and the Touch, and that combo helps to improve the already strong characteristics of the IE8.

Relief!
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › REVIEW: WESTONE 3, the ULTIMATE UNIVERSAL IEM vs everything else - AKA W3 Appreciation Thread