Misunderstanding!!! No I was not stating that you said there was a little color in the bass area. I was saying this simply from what I've been reading and piecing together. Different opinions about bass come into play here....I don't feel like the Phonak's have any sibilance at all...right tips or wrong. Just my humble opinion at work here so I'm right in my own way and so are you.
Hmmm I wonder does Tstarn feel this way about the excessive brightness I thought it was perfect. Also I thought the bass was nice especially in a quiet environment the bass has actual impact. To me at least..Anyhow, now to get off topic I’ll wait..For more impressions then choose between these and the Livewires. Does anyone HPA included feel like the Livewires portray more detail then these phones or are they on par?
The Phonak and Livewires are not bass shy, but they don't reproduce the bass in the fullest like they should, and after hearing the way it should be done right you someday will understand what I mean. The W3 come very close, but they maybe overshot the "proper" bass goal just a little bit, almost like the Edition 9 or Denon D2000/D5000 did but not quite as much. The W3 still did a better job than any previous IEM that I had heard or owned before and I praised them for that bass, but having slightly tamer and better controlled bass is what the ES3X achieves and now I applaud them for that even more.
Like Jude said today about the HD800, that he finds them flawless and cannot think of anything he would change about them, well I find the ES3X to be that same thing to me - flawless.
Obviously due to fit issues people find flaws in the top universal IEM all the time and will never agree on the best. And while the W3 were pretty close to my goal and beat all my other universal IEM, they aren't perfect as demonstrated by listening to the ES3X. I can also find flaws in all my top of the line full size dynamic headphones - Open phones that can't reach down below 30-40Hz, Edition 9 that sometimes have overwhelming bass and a forward aggressive sound although exciting and present sounding, woodied recabled D2000 that have delicious bass but somewhat recessed mids with treble that is brighter than the mids are forward, RS-1 with APS V3 cable that is not visceral or involving enough with small soundstage and lack of presence unlike that found in the Ed 9 or D2000, HD600 are little soft around the edges and needing just the right amp to sound as good as they really are (like a dynamic version my HE60, so a little slower but better bass). And it goes on and on - Stax O2 Mk1 are a power hog with recessed treble, Stax O2 Mk2 less of power hog with a bit too aggressive and forward mids, HE Audio Jade too flat soundstage, recabled Koss ESP950 like an electrostatic RS-1, Senn HE60 everything is there but the bass or presence so the sound is etherial and airy but instruments are not solid, Stax Lambda Signature slight recessed mids with forward treble and lower treble etch.
Shall I go on? I have spent well over $30,000 in 18 months looking for the ultimate sound in headphones, or audio nirvana without spending $100,000 on a speaker rig. I knew one single rig for $10,000 might have been the answer (source/amp/phones) but nobody could agree on the answer, the Holy Grail. So instead I have several rigs costing $500 - $5,000 and some get closer than others, and it's not always the most expensive that beats the cheaper ones. Now I find out that a Macbook with iBasso D10 and Westone ES3X is pretty much all I ever really needed to be truly happy (may sub Pico or Duet or Micro Stack for the D10, in staying with a very detailed DAC/amp for laptop). It's like finding Jesus - I want to share it with the whole world, but don't accuse me of starting FOTM (or of talking religion, that was just an example).
Now, if only my OCD tendencies would allow me to sell the RS-1, HF-1, Edition 9, D2000, ESP950, Jade, Lambdas, my iMod/Vcaps and all my spare USB amps and IEM except for keeping the D10, ES3X and an IEM with mic for iPhone, and a backup amp - I could put a LOT of money back in my pocket. For my full size rig I'd stick with just the GES/O2 Mk2/HE60 rig with SR-003 for quiet listening, and a simple HD600 balanced Single Power rig with my Apogee mini-DAC feeding both amps (until the HD800 arrive and replace the HD600). But no, I'm too attached to them all and like having a little of everything to keep around and talk about - while seeding a DAC and amp here and there for a living room rig, basement rig, bedroom rig and car rig and all that other crazyness that my wife shouldn't have to deal with.
Whew. Glad to get that off my chest! I'm plugging into my music again and chilling out now.