post #196 of 1871
3/1/09 at 11:49pm
Perhaps this is not the best place to ask but as I cannot find my anwser in a search, and this is the thread that has garnered my interest so why not?
Do these custome IEM's (in particular, the ES3x) yield the same listening experience that a high quality circumaural provides with all else being equal?
I've got Er4p's and HD 650's. I enjoy them both for different reason and would love to blend the musical qualities of each together for a portable, ultra comfortable, perfect sounding rig but am concerned that the custom will still only provide an IEM expierence musically. The Ety's just sound anemic (although outstanding mids, highs and stage) and do not have as much of a presence as the HD650's do when using the same amp and source. Beyond that they are less comfortable for me than the 650's (which alone are not perfect). Ultimately, I find it easier to get lost in the music with the HD650's but find them abit too veiled and dark for my liking. Perhaps it is the vibrations on my outer ear and skull that lend to this perception but I've not experienced any other IEM...
So would I find success in the ES3X? Thanks all...
I found this in the other thread, which I've followed as well:
The 'natural' sound of the ES3x as Headphone Addict mentions is absolutely captivating. The musicians sound like there are there in the room with you, playing for you vs listening to a recording. The imaging is almost holographic in its presentation, with a very 3D effect to the sound. The weight of the sound and each of its images is also spot on. It also has a wonderful sense of space, soundstaging and emotion that comes across in its presentation.
Perhaps it's my ignorance but the above paragraph paints an awesome picture of a large soundstage which I've thought was uncharacteristic of any IEM.
Just trying to understand in words what is being felt in the music with these particular IEM's. Perhaps I am reading too far into it :-).
BTW, have you tried other amps/DACS with the ES3X beyond the D10?
You are reading too far into it.
There are a lot of characteristics of the sound that we are looking for in order for our headphones to give us the illusion of being there - transparency and natural timbre and tone, detail, precise imaging in the headstage and soundstage, ambience, space, speedy and accurate transient response for attack and natural decay, and more.
What he says in the quote you posted is true, and I experience that too. But if you've heard a $6000 Stax O2 rig, or a K1000 properly amplified you'll understand what I mean about soundstage of full size cans. The ES3X come closer than any IEM I have tried, and have the best soundstage of any IEM I have tried, so I am not sure where the problem is.
The transparency, immaculate imaging and holographic presentation with presence and space for each instrument is there with the ES3X, but soundstage is a little different without the pinna of the ear catching the sound coming from outside the ear (except for binaural recordings). Very few of my full size headphones have ever done this as well as the ES3X. The ES3X will do the "imaging, headstage, soundstage and instrument placement, timbre, tone, speed, detail", and all the rest as well as it needs to be done to complete the illusion. No worries there.
Now I shall speak blasphemy, or heresy or whatever you call it at head-fi. I will also say that very few headphones can replicate the soundstage and imaging of a good speaker system, and very few will argue with me about that. A few will come close but nothing matches it. There are just certain things that we can't change (until we all have a Smythe Virtual Surround Technology box in our rig) . With my Polk SDA CRS speakers I get the band in front of me, and sound going out behind the front wall and outside of the side walls if the recording is done properly, with all the ambience cues and echos of the venue. There is almost no headstage, just soundstage. If you want better than the ES3X soundstage, get a speaker rig.
However, these days the speaker rig's cost goes up exponentially higher to achieve the same natural timbre and tone and detail and transparency of a good affordable headphone system. I can't buy a $60,000 speaker system (including room treatments) and dedicate a room to it, but I can afford a good headphone system that beats it in all areas except soundstage for 1/10 the cost. And even then my ES3X on a $300 portable DAC/amp and laptop with lossless music is so close it makes the $6,000 headphone rig seem like a total waste of money.