Originally Posted by Reian
@ p0wderh0und23. I PMed you about the registration card problem, because like britishbornazn, I didn't get the registration card...
Powderhound was very helpful with this problem of mine ^^. I registered online and got a "form submitted" confirmation, so hopefully now I have a 2 year warranty =). no email confirmation though, I assume this is normal?
anyways, I guess I'll input some of my thoughts on these phones now that I've been listening to them on and off for about a day now. I did let my roommate borrow the w3's for a couple of hours and he (thankfully) returned them with a look of awe on his face.
First off, I listen to mostly alternative rock, rock, hiphop and pop. There was the occasional classical song in there, and all my songs are ~256kbps. (I actually reripped my library to higher bitrates in anticipation of these earphones a couple of months back). My source is the month old sony walkman S638F and I used the w3's with them unamped. I also did some listening with the w3's on my dell xps laptop, but the hiss was almost unbearable =\. my old um1's also have the hiss problem with the laptop.
Speaking of my old um1's, I have to say that the w3's are my first high-end earphone. Because of this, I cannot compare the w3's with other high-end phones, but I can tell you my opinions of the SQ. I can also tell you that the w3's blow away the um1's, but I think that's pretty obvious
. Also, another disclaimer: I'm pretty new to this describing sound thing, so please don't hate me if I don't seem to make sense.
Alright, to the actual review. First thing I noticed when I picked up the w3's is how soft and flexible the cord is. This is different from the cord of my um1s, which has more braids (and thus is less flexible I think). Powderhound confirmed that the older models of the um1s and um2s have slightly different cords, so this discrepancy is perfectly normal. Whether the softer cord is better or not, I do not know - I just hope the cord for the w3 is just as durable.
The tips that came on the w3's were hard and clear (someone referred to them as "bullets" if I recall correctly). The bullets come in 3 sizes, but I did not really spend too much time with them. They are too hard and do not provide isolation in my ears. I tried the soft silicone tips next - medium fits me the best - and then the triflange. The silicone tips provided good isolation and medium comfort, while the triflanges were too long to be of any good use(as many others have commented on). I've been using the standard comply tips on my um1s for a year now, so I tried them out with the w3's. I love the comply tips for its superior comfort and sound isolation. I used the comply tips for a good 4 hours before reading Headphoneaddict's great review, thinking that I would continue to use them for as long as I had the w3's. However, after reading that the comply tips muffle the treble a little bit, I tried the silicone tips again. Indeed, I found that with the silicone tips, I could hear treble that I couldn't really hear with the complys. As a result, I'm now using the medium silicone tips supplied with the w3's to listen to my music. In terms of comfort and isolation, the complys are still a first, but the silicone tips are a close enough second for me to sacrifice comfort for SQ
Now, the soundd of the earphones... Immediately after putting on the w3's for the first time, I could tell that the w3's were a lot more musical (than what I've previously owned). I could hear the bass bumping away tightly and firmly, but it wasn't overwhelming the mids or highs as some other earphones I've owned do (bose in-ear as an example). The bass is significantly more present than in the um1s, which pleases me a lot since I thought the bass was lacking in the um1s. The bass goes pretty deep - not as deep as the bose inears, but still among the deepest I've heard in Iems. One other thing about the bass: it seems to be more present in songs where it is needed, and less present in songs where it isn't as needed. For example, in a hip hop song, the bass would be thumping away, sounding glorious, while in an alternative rock song, the bass would be more recessed into the whole sound of the song. The way the bass presence changed with each song amazed me, and I must say that although there were a few songs that I felt should've had a tad more bass or a tad less bass, the w3's balanced the bass perfectly 95% of the time.
After noticing the beautiful bass of the w3s, I tried listening for 3 distinct drivers. I knew the low driver was most likely working, so I tried to see if I could detect the other drivers. TBH, I couldn't tell there were 3 drivers at all! It all sounded like one amazingly good driver with a huge range in frequencies. This contributed to the "musical" feel I got from these earphones. the music played and flowed together flawlessly, without any obvious divides where notes were missing. In fact, the only way I can tell there are three drivers is when I hear the highs playing so crisply, the lows playing so tightly, and the mids sounding so detailed.
When listening to my library with the w3's I discovered notes and details in the highs and mids that I never heard before with the um1s. I discovered the most in the high frequencies, hearing crisp crashes of cymbals that I never paid attention to before. The high frequencies aren't too bright though, just emphasized enough to make it sound amazing with the rest of the song. The details I heard in the mids were just notes here and there. Vocals are clear and very detailed. I'd occasionally come across a song which I didn't think sounded as good as other ones I've heard, but that may have to do with the actual quality of the recording.
Soundstage of the w3's are okay. Definitely wider than the um1's, but perhaps not as wide as I had hoped.
Comparing these with the um1s, I can say that overall SQ is increased tremendously (duh!). When I switched back to the um1s after listening to the w3s, I found the um1s to be very flat sounding, lacking any musical feel to it at all. The bass of the w3 is extended (by loads) and is tight, the mids of the w3 are more natural and musical and very detailed (the um1s I thought had pretty good mid detail as well), and the highs of the w3 made me think the highs of the um1 were crap!
phew, what else do I say? These earphones are simply the best I've heard. I do not regret paying full price (yes, I'm one of the few) for these at all. If only they came with the registration card and user manual like they were supposed to
. no worries though, Powderhound was very willing to help with the situation and I [think I] am safe with the 2 year warranty.
earphonesolutions was also extremely fast shipping the w3's to me in NY
I plan on selling my um1s to a friend now that I have the w3's. He's going to come over friday and have a listen to the w3's as well. Hope he still buys my um1s after the listen
haha, hope you guys enjoy your w3's when you get them! I know I do!