Originally Posted by tstarn06
This is the first time I have ever owned a pair of "high end" IEMs (more than $300 MSRP), if you don't count the discounted Klipsch models, and I have to say, the entire thing is getting really tired. I even was part of the madness on a couple of posts. It's getting very clear that this process (comparing the "best" universal IEMS, re W3, SE530, TF10, IE8, etc.) is now starting to lose any real meaning, even though I realize this is supposed to be a place where people offer differing views on pieces of gear. Not sure what I am trying to say other than maybe it's time everyone just enjoy their IEMs, whatever the brand. I really think perspective/added views on the W3s when compared to other IEMs is turning into a muddled and meaningless mess due to the extreme views in either direction (and many in the middle). Every day another "revelation" about the W3s, another naysayer, another champion, another naysayer turned champion, and vice-versa. It's getting pretty weird, no?
Maybe I am just crazy. But since the only really new (in the past year or so) universal EMs on this level are the W3s and the IE8s (sorry Klipsch, but the X10s and Custom 3s are decent, but are really more worth their discounted prices), did this same thing happen when the TF10s and the E500/SE530s hit the market?
Agreed. Well said.
This is kinda for everyone. What drives me nuts is having people blast the W3 (either they list a huge number of faults or one huge fault), and then later or even in the same post seem to say it is still better than the other universal IEM, but just not God's gift to the world. They trash it but then they say they still like it, or maybe they are only saying it is better than the others but they still don't like any of them. I don't get it, because that part isn't made clear.
I think the negatives are way over-blown and I don't hear most of them - with the proper tips and positioning in my ears
there are no withdrawn mids for me, no pianissimo lower piano chords when the upper registers are playing forte', no soft drums, no sibilance,no lack of extension, no bass blending into the mids (which can happen with the wrong tips or fit), no congestion in complex musical passages (which is something I noted in my mini-review of ATH-A900 Ltd vs modded A900 Art vs D2000 where both A900 got congested vs the D2000, which are probably congested vs my Stax if I were to compare them).
In my review I recalled my journey through IEM over the past 2 years, and many times I upgraded from something I liked to something I liked even better, which didn't automagically make the previous IEM awful. No, I would never buy another E2c, or E3c, or SE310 or E4c or ER6i, or Super.fi 5 Pro, etc... But, many of them were halfway decent and not automatic candidates for the trash bin. When I say the W3 kills all previous IEM, that is only for my ears and may not translate to another person's experience, and it doesn't mean I think the lesser or previous earphones suddenly lack merit or can't offer enjoyment.
I would hope that everyone else would get the same experience from them that I do, but when there is a different size and shape ear canal, different ear-drums and middle ear bones, and different brain between the IEM and what one hears, I cannot expect everyone to have the same experience as me. What I do NOT expect is a review of them being the polar opposite of what I hear, somehow having them turn into a cheap transistor radio or $20 ear bud.
When I read that stuff I have been assuming that something is wrong and it isn't me - and if it isn't caused by the choice of tips, the fit or the positioning of the W3, then I have assumed the other person is exaggerating their impressions. And then the hostilities start because someone (me or them or both) is being put down for their ability or inability to assess the earphone properly. It gets personal.
I AM tired of that game, and I think I am just not going to play it anymore. I will, however, stick to my guns about what I hear with these. Yeah, my my hearing might change over time and they no longer work for me, or I may hear a better IEM sooner or later. But I don't expect that I will ever be saying, "Oh, those were poop the whole time and I just didn't know what I was missing". When I say these are the best universal IEM that I have heard, and I give glowing descriptions of the sound, that doesn't mean they are the best of anything at doing everything that I have heard.
I am too tired and old and sick to ever start comparing my all IEM to all my full size headphones and stats, with all my amps - and I'm not mixing apples and oranges. I did, however, mention before that the experience I get from the W3 is similar to the experience I get from the Edition 9 - that doesn't mean they sound the same, it just means that the impact and immersive experience that the music as a whole has on me is similar with the two. I am transported. Some people just don't "get" the Edition 9, and all they hear is coloration or weird soundstage, but my brain processes the sound in such a way that I am closer to the music than ever before. I get it - that not everyone hears things the same as I do.
Generally speaking, I say that if IEM are not for you or none of the ones currently available float your boat, then you may like the portable ATH-ESW10 or re-cabled RS-1 as much or more than the best IEM for taking your music with you. Unfortunately not everyone agrees on the sound of the ESW10 or RS-1 either, so take that recommendation with a grain of salt as well.