Originally Posted by GreatDane
I was thinking about starting this thread a few days ago but Team Phonak Audéo PFE
was my better idea, if all who own a pair join we can see just how popular these IEMs become.
I still can't get enough of mine. Last night I couldn't even listen to them...too tired with a headache from losing too much sleep on prior nights listening! Never enough time to listen to music it seems.
Wow, you've got "listen-itis"?
Seems not many of the IE8/TF10/W3/SE530 champions (the various folks who collectively believe no universals are better than those four) have really tried the PFEs. I know Headphoneaddict has, and rates them pretty highly (though not higher than the Westones), but that's about it. A lot of newer members like them, though you and I (at least judging by post counts) are among the more veteran Head-Fi'ers who have discovered the Phonaks (along with dfkt, of course). I don't mean that post counts are indicative of audiophile status, because in my case, they are not. I am just an average guy who likes good sound/music. Nothing more.
In fact, I know I have a somewhat checkered past in terms of abandoning IEMs for new models, and sometimes I'm not proud of that history (though it hasn't cost me much since I sell what I don't keep). But in this case, I am convinced that the Phonaks are really a great package/product:
Design/Form (amazing comfort, lightweight)
Durability (early still, but between the great cable and the way they are built, I don't believe its going to an issue).
Sound: Don't think anyone can dispute that the PFEs sound fantastic, balanced, delivering an excellent overall presentation with all types of music.
It's not easy to say you prefer a $135 IEM (in my case, less than $100) over a $400 IEM. In fact, psychologically, it's a very tough thing to do. But the more I move between the two phones (W3 and PFE), the more I want to return to the PFEs. I know there is the entire tip selection/ear canal/depth issue with the W3s, and sometimes, they do dazzle me with their sound. But with the PFEs, once you settle on the filter and tip, you are done. They consistently deliver great sound, no fiddling with tips, insertion depth, etc.
My only gripe, and I have said this before, is that the PFEs have a hard time delivering volume on my Sansa Clip (others don't have the problem), but that's a small issue to me.
So I am going to keep comparing the two IEMs, keep listening to the nuances that they have in similar listening situations, with the same tracks and same genres. I would like to think the $400 spread is better than the $100 spread, it's supposed to be, right? But I am becoming less and less convinced that is going to be the case. I could change my mind, of course, and eventually decide the W3s are superior on balance. I initially thought that in fact. But looking back, I wonder if it wasn't my mindset (a pre-disposition to think that if it cost $400, it must be good), not my ears doing the deciding.
Only one thing I can do: Get them both out and listen some more.
I know Martin (dfkt) doubted if it was sensible to compare the PFEs to the "big four" IEMs, since they are different animals. They are that, no doubt. But in the end, everyone sort of chooses their absolute favorite piece of gear, no? That's all I am trying to do here.